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Political Theories Laura Sirbu Comparative Government Period 4.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Theories Laura Sirbu Comparative Government Period 4."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Theories Laura Sirbu Comparative Government Period 4

2 Theories -Proposed explanations of actual occurrences  Systems Theory  Structural-Functional Theory  Dependency Theory  Rational Choice Theory  Rational Expectation Theory  Other miscellaneous theories

3 Just Remember…  For every theory that exists, there are several ones that propose an opposing idea  The result? Interesting debates!

4 Systems Theory  System - “an object having interdependent parts, acting within a setting or environment” (pg 29)  Domestic/National  International  No longer independent entities; everything is interconnected (think globalization)

5 United States Economy Political System Culture and Society Russia Mexico China Iran Britain Nigeria Systems Theory - Diagram Key: Inputs Outputs

6 But what about…  Multinational Companies?  Terrorists?  Can complex interactions really be separated in domestic or international spheres?  Systems that are not institutions or countries that are spanning these said “boundaries.”

7 Structural-Functional Theory  Each structure has its own function so that government can operate 1. Same structure may perform different functions in another country (ex: President of U.S. vs. President of China) 2. Institutions do not have a monopoly on one function Criticism: Conservative in its methodology

8 Dependency Theory  Two groups: Developed Nations and Developing Nations  Former keeps the latter in a subservient position  Developing Nations increase dependency over time  Kept “down” by economic sanctions or free-trade policies (ISI do not work)

9 Free-Market Ideology  Free-markets help developing nations by giving them the opportunity to grow and become equal players  Short run, painful. Long run, establishes economies.  Look at India and Thailand: there were developing, and are today more toward the “developed” side

10 Dependency vs. Free-Market  Are countries able to “break out of the loop”?  Are developed countries still intentionally keeping developing countries in a subservient position?  An obsolete idea?

11 Rational Choice Theory  All decisions can be broken down into rational calculations  Decisions are based on rewards/costs  People act as if they are completely rational

12 Rational Expectation Theory  Individual decisions may be wrong at any one time  On average, over a collective body, decisions are not systematically wrong  Better to work in a group  Many individuals  Country

13 Cultural Theory  Political behavior is based on culture  Decisions are based on societal norms, not rational, individual opinions  To understand political behavior, one must understand the culture of that entity

14 Rational vs. Cultural  Do characteristics of individuals carry over to a group?  If each individual is rational, does that guarantee that the entire group acts rationally?  Can an individual person take in every cue from culture to come up with a singular decision?  Do policies get watered down when there are many agendas working against one another?

15 Political Realism  International level is anarchy  Each state is a rational actor working for its own best interests. Think Zero- Sum. Black and white.  States are “main actors;” other supranational organizations, multinational corporations, and/or non- governmental organizations have little influence

16 Criticisms  Democracy-Peace Theory  Democracies tend to not go to war with each other, even when there are conflicts of self-interest  Federalism  There are many levels/stages of power and influence  Did the Zero-Sum “ideology” get America to its superpower status of today?

17 Miscellaneous Theories  The “Great Man” Theory— history is decided by a few influential and powerful individuals  The “Bureaucracy” Theory— the real decisions in a system happen in the push and shove of the bureaucracy  World-System Theory— extremely similar to dependency theory; sees the “capitalist world economy” as “total social system”

18 Works Cited “What is Dependency Theory?” WiseGeek. 26 Apr “What is System Theory?” Principia Cybernetica Web. 26 Apr Scott, John. “Rational Choice Theory.” Rational Choice Theory. 26 Apr Ferraro, Vincent. Dependency Theory: An Introduction. 26 Apr Almond, Gabriel A., et al. Comparative Politics Today. Vol. 7. New York: Longman, n.d.


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