2nd Semester Complete Chapter Summaries
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Chapter 2 = Ideology and Political Culture
* What are the values that Canadians hold that make them distinct from other nations?
* How are Canadian values and beliefs different from Americans especially?
* Until latter half of twentieth century, we used to believe that Canadians believe in a more orderly, less
individualistic society than that of the United States, in which the state is more so expected to engage in
activities that promote the welfare of society and the development of an independent Canada.
* Our tie to Great Britain remained very strong until middle of the century and saw Canada as more
British than American in its institutions, values and heritage.
* But this question has become less plausible over last couple of decades.
* Many still believe that Canadian values are less individualistic and less hostile to government than the
* However, as the bonds joining Canada to U.S economically and culturally have multiplied and
deepened, we are still obsessed with, what it takes to be Canadian.
* This obsession however is not prominent in French- Speaking Canada, namely Quebec
* They are dominantly insulated from American cultural influences by language and for much of their
history by the strongly Catholic character of their society, French Canadians have been less likely than
English Canadians to define themselves with the U.S
* This is the basis of French Canadian nationalism
* What does it mean to be a Quebecois?
* Ideas, Values and Institutions
* Ideas assume various forms in political life.
* When they take form of a set of interrelated beliefs about how society is organized and how it ought to
function- interpretative map for understanding the world: we have an ideology
* Most people are not aware of having ideological learning’s, and are not aware that they may be labelled
as conservative or liberal.
* When a nation is pragmatic however, this means that an ideology is so entrenched that it is a national
* A political culture consists of the characteristic values, beliefs and behaviours of a society’s members in
regards to politics.
* Obviously not every citizen will share these values of political culture, however when speaking of a
nation’s political culture, we are speaking about the majority
* In Canada, research on political culture is mostly focused on differences between French speaking and
English speaking Canadians and on the question of whether or not English Canada is characterized by
regional political culture.
* To determine whether significant and persistent differences exist, political scientists have attempted to
measure such things as levels of political knowledge, feelings of political efficiency,
political participation and alienation, attitudes toward political authority, and different levels of govt and
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the sense of belonging to a particular community
* They also looked at individual personality
* Canadians are said to be more deferential than Americans
* We focus on relationship between a person’s general attitudes towards authority and non conformity-
issues like protection of civil liberties, toleration of political dissent, the group rights of minorities, and
attitudes toward public authorities
* The main conclusion of this: the general personality traits show up in an individual’s political ideas and
* We categorize political ideas through : left wing, right wing and centrist
* These labels are used to signify the broader ideological premises believed to lie behind an action,
opinion or statement
* The centre- is virtually the mainstream of society’s politics and those who occupy this location on the
political spectrum are most likely to identify themselves as pragmatic
* Right and left- conflicting belief systems
* They include basic notion of how society, the economy and politics should operate
* Right winged people adhere to more of a individualistic belief system while left winged people are
* However, in reality the politics of left and right are much more complicated than simplified portraits
* Liberals believe that individuals should be allowed greatest freedoms possible while social
conservatives believe in rejection of pluralism that reject traditional values
* However libertarians and social conservatives can have a shared apathy of modern welfare that may
cause them both to be categorized on the right
* There are therefore limitations to left- right categorization of political ideas
* There are therefore 3 main ideologies that we use to categorize political culture
* Socialism- greatly influenced the politics of Western societies since the American and French
* Liberalism and Conservatism
* Classical liberalism- liberalism was associated with freedom of religious choice and practice, free
enterprise and free trade in the realm of economic, freedom of expression and association in politics
* Classical conservatism- was based on the importance of tradition. It accepted human inequality as the
nature of things. Conservatism then emphasized the importance of continuity with the past and the
preservation of law and order.
* Classical Socialism- although there was no party having the label socialist, socialist ideology has been
influential in various ways
* This was based on the principle of equality of condition, a radical egalitarianism that distinguished
socialist doctrine from liberalism’s advocacy of equality of opportunity. Socialists supported a vastly
greater relm for the state in directing the economy, better working
conditions and greater rights for workers; also emphasised social services like healthy, pensions,
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* Modern Liberalism- does not place individual freedoms above all else. Instead, by their belief that
governments can and should act to alleviate hardships experienced by poor and oppressed. They are now
more likely to be concerned with group rights than individual freedoms. It has now been associated with
support for multiculturalism and openness towards non traditional lifestyles and social institutions.
* Modern Conservatism- embraces economic beliefs that once were the classical liberals. Similar to
classical liberalism, they defend principle of eqaulity of opportunity and are more likely to place
protection of personal freedoms before advancement of minority rights. Although like earlier times,
conservatism is still acquainted with more richer people, it is worth noting that conservative parties often
receive much support from middle class
* Modern Socialism- has changed the least. However, much less confidence today that state ownership of
the means of economic production and distribution is desirable
* Modern Socialists or social democrats, advocate egalitarian society with the acceptance of capitalism
and inevitable inequalities generated from this
* The classical ideologies were formed in response to one another as well as the social and economic
conditions in which they were rooted
* But as the character of Western societies have changed, so too have the ideologies that slug it out in
* Consequences of globalization? A debate in which moral considerations are seldom far from the surface
* Explaining Ideas and Institutions
* Explanations of Canadians’ political ideas, and of the institutions that embody them are grouped into
three groups: fragment theory, role of formative events, and economic explanations
* Fragment Theory
* Canada along with other new world societies was founded by immigrants from Europe
* They were ‘fragments’ of the European societies that gave birth to them
* They represented only a part of the socio-economic and cultural spectrum of the European society from
which they originated
* These immigrants brought cultural baggage- values and beliefs from European nations, kind of like a
genetic code that sets the limit to later cultural development in new world societies
* But why should the ideas of founders carry such weight that they shape political culture for subsequent
generations? Fragment theory is kind of weak on this
* They would say that transmission of fragment culture from generation to generation presumably
depends on social structures and political institutions that date from the founding period, and embody the
dominant ideas of the founding immigrants
* Canada is composed of Loyalists that left the U.S
* Some say this is because of conservative or Tory values
* Formative Events: counter revolution and the conquest
* Societies are marked by certain major events at critical periods in development- these are formative
* The society will evolve along particular lines, instead of others
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