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Queen's University
Political Studies
POLS 110
Maggie Mac Donald

POLS Exam Notes 12/1/2013 1:14:00 PM - Study of politics becomes the study of which values dominate, who makes decisions and on what grounds those decisions can be justified - The personal is the political, everything can be political  “…politics should encompass the entire sphere of the social” (Colin Hay) - globalization: an ongoing movement towards economic, political and social/cultural independence that had reduced the autonomy of sovereign states, as a challenge to state power - “Man is a political animal” (Aristotle) DEFINITIONS OF THE POLITICAL, HOW WE STUDY IT - emphasis on institutions (state, government), distribution of resources, distribution of power and common concerns - its political if its susceptible to change (through actions, processes, developments) and involves communication and value - what we see as political is constantly changing - positivism: theory that believes it is possible to generate empirical statements without any evaluative or normative connotations, belief that only statements that are true by definition are meaningful - normative: through the lens of what should happen - empirical: based on what we can observe and measure - deductive reasoning (theory towards testing, observation) - inductive reasoning (testing, observation towards theory) - semantic: looks at what works, concerned with the meanings of concepts we use, where those concepts come from and how we use them - correlation is NOT causation - rational choice theory: establishes facts about humans in relation to society that could influence theory, used in economics (individuals will make choices as consumers, maximization of benefits) - behaviouralism: multiple variables, hypotheses, search for generalizable regularities, attempt to be completely value free - when considering context: actors/participants, actions, influences/motivations/reasons, structures//institutions, practices/policies, cultures, history, economics, environment, geography and potential outcomes THE STATE - “a human community that successfully claims monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory” (Max Weber) - state and government are two different terms but are used interchangeably - government as offices/officers charged with performing functions of governance - state as the whole edifice, all political authority within a given territory - state as the car, government as the driver - sovereignty: supreme authority (over lesser authorities) - authority: legitimate use of power - political obligation: what one owes the state (taxes, obeying laws) - the state is continuously changing, is influenced by the economy and being affected by globalization and challenges to authority - different types pluralist: represents all groups and interests in society, all organized groups have some influence on state outputs, measure power in terms of decision making elite pluralism: unlike classical plurality, some people or group of people have more power than others corporatism: top-down model in which the state incorporates economic interests in order to control them and civil society in general (modern corporatism is a more recent model in which governments incorporate key economic interests into the decision making process) elitism: in every society an elite or hierarchy will emerge, the rule of the most able, rule by a group that is beyond popular control, see elitism as an inevitable feature of society Marxist: belief that every modern capitalist society is dominated by a united, self interested ruling group and that the primary economic resource is the means of production New Right: belief that the state has a tendency to expand its activities far beyond what is healthy for society, state has it’s own interests, likely to increase reach in citizens lives, increase taxes - social contract: the idea that individuals in the state of nature, have voluntarily agreed to accept certain limits on their freedom in return for the benefits that the government will provide (Hobbes and Locke) - communitarianism: calls for the state to play a role in uniting society around a common set of values - liberalism is the upholding of moral pluralism - utilitarianism: pursuit of happiness or preference is the ultimate goal - traditional authority: based on customs and values - charismatic authority: based on personal traits of an individual - legal rational authority: based on the status of either the ruler’s office as part of a system of constitutional rules or a religious text DEMOCRACY - democracy is constructive in the formation of values and in the understanding of needs, rights and duties (Amartya Sen) - monarchy: rule of one - oligarchy: rule by the few - aristocracy: rule by “the best” - anarchy: against
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