Political Ideas/Theory-Overview and Specifics and Core Concepts and Definitions-Complexity to Intro Issues
Political Ideas/Theory-Overview and Specifics and Core Concepts and Definitions-Complexity to Intro Issues SOC 312 002
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Aubriana Romero-Knell on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 312 002 at University of New Mexico taught by Brian Soller in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Causes of Crime and Delinquacy in Sociology at University of New Mexico.
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Date Created: 01/24/16
Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 20 &22 , 2016 Political Ideas Overview and Specifics 1. Texts: philosophical perspectives a. Need the text for sure, but a lot of the readings will be on learn 2. Challenges to understanding a. Disagreements by users i. Definitions of ideas change from person to person b. Historical context/linguistic issues i. The way language is used changes and changes the meanings ii. Textus writing: trying to make readers work for understanding 3. Thus, this class applies the logic of close, careful reading 4. Learning as “controlled forgetting” a. Neuroscientist Dr. Medina calls learning “controlled forgetting” b. Apply and use learned info to control what material is forgotten 5. Specifics: attendance, listserv, email Qs, exams a. Exams are 5 short answer questions but you answer 4 b. Email questions: read them, reflect on them, answer them for test practice. My answers to the email questions: 1. The two levels of challenges that confront readers are disagreements by users of political theory and the historical context/linguistic issues present in the writing. An example of disagreements comes from Paul Ryan’s quote on Donald Trump’s views on Muslims. He said “this is not conservatism”. Both men believe they are conservative, but they have different views of what that means. In regard to the second level, Dr. Meltzer teaches us that if we misuse a book or other writing, we can rush to a conclusion that we did not earn. Writers have addressed this issue by giving away less information to make readers work hard. This idea of subtext is known as esoteric writing 2. Textus is writing that is trying to make readers work for understanding. It is complex and crisscrosses itself, making the reader think, and reread, and think again after reading it.It is similar to a textile in that the ideas are interwoven like the strings in a textile. To respect the textus nature of political theory texts, the reader must read logically, closely, and carefuly. Because of the complex nature of textus literature, the reader has to be analytical, while being open minded and skeptical of the reading at the same time. 3. “Controlled forgetting” is another word for learning, if Dr. Medina is correct. As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Medina believes that learning is simply not forgetting some things. To control this forgetting, it is suggested that you apply what you want to learn. An example is the location of a class: if you go to class consistently, you will most likely not forget where it is, as you are applying the information consistently. Core Concepts and DefinitionsComplexity to Intro Issues 1 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 20 &22 , 2016 1. Beginning foundation: a. “ideology is the most elusive concept in the whole of social science… ideology is itself what we have come to call an essentially contested concept…” L. Sargent, th Contemporary Political Ideologies, A Comparative Analysis, 12 ed. i. There is no agreement in political science as to how to define political theory ii. There is no right definition because it is such a complicated idea iii. For our purposes, we use the 7 most widely used definitions b. “infinity of definitions…offered for the term ‘ideology’” D. Hawkes, Ideology. 2. Euripides and Democratic Theory a. Background: 5 century, BCE, Drama. (public, educational) i. People drawn from all over the world attend plays, which were considered to be part of education. b. Pretextbook scene i. T’s mother, Location, Women’s request, Theses response 1, Intervention, Theseus response 2 ii. Context: mother of Theseus is speaking at the temple“I am here on Holy Ground”asking for blessings upon city and son. She is accompanied by many women who are grief stricken because their city lost a war. These mother’s want to retrieve their son’s bodies because Greek religious law mandates a proper burial. They ask Theseus mother to get Theseus to help them“maybe we could carry home the bodies we love”. She agrees, and when she asks Theseus, he gives his first response: 1. Blamed the losing city“You made the decision, do not trouble us.” 2. He looks at the war itself. They hadn’t consented the Gods before they went to war 3. It was a foolish war, a very bad decision 4. There are 3 groups of citizens, the rich, who are “insatiable for wealth”, the poor, who are motivated by envy and resentment, and then the middle, who are clear thinking. They listened to the opinions of the rich and the poor, who would benefit from war, but not that of the middle. iii. The mother response with the intervention, saying that “free, honorable people respect rights”, basically, this is about you honor. Will you respect the rights of others? iv. Theseus responds again and decides to help and honor religious customs c. Textbook scene i. There are 2 characters: Theban Messenger “Who is the tyrant who rules this land?” and Theseus. ii. In response to the TM, T says that they are not ruled by a tyrant, but ruled by the people, a democracydemos (people), kratos (power). iii. TM replies with a criticism of democracy 2 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 January 20 &22 , 2016 1. “Gullible multitude” 2. “pander to the crowd”, “manipulate [people]”, “cloak crimes” 3. “poor judges” 4. Resourceswho has the time? 5. “wise and better people” will recoil from a system where lesser people have the same amount of vote as they do. My answers to the email questions: 1 In the field of political science, there is a huge disagreement on how to define political theory/ideology/philosophy. D. Hawkes writes in Ideology that there is an “infinity of definitions…offered for the term ideology.” There is absolutely no consensus as to what ideology means, let alone how to define each ideology. People who align themselves with a specific political philosophy even disagree often with others who align with the same philosophy. Paul Ryan said of Donald Trump, both of whom are selfproclaimed conservatives, that Donald Trump’s policy about Muslims is “not conservatism,” showing how those who claim to be of the same party differ in ideology. 2 When democratic political theory is examined, one finds that democracy is an old idea, traceable at least as far back as the 5 century BCE. Euripides writes from the perspective on a Grecian leader, Theseus, who states that his country is run by the people: “Here, the people rule, each taking his turn without respect of wealth or poverty.” In fact, the word democracy comes from Greek roots: the word or people, demos, and the word for rule, kratos. 3 Euripides’ play, and many other plays in Greece at this time, were held publicly for all to view. Based on historical research, these plays were seen as integral parts of education and the public was encouraged to attend. 4 In the scene before that which is in the textbook, Theseus’ mother is in a temple and is approached by grieving mothers from another town who just lost a war. They request Theseus’ mother’s help in encouraging Theseus to help them retrieve their son’s bodies from those who they lost the war to because Grecian religious law requires a proper burial. Theseus responses originally with a hard no, blaming the losing town for getting into a foolish war, not consulting the Gods, and listening to the rich and poor, those who benefit the most from war, when considering getting involved, rather than the middle class, who think more clearly. Theseus’ mother responded by saying that this was about honor and respecting people’s rights. Theseus then decides that he will help and abide by Grecian religious law. The play is not religiously driven, necessarily, but, because of the time period, religion was already a central part of the culture, so it may not intend to be religious, but is by nature of the author. 5 In the scene in our textbook, there are only two characters: The Theban Messenger and Theseus. The Theban Messenger lives under a tyrant and assumes that Theseus lives the same way. Theseus responds by saying that the people rule the city, to which the Theban Messenger criticizes the system heavily, essentially saying that common people are not smart enough to rule. 3 Aubriana Knell-University of New Mexico Political Theory-POLS260 Spring 2016 th nd January 20 &22 , 2016 6 The Theban messenger has three complaints about democracy: one about the “Gullible multitude” and “poor judges of everything”, one about those who “pander to the crowd”, “manipulate [people]”, and “cloak crimes”, and the “wise and better people” who will “recoil from a system” where lesser people have the same amount of vote as they do. The Theban Messenger is skeptical about the intellect of the people. He claims that they are not qualified enough to give their opinions, and, even if they were educated, “a poor, working stiff would have no time or energy left over from his labors to learn about political affairs.” He also doesn’t trust those who would try to manipulate people to follow them. His final criticism is in regard to educated people who will reject a system in which people can be fooled into thinking one way so easily. These claims are applicable to our representative democracy today, especially with all the talk in the Democratic party about “career politicians” and connections with the establishment. 4
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