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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 %28March 15%29.doc

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Political Science
Peter Loewen

Thursday, March-15-12 POL111: Lecture 9 Canada in a Comparative Perspective  Classifying Democracies o By governments-presidential, parliamentary or mixed system o By electoral systems-such as proportional o By party systems-the electoral system often determines the composition of party systems  Function of parties-they are groups of people in a team who compete in elections, they promise things to voters and to try to gain their votes, collectively they want to win office  What function do political parties serve? What problem are they solving?  Functional terms-if you want to understand why an animal has certain features you ask what’s the reason for that feature i.e. what do they have sharp teeth, because they can tear through flesh  Similarly, the function of parties serve a representative, instrumental and an expressive function o They are not perfectly defined and overlap a little bit  What do parties do (slide): o Parties act as a link between individuals and the state o They do it by recruiting the people who are going to be politicians o In Canada, you could try to find a local/notable person in the community to run for office o Aggregate pressure-politics is a social choice with different people who have different demands, parties collect all those preferences, order them and say this time we are going for this policy, they give people a vehicle to seek out their demands o They also look for groups to support them in return for expressing their complaints o Integrate individuals-you can get involved in the political process by joining an NGO or starting a petition about an issue, lobbying a politician or getting involved with the party-they are the logical vehicle in which people are integrated into the political order o After hearing what the population wants and aggregating it, as well as after recruiting people in the party to give them an entry point to political order, the final representative function they serve is to 1 Thursday, March-15-12 determine which preferences they will pursue i.e. What policies they will introduce o The representative function is the substance of what parties are doing, it is the “what” they are doing, i.e. They are aggregating preferences and deciding on political action  The instrumental function is how they go about being successful o They strike bargains, stagger demands, they figure out the order of what they will pursue and how they will do it, and they will negotiate with other parties to do this o They becomes instruments for modifying or changing political order, if a party is in power, that party could be removed by joining with other parties o They also collude to prevent entry-level parties-parties, which disagree in terms of policy and who should be PM, or what government should do, but they will agree the rules they were elected should be the rules that should remain in place. Any changes in the rules that would result in some of the parties being knocked out while others coming in are opposed. o They try and keep competition from destroying political order-parties could try to destroy their opponents, they could say that all politicians are terrible people/they are corrupt/you cant trust them, you could say the whole system could be revised but this destroys the order In other words, they still want to maintain the current political system and rules that got them elected  Expressive function-parties become the expressions of social conflict; they give voice to people’s demands. For example, you might want universal education or education.  They are the vehicle through which people’s desire can be solved/addressed through politics  Parties are the machinery competing in elections, acts intermediary of society and government, they are organization that compete to try to be in better position for elections  If parties serve all of these functions and they are important why wouldn’t we expect to have more parties  Historically, the conservatives and liberals have been the dominant parties that have constantly alternated as the head of government  What causes some countries to have many parties while others a few: 2 Thursday, March-15-12 o 1. Electoral rule-the rules under which elections are held and the mechanism on which votes are translated to seats o 2. Cleavages o 3. Interaction between division in society and electoral rules  Electoral Rules and Parties o Relationship between electoral rules and parties is that in purity system where you when with the most votes in a one member district there are smaller parties o In proportional systems there is a multiparty system where you have lots of parties competing and running for office o This is stylized to a rule called the M+1 rule (in any electoral district there will be M+1 effective number of contenders for representation)=the number of parties that have a chance in a district is equal to the number of seats available in that district +1 ex. in Canada we have a SMD where one seat is 1, there are 2 effective contenders (1+1) if you are electing 3-4 from a district, there are 4-5 contenders  But it’s not all-they don’t determine the number of parties  Cleavages-deep divisions in a society  Cleavage lines o This is important because they structure our politics, politics is about different groups of people competing for power, cleavages create these groups o They take one side of the dividing line and represent the people on one side of that line o They are not just made by politicians but they are deep societal long- lasting divisions o They are disputes over important things that can be political o Within in each person there is a sense of identity and that is determined by your race, ethnicity, where you live, your parents jobs and the amount of money you got  The conditions under which they matter for politics is that they have to be social divisions o Divisions that exist in society and they have to be structural like your religion, occupation and economic class o Collective identity-you have to know that you have this view and you see yourself as being from the upper class or a catholic but you have 3 Thursday, March-15-12 to recognize that other people see themselves that way, and you have to identify them, to know who your compatriots are o Ex. you are catholic, you know what a collective expression of that is such as going to mass or a catholic school-this is part of the collective conscious o It has to be expressed in organizational terms-there has to be an organization that is the expression of these terms, i.e. There has to be churches for religious people to gather, for class you need trade unions, or ultimately political parties o That are for ex. not a cleavage is the division between people who think Japanese bikes are better than American. It has nothing to do with you social position, there is no collective identity and there is no organizational term ie. Motorcycle clubs are not political. o There are things that are important to your identity but they are not true cleavages such as your favourite sports teams, they need to be social structural, there needs to be a collective identity and something that expresses it  Traditional Cleavage structure o Centre periphery o Church-state o Urban-rural o Class o These are social divisions that categorized the major political conflict in Europe o Things that were really diving the society were the ones that mattered when these countries were structuring the parliament during democratization o They are deeply seeded and almost unchanging  Centre prehistory o When starting a new country you face geographic decisions of drawing the borders and where is the capital city going to be located o When your forming a country you need to locate political power (what are the places that have the most economic influence) o When you draw a geographic unit you create people who are close to power and those who are far from it o Therefore, the capital city was had the most economic and political power 4 Thursday, March-15-12 o The question was whether the center would impose its power on the periphery o There is a tension between the places where the power exists and those that do not who feel that their livelihood was threatened o Canada:  Ontario and Quebec (previous to that upper and lower
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