Understanding the Political World offers a comparative perspective on how politics works at the global, national, group, and individual level. Focusing on how fundamental concepts in political science relate to real political events, this bestselling text surveys political behavior, systems, and processes throughout the world and asks students to evaluate and apply this knowledge. Through an engaging writing style, numerous examples, and the instructive use of cartoons and photographs, Understanding the Political World encourages students to think like political scientists and to critically examine new and enduring political realities and challenges.
About the Author
Table of Contents
(At the end of each Chapter, there is a "For Further Consideration" and a "For Further Reading").
I. ON KNOWING THE POLITICAL WORLD.
1. Politics and Knowledge.
Types of Political Knowledge.
Sources of Political Knowledge.
Criticisms of Political Science as a "Science".
Political Science as a Means of Understanding the Political World.
Where Is This Book Going?
II. POLITICAL BEHAVIOR.
2. Political Beliefs.
Individual Political Beliefs.
Belief Systems among Mass Publics.
Belief Systems among Elites.
National Character Studies.
Some Further Points about "Isms".
3. Political Actions.
Individual Political Actions.
Modes of Political Activity.
Political Participation Studies.
Group Political Actions.
Political Interest Groups.
Activities of Political Interest Groups.
Constraints on a Group's Behavior.
Types of Interest Groups.
Activities of Political Parties.
4. Influences on Beliefs and Actions.
Agents of Political Socialization.
The Media and Culture.
III. POLITICAL SYSTEMS.
5. States and Nations.
A Legal Definition.
A Structural-Functional Definition.
The Domain of State Action.
The Political System.
Systems in General.
The Political System Defined.
Conceptualization of the Political System.
The Utility of the Political Systems Approach.
Three Major Concepts: A Reprise.
6. Political Institutions I: Structures.
Roles of the Legislature.
The Decline of Legislatures.
Roles of Executives.
The Age of the Executive?
Bureaucracy as One Form of Administration.
Administrative Functions and Power.
Aspects of Adjudication.
7. Political Institutions II: Institutional Arrangements.
Democracies and Nondemocracies.
A Democracy-Nondemocracy Continuum.
Constitutional and Nonconstitutional Regimes.
A Real Distribution of Power.
Forms of Executive-Legislative Relations.
Parliamentary (Cabinet) Government.
Which Form Is Optimal?
Political Party Systems.
Classification and Clarity.
8. Political Economy.
Politics and Economics.
A Political-Economic Framework.
Factors, Firms, and Households/Consumers.
Getting and Spending.
The State (and the World) Join In.
Two Ideal-Type Political Economies.
The Market Economy: Total Private Control.
The Command Economy: Total State Control.
Key Problems for Each Ideal-Type Political Economy.
The Mixed Economy.
Politics Plus Political Economy: The Other "Isms".
The Three "Isms".
The Real World.
IV. POLITICAL PROCESSES.
9. Politics as a Value Allocation Process.
The Elite Approach.
The Value Allocation Process.
The Prevalence of Elite-based Political Systems.
The Class Approach.
The Group Approach.
The Three Approaches Compared.
Which Approach Is Correct?
Essential Similarities and Differences.
10. Change and Political Development.
Characteristics of "More Developed" Social Systems.
The Process of Development.
The Dynamics of Economic Development.
Characteristics of Political Development.
The Process of Political Development.
Political Development as Democratization.
Political Institutionalization and Political Decay.
Achieving Political Development.
11. Political Violence.
Types of Political Violence.
State Violence against Individuals or Groups.
Individual Violence against an Individual.
Group Violence against an Individual.
Group Violence against a Group.
Individual or Group Violence against the State.
Evaluating Political Violence: Means and Ends.
V. POLITICS AMONG STATES.
12. Politics between States.
The Goals of States.
Realist and Idealist Perspectives on the State's "Motives".
Mechanisms of Cooperation between States.
Diplomacy and Interstate Agreements.
Competition among States.
Balance of Power.
Balance of Terror.
Domination and Dependence.
Competition in the Post-Cold War World.
Violence between States.
Threat of Force.
Display of Force.
Use of Force.
What Causes War?
Is War Justifiable?
13. The More Developed Countries.
An Introduction to the Next Three Chapters: Grouping the States in the Contemporary World.
The Developed Countries.
The Developing Countries.
The Transitional Developed Countries.
Images of the More Developed Countries.
Challenges to Stability.
The Era of Colonialism.
The Cold War Period.
Challenges to Security in the Post-Cold War Period.
The Developed Countries Overall.
14. The Developing Countries.
Third World Images.
Obstacles to Prosperity.
Strategies for Prosperity.
Challenges to Political System Effectiveness.
The Decline of Political Order.
Concluding Observations: It's Got to Get Better(?).
15. The Transitional Developed Countries.
The Post-Communist Developed Countries.
The Newly Industrializing Countries.
The Future of the Transitional Developed Countries.
16. The Last Chapter: Looking Backward, Looking Forward.
Into the Twenty-first Century: Understanding and Action.
Challenge 1: The Quest for Harmony with Our Technology.
Challenge 2: The Quest for Harmony with Planet Earth.
Challenge 3: The Quest for Harmony with One Another.
Choosing a Future.
Appendix: Political Analysis.
Selected Internet Sites.