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Study Guide - Introduction Sovereignty the ability of...

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Introduction: - Sovereignty: the ability of states to carry out actions or policies within a territory independently from external actors or internal rivals - Institutions: organizations or activities that are self- perpetuating and valued for their own sake o Play an important role in defining and shaping what is possible and probable in political life by laying out rules, norms, and structures - Politics: the struggle in any group for power that will give one or more persons the ability to make decisions for the larger group o Can be found anywhere - Comparative Politics (subfield): compares the struggle across countries o Helps place our own system in perspective by highlighting alternatives to our own political order and as a result, challenging our common assumption of there being only one way to organize political life - Methods: o Comparative method: a way to make comparisons across cases and draw conclusions Best way to compare is to compare countries that have similar historical, economic, political and social experiences o Quantitative method: one that relies on statistical data from a range of countries Gathering of statistical data across a large number of countries in order to look for
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correlations and test hypotheses about cause and effect; emphasis on breadth over depth o Qualitative method: in depth investigation into one country Mastery of a limited number of cases through the detailed study of their history, language, and culture; emphasis on depth over breadth -----------------Class Lecture Notes----------------- The Comparative Method - Why Compare? o To gain a better understanding of political systems and their efficiency - What to compare? o Units of analysis: what you chose to compare within a country or between countries i.e. how are minorities treated by an individual countries government; trade policies in a country or comparison of multiple countries’ trade policies - Theories/Families of Theories o Structuralism
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Large scale/historical forces determine politics, people have very little influence on major decisions in politics Structures: o State institutions o Marxism: viewed as a structure; everything is determined by class struggle which in turn drives history o Rationalism Most popular theory in politics, derived from economics, individual centered point of view: People are self interested in maximizing their own good and gain; people and politics are the same o Culture We can’t understand a behavior outside of the culture they originated in. - Logic of Empirical Research Design o Explain and Generalize Asks why did it happen? Explanation is the aim of empirical research.
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Generalize: To make theoretical statements that can explain a variety of political outcomes. o Definitions o Variables o Causation and Correlation Correlation: two things appear together i.e. the more fire trucks, the more property damage; more fire trucks go to more fires- where the fire does more damage Causation: Just because two things appear
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