POL208Y5- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 88 pages long!)

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POL208Y5
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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POL208 Lecture 1 - July 4, 2017
P ART l: INTRODUCTION
Theory
theories play an important role in the foundation in the discussion of certain issues
4 things that theory contributes to:
1) theories and the debate between them, helps us understand the “big picture”
and how things relate, or in some cases why they don’t relate
2) understanding what constitutes knowledge and importance/unimportance of
facts
3) helps us understand how international relations relates to other fields in
political science and even other disciplines, comparative politics
4) theories and the debates between them helps us distinguish questions of
merit, what is important to know, and what isn’t?
History of Theory in International Relations
pre-classic literature (Marx etc.) exists however as it is a systematic discipline, it starts
in the West and most accounts occur after WWI
- from people who have witnessed and experienced the deaths of the first WWI
defining characteristics; dominated by scholars talking about the 3 “great debates”
1) Realists vs. Liberals (Idealists)
Liberals: the people who said “after WWI, we have to avoid another global war”
- hoped by studying international relations, they would come up with
answers that would foster peace (international law, effective international
institutions etc.)
Realists: did not agree, and said that the international system is dangerous and
conflict prone
- better off arming yourselves, or joining an alliance
By the 1930’s, Realism came to dominate the scholarly discussion as Idealist ideas
had failed
- both schools of thought were preserved after WWII, debate never resolved
2) Methodological debate between Quantitative (Behaviourialism) vs. Qualitative
(Traditional)
Quantitative: a more scientific way of studying politics
- use objective, unbiased data and formula to look for patterns/relations
- limitation: only works with things you can quantify, count, measure
Traditional: there is more to understand than just things you can count,
law/morality/ethics and they are essential to this discipline
- a lot of important information that is unique to situations, that can only be
understood in it’s own context
- will use data but instead of quantitative data, they refer to it as qualitative data
By the 1950’s, it looked like the quantitative approach was winning and it made it
hard to get employment if you conducted work in any other method
never fully resolved
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POL208 Lecture 1 - July 4, 2017
3) Positivists vs. Post-Positivists
contained two aspects:
- ontology: study of reality, the nature of reality
- epistemology: study of the theory of knowledge
Positivists: believe there is an objective reality out there, reality exists whether you
look at it or not
- real world facts that you can study them with a formula or using traditional
approaches (Qualitative + Quantitative are considered positivists)
- the “scientific method”, something can be studied
Post-Positivists: the biases, prejudices and preconceived notions of the observer
shapes reality
- reality does not exist without the observer
- everything exists in your mind before reality
- ideas are more important than some underlying reality
- the facts seen between Aristotle and Galileo would be different (geo-centric
universe vs. helio-centric universe)
- Postmodernism, Constructivists
debate never resolved
THE WES TPHALIAN S TATE (I)
concept of the state is a large focus in the discipline of politics
Defining the characteristics of the modern state
no single definition
a population living in a defined territory
- it doesn’t matter how big or how small, only that it exists
- there are some “micro-states”; Nauru, Monaco
functioning government of any kind
- you are a “failed state” without a functioning government (Somalia, Pakistan
etc.)
internal and external sovereignty
- internal: usually is rendered that the government has the power to make and
enforce laws or otherwise direct activities of the people in that territory
(parliament for Canada)
- external: not relative to other domestic actors but foreign actors
Max Weber: talked about how only the state has the authority to use violence
within that state on the population, a monopoly on the use of physical violence
- system is underpinned with force
there are things that are considered to be states but lack all these characteristics, and
some that have all these, but are not considered states (Holy See, Somalialand)
Canada did not receive all its sovereignty from the British on July 1, 1867
- Britain went to war, so did Canada without any choice
- Statute of Westminster in 1937 marks independence for Canada
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