POL326Y1 Lecture Notes - David Easton, Comparative Politics, Hegemony

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14 Apr 2014
Lecture May 13/2013
o6 terms, explain 4
oAnswer 1 of 2 (midterm)
oAnswer 2 of 3 (final)
oBroad themes
Explain/demonstrate understanding
Understanding of larger concepts
Demonstrate big picture concepts
Introduction to US Foreign Policy:
American foreign policy has had a crucial impact on the nature of Latin America
oAs well as other regions of the world
oWestern Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, etc.
US emerged as global hegemon
oImpact of US foreign policy on the globe has only increased
oWhat shapes US foreign policy is crucial to understanding international
politics as a whole
Theoretical Aspects of POL326Y
US foreign policy bridges two subdivisions in political science
oThese two subdivisions have to extremely different approaches to
understanding foreign policy
oThere is no dominant paradigm
Competing paradigms ask contending questions
oDavid Easton
What is politics?
Politics = allocation
Allocation= who gets what, when and how.
Easton argues that any political society has to deal with that core
That allocation process refers not only to who gets what when and
how in terms of desired goods but rather dis-valued aspects of our
social existence (work, taxes, military service)
Argues that not all allocations that take place within a society are
properly political
Societies can deal with allocation by: tradition, exchange and
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Tradition- the way that most societies prior to modern age dealt with
allocation within their society (feudalism, caste system, etc.)
Determined by birth
Based on consensus (everyone agrees that the social order is
determined by divine right, etc.)
Exchange- a means of allocation in society, most allocation is
determined by the market
What you have or what is allocated to you depends on what
you have to exchange on that market
Skills that are crucial to the market vs. unskilled workers
Wealth that is crucial to the market
Command- neither tradition nor command as means of allocation are
actually political
Tradition rests on consensus
oTherefore not enforced against the will of the
unwilling individual
oExchanges in the market place inherently involve a
relationship with equality
It is not based on force or on coercion
Command, however is.
oPolitics is dependent on those allocations that occur
though command.
Command are only political if they involve a wide context and
is enforceable through the unique method of physical coercion
or violence
oA monopoly of legitimate use of force, coercion and
violence (Weber)
oNever positive attributes of a society
oMuch of this force, etc. is implicate, not explicate
Normally voluntarily done
Most observe laws voluntarily
oThis definition of politics represents the consensus of those that study
comparative politics
oUnderlies the definition offered in the textbook
oPolitics is about different groups of individuals competing in a particular
society to achieve their desired ends
Does not carry much weight in other areas of political science where
other visions have presided
oKarl Schmitt
1920s Germany
“The Concept of Politics”
Tried to deal with the problem that defined politics as the realm of the
state and defined the state of the political entity
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