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Summary Introduction to Political Science

- Craig Parsons
ISBN-10 0134319192 ISBN-13 9780134319193
115 Flashcards & Notes
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A snapshot of the summary - Introduction to Political Science Author: Craig Parsons ISBN: 9780134319193

  • 1 Introduction

  • 1.2.1 Why Escaping Politics Is a Dead End

  • Some people try to escape politics. This kind of liberated life is sometimes called 'state of nature'. Define this term.
    An imagined time prior to the development of society or politics.
  • Attempts to "escape" collective decision making tend to lead to two kinds of bad outcomes, namely"
    - Other people become even more dominant because you have left the field to them.
    - Things just fall apart and the benefits of interacting begin to disappear.
  • 1.3 From Politics to Political Ideologies and Political Science

  • To reclaim politics, you must become a critical thinker. This is someone who:
    Can understand, criticize and defend certain views about the political world against others. The foundation of all independent, critical thinking is the ability to imagine alternative points of view.
  • The study of politics helps you become a critical thinker by imagining political alternatives from the following three angels:
    - Political description (the task of grasping how political life and action are organized).
    - Political philosophy (the project of evaluating the good and bad in politics, addressing both how politics works and how it should work).
    - Political Science (the systematic effort to explain why politics works as it does).
  • 1.4 Three Explanatory Approaches in Political Science

  • What are the three explanatory approaches to explaining political action in political science?
    - Rational Material Explanation
    - Institutional Explanation
    - Ideational Explanation
  • A forth explanatory approach in individual-level political choices, is psychology. However, this makes it not plausible to answer cross-groups questions. But what is its core hypothesis?
    People have certain genetic, hard-wired personalities and dispositions.
  • 1.4.1 Alternative 1 - Rational-Material Explanation: A Clash of Interests

  • What is the core hypothesis of the rationalist-Materialist Explanatory approach?
    People choose the most advantageous actions given their position in the material landscape.
  • 1.4.2 Alternative 2 - Institutional Explanation: Playing by the Rules of the Game

  • Human-made rules and structures build to guide their interactions are also called:
    Institutions
  • What is the core hypothesis of the Institutionalist Explanatory approach?
    People choose the most advantageous actions given their position in an obstacle course of organizations and rules.
  • 1.4.3 Alternative 3 - Ideational Explanation: Beliefs and 'Culture Wars'

  • What is the core hypothesis of the Ideational Explanatory Approach?
    People act in accordance with beliefs about how the world works and what is right. (In contrast to both rational-materialist and institutional stories, it suggests that not everyone sees the same situations in the same ways).
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