PLSC 485b Reading Guide and Assignment for Week 2

Readings: Ball and Dagger, Chapter 1

Hinich and Munger, Ideology and the Theory of Political Choice Chapter 1 (on reserve)

North, Structure and Change in Economic History Chapter 5 (on reserve).

The readings for this week have been placed on reserve in the Library Reading Room. However, it may be a few days before these readings are available. I have placed copy of each of the reserve readings for week 2 on my office door (LNG 90.) These copies are not to be taken home. They are to be photocopied and returned to my door.

Guide: As students read the assigned material, they should consider the following questions. To be well prepared for class discussion you may wish to write down notes or short answers to these questions.

Ball and Dagger attempt to define what ideology is and is not.

-What functions do they argue that ideologies perform?

-How consistent are ideologies over time or even at any point in time?

The opening pages of Hinich and Munger criticize recent political science for disregarding the importance of ideology, and focusing too much on issues.

-What is the connection between ideologies and the amount of information that individuals have about politics?

-Where do Hinich and Munger argue that ideologies come from?

-Could there be social or political conflict without ideology? Why or why not?

North wonders why individuals act in ways which are not in their self interest. This is a problem both for social stability (why follow laws when you could get away with breaking them) and for revolution (why risk your own well being in an attempt to change society?)

-What link does North see between information and ideology?

-How is ideology linked to the "free rider problem?"

-What are the characteristics of a successful counter-ideology?

Assignment for Week 2

Find at least one reference to ideology in a recent publication (a newspaper, newsmagazine, etc.) For example, this could be a description of some individual, institution or policy which used ideological labels such as "left," "right," "conservative," "liberal," "socialist," etc. It could also be a description of someone or something as being "ideological."

Write a brief (1 page) analysis of this use of the term "ideology." Your analysis should cover the following questions:

-What is meant by ideology, or by the specific ideological label used in the article?

-Which of the four functions (from Ball and Dagger) does ideology fill in this article?

-Is ideology presented as something positive, neutral, or negative?

You must hand in (1.) a photocopy of the article which you analyze, and (2.) your typed analysis of the article. Be prepared to present your analysis to the class next week.