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Is there “Truth” in Political Science? How do we know what we know? Revisiting Huntington and Fukuyama

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Political Science

POL101 April 4 , 2011 Is there “Truth” in Political Science? How do we know what we know? Revisiting Huntington and Fukuyama Format: choose 2 of 3 essay questions, 20 multiple-choice questions (lectures & readings) Big Themes of the Class: What is liberty? Concepts • Is the world moving towards greater freedom & democracy, or a clash of civilizations? • Benjamin Constant ancient liberty (freedom from domination of foreigners, collective freedom) modern liberty (individual concept, rights-based order) • What happens when you have a political order designed to preserve these rights? Liberalism and its Challengers • Communism, Fascism • Fundamental problems of the liberal democratic order • Cuban Missile Crisis, Power-transition theory, rise of China explicate different theories of international relations (Liberalism, Constructionism why is it that states relate to each other in the ways in which they do) What explains the relations between states: Theories and Cases Why do some countries become more powerful and what is the impact of that? The Rich and the Poor • Why do some stay poor, while others become rich? Nationalism, Conflict, and Genocide Governance Beyond the State We need theories, that’s why we believe conspiracies What I like about Political Science: • We ask big questions: wealth or poverty, democracy or dictatorship, life or death • Huntington: Civilizations have bloody borders • Earlier conflicts were about ideology and territory, now they are entering phase of conflict over big cultural systems • I wanted to know more about this…and entered a hall of mirrors (are civilizations destined to clash? Sub-Question: Prelude to the Holocaust • What are the conditions under which neighbours may scare or riot against their neighbours of ethnic groups? • Poland June and July 1941: Jedwabne • “Pogroms” (massacre) actually happened in about 300 places • Poland only about 2/3 Polish • Poles, Ukrainians, Romanians, Lithuanians massacred, robbed, raped their Jewish neighbours • We live in a multicultural society: want to know the conditions under which civilizations clash Use the Tools of Social Science…but we always operationalize our concepts imperfectly Dependent Variable: • What happened? How do we know…testimonials – biases, it happened so long ago, perpetrators don’t talk. (And had to learn Polish: lesson – learn languages now!) Independent Variables: • Who lived in each village: census (what is a “Pole”, a “Ukrainian” or a “Jew”) • What were the people like? Elections – an imperfect indicator • Two pieces of information: how much can we know? Why were some towns more toxic than others? “Only” happens in 300 out of 3000 towns. So “clash” is not universal Hypotheses: • War (but how can that be…it was everywhere) • Previous Soviet occupation & Communism (same problem…it was everywhere) • Nationalism (anti-Semitism) • Other forms of polarization ( maybe where the Jews & the locals simply voted for the same political parties, there was a bare minimum of solidarity) Polish Village data: • Either had a massacre or did not, massacres occurred where there many Jews • More likely to have a massacre where there were predominantly Poles & Jews • Coup d’Øtat in 1926 by a right wing dictator, was not a racist (less massacres where vote for Pilsudski was 3 times higher, where massacres occurred the vote for Jewish parties was 22% not because more Jews lived there, it was because there was higher support of Jewish parties in where Pogroms occurred) • Where the Communist vote was strongest there were no massacres (argue for the workers of the world to unite, they are cosmopolitan, non-nationalist group) • Absence of the bare minimum of solidarity So what does this mean for civilizations? • Not completely sure: always need entomological modesty in the social sciences. Still… • Limits to multiculturalism? I don’t know. • “Assimilation” has a bad reputation but perhaps some softer form of the phenomenon is important in preventing the clash of civilizations • Political assimilation On the other hand… Bringing in Fukuyama (2
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