Study Guide for the comprehensive exam in Comparative Politics by guy25


									                      Study Guide for the comprehensive exam in
                                Comparative Politics
                                       Fall 2004

                                   Morning questions

The exam for majors and minors in Comparative Politics will include a morning session
requiring students to answer one out of two general questions. Majors will also have to
answer two more specific (subfield) questions during an afternoon session of the exam.
The morning session will include two questions chosen from the five below. All five
questions can be covered during the oral examination.

   1) One of the hottest fields in political science, but particularly in comparative
      politics is “social capital”. Why do you think it has appeared now on the horizons
      of political scientists? Who are the main protagonists and what do they argue?
      Why should “social capital” matter? How is the concept of “social capital”
      different from the older concept of “civil society”?

   2) Compared to all other subfields of political science, comparative politics is the
      only one that carries a methodological connotation. What is the method used in
      comparative politics? How much value does it add compared to non-comparative
      approaches? What can be found by employing this method that could not be
      found otherwise? What are the limitations and drawbacks of this method? Who
      were the main founders of this method? Lay out in detail one example that used
      this method to highlight both the merits and demerits of this methodological

   3) What is the “paradigmatic core” of comparative politics? Who would you name as
      the central “founding fathers” of comparative politics and why? What are their
      legacies for today’s comparative politics? Be specific in terms of listing the
      authors, their contributions, and their legacies for today’s issues in comparative

   4) Comparative politics as an “approach” has been increasingly criticized by the
      rational choice approach and by “globalization”. Why? What is their (rational
      choice and globalization) claim and why do their claims pierce the heart of
      comparative politics, or do they? Lay out in detail the critique that emanates from
      these two corners, the logic on which it is built, and provide a detailed assessment
      as to how “realistic” these critiques are.

   5) The field of comparative politics consists of many approaches but few arrivals.
      What are the main approaches. Define each of them and explain their significance
      for the study of comparative politics. Lay out the central claims made by these
      approaches and who made them by revisiting the relevant literature.

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