POL346Y5- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 32 pages long!)

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POL346Y5
Midterm EXAM
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POL346 S1 L1
Reading responses:
-Select one week of interest, read the articles carefully and come up with a 2-page critical response.
-Understand their main argument and how they compare to one another. Do they compliment/contrast?
-They are not summaries. Critically engage in the arguments.
-Submit them all electronically to urbanpol346@gmail.com
Term Test:
-Short answer questions up until December 4th.
Policy Brief:
-10 page authoritative brief and it is going to be submitted as a hard copy and through Turnitin.
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Urban and a question of scale:
-There are multiple scales of political authority/governance.
-There is international, regional, global, national, subnational, local, and urban.
-State is one among many actors operating on an urban scale. It is not the only actor.
-What is urban? What is included in the definition of urban? City, suburban, periurban, rural?
-What is suburban now can be an urban centre in the future, what is periurban can be suburban; they are changing
boundaries.
So then what is Urban Politics?
-Every city and its systems/institutions are all different. Urban politics is the political institutional arrangements that
governs the spatial scale.
-Social-political-economic processes operates and transforms the spatial scale.
-Changes in any of these processes impact and restructure the political institutional arrangements.
-Urban Politics is, on one hand, a description and analysis of a spatial scale of operation but, on the other, its about
the wider processes associated with cities and urban areas and it is concerned with the links between the two.
-Urban politics is very versatile. You can look at environmental sustainability, housing, poverty, social cohesion, or
you can focus on theoretical problems (Ex. how come we have segregation in cities? Why are certain communities
marginalized?)
-There is a lot of room to explore within Urban politics.
-The advantages of researching urban politics: propinquity (closeness of the urban space, proximity of actors to
their jurisdictions, better access to data, you have more accessible sources like mayors than you would a PM),
numerosity (large-N studies, various cases to study), research is easier and tractable.
Urban Politics within Political Science:
-Political science is a very state-centric discipline and urbanists have been put on the back burner.
-The policy implications of any study always goes back to the state. The project of modern-state was not the norm
in late 19th century. Instead, empires were the norm and the states were not the norm. The concept of the
sovereign state emerged in mid 17th century and did not become the norm until after interwar years and solidified
in mid 20th century.
-We made the state a project to modernize and we have done so successfully but now political science is so state-
centric.
-To make any authoritative claim as an urbanist, they would have to make state the centre of their focus in order
to be acknowledged.
-Urbanists internalized it and their policy prescriptions were state-centric and it gave this artificial understanding as
the state as a sovereign and unchanging institution.
Seeing Like a City - An Attempt to Urbanize Political Science (Magnusson)
-A real change of vision involves a challenge to political science, an attempt to detach it from the state by
changing it into an urban discipline. It means challenging the idea that cities are subordinate to the state -
Magnusson (and not units to the state).
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-What does it mean to challenge the authority of the state and see cities as subordinate to the state? Urbanism
actually creates modernity. The order of the city is actually necessitated political action not the other way
around.
-Political action facilitated political order in the scale of cities. Cities are self-organizing entities.
-The state originated in cities! Cities (polis) predating state or any other sovereign. You start off in a state of
nature which you then later create a polis (city) in which you govern yourselves and others (like taught through
political theorists).
-These rules of conduct we have to this day governs ourselves and others. These rules were created well before
the sovereign. The sovereign was later created for the solidification of laws and protections but we would still have
a city without a state.
-Cities are local and global at once. The relations was existing in medieval ages. While we are existing here, our
existence makes sense in both local and global terms.
-There are also multiplicity of authorities within cities; for example, a mayor, director of region of peel, and you as
individuals are also an authority (you cast your votes and use your resources).
-Everything is actually changing all the time. Politics is ever-changing and we shouldn't act as though it is something
that is frozen in time and hard to change.
Cities in Canadian Political System:
-The big cities in Canada are not given their due or acknowledgement in politics and the political system.
-Some of the major societal issues for Canada - polarization and the management of social diversity - are being
played out in the big cities and these issues are not being sufficiently discussed, managed, and/or acted upon.
-Homelessness is a problem existing within big cities and metropolitan regions. Concentration of wealth, economic
development, economic opportunities, all within big-scale cities.
-The authorities of those regions are not taken into consideration and are not equipped with capacity and resources
to create a solution.
-How can cities gain greater recognition? The local level (cities) can be given greater political power or/and senior
levels of government can give higher priority to urban issues.
-How can this federal involvement happen? If you look at the US or Canada, there hasn't been a clear or defined
national urban policy. The federal level just keeps a low-key status in pursuing urban policy.
-With Pierre Trudeau there was a Ministry of Urban Affairs but it didn't work out and it was dissolved.
-The ineffectiveness is linked to the federal inability to understand urban issues and how such local communities
operate.
-The way federal bureaucrats look at urban issues may be very different than that of a local.
-The federal involvement is not non-existent but it is influenced mainly by issue-based involvement. They address an
issue and move on.
-Investing and fostering urban development is that a political decision? Not every provincial involvement might
mean supporting urban areas.
-There are variations in terms of provincial capacity to implement urban policy.
-City regions have to constantly pressure provincial governments to shift their focus and give more resources.
-In terms of municipalities, they are not constitutionally recognized in Canada.
-Provincial governments can dissolve municipalities (considered the creatures of the provinces) and are created by
them; they are not considered political entities.
-Restructuring local governance can take many forms such as decentralization, amalgamation, constitutional
recognition (giving them greater power but its a very highly unlikely situation since they don't want to hand over
power and create a potential threat).
-If you are devolving the issue of social policy to municipalities, thats great but if you don't give them enough
capacity and ability to address such issues then giving such powers does not work.
-All of these arrangements can take many forms with cooperation. There is a societal capacity that can be
mobilized that can create partnerships and city governments also has the ability to mobilize and create a stronger
role in policy making and implementation by utilizing networking and partnerships.
-We can govern ourselves and others and this can lead to political action which can lead to a civilized order. City
governments should have better communications with communities and the people which would further strengthen
their roles.
-
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