Political Science: An Introduction

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9780130991348: Political Science: An Introduction

Exceptionally up-to-date and rich in cross-national examples—with an emphasis on the U.S. political system—this book offers an unbiased, thorough introduction to the basic terminology, concepts, and theories of political science. A five-part organization covers chapter topics under the headings of: the bases of politics, political attitudes, political interaction, the institutions of politics, and what political systems do. For anyone looking for an exciting view of the political science field.

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IT IS INDEED GRATIFYING to see a book one has worked on reach an eighth edition; it means one is doing something right. It also means that the editors at Prentice Hall recognize that the approach used in the first edition of 1974 was sound and should not be greatly altered. The success of the book owes something to the fact that it is neither a U.S. government text nor a comparative politics text. Instead, it draws from both U.S. and comparative examples to introduce the whole field of political science to new students.

The eighth edition continues an eclectic approach that avoids selling any single theory, conceptual framework, or paradigm as the key to political science. Attempts to impose a methodological grand design are both unwarranted by the nature of the discipline and unconducive to the broadening of students' intellectual horizons. Instructors with a wide variety of viewpoints have no trouble using this text. Above all, the eighth edition still views politics as exciting and tries to communicate that feeling to young people approaching the discipline for the first time.

Instructors familiar with earlier editions will see some changes in the eighth edition. I have come to recognize the importance of introducing methodologies early in an undergraduate's career. I'm not thinking of high-level numbers crunching—which I neither engage in nor advocate—but of a reality-testing frame of mind that looks for empirical verifiability. I often discuss methodologies in class in connection with student papers, but decided for this edition to insert them—one methodological point per chapter—in the text in feature boxes entitled "How To." These boxes include thesis statements, endnotes, quotations, tables, cross-tabs, percentages, graphs, and other standard fare, all at the introductory level. I hope instructors find this useful and I am open to suggestions to alter or add to these points. I also added some vocabulary words to the Key Terms throughout the chapters. The definitions are in the context under discussion; change that context and you may need another definition. There is a difference, for example, between the governing elites discussed in Chapter 5 (a tiny fraction of 1 percent of a population) and public-opinion elites discussed in Chapter 8 (probably several percent).

Some material—such as Key Concepts, Case Studies, and Classic Works—continues to appear in feature boxes, both to highlight the material and to vary the text format, making the text reader-friendly. The discussion of electoral systems has been consolidated from Chapter 11, "Political Parties and Political Systems," and Chapter 13, "The Basic Institutions of Government," into Chapter 12, "Elections." Those who have used previous editions will have no trouble using the eighth edition, as the overall structure of the text stays the same.

SUPPLEMENTS

COMPANION WEBSITE™

www.prenhall.com/roskin — This Website brings an online study guide to students and a valuable tool to professors. When students log on, they will find a wealth of study and research resources. Chapter outlines and summaries with special features from the book, true/false tests, fill-in-the-blank tests, and multiple-choice questions, all with immediate feedback and chapter page numbers, give students ample opportunity to review the information. The site also includes a large variety of links to sites pertaining to material covered in each chapter of the text. For professors, there is a faculty resource section that includes links to helpful sites, graphics to download from the book, and textual PowerPoint slides to use in presentations.

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.

PRENTICE HALL CUSTOM TEST

Prentice Hall's testing software program permits instructors to edit any or all items in the Test Item File and add their own questions. Other special features of this program, which is available for Windows and Macintosh, include random generation of an item set, creation of alternative versions of the same test, scrambling question sequence, and test preview before printing.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Several people reviewed this edition and earlier editions, and I sincerely considered most of their comments. For this edition, I wish to thank my Lycoming colleagues who reviewed the new "How To" feature boxes and offered valuable advice: Gene Sprechini of our math department, John Whelan of our philosophy department, and Gary Hafer of our English department. I also wish to thank Paul J. Best of Southern Connecticut State University and Victor E. Obasohan of Cerritos College, both of whom reviewed the entire manuscript for Prentice Hall.

Are further changes needed in the book, or have I got it about right? Instructors' input on this matter-or indeed on anything else related to the text or supplementary materials—is highly valued. Instructors may contact me directly at Lycoming College at Williamsport, Pennsylvania 17701, or by e-mail at roskin@lycoming.edu.

Michael G. Roskin

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