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Flashcards in Chapter 1 Deck (17):

Comparative politics

The study and comparison of domestic politics across countries.



The struggle in any group for power that will give one or more persons the ability to make decisions for the larger group.



The ability to influence others or impose one’s will on them.


The comparative method

A way to compare cases and draw conclusions


What is the difference between inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning?

Inductive reasoning starts with the evidence as a way to uncover a hypothesis, whilst deductive reasoning starts with an hypothesis and then seeks out the evidence.



Define what is possible in political life by laying out the rules and structures of how politics operates. Politics is full of institutions, and they embody the norms or values unique to a given country. Institutions are both a cause and an effect of political behavior.



The ability of an individual to act independently, free of retribution from the state or other individuals.



Refers to a shared material standard of individuals within a community, society, or country.


Modernisation theory

Idea that as societies developed, they would become capitalist democracies, converging around a set of shared values and characteristics
- Idea that when countries become wealthier, they start to democratize
-Turns out not always to be true


Behavioural revolution

Subject of investigation shifted away from political institutions and toward individual political behaviour.
- Set of methods with which to approach politics.


Formal institutions

Based on officially sanctioned rules that are relatively clear


Informal institutions

Unwritten and unofficial, but no less powerful as a result than formal institutions.


Limitations of comparative politics

- Too many variables and cases which interfere to your selection (each case is different)
- General approach, no multicausality
- Limits to information and information gathering (often too few cases)
- Uneven distribution of regional focus
- Bias
- The problem of selecting cause and effect


Why were the two World Wars and the Cold War a turning point in political science and comparative politics?

- Growing movement toward universities in studying human behaviour
- World wars raised questions about ability of scholars to meaningfully contribute to understanding of world affairs
- Cold war with a rival SU, armed with nuclear weapons and revolutionary ideology, made understanding comparative politics seem a matter of survival
- Idea that science was the answer to most problems


What is the difference between quantitative research and qualitative research?

Quantitative method: gathering of statistical data across many countries to look for correlations and test hypothesis about cause and effect.
Qualitative method: mastery of a few cases through the detailed study of their history, language and culture.


What is the difference between method of difference and method of similarity

Method of difference:
If a dependent variable is common to all instances but one, and in that one instance, the independent variable is different, the variables are correlated:
- compare similar countries (you look for one country that’s different);
- keep a range of variable constant (test different dependent variables);
- find the answer to your question

Method of similarity (agreement):
If two or more examples have a variable in common, and all only have only one other variable in common, the variables are correlated:
- compare countries with a wide range of differences, but one variable in common;
- determine what other variables these nations share to establish and explain a situation.


Rational choice/game theory

Used to study the rules and games by which politics is played and how human beings act on their preferences (voting, choosing a party, or supporting a revolution)