POLB81 Chapter 1 Txtbk notes.docx

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Political Science
Wiafe- Amaoko

POLB81 Tuesday February 15, 2011 Chapter 1 notes - Robert Cox says of the makers of history: ‘Their understanding of what the historical context allows them to do, prohibits them from doing, or requires them to do, and the way they formulate their purposes in acting, is a product of theory.’ - In essence, we reflect on the events that occur and from that we can devise a theoretical framework for understanding those events and for examining future events. But once we have constructed a specific theoretical lens for viewing the world, that construct can influence how we respond to future events and how we think about what we are doing. - THUS, theory can be both a constraining and facilitating device. It can be used to limit agency or it can cause agents to act by providing reasons for them to do so. Idealism/Utopianism - Sir Thomas More first introduced this term ‘Utopia’ in his work describing the ideal city-state - utopianism: The ideology that holds that there is a perfect future that people can hope to achieve. - Many western scholars assume that Utopia is unrealizable/unreachable and see those who believe it as hopeless daydreamers. They call Utopian mode of thinking irrational unrealistic and unpragmatic - Is this really so? That a utpian vision of the world would likely clash with conceptions of the world as it is as the moment. But this could create what Max Weber describes as a healthy tension between the existent and the ideal. This striving for a better world – not its actual accomplishment – produces the dynamic force in history.
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