SOC103 CHP 15 - POLITICS AND IDEOLOGIES
- politics are the processes by which individuals and groups act to promote their
- citizens are people who belong to a state. citizenship developed out of the relative
freedom of city life, granting equal treatment for all residents
- state is the set of institutions with authority to make the rules that govern a society.
Weber wrote that the state claims a monopoly of legitimate use of physical force within
a given territory.
- elections costs a lot of money, paid by taxpayers
- causes a financial burden, as well as psychic costs: politics in the last few years
have been aimed at dividing canadians rather than bringing them together.
- evidence from TV advertisements of political parties
WAYS OF LOOKING AT POLITICS
- we can analyze politics in various ways
- macro-sociological versus micro-sociological
- functionalist versus critical theory
- functionalists approach, from the book, the social system by Talcott Parsons, it
focused on politics as a key process in different kinds of social systems that include
families, small groups, large organizations, empires, and so on.
- parsons argues that all these social systems have a political process, which he
labels the goal attainment function
- this function, is necessary for the survival of the system.
- political system expresses and strive to achieve collective goals through
debate and concerted action.
- parson assumes that people in the society usually consent to this
political process and its leaders.
- being criticized for
- being more philosophical
- more qualitative
- gives an idea of the political system: politics as social management - another type of political analysis
- based on quantitative date from political and public opinion polling
- Michael Adams, believes that clusters of demographic and psychographic features will
shape the political functioning of a society.
- thus, a society’s politics is deeply rooted in people’s belief and needs, as well
as in their histories
- adams also believes in the value of public awareness and public engagement in
the political process
- George Homans, a functionalist who focuses are on the microstructure of politics
- develops social exchange theory
- small groups mainly rule themselves through processes of informal
control, which we might label small-group politics.
- they exclude people who violates the group’s norms
- Parsons believed that groups develop and protect stable patterns
- but, Homans looked for the payoff
- the practical reasons people value such ‘self government’
- Moore analyzes class relations and their effects in politics
- working to some extent in the traditions laid out by Marx and Weber
- moore’s theory based on a close historical analysis of eight different
societies is important for our understanding of modernization, and it
shows how politics grow out of class relations.
-> Classic Studies
- The First New Nation
- by Lipset
- develops a Canada-US comparison, examining the historical transformation of
the US from a british colony to an independent country.
- to discover reasons for American exceptionalism or uniqueness, he
compares with Canada, Australia and UK
- key features for the difference
- revolutionary war
- commitment to 2 conflicting values: quality and achievement - according to lipset, both values are grounded in the american identity and in national
development; basis for institutions; families, schools, political party, trade union.
- the american revolution symbolize the birth of a new nation, the world’s first new
- US was born in blood
- Canada was founded in peace
- Lipset used historical and comparative methods to tease out societal differences
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY
- Political science deals mainly with the machinery of government and public
administration, and with elections public opinion polling, pressure groups, and political
- political sociology is more concerned with the relations between politics, social
institutions, ideologies, and culture
- sociologists study political processes within social institutions, and the ways
power is distributed and used in different social relationships
- Political scientists tend to do more library research, textual analysis of documents and
debates, examination of laws, rules, procedures, often philosophical and historical
- sociologists do more survey research, interview and observe groups
- Authority is essential to politics, and sociologists are especially interested in the social
processes that justify and support authority.
- Max Weber was the first sociologists to analyze the workings of authority.
- 3 types of authority
- 1. traditional authority, the power holder is support by ancient
traditions, and can expect obedience as long as he or she upholds
- often holds power through dynastic inheritance
- power is most secure when there is belief that power is
given from god. - 2. charismatic authority, is based on the power-holder’s
exceptional qualities, especially the force of his / her personality
- charisma can derive from charm and presence
- leader can generate feelings of excitement and
anticipation, and mobilize an audience toward some goal.
- charismatic leaders may provide solutions to problems and
promote new social values
- 3. rational-legal authority, the most common form of authority in
- based on established rules and procedures
- the right to exercise these powers is based on the
person’s formal position.
- this type of authority is also the basis of bureaucratic organization
- weber argues that modern states, like modern organizations are based ideally in the
rule of law, which distinguishes them from societies that run on tradition, charm or
- THREE types of modern states
- 1. authoritarian states
- typically forbids public opposition and use force to ensure compliance
with the written laws.
- often, authoritarian leaders force citizens to display public support of the
state to prove their loyalty
- exercises complete control over country
- with coorperation of the military, state church, multinational
- 2. totalitarian states
- more extreme and more stabl