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Chapter 1: Comparative Politics and Political Science  Comparative Politics Chapter 1: Comparative Politics and Political Science aristocracy- rule of the best oligarchy- rule of the few democracy- rule of the people tyranny- rule of the tyrant + Theorists write about different kinds of politics orders and analyze the structure  of ideas to make judgments about them- they do not tell us why we get the kind of  government that we do comparativists tend to suspend their normative evaluation of the world in  favor of describing the political world and explaining why it is the way it is comparative politics is a subfield of international relations, it’s rooted in  ancient greek political theory- Thucydides first attempted to understand the  origins and consequences of the Peloponnesian Wars between the Greek  city-states while international relations focuses on war and international trade,  compartivists focus on the politics within countries, rather than the politics  between them. How Comparativists Practice their Craft: Concepts and Methods Regime Types: + comparativists are most interested in the origins and impact of different kinds of  gov’t or “regime type” democracy- competitive, multiparty elections, freedom of speech and  assembly, and the rule of law are the minimum the most comparativists  require for a country to be classified as a democracy communist- country ruled by a communist party that seeks to transform the  society it rules according to the tenets of Marxist-Leninist ideology real countries never perfectly practice all of the traits of any regime type,  sometimes they violate their own laws or conduct elections that are not  perfectly free and fair Tools of Analysis: Interests, Identities, and Institutions + one school of comparativists maintains that what matters most is material  interests
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people are rational; they organize politically when it serves their interests and  support political regime types that maximize their life chances- maximize  gains and minimize losses- studying the structure of material interests in a  society and how those interests organize themselves to gain power major interests seen in democratic states are usually organized into interest  groups, trade unions, social movements, and political parties  + second school of comparativists maintains that there is no such thing as  “objective” interests outside of some set of values or ideas that defines your interests who you think you are (identity) determines what you really want- must study  the dominant identity of a given society to understand politics
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This note was uploaded on 02/11/2012 for the course POLI 211 taught by Professor Sabetti during the Fall '08 term at McGill.

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