Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Menu
Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. Introduction to Political Science
    1. 1 What Is Politics and What Is Political Science?
      1. Introduction
      2. 1.1 Defining Politics: Who Gets What, When, Where, How, and Why?
      3. 1.2 Public Policy, Public Interest, and Power
      4. 1.3 Political Science: The Systematic Study of Politics
      5. 1.4 Normative Political Science
      6. 1.5 Empirical Political Science
      7. 1.6 Individuals, Groups, Institutions, and International Relations
      8. Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Review Questions
      11. Suggested Readings
  3. Individuals
    1. 2 Political Behavior Is Human Behavior
      1. Introduction
      2. 2.1 What Goals Should We Seek in Politics?
      3. 2.2 Why Do Humans Make the Political Choices That They Do?
      4. 2.3 Human Behavior Is Partially Predictable
      5. 2.4 The Importance of Context for Political Decisions
      6. Summary
      7. Key Terms
      8. Review Questions
      9. Suggested Readings
    2. 3 Political Ideology
      1. Introduction
      2. 3.1 The Classical Origins of Western Political Ideologies
      3. 3.2 The Laws of Nature and the Social Contract
      4. 3.3 The Development of Varieties of Liberalism
      5. 3.4 Nationalism, Communism, Fascism, and Authoritarianism
      6. 3.5 Contemporary Democratic Liberalism
      7. 3.6 Contemporary Ideologies Further to the Political Left
      8. 3.7 Contemporary Ideologies Further to the Political Right
      9. 3.8 Political Ideologies That Reject Political Ideology: Scientific Socialism, Burkeanism, and Religious Extremism
      10. Summary
      11. Key Terms
      12. Review Questions
      13. Suggested Readings
    3. 4 Civil Liberties
      1. Introduction
      2. 4.1 The Freedom of the Individual
      3. 4.2 Constitutions and Individual Liberties
      4. 4.3 The Right to Privacy, Self-Determination, and the Freedom of Ideas
      5. 4.4 Freedom of Movement
      6. 4.5 The Rights of the Accused
      7. 4.6 The Right to a Healthy Environment
      8. Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Review Questions
      11. Suggested Readings
    4. 5 Political Participation and Public Opinion
      1. Introduction
      2. 5.1 What Is Political Participation?
      3. 5.2 What Limits Voter Participation in the United States?
      4. 5.3 How Do Individuals Participate Other Than Voting?
      5. 5.4 What Is Public Opinion and Where Does It Come From?
      6. 5.5 How Do We Measure Public Opinion?
      7. 5.6 Why Is Public Opinion Important?
      8. Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Review Questions
      11. Suggested Readings
  4. Groups
    1. 6 The Fundamentals of Group Political Activity
      1. Introduction
      2. 6.1 Political Socialization: The Ways People Become Political
      3. 6.2 Political Culture: How People Express Their Political Identity
      4. 6.3 Collective Dilemmas: Making Group Decisions
      5. 6.4 Collective Action Problems: The Problem of Incentives
      6. 6.5 Resolving Collective Action Problems
      7. Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Review Questions
      10. Suggested Readings
    2. 7 Civil Rights
      1. Introduction
      2. 7.1 Civil Rights and Constitutionalism
      3. 7.2 Political Culture and Majority-Minority Relations
      4. 7.3 Civil Rights Abuses
      5. 7.4 Civil Rights Movements
      6. 7.5 How Do Governments Bring About Civil Rights Change?
      7. Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Review Questions
      10. Suggested Readings
    3. 8 Interest Groups, Political Parties, and Elections
      1. Introduction
      2. 8.1 What Is an Interest Group?
      3. 8.2 What Are the Pros and Cons of Interest Groups?
      4. 8.3 Political Parties
      5. 8.4 What Are the Limits of Parties?
      6. 8.5 What Are Elections and Who Participates?
      7. 8.6 How Do People Participate in Elections?
      8. Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Review Questions
      11. Suggested Readings
  5. Institutions
    1. 9 Legislatures
      1. Introduction
      2. 9.1 What Do Legislatures Do?
      3. 9.2 What Is the Difference between Parliamentary and Presidential Systems?
      4. 9.3 What Is the Difference between Unicameral and Bicameral Systems?
      5. 9.4 The Decline of Legislative Influence
      6. Summary
      7. Key Terms
      8. Review Questions
      9. Suggested Readings
    2. 10 Executives, Cabinets, and Bureaucracies
      1. Introduction
      2. 10.1 Democracies: Parliamentary, Presidential, and Semi-Presidential Regimes
      3. 10.2 The Executive in Presidential Regimes
      4. 10.3 The Executive in Parliamentary Regimes
      5. 10.4 Advantages, Disadvantages, and Challenges of Presidential and Parliamentary Regimes
      6. 10.5 Semi-Presidential Regimes
      7. 10.6 How Do Cabinets Function in Presidential and Parliamentary Regimes?
      8. 10.7 What Are the Purpose and Function of Bureaucracies?
      9. Summary
      10. Key Terms
      11. Review Questions
      12. Suggested Readings
    3. 11 Courts and Law
      1. Introduction
      2. 11.1 What Is the Judiciary?
      3. 11.2 How Does the Judiciary Take Action?
      4. 11.3 Types of Legal Systems around the World
      5. 11.4 Criminal versus Civil Laws
      6. 11.5 Due Process and Judicial Fairness
      7. 11.6 Judicial Review versus Executive Sovereignty
      8. Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Review Questions
      11. Suggested Readings
    4. 12 The Media
      1. Introduction
      2. 12.1 The Media as a Political Institution: Why Does It Matter?
      3. 12.2 Types of Media and the Changing Media Landscape
      4. 12.3 How Do Media and Elections Interact?
      5. 12.4 The Internet and Social Media
      6. 12.5 Declining Global Trust in the Media
      7. Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Review Questions
      10. Suggested Readings
  6. States and International Relations
    1. 13 Governing Regimes
      1. Introduction
      2. 13.1 Contemporary Government Regimes: Power, Legitimacy, and Authority
      3. 13.2 Categorizing Contemporary Regimes
      4. 13.3 Recent Trends: Illiberal Representative Regimes
      5. Summary
      6. Key Terms
      7. Review Questions
      8. Suggested Readings
    2. 14 International Relations
      1. Introduction
      2. 14.1 What Is Power, and How Do We Measure It?
      3. 14.2 Understanding the Different Types of Actors in the International System
      4. 14.3 Sovereignty and Anarchy
      5. 14.4 Using Levels of Analysis to Understand Conflict
      6. 14.5 The Realist Worldview
      7. 14.6 The Liberal and Social Worldview
      8. 14.7 Critical Worldviews
      9. Summary
      10. Key Terms
      11. Review Questions
      12. Suggested Readings
    3. 15 International Law and International Organizations
      1. Introduction
      2. 15.1 The Problem of Global Governance
      3. 15.2 International Law
      4. 15.3 The United Nations and Global Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)
      5. 15.4 How Do Regional IGOs Contribute to Global Governance?
      6. 15.5 Non-state Actors: Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
      7. 15.6 Non-state Actors beyond NGOs
      8. Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Review Questions
      11. Suggested Readings
    4. 16 International Political Economy
      1. Introduction
      2. 16.1 The Origins of International Political Economy
      3. 16.2 The Advent of the Liberal Economy
      4. 16.3 The Bretton Woods Institutions
      5. 16.4 The Post–Cold War Period and Modernization Theory
      6. 16.5 From the 1990s to the 2020s: Current Issues in IPE
      7. 16.6 Considering Poverty, Inequality, and the Environmental Crisis
      8. Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Review Questions
      11. Suggested Readings
  7. References
  8. Index
anarchy
a lack of a general sense of order in the international system
balance of power
the ability of one or more states to act as a counterweight to another country or group of countries in order to protect themselves
bipolar system
an international environment where two states of comparable power create a situation in which neither is willing to attack the other
collective security
a cooperation agreement between multiple countries aimed at providing military power for all
comparative advantage
when one state can create a particular good or service in a more cost-effective manner than a second state
complex interdependence
a theory of international relations that holds that all parts of the international system have competing interests but that these parts form networks to meet common goals
constructivism
in international relations, the theory that expected patterns of behavior among states are the glue that holds the international system together
core countries
countries with developed economic systems and stable political and social systems
core-periphery model
a model of international relations that views the world as divided between two types of countries, core countries and periphery countries, where core countries depend on periphery countries to maintain their status
defensive realism
a type of neorealism that advocates for transparency in order to avoid conflict and maintain the status quo
dependency theory
a theory of international relations that argues that the stratification of countries in the international system is based on core countries and periphery countries, where core countries depend on periphery countries to maintain their status
deterrence
the buildup of military might to such a level that an adversary state or states reconsider the use of their own military against the primary state
factors of production
the land and physical resources, the labor force, and the capital needed for investment in the facilities and processes of an economy, and the entrepreneurship and creativity that drives economic growth and diversification
feminist theory
a theory of international relations that supports creating institutions and norms that prioritize equality among all people, regardless of biological sex or sociological gender
fiat currency
government-issued, physical currency, the value of which is not linked to some other commodity (such as the gold standard)
game theory
a way of conceptualizing what motivates a political actor in terms of the steps the actor takes to reach what they deem to be the optimal outcome for themselves
hegemon
the country that possesses the most power in a unipolar world
institutionalism
a branch of liberalism that sees international institutions in which states take part as essential to the functioning of the international system
intergovernmental organizations
institutions made up of multiple state actors that work within a specific set of rules to enact solutions to problems common among multiple states
international relations
a subfield of political science that focuses on the ways different states interact with one another
lender of last resort
a financial institution, such as the IMF, that a country turns to only after it has exhausted all of its other funding options
liberalism
a theory of international relations that sees investment in the system as a whole, by working within institutions and their constraints to carve out a secure space, as the best way for a state to ensure its protection
Marxism
in the context of international relations, the idea that the role of states is to ensure equal access to the factors of production in an economy and an equitable distribution of the benefits of the goods and services that economy produces
multipolar system
an international environment in which three or more states have relatively similar power that they can project out to other countries
nation
a shared group identity gleaned from a common culture or ethnicity
neorealism
an offshoot of realism that contends that it is the structure of the system rather than the people who make up the state that drives the system forward
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
non-state actors focused on solving problems or filling policy gaps states can’t or won’t handle themselves
offensive realism
the theory that interstate conflict is the product of the overt actions states take in order to grow and project their power
periphery countries
countries with less stable political and social systems that are rich in the resources that more developed states require to maintain their power
power
the ability of a state to prompt its preferred outcome in a given situation
proxy wars
conflicts in which each of the warring parties is supported and funded by a larger party who has a vested interest in the outcome
realism
a theory of international relations that holds that states embark on policy initiatives with a go-it-alone attitude that aims solely to preserve their own safety and security
reciprocity
the idea that all countries that have diplomatic relationships with a state accept, in equal measure, what that state accepts
security dilemma
a situation in which changes in a state’s policies related to its own safety and security, because they appear aggressive to other states, may lead those other states to take preemptive action that ratchets up tensions between two or more states
security pact
an agreement among multiple states to support each other in case of a military attack
selectors
people that a leader in any type of government relies on to legitimize their power and position
soft power
friendly interactions that seek to win over rather than force a state or states to comply with the wishes of one or more other states
sovereignty
the ability of a state to run its institutions without fear of interference from other states or entities and to respond to threats as they emerge
state
one of the foundational institutions in the international system; an institutional infrastructure that allows a society to function
unipolar system
an international environment in which only one country possesses the political, economic, and military strength to exert its power and preferences on all the other countries in the world
zero-sum game
an interaction between two players in which there is only one round of play where one player takes everything available and leaves nothing for the second player
Do you know how you learn best?
Kinetic by OpenStax offers access to innovative study tools designed to help you maximize your learning potential.
Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-political-science/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-political-science/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© May 20, 2022 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.