POL 102 Lecture Notes - Singular Solution, Canadian Identity, Parliamentary System

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REVIEW
- Easton’s definition of politics: the authoritative allocation of values planes competing to the right to
determine what is good for society (use and dynamics of power, values, decision-making, etc.
- Institutions: organized, long-lasting, strategic, purposeful leading to a common goal
- The “State”: controls monopoly on legitimated violence, approved by society and developed over time
due to social revolution that lead to popular sovereignty, through the realization of people’s ability to
rationalize
- Sovereignty: the legitimation of violence within a territory, for the purpose of maintaining order and
organization of the society the people’s voluntary acceptance/approval of the State as ruler
- Idealism: what we think drives what we want politics is the conflict of ideas (political culture and
ideologies); “everyone should think the way I do
vs.
Materialism: what we think is driven by what we need and how society is organized to meet these
demands the material interests and political economy
- Limitations on sovereign power:
Constitutions: limit the State’s power by defining what uses of power are legitimate
Federalism: divides the authority to certain powers to different levels of government this limits
who can make what decisions, and makes the levels inter-dependant
- Legislature: makes laws
Executive: applies laws into polities
Judiciary: interprets and implements laws in daily life
- Legitimation of the State is done through voting this allows citizens a chance to voice their opinions of
the different parties and who they want in power; the assumption s made that their opinion matters
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NATIONALISM AND THE NATIONAL IDENTITY
WHAT IS NATIONALISM?
- Tied to loyalty to the state and the clam to legitimacy (the right to govern)
- Key features:
Culture/ethnicity/language/location the right to a given territory; how people do things makes
them identifiably different
Exclusive often defined in opposition to what they are NOT (eg. Canadians aren’t Americans) –
national identity grows through this sentiment
Paramount national identity is the most important, and the inclusion in this identity is what best
defines you and to which you owe the highest loyalty
Self-determination the national identity is a collective, definable group separate from others, and
should thus be able to define their own fate/lives
- Origins/Functions:
Deliberate project
Standardization, normalization, creation of common identity value prescriptions associated
with common and expected behavior the common way becomes the expected, normative
way that should be shared by all in the group, and anything that falls outside of this is not
appropriate
Centralization of state power nationalisation is the most useful political tool in mobilizing and
uniting the popular support of peoples for state power; peoples that would otherwise be in
conflict
Modern project
Alternative basis for determining community removes dissent and minimalizes internal
conflict in unification against conflict with the outside other, creating unity within the people
under a coherent common identity
CANADIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY
- Civic, not ethnic
No religious or ethnic base/origin for our national identity/culture “Canada is a mosaic
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We are united civically institutional practise and political aspects of how we do things define the
culture (eg. health care system, Parliamentary system)
Our culture is simply a common commitment to institutional systems/practises these ways of
doing things connects the community
- Alternative to homogenization
Canada is known for our multiculturalism, but this leads to a difficulty in reconciling diversity
instead of breaking down these pre-existing identities to create a new Canadian one, people are
allowed to be defined as individuals; as long as they agree to the rights and laws of Canada, there is
no conflict between peoples based on any other groups with which they identify
This creates a context for a liberal community of individuals our rights are based on us as
individuals, and as ‘Canadians’ we are defined by these legal obligations, as opposed to by our
regional, linguistic or religious identities
- Branding: a form of deliberate “top-down” nationalism – an advertising/media technique used by the
government to create emotional connection to the product being promoted through associating it with
a set of unconnected but desirable characteristics (eg. these kind of people use this); politicians are
marketing the nation, inviting viewers to share the characteristics and live the lifestyle
Without having to address the actual political policies, politicians can convey the loyal, faithful
emotions that they possess towards us and the nation, making them the best candidates
ABORIGINAL POLITICS
BACKGROUND
- Conditions of life on average are much lower than that of the regular Canadian lower living standards,
fewer employment opportunities, more deaths at younger ages, lower education and income
- Variation/diversity:
Large range of conditions across communities some are wealthy and prosperous, while most are
in poverty
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