Chapter 18-Politics and Social Movements Mar 11 2009

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23 Aug 2010
March 11th, 2009
Chapter 18: Politics and Social Movements
x Power: the ability of an individual or group to impose its will on others, even if they resist
x Authority: raw power
x Authorities: people who occupy command posts of institutions
x Social Movements: collective attempts to change part or all of the social order
x Political Parties: organizations that seek to control state power
x Normal Politics: politics practiced when authorities are firmly in power
x Politics Beyond Rules: politics practiced when the legitimacy of authority grows weak
x Political Revolution: concerted attempt by many people to overthrow political institutions
and establish new ones
Power From Above: Normal Politics
x Force: coercive power by authorities
x Force by authorities is a sign of weakness (if they truly possessed strength, their rule
would be widely recognized as legitimate- they would not need to force their will, ppl
would agree with their policies)
x CDN politics= normal
x State: set of institutions that formulate and carr\RXWDFRXQWU\¶VODZVSROLFLHVELQGLQJ
regulations- authority stands above all others
x Civil Society: private sphere of life, also exercise control over the state through a variety
of organizations and institutions
x Pluralist Theory
o Interpretation of the relationship between state and civil society
o We live in a heterogeneous society w/ competing interests/centres of power
o Because no one group of people is always able to control the political agenda or
the outcome of political conflict, democracy is guaranteed
o Normal democratic politics is about compromise and the accommodation of all
group interests
x Elite Theory
some societies run, large corps, government and military)
o Make important decisions for society without much regard for elections/public
o Ruling Class: self-conscious and cohesive group of people, led by corp.
o Despite compromise and accommodation, power is concentrated in elite hands
whose interests the political system therefore serves best
x Elite Critique of Pluralism
o Research has established the existence of large, persistent, wealth based
inequalities in political/participation
o Disproportionately large amounts of people in CDN politics are form
upper/middle class families
o These ppl cannot act dispassionately on behalf of all CDNs rich and poor
o Political involvement decreases with social status
x Marxists Critique of Elite Theory
o Elites form a ruling class dominated by big business
o Big businesses gain control of the state in 3 ways
Members if wealthy families occupy important state positions
Political parties reply mainly on BB for financial support
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