Politics: can be defined as activity relating influencing, making, or implementing collective decisions for a
political community. In the course we have discussed the political system in its basic form, which
involves three different components. Inputs, which include demands, resources and support. Outputs,
which include decisions, actions and policy. And finally, feedback, where these decisions and actions are
put to work and are given feedback to adjust and strengthen them. Without these three steps a political
system can not function successfully. This is one of the reasons why many dictatorships have failed.
While they have both inputs and outputs, many dictators ignore feedback and therefore don’t reassess
or strengthen any bills or laws that are passed.
Power: is defined as the ability to achieve an objective by influencing the behavior of others. Its hard to
measure and can change depending on the objective and scenario. One example of the way power
works is the president of the United States. While he may be very powerful in decisions concerning the
deployment of armed forces, he is less powerful in trying to persuade Congress concerning agricultural
or housing policies. Political power can be exerted through several different ways such as coercion,
inducements and persuasion.
Common Good: can be defined as what is good for the entire political community. Examples include
Canadians and public health care, which helps the entire community. Another example is defense and
law enforcement, which provides security to citizens. Though many people have common goals as to
what is good for the entire nation, sometimes the lines are blurred. An example of this is the United
States during the American Civil War. Half of the nation (the North) was interested in abolishing slavery
as it would help the nation socially. The other half (the South), believed that abolishing slavery would
destroy a vital part of their economy. This made it hard to see what was truly good for the entire
political community at the time; and many debates followed.
Empirical/Normative analysis: empirical analysis involves explaining various aspects of politics, by using
careful observation and comparison to develop generalizations and testable theories. An example of an
empirical observation is: “Why are women less likely than men to run for Parliament?” A normative
analysis involves evaluating existing policies and assessing possible alternatives to deal with particular
problems. An example of normative analysis would be “Should the minimum job wage be raised?” Both
are crucial to the political system because they allow policies to be made and made better through
these two types of analysis. State: can be defined as an independent, self-governing political community whose governing
institutions have the capability to make rules that are binding on the population residing within a
particular territory. The state is often viewed as a more extensive and permanent expression and
permanent expression of the political community than the government. The significance of the state can
not be overstated as it is the basis for any civilization. The state embodies society and the way people
carry out their lives. Without the state it would be impossible to develop any kind of political system.
Failed states such as North Korea are examples of what can happen when a state is dysfunctional and
Sovereignty: the principle that states are the highest authority for their population and territory and are
not subject to any external authority. An example of a true modern sovereign state is North Korea. The
dictatorship in North Korea makes it so the entire state is confined within its borders making it so no one
is subject to external authority. Kim-Jong Il used nuclear threats to keep the United Nations from making
any decisions that would compromise the state. Another example of state sovereignty is during the Civil
War. Because the South was opposed to many congressional laws, they put state rights over the union’s
laws (especially concerning slavery). While many states have the highest authority for their population
and territory, most are subject to external authority due to the United Nations.
Imagined Community: is a concept coined by Benedict Anderson. He believes that a nation is a
community socially constructed, imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group.
An imagined community is different from an actual community because it is not (and, for practical
reasons, cannot be) based on everyday face-to-face interaction between its members. Instead,
members hold in their minds a mental image of their affinity: for example, the nationhood felt with
other members of your nation when your "imagined community" participates in a larger event such as
the Olympic Games.
Nationalism: may be defined as an ideology that holds that the world is divided into nations, that
nations should be self-determining and that nations are, in fact, the best form to organize a political
community around. Nationalists argue that the specific population that they speak for constitutes a
nation. In this course, we have discussed
Multinational state: is a sovereign state which is