GOV 388L • Political Order and Organized Violence
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary. This course focuses on the relation between political institutions and organized violence. Stronger international institutions are often said to be the only reliable way of preventing wars among states, but the necessity of living under common political institutions frequently leads to civil war. Thus the relation between political institutions and political order is not as simple as it often appears to be. Discussions of it are hampered by the traditional division of intellectual labor between students of international politics and students of domestic politics, which is often justified by the idea that domestic politics is politics within institutions while international politics is politics with no institutional constraints. The use of force, however, is common in both arenas, and the ever-present possibility of its use influences behavior in both, even when force itself is not being used. This course will therefore focus directly on the use of force as one means by which individuals and groups seek to pursue their interests, no matter what the context. It will investigate how force is used, what it can be used for, and what determins whether it is used or not. It will also consider how people organize themselves for the use of force and what effect that has on political institutions. Thus it will examine, on the one hand, institutional structures at both the domestic and international levels, and on the other hand, autocracy, coups d'etat, riots, revolutions, and civil and international wars.