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Understanding the Political World: A Comparative Introduction to Political Science / Edition 10

Understanding the Political World: A Comparative Introduction to Political Science / Edition 10

by James N. Danziger


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Understanding the Political World: A Comparative Introduction to Political Science / Edition 10

Understanding the Political World offers a personal writing style and a comparative perspective that illuminates how politics works on individual, group, national, and global levels.

Both students and instructors praise this best-selling introduction to political science. Students value the book's relevance to their experience in today's world; its engaging, highly readable writing style; and the many intriguing examples (including more than 60 found in boxed discussions) from every part of the world that make concepts more vivid and memorable. The numerous political cartoons, photographs, maps, and analytic diagrams effectively sustain students' interest and illuminate key concepts. Instructors appreciate the comprehensive and clear coverage of important theories and concepts and the logical manner in which the text explores many of the interesting questions addressed by political scientists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900205778750
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 03/03/2010
Series: MyPoliSciKit Series
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

James N. Danziger is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, where he also has served as Chair of the Department of Political Science, campus-wide Dean of Undergraduate Education, Chair of the Academic Senate, and Associate Director of the Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations. He is recipient of many honors and awards, including a Marshall Scholarship (to Great Britain), a Foreign Area Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa, and an IBM Faculty Award. He received the first UC Irvine Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award for Teaching in 1987 and the UC Irvine Distinguished Service Award in 1997. His Ph.D. is from Stanford University, and he has held visiting appointments at the universities of Aarhus (Denmark), Pittsburgh, and Virginia. His research has received awards from the American Political Science Association and the American Society for Public Administration. He has published extensively, particularly on information technology and politics, and he is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Electronic Government Research. He has also been an active participant in local politics.

Table of Contents

(At the end of each Chapter, there is a "For Further Consideration" and a "For Further Reading").


1. Politics and Knowledge.
On Politics.
Types of Political Knowledge.
Sources of Political Knowledge.
Personal Thought.
Political Science.
Political "Science"?
Criticisms of Political Science as a "Science".
Political Science as a Means of Understanding the Political World.
Where Is This Book Going?


2. Political Beliefs.
Individual Political Beliefs.
Belief Systems.
Belief Systems among Mass Publics.
Belief Systems among Elites.
Political Culture.
National Character Studies.
Survey Research.
Political Ideology.
Key Issues.
Classical Liberalism.
Some Further Points about "Isms".
Looking Ahead.

3. Political Actions.
Individual Political Actions.
Modes of Political Activity.

Political Activists.
Political Participation Studies.
Group Political Actions.
Political Interest Groups.
Activities of Political Interest Groups.
Constraints on a Group's Behavior.
Types of Interest Groups.
Political Parties.
Activities of Political Parties.
Doing Politics.

4. Influences on Beliefs and Actions.
The Environment.
Agents of Political Socialization.
The Family.
The Schools.
The Media and Culture.
Personal Traits.
Political "Personality".
Human Nature.
Concluding Observations.


5. States and Nations.
The State.
A Legal Definition.
A Structural-Functional Definition.
The Domain of State Action.
The Nation.
The Political System.
Systems in General.
The Political System Defined.
Conceptualization of the Political System.
System Persistence.
The Utility of the Political Systems Approach.
Three Major Concepts: A Reprise.

6. Political Institutions I: Structures.
The Legislature.
Roles of the Legislature.
Structural Arrangements.
The Decline of Legislatures.
Roles of Executives.
Structural Arrangements.
The Age of the Executive?
The Administration.
Bureaucracy as One Form of Administration.
Administrative Functions and Power.
The Judiciary.
Aspects of Adjudication.
Judicial Structures.
Concluding Observations.

7. Political Institutions II: Institutional Arrangements.
Broad Taxonomies.
Democracies and Nondemocracies.
Defining Democracy.
Defining Nondemocracies.
A Democracy-Nondemocracy Continuum.
Constitutional and Nonconstitutional Regimes.
Constitutional Regimes.
Nonconstitutional Regimes.
A Real Distribution of Power.
Unitary State.
Forms of Executive-Legislative Relations.
Presidential Government.
Parliamentary (Cabinet) Government.
Hybrid Systems.
Council Systems.
Assembly Systems.
Which Form Is Optimal?
Political Party Systems.
Two-Party Systems.
Multiparty Systems.
Dominant-Party Systems.
One-Party Systems.
No-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.
Market Economy.
Command Economy.
The Mixed Economy.
Politics Plus Political Economy: The Other "Isms".
The Three "Isms".
The Real World.
Concluding Observations.


9. Politics as a Value Allocation Process.
The Elite Approach.
Key Concepts.
Major Theorists.
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.
Political 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.
Political Society.
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.


12. Politics between States.
The Goals of States.
Realist and Idealist Perspectives on the State's "Motives".
Major Goals.
Mechanisms of Cooperation between States.
Diplomacy and Interstate Agreements.
International Law.
International Organizations.
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.
Political Culture.
Goal: Prosperity.
Mixed Economy.
Goal: Stability.
Political Institutionalization.
Order Maintenance.
Challenges to Stability.
Goal: Security.
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.
Developmental Classification.
Regional Classification.
Goal: Prosperity.
Obstacles to Prosperity.
Strategies for Prosperity.
Overall Performance.
Goal: Security.
Interstate Violence.
Economic Security.
Goal: Stability.
Challenges to Political System Effectiveness.
The Decline of Political Order.
Political Approaches.
Concluding Observations: It's Got to Get Better(?).

15. The Transitional Developed Countries.
The Post-Communist Developed Countries.
Political Culture.
Under Communism.
Goal: Prosperity.
Under Communism.
Goal: Stability.
Under Communism.
Goal: Security.
Under Communism.
The Newly Industrializing Countries.
Political Culture.
Goal: Prosperity.
Goal: Stability.
Goal: Security.
The Future of the Transitional Developed Countries.

16. The Last Chapter: Looking Backward, Looking Forward.
Political Outputs.
Political Structures.
Political Processes.
Political Change.
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.



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