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Lecture 2

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

Sept 10 , 2012 Levels of Analysis Office hours: Tues& Thursday 2-4pm Leacock 538…. Program advising Open to bribery He will post an outline of the notes—download and organizing your lecture notes versus what you’ve written and what he thinks is important. Clarification of last lecture: Differences between independent and dependent variables…immediate conditions Causes of war: Dependent variable is war Independent variable: international system, structure, basically the distribution of power, economic relations, in the textbook it talks about in the 17 and 18 centuries mercantilism—accumulation of wealth to fund the military. Kings hired mercenaries …paper currency was rarely found. Accumulation gold +silver. Zero Sums. If I have control of the mines, you don’t. Colonialism+ fuel—imperial period. Mercantilism vs capitalism Economic relations during certain periods can be an independent variable. Theories that we’re looking at…. often what counts for one perspective might be an intervening variable or a dependent variable=depends on theory we’re putting to play. What’s important as a foundational assumption? What the basic assumptions are? –These will determine the variables. What might be a dependent variable for one thing may be an independent variable for something else. Ideology—think about the cold war US vs Soviet Union…clash of economic systems and ideas. Liberalism vs. Marxism Previous history, long standing grievances can still be independent variable. Intervening variables: geography—luxury of abstaining from war (because of geo) shapes outbreak of war, territorial disputes, political leaders—counterfactual that arises had Hitler not been the chancellor, and Churchill wasn’t the prime minister… but Stalin wasn’t the leader of the USSR?, Regime type—democracies don’t fight war against each other, monarchies might be the same way. Regime type can often be taken as an independent variable as well. From the case of WW2 why would Hitler not be an independent variable? Studies show that as a result of the peace that arose from WW1, longstanding grievances and hostilities, rivalries and economic depression—these things had more causal influences than Hitler. This has been debated… Can leaders be sorted as independent variables rather than intervening? The role of the office trumps the individual predilections and based on the role within the American system—controversy in this case, the independent variable is the office of President. Shapes the person’s President—doesn’t determine it. Conditions that can shape variables: Things get tricky because its not always clear From the permissive perspective to immediate.. gurwen kopler? Permissive condition= Iran Clear and present danger to international peace and security Immediate condition= Three of them: 1. Indicates Iran’s complicity in Syria’s atrocities. 2. Iran’s complicity on assaults on diplomats in other parts of the world. 3. Intimidation of Canadian-Iranian citizens living in Canada. (Harassed and arrested when they go home to visit) Why did Canada kick out the diplomats in Toronto? Reasons why: How does it compare and contrast with what he just said. Different types of theories. They highlight different aspects and explainable power… things that we might be interested in or bad analogy: car wreck = someone who’s standing on a street corner watching a car wreck. In terms of understand of what they see… in many ways these conditions provide different perspectives. Dependent variable: severance of diplomatic ties between these nations Dispute between Iran & Canada Editorial that showed up in the newspaper and applies to the permissive and immediate conditions—to make it clear and apply this and how to think about it. Another complimentary way of explaining international relations is levels of analysis: Three basic levels: Level of the individual Level of the State (unit level/domestic of analysis) Level of Structural analysis What’s compelling of one level is explained in the structure of the level. The temptation is to relate all three levels…Sometimes people can pull it off but most likely NOT. The different levels of analysis are incompatible. One level – other… you have to be able to articulate the link between them carefully. Allows us to simplify our studies and better prepare arguments. Level of the individual Highlighting attributes characteristics of individuals There are many different ways of unpacking and explaining individual behavior. 1. Unpack some conception of human nature 2. Essentialist approach…defines us as human beings 3. Traditionally … sinners medieval tradition, fallen and sinful 4. As time goes on, re-cast 5. Self-interested—more concerned with personal pursuits than others. Whether we’re sinful or self-interested…we pursue power. We want what we want. When you read Hans Morgenthau—classical realism. It will make arguments on human nature. Self-interested and pursue power as a result. Another argument along these lines is in the Tickner reading—not just one human nature, there might be a couple. The argument is international politics is defined by men and only reflect interest of Men. Pursuit of power and authority of domination reflects male traits… Defining international relations that reflect quality of women. Gives example of this in international women’s conference in Halifax. Rather than competition for power –peace defined as absence of conflict, war. Questions of social justice—farrance. The differences between these things and different theorists. Articulation of the individual Tickner’s argument is a constructivists approach. Issue of misperception: individual and perceptions of things determines how they behave. Idea Is that individuals, humanity, similar cognitive processes…Determine how we perceive the world. Perceptions that are correct vs. incorrect perceptions are explained when war breaks out or there is peace. Rationalist behavior… individuals have preferences and pursuit of power. Cooperation to get what we want. Final way of explaining individual behavior: RISK. Concept of risk, risk-acceptant. We like to do risky things or we don’t. These assumptions can determine the behavior that they engage in. ‘ Strengths of this model: Very easy to articulate the conception of politics in individuals. Look through newspaper and what do they talk about? Statesmen, politics Problems of the individual level of analysis: Individuals all share the same characteristics…. We’re defined this way. Problem is this does not have explanatory power. Problems articulating causal…. Taken to be constant. They can’t explain change. If we all have the same cognitive processes…risk acceptant or sinful or self-absorbed, this can explain one type of behavior---maybe war but not peace. Static, holds all conditions. Causal evidence is less. We want to point it to other things. Why are they risk-acceptant now? X, Y, Z These are easy arguments to make… these are seen frequently. State/unit level analysis: The state from perspective of political science is described or defined as a unit that has a monopoly of coercive force over a specific territory. Only legitimate for the government to use violence. Along these lines are several different explanations… Classic typology: democratic vs. authoritarian states Unit Level of analysis Bureaucratic politics referring to nature of actors within the institutions of the state (president as executive-commander in chief) determines responsibilities. Department of foreign affairs-tasked with a certain function… determines how they behave… same for military Domestic Politics: Basically this refers to competition for office How different parties define themselves and foreign agenda…taking shape of foreign policy. There is a big difference between the democrats and the republicans. Economic differences—septoral (industry vs. agriculture) and factorial (of production) differences.. What goes into producing something? Distinguishing between producers…industrial, commercial or agricultural Diversity of actors…what are they actually producing? Hog farmers in North Carolina are not going to have the same interest as Corn farmers… Discrimination between factors of production Revolutionary states vs. status quo regime Do they want to change the status quo or do they want to maintain it?? EX. WW2—Nazi Germany was revolutionary France—status quo didn’t want anything to change Strengths of domestic/states: can explain variation and foreign policy at the international level by looking at the actors at the domestic level. What interest they represent?? That said…one problem with this level of analysis Despite fact it can explain variation… it struggles with consistency of behavior. Why things stay the same. Why does it seem like democracies act same way as monarchies of the 19 th century? Historically…. States act the same way regardless of actors at domestic level Iran and US aren’t acting that different. They’re both pursuing same thing… real- politik. We have to go to the system level: Structural level: SOME RANDOM GIRLS NOTES: LEVEL OF ANALYSIS 1) Individuals or Domestic level Subnational actors with different interests – politicians, bureaucrats, business and labour groups, voters – interact within domestic institutions to determine the country’s foreign policy choice. Highlights attributes and characteristics on individuals: much different ways of unpacking these characteristics, different approach:
Articulate or unpack some conceptions of human nature; some distinctive traits to define us as a specie, as human beings. Traditionally, we are spiritual, self-interested - lust for power as a result. Tickner (p. 89) said that there is several human natures.
Politics => made by man => illustrate the various ways of human’s interests. All the political system is based on war, competition and self-interested.
Problem with individual/domestic level of analysis: Individuals all share the same characteristics => doesn’t have causal effect => it can’t explain change. It sure can explain one type of behaviour, maybe war, but not peace; it is static.
 2) State or Unit level The state is described as the unit who has a monopoly on corrosive forces on a specific territory. 
Democratic VS authoritarian states: In term of bureaucratic politics, the nature of actors within the institutions of state is an explanation to international behaviour. Problem: it can’t explain variations. Constancy of behaviour. 3) International and Transnational level Groups whose members span borders – such as multinational corporations, transnational advocacy networks, terrorist organizations- pursue interests by trying to influence both domestic and international politics. The representatives of states with different interests interact with one another, sometimes in the context of international institutions such as the UN or the WTO (World Trade Organization). So far: Theory: a logically consistent set of statements that explains a phenomenon of interest. Institutions: a set of rules, known and shared by the community, that structure political interactions in particular ways. The three levels of analysis: The variety of actors and institutions that play a role in the world politics means that we will see important interactions at three levels: At the international level, the representatives of states with different interests interact with one another, sometimes in the context of international institutions such as the UN or WTO. At the domestic level, subnational actors with different interests—politicians, bureaucrats, business and labor groups, voters—interact within domestic institutions to determine the country’s foreign policy choices. At the transnational level, groups whose members span borders—such as multinational corporations, transnational advocacy networks, terrorist organizations—pursue interests by trying to influence both domestic and international politics. These levels are interconnected Sept 12, 2012 Rules of Analysis Several different ways of speaking at the individual level.. Human nature. Man is sinful. man is selfish. Cognitive processes= perception Rationality? Preferences that actors hold? Risky or risk-acceptant Domestic level of analysis Bureaucratic actors Domestic politics Regarding third system level: pinpoint and specify Structures are hard to render concrete Social interaction between units. What the units can vary. There are a variety of different systems. System is defined as a set of interacting units. In terms of economics = it’s a market. Firms, consumers, bureaucratic actors. Within social systems, (social interactions between units) Examples: high school is a social system as can university. Couple different actors to point to.. HS you have students might be the unit of interaction, the teachers might be some type of unit of analysis Think about how those actors differ at the university level. Students—at university getting rid of Parents. (The absence of authority—which means our behavior and interests WILL be different. The behavior we exhibit after school in HS is different to now) Teachers also behave differently. No professional pressures like the university professors face. Publish vs press Systems are often defined by the type of unit and how they interact. If we’re looking at politics, actors will be much different….can be taken as agent at the system level. Parties, economic interests, regime types, all these things can in some sense be looked at in terms of their structural relations. Once you’ve defined the unit, then you can start to unpack the interest of the unit. What are the units goals? What is its purpose? What is it after? Consequences? How do they shape one another? Understood in terms of constraints—things the actors can/can’t do. Example #1: International politics, the system… one of the units would be the State. The international level—state behavior. Goals that they pursue. Are they always able to get what they want? States always have interests that they want to pursue….WHY NOT? Because they face international constraints (that come from the action of other actors. #2 US goes into Iraq to establish democracy…. They were OFF but a lot. Why not? The UN didn’t approve it. Consists of other state governments. They opposed it… In terms of military planning—they didn’t plan properly for other domestic actors. They got a plan, put it into action, Al-Queada they aren’t on board with it and they send in foreign fighters… groups of actors trying to oppose and intervene with the US. The insurgencies (domestic level actors within Iraq) (Internal considerations as well… there is opposition within the US about Iraq) This isn’t systemic level consequences. Domestic-level actors can have an impact… not the system level though. Is a state a system? It can be. High school is a closed system. It’s not international or domestic. Strengths of explanation:  Explains patterns of behavior that occurs over time. States always fight. Sparta vs. Athens, Germany vs. France…etc., All of these have a systemic characteristic to them. Re-occuring pattern o Parsimonious and provide streamline explanations of things. That said, if they have weakness, systemic level explanations are very weak at explaining change. Might be able to explain why there was a cold war competition, and why Athens vs Sparta (might be able to use a system level of analysis to figure it out but can barely permit us to know who’s going to pull it off… who’s going to win the cold war? ..etc., Weaknesses in class: many structural accounts will begin with unit of analysis is the nation-state, the state itself. Blackbox what goes on within a state. Socialist or catalyst? This isn’t a mistake, obviously. States are important, and what goes on in them is equally important. Doesn’t matter if Obama or Bush is in office—but it does. International institutions that are obviously important but they are not states in the way we think of Canada, Russia, etc. System level of analysis can distract away from something that may have great importance. System level of analysis is international…. And the state can be a system. They are defined by the interaction of the units. Important component. We’re interested in the states collectively—this is what generates the international system. Unit is state. Are the systems constraints defined by the interest of the unit? System is reflection of actions of the states, yes it does play into the constraints. Interest of shaping of the constraints. Canada’s role in the world in terms of levels of analysis: Individual level: prime minister Harper Why does it matter and HOW does it matter who the prime minister is? What kind of power does it provide for Canada’s state behavior? What might be the importance of Canada’s parliamentary system in the world? What is the significance of
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