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SOC103H1 Lecture Notes - George C. Homans, Talcott Parsons, Social Exchange Theory

5 pages78 viewsWinter 2013

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Chapter 15: Politics and Ideologies
Politics: The process by which individuals and groups act to promote their interests
Thoughts of Canadian political system:
- Elena (worst ever):
o Waste of time/money
o Common person has little/no say
- Boris (best ever):
o Canada provides equal opportunities for everyone
o Rights/liberties are protected by Canada
Talcott Parsons book: The Social System
- politics as a key process in different kinds of social systems eg families,
small groups, large organizations
- goal attainment function: all social systems have this political process
o for management/administration/promotion of citizen engagement
- criticism:
o philosophical/anecdotal, not historical
o qualitative not quantitative
Symour Martin Lipset’s: Political Man
- Functionalist questions: what social conditions and social processes promote
- based on quantitative data from political and public opinion polling
Michael Adams
- of Environics: a public opinion polling firm
- Wants to connect political ideas to historical events and cultural values
- Very similar to LIpset
- Functionalist
- Wrote Sex in the Snow, Fire and Ice, American Backlash
George Homans, The Human Group
- Microsociologist Functionalist
- Social exchange theory
o Small groups mainly rule themselves through processes of informal
control, which we might label ‘strong group politics’
o Unlike Parsons, Homans looked for pay off, practical reasons people
value ‘self-gov’ groups
Similar to Goffman
Barrington Moore’s Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant
in the Making of the Modern World
- Critical Theorist
- Analyzes class relations and effects on politics
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- By modernizations, dominant class dictates future political system
o Middle class Democracy
o Peasant class Communism
o Traditional Ruling class Fascism
- Analyzed 8 different societies
Classic Studies: The First New Nation
- By Symour Martin Lipset
- Questions: What makes American society different from other societies, and
what role did politics play in creating this difference?
o Ends up explaining Canadian society!
- Lipset previously tried to explain rise of NDP in SK and lack of NDP rise in
North Dakota (in Acgrarian Socialisim)
- America is rooted to equality and achievement
o British put less emphasis on equal opportunity (elitist values)
o Australia is more egalitarian, less politically populist
- Criticism: Canada may be more ‘ascriptive in its status system, more diffuse
and more particularistic than the US but no less stable’
Political Science and Political Sociology
Political Sociology vs Political Science
- Similarities:
o both disciplines study politics
o explore ideas, such as power and authority
- differences:
Political Authority
- Max Weber: first/most influential to analyze workings of authority
Poli Sci
Poli Soc
Main Focus
- Machinery of gov
- Public admin
- Elections
- etc
- Relations b/w
- Ideologies
- etc
- sociology: how is
power converted
into authority
- Textual analysis of
- Examination of
- Survey research
- Interviews
- Group
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