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POLI 212 (235)
Lecture

3: Political Regimes

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 212
Professor
Hudson Meadwell
Semester
Winter

Description
3: Political Regimes Background and Recap - Working def of regime: rules of poli game - Allocation of power + authority among poli offices + agencies Formal rules: imply s/kind codification, ex: written constit Informal rules: conventions, practices that evolve over time + accepted as conventions/norms which shape poli expectations + behaviour - Ambiguity: nothing in def tells us over whom these rules are to legit apply - Amibiguity resolved when recog that regimes typically assoc w/states - Boundaries of regimes = typically boundaries of states - More formal def poli regime (Siaroff): formal + informal structure of gov roles + processes inclu: - Method of selection of gov + rep aseemp - Formal + informal mechanisms of poli rep - Patterns of repression: under what condits does regime use violence/non-violent coercion against citizens - Disting regime fr/partic incumbents who occupy gov roles poli coalition supps incumbents + public policies which these incumbents adopt - Regime NOT a gov - S/thing more basic about poli regime: regime sets rules under which poli actors compete - Diff authors have diff purposes classifying empirical cases + will devel diff typologies of regimes according to their purposes Siaroff - Looking for sys of classification which covers universe of all contemp poli regimes (193 regimes) - Classif scheme = jointly exhaustive + mutually exclu - E/case must be classif + no case can fall into more than 1 type/category - Universe contains enormous variation in kinds/types of regimes - Basic distinc b/w liberal democratic + autocratic regimes - Liberal democ vs electoral democ - Autocratic: semi-liberal autocracies + close autocracies - Propose spectrum on which these regime types can be located - Range fr/lib democ to closed autocracy - Static typology, essentially descriptive - Given checklist charac of various types of regimes - Empirical exercise: see which empirical cases exhibit these charac slot cases into types - Interested classif, not explanation - Not interested origins/causes of diff types of regimes, not stability of poli regimes - Treats lib democ = natural endpoint of poli devel - Only kinds of transitions that he takes into account = transitions fr/closed autocratic/semi-lib autocratic/electoral democ lib democ regimes Doesnt imagine possib transit backwards fr/lib democ to s/more autocrat regime Lib democ = acme of contemp poli devel + once consolid, invulnerable to breakdown Lijphart - Not interested in universe of cases - In light of what Siaroff did, Lijph arguing Siaroffs typology not fine-grained enough b/c marks imp diff among lib democ lib democ too much variation to be coherent single type - Timeframe: 1945-1980, writing 1989 interested in democ regimes before wave dthoc 90s - 21 countries, 22 cases (treats case of Fr 2 separate cases, before + after 5 republic) - Kinds of regimes which were available in transitions to democ - Poli world of lib democ is + can be organized - Causal argument: poli regimes reflect qualities of soc adapted to certain sorts soc features - All cases of interest meet minimum standards of electoral democ - Poli relevant differences amongst cases that are not picked up if basic type = lib democ - 1) What are differences in type of regime - Not just interest in descrip + classif that motivates Lijp Interested in explaining origins + trajectory of diff types of poli regimes Not just exercise static classif 2) How to explain diff types regimes 3) Quality of life underneath diff types of regimes - Basic typology, distinc w/in lib democ: relationship b/w majoritarian democ + consensus democ - Ea/democ types organised around essential principle: - Majoritarian: concentrate as much power as possib in hands of majority Found in soc relatively homogenous, not charac by divisions in terms of culture + identity - Consensus: share + disperse power as much as possib Assoc w/plural soc rather than homogenous Soc has politically relevant cultural divisions - Part of argument: regimes tend to evolve in a way congruent/compatible basic soc struc - 2 independent dimensions used to def democ regimes + then to classify cases: - 1) Institutional profile of a regime Is executive power concentrated? Is party sys 2 party sys or multiparty sys? Is party sys/issue space 1 dimensional/multidimensional? Is electoral sys plurality sys? Or sys of proportional representation? Maj democ: exec power concentrated, 2 party sys, issue space 1 dimensional, electoral st sys = plurality/1 past the post - 2) Territorial profile of a regime Is power concentrated territorially/divided? Regime = unitary + centralised/federal + decentralised - Regime can score high instit profile + high/low on territ profile, vice versa Ex: Brit = high instit profile, low territ profile Then proceeds classify cases - Clear relationship to degree to which soc are plural/not + their type of regime - More plural a soc, more consensual its regime - Homogenous soc in which a high degree of agreement exists can afford majoritarian + competitive gov in soc which are plural, sit = much more diff Soc plural: exists imp differences about values, differences = politicised, diff = basis for poli organisation + participation poli management of differences = more diff Majoritarian instit @poli level will not work if soc structure = plural Plural soc req diff kind of poli organisation if those soc are to be stable throughout time - Consensus regime provides (for plural soc) = incentives for power sharing among diff groups - Interested primarily in diff connected to values Interested partic soc deeply divided among relig, cultural, ethnic lines - Poli stability = consequence fit/congruence b/w soc structure + poli regime - Not arguing consensus regime = inferior/less democ than majoritarian regime saying that if thinkall lib democ should be organised majoritarian lines = recipe for poli instability in partic cases - In terms of consensus democ question of instit design - Consensual regime deisnged to accommodate differences embedded in plural soc b/c it shares + disperses power - Less to fear of potential abusive power when power dispersed + shared rather than concentrated in hands of majority - Encourages coalition govs, inclus several diff parties which rep diff socially defined grps - Tend to be relatively decentralised in terms of territ - Expect find multiple points of access to poli power Dont have to fear power concentrated @territ centre - Majoritarian instits in plural setting will exacerbate differences - Ins/pluralsoc,evenconsensusregimenotenoughtomaintainstabilityneedconsociationaldemoc - Consociational democracy - Special type of consensus democ designed for certain kinds of soc sits (deep soc divisions) - Classic example: Netherlands (end WWI 1980s) - Designed for deeply divided plural soc - S/kinds of soc in which disagreement cant be managed by either majoritarian/consensus instits - These are soc where stronger kind medicine needed if want poli stability + quality of poli life - 2 parts to argument about consoc democ: - 1) argument about soc structure (initial condits for consoc democ) - 2) description of poli instits of consoc democ - Problem that has to be solved: how, given initial condits, these poli instits of consoc democ can be put in place + stabilised (reproduced through time)? - 1) Initial condit: 1 of deep division how is it possib to secure agreement under instits of consoc democ? How to design poli instits to solve problem Subcultural divisions: ethnic, relig,
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