EXAM REVIEW PACKAGE
BY: SAARIM ASADY
- Course objectives, evaluation, expectations of the student, expectations of the instructor
- Not signiﬁcant for POLS 110 mid-term
What is Politics? What is itʼs Object of Study?
• Comparing your preferences with other Canadians
• Which of the following is the most important factor for you when it comes to determining
which party you will vote for in the next federal election?
o The party leader – 21%
o The local candidate – 6%
The party platform - 68%
o None of these? – 4%
• If an election were held which party would you vote for?
o Conservative 25%
o Liberal 27%
o Green 11%
o New Democratic Party 6%
o Undecided 30%
“Man, by nature is a political animal” Aristotle
• Unpacking Aristotle
• Who is “man”?
o Implies man of class with certain lineage native to ancient Greece
o Woman couldnʼt vote till 1918
o Aboriginals till 1960
o Men in prison canʼt vote
o Huge lineups at voting booths
o Who man is still being debated
What is “by nature”?
o Politics is part of our existence
o Ancient Greeks were passionate about politics
o More ways to be a person of status today
• What is “political”?
• What is “animal”?
• Concepts in politics are ʻessentially contestedʼ
• What should be the role of the state?
• What is meant by the good life? - Aristotle compared politics to the idea of Nature vs Nurture.
- What is “political” is elections. It is not political unless there is an election.
- The deﬁnition of what is political we are discussing that if something the state should
do or not.
-In Canada the government can be described as the party with the most number of
“Concepts In Politics are Essentially Contested”.
- What should be the role of the state?
-The government is regulating a commodity.
- The state needs protection
-Is what the government does a solution or a problem?
-The government regulates certain things because they do not trust their citizens with
that power/ they want the proﬁt.
Approaches to Studying Politics
• Normative questions
o Philosophical questions that are indeﬁnite
o “should” rather than “will”
o ex. Should government intervene in corporate structure?
o Normative Questions
o How we ought to behave and what ought to be the guiding principles
o Continual question answering “What is the Good life?”
• Experience is the basis of knowledge
o What is observed using the scientiﬁc method
o Knowledge obtained by senses: see, touch, smell, hear, taste
o What is?
Empirically, having minimum sentences does not reduce the likely hood of crime.
CAN BE PROVEN.
• Universal laws that governs politics.
o Duvergerʼs Law: if the electoral system used is a plurality o Duverge Law “Countries that use proportional representation have a tendency to
have more parties”
o EG. GRAVITY.
Prescription vs. Description
What is a prescription?
If politics were about prescription what would it look like?
- What is description?
- Discovery for its own sake is ʻbasic scienceʼ
- Can politics be about description?
- Politics is evaluative
- Privileges certain issues while excluding other
-Politics of the Art of Government:
- Politics as a Method:
- Politics as Power:
Theory in a discipline that is so complex that it is not challenged
What is description?
- Discovery for its own sake is “basic science”
- A positivist empirical view of the world.
Can Politics Ever Be about Description?
- It is dispassionate impartial and describes political reality as it is.
- Tells us material but DOES NOT PROPOSE US MATERIAL.
- Can their ever be an objective reality Part 1: Key Concepts in Political Studies
Power, Legitimacy & Authority
Power and its Myriad Forms
The Political Engine
• Demonstrate that power has different forms, resides in different places and need not be
• There is no society, there is only individuals and families. –Margaret Thatcher
• Power is the capacity to bring about outcomes
• What are we interested in?
o Acquisition of power
Not speciﬁcally about size
Power is ﬁnite
If you have some, I have less
• Power is not what you do, but what you wrought
• Who or what has it?
o Power by oratory (Obama)
o Power by status (Bono)
o Power is relationships and structure
Power is a chain; only as strong as its weakest link
• Is low level ofﬁcer committing war crimes justiﬁable by orders and the importance of
• Power in institutions of people?
Forms of Power
• Power as decision making
o What does this look like?
o You can identify who decides, but you canʼt identify who decides when. • Power as agenda setting
o What does this look like?
o Making decision based on things put before us
Power of Framing
o Answers are predictable
o The way you ask the question is as important as the question
• Power as thought control
o What does this look like?
o Stephen Lukes: third face of power
• Invidious: meaning to cause
Insidious: pervasive; everywhere
• Propaganda: manipulation of symbols to change feelings, attitude, ultimately behavior.
• Example of brainwashing: FROSH WEEK
On what is Power Based?
Descriptive Characteristics of Power
• Size: how large or how small is the form of power?
• Distribution: How is power shared? Relationship of different stakeholders to share
power. EG. Security guard in cineplex; distributed equally among all guards
Scope: The reach of power. Where does power reside?
• Domain: An area of territory owned by a position of power.
Different kinds of Power
• Economic: that who controls the means of production, the levers of capitalist.
Personal: Agenda setting
• PoliticaInstitutional power. Eg president has power because he resides in the
Formal Power: found in laws, government structures
Informal Power: Power found within a network. Are the ones we don't see. They are very
• Power can be intentional or embedded within a structure Authority & Legitimacy
Authority: “The right to command.” Oxford English Dictionary.
- Origins of the study of authority
Max Weberʼs Three Kinds of Authority:
1) Traditional Authority: Authority derived from traditional customs and values. EG. The
principle of the divine rights of kings, prevalent in European monarchies, whereby
monarchies were said to be ordained by God to rule.
2) Charismatic authority: Is authority embedded in personal politics. Often associated
with leaders of authoritarian, or totalitarian regimes, not least because such
charismatic leaders tend to emerge at a time of crisis.
EG. Obama, Trudeau, Oprah
3) Legal Rational Authority: Embedded in a system of rules and structures that are
transparent and that have some measure of accountability
De Jure vs De Facto Authority:
De Jure: is someone in authority
De Facto: is someone who is an authority
*********Perceived power sometimes trumps De Jure authority. ****** Week 4
Ideology and The Lenses of Politics
Pg 113- 136
“An action oriented system of beliefs”
Basic Key Points
• To explain ideology and discuss how ideology is formed
Traditional Ideologies were shaped by the Enlightenment
• For some, ideologies have a pejorative meaning, others adopt a more neutral term.
• Ideologies are action-orientated and seek to combine concepts.
• It is usually possible to identify the core concepts of an ideology but all ideologies have
• Ideologies reﬂect, as well as shape, the social and historical circumstances in which they
• To explain ideology and discuss how ideology is formed
• Debates about ideology are really proxies for debates about policy
Elements of Ideology
Normative & programmatic
Mapping Political Ideology
Ideal-> diagnosis -> prescription
Mapping Ideologies Getting From Ideal to the Prescription
What Gives Rise to Ideology?/ Ideology As Road Map
• Socialization: we are schooled and brought up in certain ways to become a product of
our certain existence. Eg. Family values, where we live etc. • Perception of a problem: We recognize the world is not right.
What was the perceived problem?
• Ideology is a systemic study of beliefs and ideas.
• Ideology may have negative or neutral connotation
• Is there an end to ideology?
o See work of Daniel Bell & Francis Fukiyama
Systematic: coherent, it is about beliefs of the state. Beliefs about individuals within the state.
Policy decisions are consequent of that belief.
Normative: Programmatic: Provide us of how the world ought to be and how we ought to be
have. EG. Religion provides how to see and how we should act in the world.
Offers Perspective: Deﬁnes our social existence. Tell us who we are. EG Feminist Standpoint
Idea ---> Diagnosis ----> Prescription
Idea: First thought from a person or people about a solution for a problem.
Diagnosis: Ways on how we deal with a problem. What is the major problem pivoting the idea?
Prescription: The solution.
Fill in for Practice. Look Through Notes and Text (Pages listed Above). EG is last row.
Ideology Nature of Society Problem Prescription
Marxism Ideology Nature of Society Problem Prescription
Feminism There is inequality Gender Difference. - Protests
between men and - Suffrage
Marxism: relationship between means of production. Marx meant that our work is
alienated from us due to Capitalism.
- Bosnian and Serbian
- South Sudan and Sudan
- Identity Markers.
What was the Perceived Problem?
- Liberalism: a state that is too expansive
- Conservative: change that went too quickly
- Marxism: relationship between means of production. Marx meant that our work is
alienated from us due to Capitalism. Week 5
Democracy & itʼs Variants
Democracy & Political Obligation
What is Democracy?
- ⅔ of the countries in the world have a basic set of democratic institutions built around
- There is no REAL OR DIRECT deﬁnition of the word democracy that can be accepted
- The expansion of competitive elections leads to illiberal democracies
- Illiberal democracies: aka semi-democracy, competitive authoritarian regimes.
- This means that in some places, once the parties are elected they donʼt care for the
people and their rights (EG. Freedom of speech)
- In a basic deﬁnition democracy means: refers to a regime whereby political power is
widely spread, where power in some way rests with the people.
- KEY POINTS:
- The concept of democracy has a core meaning. It is about popular rule or the rule of
the people. This can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways, although some regimes
clearly do not exhibit any characteristics of the people having power, and others limit it
- Lively suggests that democracy requires the people to make decisions directly, or to
choose, and be able to remove, those who make decisions on the peopleʼs behalf.
- Demos = the citizens with a city-state.
- Kratos= power or rule.
- Originally democracy was used in a very negative connotation.
- Eg. Because it talked about what was best for society excluding women, slaves, and
French and American Revolutions
- During these revolutions, democracy was proclaimed as their main goals.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the political philosopher whoʼs writings they worked out
- Saw a sustained attempt to achieve universal suffrage in practice and to justify it in
theory. The utilitarian theory of democracy, associated with James Mill and Bentham
was really the ﬁrst attempt to try to justify incorporating democracy into class-divided society. This raises the question, why did not the advent of democracy bring about
more economically equal society?
The Classical VS Elitist Theory of Democracy
- Elitist aka revisionist or protective
- Protective models of democracy mean that the citizens are concerned with ensuring
that political leaders are accountable to the wishes of the voters.
- Classical aka participatory or developmental
- Schumpeter deﬁnes democracy as “that institutional arrangement for arriving at
political struggle for the peopleʼs vote.
- NOTE that this deﬁnition there is no emphasis on participation
- The developmental model is more concerned with democracy as an end in itself; that
is, participation is itself enriching. It is not, as for the protective theory, a burden to be
undertaken in order to ensure that politicians are accountable.
- Heavily inﬂuenced by the ideas of the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas
- Builds upon the emphasis on participation by arguing that the process of public debate
and argument leads to rational and more legitimate decision-making.
- Does not assume that political choices are set in stone and unchangeable.
- Deliberative democracy cannot be accurately portrayed as another version of direct
- Advantages: it allows for toleration of other peopleʼs views in divided societies, and, in
turn might lead to greater consensus.
****READ KEY POINTS ON PG 81 ***********
Why is Democracy Regarded as Special?
- The usual answer is because it is put forward as the main reason why we should obey
the rules and laws of a political system
- Political Obligation: On what grounds should we obey the laws of the state? Has been
one of the central preoccupations of political theory.
- If you join a club for example, and you do not agree with the rules, then you can leave
easily. However that is not the case with the government and the state
- Democracy becomes so special here because WE AS CITIZENS MAKE THE RULES
We Ought to Obey the State because it Protects our Natural Rights
- John Locke is associated with this idea
- Locke argues that humans posses natural rights, given by God before they enter into a
- Locke was not a democrat, but his theory is not necessarily incompatible.
- Political obligation leaves open the question of WHAT rights exist - Locke argued the crucial rights to protect are the rights to liberty, life and property.
- Other rights are important too, such as the right not to starve, or the right to an
education, healthcare etc.
We Ought to Obey the State when it Pursues the General Will
- General will associated with the eighteenth-century philosopher, Jean Jacques
- If Rousseau is right that we always really want the state to promote the general will, he
has solved the problem of political obligation. This is because even if we oppose the
general will, we can be forced to be free. Our allegiance to the state, therefore, makes
us as free as we were before a political community was created.
Is Democracy Special? The Problem of Majority Rule
- The problem with democracy as a source of political obligation is that few, if any
decisions are going to be made unanimously. As a result, the minority are going to
have to accept decisions with which they disagree thereby reducing their freedom.
- Some political philosophers, most notably Wolff, argue that because of the minority
rule problem, no state can ever be 100% legitimate
- Fluid minorities are less of a problem than permanent minorities. The latter are more
likely to lead to the oppression of a minority.
Explore three different ways democracy has ben used and examine direct vs indirect
- Democracy as a contested term: meaning it means a number of different things to
different people. Every country including North Korea calls itself democracy.
- What is itʼs etymology? : Demos: People…. Kratos: Rule
“Democratic government means people freely chosen by and responsible to the
governed” - John Plamenatz
1) Democracy as sovereignty of the people.
- Sovereignty used to mean ultimate authority in a territory
- Who are the people?
- Who should rule?
- What rules govern who should rule?
2) Democracy as “majority rule” or rule of groups? How do we balance competing minority interests with the interest of the whole?
Can the majority be wrong?
3) Democracy as having a moral justiﬁcation?
- Sovereignty of the people
- Majority rule or group rule
- Moral justiﬁcation
There Are Many Deﬁnitions of Democracy
- Sovereignty of the people
- Majority rule or group rule
- Moral Justiﬁcation
Representative vs Direct Democracy
Democracy as Limited Participation
Direct Democracy is based on direct, unmediated and continuos participation.
No Distinction between government and the governed.
Representative Democracy is indirect democracy.
Participation is limited to act of voting-- choosing who will rule on their behalf.
- An assumption that underlie Direct Democracy are: continuos.
- Referendum is a great example of direct democracy
- A Co-Op business is an example of direct democracy.
- Avoids politicians
- Encourages Participation
- Becomes a true reﬂection of public
- Better informed citizenry
- Has strong legitimacy
- Mob rule?
- Role of expertise?
- Difﬁcult to implement
- Lack of interest Week 6
A) Freedom, Liberty and Justice
B) Political Culture: Does it Shape Us Or Are We Shaped By It?
Independent Variable: The thing that is manipulated or tested?
Dependent Variable: The response that is measured.
- What is causing what?
- Eg.. Today if you go to the Yahoo Homepage, And there is an article on how kids are obese
because of the lives of stress ﬁlled parents. (Maybe because parents are so stressed they
focus on parents nutrition a lot less.)
- Who would be dependent or independent variables?
What is Political Culture?
- Beliefs, values, and orientations.
- More than public opinion.
1) Elements of Political Culture Knowledge (it is cognitive)
- It is much lower in this generation than it was in previous generations.
- What we know
Germany & Italy 38
USA 23 2) Elements of Political Culture Affective Orientation
- Feelings and degree of attachment
- How we feel
- Political Culture: how we feel about politics and institution.
- Flags provides an affect of orientation towards their own ﬂag.
- Strengths of ﬁelds.
- Things we are linked to BOTH positively and negatively.
- EG. Because we are attached to hockey, our political leaders make a reference to them.
3) Elements of Political Culture: Evaluative Orientation
- Whether things are good or bad.
- How we asses them.
- Deals with our connotation to the object?
Sources of Political Culture
- 1) Socialization
- Comes from friends, family, school, education etc.
- 2) Mass Media
- Related to the cultivation hypothesis: Our perception of problems is related to the
- Media Perform a role in telling us who we are.
- EG. CBC dilemma. Who is going to watch a CBC program when they can just watch
anything else they want.
Is it an Effect or Cause?
• Which Way is the Causal Arrow Going?
o Confounding variable
Variable that is used in an experiment which detracts from the validity of
o Independent and dependent variables
o Cause or effect?
• What is Political Culture?
o Beliefs, values, and orientations
o More that public opinion
• Elements of political culture knowledge Political Culture
• Sources of Political Culture
Family, friends, community, school, broad culture
Both explanation and cause
o Mass culture
We are what we eat, drink, and watch
We have habits in leisure time that deﬁne us
o Mass media
Not what to think, what to think about
• Idea that mass media cultivates/creates view of what society is
like, completely at odds with reality
Explains how we have come to value what we do
Events that have occurred in a country
Many stories that we tell one another about who we are
• Differences between US and Canada is in formative events
• Are values changing? The post-materialist challenge
o Ronald Inglehart:
• “One places the greatest subjective importance on