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This text provides a comprehensive introduction to comparative politics. Comparative politics is an empirical science that deals primarily with domestic politics. It is one of the three main subfields of political science, alongside international relations and political theory. Comparative politics has three goals: to describe differences and similarities between political systems and their features; to explain these differences; and to predict which factors may cause specific outcomes. This edition compares the most important features of national political systems and contains chapters on integration, globalization, and promotion of democracy in non-Western parts of the world. This introductory chapter explains what comparative politics is, and discusses its substance as well as method.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the complex and multifaceted relationship between science and politics. Although science and politics each follow a distinct logic and pursue distinct objectives, they are inextricably connected to one another. On the one hand, science influences political debates, by drawing attention to certain problems and providing necessary justifications for political action. On the other hand, political dynamics, including political values and power relations, structure the conduct of science. The chapter highlights the different aspects of the co-production of science and politics, in the framework of international environmental debates. An increasing number of studies on global environmental governance suggest that science and politics are co-produced. As they shape each other, it is impossible to understand one without considering the other. Political interactions are partly based on available knowledge, and scientific production is a social practice that is conditioned by its political context.

Chapter

Milja Kurki and Colin Wight

This chapter focuses on the major debates within International Relations (IR) theory with regard to the philosophy of social science. The philosophy of social science has played a key role in the formation, development, and practice of IR as an academic discipline. Issues concerning the philosophy of social science are frequently described as meta-theoretical debates. Meta-theory primarily deals with the underlying assumptions of all theory and attempts to understand the consequences of such assumptions on the act of theorizing and the practice of empirical research. The chapter first provides an historical overview of the philosophy of social science in IR before discussing both the implicit and explicit roles played by meta-theoretical assumptions in IR. It then considers the contemporary disciplinary debates surrounding the philosophy of social science and concludes by analysing how theoretical approaches to the study of world politics have been shaped by meta-theoretical ideas.

Chapter

This chapter considers how the arguments associated with the different theories of International Relations discussed in the book sum up. More specifically, it asks whether IR is (still?) a discipline, and whether it is likely to remain one. The chapter examines the intellectual and social patterns of IR and the discipline as a social system, along with its relations of power, privilege, and careers. It also reflects on where, what, and how IR is today by drawing on theories from the sociology of science, whether IR can be regarded as a subdiscipline within political science, and the social structure of IR. It argues that the discipline of international relations is likely to continue whether or not ‘international relations’ remains a distinct or delineable object. It also contends that the core of the intellectual structure in the discipline of IR has been recurring ‘great debates’.

Chapter

Sierens Vivien and Ramona Coman

This chapter studies causation, which occupies a central place in the social sciences. In their attempts to understand and explain ‘why’ social, economic, and political phenomena occur, scholars have dealt with causality in many different ways. The way to define and observe causal relationships has always been at the heart of harsh academic debates in social as well as natural sciences. Drawing on distinctive ontological and epistemological standpoints, at least four different understandings of causation have emerged in political science. Most authors have adopted a correlational-probabilistic understanding of causation, but some have preferred a configurational one, while others have adopted a mechanistic or even a counterfactual understanding. To illustrate the concrete methodological challenges generated by this theoretical pluralism, the chapter discusses how scholars have dealt with causality to explain the impact of European integration on domestic policies and institutions.

Chapter

This chapter considers how the arguments associated with the thirteen different theories of International Relations discussed in the book sum up. More specifically, it asks whether IR is (still?) a discipline, and whether it is likely to remain one. The chapter examines the intellectual and social patterns of IR and the discipline as a social system, along with its relations of power, privilege, and careers. It also reflects on where, what, and how IR is today by drawing on theories from the sociology of science, whether IR can be regarded as a subdiscipline within political science, and the social structure of IR. It argues that the discipline of international relations is likely to continue whether or not ‘international relations’ remains a distinct or delineable object. It also contends that the core of the intellectual structure in the discipline of IR has been recurring ‘great debates’.

Chapter

Milja Kurki and Colin Wight

This chapter focuses on the major debates within International Relations theory with regard to the philosophy of social sciences. The philosophy of social science has played a key role in the formation, development, and practice of IR as an academic discipline. Issues concerning the philosophy of social science are frequently described as meta-theoretical debates. Meta-theory primarily deals with the underlying assumptions of all theory and attempts to understand the consequences of such assumptions on the act of theorizing and the practice of empirical research. The chapter first provides an historical overview of the philosophy of social science in IR before discussing both the implicit and explicit roles played by meta-theoretical assumptions in IR. It then considers the contemporary disciplinary debates surrounding the philosophy of social science and concludes by analysing how theoretical approaches to the study of world politics have been shaped by meta-theoretical ideas.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the nature of politics and political analysis. It first defines the nature of politics and explains what constitutes ‘the political’ before asking whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It then considers the boundary problems inherent in analysing the political and whether politics should be defined in narrow terms, in the context of the state, or whether it is better defined more broadly by encompassing other social institutions. It also addresses the question of whether politics involves consensus among communities, rather than violent conflict and war. The chapter goes on to describe empirical, normative, and semantic forms of political analysis as well as the deductive and inductive methods of the study of politics. Finally, it examines whether politics can be a science.

Book

Catherine E. De Vries, Sara B. Hobolt, Sven-Oliver Proksch, and Jonathan B. Slapin

Foundations of European Politics introduces important tools of social science and comparative analysis. The first part of the book acts as an introduction to the topic, looking at democratic politics and multilevel politics in Europe. The second part moves on to citizens and voters, considering issues related to ideology and voting decisions. Part III looks at elections and introduces electoral systems and direct democracy, representation, political parties, and party competition. The next part is about government and policy. The last part looks at the rule of law, democracy, and backsliding.

Chapter

This chapter studies how the scope of global politics has been extended over the last half century or so to include the impact of human industrial activity on the environment. The environmental movement and ‘green theory’ have grown out of concerns with the deleterious impact of this activity and the capacity of the planet to carry the burden of ‘business as usual’ in a world driven by the imperatives of endless growth. Many now believe that the impact on the earth’s systems is so significant that the present geological period should be recognized as the ‘Anthropocene’. Climate change is probably the most prominent issue associated with the Anthropocene at present, but it is not the only one. The chapter examines a range of issues in global environment politics, starting with the reconceptualization of the present period. It then moves on to an account of the environmental movement, the emergence of various ‘green’ ideologies and theories, and the politics of science. This is essential background for considering the role of the state and its sovereign powers in the context of global environmental politics.

Chapter

This chapter deals with recent theoretical work on the European Union. Three broad analytical pathways that depart from the classical debate are discussed in this chapter: comparative political science; a revitalized international relations (IR); and ‘critical theories’. Two additional pathways—governance and normative political theory—are considered in other chapters (see Chapters 7 and 9). This chapter discusses in turn the contribution to EU studies of comparative political science in general and new institutionalist political science, and in particular the emergence of social constructivist approaches to the EU, IR’s contribution to the theorization of EU external action, together with approaches from the subfield of international political economy (IPE), and a variety of critical theoretical readings of the EU. The chapter also explores how IR theories might be brought back into EU studies. The purpose of the chapter is to show how the EU still raises significant questions about the nature of authority, statehood, and the organization of the international system. These questions are doubly significant in the present period of crisis, where the issue of ‘disintegration’ comes to the fore.

Chapter

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.

Chapter

This text provides readers with the analytic skills and resources they need to evaluate research findings in political research, as well as the practical skills for conducting their own independent inquiry. It shows that empirical research and normative research are not independent of each other and explains the distinction between positivism and interpretivism, and between quantitative and qualitative research. Part 1 of this edition discusses key issues in the philosophy of social science, while Part 2 presents a ‘nuts and bolts’ or ‘how to’ guide to research design, such as how to find and formulate a research question. Part 3 evaluates different methods of data collection and analysis that can be used to answer research questions, along with the variety of considerations and decisions that researchers must confront when using different methods.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on a key debate in the philosophy of social science: whether it is possible to separate facts and values in social science research. It first considers normative and empirical theory in political research before discussing the ways in which the values of the researcher influence the research process. It then examines Thomas Kuhn’s arguments concerning paradigms and how they change through scientific ‘revolutions’, along with their implications for the possibility of value-free social inquiry. It looks at an example of how the notion of ‘paradigm’ has been applied to a specific area of inquiry within politics: the study of development. It also compares Kuhn’s paradigms with Imre Lakatos’ concept of ‘scientific research programmes’.

Chapter

This chapter examines four important debates in International Political Economy (IPE). The first debate concerns power and the relationship between politics and economics, and more specifically whether politics is in charge of economics or whether it is the other way around. The second debate deals with development and underdevelopment in developing countries. The third debate is about the nature and extent of economic globalization, and currently takes places in a context of increasing inequality between and inside countries. The fourth and final debate pits the hard science American School of IPE against the more qualitative and normative British School of IPE.

Book

Edited by Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne

This text provides an introduction to the ever-changing field of foreign policy. Combining theories, actors, and cases, chapters provide an interesting introduction to what foreign policy is and how it is conducted. With an emphasis throughout on grounding theory in empirical examples, the text features a section dedicated to relevant and topical case studies where foreign policy analysis approaches and theories are applied. Chapters clearly convey the connection between international relations theory, political science, and the development of foreign policy analysis, emphasizing the key debates in the academic community. New chapters focus on such topics as public diplomacy, and media and public opinion. A new case study on Syria examines the forms of intervention that have and have not been adopted by the international community.

Chapter

Robyn Eckersley

This chapter examines how environmental concerns have influenced International Relations theory. It first provides a brief overview of the ecological crisis and the emergence of green theorizing in the social sciences and humanities in general, along with the status and impact of environmental issues and green thinking in IR theory. It then investigates green theory’s transnational turn and how it has become more global, while critical IR theory has become increasingly green. It also considers the different ways in which environmental issues have influenced the evolution of traditional IR theory. It concludes with a case study of climate change to illustrate the diversity of theoretical approaches, including the distinctiveness of green theories.

Chapter

Robyn Eckersley

This chapter examines how environmental concerns have influenced International Relations theory. It first provides a brief overview of the ecological crisis and the emergence of green theorizing in the social sciences and humanities in general, along with the status and impact of environmental issues and green thinking in IR theory. It then investigates green theory's transnational turn and how it has become more global, while critical IR theory has become increasingly green. It also considers the different ways in which environmental issues have influenced the evolution of traditional IR theory. It concludes with a case study of climate change to illustrate the diversity of theoretical approaches, including the distinctiveness of green theories. The chapter shows that a preoccupation with environmental justice is what unites the international political economy and normative wings of green IR theory.