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Final Exam Notes, ALL notes from day 1, to the last class

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Andre Lecours

Chapter 1: Tradition, Discipline, and Definition The Tradition of Political Science The development of our political institutions, the systems of political thought, and the questions underlying the political enquiry are routed deeply in the Greek, Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions. Greeks introduced us to the notion of democracy Development of democracy in Athens acted as a model and inspiration for succeeding generations to present. Plato and Aristotles writing laid the foundations of political enquiry Concept of citizenship and rights is associated with Romans John Locke introduced notions of limited government, individual rights, and political tolerance American Revolution (1776) and French Revolution (1789) were premised on the principles of individual rights of life, liberty, and equality. Since the cold war, democracy has emerged as by far the most acceptable form of government The Discipline of Political Science Largely based on explanation and understanding of legal and institutional aspects of government, such as the Constitution. Role of interest groups content of political authority, legitimacy, individual and collective behaviour, electoral politics, political culture Political science is now generally understood to be the study of the governmental processes- the dynamics and institutions of public governance. Institutions, Distribution Authoritative allocation of values: who gets what, when, and how. CONFLICT AND POWER Conflict emerges in society for two reasons: 1. Competition for scarce resources (oil, gold) 2. Competition for different goals and values. (Spending on health, defense, and education) Power Enables the government to make binding decisions to allocate scarce values 3 Variants of Power: 1. Influence: government use influence to persuade citizens to do something 2. Coercion: Uses force to make citizens comply 3. Authority: is vested in individuals by virtue of their office i. Traditional- (Church, Monarchy) Structure is derived from a respect for sanctity of tradition ii. Charismatic- (Hitler, Napoleon, Kennedy, Ghandi) based on the extraordinary qualities and mission of the charismatic leader iii. Legal- (Liberal) based on legal principles, and it is a rule of law that legitimizes authority. Citizens cannot easily opt in or out of the membership of a state. Para-political organizations- CIA, MI6 Sub-Fields of Political Science 1. Political Theory: Field encompasses both normative political philosophy and empirical oriented theory. What is a good citizen? Best form. Marx, Weber (late modern thought) Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau (enlightenment) Christian thinkers (medieval) Classical (Greeks and Romans) Contemporary political theory (racism, multiculturalism, gender, dramatic theory) Non-Western political thought- Islamic philosophy, eastern traditions (Hinduism) Look at politics from a normative perspective (how things should be or ought to be) Equality vs. Liberty Justice. 2. Comparative Politics: Domestic parties/politics of countries Studies different political systems in the world comparing different forms of government and functioning in order to develop an understanding of some of the worlds diverse political structures and practices. More imperial- opposite of theoretical- experience by observation Political culture, ideologies, institutions (democracy, constitutions, electoral systems, interest groups) 3. International Politics: Studies relations between different states and their foreign policy Foreign policy, war and peace, strategic and security studies, international organizations, globalization Liberalism, neo-liberalism, realism, neo-realism, constructivism, feminism. Human rights, environment, international/political economy, diplomacy 4. Canadian or Domestic Politics Local to national politics, nature of intergovernmental relations Linked to Comparative politics Federalism 5. Public Policy and Public Administration How does it work? Addresses issues such as: What governments do or dont do. What processes undertake these government actions and decisions and what consequences can be attributed. Max Weber: Modern day state is a compulsory association, which organizes domination Monopolize the legitimate use of physical force as means of domination within a territory Every state is founded on force. State is a human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory The sole source of the right to use violence. Politics for us means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state. He who is active in politics strives for power either as means of serving other aims, ideal or egoistic, or as power for powers sake Or to enjoy the prestige feeling that power gives. Bernard Crick All over the world are men aspiring to power and there are actual rules who, however many different names they go by, have in common a rejection of politics. Fidel Castro told a reporter in 1961: We are not politicians. We made our revolution to get the politicians out. Politics ill understood, have been defined as the art of governing mankind by deceiving them. Politics arises from accepting the fact of the simultaneous existence of different groups, hence different interest and different traditions, within a territorial unit under a common rule. Chapter 2: Contending Approaches Different approaches, different assumptions, focuses, concepts, and perspectives Formal legal Approach Also called old institutionalism Centred on the formal institutions of politics: constitutions, parliaments, cabinets, bureaucracies and so on. Described workings of the state through exploration of the structure of these institutions and their relationships with one another. Sought to explain politics by specifying how political institutions worked. Criticisms: Descriptive rather than explanatory, why do they work? Non-theoretical, didnt look to formulate generalizations. Led to the description of particular case studies and was therefore non- comparative. Parochial, looked almost exclusively at Western developed countries as oppose to non-Western and developing ones. Led to another approach, Behaviourism Objective: to make study of politics truly scientific Emphasized individual actors, their behaviours, rather than institutions. Led to 2 formulation of two approaches during 1960s; System Analysis More scientific, viewing politics as a system. AKA Systems Theory Focused on political actors rather than on institutions Provided a theoretical model of politics, a simplified representation of political life that specified its logic and its workings. System analysis was presented as being valid for understanding politics in any country at almost any given time System involves the interrelation of individual components. EASTON: Political system is constitutes by interactions that lead to the authoritative allocation of values. Values are material (financial, and other) as well as symbolic (prestige, recognition, etc.).
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