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Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Liberal Democracy, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Labour Congress

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

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June 11, 2008
The Political Process
The Political System
Based on model of D. Easton (1965)
Main Idea
oPolitics is best understood as a dynamic “system” (regulating patterns) of
human interactions
Understand the “system” and you understand political outcomes
Politics is like the workings of an aquarium
Basic Model:
Inputs Political System Outputs
Demands, supports Political Actors, Institutions Policies, Laws
Outputs then create new demands and supports
Basic Flow
oSociety to a political level and back again
oIgnores the idea of a relatively autonomous “state”
The Political System reflects societal wants
There really is no firm “state” as the political system is a shifting
mix of individuals, groups, and institutions
Political Culture
Individual attitudes, beliefs, orientations, and behaviour towards government and
oMore broad than ideology
G. Almond and S. Verba’s classic study of political culture (1961):
Populace is mainly ignorant of politics
Ex: many African countries
Populace is aware of politics but is passive towards those in
Ex: Nazi Germany
Populace is aware of politics and participates in governing
Ex: the U. S.
Main Idea:
oIf political institutions are not congruent with a certain political culture,
then those institutions are unstable
Political culture changes slowly
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