Outline Course information Basic concepts in comparative politics Studies of politics by IARZh3

VIEWS: 0 PAGES: 8

									                                     Introduction to
                                   Comparative Politics
                                                     GPA 2130

                                     Wang Shaoguang 王绍光
                                    Personal Information
• Office hour:
    – Monday & Wednesday 14:00-16:00
• Phone number 2609-7515
• Email: wangshaoguang@cuhk.edu.hk
                                                      Outline
•       Course information
•       Basic concepts in comparative politics
•       Studies of politics
•       Studies of comparative politics
•       Themes in comparative politics
•       Precautions in conducting comparative studies
                                   Course Information
                                  Purposes of the Course
•       Main feature
    •        Thematic approach to understand main issues, key concepts, and major theories in
             comparative politics
•       Main purposes
    •        Stimulate your interest in the study of comparative politics
    •        Develop conceptual tools and analytical skills
    •        Broaden your international knowledge
                                          Textbook
                                       How to Order?
                                    Structure of the Class
•       Part I: Introduction
         –     Introduction to Comparative Politics
         –     Video show: Manufacturing Consent, Part I
         –     Classification and Comparison
•       Part II: Nation-States
         –     Nation-States: Geography, Society, Economy & Globalization
         –     Political Ideologies: Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism
•       Part III: Citizens and Interest Mediation
         –     Citizen Attitudes and Political Behavior
         –     Pressure Groups and Political Parties
•       Part IV: The Polity: Structures and Institutions
         –     Executives and Legislatures
         –     Multi-level Government: National and Sub-national
         –     Implementation: The Bureaucracy
•       Part V: Political Changes
         –     Social Movement & Revolution
         –     Democratic Transition
         –     Conclusion

                                                Requirements
• You are required to attend
    – Lectures
    – Tutorial discussion
• The grades in this course will be based upon
    – Mid-term examination (30%)
    – Final paper (50%).
    – Participation (20%)
                            Basic Concepts in Comparative Politics
                                                  Government
• The group of people who occupy positions of power at any given time
    – Organizations of individuals
    – Authorized by formal documents
    – Make binding decisions on behalf of a particular community
• Examples:
    – The Clinton Administration
    – The Bush Administration
• Government change: very common!
                                                          Regime
• The set of rules by which political power is allocated.
    –    How leaders are selected?
    –    Whom do they answer to?
    –    What powers and duties do they have?
    –    How are they removed?
• Two main types:
    – Democracies
    – Authoritarian regimes
• Regime change (from D to A or vice versa): Less common than government
  change
                                                            State
• Domestic political authority over a population within a bounded territory and with international
  legal standing.
   – A geographic territory with internationally recognized boundaries,
   – An identifiable population that lives within these boundaries,
   – A recognized government that has an army, bureaucracies which is able to raise taxes, maintain public order,
     regulate economy, pursue public welfare.
• All states have sovereignty:
   – The ability to act within a territory, independently from internal or external rivals.
        • Internal: supreme authority domestically
        • External: independence internationally
• State Change: VERY RARE
                                  What does the State do?
• Protects its territory and the population within it,
   – Max Weber: “monopoly of legitimate violence.”
• Provides “collective goods”, has institutions that help society function (laws,
  regulation, taxation, infrastructure).
• Distinct from:
   – Government: Leadership that runs the state.
   – Regime: Rules and norms of politics.
                                                             Nation
• Nation: Social groups within the state which have no formal political authority but
  which may have allegiance to the state or to non-state organizations.
   – Nations may or may not overlap with states
   – Many states are multinational states, with two or more nations within them (examples?)
• Nationalism: Psychological or emotional attachment to the nation or the state
   – Problems arise when you get multinational or multi-ethnic states which do not have the
     loyalty of some of the nations or ethnic groups.
                     Formation of Nation-States since 1776
                                                          Politics
• Aristotle
   – POLIC – the fundamental decision making unit.
   – Politics –the way decisions are made in the community.
• Politics is the process by which communities pursue collective goals and deal
  with their conflicts authoritatively by means of government
• Politics (as noted by Aristotle) is supremely human and social, and can only exist
  as one facet of society
                                           Studies of Politics
                           Politics as Formal Structure:
                               Traditional Approach
• The classic distinction that is made is between democracy and authoritarianism
• Research on democracy focuses on
   – Legislature
   – Executive
   – Judiciary
   – Parties and party systems
   – Electoral systems
                                     The Problem is…
• Democracy can take many forms, and is in many ways a contested concept
• Equally so, there are many different forms of authoritarian regimes
• Moreover, even in democracies,
   –   Legislatures don’t make law
   –   Executives taking over legislative function
   –   Judiciary: Unfashionable for political science
   –   Parties becoming less structured
   –   Elections: Marketing events
   –   Media: About entertainment, not discussion
                         The Limits of the Traditional Approach
• There are many “departments of political science”, not “departments of
  government”
• What , in this context, is politics?
• Harold Lasswell, 1936: “Politics is who gets what, when, and how”, but “why”
  is also of interest
• Easton: Politics is “the authoritative allocation of values”
   – Values here in both the ideological and economic senses
                      Easton’s Model of Political System
                                       Political System
• System
   – Interdependent parts & boundaries
• Political system
   – Set of institutions and agencies
        • Government
        • Political organizations (parties, interest groups)
   – Formulate and implement collective goals of a society or of groups within it
                    Components of Political System
• Environment
   – Geography, society, economy, culture, international factors
• Inputs
   – Types: support & demands
   – Channels: interest groups and parties
• Decision making
   – Institutions & leaders of the state
• Outputs
   – Public policy
   – Political changes
• Feedback: Output—input
                            The Case of the United States
                              Structure of the Class
•    Part I: Introduction
        –   Introduction to Comparative Politics
        –   Video show: Manufacturing Consent, Part I
        –   Classification and Comparison
•    Part II: Nation-States (Environment)
        –   Nation-States: Geography, Society, Economy & Globalization
        –   Political Ideologies: Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism
•    Part III: Citizens and Interest Mediation (Input)
        –   Citizen Attitudes and Political Behavior
        –   Pressure Groups and Political Parties
•    Part IV: The Polity: Structures and Institutions (Decision-making)
        –   Executives and Legislatures
        –   Multi-level Government: National and Sub-national
        –   Implementation: the Bureaucracy
•    Part V: Political Changes (Output)
        –   Social Movement & Revolution
        –   Democratic Transition
        –   Conclusion

                     Studies of Comparative Politics
                     Defining Comparative Politics
• “The analytical study of world’s political systems”
• The mission is to compare and contrast the institutions and processes of
  government (governance)
    – To identity and explain similarities
    – To identify and explain differences
    – To explain similarities and differences
Why Study Politics Comparatively?
• Alexis de Tocqueville
• Democracy in America
• “Although I very rarely spoke of France in my book, I did not write one page of it without
  having her, so to speak, before my eyes”
• “Without comparisons to make, the mind does not know how to proceed”
                Why Study Politics Comparatively?
• Comparison is fundamental to all human thought
• Comparison is the methodological core of scientific study of politics
    –   Compare the past and present
    –   Compare experiences of various nations
    –   Develop explanations (hypotheses)
    –   Test theories
                             Why Study Politics Comparatively?
• To avoid ethnocentrism
• To place seemingly random or idiosyncratic events into broader
  perspective
• To develop concepts, hypotheses, and theories
• To develop good foreign policy
• It is fun…
                      What do We Study in Comparative Politics?
• Study of politics within countries
• Emphasis on politics “as they are,” not as they “should be”
• Implicit and explicit emphasis on comparing and contrasting politics
  within and between countries, regions & eras
                      Themes in Comparative Politics
                      Themes in Comparative Politics
•   Sources of public authority and political power
•   Relationships between social groups
•   Relationships between citizens and the state
•   Political institutions and frameworks
•   Political changes
                      Public Authority and Power
• What are the different constitutional, ideological, and social bases of political
  legitimacy?
    – Great Britain
    – Iraq
    – Nigeria
• How have the governments of these nations secured legitimacy in the eyes of their
  citizens?
• What role does economic development and political culture play in their politics?
                      Relationship between Social Groups
• Society divides into ethnic and religious groups and linguistic communities.
• How do these divisions affect politics?
   – India
   – Nigeria
   – Russia
• Why do some communities get along well and others try to kill each other?
• Why do some ethnic conflicts become genocidal?
                  Relationships between Citizens and States
• Society divides into social and economic classes
• What are the variety of roles played by citizens in different types of states?
• How kinds of institutions mediate between state and social classes?
   – Liberal systems rely upon autonomous organizations (USA, Great Britain)
   – In corporatist systems, these institutions could be more closely aligned with the state.
• Other forms of interactions
   – Voting, protest, litigation, campaign activities?
• How do political systems affect which interests in society are best represented in the formation
  of public policy?
                         Political Institutions and Frameworks
• What are the functions of governmental institutions in different countries?
   – Why are some states able to coerce their subjects effectively and others not?
   – Why are some polities able to control the actions of those who exercise political power and
     others not?
   – Which performs better, presidential or parliamentary system?
   – Why do some governments work more efficiently than others?
                                      Political Change
• What are the sources, scope and consequences of political change in different
  countries?
• What are the causes of social revolution?
   – French, Mexican, Russian, Chinese Revolutions?
• What were the causes and results of the recent wave of democratization?
• Political and economic integration or disintegration among and within countries
  (USSR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia)?
 Precautions in Conducting Comparative Studies
                                •       Where is the “Middle East”?
Are places “fixed” in space and time?
                                2. What is “Normal”?
• Who (if anyone) is exploited here?
  3. Some actors are more powerful than others (the playing
                      field is not even)
 4. What are your assumptions about politics, and how often do you question
                                         them?
• What is the best form of government?
• If a company has the opportunity to improve its efficiency through better
  technology, should it do it, even if it means laying off workers?
• Discourses & their hegemony
   – Democracy
   – Free market
   – Efficiency
    – Individuality
• Are there any alternatives out there?
                               5. Western Civilization?
                              The Black Athena Debate
• Ancient Greece, and hence Western civilization, derived much of its cultural roots
  from Afroasiatic (Egyptian and Phoenician) cultures.
     6. Is the most visible part of the political performance really the most
                                  important part?
                                   7. Uncertainty of Truth:
                           Which part of the picture are you seeing?
                                   Class in Next Week
• Video show: “Manufacturing Consent,” Part I “Thought Control in a Democratic Society”
• “When you can't control people by force, you have to control what people think, and the standard way to do this is
  via propaganda (manufacture of consent, creation of necessary illusions), marginalizing the general public or
  reducing them to apathy of some fashion. — Noam Chomsky

                               How do We Compare?
• Description and classification of political phenomena
   – Conceptual framework
• Explanation of political phenomena
   – Causal relationship
   – Test theories:
      • Large numbers (large “n”): statistical studies
      • Small numbers (small “n”): case studies
• Prediction of political phenomena
                          Class website and resources:
                              http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/gpa/wang.htm

								
To top