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POLS 110 Study Guide - Final Guide: Heredity, Legal Fiction, Comparative Politics

Political Studies
Course Code
POLS 110
Oded Haklai
Study Guide

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What are the two subfields of Comparative Politics and International Relations? How are they studied?
What is Politics?
- Lasell: Who gets hat, he, ad ho. ephasis o distiutio of esoues
- Easto: The authoatie alloatio of alues fo a soiety
- Hague, Hasop, Besli: the poess y hih goups ake olletie deisios
Comparative Politics
- A means of studying politics though comparisons
- Addressing important empirical questions about political life within polities/ politics systems
- Distinct from political theory, which deals with normative theoretical questions (what ought to
- Explaining political phenomenon, such as ethnic conflict, political violence, social movements,
regime types, elections, etc.
- Learning about individual cases and explanatory theory-building
o i.e. Arab Spring upheaval led to different outcomes in different places like Tunisia
democracy, but Egypt did not transform successfully, having a similar regime. Lybia
Comparative Methods
1) Comparing across countries, regions, time periods to reveal similarities and differences
2) Qualitative comparisons (small or single case) e.g. how does having a written constitution
influence politics -> UK vs Canada
3) Quantitative, statistical analysis (large number) e.g. voting behaviour influenced by gender
(comparing a sample of male and female voters)
4) Deductive (begins with theory) vs Inductive (starts with empirics)
Week 1 Reading: Samuels, Comparative Politics
The Foundations of Comparative Politics
- Aristotle fist opaatie politis sietist he asked hat sot of ostitutio est
oies politial staility ad good goeet? – challenged his students to compare
countries in the known world was convinces that the only way to answer the question was
through empirical evidence from the real world
- Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau all asked whether a rational or secular basis for govt existed
independently of arguments for monarchy rooted in divine right (ENL)
- What is the state, ad hee does it oe fo? Ho a liits e iposed o got
authoity to potet idiidual liety? What is the elatioship etee eligious idetity ad
- Marx and Weber considered the political impact of the shift from rural, agrarian societies to
urban, industrial societies. -> Ho a goeets poote eooi deelopet? Why
do soe gots edistiute ealth oe tha othes?
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- Then new questions about the sources and consequences of nationalism and forms of political
ideology such as fascism and communism
- What diffeetiates deoay fo o-deoay? hat auses peaeful politial
mobilization- ad hat auses politial iolee? Why does deoay soeties ollapse
into non-deoay?
- By 1980s and 1990s, dozens of formerly non-democratic countries had adopted democracy ->
Why do soe o-deoati ules eliuish thei hold o poe? The “oiet Uio
collapsed, ending the Cold War and generating optimism that, for the first time, the whole word
might become democratic.
- Ca deoay suie i so ay diffeet ultues?
- More recently questions related to the expanding role of women in politics, growing
influence of religion, impact of globalization
- This is where we find comparative politics today asking a series of important questions about
how politics works, and offering a method to help you make sense of the often-confusing and
rapid political change going on around the world
- At its essence, comparative politics is an argument for the existence of patterns
The Comparative Method
- Inspired by real world events, the worst sorts of argument in CP are based on opinions rooted in
- One cannot assume that if something happens in one place it is bound to happen in other places
- Asking Questions
o Countries that share attributes but experience different political outcomes are puzzling
because we expect countries with the same features to undergo similar experiences
o Explore not just whether democracy has emerged in other similar places at the same
time, but also whether it has emerged in different places at the same time
o A comparatist will approach questions about specific political events or dynamics such
as deoatizatio i “ Koea ad iil a i Cote d’Ioie – by putting those events in
pespetie of hat’s happeed o ot elsehee – interested in why we see political
outcomes in some similar places and times, but not in other comparable places and
- Formulating Hypotheses
o Hypothesis is an argument that links cause to effect
o Search for patterns of attributes and outcomes their presence or absence across
Asking Questions in Comparative Politics
1. Look for cases that have similar attributes, but different outcomes
2. Look for cases that have different attributed, but similar outcomes
o Hypotheses have 2 important characteristics: they are causable, and they are testable
o They posit causal relationships between attributes and outcomes suggest a
relationship between Islam (cause) and democracy (effect)
o World might falsify the hypotheses helps us narrow down potential explanations for
political outcomes
Week 1 Reading: Roskin et al. Political Science: An Introduction
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