Political Science Essay Questions

Political Science Essay Questions


The construct describes the representations of the people in government. It can refer to the direct, participatory, and representative administration of state powers to its people (“The Principles of Democracy”). It assumes that the average citizen is capable of understanding major issues relating to governing (“The Principles of Democracy”). Also, the facet holds that efficiency is not as important as the full representation of all citizens within the government. Various disruptions to the status quo mean have had a profound effect on the kind of democracies adopted in Latin American countries which are vulnerable to populist ideas.

Effect of Market Forces on Democracies in Chile and Argentina

The rise of market forces in both Chile and Argentina has fostered a better democratic process than before.  In Chile, for example, the growth of capitalism encouraged the rise of a social democratic system in the latter. The neo liberalist’s trajectories in the country diverged despite the strong position of the capitalist market forces. The ‘social market economy’ was the status quo in the state sustained by the political-economist influential for twenty years (Undurraga 11). The growth of the free market expansion, however, led to a constriction of dictatorship regimes. Growing discontent caused by structural inequalities has forced the Chilean authorities to listen to the demands of the citizens and act accordingly. Consequently, the country appears to lean more towards building a more social democratic model. Argentina has nationalized selected institutions as a result of heightened public pressures from various interest groups in the country (Undurraga 12). Overall, the growth market forces have transformed the democracies of both countries to varying extents. Chile has adopted a more social democratic approach, while Argentina has strengthened the economic and social rights.

Grigera and Doyle’s Arguments Regarding the Causes of ‏Populism

Grigera argues that social mobilization against neoliberalism sparks renewed interest in populism, defined as the ‘Pink Tide.’ Governments which have profited from the new form of populism in the region have successfully used the platform to recreate conditions for capital accumulation. Also, these political parties have successfully infused a new set of social movement demands. The author expounds on the ‘Pink Tide neopopulism’ notion using the political economy approach. He further argues that the existence of a social movement with unmet demands coupled with a crisis with neoliberalism is not enough on their own to explain the rise and fall of liberalism in South America. Grigera believes that the commodity boom is also an enabler for the transformations in the region. The author offers the reader a chance to get a new historical perspective of the development of politics in Brazil and Argentina.

Doyle reckons that populism in a long-lasting feature of the Latin American political democracies. Politicians from both the right and the left sides of the political spectrum have benefited from populism tides to rise to positions of power in the region. Populism has shown to be unwavering in some Latin American countries, while political forces in others have existed in moderation. Doyle believes that the fluctuating public trust levels can explain the phenomenon shown within political parties affiliated to liberal democracy.

I find Doyle’s argument to be the more compelling of the two. The reason is that he backed his assertions with statistics from 48 elections of presidents across 18 Latin American countries from 1966 to 2008. Critics reckon that Grigera’s work is shallow and fails to cover all forms which cover political criticism in Latin America. Doyle’s work has also been criticized for ignoring the tides and trends and over-relying on the statistics.

Sartori’s Ladder of Abstraction

Sartori’s ladder is a useful tool for categorizing the types of regimes present in Latin America. He aims to steer a middle course between the quantitative logical perfectionism thinker and the qualitative thinker who accused of being a crude logical thinker. The political scientist believes that we have to be driven by empirical realities when defining what a concept is and what it is not. He argues that arguments which suggest a broad classification are better since they provide more opportunities for classification. For example, the parliamentary/presidential system in Argentina is different from Brazil given that the former is more susceptible to the influence of neoliberalism than the latter. From Sartori’s arguments, the broad dynamics involved during the elections of both levels of power in the two countries offer a variety of opportunities for classification.

Sartori describes his ladder of abstraction in three specific levels. The top of the ladder is high-level categories. He argues that universal conceptualizations at the top allow for cross-area comparisons among relatively different contexts. At the middle of the ladder are middle-level types which will enable for intra-area comparisons among heterogeneous contexts. Finally, the lowest echelons of the ladder permit only low-level comparison which permits a country by country analysis only using the narrow gauge theory. Sartori preserves the parliamentary/presidential dichotomy as the framework for comparing the different Latin American governments. The ladder of abstraction, therefore, classifies the various levels of Latin America democracies as part of a hierarchy of concepts.




Works Cited

“The Principles of Democracy.” , http://www.sjsu.edu/people/ken.nuger/courses/pols120/Ch-3-Principles-of-Democracy.pdf. Accessed on: 25th March 2019.

Undurraga, Tomás. “Neoliberalism in Argentina and Chile: common antecedents, divergent paths.” Revista de Sociologia e Política 23.55 (2015): 11-34. DOI 10.1590/1678-987315235502.