Poli 100 Notes for the Final

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Political Science
POLI 100
Christopher Erickson

Sovereignty: Self-government either at the level of the individual or at the level of the state. A sovereign state has a monopoly of force over the people and institutions in a given territorial area. Authority: A situation whereby an individual or group is regarded as having the right to exercise power and is thereby acting legitimately, equated with consent. Traditional Authority: Derived from long established customs and values. Example: Monarchs. Charismatic Authority: Derived from personal attributes of the ruler. Example: Dictatorships.. Legal-Rational Authority: Derived from the status of an office within a constitutional framework. Example: Democracies Night-Watchman State: A model in which the state concentrates on ensuring external and internal security, playing little role in civil society and the economy where the economic market is allowed to operate relatively unhindered. Power: The ability to make others do something they would not have chosen to do. Equated with coercion. Developmental State: A state which prioritizes economic resources for rapid development and which uses carrots and sticks (offering a combination of rewards and/or punishments) to induce private economic institutions to comply. Example: Japan Institutions: Regular patterns of behaviour that provide stability and regularity in social life, sometimes these patterns are given organizational form with specific rules of behaviour and of membership. Social Democracy: An approach which, after the Russian Revolution (1917), became associated with liberal democracies that engaged in redistribrutive policies and the creation of a welfare state. Liberal Democracy: Describes states which are characterized by free and fair elections involving universal suffrage, together with a liberal political framework consisting of a relatively high degree of personal liberty and the protection of individual rights. Examples: The USA, the UK, India. Illiberal Democracy: Describes states where competitive elections are held but in which there is relatively little protection of rights and liberties, and state control over the means of communication ensure governing parties are rarely defeated at the polls. Authoritarian: Refers to rule which is unaccountable and restrictive of personal liberty. Totalitarian: Refers to an extreme version of authoritarian rule, in which the state controls all aspects of society and the economy. Pluralism: Originated as a normative argument against monism. In political theory, it is mostly associated with a theory of the state which holds that political power is diffuse, all organized groups having some influence on state output. In IR it is associated with one of two main approaches adopted by the English School as well as with neoliberal theory which highlights the plurality of forces at work in the international system. Pluralists argue that power is empirically observable. First Dimension of Power: Pluralist definition argues that although certain groups may exercise power in specific areas, no single group will dominate across the range of policy making. Second Dimension of Power: Modified pluralist definition suggests that some groups are powerful enough to keep damaging issues off the political agenda. Third Dimension of Power: Argues that powerful groups can prevent their potential opponents from understanding where their true interests lie. Marxs False Consciousness: Asserts that the ruling class can distort the thought processes of the labouring masses to the extent that they actually came to approve of the system which exploits them. Balance of Power: A system of relations between states where the goal is to maintain an equilibrium of power, thus preventing the dominance of any one state. Interest Groups: Political actors who seek collectively to press specific interests upon governments (a.k.a pressure groups). Polyarchy: A term coined by Robert Dahl. Refers to a society where government outcomes are a product of the competition between groups. The rule of minorities, not majorities is postulated as the normal condition of a pluralist democracy. Democratic Elitism: An attempt to reconcile elitism with democracy. According to this model, voters have the opportunity to choose between competing teams of leaders. Corporatism: Traditionally referred to the top-down model where the state, as in the fascist model, incorporates economic interests in order to control them and civil society in general. Modern societal or neo-corporatism, on the other hand, reflects a genuine attempt by governments to incorporate economic interests, trade union and business interests, into the decision making process. Political System: The totality of institutions within a state and all the connections between them. Elitism: In a normative sense, refers to the rule of the most able. From an empirical perspective it refers to the existence of a ruling group beyond popular control in all societies of any complexity. Bourgeosie: Term appearing frequently in Marxist analysis and referring to a merchant and/or propertied class possessing essential economic power and control. Emancipation: A common theme in critical theory which denotes a normative aspiration to liberate people from unfair economic, social, and political conditions. Empirical Analysis: Refers to the measurement of factual information, of what is rather than what ought to be. Social Contract: A device used to justify a particular form of state. It is conceived as a voluntary agreement that individuals make in a state of nature, which is society before government is set up (John Rawls). Political Obligation: A central preoccupation of political theorists asking why, if at all, individuals ought to obey the state. There have been a variety of different answers to this question ranging from the divine right of kings to rule to the modern claim that democracy is the basis for authority. State of Nature: A concept with a long history in political and social thought which posits a hypothetical vision of how people lived before the institution of civil government and society. There are various competing versions of the state of nature, some portraying it as dangerous while others see it in a more positive light. Methodology: Refers primarily to the particular ways in which knowledge is produced. Methodologies vary considerably depending on the type of research being carried out to produce knowledge in different fields. Different methodologies invariably incorporate their own assumptions and rationales about the nature of knowledge, although these arent always stated explicitly. Human Nature: Innate and immutable human characteristics. Natural Rights: Rights which human are said to possess irrespective of the particular legal and political system under which they live. Utilitarianism: A theory which argues that the behaviour of individuals and governments should be judged according to the degree to which their actions maximize pleasure or happiness. Harm Principle: A position, associated with John Stuart Mill, that actions are to be allowed unless the effect of such actions are to harm others. Communitarianism: A strand of thought which argues that individuals gain their rights and duties within particular communities. Often contrasted with cosmopolitanism. General Will: A concept, associated with Rousseau, which holds that the state ought to promote an altruistic morality rather than the selfish interests of individuals. Civil Society: Consists of institutions, such as interest groups, which stand in an intermediary position between the individual and the state.
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