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Political Science
POLS 3560
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The Global South: Politics, Policy & Development POLS 3560 – Fall/Winter 2011/2012 – Ananya Mukherjee-Reed Lecture 3 – Towards a Framework for Analysis: Mainstream versus Critical Theory – Oct 4 Theoretical Framework - ‘A framework is a system of ideas or conceptual structures that help us see the social world, understand it, explain it, and change it. A framework guides our thinking, research, and action. It provides us with a systematic way of examining social issues and providing recommendations for change.’ - ‘A framework consists of basic assumptions about the nature of the social world and how it works and about the nature of people and how they act. For example, some people assume that society is basically harmonious and that harmony results from a set of shared values. Others assume that society is in conflict and that conflict is rooted in class, race and gender struggles over power and access to and control over resources.’ Why are there so many frameworks? - Historical change (relationship between theory and history). - Differences in social context. - Different lived experiences. - Different agendas of change, different problems. Frameworks: Mainstream and Critical - ‘Problem solving theory takes the world as it finds it, with the prevailing social and power relationships and the institutions into which they are organized, as the given framework for action. The general aim of problem solving is to make these relationships and institutions work smoothly.’ Critical theory - Stands apart from the prevailing order of the world and asks how that order came about. Critical theory does not take institutions and social power relations for granted but calls them into question by concerning itself with their origins and how and whether they might be in the process of changing. Central Concepts - Structures; structure and agency. - State format
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