Mar 21, 2023  
2021-2022 College Catalog 
2021-2022 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POS 231 - American State and Local Governments and Politics

3 Credits, 3 Contact Hours
3 lecture periods 0 lab periods

Basic concepts, structures, and substance of American state and local politics and government. Includes methods of political analysis, federalism and intergovernmental relations, cultural and demographic diversity in state and local politics, democracy and constitutionalism, civil rights policy, patterns and forms of political participation, electoral systems and the impact of nonpartisanship, institutions and processes of state and local governments. Also includes status features of tribal governments, and state and local policymaking.

Information: The combination of both POS 231 and POS 201  satisfies the requirement for teacher certification, as does POS 210 .
Gen-Ed: Meets AGEC - SBS and C; Meets CTE - SBS and C.

Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain the concept of a plural executive found in most state constitutions, including Arizona’s.
  2. Differentiate between unitary, federal, and confederal systems of government. 

Performance Objectives:
  1. Describe the comparative method of political analysis.
  2. Discuss federalism and its evolution.
  3. Explain the impact of demographic change on state and local politics.
  4. Discuss common features of state constitutions and direct versus representative democracy in the states.
  5. Discuss differences in voter turnout and other forms of participation in state and local politics.
  6. Explain the evolution of civil rights policy at the state and local level.
  7. Differentiate between different electoral systems and explain the impact of nonpartisanship
  8. Describe the various structure and institutions of state and local government.
  9. State the basic features of tribal governments.
  10. Describe state and local policymaking in select policy areas.

  1. Methods of Political Analysis
    1.  Methods of inquiry
    2. Comparative approach
  2. Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
    1. Federalism
    2. Evolution of federalism
    3. Intergovernmental relations
    4. Policy responsibilities of the states
    5. States as policy laboratories and judicial federalism
  3. Cultural and Demographic Diversity in State and Local Politics
    1. Demographic diversity and transition
    2. State political cultures and identity politics
    3. Political subcultures
  4. Democracy and Constitutionalism in the States
    1. State Constitutions and constitutionalism
    2. Similarities and differences between the state and federal constitutions
    3. Representative and direct democracy in the sates
  5. Civil Rights in the States
    1. Battles over segregation
    2. Urban riots
    3. Voting rights, education, and housing,
    4. Equal opportunity and affirmative action
  6. Political Participation in State and Local Politics
    1. Impacts of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and social class on participation and socialization
    2. Voter turnout in state and local elections
    3. Policy impacts of demographic change
    4. Conventional and unconventional participation (protest, civil disobedience, political violence)
    5. Interest groups
  7. Electoral Systems, Parties, Nonpartisanship, and Campaigns
    1. Different electoral systems
    2. Party competition
    3. Nonpartisanship
    4. Campaigns in state and local politics
  8. Institutions and Processes of State and Local Governments
    1. State Government
      1. Legislature and lawmaking process
      2. Governors and other executive officeholders
      3. Courts judicial process
      4. Bureaucracy, patronage, and reform
    2. Local Governments
      1. County government
      2. Municipal governments
      3. Special districts
      4. Metropolitan fragmentation versus consolidation
      5. Elite and pluralist models of power
  9. Tribal Governments
    1. Evolution of federal policy regarding Native Americans
    2. Legal status and extent of sovereignty of federally recognized tribes
    3. Structures of tribal government
  10. State and Local Policymaking
    1. Criminal Justice
    2. Education
    3. Social welfare
    4. Other policy areas

Effective Term:
Full Academic Year 2018/2019

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