POLS 102 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Unicef, Non-Interventionism

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CH 7 Institutions and States
Institutions Can be understood as “regular patterns of behavior that provide stability and
predictability to social life.”
They are both formal and informal the formal being institutions like courts and
bureaucracies, the latter being families, classes, kinship groups etc. (EU, Unicef etc.)
They can be seen as both recourses and constraints they structure the behavior of
individuals, but assist those who can navigate their own way through them.
Political scientists tend to focus on formal institutions, which allow them to advance general
propositions about political behavior.
From this perspective, institutions can be seen as defining “the rules of the game”, and
deciding who wins and who loses.
Political institutions can also be understood as “structures”, which interact with other factors
in shaping political events.
States
Modern states typically claim the sole right to formulate laws and enforce them.
The state can be understood in terms of specific office-holders (e.g. legislators, the armed
forced etc.)
The European understanding of the state is dominant today, but that was not always the
case.
The European State
Has taken on a wide range of functions
War (and raising taxes to pay for war) has played a major role in increasing the role of
the state (integral).
The French Revolution, and democratic ideas, was also important in forging the
modern state (Brought French nationalism).
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Document Summary

Institutions can be understood as regular patterns of behavior that provide stability and predictability to social life. Political scientists tend to focus on formal institutions, which allow them to advance general propositions about political behavior. From this perspective, institutions can be seen as defining the rules of the game , and deciding who wins and who loses. Political institutions can also be understood as structures , which interact with other factors in shaping political events. Modern states typically claim the sole right to formulate laws and enforce them. The state can be understood in terms of specific office-holders (e. g. legislators, the armed forced etc. ) The european understanding of the state is dominant today, but that was not always the case. The liberal democratic model of the state originated in britain other countries, which were inspired by britain, devised systems of government which were limited by codified constitutions.

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