Could anyone summarize chapters 1-7 of Power & Choice: An Introduction to Political Science by W. Phillips Shively? I know textbooks are hard to summarize, but I would appreciate any info that...

Could anyone summarize chapters 1-7 of Power & Choice: An Introduction to Political Science by W. Phillips Shively? I know textbooks are hard to summarize, but I would appreciate any info that seems like it would be on a test. Thanks!

Asked on by nateruess

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As you say, it is terribly difficult to summarize a textbook.  In addition, you are asking for a summary of seven chapters in a space where we can only put about 500 words.  Therefore, the summary is going to have to be very cursory.  I will identify what I think are the most important things to know from each chapter. 

Before I do this, I want to give you a couple of tips that may help you more than a brief summary can.  First, it makes a great deal of sense for you to look at cues from the text to tell you what is important.  Your text gives you key terms at the end of each chapter.  If you study those and understand them clearly, you will have a good chance on the test.  Another thing to do is to look at the section headings.  You will want to know the definition of any section headings that are terms (like “Authority” or “Implicit and Manifest Power” in Chapter 1) and you will want to be able to understand the meaning of other section headings (for example, in the section called “An Example of the Difficulty of Analyzing Power,” be sure that you know why it is hard to analyze power.

Chapter 1 is trying to introduce you to the idea of politics.  Know the definition of politics and the definition of power.  Know the difference between empirical and normative theories.  Know the definition of the term “state” and do not confuse it with states like we have in the US.

Chapter 2 introduces you to the major political ideologies.  Know what an ideology is.  Know the various ideologies presented in the chapter.  Be sure that you know the difference between American liberalism and conservatism and classical liberalism and conservatism.  Know the left-right continuum.

In Chapter 3, you learn about states and challenges to them.  Again, know what a state is.  It is very important to understand that term as well as the terms “nation” and “nation-state.”  These have very specific meanings in political science that are not the same as the meanings we give them in everyday life.  Know why the various challenges to the state are challenges.

Chapter 4 talks about the various areas in which governments make policy.  Outside of the generic suggestions I gave above, I would just say that you need to understand that political science is often concerned with how much governments try to do and in what areas it tries to act.

Chapter 5 is about political economy.  First, be sure that you know that term.  Next, understand what governments are trying to accomplish through their political economies.  Know some of the main problems that they face.

Chapter 6 is about justice. Be sure that you understand the difference between procedural and substantive justice. 

Chapter 7 is about democracy and other forms of government.  Be sure that you fully understand the various aspects of democracy.  Know the other types of government addressed in the chapter and how they differ from one another and from democracy.

Sources:

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