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Basic Concepts

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

May 14, 2008 Basic Concepts Society • Interactive groups of individuals who live in a common territory • Common ways of conduct • Often self-sufficient, but not always Government • Process o Activity of individuals/institutions which make and enforce public decisions that are binding on society o Can provide services but ultimately must keep peace o Needs obligation of society (subjects) o Must punish those who violate peace (break rules and regulations) • Structure (who governs?) o Modern government: enduring, specialized structure, territorial in nature o Many different arrangements possible • Hobbes – The Leviathan, 1651 o We need government, or else there would be no society o “Life of man would be nasty, brutish, and short” o People prefer a harsh government to no government at all • The more complex the society, the more need for government o Any territorial government is political; but you can have “politics” (conflict resolution) without territorial government (anarchy) • Anarchy o An anarchic society might solve conflicts without resorting to punishment • Difficult in more complex and large societies •
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