GVPT 280 Study Guide - Fall 2018, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - Democracy, Weimar Republic, Parliamentary System

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GVPT 280
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
Fall 2018
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GVPT 280 Lecture 1: Syllabus
Start of Semester Reminders
o Find syllabus on ELMS page under “Announcements & Files”
o NOT an intro course, but a survey course
o No discussion August 31st
o No lecture Sept. 3rd or Sept. 10th
o Purchase text by O’Neil
o Readings are assigned for next Wednesday
o Schedule accordingly for the set midterm or final exam dates
Comparative Politics
o Politics is the struggle for power among a group that gives decision-making
authority to at least one person
Lasswell’s definition: “Who gets what, when, and how”
Professor’s definition: “Conflict and compromise among competing
interests”
Another definition: “Efforts to influence the workings of government”
o Comparative politics is the study and comparison of domestic politics across
countries
Domestic politics may include political institutions (e.g. legislatures),
processes (e.g. elections), behaviors (e.g. voting), and outcomes (e.g.
conflicts)
o Study and comparison may also be within a country
How do electoral results vary across states?
How does protest activity differ across metropolitan areas?
Areas of Study
o Also called “regional studies” or “area studies”
Study and comparison across countries within a regional scope (e.g.
Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Global South)
Study and comparison may be narrowed by context (e.g. advanced
industrial democracies)
o May be contrasted with other political science subfields
American Politics the study of American institutions, processes,
behavior, and outcomes
The U.S. may be a case in comparative inquiry but is also a
standalone subfield
International Relations the study of relations between countries
Often overlaps, especially when studying conflict, international
organizations, or foreign policy
Studying Comparative Politics
o Regional focus
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o Approaches
Institutional
Economic
Structural
Marxist
Cultural
o Phenomena
Study and comparison of specific political occurrences, such as
revolutions, civil wars, democratic transitions, or elections
Is Comparative Politics a Science?
o The Comparative Method
Cases are compared and conclusions drawn
Comparing countries or subnational units leads to conclusions and
generalizations that may be valid in other cases
Induction look at cases to draw hypotheses
Deduction formulate hypotheses and test on cases
We can compare similar cases to find patterns or different cases to find
deviations
Ex: compare North Korea to South Korea
o Correlation vs. Causation
Looking for causal relationships helps us predict outcomes, but identifying
correlations is also useful.
Problems in Comparative Research
o Limited numbers of cases
Ex: Revolutions
There are very few cases of revolutions on a global scale
o Multi-causality many variables interact to produce certain outcomes and it is
hard to isolate variables
Many things may cause a given revolution
o Limited access to necessary information
It may be difficult to get data on why a given revolution started, especially
a recent or ongoing one
o Selection bias cases are selected on a nonrandom basis
Only look at revolutions? What about where no revolution occurs?
o Endogeneity a variable may be either cause or an effect
Did repression cause the revolution or did the revolution cause repression?
Questions
o What is comparative politics?
o How is comparative politics studied?
o What are some problems in contemporary comparative research?
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Document Summary

International relations the study of relations between countries: often overlaps, especially when studying conflict, international organizations, or foreign policy, studying comparative politics, regional focus, approaches. Institutional: economic, structural, marxist, cultural, phenomena, study and comparison of specific political occurrences, such as revolutions, civil wars, democratic transitions, or elections. Is comparative politics a science: the comparative method, cases are compared and conclusions drawn, comparing countries or subnational units leads to conclusions and generalizations that may be valid in other cases. The united states is an example: a unitary state has power centralized at the national level. Reminders: discussion sections will be on this week. Check elms for your meeting location: no lecture monday, sept. 10th. Institutions such as electoral insittutions, the seperation of powers, and checks and balances exist to protect rights. It is important to analyze the responsiveness of the government to the preferences of its citizens, which requires certain institutional guarantees: democracies require political freedoms.

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