In these critical reflection assignments I am going to ask you to read an article, watch a video, or play a simulation, and then answer a few questions about it. In this first one you will be reading an article by Colin Woodard, a political journalist. It’s very similar to Elazar’s theory of the three political cultures, but it expands on it a bit. Start by rereading pages 6 to 11 in the book so you have Elazar’s theory to compare it to. Then read Woodard’s piece titled “Up In Arms”. While much of the piece is about violence, there is also quite a bit embedded in it about political culture, which is the piece we are most interested in. I’ve copied it below and also linked to it, although sometimes the link seems to go down.
Once you’ve read them both, I’d like you to write a 300-500 word reflection that covers the following:
1) What is Woodard’s main argument in this piece? What evidence does he use to support it?
2) How does Woodard’s theory differ from Elazar’s?
3) Do you find Woodard’s theory compelling and believable? Why or why not? Which of these regions have you lived in (if any)? Does Woodard’s description of that region sound accurate to your experience living there?
4) How does knowing about this theory change the way you look at the country? How does this help you study the variation in states?
5) Does one of these eleven political cultures speak to you the most? In other words, which one seems to be the closest to what you currently think about government and politics?
For each of the five questions above, you can receive up to 5 points each:
5 points: Fully answers the question and offers supporting evidence.
4 points: Either misses a small part of a question, lacks some evidence, or has some small factual inaccuracies.
3 points: Does not answer a part of a question or lacks evidence or has moderate factual inaccuracies.
Less than 3 points: Has substantial factual inaccuracies or fails to address the question.