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January 13 Lecture Notes.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

January 13, 2012: Approaches to the Study of Third World Politics What does (most/much of) the developing world have in common?  Colonial experience which shaped institutions they have  Socio-economic challenges, including lower levels of industrialization, poorer social conditions, and imperatives of economic growth (and redistribution)  Weaker state structures which cause less effective institutions, political instability, problems of national integration and imperatives of state-building  Lack of (international) power and leverage, as well as subordinate integration in global economy  Political science is analytical, and about theorizing and systematically-related generalizations  What is a theory? A simplification of reality, due to the complexity of reality. Methodology:  Experimental method: is rarely used in political science (generally for social and political psychology).  Statistical method: large number of data points, but there are problems with data and relevance (it doesn’t tell us about causation, and it needs a lot of data that might not be there or reliable for a number of reasons, for example, the opinion of people about the government which is likely inaccurate in authoritarian countries).  Comparative method: is qualitative, compares a small number of cases, and there are interpretive conclusions (not mathematical), it is historical, not statistical. It is less generalizable, and creates problems because small data groups are not necessarily reliable or an accurate reflection.  Single case
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