Contemporary political analysis aims to examine the contemporary political analysis by looking at the various conceptual components involved with it. the course starts by discussing definitions of politics. it look at the nature of politics and how its very definition can underline the various possible approached to political analysis. From this initial discussion, contemporary political analysis spends two classes discussing classical and mainstream analytical approaches from which political analysis are made.
The course then examine the debate between structure and agency, which often shapes how explanations can focus on political actors, or their surrounding context, to understand a certain political event. Discussions, then, turn towards how analyses can be made on political changes. It discusses how explanations are built over transformative political changes, such as democratization.
An important relevant topic to political analysis is the notion of power. For this reason we study contemporary political analysis to examine the various conceptions of power, deriving from mainstream and non-mainstream research and their implications to the analysis of politics. From this discussion of power, we will turn to post-modern approach. Post-modern thought has created important challenges to social science in general. We examine these challenges and look at their effects on political analysis. From there, we then engage into discussions of the conceptual framework of materialism and idealism, examining the roles of ideas and material circumstances as determinant factors to understand political events.
The last two classes in contemporary political analysis are devoted to two non-mainstream contemporary approaches to political analysis. The first one, discourse analysis, takes discourse as a concept to understand how politics is possible in contemporary post-modern conditions. The second one focus on how sovereignty is maintained in contemporary world through the imposition of a global logic based on capital relations. Contemporary political analysis will compare and contrast these last two approaches, examining their claims and limitations.
OBJECTIVES AND REASONS WHY WE STUDY CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL ANALYSIS
(1) The course aims to familiarize students with a number of key approaches to the study of politics. Students will be introduced to a range of approaches and encouraged to reflect on the opportunities for and limits of independent research presented by each approach.
(2) The course aims to help students develop an understanding of what is involved in carrying out independent research in the fields of political science and political theory. The course will guide students through the basic problems of research design in political science/theory, focusing primarily on the problem of identifying a researchable project.
Other reasons why we study contemporary political analysis include:
To be able to understand some of the key approaches to political analysis
To introduce keys concepts and themes in the analysis of politics.
To teach how to analyze political phenomenon from different perspectives.
To examine and discuss theoretical tools, with which one can make critical analysis of politics.
The most important objective of the course is to expose students to contemporary approaches of political analysis, in order to facilitate their entrance at graduate level.
To be able to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of perspectives commonly employed in political analysis
To be able to assess the applicability of various approaches to a variety of research questions.
To have engaged in independent research.
To introduce a variety of modeling strategies that you will see applied in contemporary political science literature. Politics as process has both institutional and non-institutional dimensions. The purpose of this course is to explain the non-institutional political processes and thereby to sensitize the students on informal processes of politics.
Colin Hay, Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction (New York: Palgrave, 2002). Milton Friedman, “The Methodology of Positive Economics,” in Essays in Positive
Economics (Chicago 1962), 3-43
Maurice Lageux, “Friedman’s `Instrumentalism’ and Constructive Empiricism in
Economics,” Theory and Decision 37: 147-74, 1994
Morris P. Fiorina, “Formal Models in Political Science,” AJPS, 19:1 (February 1975), 133-59
Doug Dion, “The Robustness of the Structure-Induced Equilibrium,” AJPS, 36:2 (May 1992), 462-83
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and David Lalman, “Domestic Opposition and Foreign War,” APSR 84:3 (September 1990), 747-65
Sanford Gordon and Gregory Huber, “On the Electoral Incentives of Criminal Prosecutors,” March 1, 2001 ms