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Political Science
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

Jan 14 th Institutionalist Approaches - Institutions enable and constrain actions by affecting strategic calculations of actors and relect/sustain norms (i.e. electoral system in Canada encourages strategic voting) - Importance of path dependency and critical junctions: political and institutional choices at T1 will create and foreclose political policy options at Tx, emphasizes inevitability and entrenchment of insitutional pathways in that once you start down a path, it becomes hard to get off of it - Critical junctions as the points when institutions come together (i.e. Tunisia is now in the process of writing a constitution) Rational Choice Approaches - Politics can be analyzed through the lens of rational, utility-maximizing people - Collective behaviour is a function of many micro devisions - Importance of having information to make informed cost-benefit analyses (i.e. in Egypt, the info pre-Tunisia was that everyone liked the regime and that resistance was futile and demonstrating was too dangerous, but after they gained different info the mass population had different opinions) - Would have trouble explaining the emergence of protest - May or may not involve formal modelling - Problem is that it has trouble assessing the rationality in terms of non-material factors, and has an operational problem with defining rationality Political Culture Approaches - Politics is shaped by deeply held cultural views concerning group identities, legitimacy, and pluralism - Problem is that cultural attitudes and beliefs change, they are not static (i.e. Quebec pre- Quiet Revolution was massively religious, impoverished and conservative, now is the most secular and progressive on many issues) Contrasting Approaches Approach Problem (dependent) Focus (Independent) Development/Modernization stability Demands institutions Underdevelopment/Dependency Dependency/underdevelopment Class structure, trade, finance, investment Institutionalist Strategic choices Institutions as enabling or constraining Rational Choice Individual/collective behaviour Cos
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