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POL 140 Week 1 Notes

by: Haley J Schuhl

POL 140 Week 1 Notes POL 140

Haley J Schuhl
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About this Document

Answers questions such as... What is comparative politics? Why do we compare the politics of different countries? How to compare and analyze politics?
Introduction to the Politics of Africa, Asia, and Latin America
Dr. Osaore Aideyen
Class Notes
Politics, Global Studies




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Haley J Schuhl on Monday January 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POL 140 at Illinois State University taught by Dr. Osaore Aideyen in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 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: 01/18/16
Wednesday 1/13/16    CHAPTER 1: Good Societies  ● The developing world is home to 84% of the earth’s population (5.88 billion people!)  ● Most of these countries face security threats, such as terrorism   ● The developing world is very diverse, they may share some common characteristics but  there are quite different from each other   ● What is politics? A process of making decisions in order to structure a country.  Regulations that affect us and how we interact with others. It is the authoritative  allocation of values and scarce resources. A pursuit of power (in order to make policies,  make differences in the lives of others).  ● Politics determines...  ○ whether we experience economic growth or economic decline  ○ whether we have civil liberties or lack of freedom  ○ whether we live in peace or in violence  ○ whether we are exploited or treated fairly in the workplace   ○ whether we live under the rule of law or arbitrary ruler  ○ whether we enjoy social welfare or suffer from its absence   ● We want to talk (later in the semester) why some countries are rich and some are poor  ● “It is a product of a hundred unseen forces playing upon a little infant, the child, and  finally the man” ­ LBJ  ● Dire circumstances can limit people regardless of their natural gifts   ● The premise of our textbook: some countries are better than other at creating conditions  that permit citizens to realize their potential   ● Comparative politics examines why countries are organized in different ways and what  effects those differences may have  ○ for example, thirty years ago Thailand and Ghana were roughly at the same  developmental level, but now Thailand has progressed further and faster than  Ghana (however, Ghana is catching up in recent years)      Friday 1/15/16    ● Comparative politics enables us not only to compare different countries, but to  appreciate what is distinctive about our own  ● Comparative politics studies politics within countries while international relations studies  politics among them  ● Comparative political analysis is different in that it uses systematic procedures, such as:  ○ formation of a hypothesis  ○ “if, then” statements → if a country’s wealth increases then its citizens will be  healthier  ○ dependent variables → what we are trying to explain  ○ independent variables → what we believe explains the dependent variable  ○ operationalization → finding specific, concrete alternatives to use in place of  abstract concepts like wealth and health  ○ control → holding other factors constant  ○ Example: girls tend to have lower math scores than boys; more gender equality  (independent variable) will result in a smaller disparity between female and male  math scores (dependent variable)  ● Turkey there are big gender differences and a large difference in male and female math  scores. Israeli religion and the gender differences it teaches could be a reason for this.    ● Methods to test a hypothesis  ○ Case study  ○ Comparative case method  ○ Comparing many countries instead of just one or just a few  ● Value of comparison: offers insight, empirical and objective, normative and moral  ● Helps us determine what constitutes a good society and why some countries are better  than others   ● Nt good societies are those:  ○ based on slavery  ○ have children dying from preventable diseases  ○ one group of people slaughters another group based on religion or ethnicity  ● Wealth, happiness, obesity, and exposure to pollution are a couple ways to measure  how good a society is  ● GDP isn’t an ideal measurement because it includes money spent on less desirable  things (such as cleaning up oil spills, housing prisoners) and may hide considerable  differences in how the money is distributed among a country’s population   


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