WESTERN & EASTERN EUROPEAN GOVERNMENT&POLITICS INTRODUCTION TO POLI/109
What is Europe? • Europe is a continent of the eastern hemisphere between Asia and the Atlantic Ocean
WESTERN EUROPE • The term Western Europe is usually associated, but not clearly delimited, with liberal, democracy, capitalism and also with the European Union. Most of the countries of this region share Western culture and many have economic, historical, and political ties with countries in North, South America and Ocenia. It commonly includes all high income European Countries that were not part of the Communist-bloc. They are basically the first world countries of the region.
… • Alternatively, Western Europe is also a less-known geographic subregion of Europe that is far more restrictive than traditional political and cultural reckonings; as defined by the United Nations.
Western European Countries • The British Isles: Ireland and the United Kingdom • The Benelux countries: Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg • France • Monaco • The Iberian peninsula: Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar (a British Overseas Territory) • The Italian peninsula: Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City • The Alps: Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland • Germany • The Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland • Greece • Malta (It commonly includes all high income European countries that were not part of the Communist-bloc-the first world countries of the region)
Eastern Europe • Belarus • Bulgaria • Czech Republic • Hungary • Moldova • Poland • Romania • Russia • Slovakia • Ukraine
… • This course will include some EU member (UK, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania) and candidate (Turkey) countries.
EU member countries • There are 27 countries in EU. These countries are called Member States. EU grew from six member states in 1952 to 27 in January 2007.
??? • So, the EU is composed of 27 member states. But what is the EU? • A country? • A regional organization? • An international organization? • A federation? • A confederation? • Many scholars, politicians and average European citizens have been trying to answer these questions. • Donald Puchala’s following interpretation is a good example to understand EU.
Extension: Of Blind Men, Elephants and International Integration • "Several blind men approached an elephant and each touched the animal in an effort to discover what the beast looked like. Each blind man, however, touched a different part of the large animal, and each concluded that the elephant had the appearance of the part he had touched. Hence, the blind man who felt the animal's trunk concluded that an elephant must be tall and slender, while the fellow who touched the beast's ear concluded that an elephant must be oblong and flat. Others of course reached different conclusions. The total result was that no man arrived at a very accurate description of the elephant. Yet each man had gained enough evidence from his own experience to disbelieve his fellows and to maintain a lively debate about the nature of the beast." Donald Puchala. “Of Blind Men, Elephants and International Integration.” Journal of Common Market Studies. Vol. 10, N. 3, March 1972. pp. 267 – 284.
… Puchala is pointing out that: • Nobody agrees on whether the European Union is a type of country or if it is a large and powerful international organization. • This is partly why studying the European Union is so fascinating. It is something new that defies traditional labels like "country", "nation-state", or "international organization". • This course is also going to explain the EU…
Why Do We Study Politics? Politics. • Political campaigns, voting in elections, and dramatic speeches, of streets full of demonstrators or military action, of subtle political influence by lobbyists, overt political manipulation by the political elite, or a long and painfully drawn out process of policy decision making… • Images such as legislatures, executives, courts, political parties, and interest groups… • Concepts such as power, influence, socialization, or recruitment with the concept of politics… • Harold Lasswell put the question succinctly in the title of his classic book Politics: Who Gets What, When, How? • Studying Politics may involve several things such as legislatures, voting, political parties, the role a minority group in a political system, power, how public policy is made and more…
… • Some political scientists are trying to learn about justice…What is justice? How to get it? • Others are concerned with how social policy is made…They may study political structures that are involved in the policy making process. • Others seek to understand why a given election is won by one political party rather than another • Others may seek to understand why people vote for anyone in an election • Some others study politics simply because political relationships seem to be important to our daily lives to find the “good life”
Comparative Political AnalysisWhy should we study comparative politics? • Comparisons of political systems and Government structure can be traced back to the time of Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) • Aristotle is often referred to as the first “real” political scientist and comparativist because of his study of the many political systems that he found in the political world of his time. • Aristotle’s comparisons of constitutions and power structures contributed many words to our political vocabulary today, words such as politics, democracy, oligarchy, and aristocracy.
… • Many American political scientists tend to label as comparative politics anything that does not fit into one of the sub- disciplines of international relations, methodology, political theory, or American politics. • For them, the sub-discipline of comparative politics would include “politics in England”, “politics in France”, “politics in Russia”, “politics of Zimbabwe”, or “politics x” where any nation other than the United States could be substituted for the “X.” • American political scientists are not the only ones to have this perspective. If one were travel to France, the study of American politics would be found within the sub-discipline of comparative politics.
… • Studying “politics in X” more properly can be referred to as area studies. • Comparative studies should be more than that… • Area studies, involving a detailed examination of politics within a specific geographical setting, certainly is a legitimate kind of inquiry, but not one that necessarily involves any explicit comparison. • Marcidis and Brown many years ago criticized comparative politics at the time for not being truly comparative, for being almost completely concerned with single cases as “Politics in X.” • Comparative politics should mean the actual method of comparison. • Comparison involves terms of relativity, terms like bigger, stronger, freer, more stable, less democratic… • Comparative Politics than involves no more and less than a comparative study of politics- a search for similarities and differences between and among political phenomena, including political institutions (legislatures, political parties, or political interest groups), political behavior, (voting, demonstrating, or reading political pamphlets), or political ideas (liberalism, conservatism, or Marxism).
What are we going to study? • What the Governments Do: Comparisons may be made between governments of different nations, governments in various stages of development (for example, “developed” nations versus “underdeveloped” nations, or government or policy over time (for example, the government of Poland in 1982 and the government of Poland in 2002). • Political Behavior: voting behavior, political stability, political elites, leaders in politics, party behavior… • Government Institutions: legislatures, executives, courts, constitutions, legal systems, bureaucracies, political parties…
Problems in comparative political inquiry • In any type of comparative political inquiry, there are certain analytical problems of which we should be aware that might make our work more difficult than it otherwise might be • The first of these problems involves what we call the levels of analysis, and relates to the types of observations and measurements we are using and the types of conclusions that we can draw from those observations and measurements • Ecological level (Aggregate) and Individual level. • Ecological fallacy: we take data – a measurement or an observation from the broad and apply it incorrectly to an individual case. • Individualistic fallacy: This occurs when we make an individual level observation and incorrectly generalize from it to the aggregate level.
Examples of Ecological fallacy and Individualistic fallacy • If we find on a national “aggregate” level that Republicans tend to vote more frequently than Democrats, that does not guarantee that every individual Republican that we might meet is going to vote and every individual Democrat that we might meet is not going to vote. • If we find in our cross-national research that the population of Ghana has overall a lower level of education than does the population of the United States (two aggregate level observations), that does not mean that every citizen of Ghana is less educated than every citizen of the United States. • It would be clearly incorrect to conclude from meeting one Oxford-educated Ph.D. from Ghana that all citizens Ghana have Ph.D. from Oxford, or that all Ph.D. recipients from Oxford come from Ghana.
… • The second of these problems involves making assumptions about the functions performed by political structures • It is entirely possible that we will find in our research two institutions or patterns of behavior that look alike in two different settings but which perform entirely different functions in their respective settings • We might study, for example, the House of Commons in Britain, and see that the legislature in that setting is most important in the process of selecting government leaders and in establishing governmental legitimacy. In another setting, however, a similarly structured legislature may not be at all significant in the creation of a government or in the establishment of legitimacy, and to assume that because the British House of Commons is significant in this regard that all legislatures are significant in this regard would be an example of an individualistic fallacy: incorrectly generalizing from the individual (British) level to the aggregate (all legislatures) level. • Although the major role of the American legislature may be that of passing laws, the major function of legislatures such as those that existed in East Germany prior to German unification in 1989-1990 was NOT passing laws. (In the East German case, the legislature met for only about two days a year and simply rubber stamped everything suggested to it by the Communist Party organization there. The primary function of the legislature in East Germany was that of being showcase. To demonstrate that East Germany had a “democratically elected” legislature.
Conclusion • When we undertake comparative political analysis, then, we need to keep our eyes open for errors that we can make by simply assuming too much.
Bibliography • http://www.carleton.ca/ces/EULearning/introduction/coloureurope.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe (MAPS) • Gregory S. Mahler, Comparative Politics, An Institutional and Cross-National Approach, 4th Edition