POLS 2000 Exam 1 Study Guide
I. Lecture Notes
a. Why do we have government?
i. Security; resource to the community
b. Why do we NOT love government?
i. There are rules and regulations we have to follow
ii. Protects us but we have to sacrifice some of our freedoms c. Collective action – the essence of government
i. Coordinated group activity designed to achieve a common goal that individuals acting on their own could not
ii. What does government do that would be hard for even the wealthiest individual to do on his/her own?
1. Defense; infrastructure; foreign affairs/diplomacy
d. Security (basically): the ability to protect, preserve, or maintain control of something of value. But also:
i. State security: protecting borders We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of receiver/audience?
ii. Regime security: protecting and holding on to power
iii. National security: protection of group interests within and across borders
iv. Individual security: physical/financial safety
e. Power – ability to get something done (directly or indirectly) i. Key variable in politics
ii. What is political capital?
1. A reserve of power which an official can call on to
2. We think an executive has the most political capital
in the first 100 days in office
a. Try and get as much as they can get done
during this time
b. Also a lot of power during war time
iii. Distinction between power and authority (important to know for test!!)
1. Authority – a type of power; when specialized
knowledge or experience provides a person with the
opportunity to influence others; power that’s
appropriate in a given situation
f. Anarchy – the absence or authority or hierarchy (government) i. Doesn’t necessarily mean chaos
ii. Hierarchy – elevating someone to a position over others g. Alliances – when individuals or groups agree to combine resources and abilities for a purpose that benefits the members of the alliance individually If you want to learn more check out What was the great bath in mohenjo daro used for?
We also discuss several other topics like Which subatomic particle determines what type of element an atom is?
i. Can be formal or informal
ii. Government results from the group’s need to
institutionalize/formalize its power Caucuses
h. Research Questions
i. Under what conditions to people break alliances?
j. How can presidents (or executives) generate political capital? II. Baglione
a. Chapter 1
i. Thinking about research and writing
1. What comes to mind when you think of writing in
a. A lot of tedious planning/work
b. Political theory as well as taking into account
ii. Goal of Baglione
1. To give you steps to writing a research paper
(especially in poly sci)
2. Can be intimidating or daunting
3. Poly sci presents its own challenges
4. These skills will help you for the rest of your life
iii. What is a theory?
1. A theory puts a specific phenomenon in a broader,
general category or causal relationships
a. Notice some similar occurrences
2. Find a common patter among them that allows us to take these different events and think of them as a We also discuss several other topics like What is it called when all the justices agree on a decision and the reasoning behind it?
repeated example of the same thing
a. Duverger’s example
b. Simplicity (theory) vs. complexity (reality)
1. A country will develop a two-party system:
a. If there are only two distinct political positions
in the country
b. Or, if despite the presence of more than two
distinct positions, the electoral law forces
people of diverse positions to consolidate into
two large parties so as to gain an electoral
b. Chapter 2
i. Five qualities of a good topic
a. Should be interesting to you personally and to
others as well
2. Important Don't forget about the age old question of Why is it important to study physiology?
a. Research should affect people and have an
impact on the field
a. Should usually answer questions like why, how,
to what extent, under what conditions
b. Not so much who, what, where, and when
a. Limit scope
b. Where? When? What type of election?
III. Van Belle
a. Chapter 1
i. What is politics? If you want to learn more check out How do psychoactive drugs affect synaptic transmission?
1. Our own personal preferences versus society’s
2. All different areas: work, school, government
3. Government in general
ii. What is political science?
1. Researching and analyzing our political behavior and political trends
iii. First impressions of Van Belle
1. Lots of pop culture references
2. What does Van Belle aim to do?
a. To provoke, make fun of everyone, wants
students to think below the surface of politics
b. Politics is personal and controversial
c. Focus on the how and why of politics
d. Doesn’t tell you what to think, just invites you
iv. Idealism and realism – terms that Van Belle uses
throughout the book to explain political concepts
1. Idealists are visionary, looking on the bright side,
looking at how things can be better
2. Realists think things are the way they are, do what
we can with what we have
3. Uses the clash between these two to understand
a. Important to understand when we’re talking
about a concept in reality vs ideally
b. Example: Congressmen in Committees by
Richard Fenno – members of congress are
motivated be re-election, good public policy,
and power/prestige (idealist). In Congress by
David Mayhew, members of congress are
motivated only by re-election because you
can’t make good public policy or gain power
and prestige unless you get re-elected (realist)
v. Our conceptual framework
1. “Our backgrounds and personalities shape our
understanding of politics, sometimes to the point of determining what we can or cannot believe”
2. He uses fiction often to access lots of different people vi. Ideologies
1. Classic liberalism – economic freedom’ people free from government restraints
2. Classic conservatism – existing processes and norms have evolved into highly efficient and effective
institutions; wary of changing these without much
3. Communism – classless society with no need for government; justice and fairness are enough material goods for everyone
4. Democratic socialism – like communism, but
achieved by democratic means rather than
5. Reform liberalism – government has a role in
regulating economy; removing inequalities and
helping individuals succeed
6. Fascism – supremacy of one group; strong military dictator
vii. Ideologies are…
1. Different from theories; organizing and directing goal-oriented action; how-to instructions for
assembling a utopia, meant to be implemented,
b. Chapter 3
i. A realist approach to governing
1. How things should play out vs. how they actually do 2. How does government actually control their
3. Not: how should government control their population 4. Idealism vs realism
1. What motivates people to lead?
a. Power, influence people, initiate change,
represent your people, etc.
b. They must benefit in some way
c. Who benefits and how?
2. Let’s assume all leaders are trying to maximize
a. Benefits: authority, delegating, networking,
name recognition, money
3. Do leadership battles differ based on a country’s wealth?
a. In a poor country, everything is at stake if
you’re in a leadership position; wealthy country stakes aren’t as high
iii. The Panopticon
1. Fear of government watching you
2. Government mechanisms that make you think government might be watching
3. Ex: prisoners in a room with one-way mirrors and didn’t know if/when guards were watching, so they self-policed themselves and modified their behavior 4. Examples of self-policing
a. Traffic incidents
i. Know that police are usually on 316 so
you slow down
c. Illegal downloads
d. Elf on the shelf
iv. Atomization and peer policing
1. Why would government want to keep people separate?
a. Government most concerned with people
revolting/messing with their power
b. Prevent people from getting together and
forming a strong opposition
2. Can you think of examples when you have been peer-policed or policed by someone else?
a. Relying on others to check your behavior
b. Making sure the safest option for people is to report it
v. There are limits to forceful control
1. Over-controlling subjects are dissatisfied and become rebellious
2. An alternative to force: Legitimacy
a. Voluntary acceptance of government
b. Making people feel like government is for them c. Providing things people want
i. Popular elections, public goods, schools,
vi. Conflict and Control
1. Leaders tasked with balancing force and control with legitimacy
2. Conflict may be helpful for leaders
a. Leader gets to look like the hero sometimes
b. Leader seems more necessary
c. People see government working for them
3. How do leaders manage conflict?
a. Passing legislation, compromising, building
c. Chapter 4
i. What does money have to do with politics?
1. Need money to fund campaigns
2. Government collects our money (taxes) and decides how it’s appropriated
3. Lobbying and bribery
ii. Government and the economy
1. Can government control the economy?
a. Economic/monetary policy controlled by fed
b. Low-income/social intervention/assistance
i. Social security, disability, etc.
c. Regulations on businesses
d. Possible control depends on type of
2. Do we act/behave like government can control the economy?
1. Assuming cause and effect relationship between who’s in power and how economy is doing
2. People look at economy as a whole compared to how it was, and how they evaluate how they’re doing in their economy influences their vote
a. Called economic voting
iv. Tragedy of the Commons
1. Exploitation of shared resources creates this problem 2. When rational choices of individuals clash with needs of collective society
3. What about enlightened self-interest?
a. Where you realize it’s really in your self-interest
to do what’s best for the whole society
4. NPR about how climate change is the ultimate
tragedy of the commons
a. Has to be some sort of regulation to individual
behavior, but there’s no global government so
it’s really empty promises
v. Solving the Tragedy
1. Who should control means of production?
a. Society capitalism
b. Government communism
vi. Karl Marx
1. Wrote about the ills of capitalism
1. Driving force is competition
2. Incentivizes efficiency
3. Laissez-faire – government with little involvement in economy
4. Good things
a. Cheaper goods, better products, more variety
5. How could this drive for increased efficiency (in the
ideal) be detrimental?
a. Poor working conditions/wages to keep costs
viii. Pool of Labor as a common resource
1. Tragedy of the commons problem: capitalists are
driven to over-exploit workers
ix. What about revolution?
1. Workers were mad government eventually adopted some policies that they wanted to avoid revolution
and the fall of capitalism that Marx predicted
1. Society controls means of production
2. Produce what they can
3. Provide what people need
4. Also deeply flawed and really untried on a large scale xi. Real Question: What mix of these economic systems is the best?
xii. How does government apply control to capitalism by protecting workers?
1. Minimum wage, child labor, overtime hours and work limits, safety regulations
a. NPR: The Psychology Behind Why Some Kids Go Unvaccinated i. Should government force parents to vaccinate their kids? 1. If they do in theory it would be safer for society as a
whole, but force leads to more opposition and fear
2. The consequence of this is a bunch of kids getting
terrible diseases, so it’s worth the little risks of
mistrusting the government to force your kid to get
ii. How are vaccinations a collective action problem?
1. Since everyone else’s kid is vaccinated, I don’t have
to vaccinate my kid
2. These parents getting a free ride off everyone else
doing the right thing
b. “As A Major Retraction Shows, We’re All Vulnerable To Faked Data”
c. “Study Using Gay Canvassers Erred In Methods, Not Results, Author Said”
i. What is retraction for a scholarly article?
1. Disclaim/debunk/take back a study as if it was never published
2. No longer meets the requirements of peer review ii. Why was the paper retracted? What happened?
1. Author was lying about the funding resources
2. He somehow falsified the data in his favor
3. People replicated the study and got completely
iii. What are the ethical issues?
1. Professor should have been aware that the grad student was falsifying info
2. He lied, made people believe something that wasn’t true
iv. Why is this something you should know?
1. Need to be aware of data that could be false
v. What does it mean for the discipline?
1. Hurts credibility of political science research