Poli Midterm Review II.docx
Course CodePOLI 211
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Jean-Claude Thoenig State Bureaucracies and Local Government in France
-France is often considered to be one of the most centralized and bureaucratized industrial democracies. In reality, the actual decision-making process in
French public affairs is a complex process involving antagonistic but interdependent actors at each level of the territorial fabric of French society, not
just in Paris. Centralization in France is not the oppressive domination of the center of the periphery, but is induced and maintained by the periphery
itself. The center is not totally autonomous.
-Formally, each ministry has a network of field agencies at different geographic levels: Region , Département , Arrondissement , Canton , and Commune .
In light of vertical hierarchy, local autonomy appears restricted. Two types of regulation appear (vertical, and horizontal/political) but neither plays a
very important role in the functioning of the local decision-making system.
-The power to implement decisions lies at bottom. Also poor communication flows and avoidance of direct relationships between administrative levels
lead to more autonomy for lower levels.
-Collective Policy-making in France is most achieved by Inter-organizational Networks. These are the face-to-face relationships necessitated by the
interdependent converging interests of, for example, the Prefect and the President of the Conseil Général. Their relationship leads to a constant
bargaining process that makes both sides relatively autonomous. This kind of relationship occurs throughout administrative system.
-Honeycomb structure exists, which represents the division of labor between those who regulate and those who are regulated. It is resistant to change. It
tends to get rid of problems it can’t deal with (Urban affairs) which has unintentionally created autonomous systems of administration.
-Research shows that local leaders to do not feel alienated from the central system. Tend to be conservative and are wary of decentralization reforms.
-The system imposes its rules and norms on even the most powerful of leaders. This form of oppression is more diffuse and bearable.
-Cross Regulation allows for responsibilities not to be individualized, and minimizes tension between peers or levels. However, this lack of direct
responsibility for decisions leads to a particular complex: inaction, and with the green light, running wild. (Swimming Pool example)
-Conclusion: More and more groups have built their own channels of direct access to Paris. This is a trend. Paris has thus sought to strengthen the
coordinating and integrative capacity of central level of the state. This is an interesting substitute for the powers that the French Constitution used to
legitimize the role of de Gaulle, and indicative of France’s continual need to achieve some level of cohesion in an increasingly differentiated society.
Sheri Berman Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic
-Implication: a flourishing civil society does not necessarily bode well for the prospects of liberal democracy.
-Implication: Samuel Huntington- “a well ordered civic polity requires a recognizable a stable pattern of institutional authority.” Otherwise, society will
lack trust and ability to define and realize their common interests.
-Participation in civil society linked people together, but in the case of Germany, this weakened democracy. NSDAP rose to power not by attracting
alienated apolitical Germans, but by recruiting highly activist individuals and then exploiting their affiliations to expand party appeal and destroy
-German associational life grew rapidly during late 18th and 19th centuries. (Symptom of rise of bourgeois society.) After Unification, Liberals were
dominant force but found it hard to adapt their political organizations to the changing environment. A trend emerged- the growth of civic associations
during periods of strain. Before WWI, civil society reflected the fragmentation of German political life and delegitimization of national political
-After WWI some democratization took place, opening up new phase of associational life. The pre-war parties of the bourgeois middle reconstituted
themselves but could not form a single movement. Non-socialist part of political spectrum divided amongst many parties.
-Middle class took huge hit in 1923-24 Great Inflation. Through frustration with failure of main parties to represent middle class interests adequately
while being seen as disproportionately representing working class and big business, by 1928 splinter parties polled higher than traditional centrist
parties. As before, middle class frustration sparked growth in associational activity. Liberal parties were being abandoned. The only groups that
transcended socio-economic boundaries were groups like the Veteran’s Stahlhelm, which also played a large role in Hindenburg’s election. Eventually,
Nazi inherited nationalist trends that emerged, as civil society activists formed the backbone of the Nazi grassroots propaganda machine.
-Conclusion: Nazi’s rose through the dynamic of German civil society and political institutionalization. Parties had two main weaknesses throughout:
They tended to focus on particular and narrow socioeconomic groups, and the bourgeois parties never fully adjusted to the era of mass politics.
Therefore, the party system served to aggravate the lack of political and social cohesion that had plagued Germany since unification, especially during
periods of strain like the 1870’s and 1920’s. Stability occurs when institutions are able to channel and redress grievances. Otherwise, civil society
becomes an alternative to politics, and creates a golden opportunity for a new political force.
A. James McAdams Germany after Unification: Normal at Last?
-The conceptions of German normalcy are so disparate, and the expectations of politicians and analysts so varied that is hard to imagine there ever being
any agreement on this question. But then again, perhaps the search for such a common definition is misguided anyway. As we have also found, the more
important requirement for both he Federal President and any other commentator on the German condition is that they define their terms in such a way
that they are seeking a Germany that is both worth pursuing and realizable.
D.H. Bayley Koban
-Main idea: Uses the Japanese police system to demonstrate the way in which systems of regulation and governance are often shaped by the specific
cultural and socio-political dynamics at play in different states. While we can compare the political progress and institutions of various states, it is
important to keep in mind that there are defining forces at play that are not entirely political. Additionally, Koban offer examples of efficient
representative institutions in that they adapt to the needs of the local neighborhood.
-Koban in cities (rotational posts) and Chuzaisho (residential posts) in rural areas. Difference between U.S. and Japan- patrol car system not as efficient
in Japan because jurisdictions are smaller, and cities highly congested.
-Changes in system organization mirror infrastructural and demographic forces.
-Most crucial function is to provide information to people about location and addresses.
-Koban are adaptive institutions, their character shaped by the setting in which they are located. They are more than sources of emergency aid; they are
community service facilities.
-Friction occasionally develops between patrol officers and specialists, but the sergeant handles it.
-Being a successful Koban patrol officer requires the ability to listen patiently, and to provide a sense of belonging to otherwise empty lives.
-Incentive system for children teaches them about values and integrates them into the institutional operations.
Theda Skocpol Revolutions, Authoritarianism and Democracy in Modern World History
-Central Question: Do revolutions contribute to democratization? Or do they reinforce and establish tyranny?
-Marxist view is optimistic, though it was clearly belied by the October Revolution 1917.
-Liberal Modernization Theorists believe that mild revolutions are salutary, while severe and thoroughgoing ones produce totalitarian dictatorships.
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