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POL 140 Quiz 1 Study Guide

by: Haley J Schuhl

POL 140 Quiz 1 Study Guide POL 140

Marketplace > Illinois State University > Political Science > POL 140 > POL 140 Quiz 1 Study Guide
Haley J Schuhl
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This is a completed study guide covering chapters 1 and 2 or our textbook (The Good Society). I've also included page numbers where the information can be found since we will need to cite pages on ...
Introduction to the Politics of Africa, Asia, and Latin America
Dr. Osaore Aideyen
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This 15 page Study Guide was uploaded by Haley J Schuhl on Wednesday January 27, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to POL 140 at Illinois State University taught by Dr. Osaore Aideyen in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 131 views. For similar materials see Introduction to the Politics of Africa, Asia, and Latin America in Political Science at Illinois State University.


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Date Created: 01/27/16
POL 140 Section 04 – Introduction to the Politics of Africa, Asia & Latin America Quiz Study Guide January 25, 2016 Our first quiz covers all of chapters one and two of the course text. Hey guys J Good luck on the first quiz! I pulled the examples right out of the book and cited the pages where this information can be found if you need to read it and cover a specific topic better. Hope this study guide is helpful. Remember, you’ll have to cite pages on the quiz! My expectation is that after diligent reading of the chapters we will be able to do the  following: Chapter one 1.   Identify the subject matter of comparative politics: Comparative politics identifies similarities and differences between countries, explains why they occur, and probes their consequences. It enables us to compare different countries and appreciate what is special or distinctive about our own. (p 2-3) 2.   Explain the main way in which the study of comparative politics differs from the  study of international politics: They’re both subfields of political science but comparative politics studies politics within countries while international politics studies politics among them. (p 3) 3.   List ways comparative political analysis differs from comparison in everyday life  and be able to provide examples of each way it differs: It differs from everyday comparisons because in its use of systematic procedures. It requires you to create a hypothesis, operationalize concepts of interest into independent and dependent variables that can be studied objectively. (p 3-4) 4.   Define the following concepts: hypothesis, independent variable, dependent  variable, and control variable: Hypothesis à relationships we expect to find among variables. Dependent variable à what we are trying to explain. Independent variable à what we believe will explain our dependent variable (causes changes in a dependent variable by manipulating independent one). Controls are things that we try to keep constant so that we can only look at the relationship between the two variables of interest rather than other factors possibly influencing the results. (p 3-4) 5.   Be able to identify the hypothesis, independent variable, and dependent variable  in a writing sample: The author thinks that the more gender equality in a country (independent), the smaller the gender gap in test scores (dependent) à this prediction is a hypothesis. (p 5) 6.   Explain what it means to operationally define a variable and provide an example:  To operationalize something is to find specific, concrete alternatives to use in place of such abstract terms (such as health or wealth). (p 4) 7.   Explain how the case study method, comparative cases method, and comparing  many cases method of comparative analysis differ and identify the strengths and  weaknesses of each method: Case study is examining a topic in depth within a single country, using specific actors and events to draw inferences about how larger forces and structures behave. Offers detail and depth but it doesn’t have breadth (much is excluded from the picture). Researchers can be sure of their results, but cannot generalize to other countries. Comparative case method attempts to make broad generalizations by examining a few counties in depth. It is hard to control for all the variables that may influence the results. Comparing many cases method often makes use of quantitative data. The advantage is that it gives researchers confidence that their results apply broadly because of the number of countries included. It reveals statistical relationships among variables but doesn’t provide much insight about why those relationships exist. Depth is sacrificed for breadth. (p 6-7)   8.   Distinguish between empirical and normative judgment and provide examples of  each: Empirical judgements would be objective, and talks about facts of how things are right now à Sweden spends more on its welfare state (35.7%) than the US (15.8%). On the other hand, normative judgements say that something is better or worse than something else and are more moral à Sweden is kinder and gentler than the US because it makes a greater welfare effort. (p 8) 9.   List reasons why GDP per capita is not a useful measure of a good society and  provide an example for each of the reasons: One problem is that using wealth as a measure of a good society treats money spend on desirable goods as the same as detestable goods and services à money spend on a major oil spill clean-up would count the same as money spent on education. Economic growth would include “goods” as well as “bads”. Focusing on economic growth alone may ignore hidden costs and misinterpret the benefits that a society might experience. For example, China has had incredible economic growth but at the expense of environmental degradation and corruption. GDP would completely ignore the big costs that China paid to experience their economic growth. GDP also omits behavior that many of us consider desirable. For example, people who care for their children or aging parents could not contribute to GDP because such work is unpaid. We could better contribute to economic growth by hiring someone to take care of our loved one but most people would agree that the former is more desirable. It also can hide considerable differences in how wealth is distributed. According to GDP, it doesn’t matter if a few citizens are massively wealthy while the rest live in poverty or if wealth is broadly distributed so that every citizen have enough income that they can purchase necessities. (p 10-11) 10.  List reasons why happiness is not a useful measure of a good society and provide  an example of each of the reasons: Happiness measures overlook the ways in which people find satisfaction. Some people might find joy in “vanquishing their enemies”. People who find joy in humiliating others may report the same level of life satisfaction as those who derive pleasure from helping victims. Happiness isn’t the only important factor. Making sure the environment is sustainable may be more important than trashing it, even though people might derive more pleasure from the latter than the former. Different cultures don’t attach the same value to happiness as other cultures. In some cultures, people are expected to be optimistic in the face of hardship, while other cultures exist in seemingly constant dissatisfaction. Happiness may have different meanings to different people. Happiness is a function of expectations. Where life is hard, people adapt and find pleasure in what they can. When happiness is more readily available, people expect it and have higher standards. (p 12-13) 11.  Define “capability,” list the four main kinds of capability, provide an example of  each, and describe how each is operationally defined.  In a good society people are able to meet their physical needs (nourishment, health care, and housing that is sufficient to support a long life à might look at infant mortality rates in countries to determine how good their health care system is), make informed decisions (access to information and the skills to understand it à might look at literacy rates), live in safety (living in a place where probability of assault is very high à might compare homicide rates), and exercise their democratic rights (political participation, protections of freedom of speech à might use the Polity IV index which rates a country from -10, highly authoritarian, to +10, highly democratic). (p 14-19) 12.  Differentiate among civil rights, civil liberties, and political rights: Civil rights are the guarantees made to all its citizens such as the right to public accommodations. Civil liberties are things like freedom of speech or assembly. They allow people to participate in their society without fear of repression or discrimination by the government. Political rights are things such as the right to vote or hold office that permit people to participate in the political process. 13.  List four caveats about using the capabilities approach It may be that all “good things do not necessarily go together” so there may be trade offs between physical well-being, safety, education, and democracy that are necessary. The goal of a good society is to make it possible for each individual in a country to enjoy a high quality of life, not just for the average quality of life to be high. The capabilities approach does not specify a particular set of economic, political, or social institutions that are necessary for a good society. There is a lot of disagreements about what institutions contribute to a good society. The capabilities approach does not assert that it is a state’s responsibility to ensure that all individuals thrive but instead it’s their role to ensure that everyone can choose a flourishing life (whether they choose it or not is up to the individual). (p 19) 14.  Explain why supporters of the capabilities approach reject the criticism that it is too  idealistic While it may be idealistic to assume that every citizen in every country can enjoy a high quality of life, it is not idealistic to believe that many countries can do a much better job than they are right now. Performance on these standards varies widely among countries that are quite similar to one another in other aspects, indicating that there is probably room for improvement. (p 20) 15.  Provide two reasons why supporters of the capabilities approach reject criticism  that it is contrary to human nature People are capable of a wide range of behavior, from the most greedy and selfish to the most altruistic and cooperative. It’s not more natural to be greedy and selfish than it is to be caring and cooperative. Insisting that there is a universal human nature makes it hard to explain why there are dramatic differences in citizens’ capability from one country to another. People behave differently in different institutional settings. When institutions work well, they enable people to act cooperatively to achieve their goals. (p 20-21) 16.  Define cultural relativism and discuss reasons why supporters of the capabilities  approach disagree with cultural relativists Cultural relativists believe that it is inappropriate to try to establish criteria for a good society that apply to all of the world’s countries because they claim that each society should be evaluated only by using criteria from that society. Their practices might not be ones that we would approve of but other countries and cultures have the right to decide upon their own rules. Supporters of the capabilities approach say that cultural relativists simply legitimize the power of those who have triumphed over others in the conflict over prevailing social values. Cultural relativism is difficult to apply with apply with consistency, especially in authoritarian governments where the official’s values might differ from the majority of the population. (p 22) Chapter two 1.      Define the meaning of institutions: Institutions create and embody written and unwritten rules that constrain individuals’ behavior into patterned actions. (p 30) 2.      Explain how institutions make societies possible by creating order and  predictability: Institutions exert power in order to create predictability and order that makes daily life tolerable. They constrain people’s conduct, such as making and enforcing traffic rules that drivers follow so there can be safe and predictable flows of traffic. They impose rules which creates order. 3.      Define the meaning of power, understand its three forms, and understand why  political power takes priority Power is the ability to get people to do things they would not have chosen to do on their own, or to prevail in getting what you want in the presence of opposing claims and competing interests. It’s the ability to get people to say “Yes” when they’d really rather say “No”. Three forms of power are cultural, economic, and political. Cultural power exists when some people are able to convince others to adopt their values, ideas, and premises as their own. An example would be student sitting quietly during lecture because they are socialized to think that it is the proper way to behave in school. Economic power would be held by people who control critical scarce resources, such as land or capital, and can obtain compliance from those who do not. Political power is grounded in coercion and control over the means of violence (or at least threat of violence). This is the strongest because those who wield political power have ways of making those who do not obey commands to comply. (p 31) 4.      Distinguish between power and authority: Authority is a form of power that has been accepted as right and proper by those who submit to it. For example, a teacher has the authority to dismiss a student who is being disruptive to the class. (p 31) 5.      Define what a state is and what distinguishes the state from other institutions The state is the institution that embodies political power. The four things that distinguishes a state from other institutions is organization (distinct administrative entity), sovereignty (absolute power), territoriality (clear boundaries), and coercion and violence. (p 32) 6.      Distinguish between state and government Groups that are successful in gaining control of the state are said to form the government. It refers to the group of leaders in charge of directing the state. The state is the car and the government is the driver (or, the example used in class, the state is the hardware and the government is the software). (p 32) 7.      Summarize how modernization, Marxist, and realist theorists explain the origin of  the state Modernization theory: argues that states arose as a result of the increasing division of labor in society; as societies became more complex, they became more functionally specialized which required states to oversee the integration of these parts Marxist theory: perceive the states emerging as a result of one of the interests within it; the dominant class uses the state and its means of violence in society to impose its rule over subordinate classes War theory: states developed in response to the extractive necessities of war (more comprehensive since it includes explanation from both prior theories). (p 34-35) 8.      Distinguish between federal and unitary systems and understand which kinds of  countries tend to choose each In federal political systems, the central state shares sovereignty with lower political units, regional governments can raise their own revenue and make their own policies, and lower state units have their own officials, agencies, and administrative integrity. This form is found predominantly among large countries or in smaller states with intense ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity. Unitary political systems have political power concentrated at the national level, subnational levels of the state are primarily administrative arms of the central government, and lower levels of the state do not have the power to levy taxes or make policy. These are more common than federal political systems. (p 38) 9.      Distinguish between unicameral and bicameral legislatures and understand which  kinds of countries tend to choose each Most legislatures are unicameral which means that they have only one chamber. The bicameral structure, like the US Congress, with a House of Representatives and a Senate, is atypical. In bicameralism, each chamber is based on a different principle or representation. Larger countries tend towards bicameralism because the different principles of representation in each chamber can better reflect the diversity of interests within them. Bicameralism is also more common among federal political systems. Unicameralism is more efficient; there is no second chamber to delay, veto, or amend bills that the first chamber has passed. (p 39-40) 10.  Explain the four reasons why legislatures have become more subordinate to  executives in democracies Legislature’s subordination is attributed to the increasing significance of foreign policy, growth in scope of government activity and the size of the bureaucracy to carry it out, the rising power of the media to portray politics in terms of personality, and the emergence of organized political parties that can deliver disciplines majorities for the government. (p 40) 11.  Distinguish between the head of state and the head of government The head of state and the head of the government are both at the top of the core executive. Sometimes these two positions are unified in the same office and person, like the president in the United States. The head of state is the leader of the nation and the head of government is in charge of the federal bureaucracy. In Great Britain, for example, the reigning monarch is the head of state and the ruling prime minister is the head of government. (p 41) 12.  Explain reasons why power has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of  the chief executive in developed countries Their position at the top of government gives them a commanding view of the tire group that other political actors lack. They can shape and manipulate public opinion through the media attention they attract. They also have more staff at their disposal to coordinate policy, provide expertise, manage their image, and help them develop political strategy. They embody national interest, which permits them to take charge of foreign policy. (p 42) 13.  List the essential features of bureaucracies and the role bureaucracy plays in a  state The core executive directs the bureaucracy, which is the different agencies and bureaus within the executive branch. The execute the policies that the core executive make in an impartial and professional way (even though in reality they may have their own biases and interests that they want to cater to). The essential features include: a division of labor in which people are given specific tasks to perform, a hierarchy in which there is a clear chain of command, and a set of rules and regulations that govern the conduct of people in positions and limit their discretion. (p 43-44) 14.  Summarize reasons why chief executives have a hard time imposing their will on  bureaucrats and two ways they try to strengthen their control of bureaucrats They have a hard time imposing their will on bureaucrats since the core executive has no choice but to delegate power to those below them to carry out policies. Delegating to lower-level officials permits them to shape policy in how it is administer. The policies get subtly altered as it gets passed down the chain of command. Bureaucrats can use their experience and knowledge to frustrate the will of political executives; they can share information or withhold it. They have their own interests that they want to protect. Political leaders try to counter their influence by strengthening their own personal staffs. They also try to increase the number of political appointees who work within the bureaucracy which makes the bureaucracy more responsive to the administration in power. (p 43) 15.  Explain the conditions under which civilian control over the military is strong and  those under which it is weak Civilian control is more likely to be strong in countries where both state and military institutions are strong (the state has legitimacy and is capable of governing society, while the military has a strong ethos of professionalism and autonomy) as is the case in most of the developed world. However, in developing countries the states are weak and unable to maintain order, and the military isn’t professionalized. The army abuses its power. (p 45) 16.  Understand why court decisions, the manner in which judges are selected, and the  content of judicial decisions are all political questions Interpreting the law (settling arguments about its meaning) requires courts to exercise power, to issue decisions that produce winners and losers. The independence of the judiciary depends on how its members are selected, how long they have tenure, and how difficult it is to remove them once they are on the bench. With secure jobs, federal judges do not have to worry about shaping their decisions to suit either the president who nominated them or subsequent office holders. These judges are insulated from political pressure. (p 46-47) 17.  Explain what is meant by judicial review and understand the reasons given in  support of it and reasons for criticizing it Courts may exercise the power of judicial review, which empowers courts to nullify and invalidate laws they believe are unconstitutional (this has the same impact on policy as an executive veto). Critics believe that it is undemocratic for unelected judges to overturn laws passed by elected governments and thereby go against the will of the people. Defenders say that it is necessary to prevent the majority from using the state to trample on the rights of the minority. (p 47) 18.  Evaluate whether majoritarian or consensus democracies are more effective in  improving people’s well­being Lijphart found that consensus democracies performed better socially, devoting more more to the welfare state, spending more on foreign air, recording less pollution, and imprisoning fewer citizens. They also performed better politically, with more participation in elections and more satisfaction with their political system. However, the form of democracy had little impact on economic performance. (p 48-49)  


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