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Cover

The Science of Politics

An Introduction

Josep M. Colomer

Publication Date - July 2010

ISBN: 9780195397741

320 pages
Paperback
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $99.95

This broad, accessible, and rigorous overview uses thirty key principles to introduce students to the most important and substantive concepts in the field, including representation and policy

Description

A broad, accessible, and rigorous overview of politics, The Science of Politics: An Introduction introduces students to the most substantive and important issues in the field.

Josep M. Colomer takes a unique approach to the study of politics, addressing it from two points of departure: as a fundamental human activity to pursue the common interests of the members of a community (i.e., the "public good") and as the subject of systematic and reliable knowledge (i.e., science). This method helps to bridge a persistent gap between developments in research and actual teaching in the discipline. It provides students with the best possible foundation to build upon as they move into more advanced study in the field.

FEATURES

* Presents thirty
principles that have been established through research over the years
* Gives students the methodological tools
to explore, study, and understand questions and issues that they may encounter
* Discusses a variety of key issues including action, representation, government, and policy
* Incorporates a number of pedagogical devices including summaries, key concepts, review questions, problems and applications, comparative case studies, and special features explaining classic research contributions

About the Author(s)

Josep M. Colomer is a life member of the American Political Science Association and an elected member of the Academia Europaea. He has taught political science in New York, Washington, and Mexico and is currently a Research Professor at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) in Barcelona. He is the author of more than thirty books, which have been published in six languages.

Reviews

"I don't think that anyone has tried to write something like this before. If one wants to give an overview of political science, then this is about the only book there is!"--James A. Robinson, Harvard University

"At long last, a text that puts science back into political science; at the same time, it is not an 'American government and politics' text masquerading as an introduction to political science. I am delighted with it. The central concept of the 'public good' lends coherence to the organization of the book and allows Josep M. Colomer to integrate a vast amount of material encompassing all levels of analysis. The product is a remarkable achievement."--Abdalla Battah, Minnesota State University, Mankato

"The Science of Politics: An Introduction aims to do something that no other political science textbook currently does: to lay out the key 'things we know' about politics that satisfy the criteria of simplicity, practicality, and historical relevance. It is very well written, with an authoritative style that clearly demonstrates an impressive sweep of historical knowledge and understanding. . . . It has an analytical coherence which is consistent throughout the book, in line with the goal to be 'scientific'. This style completely distinguishes this text from others in the field and is a key selling point for students. I would recommend it to others without hesitation."--Helen Margetts, University of Oxford

Table of Contents

    INTRODUCTION
    What's Politics?
    Why Science?
    The Book

    SOME THINGS WE KNOW
    Thirty Propositions in Political Science

    I. ACTION

    1. THE PUBLIC GOOD
    Public Goods

    Indivisibility
    Externalities
    Source 1.1: Private Goods and Public Goods
    Types of Public Goods
    Pure Public Goods
    Club Goods
    The Commons
    Source 1.2: The Tragedy of the Commons
    The Politics of Public Goods
    Redistribution Fights
    The Growth of Public Expenditure
    Box 1.1: Measuring Government's Action

    2. COLLECTIVE ACTION
    The Individual Logic

    Weighed Benefits and Costs
    The Free Rider
    Selective Incentives
    Exit and Voice
    Case 2.1: Benefits and Costs of Voting
    Sources 2.1: The Individual Logic
    of Collective Action
    The Size of the Group
    Types of Groups
    Collective Identity
    Exploitation of the Large by the Small
    Sources 2.2: Small Groups Get Better Organized

    3. COOPERATION AND CONFLICT
    The Prisoner's Dilemma

    Cooperate and Defect
    Other Political Dilemmas
    Box 3.1: Going for the Blonde
    Case 3.1: Prisoner's Dilemma in the Opera
    Sources 3.1: Theory of Games

    The Evolution of Cooperation
    Tit for Tat
    Indefinite Plays
    Favorable Contexts
    Other Games of Collective Action
    Chicken
    Stag Hunt
    Box 3.2: Basic Games
    Sources 3.2: Chickens and Stags


    4. LEADERSHIP
    What is a Leader?

    Leaders' Benefits and Opportunity Costs
    Leaders' Personal Skills
    Cases 4.1: Some Top Leaders
    Sources 4.1: Effective Leadership
    Leaders and Followers
    The Chain Reaction
    The Tipping Game
    Box 4.1: Tipping Game of Leadership
    Institutions for Leadership
    Willing Leaders
    Reluctant Leaders
    Group Asymmetries
    Illustration
    Public Expenditure, 1870-2005

    II. POLITY

    5. COMMUNITY
    Multilevel Governance
    The Scale of Public Goods
    Complex Institutions
    Box 5.1: The Subsidiarity Criterion
    Case 5.1: Local Self-Government in Renaissance Italy
    Sources 5.1: Small is Democratic

    Sovereignty
    State-Building and Nation-Building
    State-War Making
    State-Failure
    Sources 5.2: National and Multinational States
    City, State, Empire
    City
    State
    Empire

    6. FEDERATION
    The Size of The
    Community
    Democratic Benefits
    Economic Efficiency
    Size and Democracy
    Union
    Ethnic Variety
    Divided Institutions
    The Choice of Federalism
    Box 6.1: Measuring Ethnic Variety
    Case 6.1: Consensual Switzerland
    Case 6.2: The Soviet Disunion
    Sources 6.1: Self-Government and Union


    7. DICTATORSHIP
    Forms of Dictatorship
    Totalitarianism
    Despotism
    Authoritarianism
    Cases 7.1: The Dictator's Succession
    Sources 7.1: Authoritarian and Totalitarian Dictatorships

    The Fall of Dictatorships
    Revolution and Civil War
    Democratization
    Case 7.2: Must Islam Be Associated with Dictatorship?

    8. DEMOCRACY
    What's Democracy?
    Overthrowing the Rulers
    Consolidation
    Box 8.1: Measuring Democracy
    Box 8.2: Democracy and Dictatorship in the World
    Sources 8.1: Civic Culture

    Democracy and Development
    Development Favors Democracy
    Democracy Favors Development
    Box 8.3: Economic Wealth and Political Regime
    Cases 8.1: Democratic India, Dictatorial China
    Sources 8.2: Socio-Economic Correlations with Political Democratization

    Democratic Peace
    Peace for Votes
    Peace Favors Democracy
    Illustration
    Country-Building, 1870-2008
    Democracy and Dictatorship, 1870-2008

    III. ELECTION

    9. POLITICAL PARTIES
    Why Parties

    Formation of Political Parties
    Functions of Parties
    Types of Parties
    Party Members
    Two-Level Games
    Party Types
    Box 9.1: Extreme Activists
    Case 9.1: How the UK's Labour Choose
    Candidates
    Source 9.1: The Political Oligarchy


    10. ELECTORAL COMPETITION
    The Voters
    Individual Preferences
    The Voter's Utility Function
    Collective Distributions of Preferences
    Box 10.1: Party Voting and Issue Voting
    Sources 10.1: Elections as Markets

    Convergence on the Median Voter
    Electoral Equilibrium
    The Efficient Median Voter
    Sources 10.2: The Median Voter Maximizes Social Utility
    The Incumbent's Advantage
    Governments Win and Lose Elections
    Party Identification
    Box 10.2: Measuring Electoral Change
    Box 10.3: Mathematics of Voting


    11. AGENDA FORMATION
    Multiple Issues
    Individual Indifferences
    The Winning Set
    Case 11.1: Electoral Competition in the United States
    Sources 11.1:
    Multidimensional Instability
    Setting The Agenda
    Party Advantage on Issues
    Electoral Campaigns
    Cumulative Policy Making
    Cases 11.2: Electoral Issues in TV Ads
    Sources 11.2: Political Arguments


    12. PARTY SYSTEMS
    Number of Parties
    Numbers of Issues and Parties
    Ideology
    What's an Ideology?
    The Left-Right Ideological Dimension
    Polarization vs. Consensus
    Box 12.1: Measuring Party Systems
    Case 12.1: Swing Political Parties
    Source 12.1: Types of Party Systems

    Illustration
    Government Parties, 1945-2005

    IV. GOVERNMENT

    13. CHOOSING PRESIDENTS
    Unanimity

    Unanimous Consent
    Advantage of the Status-Quo
    Majority
    The Median Voter's Majority
    Majority-Runoff
    Plurality
    Comparing Majority Runoff and Plurality Rules
    The Choice of Majority Rules
    Box 13.1: The 'Impossibility' to Be Fair
    Box 13.2: Majority Procedures
    Case 13.1: Divide and Win in Black and White
    Sources 13.1: The Majority is the Whole


    14. ELECTING ASSEMBLIES
    Assembly Size

    Large Countries, Large Assemblies
    Seat-Apportionment
    Persons and Parties
    Community Voting
    Single-Seat Districts
    Proportional Representation
    Electoral Representation
    Party Representation
    Personal Representation
    Box 14.1: Proportional Quotas
    Box 14.2: Measuring Proportionality
    Case 14.1: Protective Proportional Representation
    Cases 14.2. Single-Seat and Multi-Seat Ballots
    Sources 14.1: The Chicken and the Egg


    15. DIVISION OF POWERS
    Assemblies and Presidents

    Parliamentary Regime
    Presidential Regime
    Box 15.1: Three Assemblies
    Parliamentary Regime
    Single-Party Parliamentarism
    Multiparty Parliamentarism
    Case 15.1: Ceremonial Chief of State
    Presidential Regime
    Checks and Balances
    Presidentialism
    Semi-Presidentialism
    Box 15.2: Concentration of Power
    Sources 15.1: The Presidentialist Temptation


    16. PARTY GOVERNMENT
    Single-Party and Multi-Party Government

    Appointing the Government
    Office and Policy
    Power Distribution
    Cabinet Duration
    Box 16.1: Forming a Winning Coalition
    Case 16.1: The Importance of Being Not Too Many

    Unified and Divided Government
    Divided Elections
    Legislative Process
    Presidential and Congressional Dominance
    Multiparty Presidents
    Illustration
    Assembly Electoral Systems, 1870-2008
    Political Regimes, 1870-2008

    FINAL THOUGHTS
    FURTHER READING
    KEY CONCEPTS
    POLITICAL THINKERS
    CREDITS
    INDEX

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