9/30/16 Quiz Notes
9/30/16 Quiz Notes PLSC 2013
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elise Herenton on Wednesday September 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PLSC 2013 at University of Arkansas taught by Jeffrey Ryan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Intro to Comparative Politics in Political Science at University of Arkansas.
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Date Created: 09/28/16
Chapter 5 Proportional Representation (PR) Proportional Representation (PR) refers to an electoral system in which parties compete in multi-member districts and seats in a legislature awarded based on a party’s strength of support. A multi-member district refers to a constituency that seats multiple representatives. Under this system, voters select a political party rather than a candidate. The percentage of the vote determines how many seats from that district a party will hold. So: If a party won 50 percent of the vote, their representatives would take 50 percent of the district’s seats. PR systems allow parties that win even a small percentage of the vote to seat delegates in the legislature. Thus, a larger number of voters are able to determine the composition of the government. Benefits and Drawbacks Party discipline and party ideology play a stronger role in a PR system. Since voters select a party rather than an individual candidate, candidates are less likely to adopt independent positions. A PR system also may enable religious or ethnic minorities to send representatives to a national legislature. PR systems are sometimes helpful in resolving ethnic and national conflicts. However, governments are usually formed through coalitions, since no party is likely to win a majority of seats in a legislature. Under these conditions, governments may not last for more than a few months. Ideologically driven parties can also use coalition building as a way to extract concessions from larger parties. SMD systems allow voters to directly connect with representatives. Conclusions Democracies can emerge from a variety of contexts. Factors such as modernization, distribution of wealth, and (importantly) the presence of Civil Society all help promote democratization. Culture also influences democratization, is not a sufficient explanation by itself. The type of power that democratic institutions hold will influence politics in that country. Combining or separating the Executive and Legislative branches will influence the ability of the government to act. How institutions (including electoral systems) are empowered will create political systems, which provide benefits to their citizens. All of these systems can be effective at guaranteeing civil liberties and civil rights. Chapter 7-Political Violence What is political violence? Political violence refers to: hostile acts that occur outside of the control of the state and that seeks to achieve a political objective. Illegal Done by people who don’t have affiliation to a country/society Thus, political violence represents confrontation with state institutions that have failed to meet the expectations of some citizens. Institution uses violence in response to someone changing things (Ex. Julius Ceasar assassinated for changing tradition) Why individuals choose to express frustrations through violence is complicated and not entirely clear. Scholars have identified three basic explanations as to why individuals choose violence as a means of expression. These are institutional explanations (something’s going on with how society is organized), ideational explanations (ideology that was bringing everything into effect), and individualized explanations (this guy was nuts). Each hypothesis seeks to explain how an individual rationalizes violence as a form of expression. Explanations of violence Institutional explanations suggest that violence may occur in response to the institutions (or changes to the institutions) of the state and society. One votes and constantly doesn’t get the outcome they want If a president decides to change the constitution (how many terms a president can have), people will be upset by the change and may resort to violence to prevent to change. Institutions may also inadvertently promote violence. (Ex. Plurality- based voting systems.) As individuals perceive that other forms of participation are ignored or rejected, violence becomes a legitimate response to institutional shortcomings. Ideational explanations focus on the thought process behind violence. Ideational refers to the expression of ideas. Ideational explanations sometimes focus on ideological explanations of violence: an ideologies identify a problem and then provides a solution. Ideologies that promote revolutionary or reactionary political also provide an ideational basis for violence. Individual Explanations Individual explanations focus on the personal motivations of those who commit violence. Such individuals may be drawn to violence by psychological factors. Upbringing plays a factor Ex. Personal experiences or anger at changing values. However, individuals may also view violence rationally and use it tactically. All three explanations can also work in connection with each other. Revolution Revolution can be defined as: the public seizure of the state with the purpose of overthrowing the existing government and regime. Revolutions have profound effects, often leading to a reimagining of how politics can be conducted and how societies can be organized. For these reasons, revolutions differ from coup d’états in that the public (in addition to elites) plays a major role in taking power. Revolutions may or may not be violent. The dramatic goals of revolution (and their probable resistance) make violence difficult to avoid even if revolutionaries are attempting to avoid it. Revolutions can be triggered through overwhelming public pressure, which may cause leaders to step aside rather than attempt to hang on to power. Ex. The fall of Communist states in most Eastern Europe. Revolutions, cont’d. Conditions that foster revolution are hotly debated. The behavioral revolution was the first process that attempted to explain revolution in a generalized manner. This scholarship explained revolutions using the relative deprivation model. This stipulates that revolutions will occur when public expectations outpace the rate of change. Thus, economic development may do more to explain revolution than a lack of it. (Ex. Iran) Other explanations have focused on how state institutions respond to changing public demand and international pressures. Using this approach, a key factor in determining the success of a revolution will be the degree to which police and military forces support revolutionaries. Continuity between old regimes and new persist in spite of revolution. Repression may continue as new regimes seek to consolidate their authority. Terrorism Terrorism refers to a violent act that targets noncombatants and is intended to spread fear, or serve a political purpose. Terrorism is a tactic used by strategically weaker groups to combat another country, occupying force, or an ideology. Terrorism is designed to undermine civilian support for a government. This discontent is intended to force the state to discontinue the unpopular policy. Such a strategy is most effective when attacks are publicized by the media. The primary effects of terrorism are psychological, and are intended to generate fear in a society. Citizens may grow to fear for their safety as areas common to everyday life are attacked. Thus, terrorist attacks are not random. They are intended to trigger this effect. Terrorism, cont’d. The effectiveness of terrorism is questionable. Suicide bombings in Lebanon may have led the US to withdraw from the state in 1983. Terrorist acts in Chechnya led to a serious crackdown by Russian forces. Al-Qaida has mostly been contained since the 9/11 attacks. Terrorism may be diffused by conferring political legitimacy to a sympathetic group. Such actions allow a group to lawfully pursue their goals. However, this is controversial due to damages inflicted on the citizens of a state. Ex. The IRA and the “Good Friday Accords.” Goals of violent activity Terrorism and revolutions generally seek to achieve the same objectives. Both seek to violently upend the existing social structure in order to replace it with an ideological alternative. Some revolutionaries view terrorism as a way to trigger a revolution. Terrorism and revolutions both see the existing political system as illegitimate and reject the idea of political reform. Because of its revolutionary objectives, terrorism can also be distinguished from guerrilla warfare, or warfare involving non- state combatants who accept traditional rules of war and do not target civilians. Guerillas typically acknowledge opponents as legitimate actors and wish to be regarded as legitimate in return. Religious Violence Recall: Religion had been supplanted by political and economic ideologies in the late 19 Century. Yet as ideologies have failed to live up to their promises, religion returned to prominence in public life. This also gave rise to fundamentalism, or attempts to fuse state authority with religious values. What conditions lead fundamentalists to engage in political violence? Conditions do vary according to religion and experiences, but some basic trends are evident: Generally speaking, violent fundamentalists exhibit a hostility to modern society. Ex. gay marriage They view modern society as actively seeking to eradicate religious individuals. And they adhere to apocalyptic (and then) utopian beliefs.