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Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

7. Challenges to the Dominant Ideologies  

Robert Garner

This chapter examines a range of contemporary ideologies which challenge the traditional ones identified in ~Chapter 5. They differ from traditional ideologies in a number of ways. They are, first, less optimistic about the ability of ideologies to construct an overarching explanation of the world, not surprisingly since they emerged in the aftermath of the catastrophic impact of some traditional ideologies. They also respect difference and variety. This is a product of social and economic change which has eroded the ‘Fordist’ economy, brought into being a number of powerful identity groups based on gender, culture, and ethnicity, and raised question marks over the environmental sustainability of current industrial practices. Two modern political currents – postmodernism and populism – are considered and it is questioned whether they can be properly described as ideologies. The chapter then considers a number of contemporary ideologies such as feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and religious fundamentalism.

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14. Civil Society, Interest Groups, and the Media  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter focuses on the concept of civil society, along with interest groups and the media. It first provides a background on the evolution of civil society and interest groups before discussing corporatism. In particular, it examines the ways in which civil society responds to state actors and tries to manoeuvre them into cooperation. This is politics from below. The chapter proceeds by considering the notion of ‘infrapolitics’ and the emergence of a school of ‘subaltern’ studies. It also explores the role of the media in political life and the impact of new communication technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones on politics. Finally, it evaluates some of the challenges presented by new media to civil society.

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Cover Introduction to Politics

23. Conclusion: Towards a Globalizing, Post- Western-Dominated World  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter summarizes the text’s various arguments. It first considers the relationships between the study of political philosophy, political institutions, and international relations and suggests that the study of politics cannot be divorced from the study of other social sciences such as economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, law, and history. It also contends that the study of politics should be seen as a genuinely international and comparative enterprise and explains how trends in globalization have further eroded the distinctions between domestic and international politics and between the domestic politics of individual nation-states. Finally, it discusses the rise of the so-called ‘new medievalism’, a scenario in which the world is moving towards greater anarchy; signs that global power is shifting from the West to the East; and developments showing that domestic politics and international relations are mutating.

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18. Critical Approaches to Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines seven critical approaches to global politics: Marxism, Critical Theory, constructivism, feminism, postmodernism, postcolonial theory, and green theory. In their book The Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels address the implications for global order of the rise of capitalism and the role of the bourgeoisie as controllers of capital. Their ideas have had a major influence on critical approaches to virtually all aspects of both domestic and global politics. The chapter considers some major strands of Marxist-influenced theory of direct relevance to global politics, including dependency theory, world-system theory, Gramscian theory, and Frankfurt School theory. It also discusses gender theory and compares postmodern/poststructural approaches to global politics with Critical Theory and constructivism in International Relations.

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15. Democracies, Democratization, and Authoritarian Regimes  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter focuses on democracies, democratization, and authoritarian regimes. It first considers the two main approaches to analysing the global rise of democracy over the last thirty years: first, long-term trends of modernization, and more specifically economic development, that create preconditions for democracy and opportunities for democratic entrepreneurs; and second, the sequences of more short-term events and actions of key actors at moments of national crisis that have precipitated a democratic transition — also known as ‘transitology’. The chapter proceeds by discussing the different types of democracy and the strategies used to measure democracy. It also reviews the more recent literature on authoritarian systems and why they persist. Finally, it examines the challenges that confront democracy in the face of authoritarian revival.

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4. Democracy and Political Obligation  

Robert Garner

This chapter examines the claim that democracy is the ideal form of political obligation. It first traces the historical evolution of the term ‘democracy’ before discussing the debate between advocates of the protective theory and the participatory theory of democracy, asking whether it is possible to reconcile elitism with democracy and whether participatory democracy is politically realistic. The chapter proceeds to explain why democracy is viewed as the major grounding for political obligation, with emphasis on the problem of majority rule and what to do with the minority consequences of majoritarianism. It documents the contemporary malaise experienced by democracy and seeks to explain its perceived weaknesses as a form of rule. Finally, the chapter describes the new directions that democratic theory has taken in recent years, focusing on four theories: associative democracy, cosmopolitan democracy, deliberative democracy, and ecological democracy.

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20. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter discusses diplomacy and the conduct of foreign policy, both of which are fundamental to relations between political communities worldwide. It first considers diplomacy and its related concept, statecraft, in global history, focusing on some important concepts such as raison d’état (reason of state) and machtpolitik (power politics). It then examines diplomatic practice in contemporary global politics, with particular emphasis on track-two diplomacy and third-party mediation, along with developments in diplomacy during the Cold War. It also looks at public diplomacy, which may be understood as an instrument of ‘soft power’ in contrast with the methods of power politics. It concludes with an overview of the European Union’s common foreign and security policy.

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13. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governance  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter explores the relations between the executive and legislative branches of government, along with their role in formulating government policy. It first describes the general framework of legislature–executive relations before discussing the civil service and its embedded autonomy. It then examines theories of bureaucratic policy-making, with particular emphasis on the problem of facilitating policy innovation, as well as the more recent proliferation of government agencies and the concepts of governance and good governance. It also considers the spread of the domain of policy-making beyond state officials or civil servants to issue networks and policy communities and concludes by analysing the emergence of a ‘network state’ and its implications for civil servants.

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5. Freedom and Justice  

Robert Garner

This chapter examines two related, but distinct, political concepts — justice and freedom. It first considers various possible constraints on freedom before discussing the degree to which freedom is desirable. It then explores various alternative values that might conflict with freedom, mainly in the context of John Stuart Mill’s political thought; these include equality, paternalism, and happiness. The chapter proceeds by analysing the concept of justice and various criteria for determining its meaning in the context of the major competing theories of justice provided by John Rawls and Robert Nozick. Finally, it evaluates alternative theories of justice which challenge the conventional liberal view that theories of justice should focus only on the nation-state and are applicable only to human beings.

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22. Global Political Economy  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter provides an overview of the field of Global Political Economy (GPE), also known as International Political Economy (IPE). It begins with a discussion of how GPE/IPE has developed as a major focus of study within the broader field of global politics over the last four decades. It then considers the rise of mercantilism as a theory of GPE, along with its relationship to nationalism and colonialism. It also examines the emergence of liberal political economy, Marxism and critical IPE, and the international economic order after World War II. In particular, it looks at the Bretton Woods system, which emerged after the war as a compromise between liberalism and nationalism. The chapter concludes with an analysis of international political, economic, and social problems associated with the North–South gap, globalization and regionalization in the post-Cold War period, and financial crises that rocked the global economic system.

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8. Institutions and States  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter deals with institutions and states. Institutions are essentially regular patterns of behaviour that provide stability and predictability to social life. Some institutions are informal, with no formally laid down rules such as the family, social classes, and kinship groups. Others are more formalized, having codified rules and organization. Examples include governments, parties, bureaucracies, legislatures, constitutions, and law courts. The state is defined as sovereign, with institutions that are public. After discussing the concept of institutions and the range of factors that structure political behaviour, the chapter considers the multi-faceted concept of the state. It then looks at the history of how the European type of state and the European state system spread around the world between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. It also examines the modern state and some of the differences between strong states, weak states, and democratic states.

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21. International Organizations in Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines the nature of international organizations and their role in global politics. It first explains what an international organization is before discussing the rise of international organizations from a historical perspective, focusing on developments from the nineteenth century onwards. It then considers the major intergovernmental institutions that emerged in the twentieth century and which have made significant contributions in shaping the global order, including the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. It also looks at non-governmental organizations and concludes with an analysis of ideas about social movements and global civil society, along with their relationship to the contemporary world of international organizations.

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16. Introducing Global Politics  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter discusses global politics in relation to the phenomenon of globalization. ‘Global politics’ as a field of study encompasses the traditional concerns of International Relations with how states interact under conditions of anarchy, but lays greater emphasis on the role of non-state actors and processes in a globalizing world. The chapter first provides an overview of politics in a globalizing world before explaining the basic distinctions between ‘state’ and ‘nation’ in the context of contemporary global politics. It then considers the variation in state forms and the phenomenon of empire throughout history as well as the historical emergence of the modern state and state system in Europe along with ideas about sovereignty and nationalism against the background of ‘modernity’. It also examines the effective globalization of the European state system through modern imperialism and colonialism and the extent to which these have been productive of contemporary global order.

Book

Cover Introduction to Politics

Robert Garner, Peter Ferdinand, and Stephanie Lawson

Combining theory, comparative politics, and international relations, Introduction to Politics provides an introduction to the subject. It covers both comparative politics and international relations, and contextualises this material with a wide range of international examples. The text takes a balanced approached to the subject, serving as a strong foundation for further study. The material is explored in an accessible way for introductory study, but takes an analytical approach which encourages more critical study and debate. Topics range from political power and authority to democracy, political obligation, freedom, justice, political parties, institutions and states, and global political economy

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Cover Introduction to Politics

1. Introduction: The Nature of Politics and Political Analysis  

Robert Garner

This introductory chapter examines the nature of politics and the political, and more specifically whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It begins by addressing questions useful when asking about ‘who gets what, when, how?’; for example, why those taking decisions are able to enforce them. The discussion proceeds by focusing on the boundary problems inherent in an analysis of the nature of the political. One such problem is whether politics is equivalent to consensus and cooperation, so that it does not exist in the event of conflict and war. The chapter then explores different forms of political analysis — the empirical, the normative, and the semantic—as well as deductive and inductive methods of studying politics. Finally, it asks whether politics can ever be a science to rival subjects in the natural sciences.

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10. Law, Constitutions, and Federalism  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter examines how laws, constitutions, and federalism provide structure to the context of political life. It first considers the importance of constitutions in determining the basic structure of the state and the fundamental rights of citizens that they establish before asking whether the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is Western-centric. It then explores different ways in which states may attempt to realize justice in applying the law, with particular emphasis on differences between Islamic and Western practice. It also discusses the importance of constitutional courts, the ways that the institution of federalism contains the powers of the state and manage diverse societies, and consociationalism as an alternative approach to managing such diversity. Finally, it comments on the increasing legalization of political life.

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9. Political Culture and Non-Western Political Ideas  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter begins by outlining the importance of poltical culture in structuring, but not determining, the behaviour of actors within individual political systems. It illustrates the persistence of its impact with the failure of Mao Zedong to eliminate traditional Chinese ways of thinking and create a wholly new political culture in the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand it cites fluctuations in Russian political culture over centuries to show that the perceived content of a particular political culture can be fundamentally contested and malleable, so that it does evolve. And it notes the recent claims of political leaders in Russia, China and India, amongst others, that their nations’ historical achievements raise them to the status of ‘civilization states’. One feature of a nation’s political culture is the recurring trends of issues and preoccupations in political thinking there. Then it goes on to examine issues in thinking in non-Western countries, that structure political attitudes and political behaviour differently from the West. It begins by looking at traditional notions of legitimate political authority in other regions of the world, particularly Asia, that preceded the arrival of Western colonialists. These often assumed more ‘organic’ and more segmented communities than would be associated with Western individualist ones influenced by the legacy of the French revolution. Then it considers more recent non-Western political thinking.

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12. Political Parties  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter deals with political parties: why they emerged, how they can be classified, what functions they perform, how they interact, and what challenges they are facing today. One of the paradoxes about democracies is that there is almost a unanimous consensus about the indispensability of political parties. On the other hand, the benefits of being a member of a political party are bound to be minuscule compared to the costs of membership. Thus it is irrational for people to join parties. They should only form (small) interest groups. The chapter first provides a historical background on the development of political parties before discussing their functions, such as legitimation of the political system, structuring the popular vote, and formulation of public policy. It then considers different types of political parties as well as the characteristics of party systems and concludes with an analysis of the problems facing political parties today.

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3. Political Power, Authority, and the State  

Robert Garner

This chapter examines the notion of power in relation to authority and the state. Power and authority are central concepts in politics. Politics is about competing interests and values, and this requires knowing something about power, since those who have power over others can determine which interests and values will be adopted by political decision-makers. The chapter first considers the link between power and authority before discussing the classic threefold typology of authority proposed by Max Weber: traditional authority, charismatic authority, and legal–rational authority. It then explores some conceptual questions about power; for example, whether it is the same as force, or whether it must be exercised deliberately. It also evaluates the methodological problems inherent in the measurement of power, particularly in relation to the different theories of the state such as pluralism, elitism, and Marxism.

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Cover Introduction to Politics

2. Politics and the State  

Robert Garner

This chapter explains why the state and sovereignty are relevant to the study of politics. It first provides an empirical typology of the state, ranging from the minimalist night-watchman state, approximated to by nineteenth-century capitalist regimes at one end of the spectrum, to the totalitarian state of the twentieth century at the other. It then examines the distribution of power in the state by focusing on three major theories of the state: pluralism, elitism, Marxism, as well as New Right theory. The chapter seeks to demonstrate that the theories of the state identified can also be critiqued normatively, so that pluralism, for instance, can be challenged for its divisive character, as exemplified by identity politics. It then goes on to review different views about what the role of the state ought to be, from the minimalist state recommended by adherents of classical liberalism, to the pursuit of distinctive social objectives as recommended, in particular, by proponents of communitarianism. Finally, it discusses empirical and normative challenges to the state and asks whether the state’s days are numbered.