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Lecture 1

POLI 227 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Path Dependence, Microeconomics, Collective Behavior


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 227
Professor
Rex Brynen
Lecture
1

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APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF 3RD WORLD POLITICS
What is it that most of the developing world have in common ?
colonial rule (not in the same ways, some measured in decades/centuries – some
countries try tor remake political elites at their images – difference from countries to
countries and colonial power to colonial power)
= may have shaped the institutions in place, development promoted,
borders changed
socio economic challenges = lower level of eco development and social
development – high priority for these countries.
= massive variations Brazil and Bangladesh for ex.
weaker state structure: less effective institutions in terms of the ability to
administer, political instability, problems of national integration (with decolonization –
borders of the state created by a colonial power, ethnic tribal tensions that pulled that
country apart like South Sudan’s separation and violence because of pb of national
integration and the building of a national identity), imperative in nation-building,
capable of providing governance over the state
relative lack of power leverage (doesn’t apply to certain countries like China) –
subordinate integration in economy
What is political science ?
- part of political science is descriptive and analytical – it’s about theorizing, trying to
make generalizations about causality – what leads to certain types of behavior, what
are the reasons for cold war?
- not just interested to describe but theorizing (simplification of reality to identify what
is really important
Methodology:
- experimental method: the problem in political science is that experiments
in poli. science are unethical
- statistical method: use statistics to see If there is a correlation between
two things – civil war less likely to occur if peacekeeping presence ? But it
doesn’t tell us about causation (ex: whether the presence of peacekeeper
reduces the likelihood of civil war) and lack of data
- comparative method: qualitative rather than quantitative. Drawing
interpretive conclusions rather than mathematical conclusions

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- single case study: the least generalizable – much more depth about
history, context etc
Comparative politics is about commonality and diversity – look at political systems
that are very similar or look at diversity
Theorical approaches
- modernization or developmental approaches
- dependency or underdevelopment approaches
- institutionalist approach
- rational choice approach
- political culture approach
Developmental approach (stability)
Emphasizes historical process of interrelated social changes – modernization
Expansion of education
Growth in communication and transportation
Economic change, industrialization
Social and cultural change
= continual process of transition - a series of linked change like development of
transports, constitutional protections of rights – modernization = human process
where by political change from monarchy to more and more participatory systems.
PB: a) based on idealized notions how the west developed (civil wars, genocides,
two world wars, population removal)
b) decolonization was followed by political disorder in the history of much of the
developing world – institutions and structures put in time of decolonization being
swept away by alternative governments in power = no smooth political history after
WWII when decolonization occurred.
S. HUNTGINTON: experience of decolonization is often followed by political decay –
regime collapsing into civil wars and authoritarian
Reasons: modernization theory partly right but the other part – as modernization
occurs, expansion of economy and industrialization etc – more and more capabilities
for the state – expressed in the establishment of the constitution. BUT the
modernization leads to social mobilization and breaks down all groups in society and
forms new one – shift from peasants to industrial workers – change of their needs –
modernization creates social changes that creates new demands being placed on
the state (ex: public transportation, health care etc)
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