Ms .45's mp3/bureaucratic/gaming blog.

Monday, March 05, 2007

That MB essay I promised

About three posts ago, I mentioned an essay that was currently being procrastinated via the magic of online comics. Here it is. If you actually know anything about the topic, I'd be interested to hear what you think of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You asked for gentle criticism of your work at AA’s blog. Let me suggest requesting honest criticism. It’s normally more productive and straight-forward.

That being said, I was impressed that an undergrad put herself out there. Being one not too long ago (and thus respecting the value of feedback) I decided to read the paper. A few comments:

-You don’t answer the question in the title. I thought this was going to be an empirically grounded hypothetical piece. If you want to answer the question you need to define what a normal conservative party is (ideologically speaking) right off the bat. Then you need to explain what normal party behaviour would be. Which is not at all easy. Try narrowing down your question. “MB: An anti-system party?” or “MB: non-democratic, non-liberal, or both?”

-As it stands, this is a party about a political party that does not engage the literature on political parties. I found that odd (mainly because I study political parties). I don’t have any great suggestions for you. Maybe some comparative stuff on religious politics. Marty and Appleby are normally a pretty good place to start there. Mainwaring has done some stuff on religious parties in the past (in Latin America).

-Avoid the term “neo-con.” It has become loaded and is thus a distraction.

-Use headers to split the paper into sections. For example, “MB: Democratic?” and MB: liberal?” Then define the terms and use them as tools to study the case. Also, use sub-headers (“Minority relations”, “Women’s rights” etc)

-In the last part of the paper you hypothesize on the roots of US foreign policy. Why? This isn’t an IR paper and discussing US foreign policy requires some engagement with the IR literature. More importantly, though, it doesn’t pertain to your primary question. If your question is “why doesn’t the US engage the MB?”, which it is not, then the stuff on foreign policy would be relevant. Stick to forecasting the internal implications of an MB government that included the MB. What your essentially trying to do is strip the US of the ‘we don’t engage them because they’re non-democratic’ argument. Save the roots of American foreign policy for another day. There is some virtue in maintaining a modest scope for your paper.