Final: May 12, 12: 30-2: 30pm

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Political Science 451 (Modern and Contemporary Political Theory)

Final Exam Study Guide

Final: May 12, 12:30-2:30pm

Short Answer Section. There will be 12 short answer questions on the final. You are to answer 10 of the 12 (4 points each). The following are most of the key terms and concepts we have discussed since the midterm. Use this to help you review your readings and notes.

Necessary wage rate Social network analysis

Surplus labor Structural holes

Rent Social capital

Marketing, trade secrets, etc. Social media and echo chamber effect

Accumulation of capital Civic virtue

Alienation Tuning in, tuning out

Three types of communism Why TV?

Power of money Veil of ignorance

Regimes of truth Difference principle

Disciplinary society Welfare state

Discursive practices Mediators

Knowledge and power Innovators-copiers

Problematizing history Control societies


Essay Question. Two of the following three essay topics will be on the final. You are to write an essay on one of the two. Essays should be multiple paragraphs in length, well-organized, thorough, and display a good degree of advanced preparation. (60 points)

  1. In Foucault’s book, Society must be defended, he argues for the emergence of a new form of power, and for a disciplinary society, at the end of the eighteenth century. Crucial to this discussion is problem of sovereignty that emerges in the wake of the loss of monarchical power, combined with the discovery of society as an object of study. By drawing on the themes from the chapters from Foucault’s book, set forth Foucault’s arguments and connect them to contemporary political society of 2017.

  1. An important concept that we talked about this semester is “social capital.” In both Ronald Burt’s and in Robert Putnam’s essays social capital was used to explain two important phenomena. The first, in the case of Burt, was the manner in which structural holes in a network give someone more social capital, and this capital is empirically shown to correspond with a higher likelihood of getting a job, a promotion, etc. For Putnam social capital was used to explain the role that trust plays in political engagement, and it is this capital, along with the corresponding trust and political engagement, that has been on decline in recent decades. In this essay provide detailed summaries of the concept of social capital as it appears in these two essays, and connect this to the work of Foucault. Once you’ve done this, reflect on the possible implications social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.) may have on the accumulation, or not, of social capital.

  1. In many ways, Deleuze’s essays “mediators” and “postscript on control societies” can be seen as a contemporary version of the arguments Mill made in defense of individualism. Lay out Deleuze’s arguments, showing along the way where Deleuze differs from Foucault, and then compare and contrast Deleuze and Mill. In the context of this essay, be sure to bring in a number of examples in order to help clarify the points you are making.

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