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What is Comparative Politics?

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What is Comparative Politics? The Conceptual Approach Goals for the Course Defining Comparative Politics The Comparative Method – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What is Comparative Politics?


1
What is Comparative Politics?
  • The Conceptual Approach
  • Goals for the Course
  • Defining Comparative Politics
  • The Comparative Method

2
An Introduction
  • Students will be introduced to the diversity of
    world government and political practices
  • The course focuses on specific countries, but
    students are encouraged to consider international
    forces that affect people and countries all over
    the world
  • Countries well study are chosen to reflect
    regional variations, but to also illustrate the
    different types of political systems advanced
    democracies, communist and post-communist
    countries, newly industrialized countries and
    less developed nations
  • Studying Comparative Politics will help a person
    overcome ethnocentrism
  • Studying Comparative Politics is intellectually
    stimulating
  • Comparative politics is necessary for a proper
    understanding of both international relations and
    foreign policy

3
Goals for the Course
  • Gaining and understanding of major comparative
    political concepts, themes and trends
  • Knowing important facts about government and
    politics in Great Britain, Russia, China, Mexico,
    Iran and Nigeria
  • Identifying patterns of political processes and
    behavior and analyzing their political and
    economic consequences
  • Comparing and contrasting political institutions
    and processes across countries
  • Analyzing and interpreting basic data for
    comparing political systems

4
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5
What is Comparative Politics and Government?
  • Government is the leadership and institutions
    that make policy decisions for a country
  • Politics is about power
  • Who has the power to make decisions?
  • How did they get the power?
  • What domestic and international challenges do
    leaders face?
  • You will study different governments to learn how
    government operates and how power is gained,
    managed, challenged and maintained
  • TED Talk Brussels The Global Power Shift

6
Questions at the Heart of AP Comparative Politics
  • Why are some countries poor and others
    wealthier? 
  • What enables some countries to "make it" in the
    modern world while others remain locked in
    poverty?
  • Why are the poorer countries more inclined to be
    governed autocratically while the richer
    countries are democratic? 
  • What accounts for the regional, cultural, and
    geographic differences that exist?
  • What are the politics of the transition from
    underdevelopment to development and what helps
    stimulate and sustain that process? 
  • What are the internal social and political
    conditions as well as the international
    situations of these various countries that
    explain the similarities as well as the
    differences?
  • What are the patterns that help account for the
    emergence of democratic as distinct from
    Marxist-Leninist political systems? 

7
Topics/Themes of Study
  • College-level courses in comparative politics
    vary, but these themes are studied across
    countries
  • Origins of the State
  • Political Culture
  • Patterns of Participation
  • State Structures
  • Domestic and Foreign Policies
  • Feedback

8
Origins of the State (a.k.a. Relevant History)
  • Statehood/nationalism
  • Imperialism Location Timeline
  • Independence
  • Constitution
  • Modern Times
  • Current Events

9
Political Culture
  • Society Homogeneous/Heterogeneous
  • Cleavages Ethnic/Religious/Economic
  • Participation Suffrage/Rights
  • Expectations Freedom/Oppression
  • Freedoms Tolerance
  • Support Who?, What?

10
Patterns of Participation
  • Political Activities Voting, Protests, Rallies
  • Governmental Involvement Social Services,
    Education
  • Minority Inclusion Dissent
  • Political Parties Single/Multi
  • Interest Groups Associations
  • International Participation NGOs

11
State Structures
  • Political System Constitutional Monarchy,
    Republic, etc.
  • Governmental Type Unitary, Federal
  • Political Spectrum Radical - Reactionary
  • Elections Processes Legitimacy?
  • Decision-making Authority, Balance
  • Political Stability Sources of Public Authority
    and Political Power

12
Public Policy Who does it serve?
  • Domestic Policy
  • Foreign Policy
  • Military Policy
  • Corruption Level
  • Economic Interests

13
Feedback (The Media)
  • Free and Fair Justice
  • Free Press?
  • Information Flow
  • Assembly
  • Military Involvement/Control
  • Outside Pressures

14
Other Considerations
  • The Impact of Informal Politics
  • The Importance of Political Change
  • The Integration of Political and Economic Systems
  • Linkage Institutions
  • Democraticization
  • Globalization

15
Informal Politics
  • Governments have formal positions and structures
    that can be studied and compared
  • UK Prime Minister, House of Commons, House of
    Lords
  • US President, Congress, Senate
  • As a class, well connect civil society to formal
    government for better/deeper understanding
  • Civil Society how citizens organize and define
    themselves and their interests
  • Informal Politics takes into consideration not
    only how politicians govern, but how ordinary
    citizens beliefs, values and actions have on
    decision-making
  • Examples of Informal Politics
  • Susan B. Komen and Planned Parenthood

16
Three Different Groupings
  • Advanced Democracies
  • Well established democratic governments and high
    level of economic development
  • Communist and Post-Communist
  • These countries limit individual freedoms in
    order to divide wealth more equally
  • Communist flourished in the 20th century, but
    have lost ground over past 20 years
  • Less Developed and Newly Industrializing
  • Newly industrializing countries are experiencing
    rapid economic growth w/ tendency towards
    democratization and political stability
  • Less developed countries lack economic
    development, have authoritarian regimes or less
    than stable regimes
  • We will study each individual country, but well
    always be looking how to compare and
    differentiate between all six countries
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