PS1101E - Midterm definitions

PS1101E - Midterm definitions - A HANDY LIST OF DEFINITIONS...

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A HANDY LIST OF DEFINITIONS (EXCEPT NOT REALLY) Politics is the making of decisions by public means (Deutsch), possibly by some members of a collective for the rest of the group (Shively). However, it can be taken to mean any relationship of power; it does not necessarily have to be public. For instance, the interactions within the hierarchal structure of a company might be considered office politics. Political science is the study of these relationships of power. As a social science, it cannot be divorced from the other subjects in this category. Instead, built as it is on the premise that explanations can be found, it draws on the other subjects to help explain political phenomena. Marx, for instance, drew heavily from Economics in his criticism of capitalism. There exists three schools of thought in political science: (1) The traditional school holds that political thought, constitutional law, and institutions gives rise to an understanding of public affairs. This offers normative descriptions of politics. One instance would be an analysis how Locke's political philosophy has influenced the American constitution. Its critics claim this is too static, and does not provide sufficient explanations concerning the principles underlying political phenomena. (2) The behavioural school is not enamoured of the staticky traditionalists, but prefer to employ empirical methods in understanding and explaining political behaviour; this scientific approach is the only worthwhile one. Such a positivist analysis might involve investigating, for instance, if humans are inclined to interpret a law in a specific way. Behaviouralists been criticised as valuing method over subject matter, resulting in research that is too narrowly-focused. (3) Perhaps – much like its subject of study – the tools used in political science should be multi-faceted. For post-behaviouralism , neither the traditional nor behavioural school of thought can be dismissed. While this avoids pitting them, there is no consensus on how emphasis should be apportioned between the two school. Political science can also be categorised into the following four fields: (1) Comparative politics is concerned with the political structure and arrangement of nations, not necessarily with actual comparison of differing structures. For example, Aristotle studied the constitutions of various Greek city-states, later making distinctions between the different forms of government. (2) Political theory involves more philosophical, normative theories of politics. In Republic, for instance, Plato offered his vision of a political system. Debate about methodology in political science might also be classified under political theory. (3)
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This note was uploaded on 01/11/2010 for the course PS PS1101E taught by Professor Erikmobrand during the Fall '09 term at National University of Singapore.

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PS1101E - Midterm definitions - A HANDY LIST OF DEFINITIONS...

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