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Introduction to the course, part II September 23, 2008 foundations of comparative politics professor timothy c. lim / cal state los angeles

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the course, part II September 23, 2008 foundations of comparative politics professor timothy c. lim / cal state los angeles"— Presentation transcript:

1 introduction to the course, part II September 23, 2008 foundations of comparative politics professor timothy c. lim / cal state los angeles

2 introduction to course quick review: course information highlights  consistent, on-time attendance is critical to doing well; if you don’t come to class prepared, don’t expect to pass the course  quizzes and webct assignments constitute 55 percent of course grade no make ups on quizzes; must arrive on time must register for webct immediately; if you are not familiar with webct, sign up for workshop sooner, not later webct course guide available online

3 introduction to course quick review: course information highlights  lecture notes (powerpoint slides) typically--but not always-- available on instructional site: professor lim’s coursesite url:  make sure I have your address; is the best way to contact me, and is the primary way I contact you outside of class  grades available online via gradesource.com  questions or concerns? let me know

4 addendum to syllabus: mastering course material if you expect to do well in this course, you must master the material for this course to master the material, you must allot sufficient time to carefully read, review, and reflect upon the required assignments introduction to course addendum to syllabus

5 addendum to syllabus: olicy policy on cell phones and other electronic devices  turn off cell phones; remove from desk  if feel a need to text message, take it outside: it’s distracting to me, I always see it, and I don’t like it  laptops okay, but only for note taking; may not be used during quizzes (if you use other devices for note taking, let me know) introduction to course addendum to syllabus

6 addendum to syllabus: the need for written documentation If it’s important, write it down, save it, and deliver it to me is best introduction to course addendum to syllabus

7 back to our lecture

8  opening questions last class, we looked at a number of “big” questions, including the question, “Why do so many peoples and countries around the world remain mired in poverty?” we will think about ways to answer this question in a few weeks, but before you can propose answers we need to address (as we just began to do) a more basic question … how do you know if you’re right? introduction to course course information

9  how do you know if you’re right? short answer: We have to be able to ______ the argument in some manner  In the natural sciences, this testing is often (though not always) done through ____________________, that is, the creation of carefully controlled conditions within which certain variables can controlled for in order to isolate others. experiments establish causality. test experimentation Chemists and other natural scientists rely on experimentation, also known as the scientific method. introduction to course course information

10  how do you know if you’re right? In the social sciences, “testing” is often done indirectly through comparative analysis or the comparative method introduction to course course information

11  how do you know if you’re right?  the experimental method and the comparative method are two different types of methods (there are others, including the statistical method)  in the sciences--social or natural--method (and the theory and evidence that underlies it) is crucial: without it, science isn’t science this figure illustrates the scientific method in the natural sciences; in the social sciences, the procedure is similar, except that comparative analysis or another type of method is used in place of “experimentation” introduction to course course information

12  how do you know if you’re right? to better understand the significance and utility of methodology, and the comparative method in particular, we will consider an argument advanced by michael moore in bowling for columbine we’ll watch an excerpt from his film in a few minutes, but first a few more points introduction to course course information

13 comparative politics is more than method  The comparative method is an integral part of comparative politics, but comparative politics is not merely a method of study, it is also a subject of study  As a subject of study, comparative politics may be said to focus on the many different societies, types of institutions, political systems, and countries that make up the world introduction to course studying comparative politics

14 comparative politics is more than method  saying that comparative politics is both a subject of study and a method of study is still not enough to  as a field of study, comparative politics also focuses on the politics of a given country, state or society, which raises one very important question … what is politics? introduction to course studying comparative politics

15 what is politics?  is politics the same as government?  is politics what politicians do?  is politics the fight between political parties? introduction to course studying comparative politics

16 what is politics? here’s a traditional definition from the merriam-webster dictionary politics is the art or science of government; it is the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy; or it is the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government some questions to consider  where is politics located; that is, where does it occur?  who are the political actors?  what is the objective of politics? introduction to course studying comparative politics

17 what is politics? a question is anything missing from the the dictionary definition of politics? introduction to course studying comparative politics

18 what is politics? an alternative, process-oriented, definition of politics … “politics is about more than what governments chose to do or not do; it is about the uneven distribution of power in society, how the struggle over power is conducted, and its impact on the creation and distribution of resources, life chances and well-being” adrian leftwich how does this definition differ from the traditional definition? is the difference significant? how so? introduction to course studying comparative politics

19 what is politics? the process-oriented definition three basic points a process-oriented definition clearly takes politics out the governmental arena and puts it into almost all domains of life these other domains include virtually all social and civil institutions, such as churches, factories, corporations, trade unions, political parties, social movements, ethnic groups and organizations, women’s groups, organized crime, etc. of course, government is still part of the equation introduction to course studying comparative politics 1.

20 what is politics? the process-oriented definition three basic points a process-oriented definition tells us that politics is an ongoing process involving multiple actors, multiple forces, multiple struggles, and so on a process-oriented definition tells us that politics--as a struggle for power over the creation and distribution of resources, life chances and well-being--cannot be confined to a single place or territory: politics transcends borders introduction to course studying comparative politics 2. 3.

21 what is politics? the process-oriented definition in our course, the “politics” in comparative politics will be considered from processual perspective introduction to course studying comparative politics

22 bowling for columbine: an unconventional primer on the comparative method questions to consider …  what is the basic argument being put forth by moore? that is, what is his thesis?  what sort of comparisons does moore use to support his thesis?  are the comparisons convincing? why or why not?  what type of evidence underlies his comparisons? is the evidence sufficient, reliable, and valid? introduction to course studying comparative politics


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