Tuesday September 10th
Understanding Politics – Some Key
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
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
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
The activity of individuals and institutions that: make and enforce collective decisions, conflict
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
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:
3 faces of power
Distribution of power
Power involves a relationship, but… depends on the circumstances. There are constraints.
The First Face of Power - The exerted power through domination