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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - Mar. 14, 2013.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ivanka Knezevic

An unexpected discovery about politics - Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. 1984. The Spiral of Silence - Voters are more likely to vote for parties they consider likely to win, notwithstanding their political programmes. - This facilitates “monopolization” of politics by mainstream parties; increased likelihood of winning by incumbents. - Less popular parties and projects becoming increasingly marginal. - This is a cultural theory of political outcomes; it supplements the materialist (political-economy) and institutionalist (state) theories of political outcomes. Main concepts of the sociology of politics - Politics: the process of making socially significant decisions that affect large groups of population. - Ramos and Stanbridge: the process of managing conflict, including the regulation of power of non-state actors. - Max Weber on power: ability of a social actor to control behaviour of others despite their resistance. - Max Weber on authority: power accepted as legitimate by people who are controlled by it. 1. Traditional 2. Charismatic 3. Legal-rational The state - A set of institutions that determine and apply laws and public policies. It claims a monopoly on legitimate use of violence on a territory. - Bases of state power (Ramos and Stanbridge): 1. Legitimacy among the population (ideological control) 2. Monopoly on legitimate violence 3. Acceptance by other powerful organizations - Functions of the state: 1. Coordination and organization (including accumulation and protection of welfare of citizens; structural functionalism) 2. Social control (Naiman: protection of interests of the ruling class – legitimation and coercion, Marxism). State and civil society - Ramos and Stanbridge: states emerged with industrialism and modernity (capitalism). - Naiman: states emerged with class society. - Knezevic: nation states emerged with capitalism. - Civil society is the arena of uncoerced, voluntary collective action. In theory, it is distinct from the state, family and market; in practice, the boundaries between them are often complex, blurred, and negotiated. - Separation between the state and civil society, between party politics and social movements, is often overstated. - Same theories explain success of political parties and social movements. Democracy - Democracy: political system that represents interests of the entire population and is responsive to demands by the population. - Formal democracy – multi-party parliamentarism: free and fair elections, ability of elected representatives to influence political decisions. - Prorogation: discontinuation of a session of parliament, curtails even formal democracy. - Substantive democracy: multi-part parliamentarism is NOT necessarily democratic, because inequality restricts political influence of large portions of
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