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Political Science 1G06 Midterm Questions part 1

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLSCI 1G06
Professor
Todd Alway
Semester
Fall

Description
Question # 1 12/8/2013 3:38:00 PM Is the Indirect Democracy of the modern era the most democratic form of democracy possible? How else has democracy been practiced, historically? Does the fact that every citizen has one vote on Election Day mean that all citizens have equal input into the political process? If there is inequality in influencing the political process, where does that inequality exist and why? Intro: • 1. What is democracy (define it within intro) = Just what this “rule of people” means and how it has been translated into actual political practice has been historically variable o A. types of democracy : 1. INDIRECT 2. DIRECT • 2. How else does democracy been practiced (historically) • 3. ^ Does this have anything to do with every citizen has equal input into the political process (ELECTION SYSTEM) • 4. If there is inequality in influencing the political process, where does that inequality exist and why? (inequality: different size, degree, circumstances “lack of equality”) POINT 1: What is democracy; Two types of Democracy (Indirect and Direct) and Is Indirect democracy the most democratic form of democracy? Indirect Democracy: Liberal; representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing people • Direct Democracy: participating form of democracy; citizens are “directly” involved in governing themselves o - where there are no specialized distinctions between governors and governed INDIRECT DEMOCRACY: - Elite factions prevented by vote Majority factions prevented by: o 1. Representative Government rather than direct democracy o Based on the principle of accountability rather than control Is Indirect democracy the most democratic form of democracy? • Yes, it is the most democratic form of democracy because according to critics, despite the extension of the right to vote to almost every citizen (adult) within a democratic state, modern democracy is still exclusionary • Modern democracy: differences in liberal democracies; they tend to share some characteristics – not the least of which is the absolute democracy is usually checked in some for or other POINT 2: How else has it been practiced? (Historically) • Most obvious: extension of the franchise • Why has political participation become more inclusive? o There is an irony to the history of the extension of democracy: A peaceful democratic “public sphere” ♣ one within dialogue rather than force determines outcomes, only came about through force and one step at a time rather than all at once o in the past, sustainable, peaceful democracy has usually been prefaced by violence, as the old power structures has to first be destroyed before a new one could take its place • PUBLIC SPHERE o Since most of our life is spent in the “private” rather than the “public” sphere and since we are subject to unequal authority in that sphere, some have argued that the private realm should be democratized o In addition to its “private” effects, the “private” distribution of benefits also has an impact on character of “public” sphere: Wealth gives an unequal access to power POINT 3: Does this reflect upon how every citizen has one vote on Election, mean that all citizens have input into the political process? • Elections system: o Citizens elect representatives to make laws on their behalf; who hold power are limited ELETORIAL SYSTEMS ON PAGE 404 Question #2 12/8/2013 3:38:00 PM Is elite rule an unavoidable and inevitable feature of modern society? If so why? How does Karl Marx explain the relationship between elites and non-elites? What, for Marx, is the source of elite rule? And how, for Marx, does the relationship between elites and non-elites progress and change through history? Intro: • 1. Elite rule (unavoidable and inevitable within modern society) o A group of people considered to be the best in a particular society or category, esp. because of their power, talent, or wealth. o Elite Theory ♣ Historically, society has been divided into two - those who rule and those who are ruled ♣ Elite theory asks the question of why this has been the case and whether this inequality is a necessary part of human societies • 2. Karl Marx’s ( 1818-83) explanation between the relationship of elites and non-elites (explain what are elites and non-elites – general definition) o A. who is Karl Marx ♣ Historical research led him to conclude that there are fundamental laws of history. ♣ These laws can be discovered through an examination of the economy o B. Define elites and non-elites ♣ Non-elites: 1. the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons. ♣ 2. persons of the highest class: Only the elite were there. ♣ 3. a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group: the power elite of a major political party. o C. relationship between elites and non-elites ♣ For classical elite theorists, this divide between the two is not something characteristic only of the past ♣ but an inevitability in any society • 3. What is the source of elite rule for Karl Marx and how does the relationship between elites and non-elites progress and change through history o How did this economic order come about – what caused the economy to shift from feudalism to capitalism? (Marx asked himself this question which…) ♣ Historical research led him to conclude that there are fundamental laws of history. ♣ These laws can be discovered through an examination of the economy o What is an Economy: Economic production consists of two principle elements: o 1. The means of production – The material part of the economy i.e. tools, technology, etc o 2. The relations of production – The relationship of human beings to the material part of the economy POINT 1: Why is elite rule an inevitable part of society? • 1. Elite rule is not a consequence of natural differences between individuals, but of the intrinsic nature of social organization o Robert Michels’ “Iron law of oligarchy” o There are specific structural reasons for why elite rule is a characteristic not just of aristocratic, theocratic, or dictatorial systems, but also of democracies o As organizations become more complex they also, necessarily, become less democratic • 2. Natural differences o Certain physiological and psychological characteristics confer a political advantage and thereby lead to elite domination o There may be cases of social/political change o Elites may be overthrown o However, the end result is one elite replacing another, rather than the elimination of elite rule as such o A “circulation” of elites at best Why: • 1. Bureaucracy o It is impossible to have everyone present at every moment when every type of decision needs to be made o There are issues which require immediate decision, unexpected contingencies that have to be dealt with o So certain bureaucratic positions have to be created and designated to a select group of individuals • 2. Specialized knowledge o Specialization is necessary because in most areas actual decision- making requires a type of knowledge that is not readily
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