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What is Political Science?


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Political Science is...
...the study of governments public policy and political process, systems, and political power
Approaches to political science
Political science>>3 major methodological traditions: (schools of thought) traditionalism, behavioralism, & post behavioralism
Political Socialization
the process by which citizens acquire their beliefs, knowledge, feelings, and evaluations of the political world. Family is the #1 influence in regard to political socialization.
Public Opinion Polls
Allow individuals to see how certain demographics view certain political issues or problems
Demographics
data about the characteristics of a population such as the number, origin, and age
Niccolo Machiavelli
His book "The Prince" >> POWER not "Justice" is the most important unit of analysis in politics>>Primary purpose of government is to prevent civil unrest & to promote security at home & abroad
Social Contract Theorists (Defined)
Thinkers beginning in the seventeenth century who sought to explain human nature by looking at the terms by which gov'ts are set up in the first place
Social Contract Theorists (People)
Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, & Jean- Jacques Rousseau (focused mostly on the power relationship between gov't and individual)
Thomas Hobbes
Leviathan>>Proves that Machiavelli's book is correct >> political power should be used to promote the more limited goal of preventing social turmoil & war>>"Authoritarian system"-individuals surrender all political power to gov't so that gov't…
John Locke
∑ Personal physician to Shaftesbury household,
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
wanted "direct democracy" where the people as a whole make decisions for themselves
Richard Neustadt
(Amer. Machiavelli) argues that the presidents must have the political skills to "persuade" the WA establishment & the Amer. public to act on their agendas
Social sciences
Any number of academic disciplines that seek to understand human behavior
Traditionalism
Relies largely on normative evaluations >>traditionalists seek answers to questions that try to determine if individuals within gov't institutions (like congress) are acting how they "ought to be acting"
behavioralism
look at the actual behavior of those in the political process & employ an empirical (or data-driven approach) >> try to determine why certain people behave the way they do
post-behavioralism
Hybrid of previous schools
Theory
An idea that has been tested that aims to demonstrate a correlation between political phenomena
Hypothesis
An educated guess about a particular experiment>>"Theory & Practice" feature
Comparative politics
Examines different types of institutions & issues w/in different countries. Usually regionally based
international relations
A field in political science which concentrates on relations between countries, such as foreign policy, war, trade, and foreign aid
The most important concept in Political Science
Power is a BEHAVIOR. It is the ability to get someone to do something they wouldn't otherwise do
Military/economy VS Diplomatic/cultural
Hard VS Soft Power
Common decisions
a way to work out rationally the best common solution to a common problem
Exercise of Power
Ability to get someone to do what you want
Political scientists
Attempt to see reveal the relationships underlying political events. Attempt to construct general principals about the way politics works
Political Theory
studies the history of political thought and attempts to define the good polity
Cooperative politics
examines politics within other nations to establish generalization about governments
public policy
A specific course of action taken by government to achieve a public goal.
Political Power
Enables the carrying out of politics and decisions
Biological power
asserts that its in human nature to form social groups with "dominance hierarchies"
Psychological Power
Shows how humans behave in various situations, asserts that the behaviors are innate; however there tend to be some who violate the norm
Cultural Power
Argues that much human behavior is learned derived from our culture
Rational Power
people form governments because it is a rational thing to do; we need institutions to survive
Irrational Power
This view argues that people are emotional, moved by myths and stereotypes
Composite Power
Elements of all these explications have some truth
state
The organization that maintains a monopoly of force over a given territory; A set of political institutions to generate and execute policy regarding freedom and equality
Sovereignty
signifies the independent of a nation among other nations and the ability of a state to rule over a specified boundary without external interference
Authority
A political leaders ability to command respect and excursive power, relying on a sense of obligation based on legitimate power of office
Legal Authority
Right to rule according to the constitution
Legitimate Authority
Right to rule because out is accepted by the people
legitimacy
a characterization of elections by political scientists meaning that they are almost universally accepted as a fair and free method of selecting political leaders
Traditional Legitimacy
Acceptance that comes from culture or tradition
Charismatic Legitimacy
Acceptance that comes form stature and who that person is
Rational-legal legitimacy
Acceptance because it is codified in law and is legitimate
Level 3