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Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, evidence or research.

Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.

Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the classroom or from your own research in the Walden Library.

Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.

Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.

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Use  references

                                                  Main Post 

Throughout my years as an ICU nurse, critical thinking has become a skill that I utilize on a daily basis in my clinical practice. Not only are critical thinking skills a part of my daily practice, but I also observe my colleagues putting their critical thinking skills to use in their every day clinical practice. One example of critical thinking skills being used in ICU clinical practice is when multiple drips are being titrated on a patient that is extremely ill. As an ICU nurse, it is essential and vital that you utilize critical thinking skills when choosing which drip to titrate up or down or which drip to start or stop. Another instance where I have observed critical thinking skills being used in the ICU is when I would attend a rapid response on one of the medical floors. As the critical care nurse, I must use my critical thinking skills to choose the right lab tests to run, determine what might be going on with the patient that is in distress, and choose the right treatment pathway.


I try to improve my clinical competence in every way I can, especially by employing my critical thinking strategies. Some of the strategies I use most often include listening, continuing to learn every chance I get, and explaining to my colleagues why I came to a specific conclusion. I use the strategy of listening to improve my clinical competence because it helps me find new solutions to everyday problems that I might face in the ICU. Learning helps improve my clinical competence because it makes me a better ICU nurse. The more I learn, the more proficient I can become. I like to explain my rationale for the conclusion I came to because another colleague might have something important to add that would aid in solving the problem at hand. 


Clinical scholarship is defined as an approach that enables evidence-based nursing and the development of best practices to meet the needs of clients efficiently and effectively (Stanley et al., 1999). 

Critical thinking is defined as the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment (Benner, Hughes, & Stuphen, 2008, p. [Page 120]). 

Clinical practice is defined as either the field of principal professional clinical activity (Wilkes, Mannix, & Jackson, 2013).


After reviewing the definitions of clinical scholarship, critical thinking, and clinical practice I was able to see how each term is interconnected. In order to have a clinical scholarship like approach in clinical practice, it is essential that critical thinking tools be utilized. The development of the best practices in clinical nursing practice will not occur if there is no critical thinking involved in the process (Wilkes, Mannix, & Jackson, 2013).

These three terms should be looked at as a single unit; one cannot exist without the other. 




Benner, P., Hughes, R. G., & Stuphen, M. (2008). Patient Safety and Quality: An 


               Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.Rockville, MD. 


Stanley, J., PhD, Keating, S. B., EdD, Edwardson, S., PhD, Easley, C. E., PhD, Alichnie, 


               C., PhD, & Edwards, J., PhD. (1999, March 15). Defining Scholarship for the 


               Discipline of Nursing. Retrieved December 31, 2018, from






Wilkes, L., Mannix, J., & Jackson, D. (2013). Practicing nurses perspectives of clinical 


scholarship: a qualitative study. BMC nursing, 12(1), 21. doi:10.1186/1472-6955-

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In a 5- to 10-slide PowerPoint presentation, address the following

In a 5- to 10-slide PowerPoint presentation, address the following:

· Provide an overview of the article you selected, including answers to the following questions:

  • What type of group was discussed?Who were the participants in the group? Why were they selected?What was the setting of the group?How often did the group meet?What was the duration of the group therapy?What curative factors might be important for this group and why?What “exclusion criteria” did the authors mention?

· Explain the findings/outcomes of the study in the article. Include whether this will translate into practice with your own client groups. If so, how? If not, why?

· Explain whether the limitations of the study might impact your ability to use the findings/outcomes presented in the article.

Note: The presentation should be 5–10 slides, not including the title and reference slides.  

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Powerpoint Thematic analysis of the effectiveness of an inpatient

In a 5- to 10-slide PowerPoint presentation, address the following:Provide an overview of the article you selected, including answers to the following questions:What type of group was discussed?Who were the participants in the group? Why were they selected?What was the setting of the group?How often did the group meet?What was the duration of the group therapy?What curative factors might be important for this group and why?What “exclusion criteria” did the authors mention?Explain the findings/outcomes of the study in the article. Include whether this will translate into practice with your own client groups. If so, how? If not, why?Explain whether the limitations of the study might impact your ability to use the findings/outcomes presented in the article.

Here is the article

Yildiran, H., & Holt, R. R. (2015). Thematic analysis of the effectiveness of an inpatient mindfulness group for adults with intellectual disabilities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43(1), 49–54. doi:10.1111/bld.12085Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.



Thematic analysis of the effectiveness of an inpatient mindfulness group for adults with intellectual disabilities

Hatice Yildiran and Rachel R. Holt, Community Support Unit, Hertfordshire Partnership University,

NHS Foundation Trust, 14 Stratford Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 4DG, UK (E-mail:

Accessible summary • Mindfulness helps people focus instead of worrying about the past or future. • We talked to six people who took part in a mindfulness group. • They all had intellectual disabilities and were in hospital for mental health


• They told us the group helped, and we hope that mindfulness can help other people too.

Summary The study focused on the effectiveness of group mindfulness for people with

intellectual disabilities in an assessment and treatment unit. Six participants with

mild or moderate intellectual disabilities were interviewed using semi-structured

interviews. The interviews focused on identifying the benefits and difficulties of

using mindfulness. The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Five

themes were identified which were categorised into interpersonal (‘helping people’)

and intrapersonal (‘focusing on one particular thing’; ‘improving skills’; get rid of all

nasty bad stuff you want to get rid of’) benefits. The theme ‘bit too late to teach old

dog new tricks’ captured the difficulties encountered. The themes highlighted that

people with intellectual disabilities were able to form an understanding of

mindfulness and were able to benefit from the intervention.

Keywords Group, inpatient, intellectual disabilities, mindfulness, thematic analysis


Over the years, Buddhist meditative practices have been

making their way into the clinical arena and being incor-

porated into traditional Western psychotherapies (Felder

et al. 2012). One such meditative practice is that of mind-

fulness, the art of being present in the moment and

accepting it without judgement (‘paying attention in a

particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non

judgmentally’ (Kabat-Zinn 1994, p.4). This requires two

components: firstly, the ability to pay attention to the

moment and secondly, to be curious, open and accepting of

your experience in the moment (Bishop et al. 2004).

There is an emerging evidence base for the effectiveness of

mindfulness in the treatment of various mental health

problems such as depression (Siegal et al. 2002) and anxiety

(Hofmann et al. 2010). It is also aNational Institute for Health

and Clinical Excellence (NICE)-recommended treatment (as

part of dialectical behaviour therapy) for people with

borderline personality disorder (NICE 2009). Mindfulness

ª 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 49–54 doi:10.1111/bld.12085

British Journal of

Learning Disabilities The Official Journal of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities

interventions have also been found to be effective with

diverse client populations including children (Burke 2010),

adolescents (Biegel 2009) and people with intellectual dis-

abilities (Singh et al. 2007).

The growing evidence base for people with intellectual

disabilities is of particular interest to this paper. There is

increasing evidence for the ‘Soles of the Feet’ programme

(Singh et al. 2003) which encourages people to shift their

attention from their angry thoughts to a neutral point on

their body – soles of their feet. The benefits of involvement

in the programme have included people with moderate

intellectual disabilities being able to manage their anger in

constructive ways and thus avoiding their community

placements from breaking down (Singh et al. 2007).

An interesting additional benefit of mindfulness can be

seen when looking into the effects it has on staff caring for

people with intellectual disabilities. This is particularly

relevant in the light of the recent Winterbourne View abuse

scandal of 2011, which identified frequent use of inappropri-

ate restraint (Care Quality Commission 2011). Although

factors contributing to the abuse at Winterbourne View are

complex and systemic, frequent use of restraint has been

linked to staff stress caused by work related issues (Paterson

et al. 2011). There is evidence that mindfulness is effective in

reducing psychological distress for staff workingwith people

with intellectual disabilities. In particular, the promotion of

acceptance in carers and teachers has been found to be

effective with staff reporting less stress, particularly those

who did not have a professional qualification and may have

been more vulnerable (Noone & Hastings 2010). Further

benefits of mindfulness for staff and services include reduc-

tion in physical restraint by staff (Singh et al. 2009) and cost

effectiveness by reducing sick days and medical rehabilita-

tion for staff who have been injured (Singh et al. 2008).

The effectiveness of mindfulness in intellectual disabili-

ties has been attributed to the experiential nature of the

activities which do not require sophisticated verbal reason-

ing skills as some traditional psychotherapies warrant such

as cognitive behaviour therapy (Brown & Hooper 2009).

Current interest in the field appears to be in relation to

further adaptations of mindfulness to suit the needs of

people with intellectual disabilities. However, research is at

the early stages, and further investigations are needed in the

area of adaptations (Robertson 2011).

The current study aimed to explore people with intellec-

tual disabilities’ understanding of mindfulness, including

the benefits and difficulties they experienced in their use of

mindfulness exercises.


The current study explored a range of mindfulness exer-

cises, taught and practiced during a weekly relaxation and

mindfulness group. The group was held on an inpatient

assessment and treatment unit for people with intellectual

disabilities and acute mental health problems. The inpatient

therapy room was transformed into a space which was

separate from other clinical activities which took place there

(e.g. one-to-one sessions) with input from participants.

Sensory lamps and light background music were used to

transform the space.

One exercise was an adaptation of the raisin exercise

(Kabat-Zinn 2012). The raisin script was generalised to fruits.

Participants were prompted to focus on different sensory

features of the fruit. They were prompted to focus on what it

feels like in their hand, what colours they can see, what

shape it was, focus on the scent, taste and sounds whilst

eating the fruit. The fruit was used as a tangible focal point

for participants to orient themselves to the present moment.

The group members focused on a different fruit each week.

The relaxation and mindfulness group also involved

other mindfulness-related exercises. Muscle tension and

relaxation was used with a mindfulness element including a

body scan; participants were prompted to notice the

changes in their bodies and locate where the warm feelings

were. Deep breathing whilst meditating on the breath was

also used in the group; participants were prompted to focus

on the tip of thei r nose, noticing the sound of the breath and

the air on the face. Further olfactory experiences were

explored in the group; incense sticks and candles were used

to focus on scents; participants were prompted to focus their

attention on the scents of fruits and flowers.

During times where it was evident that participants’

thoughts drifted away from the present moment, they were

reminded to bring their focus back to the tangible anchor

point used in the exercises which included fruits, incense

and candle sticks, warm feelings in their body and the tip of

their nose.

The group was facilitated by trainee and assistant clinical

psychologists. It had been running for 1.5 years at the time

the interviews took place for this study.


Seven inpatients who had taken part in the group were

invited to take part in the study. Group participants who

had been discharged from the inpatient unit were not

contacted due to the potential difficulties (such as possible

confusion and misinterpretation of being contacted by the

inpatient team). One participant was discharged during the

study phase and was interviewed in their community


Six service users chose to participate in the study. Smaller

sample sizes are accepted in the literature for qualitative

research as evidenced in the following quote:

Qualitative research methods differ from quantitative

approaches in many important aspects … Quantitative

ª 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 49–54

50 H. Yildiran and R. R. Holt

researchers capture a shallow band of information from

a wide swath of people and seek … to understand,

predict, or influence what people do. Qualitative

researchers generally study many fewer people, but

delve more deeply into those individuals, settings,

subcultures … hoping to generate a subjective under-

standing of how and why people perceive … interpret,

and interact … both approaches are theoretically

valuable(Barker & Edwards 2012).

Participants had diagnoses of mild or moderate intellec-

tual disabilities. All the participants had additional diagno-

ses including paranoid personality disorder, autism,

recurrent depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and epi-

lepsy. They were all inpatients at a specialist assessment

and treatment unit for people with intellectual disabilities

and acute mental health problems. The sample consisted of

four females and two males. The age range was 21–64 years

(mean age 44 years). The number of sessions of mindfulness

that the participants had attended was between 2 and 23

(mean number of sessions attended was 10).


All participants were deemed to have capacity to consent by

their Clinical team. Informed consent was given by all the

participants. Semi-structured interviews were used for data

collection during June 2012. The interview schedule was

developed by the first author generating topics relevant to

the experience of mindfulness in a group setting – which

included topics about understanding of the intervention,

benefits and difficulties. The interview schedule was dis-

cussed and agreed by both authors. The interview included

open questions (e.g. ‘What do you do in the group’) and

closed questions related to the practicalities of the group

(e.g. ‘The relaxation and mindfulness group is at 4 pm on

Wednesdays. Are you happy with this time and date? Yes/


The first author carried out all the interviews one-to-one

with participants, in a quiet area of the inpatient unit. All

participants knew the main interviewer, who was one of the

facilitators of the group. The participants’ responses were

written verbatim by the first author during the interviews,

due to anticipated distress that audio recordings may cause,

particularly participants with paranoid personality disor-

ders. Written transcripts were anonymised and stored in a

locked filing cabinet.

Materials from the relaxation and mindfulness group

were used to aid participants’ understanding of the ques-

tions and to aid their memory (the first author gave a visual

demonstration of holding the fruit by cupping her hand and

showed participants the CDs, incense sticks and candles).

These aids were used as it was thought that the participants

may have difficulties with orientating themselves to the

topic of discussion and to associating the questions to their

experiences in the group.


The data were analysed using thematic analysis. This is a

method for identifying and analysing patterns in qualitative

data (Braun & Clarke 2013). Thematic analysis was used

because it is relatively quick to do and accessible to novice

researchers (Braun & Clarke 2006) and thus suitable for the

two authors who are both primarily clinicians rather than

researchers. Further advantages are its flexibility and

potential to generate unanticipated insights.

The current study used the six phases of thematic analysis

proposed by Braun & Clarke (2013). The first phase of

‘familiarisation’ of the data was achieved by the first author

conducting the interviews and both authors reading and

rereading the interview transcripts. The second phase,

‘coding’ involved collating and coding quotes taken from

the interviews. ‘Searching for themes’ was achieved by

looking for similarity between the codes and grouping

similar codes together. This was initially done by the two

authors individually. ‘Reviewing themes’ was achieved by

both authors sharing their analyses of the data and

comparing and discussing themes. Themes that emerged

in both authors analyses and worked in relation to the

coded extracts and the entire data set were retained. Themes

that had only emerged in one analysis were discussed and

checked to see whether they met the threshold of working in

relation to the data. Themes that were similar and did not

provide additional information about the data were col-

lapsed together. ‘Defining and naming themes’ was

achieved by ongoing analysis. It was decided to use quotes

taken from the data as theme headings. The authors felt this

was an important aspect of giving people with intellectual

disabilities a greater presence in this article.

In addition to the six phases, the analysis for this study

also included an additional phase of ‘reflection’. After

conducting the interviews and before starting analysis, the

first author did not feel the study had yielded rich data to

contribute to the evidence base for mindfulness in intellec-

tual disabilities. This was due to assumptions of the first

author in relation to her position as the group facilitator and

interviewer for the study. On reflection, the first author

realised she was expecting to hear explanations of mind-

fulness she had used in the group when she interviewed the

participants. In contrast, the interviewees provided a variety

of accounts of mindfulness which made her doubt the

effectiveness of the group sessions. However, upon revis-

iting the interview transcripts, it became clear that perhaps

the findings produced a stronger case for the effectiveness

of mindfulness in intelle ctual disabilities, as the participants

had attached their own meaning to mindfulness which was

more relevant to their experiences.

ª 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 49–54

Mindfulness in intellectual disabilities 51

Following the analysis, five broad themes were identified

(see Fig. 1).

Focusing on one particular thing

The experience of participants fitted the theoretical aim of

mindfulness, of enabling people to pay attention in a

particular way. This helped participants to have control

over the focus of their attention:

Think about something else because I hear voices

Not think about things from past life

It also enabled one participant to change their mood

based on their orientation towards their experience:

Not worry about what’s around you at the moment

However, the focus of that attention was not always on

the present moment (as mindfulness is defined by e.g.

Kabat-Zinn 1994), but could be on other time or place:

Happy memories

Seeing the future clearly

Smell … think of what country it comes from

Improving skills

Participants recognised a range of skills that they attributed

to participating in mindfulness. Some of these were physical

skills, based on the exercises used. They were connoted in a

positive way by participants:

Makes arms strong

Practice breathing

Other skills were psychological. Participants were able to

use their own words to describe the skills they had learnt:

Learn more relaxation techniques

Close mind … close brain right down and switch off

Helping people

Interestingly, participants reported that their involvement

with mindfulness had enabled them to think about their

relationships with others and to take actions that were

caring towards others.

Brought candle … share with other service users

Want to relax to look after people

Come back … help at group don’t have to pay me

Caring for other people

Get rid of all nasty bad stuff you want to get rid of – staying calm and being happy

Participants attributed improvements in their mood and

reactions to the mindfulness exercises:

More relaxed at night

Improve my anger

If I get angry and agitated … know what to do before

out of control

Talk to people a little bit calmer instead of shouting at


Don’t get cross anymore

Help me release tension

Happy in a good mood

Makes you feel alright … feel good

Not very happy … squeeze panda

Bit too late to teach old dog new tricks

Learning mindfulness was effortful for participants. The

theme of ‘bit too late to teach old dog new tricks’

encapsulated all the difficulties encountered whilst using

mindfulness and the things the participants did not like

about it. Some participants doubted their own ability to

learn the techniques:

Figure 1 Five themes which emerged from data set.

ª 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 49–54

52 H. Yildiran and R. R. Holt

Something never done in past life before…bit hard to

do it

Hard to breathe from nose and mouth

Didn’t work for me…tensed in all my muscles

Others felt that there wasn’t a good match between their

personal attributes and mindfulness:

Exercises hurt knee

I find other ways of relaxing in my room listening to


I don’t like that kind of music [likes music with words]

Don’t have all the materials


In this study, people with intellectual disabilities were able

to form an understanding of mindfulness. The themes that

emerged in the study can be divided into three broad

categories of intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of

mindfulness, and difficulties of learning and using mind-

fulness. Intrapersonal benefits were about reducing diffi-

culties and increasing positives (in relation to memories,

experiences and thoughts). This included the themes of

‘focusing on one particular thing’, ‘improving skills’, ‘get rid

of all nasty bad stuff you want to get rid of’. Interpersonal

benefits included the theme of ‘helping people’. The

interpersonal benefits may have been pronounced due to

the intervention being offered in a group setting.

Participants’ feedback on their experience of mindfulness

showed a similarity to descriptions of mindfulness in the

literature. This was evident in the themes which emerged in

the study, for example, ‘focusing on one particular thing’

which highlighted the importance of focusing one’s atten-

tion. However, the focus was not always ‘the moment’, but

for some participants was on another time or place. Despite

this, participants showed benefits that are similar to those

associated with being mindful in the moment, such as stress

reduction and reduced emotional reactivity (Davis & Hayes

2011). It is of note that participants were able to benefit from

the techniques even whilst having a different internal

experience to ‘classic’ mindfulness.

When considering adaptations of mindfulness for

people with intellectual disabilities, it may be beneficial

for more sessions to be offered, or for different or

additional explanations and/or techniques to be intro-

duced. It would be interesting to see whether this led to

greater benefits.

There were also some themes which were more loosely

related to mindfulness. Some of the participants under-

standing of mindfulness appeared to be in relation to the

relaxation effects it induces (e.g. ‘Learn more relaxation

techniques’, ‘Want to relax to look after people’, ‘More

relaxed at night’).

The literature appears to convey a mixed relationship

between mindfulness and relaxation. Although the relaxing

effect of meditation practices has been documented (Wal-

lace et al. 1984), it is not regarded as the primary purpose of

mindfulness meditation (Shapiro 1982) but rather a second-

ary gain. Jain et al. (2007) compared mindfulness meditation

with relaxation training in relation to their effects on

distress, positive states of mind, rumination and distraction.

They found that both interventions produced similar stress

reduction compared to no treatment control; however,

mindfulness produced an additional benefit in reducing

ruminative thoughts.

People with intellectual disabilities may find it easier to


identify these from the feedback of their body’s response to it


difficult. This difference may be one produced by language

and communication difficulties. It may also have been due to

participants’ relative level of exposure to the two interven-

tions,mindfulnessbeinganewskill theyhadnothadprevious

experience of, whereas all of the participants had experience

of relaxation techniques prior to attending the group.

It surprised the authors that one of the themes ‘helping

people’ described participants becoming more caring

towards others. It has been claimed that mindfulness skills

enhance the capacity for caring relationships with others

(Siegel 2007), which was the experie nce of participants in this

study. This is one of the mechanisms that may enable

mindfulness to increase the skills of staff who support people

with intellectual disabilities. Research has shown that mind-

fulness training enables primary care physicians to be more

empathic and caring of their patients (Krasner et al. 2009).

Perhaps it should have been no surprise that it also happens

for people other than care staff who learn mindfulness.

Some of the difficulties in engaging in mindfulness

described by the theme ‘bit too late to teach old dog new

tricks’ are related to learning. Participants in the study all had

intellectual disabilities and are in a culture where theywould

bemore often described as having ‘learning disabilities’. This

may increase the likelihood of individuals feeling daunted

and lacking confidence about learning new techniques.

Limitations of study

One of the limitations of the study is in relation to the first

author having a dual role as relaxation and mindfulness

group facilitator and interviewer. The dual role of facilitator

and interviewer was used as it was felt that familiarity will

help participants orient themselves to the study. However,

it could have affected the responses of the participants,

biasing them towards the positive (social desirability effect).

An additional limitation was in relation to nature of the

group sessions which combinedmindfulness with relaxation

techniques. This may have contributed to the participants’

ª 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 49–54

Mindfulness in intellectual disabilities 53

reports of the relaxation effects mindfulness induced for

them. The authors decided to offer mindfulness, a relatively

new skill with a familiar intervention of relaxation to encour-

age attendance in the group. It would be interesting to repeat

this study for a mindfulness group without relaxation.

Although staff participated in the sessions along with

service users, they were not interviewed as part of this study.

It would be valuable to analyse their experiences, both in

terms of the effect of mindfulness on their own practice, and

any impact they perceived on the service users.

Implications for practice

The themes identified in the study highlighted that people

with intellectual disabilities can develop an understanding

of mindfulness and identify positive impacts this can have

on their lives. The effectiveness of mindfulness has been

well documented in the literature, and it is encouraging that

people with intellectual disabilities within an inpatient

setting can also benefit from this. There may be a need for

further adaptations to mindfulness to suit the communica-

tion needs of people with intellectual disabilities, for

example, offering more sessions, more visual prompts,

and using objects of reference.


Grateful thanks is given to Kathie Parkinson (Chartered

Clinical Psychologist); Rebecca Davenport (Trainee Clinical

Psychologist) and Jesvir Dhillon (Assistant Psychologist) for

supporting in the setting up and facilitating of the group.


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restraints when providing care to individuals with Intellectual

disabilities. J Appl Res Intellect Disabil, 22/2: 194–202.

Wallace R.K., Benson H. & Wilson A.F. (1984) A wakeful

hypometabolic physiologic state. In: Shapiro D.H. Jr, Walsh

R.N., editors. Meditation: classic and contemporary perspectives.

New York, Aldine: 417–31.

ª 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 49–54

54 H. Yildiran and R. R. Holt

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The nations of Kurds and Palestinians are both stateless whereas the Jewish nation has achieved Statehood. Compare and contrast the three different groups from a historic, linguistic, ethnic, geographic, religious, economic and political aspect. Make sure to discuss colonialization, nationalism, modernity and particularly the role of neighboring states. Analyze and assess the current political position the three different nations find themselves in and the probable paths forward (Statehood or dissolution of Statehood) utilizing the two main theoretical models of liberalism and realism.


The End of History

The End of History? The National Interest, Summer 1989

Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama is deputy director of the State Department’s policy planning staff and former analyst at the RAND Corporation. This article is based on a lecture presented at the University of Chicago’s John M. Olin Center and to Nathan Tarcov and Allan Bloom for their support in this and many earlier endeavours. The opinions expresses in this article do not reflect those of the RAND Corporation or of any agency of the U.S. government.

In watching the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history. The past year has seen a flood of articles commemorating the end of the Cold War, and the fact that “peace” seems to be breaking out in many regions of the world. Most of these analyses lack any larger conceptual framework for distinguishing between what is essential and what is contingent or accidental in world history, and are predictably superficial. If Mr. Gorbachev were ousted from the Kremlin or a new Ayatollah proclaimed the millennium for a desolate Middle Eastern capital, these same commentators would scramble to announce the rebirth of a new era of conflict.

And yet, all of these people sense dimly that there is some larger process at work, a process that gives coherence and order to the daily headlines. the twentieth century saw the developed world descend into a paroxysm of ideological violence, as liberalism contended first with the remnants of absolutism, then bolshevism and fascism, and finally an updated Marxism that threatened to lead to the ultimate apocalypse of nuclear war. But the century that began full of self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy seems at its close to be returning full circle to where it started: no to an “end of ideology” or a convergence between capitalism and socialism, as earlier predicted, but to an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism.

The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism. In the past decade, there have been unmistakable changes in the intellectual climate of the world’s tow largest communist countries, and the beginnings of significant reform movements in both. But this phenomenon extends beyond high politics and it can be seen also in the ineluctable spread of consumerist Western culture in such diverse contexts as the peasants’ markets and color television sets now omnipresent throughout China, the cooperative restaurants and clothing stores opened in the past year in Moscow, the Beethoven piped into Japanese department stores, and the rock music enjoyed alike in Prague, Rangoon, and Tehran.

What we may be witnessing in not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. This is not to say that there will no longer be events to fill the pages of Foreign Affairs’s yearly summaries of international relations, for the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for

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believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run. To understand how this is so, we must first consider some theoretical issues concerning the nature of historical change.


The notion of the end of history is not an original one. Its best known propagator was Karl Marx, who believed that the direction of historical development was a purposeful one determined by the interplay of material forces, and would come to an end only with the achievement of a communist utopia that would finally resolve all prior contradictions. But the concept of history as a dialectical process with a beginning, a middle, and an end was borrowed by Marx from his great German predecessor Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

For better or worse, much of Hegel’s historicism has become part of our contemporary intellectual baggage. The notion that mankind has progresses through a series of primitive stages of consciousness on his path to the present, and that these stages corresponded to concrete forms of social organization, such as tribal, slave owning, theocratic, and finally democratic egalitarian societies, has become inseparable form the modern understanding of man. Hegel was the first philosopher to speak the language of modern social science, insofar as man for him was the product of his concrete historical and social environment and not, as earlier natural right theorists would have it, a collection of more or less fixed “natual” attributes. The mastery and transformation of man’s natural environment through the application of science and technology was originally not a Marxist concept, but a Hegelian one. Unlike later historicists whose historical relativism degenerated into relativism tout court, however, Hegel believed that history culminated in an absolute moment — a moment in which a final, rational form of society and state became victorious.

It is Hegel’s misfortune to be known now primarily as Marx’s precursor, and it is our misfortune that few of us are familiar with Hegel’s work from direct study, but only as it has been filtered through the distorting lens of Marxism. In France, however, there has been an effort to save Hegel from his Marxist interpreters and to resurrect him as the philosopher who most correctly speaks to our time. Among those modern French interpreters of Hegel, the greatest was certainly Alexandre Kojeve, a brilliant Russian emigre who taught a highly influential series of seminars in Paris in the 1930’s at the Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes.1 While largely unknown in the United States, Kojeve had a major impact on the intellectual life of the continent. Among his students ranged such future luminaries as Jean-Paul Sartre on the Left and Raymond Aron on the Right; post war existentialism borrowed many of its basic categories from Hegel via Kojeve.

Kojeve sought to resurrect the Hegel of the Phenomenology of Mind, the Hegel who proclaimed history to be at an end in 1806. For as early as this Hegel saw in Napoleon’s defeat of the Prussian monarchy at the Battle of Jena the victory of the ideals of the French Revolution, and the imminent universalization of the state incorporating the principles of liberty and equality. Kojeve, far from rejecting Hegel in light of the turbulent events of the next century and a half, insisted that the latter had been essentially correct.2 The Battle of Jena marked the end of history because it was at that point that the vanguard of humanity

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(a term quite familiar to Marxists) actualized the principles of the French Revolution. While there was considerable work to be done after 1806 — abolishing slavery and the slave trade, extending the franchise to workers, women, blacks, and other racial minorities, etc. — the basic principles of the liberal democratic state could not be improved upon. The tow world wars in this century and their attendant revolutions and upheavals simply had the effect of extending those principles spatially, such that the various provinces of human civilization were brought up to the level of its most advanced outposts, and of forcing those societies in Europe and North America at the va nguard of civilization to implement their liberalism more fully.

The state that emerges at the end of history is liberal insofar as it recognize and protects through a system of law man’s universal right to freedom, and democratic insofar as it exists only with the consent of the governed. For Kojeve, this so-called “universal homogenous state” found real-life embodiment in the countries of postwar Western Europe — precisely those flabby, prosperous, self-satisfied, inward- looking, weak-willed states whose grandest project was nothing more heroic than the creation of the Common Market.3 But this was only to be expected. For human history and the conflict that characterized it was based on the existence of “contradictions”: primitive man’s quest for mutual recognition, the dialectic of the master and slave, the transformation and mastery of nature, the struggle fo the universal recognition of rights, and the dichotomy between proletarian and capitalist. But in the universal homogenous state, all prior contradictions are resolved and al human needs are satisfied. There is no struggle or conflict over “large” issues, and consequently no need for generals or statesmen; what remains is primarily economic activity. And indeed, Kojeve’s life was consistent with his teaching. Believing that there was no more work for philosophers as well, since Hegel (correctly understood) had already achieved absolute knowledge, Kojeve left teaching after the war and spent the remainder of his life working as a bureaucrat in the European Economic Community, until his death in 1968.

To his contemporaries at mid-century, Kojeve’s proclamation of the end of history must have seemed like the typical eccentric solipsism of a French intellectual, coming as it did on the heels of World War II and at the very height of the Cold War. To comprehend how Kojeve could have been so audacious as to assert that history has ended, we must first of all understand their meaning of Hegelian idealism.


For Hegel, the contradictions that drive history exist first of all in the realm of human consciousness, i.e. on he level of ideas4 — not the trivial election year proposals of American politicians, but ideas in the sense of large unifying world views that might best be understood under the rubric of ideology. Ideology in this sense is not restricted to the secular and explicit political doctrines we usually associate with the term, but can include religion, culture, and the complex of moral values underlying any society as well.

Hegel’s view of the relationship between the ideal and the real or material worlds was an extremely complicated one, beginning with the fact that for him the distinction between the two was only apparent.5 He did not believe that the real world conformed or could be made to conform to ideological preconceptions of philosophy professors in any simpleminded way, or that the “material” world could

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not impinge on the ideal. Indeed, Hegel the professor was temporarily thrown out of work as a result of a very material event, the Battle of Jena. But while Hegel’s writing and thinking could be stopped by a bullet form the material world, the hand on the trigger of the gun was motivated in turn by the ideas of liberty and equality that had driven the French Revolution.

For Hegel, all human behavior in the material world, and hence all human history, is rooted in a prior state of consciousness — an idea similar to the new expressed by John Maynard Keynes when he said that the views of men of affairs were usually derived from defunct economists and academic scribblers of earlier generations. This consciousness may not be explicit and self-aware, as are modern political doctrines, but may rather take the form of religion or simple cultural or moral habits. And yet this realm of consciousness in the long run necessarily becomes manifest in the material world, indeed creates the material world in its own image. Consciousness is causes and not effect, and can develop autonomously from the material world, hence the real subtext underlying the apparent jumble of current events is the history of ideology.

Hegel’s idealism has fared poorly at the hands of later thinkers. Marx revered the priority of the real and the ideal completely, relegating the entire realm of consciousness — religion, art, culture, philosophy itself — to a “superstructure” that was determined entirely by the prevailing material mode of production. Yet another unfortunate legacy of Marxism is our tendency to retreat into materialists or utilitarian explanations of political or historical phenomena, and our disinclination to believe in the autonomous power of ideas. A recent example of this is Paul Kennedy’s hugely successful The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which ascribes the decline of great powers to simple economic over extension. Obviously, this is true on some level: an empire whose economy is barely above the level of subsistence cannot bankrupt its treasury indefinitely. But whether a highly productive modern industrial society chooses to spend 3 or 7 percent of its GNP on defence rather than consumption is entirely a matter of that society’s political priorities, which are in turn determined in the realm of consciousness.

The materialist bias of modern thought is characteristic not only of people on the Left who may be sympathetic to Marxism, but of many passionate anti-Marxists as well. Indeed, there is on the right what one might label the Wall Street Journal school of deterministic materialism that discounts the importance of ideology and culture and sees man as essentially a rational, profit-maximizing individual. It is precisely this kind of individual and his pursuit of material incentives that is posited as the basis for economic life as such in economic textbooks.6 One small example will illustrate the problematic character of such materialist views.

Max Weber begins his famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, by noting the different economic performance of Protestant and Catholic communities throughout Europe and America, summed up in the proverb that Protestants eat well while Catholics sleep well. Weber notes that according to any economic theory that posited man as a rational profit-maximizer, raising the piece- work rate should increase labor productivity. But in fact, in many traditional peasant communities, raising the piece-work rate actually had the opposite effect of lowering labor productivity: at the higher rate, a peasant accustomed to earning two and one-half marks per day found he could earn the same amount by working less, and did so because he valued leisure more than income. The choices of leisure

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over income, or of the militaristic life of the Spartan hoplite over the wealth of the Athenian trader, or even the ascetic life of the early capitalist entrepreneur over that of a traditional leisured aristocrat, cannot possibly be explained by the impersonal working of material forces, but come preeminently out of the sphere of consciousness — what we have labeled here broadly as ideology. And indeed, a central theme of Weber’s work was to prove that contrary to Marx, the material mode of production, far from being the “base”, was itself a “superstructure” with roots in religion and culture, and that to understand the emergence of modern capitalism and the profit motive one had to study their antecedents in the realm of the spirit.

As we look around the contemporary world, the poverty of materialist theories of economic development is all too apparent. The Wall Street Journal school of deterministic materialism habi tually points to the stunning economic success of Asia in the past few decades as evidence of the viability of free market economics, with the implication that all societies would see similar development were they simply to allow their populations to pursue their material self-interest freely. Surely free markets and stable political systems are a necessary precondition to capitalist economic growth. But just as surely the cultural heritage of those Far Eastern societies, the ethic of work and saving and family, a religious heritage that does not, like Islam, place restrictions on certain forms of economic behavior, and other deeply ingrained moral qualities, are equally important in explaining their economic performace.7 And yet the intellectual weight of materialism is such that not a single respectable contemporary theory of economic development addresses consciousness and culture seriously as the matrix within which economic behavior is formed.

Failure to understand that the roots of economic behavior lie in the realm of consciousness and culture leads to the common mistake of attributing material causes to phenomena that are essentially ideal in nature. For example, it is commonplace in the West to interpret the reform movements first in China and most recently in the Soviet Union as the victory of the material over the ideal — that is, a recognition that ideological incentives could not replace material ones in stimulation a highly productive modern economy, and that if one wanted to prosper one had to appeal to baser forms of self-interest. But the deep defects of socialist economies were evident thirty or forty years ago to anyone who chose to look. Why was it that these countries moved away from central palnning in the 1980’s? The answer must be found in the consciousness of the elites and leaders ruling them, who decided to opt for the “Protestant” life of wealth and risk over the “Catholic” path of poverty and security.8 That change was in no way made inevitable by the material condition was in which either country found itself on the eve of the reform, but instead came about as the result of the victory of one idea over another.9

For Kojeve, as for all good Hegelians, understanding the underlying processes of history requires understanding developments in the realm of consciousness or ideas, since consciousness will ultimately remake the material world in its own image. To say that history ended in 1806 meant that mankind’s ideological evolution ended in the ideals of the French or American Revolutions: while particular regimes in the real world might not implement these ideals fully, their theoretical truth is absolute and could not be improved upon. Hence it did not mater to Kojeve that the consciousness of the postwar generation of Europeans had not been universalized throughout the world; if ideological development

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had in fact ended, the homogenous state would eventually become victorious throughtout the material world.

I have neither the space nor, frankly, the ability to defend in depth Hegel’s radical idealist perspective. The issue is not whether Hegel’s system was right, but whether his perspective might uncover the problematic nature of many materialist explanations we often take for granted. This is not to deny the role of material factors as such. To a literal minded idealist, human society can be built around any arbitrary set of principle regardless of their relationship to the material world. And in fact men have proven themselves able to endure the most extreme material hardships in the name of ideas that exist in the realm of the spirit alone, be it the divinity of cows or the nature of the Holy Trinity.10

But while man’s very perception of the material world is shaped by his historical consciousness of it, the material world can clearly affect in return the viability of a particular state of consciousness. In particular, the spectacular abundance of advanced liberal economies and the infinitely diverse consumer culture made possible by them seem to both foster and preserve liberalism in the political sphere. I want to avoid the materialist determinism that says that liberal economics inevitably produces liberal politics, because I believe that both economics and politics presuppose an autonomous prior state of consciousness that makes them possible. But that state of consciousness that permits the growth of liberalism seems to stabilize in the way one would expect at the end of history if it is underwritten by the abundance of a modern free market economy. We might summarize the content of the universal homogenous state as liberal democracy in the political sphere combined with easy access to VCRs and stereos in the economic.


Have we in fact reached the end of history? Are there, in other words, any fundamental “contradictions” in human life that cannot be resolved in the context of modern liberalism, that would be resolvable by an alternative political-economic structure? If we accept the idealist premises laid out above, we must seek an answer to this question in the realm of ideology and consciousness. Our task is not to answer exhaustively the challenges to liberalism promoted by every crackpot messiah around the world, but only those that are embodied in important social or political forces and movements, and which are therefore part of world history. For our purposes, it matters very little what strange thoughts occur to people in Albania or Burkina Faso, for we are interested in what one could in some sense call the common ideological heritage of mankind.

In the past century, there have been two major challenges to liberalism, those of fascism and of communism. The former11 saw the political weakness, materialism, anomie, and lack of community of the West as fundamental contradictions in liberal societies that could only be resolved by a strong state that forged a new “people” on the basis of national excessiveness. Fascism was destroyed as a living ideology by World War II. This was a defeat, of course, on a very material level, but it amounted to a defeat of the idea as well. What destroyed fascism as an idea was not universal moral revulsion against it, since plenty of people were willing to endorse the idea as long as it seemed the wave of the future, but

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its lack of success. After the ear, it seemed to most people that German fascism as well as its other European and Asian variants were bound to self-destruct. There was no material reason why new fascist movements could not have sprung up again after the war in other locales, ut for the fact that expansionist ultranationalism, with its promise of unending conflict leading ot disastrous military defeat, had completely lost its appeal. The ruins of the Reich chancellory as well as the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed this ideology on the level of consciousness as well as materially, and all of the proto-fascist movements spawned by the German and Japanese examples like the Peronist movement in Argentina or Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army withered after the war.

The ideological challenge mounted by the other great alternative to liberalism, communism, was far more serious. Marx, speaking Hegel’s language, asserted that liberal society contained fundamental contradiction that could not be resolved within its context, that between capital and labor, and this contradiction has constituted the chief accusation against liberalism ever since. But surely, the class issue has actually been successfully resolved in the West. As Kojeve (among others) noted, the egalitarianism of modern America represents the essential achievement of the classless society envisioned by Marx. This is not to say that there are not rich people and poor people in the United States, or that the gap between them has not grown in recent years. But the root causes of economic inequality do not have to do with the underlying legal and social structure of our society, which remains fundamentally egalitarian and moderately redistributionist, so much as with the cultural and social characteristics of the groups that make it up, which are in turn the historical legacy of premodern conditions. Thus black poverty in the United States is not the inherent product of liberalism, but is rather the “legacy of slavery and racism” which persisted long after the formal abolition of slavery.

As a result of the receding of the class issue, the appeal of communism in the developed Western world, it is safe to say, is lower today than any time since the end of the First World War. This can be measured in any number of ways: in the declining membership and electoral pull of the major European communist parties, and their overtly revisionist programs; in the corresponding electoral success of conservative parties form Britain and Germany to the United States and Japan which are unabashedly pro-market and antistatist; and in an intellectual climate whose most “advanced” members no longer believe that bourgeois society is something that ultimately needs to be overcome. This is to say that the opinions of progressive intellectuals in Western countries are not deeply pathological in any number of ways. But those who believe that the future must inevitably be socialist tend to be very old, or very marginal to the real political discourse of their societies.

One may argue that the socialist alternative was never terribly plausible for the North Atlantic world, and was sustained for the last several decades primarily by its success outside of this region. But it is precisely in the non-European world that one is not struck by the occurrence of major ideological transformations. Surely the most remarkable changes have occurred in Asia. Due to the strength and adaptability of the indigenous cultures there, Asia became a battleground for a variety of imported Western ideologies cultures there, Asia became a battleground for a variety of imported Western ideologies early in this century. Liberalism in Asia was a very weak reed in the period after World War I; it is easy today to forget how gloomy Asia’s political future looked as recently as ten or fifteen years ago. It is easy to forget as well how momentous the outcome of Asian ideological struggles seemed fore

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world political development as a whole.

The first Asian alternative to liberalism to be decisively defeated was the fascist one represented by Imperial Japan. Japanese fascism (like its German version) was defeated by the force of American arms in the Pacific war, and liberal democracy was imposed on Japan by a victorious United States. Western capitalism and political liberalism when transplanted to Japan were adapted and transformed by the Japanese in such a way as to be scarcely recognizable.12 Many Americans are now aware that Japanese industrial organization is very different from that prevailing in the United States or Europe, and it is questionable what relationship the factional maneuvering that takes place with the governing Liberal Democratic Party bears to democracy. Nonetheless, the very fact that the essential elements of economic and political liberalism have been so successfully grafted onto uniquely Japanese traditions and institutions guarantees their survival in the long run. More important is the contribution that Japan has become both a symbol and a underpinning of the universal homogenous state. V.S. Naipaul traveling in Khomeini’s Iran shortly after the revolution noted the omnipresent signs advertising the products of Sony, Hitachi, and JVC, whose appeal remained virtually irresistible and gave the lie to the regime’s pretensions of restoring a state based on the rule of he Shariah. Desire for access to the consumer culture, created in large measure by Japan, has played a crucial role in fostering the spread of economic liberalism throughout Asia, and hence in promoting political liberalism as well.

The economic success of the other newly industrializing countries (NICs) in Asia following on the xample of Japan is by now a familiar story. What is important from a Hegelian standpoint is that political liberalism has been following economic liberalism, more slowly than many had hoped but with seeming inevitability. Here again we see the victory of the idea of the universal homogenous state. South Korea had developed into a modern, urbanized society with an increasingly large and well-educated middle class that could not possibly be isolated from the larger democratic trends around them. Under these democratic trends around them. Under these circumstances it seemed intolerable to a large part of this population that it should be ruled by an anachronistic military regime while Japan, only a decade or so ahead in economic terms, had parliamentary institutions for over forty years. Even the former socialist regime in Burma, which for so many decades existed in dismal isolation from the larger trends dominating Asia, was buffeted in the past year by pressures to liberalize both its economy and political system. It is said that unhappiness with strongman Ne Win began when a senior Burmese officer went to Singapore for medical treatment and broke down crying when he saw how far socialist Burma had been left behind by it ASEAN neighbors.

But the power of the liberal idea would seem much less impressive if it had not infected the largest and oldest culture in Asia, China. The simple existence of communist China created an alternative if it had not infected the largest and oldest culture in Asia, China. The simple existence of communist China created an alternative pole of ideological attraction, and as such constituted a threat to liberalism. But the past fifteen years have seen an almost total discrediting of Marxism-Lenisnism as an economic system. Beginning with the famous third plenum of the Tenth Central Committee in 1978, the Chinese Communist party set about decollectivizing agriculture for the 800 million Chinese who still lived in the countryside. The role of the state in agriculture was reduced to that of a tax collector, while production of consumer goods was sharply increased in order to five peasants a taste of the universal homogenous

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state and thereby an incentive to work. The reform doubled Chinese grain output in only five years, and in the process created for Deng Xiao-ping a solid political base from which he was able to extend the reform to other parts of the economy. Economic statistic do not begin to describe the dynamism, initiative, and openness evident in China since the reform began.

China could not now be described in anyway as a liberal democracy. At present, no more than 20 percent o fits economy has been marketed, and most importantly it continues to be ruled by a self- appointed Communist party which has given no hint of wanting to devolve power. Deng has made none of Gorbachev’s promises regarding democratization of the political system and there is no Chinese equivalent of glasnost. The Chinese leadership has in fact been much more circumspect in criticizing Mao and Maoism than Gorbachev with respect to Brezhnev and Stalin, and the regime continues to pay lip service to Marxism-Leninism as its ideological underpinning. But anyone familiar with the outlook and behavior of the new technocratic e lite now governing China knows the Marxism and ideological principle have become virtually irrelevant as guides to policy, and that bourgeois consumerism has a real meaning in that country for the first time since the revolution. The various slowdowns in the pace of reform, the campaigns against “spiritual pollution” and crackdowns on political dissent are more properly seen as tactical adjustments made in the process of managing what is an extraordinarily difficult political transition. By ducking the question of political reform while putting the economy on a new footing, Deng has managed to avoid the breakdown of authority that has accompanied Gorbachev’s perestroika. Yet the pull of the liberal idea continues to be very strong as economic power devolves and the economy becomes more open to the outside world. There are currently over 20,000 chinese students studying in the U.S. and other Western countries, almost all of them of children of the Chinese elite. It is hard to believe that when they return home to run the country they return home to run the country they will be content for China to be the only country in Asia unaffected by the larger democratizing treat. The student demonstrations in Beijing that broke out first in December 1986 and recurred recently on the occasion of HU Yao-bang’s death were only the beginning of what will inevitably be mounting pressure for change in the political system as well.

What is important about China from the standpoint of world history is not the present state of the reform or even its future prospects. The central issue is the fact that the People’s Republic of China can no longer act as a beacon for illiberal forces around the world, whether they be guerrillas in some Asian jungle or middle class students in Paris. Maoism, rather than being the pattern for Asia’s future, became an anachronism, and it was the mainland Chinese who in fact were decisively influenced by the prosperity and dynamism of their overseas co-ethnics — the ironic ultimate victory of Taiwan.

Important as these changes in China have been, however, it is developments in the Soviet Union — the original “homeland of the world proletariat” — that have put the final nail in the coffin of the Marxist Leninist alternative to liberal democracy. It should be clear that in terms of formal institutions, not much has changed in the four years since Gorbachev has come to power: Free markets and the cooperative movement represent only a small part of the Soviet economy, which remains centrally planned; the political system is still dominated by the Communist party, which has only begun to democratize internally and to share power with other groups; the regime continues to assert that it is seeking only to modernize socialism and that its ideological basis remains Marxism-Leninism; and, finally, Gorbachev

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faces a potentially powerful conservative opposition that could undo many of the changes that have taken place to date. Moreover, it is hard to be too sanguine about the chances for success of Gorbachev’s proposed reforms, either in the sphere of economics or politics. But my purpose here is not to analyze events in the short-term, or to make predictions for policy purposes, but to look at underlying trends in the sphere of ideology and consciousness. And in that respect, it is clear that an astounding transformation has occurred.

Emigres from the Soviet Union have been reporting for at least the last generation now that virtually nobody in that country truly believed in Marxism-Leninism any longer, and that this was nowhere more true than in the Soviet elite, which continued to mouth Marxist slogans out of sheer cynicism. The corruption and decadence of the late Brezhnev-era Soviet state seemed to matter little, however, for as long as the state itself refused to throw into question any of the fundamental principles underlying Soviet society, the system was capable of functioning adequately out of sheer inertia and could even muster some dynamism in the realm of foreign and defense policy. Marxism-Leninism was like a magical incantation which, however absurd and devoid of meaning, was the only common basis on which the elite could agree to rule Soviet society.

What has happened in the four years since Gorbachev’s coming to power is a revolutionary assault on the most fundamental institutions and principles of Stalinism, and their replacement by other principles which do not amount to liberalism per se but whose only connecting thread is liberalism, This is most evident in the economic sphere, where the reform economists around Gorbachev have become steadily more radical in their support for free markets, to the point where some like Nikolai Shmelev do not mind being compared in public to Milton Friedman. There is a virtual consensus among the currently dominant school of Soviet economists now that central planning and the command system of allocation are the root cause of economic inefficiency, and that if the Soviet system is ever to heal itself, it ust permit free and decentralized decision-making with respect to investment, labor, and prices. After a couple of initial years of ideological confusion, theses principle have finally been incorporated into policy with the promulgation of new laws on enterprise autonomy, cooperatives, and finally in 1988 on lease arrangements and family farming. There are, of course, a number of fatal flaws in the current implementation of the reform, most notably the absence of a thoroughgoing price reform. But the problem is no longer a conceptual one: Gorbachev and his lieutenants seem to understand the economic logic of marketization well enough, but like the leaders of a Third World country facing the IMF, are afraid of the social consequences of ending consumer subsidies and other forms of dependence on the state sector.

In the political sphere, the proposed changes to the Soviet constitution, legal system, and party rules amount to much less than the establishment of a liberal state. Gorbachev has spoken of demo- cratization primarily in the sphere of internal party affairs, and has shown little intention of ending the Communist party’s monopoly of power; indeed, the political reform seeks to legitimize and therefore strengthen the CPSU’s rule.13 Nonetheless, the general principles underlying many of the reforms — that the “people” should be truly responsible for their own affairs, that higher political bodies should be answerable to lower ones, and not vice versa, that the rule of law should prevail over arbitrary police actions, with separation of powers and an independent judiciary, that there should be legal protection for property

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rights, the need for open discussion of public issues and the right of public dissent, the empowering of the Soviets as a forum in which the whole Soviets as a forum in which the whole Soviet people can participate, and of a political culture that is more tolerant and pluralistic — come from a source fundamentally alien to the USSR’s Marxist-Leninist tradition, even if they are incompletely articulated and poorly implemented in practice.

Gorbachev’s repeated assertions that he is doing no more than trying to restore the original meaning of Leninism are themselves a kind of Orwellian doublespeak. Gorbachev and his allies have consistently maintained that intraparty democracy was somehow the essence of Leninism, and that the various liberal practices of open debate, secret ballot elections, and rule of law were all part of the Leninist heritage, corrupted only later by Stalin. While almost anyone would look good compared to Stalin, drawing so sharp a line between Le nin and his successor is questionable. The essence of Lenin’s democratic centralism was centralism, not democracy; that is, the absolutely rigid, monolithic, and disciplined dictatorship of a hierarchically organized vanguard Communist party, speaking in the name of the demos. All of Lenin’s vicious polemics against Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, and various other Menshevik and Social Democratic rivals, not to mention his contempt for “bourgeois legality” and freedoms, centered around his profound conviction that a revolution could not be successfully made by a democratically run organization.

The Soviet Union could in no way be described as a liberal or democratic country now, nor do I think that it is terribly likely that perestroika will succeed such that the label will be thinkable any time in the near future. But at the end of history it is not necessary that all societies become successful liberal societies, merely that they end their ideological pretensions of representing different and higher forms of human society. And in this respect I believe that something very important has happened in the Soviet Union in the past few years: the criticisms of the Soviet system sanctioned by Borbachev have been so thorough and devastating that there is very little chance of going back to either Stalinism or Brezhnevism, in any simple way. Gorbachev has finally permitted people to say what they had privately understood for many years, namely, that the magical incantation of Marxism-Leninism were nonsense, that Soviet socialism was not superior to the West in any respect but was in fact a monumental failure. The conservative opposition in the USSR, consisting both of simple workers afraid of unemployment and inflation and of party officials fearful of losing their jobs and privileges, is outspoken and may be strong enough to force Gorbachev’s ouster in the next few years. But what both groups desire is tradition, order, and authority; they manifest no deep commitment to Marxism-Leninism, except insofar as they have invested much of their own lives in it. 14 For authority to be restored in the Soviet Union after Gorbachev’s demolition work, it must be on the basis of some new and vigorous ideology which has not yet appeared on the horizon.

If we admit for the moment that the fascist and communist challenges to liberalism are dead, are there any other ideological competitors left? Or put another way, are there contradictions in liberal society beyond that of class that are n ot resolvable? Two possibilities suggest themselves, those of religion and nationalism.

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The rise of religious fundamentalism in recent years within the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions has been widely noted. One is inclined to say that the revival of religion in some way attests to a broad unhappiness with the impersonality and spiritual vacuity of liberal consumerist societies. Yet while the emptiness at the core of ideology — indeed, a flaw that one does not need the perspective of religion to recognize15 — it is not at all clear that it is remediable through politics. Modern liberalism itself was historically a consequence of the weakness of religiously-based societies which, falling to agree on the nature of the good life, could not provide even the minimal preconditions of peace and stability. In the contemporary world only Islam has offered a theocratic state as a political alternative to both liberalism and communism. But the doctrine has little appeal for non-Muslims, and it is hard to believe that the movement will take on any universal significance. Other less organized religious impulses have been successfully satisfied within the sphere of personal of personal life that is permitted in liberal societies.

The other major “contradiction” potentially unresolvable by liberalism is the one posed by nationalism and other forms of racial and ethic consciousness. It is certainly true that a very large degree of conflict since the Battle of Jena has had its roots in nationalism. Two cataclysmic world wars in this century have been spawned by the nationalism of the developed world in various guises, and if those passions have been muted to a certain extent in postwar Europe, they are still extremely powerful in the Third World. Nationalism has been a threat to liberalism historically in Germany, and continues to be one in isolated parts of “post-historical” Europe life Northern Ireland.

But it is not clear that nationalism represents an irreconcilable contradiction in the heart of liberalism. In the first place, nationalism is not one single phenomenon but several, ranging from mild cultural nostalgia to the highly organized and elaborately articulated doctrine of National Socialism. Only systematic nationalism of the latter sort cant qualify as a formal ideology on the level of liberalism or communism. The vast majority of the world’s nationalist movements do not have a political program beyond the negative desire of independence from some other group or people, and do not offer anything like a comprehensive agenda for socio-economic organization. As such, they are compatible with doctrines and ideologies that do offer such agendas. While they may constitute a source of conflict for liberal societies, this conflict does not arise from liberalism itself so much as from the fact that the liberalism in question is incomplete. Certainly a great deal of the world’s ethnic and nationalist tension can be explained in terms of peoples who are forced to live in unrepresentative political systems that they have not chosen.

While it is impossible to rule out the sudden appearance of new ideologies or previously unrecognized in liberal societies, then, the present world seems to confirm that the fundamental principles of socio- political organization have not advanced terribly far since 1806. Many of the wars and revolutions fought since that time have been undertaken in the name of ideologies which claimed to be more advanced than liberalism, but whose pretensions were ultimately unmasked by history. In the meantime, they have helped to spread the universal homogenous state to the point where it could have a significant effect on the overall character of international relations.


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What are the implications of the end of history for international relations? Clearly, the vast bulk of the Third World remains very much mired in history, and will be a terrain of conflict for many years to come. But let us focus for the time being on the larger and more developed states of the world who after all account for the greater part of world politics. russia and China are not likely to join the developed nations of the West as liberal societies any time in the foreseeable future, but suppose for a moment that Marxism-Leninism ceases to be a factor driving the foreign policies of these states — a prospect which, if not yet here, the last few years have made a real possibility. How will the overall characteristics of a de-ideologized world differ from those of the one with which we are familiar at such a hypothetical juncture?

The most common answer is — not very much. For there is a very widespread belief among many observers of international relations that underneath the skin of ideology is a hard core of great power national interest that guarantees a fairly high level of competition and conflict between nations. Indeed, according to one academically popular school of international relations theory, system as such, and to understand the prospects for conflict one must look at he shape of the system — for example, whether it is bipolar or multipolar — rather than at the spe cific character of the nations and regimes that constitute it. This school in effect applies a Hobbesian view of politics to international relations, and assumes that aggression and insecurity are universal characteristics of human societies rather than the product of specific historical circumstances.

Believers in this line of thought take the relations that existed between the participants in the classical nineteenth century European balance of power as a model for what a deideologized contemporary world would look lie. Charles Krauthammer, for example, recently explained that if as a result of Gorbachev’s reforms the USSR is shorn of Marxist-Leninist ideology, its behavior will revert to that of nineteenth century imperial Russia.16 While he finds this more reassuring that the threat posed by a communist Russia, he implies that here will still be a substantial degree of competition and conflict in the international system, just as there was say between Russia and Britain or Wilhelmine Germany in the last century. This is, or course, a convenient point of view for people who want to admit that something major is changing in the Soviet Union, but do not want to accept responsibility for recommending the radical policy redirection implicit in such a view. But is it true?

In fact, the notion that ideology is a superstructure imposed on a substratum of permanent great power interest is a highly questionable proposition. For the way in which any state defines its national interest is not universal but rests on some kind of prior ideological basis, just as we saw that economic behavior is determined by a prior state of consciousness. In this century, states have adopted highly articulated doctrines with explicit foreign policy agendas legitimizing expansionism, like Marxism-Leninism or National Socialism.

The expansionist and competitive behavior of nineteenth century Europeans states rested on no less ideal a basis; it just so happened that the ideology driving it was less explicit than the doctrines of the twentieth century. For one thing, most “liberal” European societies were illiberal insofar as they believed in the legitimacy of imperialism, that is, the right of one nation to rule over other nations without regard

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for the wishes of the ruled. The justifications for imperialism varied from nation to nation, from a crude belief in the legitimacy of force, particularly when applied to non-Europeans, to the White Man’s Burden and Europe’s Christianizing mission, to the desire to give people of color access to the culture of Rabelais and Moliere. But whatever the particular ideological basis, every “developed” country believed in the acceptabitlity of higher civilizations ruling lower ones- including, incidentally, the United States with regard to the Philippines. This led to a drive for pure territorial aggrandizement in the latter half of the century and played no small role in causing the Great War.

The radical and deformed outgrowth of nineteenth-century imperialism was German fascism, and ideology which justified Germany’s right not only to rule over non-European peoples, but over all non German ones. But in retrospect it seems that Hitler represented a diseased by-path in eh general course of European development, and since his fiery defeat, the legitimacy of any kind of territorial aggrandizement has been thoroughly discredited.17 Since the Second World War, European nationalism has been deranged and shorn of any real relevance to foreign policy, with the consequence that the nineteenth century model of great power behavior has become a serious anachronism. The most extreme form of nationalism that any Western European state has mustered since 1945 has been Gaullism, whose self-assertion has been confined largely to the realm of nuisance politics and culture. International life for the part of the world that has reached the end of history is far more preoccupied with economics than with politics or strategy.

The developed states of the West do maintain defense establishments and in the postwar period have competed vigorously for influence to meet a worldwide communist threat. This behavior has been driven, however, by an external threat from states that possess overtly expansionist ideologies, and would not exit in their absence. To take the “neo-realist” theory seriously, one would have to believe that “natural” competitive behavior would reassert itself among the OECD states were Russia and China to disappear from the face of the earth. That is, West Germany and France would arm themselves against each other as they did in the 1930’s, Australia and New Zealand would send military advisers to block each others’ advances in Africa, and the U.S. – Canadian border would become fortified. Such a prospect is, of course, ludicrous: minus Marxist-Leninist ideology, we are far more likely to see the “Common Marketization” of world politics than the disintegration of the EEC into nineteenth century competitiveness. Indeed, as our experience in dealing with Europe on matters such as terrorism or Libya prove, they are much further gone than we down the road that denies the legitimacy of the use of force in international politics, even in self-defense.

The automatic assumption that Russia shorn of its expansionist communist ideology should pick up where the czars left off just prior to the Bolshevik Revolution is therefore a curious one. It assumes that the evolution of human consciousness has stood still in the meantime, and that the Soviets, while picking up currently fashionable ideas in the realm of economics, will return to foreign policy views a century out of date in the rest of Europe. This is certainly not what happened to China after it began its reform process. Chinese competitiveness and expansionism on the world scene have virtually disappeared: Beijing no longer sponsors Maoist insurgencies or tries to cultivate influence in distant Africa countries as it did in the 1960’s. This is not to say that there are not troublesome aspects to contemporary Chinese foreign policy, such as the reckless sale of ballistic missile technology in the

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Middle East; and the PRC continues to manifest traditional great power behavior in its sponsorship of the Khmer Rouge against Vietnam. But the former is explained by commercial motives and the latter is a vestige of earlier ideologically based rivalries. The new China far more resembles Gaullist France tan pre World War I Germany.

The real question for the future, however, is the degree to which Soviet elites have assimilated the consciousness of the universal homogenous state that is post Hitler Europe. From their writings and from my own personal contacts with them, there is no question in my mind that the liberal Soviet intelligentsia rallying around Gorbachev has arrived at the end-of-history view in a remarkably short time, due in no small measure to the contacts they have had since the Brezhnev era with the larger European civilization around them, “New political thinking,” the general rubric for their views, describes a world dominated by economic concerns, in which there are no ideological grounds for major conflict between nations, and in which, consequently, the use of military force becomes less legitimate. As Foreign Minister Shevardnadze put it in mid-1988: The struggle between two opposing systems is no longer a determining tendency of the present-day era. At the modern stage, the ability to build up material wealth at an accelerated rate on the basis of front-ranking science and high level techniques and technology, and to distribute it fairly, and through joint effor ts to restore and protect the resources necessary for mankind’s survival acquires decisive imporatnace.18

The post historical consciousness represented by “new thinking” is only one possible future for the Soviet Union, however. There has always been a very strong current of great Russian chauvinism in the Soviet Union, which has found freer expression since the advent of glasnost. It may be possible to return to traditional Marxism-Leninism for a while as a simple rallying point for those who want to restore the authority that Gorbachev has dissipated. But as in Poland, Marxism-Leninism is dead as a mobilizing ideology: under its banner people cannot be made to work harder, and its adherents have lost confidence in themselves. Unlike the propagators of traditional Marxism-Leninism, however, ultranationalsits in the USSR believe in their Slavophile cause passionately, and one gets the sense that the fascist alternative is not one that has played itself out entirely there.

The Soviet Union, then, is at a fork in the road: it can start down the path that was staked out by Western Europe forty-five years ago, a path that most of Asia has followed, or it can realize its own uniqueness and remain stuck in history. The choice it makes will be highly important for us, given the Soviet Union’s size and military strength, for that power will continue to preoccupy us and slow our realization that we have already emerged on the other side of history.

The passing of Marxism-Leninism first from China and than from the Soviet Union will mean its death as a living ideology of world historical significance. For while there may be some isolated true believers left in places like Managua, Pyongyang, or Cambridge, Massachusetts, the fact that there is not a single large state in which it is a going concern undermines completely its pretensions to being in the vanguard of human history. And the death of this ideology means the growing “Common Marketization” of international relations, and the diminution of the likelihood of large-scale conflict between states.

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This does not by any means imply the end of international conflict per se. For the world at that point would be divided between a part that was historical and a part that was post historical. Conflict between states sill in history, and between those states and those at the end of history, would still be possible. There would still be a high and perhaps rising level of ethic and nationalist violence, since those are impulses incompletely played out, even in parts of he post historical world. Palestinians and Kurds, Sikhs and Tamils, Irish Catholics and Walloons, Armenians and Azeris, will continue to have their unresolved grievances. This implies that terrorism and wars of national liberation will continue to be an important item on the international agenda. But large-scale conflict must involve large states still caught in the grip of history, and they are what appear to be passing form he scene.

The end of history will be a very sad time. The struggle for recognition, the willingness to risk one’s life for a purely abstract goal, the worldwide ideological struggle that called forth daring, courage, imagination, and idealism, will be replaced by economic calculation, the endless solving of technical problems, environmental concerns, and the satisfaction of sophisticated consumer demands. In the post historical period there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual care taking of he museum of human history. I can feel in myself, and see in others around me, a powerful nostalgia for the time when history existed. Such nostalgia, in fact, will continue to fuel competition and conflict even in the post historical world for some time to come. Even though I recognize its inevitability, I have the most ambivalent feelings for the civilization that has been created in Europe since 1945, with its north Atlantic and Asian offshoots. Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started once again.

1 Kojeve’s best known work is his Introduction a la lecture de hegel (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1947), which is a transcript of the Ecole Practique lectures from the 1930’s. This book is available in English entitled Introduction to the Reading of Hegel arranged by Raymond Queneau, edited by Allan bloom, and translated by James Nichols (New York: Basic Books, 1969).

2 In this respect Kojeve stands in sharp contrast to contemporary German interpreters of Hegel like Herbert Marcuse who, being more sympathetic to Marx, regarded Hegel ultimately as an historically bound and incomplete philosopher.

3 Kojeve alternatively identified the end of history with the postwar “American way of life,” toward which he thought the Soviet Union was moving as well.

4 This notion was expressed in the famous aphorism from the preface to the Philosophy of History to the effect that “everything that is rational is real, and everything that is real is rational.”

5 Indeed, for Hegel the very dichotomy between the ideal and material worlds was itself only an apparent one that was ultimately overcome by the self-conscious subject; in his system, the material world is itself only an aspect of mind.

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6 In fact, modern economists, recognizing that man does not always behave as a profit-maximizer, posit a “utility” function, utility being either income or some other good that can be maximized: leisure, sexual satisfaction, or the pleasure of philosophizing. That profit must be replaced with a value like utility indicates the cogency of the idealist perspective.

7 One need look no further than the recent performance of Vietnamese immigrants in he U.S. school system when compared to their black of Hispanic classmates to realize that culture and consciousness are absolutely crucial to explain not only economic behavior but virtually every other important aspect of life as well.

8 I understand that a full explanation of the origins of the reform movements in China and Russia is a good deal more complicated than this simple formula would suggest. The Soviet reform, for example, was motivated in good measure by Moscow’s sense of insecurity in the WAtechnological military realm, Nonetheless, neither country ion the eve of its reforms was in such a state of material crisis that one could have predicted the surprising reform paths ultimately taken.

9 It is still not clear whether the Soviet people are as “Protestant” as Gorbachev and will follow him down that path.

10 The internal politics of the Byzantine Empire at the time of Justinian revolved around a conflict between the so-called monophysites and monotheist, who believed that the unity of the Holy Trinity was alternatively one of nature or of will. This conflict corresponded to some extent to one between proponents of different racing teams in the Hippodrome in Byzantium and led to a not insignificant level of political violence. Modern historians would tend to seek the roots of such conflicts in antagonisms between social classes or some other modern economic category, being unwilling to believe that men would kill each other over the nature of the Trinity.

11 I am not using the term “fascism” here in its most precise sense, fully aware of the frequent misuse of this term to denounce anyone to the right of the user. “Fascism” here denotes nay organized ultra nationalist movement with universalistic pretensions — not universalistic with regard to its nationalism, of course, since the latter is exclusive by definition, but with regard to the movement’s belief in its right to rule other people. Hence Imperial Japan would qualify as fascist while former strongman Stoessner’s Paraguay or Pinochet’s Chile would not. Obviously fascist ideologies cannot be universalistic in the sense of Marxism or liberalism, but the structure of the doctrine can be transferred from country to country.

12 I use the example of Japan with some caution, since Kojeve late in his life came to conclude that Japan, with its culture based on purely formal arts, proved that the universal homogenous state was not victorious and that history had perhaps not ended. See the long note at the end of the second edition of Introduction a la Lecture de Hegel, 462-3.

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13 This is not true in Poland and Hungary, however, whose Communist parties have taken moves toward true power sharing and pluralism.

14 This is particularly true of ht leading Soviet conservative, former Second Secretary Yegor Ligachev, who has publicly recognized many of the deep defects of the Brezhnev period.

15 I am thinking particularly of Rousseau and the Western philosophical tradition that flows form him that was highly critical of Lockean or Hobbesian liberalism, though one could criticize liberalism from the standpoint of classical political philosophy as well.

16 See his article, “Beyond the Cold War,” New Republic, December 19, 1988.

17 It took European colonial powers like France several years after the war to admit the illegitimacy of their empires, but decolonialization was an inevitable consequence of the Allied victory which had been based on the promise of a restoration of democratic freedoms.

18Vestnik Ministerstva Inostrannikh Del SSSR no. 15 (August 1988), 27-46. “New thinking” does of course serve a propagandistic purpose in persuading Western audiences of Soviet good intentions. But the fact that it is good propaganda does not mean that is formulators do not take many of its ideas seriously.

  • Local Disk
    • The End of History

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"The White House, Congress, and other politicians

“The White House, Congress, and other politicians, are so preoccupied with winning elections that they have little or no time for governing.” This comment reflects the idea now popular among leading observers of political life in Washington-that elected

  • Must use at least 2 peer reviewed articles and one book.

  •  Only use academic sources.

  • You must answer the question in less than 7 pages, double space, font 12, times roman. one inch margins all around

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  •  Put your name on the top left hand corner of the first page of the paper.

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GHANA and one critical political issue in that country and conduct research throughout the semester

8-page, 12-point font, double spaced) required. For this paper students will select GHANA and one critical political issue in that country and conduct research throughout the semester. In your paper, you need to show evidence that you are able to critically analyze a political issue. Critical thinking is characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.

The paper will include the following parts: a) an introduction to the country in terms of major demographic and geographic features, brief history, and a description of the current political system, (b) description of an important political problem that the country is facing currently (this section will include how major political forces relate to the political problem and what events have taken place creating the problem), e) what scholarly research says about your political issue, e) implications and consequences: what the likely outcome for the political problem is given the balance of politics and resources.

Students must consult current books and scholarly articles in addition to Internet sources and include proper citations and a reference list. There are many ways to cite others’ works properly, one of such is the Chicago Manual of Style.

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POLS 2328 Modern Political Thought

Modern Political Thought 1

POLS 2328 Modern Political Thought

Spring 2018 Prof. Natalie Bormann 932 Renaissance Park Office Hours: M 3-4, W 12-1, R 3-4

Final Project

Instructions For your final project, you may choose both your own case study as well as the authors and theories you wish to consult and apply. You may not discuss cases that were already subject of Paper 1 and 2, but you may choose a case that was introduced by our discussion facilitators. Be creative. Choose a topic that you feel strongly about. There are three main ways to frame your project:

1) Pick a case and apply a particular author and perspective to that case (as we have done with Paper2). 2) Pick a case and offer a comparative study with two (or more) authors (as we have done with Paper1). 3) Pick a particular concept (eg., rights, utility, the state, authority, etc) and apply the role, impact,

contingency, critique of that concept to a particular case. Think of a set of tasks/questions to scaffold your project:

1) Explain why you chose your case and the author/perspective for your analysis. 2) Apply ideas, concepts, and perspectives – do not just describe them. 3) Evaluate those concepts and ideas. How useful, meaningful, valuable are these concepts? 4) Recommend what the take-away is and ought to be.

Reading You may choose from our list of authors and ideas, concepts, and theories. Consultations I invite you to consult with me on your ideas and direction of your project; however, this is not a requirement. You can speak to me during my regular office hours, or arrange for a different day and time that suits you. Due Friday, April 13.

Modern Political Thought 2

Some final project writing guidelines

Format § Projects should be around 2000 words long (-/+ 10% only! I will take half a grade off for longer papers) § Projects do not need to have a particular font, font size, or margin. § Projects need to be submitted through Turnitin on Blackboard. Please do not email me your project.

Deadline § Projects can be submitted until the end of the day they are due (which means midnight). § There is a ‘grace period’ of 2 days within which you may submit (here: Sunday, April 15). § If you feel you cannot meet the deadline after the grace period has lapsed, you must meet with me to

discuss your ideas on the project and to work on a schedule for submission. Not consulting me on late submissions results in point deductions.

Sources § Projects should have traces of the original texts we read. Please make sure to include page references and

your source. You can decide on the citation style as long as you stay consistent with that style throughout the project.

§ You are invited to use additional resources (other texts, articles, books) but you are not expected to doing so.

About the Project § Projects are neither book reviews nor summaries. The section on my course philosophy signal that the

objective of our engagement with the material is to evaluate and critically assess our relationship with key political concepts and ideas. Therefore, projects should be interpretative in nature, and you are asked to explain concepts, analyze their role and importance, and recommend how we may need to understand, question, accept, or deny these concepts.

§ Stay away from lengthy descriptions and include only material that you are willing to discuss in detail. § Projects should have an opening paragraph that sets out the overall objective and development of the

paper. Be clear about what the overall ‘take away’ will be in the project. § Projects may use a first-person narrative. Eg. ‘I agree with Hobbes’ § Projects are at their best when they show reflection and analysis. § I encourage you to base the projects on the discussions we have during our class time.

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How democratic is the government in texas?

In a 10-12 page paper (double-spaced, regular margins), please examine the form and quality of government in one of the 50 states. How democratic is the government in your state? How good a job does it do in providing for the public good?

In so doing, pay attention to the following themes:

What is the state constitution like? In what ways is it similar to and different from the federal one? 

•What avenues does the state constitution provide for popular participation in politics? What factors limit the extent of popular participation? 

•Is the state well-governed? Do public policies tend to pursue the public good, or to favor the narrower interests of powerful groups? 

In addressing these questions, make sure to discuss in depth at least one major political or constitutional issue facing the state at present.

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