Chapter 1 – Politics and the State
The Sovereign State
-The most high, absolute, and perpetual power over the citizens and subjects in a
-Comes from Europe – 15 and 16 centuries.
-Authority is divided between the aristocracy, the guilds, and the Roman Catholic
-Highest form of authority in a given territory.
-Most countries use this model.
A Typology of the State
-States can be categorized based on how much the intervene in society and the
-Sees the role of the state as minimal.
-Restricted to provision of security and property rights.
-Favoured by both liberals and New Right thinkers.
-Minimization of state interference to maximize freedom.
-Government and private business partner together to concentrate on rapid
economic growth, or on greater social and economic equality through growth.
-East Asia after World War 2.
A Typology of the State
-States can also be classified according to how subject the leaders are to the will of
-Free and fair elections, universal suffrage, personal liberty, and the protection of
-Canada, USA, India.
-Elections are held, but little protection for right and liberties.
-Opposition parties are at a distinct disadvantage due to state control of media
-Russia, Malaysia. Authoritarian State
-Absence of fair elections; rulers generally unaccountable to the citizens; can be
centred on an individual, family, military, or ruling party.
-Up to 1/3 of the world’s population lives in an authoritarian state.
-China, Saudi Arabia.
-Extreme form of interventionist state.
-Absence of public/private distinction; repression of civil society.
-Total control exercised through police and other forms of violence.
-First emerges in the 20 century along with the rise of mass communications
technology as a means for the dissemination of propaganda.
-Nazi Germany, Stalinist USSR, Maoist China.
Theories of the State
-The New Right
-Society is made up of many competing groups.
-What governments do reflects the balance of power of those groups.
-No one group is predominant.
-Organization for defence or promotion of an interest or cause.
-Sectional groups protect the interests of their members.
-Cause groups promote a particular group or ideal.
Pluralist Fragmentation of Power
-Different groups prevail in different issue areas.
-Not all groups are equally influential in all areas.
-Group competition works to keep influence in check.
Elite Pluralism & Corporatism
-Elite pluralism argues that interest groups are themselves under the control of