Shomer Yael, Dr.
Room Number: 528 Naftali Building
Comparative Politics, Legislative Studies, Electoral Systems, Parties and Party Systems, Political Methodology, New Institutionalism
Tel-Aviv University Summer, 2014
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Political Science
Politics and Media: Political Theories and Institutions through Cinematic Eyes
Dr. Yael Shomer
political institutions and processes shape and affect policy outcomes in democratic countries. In this class we will examine how central political institutions and theories are reflected in movies. The central goal of the course is to examine and discuss central theories in political science and learn about political institutions. To this end we will analyze movies and discuss to what extent they reflect the theories and institutions examined. The following topics will be discussed (among other topics): elections, voters and candidates, lobbyism and corruption, the rally around the flag theory, female suffrage and women rights, the median voter theorem and the calculus of voting paradox, terrorism and revolutions, them and us in politics and more.
1. Participation: students are required to be present in all classes, to read regularly prior to each class, to watch the weekly movie prior to each class, and to actively participate in class discussion (30%).
2. Presentation: each student will present a 10 minute presentation of the weekly readings (20%).
3. Discussion questions: each student should send till midnight the day before class a discussion question based on the reading material and the movie we watched for the class. We will use these as starting points for our in class discussions.
4. Final paper: each student will chose a movie and analyze its political theme. You will need to :
1. summarize the movie in up to 2 pages
2. present the major political theory/institution the movie presents and discuss it using relevant academic literature.
3. analyze the movie using the academic literature review presented in section 2.
I reserve myself the right to decrease the reading load as I see fit.
Class 1: (24/6): Introduction: politics and movies
Class 2 (26/6): Female suffrage and women rights
movie: Iron Jawed Angels
Francisco O. Ramirez, Yasemin Soysal and Suzanne Shanahan. 1997."The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-National Acquisition of Women's Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990", American Sociological Review, pp. 735-745
Ms. Madeline Vinton Dahlgren. 1871. Thoughts on Female Suffrage and in Vindication of Women's True Rights.
Class 3 (1/7): Elections and Candidates
movie: The Candidate
Ginsberg Benjamin and Shepsle, Kenneth. 2002. American Government: Power and Purpose, pp. 415-428; 438-442.
Davidson Roger and Oleszek, Walter. 2004. Congress & its Members 9th edition, pp. 90-96.
Class 4 (3/7): Median Voter Theorem; Calculus of Voting Paradox
movie: Swing Voter
Blais, A. and Achen, C. Taking Civic Duty Seriously: Political Theory and Voter Turnout http://www.princeton.edu/csdp/events/Achen031110/Achen031110.pdf
Holcombe, G. Randall. 1989. "The Median Voter Model in Public Choice Theory", Public Choice , 61, pp. 115-125.
Class 5 (8/7): Lobbyism and Corruption
Movie: Bag Man
Davidson, Roger and Oleszek, Walter. 2004. Congress & Its Members, 9th edition, pp. 367-389.
Earnshaw, David and Judge, David. 2002. "No simple dichotomies: lobbyists and the
European Parliament", The Journal of Legislative Studies, 8(4), pp. 61-79.
Class 6 (10/7): Nomination Processes
Movie: Advise and Consent
Segal, Jeffrey. 1987. "Senate Confirmation of Supreme Court Justices: Partisan and Institutional Politics", The Journal of Politics", 49(4), pp. 998-1015.
Monaghan, Henry. 1988. "The Confirmation Process: Law or Politics", Harvard Law Review, 101, pp. 1202-1212.
Cameron, Charles M. Cover, Albert D. and Segal, Jeffrey A. 1990. " Senate Voting on Supreme Court Nominees: A Neoinstitutional Model", American Political Science Review, 84(2), pp. 525-534.
Class 7 (15/7): Rally Around the Flag/ Media Spins.
Movie: Wag the Dog
Baker, William D, and Oneal, John R. 2001."Patriotism or Opinion Leadership? The Nature and Origins of the Rally Round the Flag Effect", Journal of Conflict Resolution, 45, pp. 661-687.
Groeling, Tim and Baum, Matthew A. 2008. " Crossing the Water's Edge: Elite Rhetoric, Media Coverage, and the Rally-Round-the-Flag Phenomenon", The Journal of Politics, 70 (4), pp. 1065-1085
Lai, Brian and Reiter, Dan. 2005. " Rally 'Round the Union Jack? Public
Opinion and the Use of Force in the United Kingdom, 1948–2001", International Studies Quarterly, 49, pp. 255-272.
Class 8 (17/7): The U.S involvement in Coups
Mi Yung Yoon . 1997. "Explaining U.S. Intervention in Third World Internal Wars, 1945-1989", Journal of Conflict Resolution, 42, pp. 580-602
Schemo, Diana Jean. 2000. "US Victims of Chile's Coup the Uncensored File", NYT, < http://www.tni.org/archives/act/4033>
Kyle Steenland, Kyle. 1974. "The Coup in Chile", Latin American Perspectives, 1(2), pp. 9-29.
Class 9 (22/7): Genocide, Crime against Humanity and the World Reaction
Movie: Hotel Rwanda
Alain Destexhe, Alain. 1994. " The Third Genocide", Foreign Policy 97, pp. 3-17
Thomas Olesen, Thomas. 2012. " Global Injustice Memories: The 1994
Rwanda Genocide", International Political Sociology 6, pp. 373–389.
Friedman. Thomas L. 2013. " US must lead, arm Free Syrian Army", NYT 5/9/13. < http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/US-must-lead-arm-Free-Syrian-Army-Thomas-L-Friedman/articleshow/22323119.cms>
Class 10 (24/7): Terrorism and Intelligence
Movie: The Little Drummer Girl
Lefebvre, Stéphane. 2006. "Spying on Friends?: The Franklin Case,
AIPAC, and Israel", International Journal of Intelligence and
Counter-Intelligence, 19, pp. 600-621.
Honig, Or. 2008. " Surprise Attacks—Are They Inevitable? Moving Beyond the Orthodox–Revisionist Dichotomy", Security Studies 17, pp. 72–106.
Class 11 (29/7): Multiculturalism, "them" and "us" in Politics/ Conservatism"
Kukathas , Chandran. 1998. " Liberalism and Multiculturalism: The Politics of Indifference", Political Theory 26(5), pp. 686-699.
Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan, "Conservatism", The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (3 ed.) http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199207800.001.0001/acref-9780199207800-e-276?rskey=rmb3gm&result=297
Class 12 (31/7): Privatization of Social Services: The Good, the Bad and the Evil.
Mehrotra , Santosh and Delamonica , Enrique. 2005. "The Private Sector and Privatization in Social Services Is the Washington Consensus 'Dead'?", Global Social Policy 5, pp. 141-174.
Shomer, Yael. 2009. "Candidate Selection Procedures, Seniority, and
Vote-Seeking Behavior:Lessons from the Israeli Experience."
Comparative Political Studies, 42(7), pp. 945-970.
Rosas, Guillermo and Yael Shomer. 2008. "Models of Nonresponse in
Legislative Politics." Legislative Studies Quarterly, 33(4), pp.
Rosas, Guillermo and Yael Shomer. 2009. "Non-ingnorable Abstentions in
Mexico's Instituto Federal Electoral. In "The Political Economy of
Democracy, ed. Enriqueta Aragonès,Carmen Beviá, Humberto Llavador and
Norman Schofield, pp. 245-261.
Crisp, Brian F., Kathryn M. Jensen, and Yael Shomer. 2007. "Magnitude
and Vote Seeking", Electoral Studies, 26(4), pp. 727-734.