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PSCI 260 Midterm Study Notes.doc

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Political Science
PSCI 260
Anna Esselment

Constitution: a body of basic and fundamental rules outlining the structures of power and authority, the relation between these, and the relation to the people. The constitution also sets out the relations between institutions, the relations between governments (municipal, provincial, and federal), and the relations between these governments and citizens. The constitution also requires legislature, and an amendment formula- which in Canada, the ability was set forth by the Constitution Act of 1982, giving Canadian government, with consent of judicial or judge made law, to amend. There is a formal, and material constitution- the latter being the pen to paper written texts such as the Bill of rights, the Charter of rights and freedoms, etc. the former, is the constitutional ethic put forth throughout the society, and followed by the citizens (unwritten laws and codes of ethics that provide the constitution with such significance. Politics: the process of conflict resolution where support is mobilized and maintained for collective purposes. It is a vital key to democracy, as it is the main and best alternative to war (the most primitive and ridiculous form of conflict resolution). It is meant as a way of negotiation to balance demands, and to satisfy all political actors within society, or debating parties. It is a vital source and form of communication, and should not be misconstrued as a power struggle, rather, based on higher principles and representing values of the people. Many value politics as a way to process needed action with dignity and respect. State: The structure of power organizing a political community that inhabits a specific territory. There is a very large distinction however between government and state (a common misconception. Government is an entity elected or appointed to employ the authority of the state, while the state itself is a collection of institutions (such as the police, military, civil service, and judiciary). These institutions are given infused with the power to hereby control the inhabited territory by means of reasonable law and enforcement (possibly physical- Weber). REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INHABITANTS SPIRIT! Civil Society- the sphere of citizen activity outside the realm of authority. Such activity includes religious groups (church), clubs, family, and the market place. Society- a collection of individuals brought together by commerce, environment, shared governments, etc. Society runs on the principle of voluntary association, in other words, a member within the society does not Have to conform to societies norms and beliefs, however in many cases it is frowned upon (“social reject”). Nation- a collection of people brought together by common descent, language, religion, sense of history, customs and traditions, all of which inhabit a specific territory. Many have criticized the idea or concept of a nation because of it’s subjective tendencies. However, a nation can be brought together or many other factors such as economy, literal borders, or even shared government (the idea of the ‘country’). Community- individuals brought together by shared language, culture and beliefs. They also share common norms and customs, and in some cases commitment and duty (however this is more of a conservative way of thinking). All of this is brought together to form the idea of community cohesiveness (a core principle of a shared community). Influence- the ability to persuade other to do your will; to get them to do what you want them to do. This is a voluntary motion, and people are no coerced into making decisions regarding the influence of another. Coercion- a form of power based on forced compliance through use of fear and intimidation. This is involuntary, and people are forced into making decision regarding the influence of another (usually a leader, and the decisions are forms of commands). Authority- a form of power based on the consensus regarding the right to issue demands/commands and make decisions. People normally respect the source of command. The source of command (authority), can be facilitated in a variety of ways: Traditional Leadership (orientation to conform), Charismatic leadership (the leader is said to have a uniquely distinct gift to influence the people), and Legal Rational Leadership (the belief in the validity of the legal statute and the functional competence of the rationally created laws and policies. Legitimacy- the belief in the rightness of rule. Government- that nefarious group of individuals that are either elected or appointment to employ the power and authority of the state. These individuals are constrained by two main factors- Justice and Democracy. Lockian Liberalism- John locke, a political philosopher, refuted the existence and belief in the divine or god appointed. He believed that we were all properties and images of god, and that we are born as a Blank Slate- innate, equal, and equally independent. Believed in Indivudal liberalism, one is born with the natural right to life, property, and the ability to
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