Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thoughts on the third blog entry

I've enjoyed reading through your various posts and seeing what you are learning about the topics you've chosen. They are all big topics and certainly part of the challenge is just figuring out the basic facts of the situation in each of your cases. It seems like it will be useful to continue your research (and gathering those 8 articles) to get a better grasp of the "back story" on the elections in Iran, the situation in N. Korea, the rise of China, and so on. Before doing any more of the blog entries I would make sure you have found those 8 articles and read them and see what story seems to be emerging about the situation.

For your third blog entry you should finish up that description and background (maybe half the blog, or so) and then turn to the theories and concepts from the book to see how they can help make sense of this case and provide a useful framework for it.

For most of your projects, it's pretty obvious what ideas or readings would be most useful: Ch. 3 on Climate Change, Ch. 19 on N. Korea, Ch. 18 on intervention and "policing the globe." Economic development is covered in various chapters and can be used to discuss the rise of China (as I see Mike has done in his last blog entry).

But it's often not easy to figure out exactly how to use these theories or concepts in a way that's really helpful in gaining a better understanding of global politics (and not just throwing in some fancy terms because they sound impressive). So do your best to explain how a particular theory is helpful for you in understanding a given situation.

For instance, in studying climate change I could see using the idea of neoliberalism and globalization (and could site 3 or 4 different places in the text book where these ideas are discussed). These help us understand how the free market has spread and become more important in global politics in the last 30 years, and this may have something to do with the increase in the level of global energy use and resource depletion as well. If the government is given a smaller role in the economy under neoliberal policies, that means it will have less control over businesses and industries (or individuals) when it comes to the environmental damage they are doing. This means that any global attempts at addressing climate change may run up against the whole set of neoliberal policies that have been so influential around the globe in recent years.

That's just one quick example, but I hope that helps. I'll post some guidelines for the fourth blog entry shortly.

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