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Introduces the concepts and vocabulary of Comparative Politics through a country-by-country analysis and recent case studies. By demonstrating that political life is universal and comparable, the text also proves that no country is really alien, but rather that all countries are understandable. Identifies the key institutions , political culture and patterns of interaction in Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, Brazil, South Africa and Iran. For individuals interested in understanding the inner workings of 9 major, contemporary political systems.
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A Note to Instructors
My feelings about the seventh edition of Countries and Concepts are contained in a possibly apocryphal early edition of Pravda, printed at the height of the Bolshevik Revolution, that advised its readers: "No news today. Events moving too fast." This edition of Countries and Concepts is full of changes. Britain, France, and Germany have replaced their conservative governments with ones of the center-left. Russia may be lurching toward authoritarianism. Only Japan does not change in any dramatic way. A tour of Japan convinced me that Japan does change, but slowly and reluctantly, always trying to preserve its core of Japaneseness. New to This Edition
The major innovation in the seventh edition is the building into the text of the booklet Political Geography of Countries and Concepts, which was earlier offered as a supplement. Beth Gillett Mejia, former Executive Editor for this book and now Director of Marketing, feels that geography is so important that it should not be left as a side issue. Students are often weak in geography these days; the subject seems to have been dropped from most school curricula. I have been offering Political Geography at Lycoming for some years, at the behest of Lycoming's education department, because students were doing poorly on the geography section of state teacher exams. I hear concerns about students' lack of geographical knowledge from other instructors, so Countries and Concepts tries to remedy this.
Other changes in the text are the addition of several instructional features to help emphasize concepts and definitions:
Key Websites: Each part opens with an annotated list of key website addresses to help students with further research. Questions to Consider: Each chapter opens with a list of "Questions to Consider" to prime students for the main points. Key Terms: Chapters now have running marginal glossaries, labeled "Key Terms," to make sure students are building their vocabularies as they read. The definitions listed are those of a political scientist; in other contexts one might find different definitions. For further review, a list of key terms has been added to the end of each chapter. The page number that follows each listed key term indicates the page upon which the corresponding marginal definition box appears. (These terms and their definitions also appear in the end-of-book Glossary.) Feature Boxes: Most of the feature boxes now have category heads—Geography, Democracy, Political Culture, Comparison, or Key Concepts—to give them greater focus and continuity. Structure and Purpose
The structure and purpose of Countries and Concepts continue as before. The book analyzes four European nations and Japan at some length and four Third World nations more briefly. It does not attempt to create young scholars out of college sophomores. Rather, it sees comparative politics as an important but usually neglected grounding in citizenship that we should be making available to our young people. I agree with the late Morris Janowitz (in his 1983 The Reconstruction of Patriotism: Education for Civic Consciousness) that civic education has declined in the United States and that this poses dangers for democracy. Our students are often ill-prepared in the historical, political, economic, geographical, and moral aspects of democracy, and to expose such students to professional-level abstractions in political science ignores their civic education and offers material that is largely meaningless to them. An undergraduate is not a miniature graduate student.
Accordingly, the seventh edition of Countries and Concepts is designed to include a good deal of fundamental vocabulary and concepts, buttressed by many examples. It is readable. Many students don't do assigned readings; with Countries and Concepts, they have no excuse that the reading is long or boring.
Some reviewers have noted that Countries and Concepts contains values and criticisms. This is part of my purpose. The two go together; if you have no values, you have no basis from which to criticize. Value-free instruction is probably impossible. If successful, it would produce value-free students, and that, I think, should not be the aim of the educational enterprise. If one knows something with the head but not with the heart, one really doesn't know it at all.
Is Countries and Concepts too critical? It treats politics as a series of ongoing quarrels for which no very good solutions can be found. It casts a skeptical eye on all political systems and all solutions proposed for political problems. As such, the book is not out to "get" any one country; it merely treats all with equal candor. Countries and Concepts tries to act as a corrective to analyses that depict political systems as well-oiled machines or gigantic computers that never break down or make mistakes. Put it this way: If we are critical of the workings of our own country's politics—and many, perhaps most, of us are—why should we abandon the critical spirit in looking at other lands?
The seventh edition continues the loose theoretical approach of the previous editions with the simple observation that politics, on the surface at least, is composed of a number of human conflicts or quarrels. These quarrels, if observed over time, usually form patterns of some durability beyond the specific issues involved. What I call patterns of interaction are the relationships among politically relevant groups and individuals—what they call in Russian kto-kovo: Who does what to whom? There are two general types of such patterns: (1) between elites and masses, and (2) among and within elites.
Before we can appreciate these patterns, however, we must first study the political culture of a particular country, which leads us to its political institutions and ultimately to its political history. Thus we have a five-fold division in the study of each country. We could start with a country's contemporary political quarrels and work backward, but it is probably better to begin with the underlying factors as a foundation from which to understand their impact on modem social conflict. This book goes from history to institutions to political culture to patterns of interaction to quarrels. This arrangement need not supplant other approaches. Instructors have had no trouble utilizing this book in connection with their preferred theoretical insights.
Inclusion of the Third World in a first comparative course is problematic. The Third World is so complex and differentiated that many (myself included) suspect the concept should be discarded. The semester is only so long. But if students are going to take only one comparative course—all too often the case nowadays—they should get some exposure to three-quarters of humankind. We continue, therefore, with briefer treatment of four non-European systems: China, Brazil, South Africa, and Iran. They are not "representative" systems—what Third-World countries are?—but are interesting in their four different relationships to democracy: (I) democracy in China blocked by a Communist elite; (2) democracy returned to Brazil after a military interlude; (3) the difficult founding of a nonracial democracy in South Africa; and (4) democracy blanketed by an Islamic revolution in Iran. These four systems provide a refreshing counterpoise to the more settled systems of Europe and Japan. Instructors can and do omit some or all of these Third-World systems—for lack of time or in order to focus more closely on Europe—but this does not destroy the continuity of the text. Supplements Companion Website
prenhall/roskin This new website brings an online study guide to students, absolutely free. When students log on, they will find a wealth of study and research resources. Chapter outline and summary information, true/false tests, fill-in-the-blank tests, and multiple-choice tests, all with immediate feedback and chapter page numbers, give students ample opportunity to review the information. The site also includes an archive of the maps that are found in the text, as well as links to sites pertaining to the countries that are covered in the text. Instructor's Manual and Test Item Files
An instructor's manual with test item files on diskette are available to instructors from their Prentice Hall representative. Acknowledgements
I welcome your suggestions on any area of the book and its supplementary materials. Many have generously offered their comments, corrections, and criticism. Especially valuable were the comments of Christian Soe, California State University at Long Beach; Cheryl L. Brown, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Karl W Ryavec, University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Frank Myers, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Ronald F Bunn, University of Missouri-Columbia; Said A. Arjomand, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Larry Elowitz, Georgia College; Arend Lijphart, University of California at San Diego; Cheryl Brown, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Thomas P Wolf, Indiana University, Southeast; Susan Matarese, University of Louisville; Marianne C. Stewart, Rutgers University (on Brazil); Hanns-D. Jacobsen, Free University of Berlin (on Germany); Ruth Grubel of Kwansei Gakuin, Nishinomiya; Ko Shioya of Bungei Shunju (on Japan); Carol Nechemias, Penn State at Harrisburg; Yury Polsky, West Chester University, and Marcia Weigle, Bowdoin College (on Russia); Dan O'Connell of Palm Beach Community College (on China); and Lycoming colleagues Mehrdad Madresehee and Bahram Golshan (on Iran), Carla Damiano (on Germany), and Garett Heysel (on France). All errors, of course, are my own. Instructors may send professional comments and corrections to me personally at Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA 17701, or e-mail roskin(c)lycoming. I am grateful for any suggestions for subsequent editions.
Michael G. RoskinFrom the Back Cover:
Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture
Systematically examining politics from around the world, Countries and Concepts presents accessible, in-depth studies of ten nations: Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Iran. This text highlights similarities and differences in five key areas of each country to facilitate comparative analysis, defining important concepts and integrating examples from current events throughout. Highly readable and thought-provoking, Countries and Concepts introduces students to the politics and governments of the world and bolsters their civic education by considering the historical, political, economic, geographical, and moral aspects of democracy.
New to This Edition
The new MyPoliSciKit for Countries and Concepts is a premium online learning resource, featuring multimedia and interactive activities to help students make connections between concepts and current events. The book-specific assessment, video case studies, comparative exercises, mapping exercises, Financial Times newsfeeds, and politics blog encourage comprehension and critical thinking. With GradeTracker, instructors can easily follow students’ work on the site and their progress on each activity.
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