Pol 101 W: Studying politics
politics: about government actions and the public policies ( affects everyone)
core politics= difference of opinion, a conflict or interests that are opposed to one
⁃ there is also usually desire to resolve conflict
def' politics: the activity in which conflicting interests struggle for advantage or
dominane in the making and execution of public policies.
citizenship: membership in a nation state that entailed rights and responsibilities,
including political patrician.
government: set of institutions and practices that make and enforce collective
public divisions for a society
⁃ body that decides who will get what, when, how
Political values, ideas and ideologies:
political socialization: process of acquiring values and ideas about politics
ideology: person or group holds a consistent set of ideas about the objective about
⁃ politicians apply labels to government ideologies.
⁃ labels include: liberalism, conservatism, socialism, communism, fascism,
nationalism, individualism, collectivism, feminism, environmentalism,
⁃ USA has one document for their constitution
⁃ canada has a combination of written and unwritten parts
⁃ the process of amending a constitution is complex and nearly impossible to get
agreement for changes
⁃ most constitutions contain bill or charter rights that prohibits the government
from interfering with the basic freedoms or liberties of citizens.
1982- canada added the charter of rights and freedom to its constitution.
constitution establishes institutions that embody four branches of government:
4.judiciary executive: consists of a head of state (president or monarch) who may be
ceremonial (Britain, canada) or have great power (USA)
⁃ ceremonial often also have an effective decision making body (ex. prime minister)
⁃ provides leadership and makes many key decisions.
bureaucracy: advise politicians on which policies to pursue and how to pursue
⁃ largest branch of government
legislature: elected representatives of the people (variously called house of
commons, house of reps)
⁃ if chosen in free and fair elections, chamber is defining sign of democracy
⁃ sometimes members of executive also sit in legislature.
⁃ give approval for laws.
judiciary: ideally should be independent
⁃ is a system of courts that aim to make impartial decisions when it becomes
necessary to interpret the law in cases of dispute.
Voting and elections:
⁃ free and fair=characteristic of democracy
⁃ mass media plays a role
⁃ candidates run for office on a party banner and at a number of a party team
⁃ we study how democratic political parties are organized, how they choose
candidates, selecting / removing leaders and how policies are developed.
⁃ countries that value freedom of association are characterized by heads of interest
props that at least occasionally ry to pressure government into changing
⁃ groups of people banning together allows for a stronger force to cause political
⁃ social movements- individuals who came together to invoke change by different
methods-one being protests.
politics today must include the third world/ developing world.
internal politics and globalization:
⁃ global economy is dominated by huge multination or transnational cooperations.
⁃ their goal is to minimize costs and maximize profits, such firms pressure countries
where they operate to sign free trade deals with each other. ⁃ this prevents states from protecting their own interests and prohibits them from
imposing barriers that would reduce the worldwide flow of goods and services
⁃ Organizations as WTO (world trade organization) and treaties NAFTA (north
American free trade agreement) can force states to repel laws and policies that
favor their own companies or residents, or infringe the agreement.
Basic concepts with politics:
Politics: activity in which conflicting interests struggle for the dominance in making
and elevating public polices.
Government: set of institutions that makes and enforces collective public decisions
for a society.
Power: ability of one individual to impose its will on another to gets its own way or
what it wants.
-Example where a government extracts taxes from its citizens
Political scientists are included to subdivide concept of power into 3 parts:
1.Coercion: first kind of power, involves threats of penalties, violence and
punishment. If citizens don't follow the orders, punishment might follow.
2.Influence: is the second kind of power, where the influence of ones will on another
through persuasion and voluntary compliance. Will make arguments that a
person feels convincing. An example is persuading a party leader to resign or
to persuade changes in policies.
3.Authority: legitimate power, the imposition of one will on another by reason of
legitimacy, because the subject regards the decision maker as having the right
to make such a binding or important decision. Comes from a respectful source,
which stems from the obligation to obey. Relevant for democratic
governments when people elect governments and generally accept the
decisions they make.
CHAPTER 2: GOVERNMENT AND STATES
Anarchy: authority is not entrenched in established institutions and practices but
rather is made to justify itself over and over again- is not a sustained reality.
Democratic deficit: the perceived gap between the theoretical principles of
democracy and the actual practice of ostensibly democratic institutions,
including national government and intentional organizations.
Global governance: binding government and states together with a more common
Government: the set of institutions and practices that make and enforce collective
public decisions for a society.
Checklist for government: 1) Rule making
2) Rule application
3) Rule adjudication
All are common tasks between governments.
Absolute monarchy: a system of government rules, at least in name, by one
individual whose authority is unchecked, final and permanent.
History of government:
• Absolute monarchs ruled over populations
• Gov. ruled over people, not with them
• People had little say.
• Republic changed the relationship between rules and ruled.
Republic: system of government ruled by a head of state who is not a monarch (ex.
president), in which citizens are entitled to participate in decision making.
Legacy of government in ancient Greece:
• First formed republic government
• People participated in collective decision making for a society.
Direct democracy: citizens participated as rulers as well as the ruled.
Oligarchy: system of government ruled by a few and, according to Aristotle, in their
Polity: system of government ruled by the many but not (as in a democracy) by all;
according to Aristotle, this was the most stable system of government when it
balanced the interests of the wealthy with those of the poor.
Other ancient government traditions:
Secular: not connected to or founded on religious beliefs or institutions; or in
political terms, the separation of church and state is often thought to produce a
secular state, which remains neutral on and does not reflect, issues of religious
Sharia Law: the Muslim or Islamic system of law, both civil and criminal, based on a
collection of ancient teachings, the Islamic holy sculptures, the Qur'an, and
later scholarly writing, prescribing how people should behave and what
punishments are appropriate for particular transgressions.
• This regulates both public and private life including warship and interpersonal
• This law raised questions of regarding the appropriate balance between political
and religious authorities in governing. European Nation States:
• In history practices, the pinnacle of political authority resided with kings, they
often depends don support of local landholders, and powerful and armed that
could choose with whom they wished to be aligned.
• Towns came to take on a greater importance, often acting as essentially self-
• Christianity became important in the political life in Europe during this period, as
the Catholic Church worked hard to develop political space representing, in
the person of the pope, a higher authority.
• In a few centuries, key features of modern democratic government emerged-
challenged authorities of monarchies and a new form of political organization-
the nation state appeared.
Nation state: a term used synonymously with state but implies that the citizens
share a common ethnic or cultural background. In the modern world, few such
homogenous states remain, most either being multicultural, multiethnic or
• By the 19th century, many countries had been brought under their control under
the aegis of colonialism.
17th century England:
• Showed rapid changes, and a number of ingredients came together to challenge
the domination of English politics by the monarch.
a)The enclosure movement, where landlords were allowed to enclose or fence off
lands, so they would lean towards increased agricultural production. Provided
working class for industrial revolution but forced people out of the country.
b) New entrepreneurial class began to oppose the power of the monarchy to
control lands and tax.
c)Religious tolerations became socially and politically acceptable. Increased
awareness of the power of new ideas. Shifted away from the Devine right of
kings toward rational interest of the population.
Magna Carta: rights of people asserted in England.
• Its was an idea that people will submit to government as long as it is directed
toward the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which we
will call property. When such property rights were not respected, Locke
argued that people had the right to rebel against government, or the right of
revolution. 2 most significant political revolutions took place in American
colonies and France in 18th century.
• World was not always organized into states, but that changed with the emergence and expansion of European nation-states from 17th century onwar