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 &
Big Themes of the Class:
What is liberty? Concepts
• Is the world moving towards greater freedom & democracy, or a clash of
• 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:
www.notesolution.com • 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
• We live in a multicultural society: want to know the conditions under which
Use the Tools of Social Science…but we always operationalize our concepts
• 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
• 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
• War (but how can that be…it was everywhere)
• Previous Soviet occupation & Communism (same problem…it was everywhere)
www.notesolution.com • 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.
• 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