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POL101Y1 - Lecture II Modern Democracy.docx

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Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

Toneguzzo 1 POL101Y1: Democracy, Dictatorship, War and Peace PART I: Democracy and Dictatorship Lecture II – Modern Democracy o Example of democracy; South Africa – system in S.A was the most immoral; inhumanity act (sexual relations b/n blacks and whites); segregation of people based on colour of their skin. Passed the Pass Law (black S.A require a pass to enter an area designated for whites); Resettlement Act was a forced settlement of black South Africans; the core of racial, social, political and economic segregation (circa. 1978) – this segregation existed until 1994; both were able to vote, travel and live under a relatively free society. o Democracy is still very new around the world; people will fight for it (like they did in South Africa) – it is an extremely appealing concept. (Huntington’s novel The Third Way – democratic transitions around the world); in one generation’s time there is a significance transition into a more democratic world – learning from past histories why it is the best option (authoritarianism from WWII) – aspect of modernisation that makes democracy appealing. Democracy’s Virtue: o Appeal b/c of its inherent virtues; the notion that we can organize ourselves as the people (as the sovereign) – Aristotle on Politics o Robert Dahl – Polyarchy; “a political order in which citizenship is extended to a relatively high proportion of adults… th o Samuel Huntington on Democracy – “a 20 Century political system is democratic to the extent that its most powerful collective decision-makers are selected through fair, honest… o Democracy is about participatory politics; form of political order in which we all have a say; freedom of speech, right to vote; an ability to participate in politics – decisions that affect our land/countries are collectively made, no longer made in the hands of few with power.  Liberty – freedoms expressed in terms of rights; we have the right to descent (to disagree) among each other and the government. Liberal democracy is mediated through institution.  Equality – democratic or political citizenship; in the political sphere we are all as individuals equal; regardless of race, gender, economic, culture and so on we are all politically equal; everyone has the same weighted vote. Modern liberalism is about the individual – participate as equal individuals as protected by the rule of law.  Rule of Law – means by which we do politics/make decisions are all governed by rules (ie. Constitution)  Pluralism – as individuals enjoy the rights and freedoms implicit in democracy and equality that allows us to express these interests means we live in a pluralistic Toneguzzo 2 society; multiple ideas and ideologies and they all matter – democracy is about making compromises among this pluralism.  Institutionalize Uncertainty – it is about the ability to elect our representatives and government. Elections empower us to vote a government in and what’s even more empowering is elections allow us to vote a government out; in a democracy there are winner and losers but even if you are voted out, you are not obliterated – but rather you can come back to contest in elections again. It is this uncertainty that in fact makes democracies work. Democracy’s Fragility: o As much expansion as we have seen there have also been a significant amount of breakdowns (16% breakdown and return to democracy; 16% breakdown and no return to democracy). o Even through democracy is appealing and has virtues it is fragile and can be easily taken away. (ie. Thailand; in the 1990s there is democracy; in 2006 there is a military regime with the banning of political parties). Democracy as a Process: o Understand it as a dynamic process not and end in itself. o The right to vote is not a natural right in democratic citizenship but it is conferred to you; even with citizenship you may not be conferred the right to vote – origins of Canadian democracy (1920); 1918 women could vote; until 1960 status Indians could vote in Canada; 1963 all citizens of racial status could vote – similar instances in the United States; thus a democracy is a long term evolutionary process. o Appreciate the fact that democracies don’t suddenly appear – we understand dynamics of the process: o (I) Foundation in which we choose democracy – think of democracy’s foundation using the Modernization Theory; social modernization followed by political modernization (basically explains how the West has developed): (1) Economic transformation – tradition societies are ones that rely on subsistence agriculture but over time economy become transformed and begin to trade; build infrastructure; build roads; integrate technology into the economy – engage in an Industrial Revolution. (2) Economic development – eventually become wage earners; no longer a society of subsistence farmers; growing their economy and seeing the rise of the middle class (modern economic society) compared to the rich and those that farm for them. (3) Demographic change (Urban
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