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Lecture 3

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Political Science
Christopher Cochrane

th POLB52 Lecture 3 – January 24 2012.  How to Study Canada? What method, theories, and ways of understanding politics are we going to utilize? Institutional approaches  Institutional approaches – they are rules and sets of ideas.  These rules govern relations between individuals. They can be written or unwritten rules.  We’re in an institution because we are in a context of set rules  There are specific rules that govern our context.  A collection of these rules (Ex. Senate, supreme court, parliament, bureaucracy, university are institutions)  Electoral system – different ways of counting the result of a vote. Each person gets to vote, they just need to rank them. Then the first choices are the candidate.  Institutions shape the voting behaviour of people. Ex. Proportional electoral system. If we change the rule of the electoral system we get first past-the-vote system where the most votes of the party wins.  Rule change, behaviour changes.  Federalism emerged because there were different groups in society. We created provinces. The provinces are institutions because they have borders that people have created.  Weakness of the senate – In the US everybody is concern about their Senate. In Canada, our senate is powerless because it doesn’t have any real power. Instead, they look to the provincial government.  There’s impact of culture in our charter in Canada – the extent to which we have rights barrier. Debatable whether it’s debatable or not. The charter has fundamental changes. Citizens think Canadian constitution is theirs now ever since the charter has been adopted.  Rules can influence people can create identity, affect people’s preferences, and creates societies and community. Group based approaches  Group based approaches – Firstly, based on Marxist approaches. Marxist approaches of politics, refers to a lot of Marxist ideas of its connection to society, and conflicts between labour (workers) and capital (people who hire workers).  There are two main groups, workers (who produce capital) and capital (people who own capital). In order for a business owner to make money, they need to charge more of their stuff they produce than the money spent making the product.  There’s conflict over wages. Business owners increase profits and decrease wages. If wages go up then profits go down.  The state sides with business against workers. Pluralist Approach  Pluralist approach – Says there is competition between groups. These groups are collective groups (ex. women’s groups, regional groups, all different kind of groups). They join together because common interest and advocate politically.  These competitions are more or less equal. Some people are good in things and some good at other things. Politics manage this competition between these groups.  Cleavage theory – Within society, there are certain groups (ex. gender, education, regional differences). From these differences emerge political parties and formal groups.  Traditional political party – left wing and right wing (conservative and liberal respectively). These stem from the labour and business society.  Argument– societies are most democratic and remain democratic when you have cross-cutting cleavages. o Societies are least democratic when it’s over-lacking cleavages. o Cross-cutting cleavages are people united by certain characteristics but not in other characteristics. Also united with other people with another characteristic but not the other. (Ex. people united by income group but not racial group) o The problem is when you get over-lapping cleavages which is very huge differences between characteristic. (Ex. one ethnic group gets all the money and the other doesn’t. One ethnic group lives in a different part and the other ethnic group on another part.) o The goal is to have cross-cultural cleavages. State-Based Approaches  State – based approaches – states, government, and different competitions of social groups can test each other to gain benefits. They use the government to gain benefits. The state itself is an institution that has its own interest. State is a group and actor that interact with all these other groups in society. States has different interest from these other groups. Individual-level approaches  Individual-level approaches – Focused on the individual human being. (Ex. Rational choice theory and political psychology).  It is based on everyone in North America. o *The picture on the slide*-Someone produced a map of North America and each dot represent each person.  Focus on individual person as appose to groups and states.  In
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