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POL 2104 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Statelessness, Patrimonialism, Thatcherism

Political Science
Course Code
POL 2104
Joshua Zaato
Study Guide

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POL—2104 Midterm Review
The Hobbesian “State of Nature”:
Hobbes argued that without society and the political authority to accompany it,
humans would suffer from the state of nature where life would be “solitary, poor,
nasty, brutish and short”
Therefore politics is an essential element for life itself if man is to escape the state
of nature
Aristotle once said that “the polis exists by nature and man is by nature a being of
the polis” meaning man is a political animal
Politics: Who gets what, when and how?
Harold Lasswell (1936) defines politics as who gets what, when and how?
Meaning politics is about the authoritative allocation of scarce recourses in
society known as public goods and services
Politics and political authority is then used to determine who gets what, when and
Comparative Politics
Defined as “the study and comparison of domestic politics across countries” (O’Neill
The process through which we study the competition and struggle for political power
across countries
It is a branch of political science that seeks to better test our assumptions and theories
by looking at a comprehensive approach outside our own immediate
It is through a process known as Comparative Methods, “a way to make comparisons
across cases and draw conclusions” (3)
Two main approaches to CP
oInductive reasoning which is the means by which we go from studying a case
to generating a hypothesis
oDeductive reasoning which starts with a puzzle and from there generates some
hypothesis about cause and effect which will then be tested against a number
of cases
Why CP?
oIt is more reliable because it allows us to test generalizations about politics in
one set of circumstances against those in a variety of circumstances
oProvides new ways of thinking by highlighting alternatives to what we see and
oHelps us question commonly held assumptions, misconceptions, bias and
attitudes that there is one right way to organize political life
oIt challenges us to be better informed about the world around us and to have a
better appreciation of different cultures, societies and political systems
Challenges of CP

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oIt is difficult to control the variables in the cases that we study because each of
the cases we study are different
oPolitical scientists are hampered by a limited number of cases (i.e. there are
only about 202 countries in the world)
oCP is also hampered by how we access the cases we do not have because each
country is different and unique
oThere are issues of selection bias in CP which concerns how we select our
Introduction to the Modern State
Know how to…
Define what states are and what they compromise
Distinguish a state from a government
Examine the differences between a state, regime and government
Explore the different ways through which states can be compared
Make a distinction between state capacity and autonomy
Defining a State
Marx Weber: A state can be defined as the organization that maintains a monopoly of
violence over a territory
Meaning a state…
oHas the monopoly of force/violence over a given territory
oHas a set of political institutions (i.e. executive, legislature, judiciary,
bureaucracy) to carry out its policies
oTypically very institutionalized
oIs sovereign (i.e. has the ability to carry out actions/policies within a territory
independent from external actors)
Comparing States: Sovereignty
The principle of state sovereignty means that states are autonomous and independent
actors with control, autonomy and recognition
Despite this principle, the politics of many weaker states have been penetrated and
stronger nations have not been immune to external influence
It provides international recognition and guarantees access to international
organizations and finance as well as offers leaders on the international stage
It is also the principle of non-intervention which means that one state does not have
the right to intervene in the affairs of another
Treaty of Westphalia
oA series of peace treaties signed in 1648
oWhat they did was end the Thirty YearsWar (1618—48) in the Holy Roman
Empire as well as the Eighty Year War (1568—1648) between Spain and the
Dutch Republic
oThe treaties initiated a new system of political order in central Europe based

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A sovereign state governed by a sovereign
The principle of non-interference in another nations domestic business
The triumph of sovereignty over empire
oTheir regulations stood as a precursor to later large international treaties and
the development of international law in general
Universal Human Rights
oSovereignty has in recent times clashed with the struggle to establish
international rules that compel leaders to treat their subjects in a certain way
oOver the centuries, human right campaigners have focused on Religious
Tolerance, Minority Rights and Human Rights
oThe need to protect Universal Human Rights sometimes clash with the
‘Principle of Non—Intervention’ that underpins sovereignty
The lack of International Intervention in the Rwanda Genocide of 1994
The NATO intervention in Yugoslavia of 1999
The US intervention in Iraq
The latter has led to the concept of the Responsibility to Protect
oThe expression was first presented in the report of the International
Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2001
oThe commission had been formed in response to Kofi Annans question of
when the international community must intervene for humanitarian purposes
oIts report found that sovereignty gave a state the right to control its affairs and
conferred on the states primary responsibility for protecting the people within
its borders
oIt was proposed that when a state fails to protect its people – either through
lack of ability or willingness – the responsibility shifts to the broader
international community
Supra—National Governments
oAre these institutions such as the UN, EU, NAFTA and AU a threat to national
Binding institutions like Central Bank, courts and Parliament
oDo international financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF pose a
threat to the sovereignty of nations such as Greece, Poland, etc.?
oBy directly and indirectly intervening in domestic affairs of member states,
these supra—national governments and institutions could post a challenge to
national sovereignty
Comparing States Ideologically
Another way to study states is by looking at the dominant ideological disposition of
the state with regards to the role of the state in the economy
Critical question: what role, if any, should the state play in the national economy and
why? – Can examine this with the following ideological dispositions…
The Welfare State
oConcept that stresses the role of government as a provider and protector of
individual security and well—being
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