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Lecture 1 - Understanding Politics.docx

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Political Science
Yasmine Shamsie

Tuesday September 10th Understanding Politics – Some Key Concepts Definition of Politics: activity related to influencing, making or implementing collective decisions for a political community  Anytime humans come together as a group (small as a band or large as a country) decisions must be made  There must be a process for this  The core of politics is communities trying to make choices in a fair way  When a hierarchy of power is established (Ex. CEO vs. employee) it must be an agreed upon system of power, or respecting the greater good  Simple fact is people will not respect unfair decisions  There will be opposition and unrest EXAMPLE Key Concepts: If 50 million dollars is donated to Laurier,  Power what do we do with it?  Authority  How do we decide?  Legitimacy  Who gets to make the decision?  Common good  How do we make the decision? Many people want different things (Ex: In Politics…. Subsidize tuition costs, more green space,  There are limited resources sports equipment) (money/benefits) but there are many demands from different groups  Need for a process to decide who makes decisions  Need to resolve conflicts that arise Key Issues will be changed by our generation  Abortion  Immigration  Gay marriage  Death penalty  Euthanasia Ex. Quebec religious neutrality (issues have many layers, differences in worldviews) Politics originates over scarce resources and/or differing values. There is a struggle among different group wanting different things. We must solve conflict (not always violence!!!). Tuesday September 10th Government The activity of individuals and institutions that: make and enforce collective decisions, conflict manager. Key Concepts in Political Science Concept- A general idea, usually a big idea. Tends to be abstract. Involved interpretation- so can be interpreted in various ways. Key concepts must be defined Some Political Science Concepts  Democracy  Justice  Citizenship  Security  Power Government is the conflict manager. In Canada: Democratic Government  Concern for Equality  Regular elections to choose citizen representatives  Other mechanisms for encouraging citizens to participate in decision making Democracies always fall short of completely fair government. Why? POWER. Understanding power: also, how power is exerted:  Coercion  Inducement  Persuasion  3 faces of power  Distribution of power  Authority  Legitimacy Power involves a relationship, but… depends on the circumstances. There are constraints.  The First Face of Power - The exerted power through domination
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