Political Science | Conflict and Governance (3 Cr.)
Y673 | 3409 | McGinnis


This section meets at 513 N. Park.

Coping with conflict (both internal and external) is one of the primary
tasks facing governments or more informal modes of governance. All
communities must develop institutions that facilitate the resolution of
disputes before they escalate to widespread violence. The responsibility of
protecting the community against external dangers is delegated to agents who
may abuse this position by manipulating fears of exaggerated dangers or by
instigating real dangers by their own actions. Although the institutions of
domestic politics and international relations are typically considered
separately, in this seminar we will use the tools of institutional analysis
to examine connections between internal and external conflict, at various
levels of aggregation.
The following topics will be examined in this seminar: the predatory and
polycentric constitutional orders envisioned in Hobbes' Leviathan and the
Federalist; linkages among local, national, and global conflict; alternative
conflict resolution institutions, including "private" and "public"
international law; complementarity of market and public economies; extension
of economic models from production and exchange to cover theft and charity;
an extension of the new institutional literature on governments as responses
to market failures to a similar concern with failures of private or
community conflict resolution mechanisms; how non-profit non-governmental
organizations fit into this framework; Tocqueville's concern with the
difficulty of sustaining democratic self-governance; the institutional and
cultural foundations of democratic peace as a multi-level system of conflict
management; models of ethnic conflict as a rational response to fear and to
problems of credible commitment to protect minority rights; greed and
grievance as sources of contemporary conflict; and linkages among resource
conflict, humanitarian aid, and development. The common theme uniting these
diverse topics will become clearer as the semester proceeds!
This seminar will draw upon literatures from various subfields of political
science, but students will be encouraged to pursue those literatures of most
direct interest to their own program of study. Students will write an
original research paper to be presented at a mini-conference held at the end
of the semester. They will also be asked to comment upon the assigned
readings in weekly memos and a final essay.