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Basic Concepts Continued (2)

3 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

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May 15, 2008 Basic Concepts Sovereignty • Modern concept first introduced by Jean Bodin (1583) • Highest authority o In every polity (territorial governed area) a person, group, or institution must have supreme power  Although, this power can also be said to be held by the people • Did not exist in the middle ages in Europe • Original meaning: sovereignty is undivided; it is not shared The Sovereign Power: • Makes laws • Provides justice • “Owns” all land • Conducts foreign relations • Acts as or can remove governing executive Types • Sovereign Monarchies o Power held by one individual • Parliamentary Sovereignty o Power held by representative assembly • “Popular” Sovereignty o Power ultimately held by all individuals In most modern countries, “sovereignty” is complex (i.e.: delegated or shared) • Ex: in the U.K. (and Canada), “sovereignty” is said to consist of the following: o Symbolic Sovereignty • Queen o Legal Sovereignty • Parliament o But there are those in the U.K. (and Canada), who say that what really counts is “popular sovereignty” since the people “elect Parliament” • Federations like Canada make things even more complex: o “Sovereignty” is further divided between the federal government and the provinces • Ex: Courts; Canadian Supreme Court can also be said to have “sovereign” powers • The modern concept of sovereignty is therefore too flexible; however, its is still useful to describe politics vis a vis one another: o Ex.: Canada is still a “sovereign nation”. No foreign power can interfere in Canada’s affairs without violating its sovereignty • Also, a government can be said to be sovereign because it has a monopoly on the use of force. Even if the government could legally declare a state of emergency and reinstate its monopoly on the use of force The State • Two Meanings: 1. A “polity” o In this sense, a state is a stable territorial arena with population and is sovereign  Ex: the state of Canada 2. The apparatus of government o In this sense, a state is more than just ruling authorities, it is the institutions which governments use to govern, such as the bureaucracy
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