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POLB91H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Intensify, Juan Velasco Alvarado, Civil Society

Political Science
Course Code
R Rice
Study Guide

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POLB91 Midterm Review
Area Studies
- The detailed examination of politics within a specific geographical setting. (Ie: To study
Latin or North American politics)
- It does not necessarily involve any explicit comparisons
- Three distinct connotations among scholars:
1) It is sometime used to refer to a detailed description of a nation or region that
doesn’t seek to generalize beyond the specific case
2) Can refer to studies that build on a deep contextual knowledge of a specific
society or region to develop understandings that are more general
3) can mean interdisciplinary teaching or research by scholars working on a
particular region of the world
- Though some question the relevancy of area studies in political science and development
studies (they believe them to be too narrow and expensive to conduct research), area
studies remain important because scholars rely on area specific information in order to
produce accurate facts and analysis
Despotic Power:
- Type of state power
- The power to control and suppress society (Global South)
- There are several roots to Despotic Power:
o Colonial past where state borders and institutions were artificially imposed by
colonial rulers
o Strong despotic or forceful power but weak infrastructural or transformative
o Purpose and point of colonial rule was extracting rather than developmental
o The power structure of the colonial state was entrenched by ruling elites after
independence to protect their interests.
Infrastructural Power:
- The power to administrate and transform through policies (Global North)
- The simplest differentiation between Mann's two types of state power is that despotic
power is power over society, while infrastructural power is power through society.
- While infrastructural power involves a cooperative relationship between citizens and
their government, despotic power requires only that an elite class can impose its will
on society.

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- A system in which interest groups become an institutionalized part of the political
structure. Such as agriculture, business, labor, military etc. There are two types.
State Corporatism
- A system in which states use interest group structures to control and dominate citizen
groups and the interest they are allowed to voice
- Here, the State is dominant and Interest groups are consulted only to gain their
- It appears to legitimize the state and it is a form of social control, it is also very
common in the global south
- A way for the state to remake society in a way that it wants
Societal Corporatism
- A system in which all interests are organized according to officially sanctioned
groups and the governments actively involves these groups in policy making
- It is a single peak association that normally represents each societal interest
- Membership in peak associations is often compulsory
- Peak association is centrally organized and directs the action of members and Interest
groups are involved in policy making
- The dispensing of public resources by political power holders or seekers who offer
them as favors in exchange for votes or other forms of public support (informal
- They are also called patron-client networks.
- Pros include:
o Material benefit
o Opportunities
- Cons include:
o Corruption
o Preferential treatment
o Inequality
o Reinforces status quo
- It is a strategy of elite-controlled political participation fostering the status quo
- American politicians have used thanksgiving turkeys and jobs in the past in exchange
for votes (mostly in Urban black communities)
Caudillismo (strong-man rule)

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- The organization of political life by local bosses whose power and influence derives
from personal fortune, family or regional association (informal politics)
- It leads to undermining of the central government’s policies, constrains the
emergence of infrastraucal power and undermining of national economic
The above 3 mechanisms have been instrumental in excluding the majority of the
population from meaningful political participation and the benefits of economic
- A non-legal, non-democratic or violent overthrow of government that introduces
sweeping changes to a country’s political, economic and social systems
- The key idea is fundamental change
- Revolutionary governments are generally more participatory and egalitarian than the
regimes they toppled; they are also frequently Marxist in revolution (not always)
- They are often a third world phenomena led by the peasants.
- Factors in a Successful Revolution:
o The regime in power must lose legitimacy ex: they may lose in a war
o Wide scale dissatisfaction with the regime in power including portions of the
middle class and even the business community
o Military and political capabilities of the revolutionary movement must be
relatively stronger than that of the regime in power
o There must be a core of firmly committed activists willing to risk their lives
for the cause
- Foco Theory:
o Groups of small, fast moving revolutionaries can provide a focus for popular
o These leaders tend to be those from the middle or upper classes. The workers
are the back bone of the operation but they lack the training and education to
be the leader.
o For example, Castro had a law degree and Mao was a librarian
Causes of Revolutions
1) Historical Forces:
o Focuses on changes in the world economic order that make revolution likely
such as the contradictions or exploitations inherent in capitalism.
o Very Marxist approach
o In this sense revolution is inevitable
2) Regime Decay:
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