Professor Lawrence C. Dodd
University of Florida
Spring, 2001

Preliminary Overview

Part One: Introduction

Week One: Class Organization: August 28th

Week Two:  Science, Theory and Empirical Inquiry:  September 4th

Week Three: Multiple Perspectives on the World: September 11th

Part Two: Foundations of Empirical Theory

Week Four: Social Choice I: September 18th

Week Five: Social Choice II: September 25th

Week Six: Social Structure I: October 2nd

Week Seven: Social Learning I: October 9th

Week Eight: Sociocultural Evolution I: October 16th

BREAK (No Class-October 23rd): Prepare Theory Paper I

Part Three: Advanced Topics in Empirical Theory

Week Nine: Doing Theory I: October 30th

Week Ten:  Social Choice III: November 6th

Week Eleven: Social Structure II: November 13th

Week Twelve: Social Learning II: November 20nd

Week Thirteen: Sociocultural Evolution II: November 27th

Week Fourteen: Doing Theory II: Class discussions of theory papers: December 4th

FINALS WEEK: Finish Theory Paper II

Seminar Objectives

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the relevance and role of empirical theory in political analysis. It seeks to do so in four ways. First, it provides an overview of  some basic attributes that characterize ‘good empirical theory’ and presents several contrasting theoretical traditions in political analysis. Second, it engages students in learning to think and argue in a manner that is both theoretical  -- that is, abstract, systematic and reasoned in nature – and empirical – that is, subject to probing, investigation and testing by empirical observation. Third, it guides students towards the construction of an empirical theory that will be useful in addressing a puzzle of immediate interest to them; in particular, it seeks to help students develop theoretical ideas and arguments relevant to their doctoral dissertations. Fourth, it seeks to alert students to the problems and pitfalls of various forms of theoretical thinking and to encourage them to think about the broader paradigmatic and philosophical implications of empirical theories.


The basic assumption of the course is that as we employ empirical theory in political inquiry, we increase our capacity to clarify, understand, explain, discuss intelligently and perhaps foresee the nature of political reality. Empirical theory is, then, first and foremost a way of thinking about the world that allows us to comprehend the world more fully and foresightfully than we would otherwise. Along the way, empirical theory provides, secondarily, a variety of perspectives, hypotheses and possibilities that we can test both through empirical research and through observation of predicted outcomes in the real world.. The purpose of empirical theory, however, is not to provide fodder for our razzle-dazzle statistical techniques, justifications for exotic field trips or rationales for required research projects,  but to provide ways of thinking about the world that allow us to see it and reason about it more self-consciously, completely, foresightfully and deeply than we would otherwise.


Much of the ‘test’ of empirical theory, thus, comes not in its utility in ‘research’ but in its sustained relevance to the real world as evidenced in a theory’s long term capacity to help society at-large discuss, make sense out of, address and foresee political phenomena. As scholars we seek to contribute plausible empirical theories to societal dialogue while probing and testing elements of our theories that are potentially susceptible to immediate disconfirmation; along the way, however, we realize that the most inventive and far-reaching theories (as with Darwin’s theory of evolution in biology) may involve some major empirical arguments and assumptions not susceptible to test through currently available data and methods. Our obligation, as empirical theorists, is thus three-fold: (1) to state our theories in ways that are subject, in principle, to eventual testing and disconfirmation through potential empirical observation (2) to pursue immediate test of those elements of our theories that are currently amenable to empirical observations, being as rigorous, resourceful and disciplined as we can be in this endeavor; and (3) also to engage in the broader theoretical dialogues of our discipline and society in a conscientious and constructive manner that seeks to clarify the applicability of our theories to broad puzzles while also evidencing a significant element of humility that reflects the limits of our capacity to ‘prove’ our theories.


Given this general understanding of the nature and role of empirical theory, in this course we attempt to understand how scholars generate empirical theories that address intriguing political puzzles, how they test and apply elements of their theories through empirical observation, and how they can best utilize empirical theories in broad conversations about politics. We will do so by examining four theoretical traditions:


(1)     social choice theories: arguments that emphasize the rational goal-oriented calculus of individuals in politics, as qualified and informed by genetic and neuro-biological studies;

(2)     social structure theories: arguments that emphasize the role of social, institutional and economic conditions and processes in shaping the context and outcome of political action;

(3)     social learning and political psychological theories: arguments that center on the role that perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and ideas play in shaping individual and group capacities to make choices in specific contexts; and

(4)     socio-cultural evolution theories: arguments that highlight the collective processes by which goals, structures and beliefs are reshaped and transformed into new patterns across time.


Each of these four theoretical traditions covers an immense literature that scholars could spend a lifetime studying. The intent in examining these four traditions is not to engage students in a comprehensive effort to master each literature, but (1) to introduce them to some foundation concepts and arguments that illustrate the four distinct ways of theorizing about empirical political reality, and to consider how social scientists have built on such concepts and arguments in their research and theorizing; (2) to provide some overview bibliography and discussions that will help students critically assess each theoretical tradition and engage in the study of the individual theoretical traditions on their own; (3) to help students grasp the ‘logic’ of theorizing in the four different ways, so that students can engage in some initial efforts at theory-building and empirical research from each perspective; and (4) to help students combine the different forms of theorizing into broader empirical interpretations and  learn from the interplay of the different traditions.


The overarching logic of the course, in other words, is to engage the student in ‘doing empirical theory’ through the use and combination of four different ways of conceptualizing and analyzing political reality. Two explicit assumptions throughout the course are that one can learn to ‘do empirical theory’ by studying and critiquing foundations works and exemplars in the major traditions of empirical theory and that one can learn to appreciate and critically assess different theoretical traditions by explicitly comparing them to one another. ‘Doing theory’ involves seeking to make one’s assumptions about the world (or analytic vision) explicit, to clearly identify key causal principles that operate in one’s assumed world, to develop a core thesis from one’s assumptions and causal principles that is reasoned and logical, and to pursue the argument in a systematic manner that addresses a specific puzzle in an intellectually compelling and empirical plausible manner. As we read different empirical theories, and examine critiques and discussions of theory, and as we try our hand at building on or emulating such theoretical efforts, we ourselves can ‘become theorists.’


An underlying assumption of the course is that the four different ways of analyzing politics examined in this course actually capture four different dimensions of politics: the foreground of political calculation and instrumental action; the background which structures the social pursuit of goals; the connective pattern of meaning (that is, the shared beliefs and collective ideas about politics and society) that permeate both the foreground and background so that political actors in the foreground can calculate and act in ways that relate to the background context; and the dynamic processes which influence the interaction of foreground, background and connective patterning in ways that systematically reshape reality across time.


A recurring theme of the course will be that the egregious misunderstandings and mispredictions of politics generally come in two ways. First, scholars may fail to be explicit and careful in their assumptions, causal arguments,  logic, empirical referents, and so forth, and thus engage in self-deceptive and faulty reasoning about the world. Thus much attention must be given to critical assessment of a theory as a reasoned body of empirical argument. However, it is critical that scholars not become so immersed in and entranced by the logic and empirical applicability of one tradition that they overlook the second major problem that can undermine political inquiry: the tendency towards theoretical myopia or intellectual narrowness. In other words, as scholars focus intensely on one dimension of politics, and one theoretical tradition, they may overlook interactive processes and conditions that occur across the dimensions of political life, and that require attentiveness to several theoretical traditions.


Breakthroughs in addressing particular puzzles about politics thus often come, it will be argued, as two or more theoretical perspectives are combined in ways that allow scholars to address a puzzle in a broad, comprehensive, interactive and reasoned manner. Throughout the course, therefore, we will not only look at works that illustrate particular perspectives but also will look at works that combine perspectives. An additional theme will be that a truly comprehensive understanding of politics requires that we see how foreground, background, patterned meaning and transformative processes are connected and interact in ways that change all three and their patterned connections. In consideration of this possibility, the course  also will consider whether an evolutionary perspective on politics might provide a way of connecting these four dimensions, generating a more comprehensive understanding, and facilitating broader perspectives on politics that lead to intellectual breakthroughs in our empirical analyses.

Course Organization

The organization of the course is as follows. Part One will focus briefly on the nature, role and range of empirical theory in political inquiry and engage in an overview discussion of several illustrative works that attend to multiple theoretical perspectives on politics, across foreground, background and connective patterns. Part Two will attempt to give students a reasonable ‘feel’ for each form of theorizing, and a sense of how they – separately and in combination – relate to empirical inquiry in students’ primary areas of scholarly interest. It will thus carry students across literature on foreground or social choice, background or social structure, connective patterns or social learning, and connective interaction or evolutionary theory. Part Three will then focus on Advanced Topics in Empirical Theory, with students examining more highly developed and challenging concepts, literature and arguments across the four dimensions and theoretical traditions. Part Three thus will extend the students’ repertoire of concepts and arguments from the different traditions. It will also raise the possibility that, as we move across these four traditions, and particularly as we construct ‘process’ theories that systematically entail all four traditions, we are moving towards an ‘evolutionary learning’ theory of politics that may draw on the strengths of each tradition while also generating a broadly encompassing paradigmatic theory that better addresses political phenomena than any of the separate theories can alone.

The two core parts of the course divide into two distinct temporal periods. Part Two takes the course to mid-October – at which point we will take a week break for the October 23th class. Part Three takes up the remainder of the course, with Thanksgiving Break occurring in the middle of this period. During the first break, October 25th, students will write an initial paper presenting an empirical puzzle that intrigues them, a set of initial theoretical perspectives and arguments about the puzzle that they might pursue, some ideas about how to develop those arguments more fully and systematically, and some strategies for testing the arguments. These papers are to be emailed to Professor Dodd and the entire class no later than November 2nd.  We will briefly discuss them at the start of class on November 8th. Meanwhile, when students return from the Oct. 23th break on October 30tht, we will start Part Three of the course, with students expected to have completed reading for that week while working on their papers. During Part Three we will again look at each theoretical tradition, this time focused more extensively on innovations, problems and breakthroughs within and across the traditions, particularly as generated by the explicit addition of a social psychological perspective on politics. In light of these developments; students will be encouraged to adjust and adapt their theoretical arguments in light of this new material, where appropriate. At the of Part Three, the last week of class, students will make a second set of presentations on the development of their individual theories. Students are encouraged but not required to send class members any revision/augmentation of their written work that is ready by the final class meeting. Final papers, revised to incorporate class comments, will be due during finals week.

This organizational design of the course, it must be stressed, only provides us an initial starting structure for the course, with the instructor reserving the right to alter the design as may prove necessary during the course. In particular, since the course is designed for advanced doctoral students, each of whom has special needs and concerns, to some extent the professor will subject the course, as well as the students, to a week by week ‘trial and error’ assessment of how the learning process is proceeding. If intervention and alteration in the course is needed, he will take it. In particular, he reserves to add additional reading (or remove certain readings) if that should prove necessary. Along the way, as the course proceeds, he will welcome student input, and will seek to shape assignments and course structure in ways that reflect student interests, insights and needs.  It is hoped that by the end of the course students will feel less ‘daunted’ by empirical theory, more assured of their own ability to engage in theorizing, and somewhat settled into general paths of theoretical exploration and discovery in their own selected areas of empirical analysis. A test of goal accomplishment will be the ability to complete the final paper in a way that presents an interesting theoretical argument about some puzzle central to the students’ interests and doctoral dissertation research areas and identifies a research strategy for probing the plausibility of the argument.

Most fundamentally, students entering the course must trust the professor to guide them through a process of learning to ‘do theory’ as best he can, however indirect and erratic that process may appear. I have learned to do theory by reading widely across disciplines so as to get a ‘feel’ for the theoretical process; by reading about theory and theorizing in the natural and biological sciences, as well as in the social sciences; by exploring in depth several contrasting theoretical traditions within the social sciences and political science; and by getting my feet wet through personal efforts at theorizing. The course will introduce students to the range of experiences and literatures that I have embraced in the hope that out of this process, and each in his or her own unique way, students will gain some leverage on the process of doing empirical theory. In the end, therefore, this course must be seen not as the ‘last word’ on empirical theory but simply as an opening probe, with each student responsible for moving beyond the course in response to his or her own reactions to and assessments of the course material. The long term test of this course comes in the extent to which students ‘become theorists’, each true to his or her own voice and vision of politics.

The Questions of the Course: What does it mean to think as a social choice theorist, a social structure theorist, a social learning theorist or a social evolution theorist? Can these ways of thinking be combined? Would the separate or combined ways of theorizing be useful to the student’s specific empirical questions or research puzzle? What sort of argument might the student make about an empirical puzzle if he or she were operating within each separate theoretical tradition? If one were to combine traditions? How might such arguments be explored and tested in an empirically compelling manner? If the student’s arguments prove empirically plausible, what implications might the arguments have for how we better understand politics in the future? These are the questions of this course.

Paper assignments and Grading Standards: I will assign short one to two page papers on a weekly basis throughout the course. These papers will be due to me and to all other students, by email, no later than 6am on the morning of the weekly seminar for which the papers are assigned. In addition, as the course proceeds, students will be assigned weekly class reports, as appears appropriate.

Most importantly, each student is to prepare a class paper on a topic of his or her choice, subject to the approval by the professor. The purpose of the class paper will be to present an empirical theory designed to solve a puzzle about politics that interests the student and to identify a strategy for testing the puzzle that could be realistically pursued in a doctoral dissertation. These papers are to be developed in three stages: a first version – Theory Paper I – will be due to all class members and Professor Dodd by November 4th; a second version (with revisions optionally shared with all class members prior to the last class) will be presented orally in class on December 6th, with students expected to send an email version of this presentation to all class members prior to class;  and a final version – Theory Paper II – will be due during Finals Week.

The class grade will be based on the following formula: thirty per cent of the grade will reflect the quality of the short weekly papers and class presentations; twenty per cent will be based on the first draft of your class paper; ten percent will be based on the discussion on December 6th; and forty per cent will be based on the final draft of the paper, as handed in during Finals Week. Quality of papers will be judged by their originality, creativity, organization, clarity, systematic development, stylistic/grammatical appropriateness, intellectual compelling-ness, empirical plausibility/testability, and human insight. Students will be encouraged/guided to clarify as early as possible in the course the empirical puzzle or special concern that they want to examine in their final paper and to write their weekly paper assignments with a special focus on that puzzle. Particular weight will be given to students’ ability to build compelling theoretical arguments in their weekly assignments and their success in designing a systematic argument in the final paper in ways that are both (1) intellectually valuable, interesting and persuasive and (2) clearly susceptible to empirical investigation that is realistic and manageable for a doctoral dissertation project.

Throughout the course assignments, students should remember that the key to empirical theory is its parsimony, comprehensibility, reasoned quality and empirical applicability. Our search is not for obtuseness, arcane complexity, or showy and discursive coverage of a vast and dense literature, but for clarity, for compelling simplicity, for the identification of a core truth that synthesizes apparent complexity into a comprehensible reality, and for a truth that speaks to and makes sense out of empirically observable reality. In so far as you wish to make a complex argument, do so by combining simple concepts and a parsimonious  theory into a broader set of inter-linked theories. There is no better exemplar of complex yet parsimonious empirical theory than the work of Charles Darwin on biological evolution. Students thus are encouraged throughout the course to read Origin of Species, guided in this endeavor by Ernst Mayr’s book, One Long Argument, and to be attentive to the theory of biological evolution as an example of how a complex and seemingly inexplicable reality can be subjected to parsimonious empirical explanation through systematic theorizing. Students are also encouraged, during this course and afterwards, to read widely in the history and philosophy of science, seeking thereby to better appreciate the nature of scientific inquiry and the role of empirical theory in it.

Required Reading: As to required reading, the books listed below are for sale at local bookstores for use during the course. Other books and articles will be placed on reserve or made available by xeroxing.

Paul Pierson, Politics in Time
Michael Laver, Private Desires, Political Action
Graham Allison, Essence of Decision
Agryis and Schoen, Organizational Learning II
Donald Green and Ian Shapiro, Pathologies of Rational Choice
William Riker, The Art of Political Manipulation
William Riker, Liberalism Against Populism

Charles Tilly, Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons

George Tsebeis, Nested Games

                Karl Weick, The Social Psychology of Organizing

                                Karl Weick, Sensemaking

                                Bryan Jones, Reconceiving Decision-Making in Democratic Politics

                                Bryan Jones, Politics and the Architecture of Choice

                                Kenneth Shepsle and Mark Bonchek, Analyzing Politics

                                George Marcus, Russell Neuman and Michael MacCuen, Affective Intelligence and

                                Political Judgment

Robert Wright, The Moral Animal

                                Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

                                Leslie Anderson and Lawrence Dodd, Learning Democracy


Code for Reading Assignments:


The reading for this course is necessarily heavy, given the topics it is covering and the advanced nature of the training it is providing. To guide you as you prioritize the reading, you can utilize the following codes:



                                                ***read closely: required for class

                                                                  **read for major points: will supplement class discussion

                                                    *read as time permits: for greater depth, during the course or later


                                                                Reading Assignments

Week One: Class Organization


Week Two: Introduction: Science, Theory and Empirical Inquiry


                Required Reading: Overview Issues:


1. The Nature of Political/Social Theory


***Leslie Thiele, Thinking Politics, Chapter One: “Theory and Vision”

                ***Abraham Kaplan, The Conduct of Inquiry, Chapters  8:  “Theories”

              ***Evelyn Fox Keller, Refiguring Life: Metaphors of Twentieth-Century Biology, “Preface”

                                and Part One, “Language and Science”

***Karl Deutsch, The Nerves of Government, Pages 3 - 54


                2. Examples of Political/Social Theory


                ***Robert Dahl, Polyarchy, Chapters 1-4

                ***Anthony Downs, article from An Economic Theory of Democracy

***Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162: 1243-1248 (1968)

  **Robert Wright, The Moral Animal, ‘Introduction’***


Class email assignment: Identify one or two empirical puzzles of particular interest two you, which might be the focus of a research project or dissertation: discuss the nature of the puzzles. How do the readings from this week inform your thinking about the puzzles, the use of theory in addressing them, and theoretical perspectives you might draw on in pursuing them?


Individual Email Assignments:

  1. What constitutes the critical elements of ‘theory’ as articulated by Leslie Paul Thiele, and how would his formulation apply to ‘empirical theory.’
  2. What does Kaplan mean by ‘theory’ and how would his perspective be a guide for our discussion of ‘empirical theory’?
  3. Of what relevance are metaphors in scientific theory, from Keller’s perspective, and how does that relate to the study of empirical theory in political science?
  4. What are the major kinds of ‘empirical theory’ that have been dominant historically, from

The perspective of Karl Deutsch, and what would be there relevance today?

  1. When thinking about ‘creating a theory,’ what lessons would you draw from Dahl’s work in  Polyarchy? What was/were the most central things Dahl did in creating his theory?
  2. What lessons would you draw from Downs’ work on An Economic Theory of Democracy, as seen in the assigned article? What was the most central thing or things Downs did to create his theory?
  3. 7. What about Hardin? What was/were the most central thing or things he did?
  4. Of what relevance is Darwin and his theory of evolution to social and political theory, from Wright’s perspective


Thought Question: What is Empirical Theory: how do you know one when you see it, how do you ‘get’ one, of what use is it, and why is it called ‘empirical’?




Week Three: Multiple Perspectives on the World


                Required and Suggested Reading:


1.   Empirical Complexity, Multiple Dimensions and the Varieties of Theory:


***Richard Dawkins, “Preface” to the 1989 edition of The Selfish Gene

    *Ernst Mayr, “Epilogue: Towards a Science of Science” in The Growth of Biological Thought

***Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature, Chapter 3, “Multiple Versions of Reality”

***Robert E. Goodin, “Institutions and Their Design,” in Goodin, ed., The Theory of Institutional



2.        Explaining the Resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis:


              ***Allison and Zelikow, The Essence of Decision: All

`                    *Breslauer and Tetlock, Learning in U.S. and Soviet Foreign Policy, Ch. 20.


3.        Explaining the Republican Revolution:


**Dodd, “Re-Envisioning Congress: Theoretical Perspectives on Congressional Change” in

Congress Reconsidered, 7th or 8th edition (Available on Dodd’s department homepage; briefly

review if previously read).


4.        Explaining the Eurocentric Nature of the Modern World


                 ***Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, Prologue, Chapters 1,2,3


5.        Explaining the Collapse and Survival of Societies


 ***Jared Diamond, Collapse, Prologue (Pages 1-24), Chapter Two


Other Suggested Reading:


For an introduction to Darwin’s The Origin of Species, see Ernst Mayr, One Long Argument, Chs 4, 6, 8, 9


Email Assignments:


  1. First describe Bateson’s argument in “Multiple Versions of the World” and assess its relevance to empirical theories of politics and then discuss what Dawkins sees as the power of a ‘change in vision,’ in ‘transfigurative terms,’ for scientific inquiry and how might that perspective apply to political inquiry _____Audrey; Donald_____
  2. Describe Allison’s multiple visions or theories of the Cuban Missile Crisis and assess their utility – separately and together – in explaining the crisis and its resolution.____ Jordan; Paulina; Dan___
  3. Describe Dodd’s multiple perspectives on the Republican Revolution and assess their utility – separately and together – in explaining it.____ Jonathan; Lance____
  4. Describe Diamond’s opening perspective on the Eurocentric nature of the modern world and assess the ways in which multiple theories or vision generate this perspective.____Ramon: Josh
  5. Describe Diamond’s opening perspective on the Collapse and Survival of Societies and assess the ways in which multiple theories or visions generate this perspective.___Upohar; Jackie____


Thought Question:

        Why are multiple perspectives of politics useful in explaining phenomena and how might they be useful to your perspective on your puzzle?
Week Four: Social Choice Theory I


NOTE: The purpose of the reading this week is to introduce you to the nature of rational choice theory, to

some of the major foundation themes and works in rational choice analysis, to the utility of rational choice in empirical research, and to some critical assessments of rational choice theory and research.


1.       Introduction to Rational Choice Analysis


                               Michael Laver, Private Desires, Political Action, Chaps 1, 2, 8 ***

                                 Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy, Chapter 8 ***

                               Downs, “The Origins of An Economic Theory of Democracy” in Bernard

                                                Grofman, ed., Information, Participation and Choice*

                                Green and Shapiro, Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory, Preface, Chap 1, 2***

Fiorina, “Rational Choice, Empirical Contributions, and the Scientific

                                Enterprise” in Critical Review, Vol 9, # 1-2, Winter-Spring, 1995**            


2.       Rationality and Arrow’s Paradox


Shepsle and Bonchek, Analyzing Politics, Chapters 1-4***


3.       The Dilemma of Collective Action


                                Laver, Private Desires, Chapters  3 and 4***

Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action, Introduction and Chapters 1,2,6*

Green and Shapiro, Pathologies, Chapter 5***

Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, at least the first four chapters**


4.             Voting and the Logic of Party Competition


                                Laver, Private Desires, Chapter 5, 6***

Norman Frolich, Joe Oppenheimer, Jeffrey Smith and Oran Young, “A Test of Downsian Voter Rationality: 1964 Presidential Voting,” APSR, 1978 Vol 72, 178-197.***

                                Fiorina, Retrospective Voting in American National Elections, Preface and Chaps.


                                Melvin J. Hinich and James Enelow, The Spatial Theory of Voting: An Introduction.*

(See also the Enelow and Hinich edited volume, Advances in the Spatial Theory of Voting).

                                Green and Shapiro, Pathologies, Chapter 7***


5.             The Theory of Political Coalitions


                Laver, Private Desires, Chapter 7***

                Riker, The Theory of Political Coalitions, Chapters 1,2,3***

Dodd, “Party Coalitions in Multiparty Parliaments” American Political

Science Review 68: 1093-1117**


5.       Context, Choice and Social Evolution


                Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, Chapters 4,5,6***




***=must read closely

  **=read for general illustration and argument

    *=read for background or advanced explanation

Email Assignments: To be emailed to all class participants by the morning of class:



                1.    What is the general defining nature of Rational Choice theory in terms of the type of

core arguments it makes, particularly as seen in the foundation  


2.        What is Arrow’s paradox and its significance for understanding politics?__  


3.    What is the Collective Action dilemma , its empirical plausibility and research


4.    What are political entrepreneurs and why are they important? _Donald_

5.    Why is it rational to vote, how can a voter cast a rational vote, and what is the

relevance of Fiorina’s ‘retrospective’ voting model to these issues?__Dan___

                                6.    What is the Downsian Logic of Party Competition, its empirical plausibility and

                                                research applicability (with special attention to the Frolich, Oppenheimer and

Young article)?_Audrey__

7.    What is Riker’s minimum winning coalition, its empirical plausibility and

research applicability, and how did Dodd utilize it in his book, Coalitions in

Parliamentary Government?____Jordan_____

8.    What are, and how convincing are, the general issues confronting the foundation

themes of rational choice analysis, from the perspective of Green and Shapiro,

particularly with respect to empirical plausibility and research

applicability?_Lance; Jackie__

                             9.   How did context and choice interact in the early stages of food production to shape

                                    the ‘roots’ of ‘guns, germs and steel’ and how do these patterns relate to issues

                                    of rational choice theory?___Ramon, Upohar___

Week Five: Social Choice Theory II


The Meaning of Social Choice Theory


 William H. Riker, “Political Theory and the Art of Heresthetics” in Ada Finifter,

Political Science: The State of the Discipline, 1983***

                Riker, The Art of Political Manipulation, Preface and Conclusion***

                Riker, Liberalism vs. Populism:

a. read Analytical Table of Contents, Chaps 1-5;**

                                b. read closely pages xi-xii. 1-39, 59-64, 111-113, 115-6, 136***

                Shepsle and Bonchek, Analyzing Politics, Chaps 4 thur 6**


2.       Strategic Voting


Riker, The Art of Political Manipulation, Chaps 7,8,9,11,5,4***

Riker, Liberalism vs. Populism, Chap 6**


3.       Agenda Control


Art, Chaps 3,7,12***

Liberalism vs. Populism, Chap 7**


4.       Manipulation of dimensions


Art, 1,2,5,6,10,4***

Liberalism vs Populism, Chaps 8,9**


5.    Conclusions, Critiques, Applications and Extensions


Liberalism vs Populism, Chap 10***               

                Green and Shapiro, Pathologies, Chapter 8**

Jeffrey Friedman, “Economic Approaches to Politics,” in Critical Review,

Vol 9, #1-2, Winter/Spring, 1995; pages 1-24; also see the other critiques and discussions in this volume.*

Tsebelis, Nested Games, Chaps 1--4***




                Email Assignments:


1.       What is the conflict between liberalism and populism, why does it matter, and  how can it be addressed or resolved?__Audrey, Paulina____

2.       What is the General Possibility Theorem, why does it exist, and why does it matter?____Ramon_____

3.       What is the nature and significance of strategic voting, and what are its implications for empirical theory and research?____Josh, Jackie____

4.       What is the nature and significance of agenda control, and what are its implications  for empirical theory and research?____Jordan, Lance____

5.       What is the nature and significance of dimension manipulation, and what are its implications for empirical theory and research?__Upohar___

6.       The “Political Theory and the Art of Heresthetics” Riker discusses some areas that experience equilibria, in contrast to others that do not. What differentiates the former from the latter, in your opinion? What are the implications of your answers for empirical theory and research?___Dan__

7.       What are nested games, how vital is this concept for studying politics, and what are its implications for the role of context in political analysis?___Jonathan___

8.       On balance, what is the value and the implications of social choice theory for political inquiry?___Donald___




Week Six: Social Structure I


I.                     The Idea of Social Structure


a.        groups and social structure


i.         hunter-gathers, farmers and the evolution of social structure

Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, Chs 4-10 ***


                                      ii.       economic arrangements and social class

                                                Walton,  “Social Class and Inequality,” Chapter Three

                                                                in Walton, Sociology and Critical Inquiry ***

                                `                               Manley, “The Significance of Class in American History

                                                                and Politics,” in Dodd and Jillson, New Perspectives **


                                      iii.      race, ethnicity and gender

           Hero, “Two-Tiered Pluralism” and McDonaugh, “Gender Politics”

                           In Dodd and Jillson, New Perspectives **


                                      iv.    groups, political geography and ‘false consciousness’

                                                Key, “Introduction,” Southern Politics **


b.       socio-political divisions and structural politics


i.         the power elite

Mills, The Power Elite*


                                      ii.     factions, cleavages and institutional design

Madison, Federalist #10***

Dahl, A Preface to Democratic Theory, Chs 1,3,4,5*

Lipset and Rokkan, “Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and

                Voter Alignments,” In Lipset and Rokkan, eds.,

                Party Systems and Voter Alignments **


                                   iii.      associations, political geography and ‘ path dependencies’         

                                                Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chs. 5 and 6**


                                     iv.     pluralism in the real world

                                                Dahl, Who Governs? *


c.        regimes, state structures and authority arrangements


i.      socialism vs capitalism           

                                                Przeworski, Democracy and the State, Ch 3**


                                      ii.     dictatorship and democracy

          Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,

Foreward by Friedman and Scott, Preface

                          and Chapter 7*

                                    iii.     institutional design, social relations and system ‘outputs’          

                                                Skocpol, “The Origins of Social Policy…” in Dodd and

                                                                Jillson, Dynamics of American Politics ***

                                                Diamond, Collapse, Ch. Nine***




iv.     the state and revolution

          Skocpol, States and Social Revolution, Read Preface,

                          Chs 1,2,3,4, pages 275-283, and Ch 7*


II.                   The Study of Social Structure


a.       middle-range and functional analysis

Merton, On Theoretical Sociology, Chs. 2,3*


b.       critical sociology

Walton, Sociology and Critical Inquiry, pages 1-63*

        Pages 64-82 are recommended


c.        structural analysis, big-time

Tilly, Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons***



III.                 Social Choice and Social-Structural Analysis


a.        Przeworski, Democracy and the Market, Chs 3,4, “Conclusions”**

b.       Tsebalis, Nested Games, review Ch 1, read Chs 5-8**

c.        Anderson and Dodd, Learning Democracy, Chs 1,2,9***


Email Assignments:


1.        To what extent is the emergence of social structure (a) shaped by deep background

factors such as climate and geography, (b) a product of direct human agency, foresight and choice, (c) an outgrowth of unseen autocatalytic processes and (d) a result of other factors?

See Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: review Chs. 1-3; read Chs. 4-10__Josh, Upohar__

2.        How critical are such social categories as class, ethnicity, race and gender for comprehending socio-political reality, and in what ways do these concepts qualify, inform or move analysis beyond reliance on social choice as one’s primary strategy of inquiry? How does critical attention to history, and to such things as the distribution of classes or races geographically, help inform our interpretation of their role and significance in politics? ___Jackie______

3.        what extent and in what ways do socio-political divisions have a ‘life of their own’ or a consequential significance that requires political analysts to recognize and study them as complements to and/or as objects of study separate from and beyond social choice concerns? Aside from the readings, see also (if possible) W. Douglas Rae and Michael Taylor, The Analysis of Political Cleavages._____Lance______

4.        How real and consequential are regime differences, state structures, institutional design and authority arrangements, as concerns separate from individual preferences and choice, and how critical and in what ways is the recognition of and study of such factors critical to political analysis, complementing, informing or moving beyond social choice?____Audrey____


5.        In what ways do the study of “big structures, large processes and huge comparisons” have a distinctive place in political inquiry, separate from, complementary to and/or blended with social choice analysis, and how might political inquiry proceed to include these forms of analysis – conceptually, methodologically and theoretically? Finally, is an productive interplay possible between the study of ‘big structures’ and social choice analysis in the study of American political development? How so?___Jonathan____

6.        As seen in Democracy and the Market, how does Przeworski integrate the awareness of social structure with the analytic strategies of rational choice, what are his major arguments and contributions as he pursues this inquiry, how valuable is it as an understanding, and how might it be improved?____Paulina______

7. As seen in Nested Games, how might an awareness of socio-political structure and the analytic strategies of social choice be combined in ways that inform and clarify the role of both in shaping politics and political outcomes? In what ways might Tsebelius’s work be informed and improved on by a more self-conscious attention to social structure? What are the implications of ‘nested games’ for the assessment of policy making processes?___Jordan, Dan____

8. How did social structure and political geography affect the capacity of Nicaragua to democratize?____Ramon, Donald_____

Week Seven: Social Learning I


I.                     The Idea of Learning in the Social Sciences


Deutsch, The Nerves of Government, Chs. 5-6, 8-10, 14***


II.                   What We Learn: Some Illustrations


a.        Learning the Modern World


Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, Chs. 11-14***

Jared Diamond, Collapse, Chs 7-8, 13**


b.       Ideas, Institutions and Ideologies


Friedrich, Constitutional Government and Democracy, Chs 1, 14,


      Anderson, Imagined Communities Chs 1-6, 9**

                                      Weaver and Rockman, Do Institutions Matter?, pp. 1-41, 272-343**


c.        Learning and Culture: Beliefs, Identities and Attitudes


Wright, Nonzero, pp 285-297***

Inglehart, Culture Shift, Chs 1,2,13***

Hanson, “Liberalism and the Course of American Social

                Welfare Policy,” in Dynamics of American Politics.***

Green, Palmquist and Schickler, Partisan Hearts and Minds, 1, 5,6,8**


Reviewing a Classic:

Almond and Verba, The Civic Culture, Chs 1,2,3, 6-12*

      Barry, Sociologists, Economists and Democracy, Chs 1, 3, 4, 7, 8*

      Barrington Moore, Social Origins…, Epilogue*

                              Pateman, The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism and

                                                Political Theory; Ch 7: The Civic Culture: A Philosophic Critique,

pp. 141-178.


III.                 Why, When and How We Learn


a.        Cognitive Capacity, Anxiety and Learning


Graber, Processing Politics, Ch 2, 3***

Bateson, “The Cybernetics of ‘Self’,” 34 Psychiatry 1, also in

        G. Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind. *

Marcus and MacKuen, “Anxiety, Enthusiasm, and the Vote:

        The Emotional Underpinnings of Learning and Involvement

        During Presidential Campaigns,” APSR 87: 672-85.***

Dodd, Ch. 15, “Political Learning and Political Change,” in Dynamics

of American Politics, pp. 331-340**


b.       Socialization, Experience and Observation


Easton/Dennis, Children in the Political System, Chs 1,2,15, 16***

Hershey, “Campaign Learning, Congressional Behavior and Policy

        Change,” in Wright, et. al.,  Congress and Policy Change.***

Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions * Review


c.        Structure-induced Learning


Huckfeldt and Beck, Dynamics of American Politics,

        Ch. 11: Contexts, Intermediaries and Political Behavior.”***

Cohen, Radicals, Reformers, Reactionaries, Ch. 4*

Review: Putnam, Making Democracy Work, Chs 4, 5**

Dodd, “Political Learning and Political Change,” 340-348**


d.       Learning through Metaphorical Reasoning and Persuasion


Mansbridge, “Politics as Persuasion,” in Dynamics of

        American Politics***

McPherson, Abraham Lincoln and the Second American

        Revolution, Chs. 2,3,5,6 ***

Holzer, Lincoln at Cooper Union, “Preface to the Paperback

        Edition,” Introduction, Chs. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Epilogue *

Dodd, “Political Learning and Political Change,” 348-355 **


IV.                 Towards an Organizational Model of Learning


      Argyris and Schon, Organizational Learning II – all ***

      Dodd, “Political Learning and Political Change,” 355-364 **

Email Assignments:


  1. What are the principle arguments that a cybernetic perspective makes with regard to the nature of human learning and what are the implications of these arguments both for individuals behavior, political life and governance?______
  2. How did ‘learning’ play a part in the evolution of the modern Eurocentric world, as described by Diamond in Chapters 11-14 of Guns, Germs and Steel, and to what extent does his discussion in Collapse modify or reinforce these arguments, as seen in Chapters 7-8, and 13? _______
  3. To what extent, how and why have ideas played a role in the development of

the institutions that govern the contemporary industrialized democracies of Europe and America; how and why has the subsequent emergence of nationalism and similar kinds of ideologies arisen in ways that complicates the operation of these institutions; and how and why have the institutions proven effective or ineffective in managing such ideological and cleavage conflicts? _____

  1. What is “culture”, to what extent may it be seen as a product of and an influence on human learning, what are the implications of cultural patterns and culture shift for political beliefs, identities, attitudes and behavior, and to what extent can it be a useful component and/or a questionable component of political analysis (being careful to provide specific illustrations)? ______
  2. To what extent do the cognitive and emotive capacities of individuals influence how they learn, how they change, and the ways in which learning can influence politics?_____
  3. To what extent and in what general ways do individuals learn autonomously, to what extent and in what ways do individuals learn in interactive and structure-induced ways, and what are the implications of your answer for studying political behavior?(See sub-parts b and c under Part III) ______
  4.  To what extent and in what ways can learning be facilitated through persuasion;

how might such persuasive activity influence societal and political change;  what are the implications of your answer for fruitful ways to study politics; and to what extent might (or might not) the persuasive efforts of Abraham Lincoln illustrate the value of such studies? ______

  1. What is single-loop vs double-loop learning, how do they relate to deuterolearning; what is the relevance of these and related concepts to understanding (a) individual/organizational learning, (b)stability-responsiveness-and-change, (c) adaptation and innovation, and (d) the value of ‘intervention;’ and what could be the value and implications of such a learning perspective for the study of politics (perhaps with some concrete illustrations/suggestions)? _____


Week Eight: Socio-Cultural Evolution I/Empirical Inquiry and Research Designs


I.                    Socio-Cultural Evolution:


a.       Thinking about the long-term

1.       Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, Ch 14 and Epilogue

Part IV is recommended as time permits

2.       Diamond, Collapse, Prologue, pp 1-24, Ch 2, Chs 14-16

3.       Wright, Nonzero


b.       Conceptualizing the Study of Socio-cultural Evolution


1.       Tilly, “The Invisible Elbow,” in Tilly, Roads from the Past to the

      Future, Ch 3.***

                                           2.  Weick, The Social Psychology of Organizing, Chs. 1-4**, 5***

          3.   Heclo, “Ideas, Institutions and Interests,” Ch 16 in Dynamics**

         4.    Pierson, Politics in Time


c.       Some Examples


1.       Riker, Liberalism against Populism, Ch. 8,9,10***

2.       Scott James and Brian Lawson, “The Political Economy of Voting Rights Enforcement in America’s Guilded Age, APSR

93 (a) (March 1999): 115-31.**


II.                 Thinking about Research: Ideas, Theory, and Empirical Inquiry


a.       Inquiry, Discovery and Justification: Logic-in-use vs Reconstructed



1.       Kaplan, “Methodology,” Ch 1 in Kaplan, The Conduct of Inquiry***

2.       Seymour Martin Lipset, “The Biography of a Research Project:

Union Democracy,” in Hammond, ed., The Craft of Social



III.                Learning Democracy (LD) as an Exploration of SocioCulture Evolution and

  Politics that illustrates “Logic-in-use”, Discovery and “Reconstructed



a.       The Structure and General Findings of the First Draft, 1997


See “Summary Handout” of the First Draft.


 b.   The Published Book: Parts I and II on the 1990 Election


1.       From Puzzle to Facts to Specific Questions

LD, Preface, Ch. 1: pp 1-16; Ch. 3; Ch. 4: 111-117

(Review remainder of Ch. 1 and Chapter Two)




2.       From Questions to Theory To Specific Applications of

Theory to Hypotheses

LD, Chapter Four: pp. 117-138

3.       From Hypotheses to Measurement to Clarifications of

Empirical Patterns and Hypotheses

LD, Chapter Five

4.       From Clarifications to Specific Hypotheses Testing to

Analytic Refinements to New Puzzles and Questions

LD, Chapter Six


IV.              The Research Design as a Guide for Discovery/A Formula for Explanation


a.       The Logic of Discovery and Consequent Components of Research Designs

King, Keohane and Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, Ch. 1


b.       Research Designs in the Stage of Discovery:

See “Handout I”


c.       Research Designs in the Stage of Justification

See “Handout II”


Email Assignments:


1.    How does the logic of evolution explain the emergence of the modern political world

       (from the evolution of diseases to that of political systems, as seen in Diamond’s

       Guns, Germs and Steel), what kind of abstract model for political evolution is

       implicit in this argument, and how can the arguments derived from this logic and

       model-building be explored through a science of history, as discussed by Diamond in

his epilogue?________

Why do some societies ‘collapse’ whereas others don’t, how do they tend to collapse

       (slowly, suddenly, etc), why do societies fail to forestall collapse through good

       decision-making (and how does ‘rational choice’ contribute to this?)? Through was

       kinds of research designs and logic can we test and refine these arguments (such as

       comparative methods and natural experiments, and how might these research

       strategies relate to specific research puzzles on ‘collapse’ relevant to political

       inquiry? Finally, what does Diamond suggest that can we learn/are learning from

       past human experience with collapse that informs us today, and in what

       ways may there be hope that ‘collapse’ can be avoided for the contemporary


3.       What does Wright mean by ‘nonzero’, how does is relate to rational choice and yet move beyond rational choice, and how has the propensity towards ‘nonzero’ generated the core processes that he sees driving socio-cultural evolution and the emergence of modern civilization. What factors along the way have proven critical to this emergence? What implications does his argument have for contemporary and future politics, and the vital topics for political inquiry?_______

4.       How do the ideas from Tilly, Weick and Heclo mesh together to provide ways to conceptualize socio-cultural change, and what is the relevance of this way of thinking to political research, particularly your own?___._____

5.       How do the concepts and mechanisms identified by Pierson shape, constrain and ‘guide’ socio-cultural evolution?__________

6.       How does the work of Riker on the pre-Civil War period and James and Lawson on the post-Civil War period illustrate rational-based processes that yield unanticipated developments in political arrangements, and how might these illustrations serve as broader examples of/challenges to socio-cultural evolution?_______

7.       Why does Kaplan emphasize ‘scientific autonomy’ in his discussion of ‘The Logic of Inquiry’, what does he mean by ‘logic in use’ and ‘reconstructed logic’ in the context of scientific autonomy, how do discovery and justification relate to these different logics, what are the general implications of his analysis for ‘the tasks of methodology’ and particularly for methodology in the social sciences? How does the essay by Lipset illustrate and inform that arguments that Kaplan is making?________

8.       With respect to the assigned portions of Learning Democracy, by what logic, empirical discussion and argumentation process in earlier chapters and sections do the authors generate their retrospective vs prospective hypotheses at the end of  Chapter 4 (pp. 127-138), how then to they relate these hypotheses to specific concepts and measures, and how do they structure and present the testing of their hypotheses and analytic refinements, and how do they relate their tests back to the original puzzle and forward to new questions and puzzles? How extensively does their presentation and analysis depart from the first draft, as seen in the handout on it, so that the final draft is a product of discovery and reconstructed logic?______

9.       What do King, Keohane and Verba see as the logic of scientific discovery, what are the major components of research designs that follow from this logic, and what themes emerge from this discussion that help one think about the development of research designs (with respect to the role of theory, explanatory leverage, uncertainty and rival hypotheses). How can early research designs, focused more on probing and discovery, reflect the concerns of the authors, and does the handout on early designs provide an adequate guide for doing so (if not, what should be added/deleted)? How might refinement of research designs later in a project as it approaches the stage of research justification and reconstructed logic reflect their concerns, and does the handout on such designs provide an adequate guide for doing so (if not, what should be added/deleted)?________






Week Nine: Doing Theory I:


I.                    Different Approaches to Theory and Empirical Inquiry


a.       Empirical Theory as an Enterprise: To Clarify Analytic Possibilities


1. as reflective ‘thought games’ to imagine and model how the world



      Shively, The Craft of Political Research, pp. 165-66: the Coleman story

about gravity***


Hardin, “The Cybernetics of Competition: A Biologist’s View of

            Society,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Autumn,



                  2. through simulation to explore the implications of imagined models   


                                       Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, Ch. 1**


b.       Theory-Driven Research: To Guide Empirical Discovery


1.  Theories, Alternative Arguments and Quantitative Inquiry


                                                Binder, Stalemate, Chs 1 and 2; and “Congress, the Executive and

                                                Public Policy,” in Congress Reconsidered VII.***


                               2.   Theories, Alternative Arguments and Qualitative Inquiry


                                                Skocpol, Review: “The Origins of Social Policy…”*


        3.    Modeling, Alternative Arguments, and the Integration of Qualitative     

                                            and Quantitative Inquiry


Lazar, “The Free Trade Epidemic of the 1860s and Other Outbreaks of Economic Discrimination,” World Politics, Vol 51 (July, 1999), #4: 447-83.**


c.       Research-driven Theorizing


1.    Lazarsfeld, “The American Soldier,” Public Opinion Quarterly,  Fall,                                                                          1949***


2.     Skocpol, States and Social Revolution, review Preface, Ch 1.*



                                d.    Integrating Theory and Research: Towards a Paradigmatic Science


                                        1. The Logic of Paradigm-Seeking                    


                                                Aldrich and Ostrom, “Regularities, Verification and Systematization,”

                                            American Behavioral Scientist, Vol 23, pp 861-83*


                                     2.   An Illustrative Effort


Riker, Review “The Two-Party System and Duverger’s Law,” APSR




II.                 The Interplay of Theory and Research: Some Guidelines


Shively, The Craft of Political Research, Chs. 1-4, 9***



            Email Assignment: Prepare a short statement of the work you are developing in Theory Paper I that can introduce the class to the broad outlines of your project. Additionally, indicate the ways in which the reading for this week and the perspectives on theory presented in Part I of the course relate to your project.                 



Week Ten: Social Choice IV: Expanding and Refining Our Understanding of Choice Processes


a.      Bounded Rationality and Choice


            Jonathan Bendor, “Bounded Rationality in Political Science,” manuscript, Center

                        for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, October 7, 1999.***

            Bryan D. Jones, “Bounded Rationality”, Annual Review of Political Science,

1999, 2: 297-321**

            Bryan D. Jones, The Architecture of Choice—all( read the first chapter closely,

and then read through the other chapters for major arguments and



b.       Reasoning, Crisis, Learning and Choice


                        Marcus, Neuman and MacKuen, Affective Intelligence and Political


                        George E. Marcus and Michael B. MacKuen, Review: “Anxiety, Enthusiasm,

and the Vote: Emotional Underpinnings of Learning and Involvement

during Presidential Campaigns,” APSR Vol 87, #3, September, 1993, 72-685.**

                        Sniderman, et. al., Reasoning and Choice 1,9*


c.    The Paradox of Temporal Choice


                        Jones, Re-Conceiving Decision-making in Democratic Politics, Part I**


d.       Rationality, Social Psychology and the Cycles of Choice


                        Hirschman, Shifting Involvements: all (read the first chapter closely and then

read through the other chapters for the major points and illustrations)**


e.      Emotions and Political Leadership: crisis, emotional upheaval and transformation


Carwardine, Lincoln, Chapter One

Joshua Wolf Shenk, “Lincoln’s Great Depression,” Atlantic Monthly, Oct.,2005.

Guelzo, Abraham Lincoln, Redeemer President, Chs. 3 and 4


Email assignments:


a.      What is bounded rationality, according to somewhat distinct perspectives of Bendor and Jones,  how does it differ from pure ‘procedural’ rational choice analysis as discussed in Part II of the course by Laver and others, when and where is it most likely to apply, and what general implications does bounded rationality hold for political inquiry?_____

b.      What does Jones mean by the adaptive and goal-oriented nature of human behavior

(Architecture, Ch 2), why does he see humans as adaptive actors (Arch., Ch 1), and

what are the implications of his argument for choice theory and political


c.      What does Jones mean by the procedural limits on adaptability (Architecture, Ch 3), disproportionate information processing (Jones, Architecture, 4), and substantive limits on comprehensive rationality (Architecture, 5), and what are the implications of his arguments for political inquiry?______

d.      What is the nature of organizational adaptation according to Jones (Architecture , Ch 6, 7), and what are the implications of this and his other arguments for the evolution of institutions and human adaptability in the political and social world (Architecture, Ch 8,9)?______

e.      What do Marcus, Neuman and MacKuen mean by dual affective subsystems (Ch 4),

why is it important for political science to begin to recognize the existence of these subsystems within the human brain (Chs 1-3), and what are the implications of these subsystems for our understanding of human behavior (Chs 4,5), political judgment (Ch 6) and affective politics (Ch 7)?_______

f.       What does Jones mean (Re-Conceiving Decision-making) by the paradox of temporal political choice, and what are its implications for political inquiry?____

g.      What is Hirschman’s argument in Shifting Involvements, what does it mean for the stability and predictability of citizen agenda preferences and priorities in politics, and how might it apply to the awakenings of religious fervor in politics and the path of such developments across time?______

h.      What are the implications of ‘social choice IV’ for the issues raised about cycling, collective action, learning and political adaptation in Part II of the course? How might those implications relate to political science research, as in your study of

geography, architecture and choice processes across time in the early Republic?



Week Eleven: Social Structure II


a.       Overview


Tilly, “Social Itineraries”, Chapter 1 in Tilly, Roads from the Past to the Future***

            Carmines and Huckfeldt, “Political Behavior: An Overview” in Goodin and Klingemann,

The New Handbook of Political Science***



b.       Groups, Identities and Collective Action


Clarence Stone, “Group Politics Reexamined: From Pluralism to Political Economy,”

            In Dodd and Jillson, The Dynamics of American Politics***

Guttman, “Identity and Democracy: A Synthetic Perspective,” and Calvert, “Identity,

Expression and Rational-Choice Theory,” in Katznelson and Milner***



c.       Social Identities and Group Politics as a Contested Construction of Reality


Wallace, “Revitalization Movements,” American Anthropologist, Vol 58, 1956***

Carwardine, Lincoln, Chs 2,3, 5, 6, 7** (Ch 4 optional)


d.       Social Networks as Structures of Socio-Political Influence


Wellman, “Structural Analysis: from method and metaphor to theory and substance.”***

Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited,” Sociological

            Theory (1983), 201-33.**

Padgett and Ansell, “Robust Action and the Rise of the Medici, 1400-1434,” American

            Journal of Sociology, 6 (May 1993), 1259-1319***


e.       Contexts, Group Politics and Political Empowerment


Guelzo, A. Lincoln: Redeemer President, Chapter 3: The Doctrine of Necessity**

Huckfeldt and Beck, “Contexts, Intermediaries, and Political Behavior,” in

            The Dynamics of American Politics***

Peggy Kohn, Radical Space: Building the House of the People, All*


f.        Networks, context and the emergence of new structural relations


Tilly, “Parliamentarization of Popular Contention in Great Britain, 1758-1834,” in

            Tilly, Roads from Past to Future***

Email Assignments:


1. What is Tilly’s argument in “Social Itineraries” and what are its implications for how we take into account ‘social structure’ in the study of politics? How does the discussion of Carmines and Huckfeldt inform Tilly’s argument?____

2. What is Stone’s challenge to the traditional ways of thinking about group politics, and how might it inform studies of unusual patterns of policy action such as your study of the voting rights of felons?_______

3. What is ‘identity’ and what is its relevance to the study of groups and politics?______

4. What are ‘revitalization movements’ and how can they influence politics and political change, as illustrated by the rise of Christian evangelicals in the early 19th century?______

5. What is network analysis, according to Wellman, how has it developed, and in what ways does Granovetter illustrate its counterintuitive explanatory power?______

6. How do Padgett and Ansell utilize network analysis in their work on the rise of the Medici in

Italy, and what is their resulting argument? What relevance does this suggest that network analysis might have for the study of politics today?_____

7.What is Peggy Kohn’s argument in Radical Space, how does she develop and defend it, and of what relevance might it be to your work on the Congress?______

8. What is Tilly’s argument in “Parliamentarization,” how does it relate to context, networks and political change, and how might the style of analysis demonstrated by Tilly in this essay apply to the study of politics and change in other social settings?______

Week Twelve: Social Learning II



1. Towards Theories of Learning: A Sensemaking Perspective


                        Weick, Sensemaking, all***

                        Weick, The Social Psychology of Organizing, Ch 5.**

                        Dodd, “Making Sense Out of Our Exceptional Senate,” in U.S. Senate

Exceptionalism, edited by Bruce I. Oppenheimer.***


2.       Single- Loop vs Double-Loop Learning


Review:      Argyris and Schon, Organizational Learning II – all


3. Learning As Experience-Informed Reasoning


    Jack Levy, “Learning and Foreign Policy: Sweeping a 
                    Conceptual MinefieldJack.” International Organization 
                    Vol. 48, No. 2 (Spring, 1994), pp. 279-312: available on 
    Kassel, Working Draft: “Experiential Learning in the 
                    Founding Era: Establishing a Capitol City


4.   Learning as Metaphorical Reasoning and Transformative Perceptions


            Review: Dodd, “Political Learning and Political Change” in Dynamics

                        Review: McPherson, Abraham Lincoln and the Second American

        Revolution, Chs. 2,3,5,6

            Carwardine, “The Power of Public Opinion,” Chapter Two in Lincoln:

                        Profiles in Power**


5.       Learning as an Interactive Product of Ideas, Institutions and Interests


      Review: Heclo, “Ideas, Institutions and Interests,” Ch 16 in Dynamics

      Levine, ChaptersNine and Ten, Popular Voices in Latin American




            Email Assignments:

a.      What is ‘sensemaking’ as a concept, as discussed by Weick in Chapters 1-3 and 8 of Sensemaking and why would attentiveness to ‘sensemaking’ matter to empirical theories of politics?_____

b.     What is the difference between ‘belief-driven’ and ‘action-driven’ sensemaking, when are these different forms of sensemaking likely to be relevant, and what is the theoretical significance of the different forms of sensemaking, as discussed by Weick in Chapters 4-7?______

c.      How does Dodd use the different forms of sensemaking to contrast the U.S. House vs the Senate, how helpful is his argument in comparing the two institutions, and how might the development and evidence in behalf of the argument be improved?___

d.     How might the concepts of belief-driven and action-driven

      sensemaking serve to help understand and address the dilemmas

      associated with single-loop vs double-loop learning, particularly the

      transitions from one to the other?___

e.      What is ‘experiential learning’ and how might it inform theories of

politics and political change, as seen in the founding era and the

work on establishing a Capitol City?____________

f.       What, according to Dodd, are the roles of metacrises, metaphors and

metalogue in political change, and how do leaders such as Lincoln

illustrate the role and power of these phenomena, as for example

in the use of metaphors and metalogue in giving focus to revitalization movements such as the evangelical awakening of the 1850s?___

g.      What, according to Heclo, is the interactive effect of ideas, institutions

and interests, and how might new ideas (or metaphors) such as

liberation theology, when pushed by intermediaries between big

structures and everyday life, help generate transformative learning

within such complex and entrenched institutions as the Catholic Church, and what are the implications of this process for political inquiry?_______




Week Thirteen: Socio-Cultural Evolution II


1. Towards a Social-Psychological Model of SocioCultural Evolution


                Weick, The Social Psychology of Organizing, Chs. 5-9***

        Jones, Reconceiving Decision-Making, Part II***


                2. Looking Forward: Towards a Genetic Perspective on Socio-Political Evolution


a.        Foundations: Genes and Human Evolution


Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Chapters 1-7***


b.       Genetic Evolution and Human Socio-Political Relations


Hawkins, The Selfish Gene, Chs. 8-9***

Robert Wright, The Moral Animal, Chs. 1-14***

                Note: Remainder of book is highly recommended


c.        The Prisoner’s Dilemma and Socio-Political Cooperation


Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Chapters 10, 12***

Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, at least the first four chapters**


d.       Genes and Political Behavior


Marilyn Brewer, 2000. “Superordinate Goals Vs. Superordinate Identity as Bases of  

     Cooperation.” In Social Identity Processes, ed., Capozz and Brown. London: Sage.*

Orbell, John, et. al., 2004. APSR, (March): 1-17***

John Hibbing and John Alford, 2004. “Accepting Authoritative Decisions: Humans

as Wary Cooperators.” American Journal of Political Science 35(January): 62-


Alford, Funk and Hibbing, 2005. “Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?”

                APSR 99 (May): 153-167***             


e.        “Selfishness” and Cooperation: Extensions of Formal and Evolutionary Analysis


Shepsle and Bonchek, Analyzing Politics, Summary of Part II (Pages 192-194) and

Chapters 8-10** (Be sure to read Conclusion on pages 295-296)

Wright, Nonzero, ‘Introduction’ and Chs. 1,2***

            Email Assignments:


1. What does Weick mean in The Social Psychology of Organizing, Ch. Six,  by ‘enactment’ ‘selection,’ and ‘retention’ and what might they mean, in simple terms, in the realm of political analysis?_________

2. What does Weick mean by a ‘natural selection model’ of sociocutlural evolution and what are its broad implications for political analysis, Chs Five and Nine?________

3. What, according to Jones (Reconceiving, Part II) is the paradox of issue evolution, how might it be understood as a form of single vs double loop learning, and might awareness of this paradox inform our understanding of natural selection, political adaptation,  and sociocultural evolution? _______

4. What are genes and gene selfishness, as explicated by Dawkins, and how does it relate to the role of replicators, the importal coils and survival machines in his discussion of biological evolution? See Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Chapters 1-4; also Wright, The Moral Animal, Introduction and Chapter 1. ____

                5. What explains aggression, how does this relate to Dawkin’s discussion of ESS (please define), what are the implication s of this discussion both for species and for the relations within a species, including ‘altruistic’ relations and general family life?________

See Dawkins, Chs. 5-7 and Wright, The Moral Animal, Chs. 2-7.________

6. How does gene selfishness explain generational-based and gender-based conflict,

and what are the detailed implications of this explanation for human socio-political

relations? See Dawkins, Chs 8,9; and Wright, The Moral Animal, Chs. 2-7.  ________

7. What is reciprocal altruism’, why does it exist, and what kinds of general implications does it have for our species? Dawkins, Chapter 10; and Wright, The Moral Animal, pp 170-191 ____ ____

8..What is Robert Axelrod’s contribution to our understanding of the implications of reciprocal altruism, as developed in his work on the prisoners dilemma and cooperation? Dawkins, Ch. 12; Wright, The Moral Animal, Chpater 9; and Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, review all.______

9. What are the arguments and evidence in behalf of a relationship between genes and the political behavior of humans? See the articles by Orbell, et. al., Hibbings, et. al., and Alford, et. al. ________

10. Might there be broader connections between genetic propensities and strategies of cooperation, or between genetic propensities and such things as social contracts, populist agendas, and so forth, as generated by modern social choice theory. In other words, address the potential interplay between Dawkins, Wright, Axelrod and the discussions of Riker on Liberalism vs Populism and of Shepsle/Bonchek, especially as seen in pages 192-194._______

11. To what extent might gene selfishness and genetic inheritance paradoxically have

                constructive implications for human survival, socio-cultural evolution, and the

                creation of modern civilization? See Wright, Nonzero, Introduction and Chapters 1,2. _______




Week Fourteen: Doing Theory II: Class Discussions of  Theory Papers