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POLI 244 Study Guide - Final Guide: International Court, Canadian Airspace, Irredentism

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 244
Stephen Saideman
Study Guide

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Syllabus and beginning of Theories 1/29/2012 6:08:00 PM
POLI 244 Lecture 1
To understand WHY things happen in the world.
To clarify the theories we already use to understand IR
To understand how we got here
To introduce political science
Office hours Mon and Wed, 1:30-3 Leacock 324c
What is Political Science?
To develop general understandings: Why? -Theories to help us understand
reality. Recurrent patterns.
Not theories:
-Ideal Types (a concept that we use to describe something but isn’t always
true and can never be completely true, e.g. America could be described as
not a democracy before 1965 because black people couldn’t vote, still was)
-Conspiracy Theories (immune to falsification and facts)
Theories: Casual Relationships (exchange rates, what cause x or y etc.)
Casual Relationship: across contexts, generalized
Under what conditions?
Simplifications (need to simplify the situation to get the most benefit out of
Testable/Falsifiable Hypotheses (e.g. democracies tend not to fight one
another, to understand and deal with the situation.
Co-variance (to link situations together to form a hypothesis)
Timing (cause and effect)
Some theories work better than others in certain situations

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Theory cont. 1/29/2012 6:08:00 PM
The more that you cohesion someone the more likely they are to follow you,
might be counterproductive.
Independent Cause (What can we manipulate/ change that causes an
Dependent Effect (e.g. war, co-operation, peace)
Necessary and Sufficient Conditions (is this condition necessary for this
outcome? E.g. Was NATO’s involvement in Libya necessary or sufficient or
both for the victory of the rebels so far)
Libya: NATO as necessary, but not sufficient, could the rebels have done it
without NATO? Probably not.
Failed state (loss in war, can have a failed state without a loss in war). If the
conditions are necessary and we remove the conditions, get an outcome.
Permissive vs. Efficient Conditions (allow a context to exist but need another
thing to make it happen, e.g. anarchy, absence of government/law.
International Relations without government. No world police force to
prevent war. )
If you leave your door unlocked, permissive condition for a robbery, but not
a sufficient condition because not everyone would steal. The thief that steals
has efficient condition to steal because you left your door unlocked.
The Contenders
Realism (struggle for power and security in a dangerous world)
Liberalism (multiplicity of interests and the pursuit of these interests and the
pattern of these interests)
Constructivism (reality is a social construction, deals with interactions
among us, have obligations because of our roles, some role do not exist
outside others)
Domestic Sources of Foreign Policy (competition for votes within countries)
Evaluating Theories: Standards
Degree of Fit Does the Theory explain and fit reality?
Parsimony Explain a lot with a little, prefer simple things
-Occam’s Razor

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Range of Theory How much behaviour does it cover? (One that covers
more is more dependable and make it a better theory)
Fruitfulness Does it generate new questions, new research?
How do we know what we know?
Quantitative Methods (Statistics)
-Multivariate: Holding all else constant
Case Studies
-Thinking Comparatively
-Depends on the Theory
-Most Similar (What is Canada’s left knee?)
-Most Different
Take two things that are very similar but find the differences. To see what is
really going on? E.g. countries that the US could invade;
Two countries, Iraq and North Korea (dictators, weapons of mass
destruction, history of conflict). Attack Iraq due to oil, China not being on
their same, capabilities of both countries, Al Qaeda, North Korea had the
ability to kill hundreds of S Koreans, Iraq did not have the capability for that.
Differences=oil and ease of attacking
Cold War: USSR, very similar, foreign policy incredibly similar during the
Cold War and US. Both superpowers, behaved in the same way because of
the ultimate power they held over other countries. Incredibly different
Why did NATO choose Libya and not Syria? Very similar comparison.
Countries discriminate and greater privileges, whereas other countries get
targeted. Why Iraq and not Iran?
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