SPA-300 Final - Kernel Arguments

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Kanheman (Part 1)
There are faults in the way we think and process information. By observing how our brains work and process information, we can correct some of these faults. The brain has two systems: System 1 and System 2.
Kanheman (Part 2)
We pay more attention to the content of messages than to information about the message's reliability - cognitive shortcuts. System 1 is the reason we do this, because it is the easiest system to use and requires little effort.
Change and improvement come from the social conflict between those who produce and those who have property. The poor will rise to consciousness all at once together and revolt against the state and those in power. Predominant institutions are preventing the progression of inequality that will lead to this.
The details of stories can reveal what was important to the communities within which the story circulated. Society is composed of the stories we tell each other and the stories the state tells us. The structure of the state is uniform and stories are a way of making that structure work.
Nunn and Wantchekon
In areas heavily exposed to the slave trade, norms of mistrust toward others were likely more beneficial than norms of trust, and therefore would have become prevalent over time. Cultural shock leaves long-lasting scars and can last just as long as inciting events.
Individuals resolve disputes by applying informal norms rather than formal legal rules, without the help of the state. Formal systems degrade into informal systems. Because governments are imperfect, state interventions in markets and informal control systems may do more harm than good.
Milgrom and Weingast
Honesty can serve as a good bond for honest behavior if members of a trading community can be kept informed about each other's past behavior. Institutions can exist to enforce the effectiveness of a reputation system using much less extensive information. Institutions can reinforce informal norms and relationships of trade.
Tilly (War-Making)
When war is present in state formation, then states are more likely to have eliminated domestic state rivals and more likely to have strong institutions. The state evolves from militia clans to states like Sweden, absorbing everything into it.
Scott (Art of Not Being Governed)
People choose to live out of the reach of the state (state avoidance) to avoid the predatory behavior of the state and its projects of legibility. These "burdens" cause subjects to flee to hard-to-reach places and avoid state structure.
Scott (Seeing like a State)
The state must see subjects and territory as legible in order to function. There is a need to be legible, readable, and reducible institutionally. The state's narrow vision and high degree of coercion are necessary pre-conditions for any sort of governance in the eyes of the modern state.
The Ottoman Empire's concessions to bandits were not a sign of weakness- deals were calculated to balance international and internal pressures and reduce warfare fronts. The elimination and incorporation of rivals are important political activities for a durable, strong state. Fear of bandits could be used by the state as a rationale for greater state control.
Tilly (Trust Ch. 1)
Networks of trust in societies arise when members share stakes. The quality of public politics and the state depends significantly on relations between people's basic trust networks and rulers' strategies of rule. For a state to be strong, trust networks need to be legitimized.
Tilly (Trust Ch. 5)
To effectively integrate subordinate populations into the state, you need to integrate their trust networks into public politics.
Scott (Soviets Ch. 6)
The Soviet state undertook legibility projects through the industrialization of rural areas as an attempt to collect and control historically hard to infiltrate communities. The state's lack of information about the rural area is what hindered its attempts to create a legible system that prevented peasant resistance.
Large cities are dangerous for non-democratic regimes. Cities make effective collective action more likely, and reduce the ability of the regime to understand, observe, and govern the population. States make "deals with the devil" to control them.
Everyone experiences the state differently. The individual has the ability to mold existing infrastructure and institutions. The state operates regarding disparate identities and should take accountability for inequality. Civil society (claim-making majority) vs political society (subalterns)
Acemoglu and Robinson
Political institutions have an effect on state economies. Feasibility and settler mortality rates have a significant impact on the path of the state and the climate of its governance down the road. (Extractive states v. inclusive, Neo-Europe states)
Moderates are motivated to join social movements based on the information they can gather from the movement's makeup. Moderates make informed choices to join social movements based on informational cascades that tell them a movement's numbers, position, and amount of extremists. Moderates are more likely to join movements when there are common, "normal" people like them; extremists hurt movement mobilization.
The distinction between "low" and "high-risk/cost" activism is important to understand why people are mobilized to join movements. The model of interaction and mobilization highlights the importance of both structural and individual motivational factors in high-risk/cost activism.
Bernstein and Lu
Information affects the sustainability and longevity of a movement. Grievances are extremely important to the maintenance of social movements and the state has a direct impact on them. Cases of individual versus mass perspective shifts emphasize that there is no sense in how people are connected or decide to mobilize.
Contention spread quickly in the Arab Spring because many people in a wide range of Middle Eastern countries drew rash inferences (cognitive shortcuts) from Tunisia's success. This can explain why these movements were not successful compared to Tunisia.
Centralized government is necessary for a nation to prosper, but that centralized administration only sucks away the local spirit and weakens nations. While Europeans maintain autonomy by limiting rights, Americans distribute authority among many different hands; disseminating rather than destroying.
Robust civil society actually contributed to the demise of the Weimar democracy due to structural weaknesses within Weimar's political institutions. Participation in associations weakened democracy; people turned to associations because the government was ineffective and weak.
Globalization and fluidity shape attitudes; civil society can promote violence and produce uncertainty, fear, and division because of globalizing. States take a backseat to the conflict in civil society.
Politics of deference and identity do not solve the problem of elite capture, rather they create new problems and skew approaches to solving institutional issues. Constructive politics is the way to solve elite capture.
There are a variety of different political opportunities that lead to movement mobilization and potential change. Social movements utilize repertoires of attention in order to innovate within and around obstacles. The biggest tool of social movements is their ability to disrupt, but there is a fine line between disruption and violence.
It is necessary to create a culture around revolution/social movements in order to maintain strength and hold power over messages. Social movements need cultures based around informal norms and the oppressed, not culture of the elite. It is a war of position, and changing norms changes the artillery (repertoires) the movement can use and brand themselves with.