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Unden (1)
Lecture 1

Nature of Politics Notes.doc


Department
Political Science
Course Code
01:790:101
Professor
Unden
Lecture
1

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What is Politics? THINK MORE EXPLICITLY
Different interpretations-- no right answer
Murphy's Take: (Working Definition)
1. the habits, norms, rules or laws that communities enact and enforce, in order to promote
peaceful coexistence and their own collective well being;
2. and-- the processes by which communities arrive at these habits, rules, norms, or laws
3. Politics involves the exercise of power;
This definition of politics
includes, but goes beyond, "political process" and government
Involves more than just "politicians"
Dynamic, not static (movements, development, change, flux)
relationships that involve religion, gender, race, social class
includes a whole range of human actions and human relations
What is Political Theory?
the systematic attempt to:
articulate basic principles by which a community;s public affairs ought to be organized;
provide a conceptual foundation of political behavior;
defend in those principles…..
Political Theory
"We begin from the assumption that your views on political manners have some sort of structure
on it" definitions below tend to focus on larger scale matters
Systematic inquiry
Public things
"Ought" or "should" language (normative, not strictly empirical)
(Relatively) abstract-- how should society be?-- what would a perfect society look like? by the
act of thinking about one, we can think of what we can improve
Conflict AND consensus-- involves people disagreeing-- do so in a broad consensual
background
"ought, should, better, worse) -- evaluative language
Structure of the course
The ends and goals of politics
What is politics for?
Why have a government at all?
Politics and Economics (Smith and Marx)
Justice
9/5/13
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