Tutor profile: Paloma P.
Subject: International Relations
How can we use International Relations theory in practical terms?
Theory provides us with a lense through which we view the world. First, it frames the world, with some theories historically focusing on some geographical areas while ignoring others, and each theory making a set of assumptions from the outset which help bring our view into focus. Then, suggests how the various elements within our view might be connected to one another and which ones are particularly important. Finally, theory gives us a toolkit and a method, so that when we decide to tackle a particular question or issue we are picking it apart, piece by piece, in such a way that we can later explain in very thorough detail how we came to our conclusion. When it comes to explaining a news headline or a government's new policy position, for example, we need to be able to put the event into context. Different theorists will ask different questions, but we might want to know: - Who are the main actors? - Is this occurrence in any way new, or can we connect this to other events? - Who or what will be affected by the decisions being made here? - Is the language being used important? These are all questions that theory also helps us answer in the first instance and each theory will guide us in different ways, changing our analysis of events such as the recent prorogation of UK's parliament and how it was deemed unlawful, or the Trump administrations' decisions which led to major changes in US foreign policy.
Subject: Comparative Government and Politics
Explain one of the key differences between direct and indirect democracy.
Direct democracy suggests that elected representatives have a strong obligation to act based upon their constituents' explicit demands and that the former's mandate is directly tied to a particular vote. Some argue that this model support more populist systems in which it is the majority on whom elected representatives must focus their agenda. Indirect Democracy, or representational democracy, is rooted in the idea that the core role of elected representatives is to make decisions based upon the knowledge and experience they have, not necessarily based upon the opinions of their constituents as expressed at a particular moment in time. Their mandate is to use their judgement and if this means changing their minds, on policy, then so be it.
When giving a presentation, whether it regards a project proposal or academic subject, what are the three main questions you need to answer for your audience from the outset?
1. What is the problem you are solving? 2. Why should your audience care about this? 3. How is your solution different - and better - than others?
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