POLS 120 Lecture 1: Introduction to Politics

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DEFINING POLITICS
We hae a ituitie sese of hat the ord politis eas, ut o loser
examination, things are not as straightforward as they first appear.
The ord politis is deried fro the Greek polis, which originally referred to the
ancient city-state.
I its ost oo usage, politis eas that hih oers the puli sphere.
More speifiall, politis i this sese a e defied as the atiit through hih
people make, preserve, and amed the geeral rules uder hih the lie. Heood
Importantly, these are rules which, once made, are binding on everyone, including those
who disagree with them.
In other words, politics involves elements of compulsion and coercion, justified by some
notion of the public good.
Disagreement about the desirable scope and purposes of government often leads to
conflict, but politics is also about the search for compromise and cooperation.
I short, e ofte thik aout politis as the art ad siee of goeret or the
olletie orgaizatio of ouit life  the istitutios of state. – the apparatus
of government, the courts, the police, the army, the society security system and so
forth. Heood
Hoeer, politis is also used to desrie processes that occur in other spheres of life,
e. i the orkplae as i offie politis, i shools, i religious ouities, et.
This usage reogizes that the kids of thigs e ofte thik of as politial e. the
exercise of power and authority) happen across many different social contexts and are
expressed in a variety of ways (both formal rules and laws, as well as informal norms
and practices).
I other ords, eerthig is potetiall politial Dr. “eetko’s hule opiio.
Aspects of Politics
1. Extraction and Redistribution
Beause the otrol territor, states geerate etrat reeues through taatio of
people, commerce, transport, etc.) and spend them on various policies and programs
that benefit the population (ex. roads, schools, poliig, ilitar defese…. Most
people are oth paers ad eefiiaries. But soe eefit ore tha others. I
other ords, politis is a ehais for redistriutio or, i Harold Lassell’s faous
phrase, for deidig ho gets hat, he ho.
2. Values
Human beings have a capacity for moral judgment and a tendency to invest their
preferees ad atios ith itrisi orth a good perso does this ad does ot do
that…, hih leads to oflit oer hose fudaetal preferees alues should
be imposed on the community as a whole by means of law. Thus, in the words of Gabriel
Alod, politis is, i part, aout the authoritatie alloatio of alues i.e. disputes
about what ought to be valued).
3. Status and Power
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