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Comparative Political Theory

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Title: Comparative Political Theory


1
Comparative Political Theory
2
Benefits of the Comparative Method
  • Can help us make sense of confusing global system
    better understanding of forces that bring
    political change, significance and impact of
    change
  • Can help us understand ourselves better
    understanding of the character, origins,
    strengths weaknesses of our own system

3
Benefits of the Comparative Method
  • Can broaden our options how similar problems
    are approached by different governments perhaps
    offer ideas that might help improve the way we do
    things or avoid mistakes
  • Can broaden our horizons avoid ethnocentrism
    appreciate variety

4
Benefits of the Comparative Method
  • Can help us draw up rules about politics the
    study of different political systems can help us
    develop and test explanations of the trends
    underlying principles of politics
  • Can help us develop a more sophisticated
    understanding of politics in general

5
Benefits of the Comparative Method
  • including the nature of democracy and
    nondemocratic govt, the relationships between
    govt and people, other concepts processes
  • Can help us understand the linkages between
    domestic international affairs

6
Benefits of the Comparative Method
  • Can assist explanations why are some
    countries stable democracies and not others? Why
    do many democracies have prime ministers instead
    of presidents?

7
The Comparative Method
  • Comparison is not about deciding which political
    system is best!!
  • The purpose is to learn more about how and why
    political systems are different or the same and
    what effect the differences similarities have

8
The Comparative Method
  • NORMATIVE POLITICAL THEORY purpose is to get us
    to think coherently about the ultimate aims of
    politics to think through possible consequences
    of alternative courses of political action
  • It often asks us to make value judgments

9
The Comparative Method
  • NORMATIVE POLITICAL THEORY
  • What is the best form of government?
  • What ought to be the main goals of political
    action?
  • How do we define these goals in practical
    circumstances?

10
The Comparative Method
  • EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS centered on facts
  • Seeks to discover, describe, and explain facts
    and factual relationships, to the extent that the
    facts are knowable
  • Probes the what, the how, and the why of
    politics

11
The Comparative Method
  • EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS
  • What is democracy and how does it work?
  • How do people behave in politics?
  • What is a military dictatorship?
  • Why does it tend to occur in some countries but
    not in others?

12
The Comparative Method
  • EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS
  • Tends to be a value-free political science
  • Requires us to keep our investigations of
    political reality free from our own particular
    values and biases, no matter how well-intentioned
    our convictions are

13
Key Concepts
  • The State
  • A broad concept that includes all the public
    institutions individuals that exercise power
  • A monopoly of force over a specific geographic
    territory
  • Sovereign

14
Key Concepts
  • The Nation
  • A psychological concept
  • Cultural, linguistic and other identities that
    can tie people together
  • Can use the word ethnic here

15
Key Concepts
  • The Government
  • Particular set of institutions people
    authorized by formal documents to pass laws,
    regulations, provide protection, etc.
  • Exercises state power but rarely holds all the
    power
  • Limited by the existing regime

16
Key Concepts
  • The Regime
  • Sets of rules and institutions that control
    access to, and the exercise of, political power
  • These endure from government to government or
    administration to administration (in American
    terms)
  • Regime change occurs when these rules
    institutions have been replaced
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