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University of Toronto St. George

SOC103Chapter 15PoliticsIdeologiesEspecially interested in how political power is converted into authority By October of 2009 Canadians had experienced 3 elections within 5 years having cost hundreds of millions of dollars paid by the taxpayerPolitics processes by which individualsgroups act to promote their interests In the last few years have been aimed at dividing Canadians rather than bringing them together This is obvious in the advertisements political parties use to characterizeattack their opponents TV ads regularly highlight the other partys faults rather than making the public aware of a political platform As a result confidence in all the major parties is low voter turnout is lowpeople lack interest in the various party leaders Citizens people who belong to a state Citizenship developed out of the relative freedom of city life granting equal treatment for all residents State the institutional mechanism that collectsspends their taxes makes their lawsultimately controls their lives The set of institutions with authority to make the rules that govern a society Weber wrote that the state claims a monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory Illegal in Canada to discriminate against someone for their political views Ways of looking at politics Talcott Parsons The Social System 1964 1951 Goal attainment function social systems ie families small groups large organizations empires etc have a political process which is necessary for its survival it is not imposed or sinister The political structure or subsystem is not so much committed to controloppression as it is to management administrationthe promotion of citizen engagement Expressesstrives to achieve collective goals through debateconcerted action Parsons assumes that people in the society usually consent to this political processits leaders Criticized more philosophicalanecdotal than historicalmore qualitative than quantitative Works similar to LipsetAdams who want to connect political ideas to historical eventscultural valuesbelieves that clusters of demographicpsychographic or value features will shape the political functioning of a society Thus a societys politics is deeply rooted in peoples beliefsneeds as well as in their histories They also believe in the value of public awarenesspublic engagement in the political process George Homans The Human Group 1950 functionalist microstructure of politics Social exchange theory small groups mainly rule themselves through processes of informal control smallgroup politics ie include ridiculing or excluding people who violate the groups productivity norms Payoff the practical reasons people value such selfgovernment in groups Barrington Moore Social Origins of DictatorshipDemocracy LordPeasant in the Making of the Modern World 1966 critical class relationstheir effects on politics During the process of modernization it matters whether the dominant class in society is the middle class leads to democracy peasant class communism or traditional ruling class landowning aristocracy supported by militaryChurch fascism Classic Studies The First New NationLipset The First New Nation 1967 mirrorquestion what makes American society different Born in revolutionary wara commitment to equalityachievement somewhat conflicting values yet grounded in American identity born in the revolution which birthed the nation basis for institutions such as the American family school political partytrade union The Britishto a lesser extent the Canadians put less emphasis on equality of opportunity because of their more elitist values By contrast Australia is more equalitariantreats achievement more like the US does but because it never had a revolution Australia is somewhat less politically
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