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Concepts in Comparative Politics

Concepts in Comparative Politics

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Concepts in Comparative Politics

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  1. Concepts in Comparative Politics States

  2. What is a state? • An institution that monopolizes legal authority within a given territory • Weber: States have a “monopoly on violence” • Where does the state enter your life? • States as Image and Practice • Image: coherent, unified, above society • Practice: made up of diverse people & agencies; linked to society in various ways

  3. What are the 3 main attributes of a state? • Sovereignty • What is it? • Who violates it? • Legitimacy • How is it earned and maintained? (Weber) • Autonomy • Real or imagined? • Who impinges on state autonomy? (Marx)

  4. What are the 5 main institutional parts of the state? • Executive branch • A “government” in CP usually refers ONLY to the head of the govt & the cabinet • Legislative branch • Judicial branch • Bureaucracy • Military

  5. Key concepts: Early contributions from Karl Marx & Max Weber

  6. Karl Marx1818-1883 Marx, an early picture. Marx, 1882.

  7. Max Weber1864-1920

  8. Karl Marx – key ideas • history as a class-based struggle (“materialist” conception of history) • state as a “captive” of an economic elite (downplaying of the state) • national interests & identities becoming subsumed to global market forces • transformation of society: economics organizes society rather than the other way around

  9. Max Weber – key contributions • Definitions of states • “Ideal type” categorizations of different types of states • Why people obey states • founder of modern sociology: developed methodology for studying societies so they could be compared to each other • Emphasized need for conceptual frameworks and categories rather than simple description • multi-causality: ideas and culture help shape economics and history. • Politics is not all about economics!