SOC103H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Political Sociology, Traditional Authority, Governmentality

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
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UTSG
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Sociology
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SOC103H1
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SOC103 Lecture 9 Politics and Governance
When we talk about political institutions, we have to compare societies
Differences in history, culture, and economy lead to differences in political life
Defining “governance”
Politics is about governance and states, and states govern
o A state is a mechanism by which collections of people make decisions about how they
are going to live (e.g., laws)
Institutions are norms and processes
Governance is a set of institutions that regulate the delivery of public goods (e.g., health care,
education, policing, food monitoring, road building, etc.)
I.e., state plus non-state activities
When you create a state, you are turning over a huge amount of power to a body in order to
allow them to carry out these norms and processes, which are supposedly for the public good
o E.g., operation of markets (how we buy and sell things, how banks work, how real estate
works, how stocks and bonds work)
The government regulates the market, even though it isn’t the market
o Governance is about the state, but also about how the state controls, regulates and
influences the non-state
The state has an interest in family life
Strong connections with civil society
Includes non-governmental networks which influence the delivery of public goods
o E.g., non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
o E.g., professional associations and unions
This connects with the operation of civil society, community development, and the voluntary
sector
There is a strong connection between the state and NGOs
o E.g., University of Toronto is a NGO
Regulated by the state
Relies on the state for funding
o E.g., OMA (Ontario Medical Association) is a professional association
How to measure good governance
These are the factors that determine if you live in a good place or a bad place
The world’s best, least failed, and most sustainable state is Norway
o They are functioning very well on all of these dimensions
The world’s most failed state is Somalia
1. Voice and accountability
o People have a voice
o Officials are accountable for their behaviour
2. Political stability and absence of violence
o The government is stable
o There is an absence of violence whenever there are conflicting views
3. Government effectiveness
o The government is effective in achieving its stated goals
4. Regulatory quality
o The government tends to regulate NGO in a careful and effective way
5. Rule of law
o People’s rights are protected
6. Control of corruption
o There is an absence of corruption
Related concept: Governmentality
Foucault is interested in how the state accomplish rule
How does the state accomplish “rule?
Marx
o All power in society is accumulated in the ruling class
o The dominant class controls the state
Foucault and post-Marxist
o The state has a certain autonomy or distance from the ruling class
o Marxist notion is oversimplified because not merely about class relations
Foucault was interested in the rise of science
o Weber was interested in the rise in the rational-legal society
Authority is justified by rational-legal processes
Three types of authority
Traditional
Charismatic (based on character)
Rational-legal (associated with modern societies)
State rule and non-state (e.g., market) rule are connected
Governmentality studies put aside the distinction between state and non-state governance
In this way, Foucault broke with the Marxist approach
The trick is getting people to rule themselves
A political decision is being translated into public constraints, which are shaping people’s
behaviour
o E.g., universities are not producing enough skilled trades, so the government might take
steps to raise tuition or reduce number of enrollments
People behave themselves by striving to achieve normality
Governmentality
o Controls populations without laying down prohibitory rules or disciplining deviants
o Manipulate conceptions of normality
E.g., DSM
The number of diagnosable mental illnesses has increased by 2 or 3
times over the last 30 or 40 years
Illnesses and treatment are means by which we control behaviour
Illnesses are socially acceptable form of deviance
Incentives and expert knowledge
Foucault
o We are surrounded by huge numbers of regulations, which we might not be conscious of
o Governance is about creating circumstances for people where they are obliged to
behave in certain ways because they are rewarded or can escape punishment
Some differences between political sociology and political science
Political science deals mainly with machinery of government and public administration
o Research method is philosophical and historical
Political sociology deals with relations between political institutions and other social institutions
o Research method is more quantitative, e.g., survey/interviews
o To understand state behaviour in terms of factors outside political institutions
Central concern of political sociology: Bases of Authority
The different kinds of authority define the different kinds of states and rules
Traditional authority changed dramatically around 1700 in Europe
o By the end of WWI, the traditional monarchies and empires start breaking down
Rational-legal authority
This characterizes all stable and sustainable modern societies
The failed states have an absence of rational-legal authority
Example of the sociological approach: Seymour Martin Lipset’s "First New Nation"
Why didn’t Marxists find success in the United States, whereas it formed a government in Canada?
o He compares the United States with Canada, Australia and the UK
The role of revolution in nation-building
The American Revolution established a basis for legal-rational authority
o Created a new republic
o Created a new set of constitutional “rights”
o Created a new sense of community
Sociologists also study the role of class influence in modernization
Moore is a former Marxist
o Not all societies modernize in the same way
The role of the middle class
A state becomes a democratic modern state under the control of the middle class
Small farmers who own their own land, small business people, small manufacturers produce the
kind of society that we live in
Some societies don’t have a strong middle class
In most societies, either of two things happen
o Peasantry takes forward the march to modernization
E.g., China, Vietnam
Communism as the pathway to modernity achieved by peasantry
o Modernity is achieved under the control of a ruling upper class
E.g., Germany, Japan, Italy, certain countries in South America
Aristocracy assisted by the military and church
Modernity through fascism

Document Summary

Soc103 lecture 9 politics and governance: when we talk about political institutions, we have to compare societies, differences in history, culture, and economy lead to differences in political life. Defining governance : politics is about governance and states, and states govern, a state is a mechanism by which collections of people make decisions about how they are going to live (e. g. , laws) Institutions are norms and processes: governance is a set of institutions that regulate the delivery of public goods (e. g. , health care, education, policing, food monitoring, road building, etc. ) The government regulates the market, even though it isn"t the market: governance is about the state, but also about how the state controls, regulates and influences the non-state. The state has an interest in family life. Includes non-governmental networks which influence the delivery of public goods: e. g. , non-governmental organizations (ngos, e. g. , professional associations and unions. This connects with the operation of civil society, community development, and the voluntary sector.