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Lecture 5

POL326Y1- Lecture 5- October 9, 2012.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Arnd Jurgensen

POL326Y1- Lecture 5- October 9, 2012 Constructivist: Alternative view that argues essentially that to understand politics it is important to pay attention to symbolic aspects of politics, how societies construct meaning. This applies to foreign and domestic policy, more so to foreign policy Realists argue that states are fundamentally motivated and form rational by security and try to gain as much power to preserve that security and pursue those interests in order to enhance their security. Constructivists don’t disagree with this realist perception however ‘What is security? How do you define power? How do leaders determine what is in their country’s interests?’ Constructivists say there is no one answer it is constructed based on each society, therefore it is important to determine how a society perceives itself in the global market, what are their vulnerabilities?  sense of security, how to they determine their interests and go about advancing them.  Public Opinion: Volatile, unstructured and incoherent; something to be manipulated by elites rather than something that provides elites a guide. Generally it is understood that elites determine the agenda and manipulate the public accordingly o Elite Public & Attentive public: This is not the case for them who are different from the mass public, they are characterized by higher level of education and income (ruling class of the United States?)  Ideology: Tends to be far more stable than public opinion, in that regard we noted that the literature on ideology in the US has tended within the US to paint a picture of the US as relatively non-ideological. This is surprising since observers of American politics see a high level of ideology. Most of the debate in the US takes place in the Liberal Main Streams, there is an absence of other ideologies such as communism and socialism all the ideologies are in the liberal frameworks. Both parties try to appeal to a central group. o Institutional representation is largely non-ideological, the bureaucracy does not have an ideology o The way the US is constructed representatives must be concerned with their constituency first, then the platform of their party  Political Culture: Culture is something that is not consciously learned, it is the result of years of socialization, growing up in a political environment and internalizing the political beliefs of that political society. These are rarely subject to criticism, mainly because they fall myths which are core beliefs (city on a hill). This myth can also refer to the American dream and the rates of immigration to the United States…difficulties immigrants face, contrary to the city on a hill vision. o Myth of innocence: The United States was created on a blank slate and was in that sense innocent and therefore free from the corrupting influences of monarchies, the papacy, etc. Free from diplomacy and real politics that functioned behind closed doors in European style, outside the realm of democracy…this view however completely ignores the history it has with slavery and the treatment of natives o US benevolence: the US as a democracy establish as a basis on this innocence has sought throu
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