Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Comparative Politics, Totalitarianism

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Politics 1020E
The State: What is it Good For?
organizational approach is what most political scientists rely on
wars in the last 500 years revealed the inadequacies of feudal societal systems, and
replaced them with what we now call states (and its institutions)
State Dualism: Two ‘Faces’ of the State
the state is distinguished from internal society, for which it provides rules and stability
the state is distinguished from the international sphere, in which it competes with other
states, in the absence of stability
from inside, it provides order
from outside, it competes between states without any overarching rules
Comparative Politics and International Relations
Comparative politics: states as units of analysis:
compares units
studies politics under state-provided stability
International relations: states within state system:
begins with concept of anarchy
examines state interactions in absence of rules and enforcements
has explored surprising sources of order (e.g. IR scholars recognizing that states are
more cooperative to serve the interests of other states than before)
Connected in many ways:
war drove state formation and continues to do so
globalization has arguably weakened states (i.e. increasing restrictions between states)
state failure: civil/international wars and even the emergence of both combined
Rise and Declines of the State?
Growing responsibilities in modern era:
managing complex economies
has assumed many more responsibilities than ever before
increasing taxation to provide more public services
controlling flows across borders (e.g. immigration, trade)
defining and defending rights
sustaining social welfare
Global extension: it’s a world of states:
UN establishing universal relations between states (that are legitimate in the eyes of the
decolonization resulted in the splitting of many states
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