10375 Approaches to the Study of Politics 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Political Science

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including Democracies and Dictatorships: Comparative Politics,2 Introduction to International Relations, Government and Politics in Israel. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

The course is based on a series of articles presenting different approaches, critical articles about specific approaches and review articles, edited by Bernard Susser.

The course presents a critical overview of the variety of approaches to political science and demonstrates that research approaches do not have only an operational dimension, but are strongly related to fundamental decisions concerning the essence of human behavior and to an understanding of the nature of modern science.

Topics: Characteristics of the behavioral approach and critiques of the approach; Politics as a system of inputs and outputs: the systems approach, the functional approach, the cybernetic communication approach; Politics as “rational” behavior: game theory, politics as an economic market; The psychological approach and its variants; Marxist critique; Leo Strauss’ critique.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.

2or Democracies and Dictatorships: Ideas, Contexts, Regimes (10660, 3 cr.) which is no longer offered.