Power: Politics always involves the exercise of power. Power is the ability of one actor (or group) to impose
his/her will on others. Power influences the resolution of conflict. For example, some individuals or groups win
out over others…power may be difficult to track. Power can also be described as hard (force) or soft
(manipulation). This is important because in the end someone gets what they want. Politics is also about who,
what and why but can sometimes be difficult to see because there are different ways of exercising power.
3 Ways of exercising power:
Coercion – others submit involuntarily because of use of force, intimidation and psychological pressure (does
not always have to be physical)…e.g. Bill 115 on teachers, taxes
Authority – Others consent to your exercise of power, thus the exercise of power is legitimate (traditional,
charismatic, legal rational)
Influence – you sway the opinions and preferences of others, influence the way they think about an issue
The State: The state is an organization that has the monopoly of the legitimate use of force in certain
areas…e.g. Bolivia, Canada, Zimbabwe and 190+ others. Difference between a state and a country is that a
country is a geographic location whereas a state is an organization, which exercises power. The state is the
structure of rule over a geographical unit. The concept of the state is linked to sovereignty. The people within
a geographical region regard the states authority as legitimate. The state is known as the structural rule over a
geographical unit and is a critical political entity. The state is the law, institutions, sovereign entity, internally
recognized entity, a group of people and an idea.
Functions of the State: The state is supposed to provide human security for citizens and adjudicate disputes,
according to commonly held values of a society. States also provide a political framework for participation in
politics, protection of rights and support of national and regional institutions. States also provide an economic
framework, such as monetary systems, infrastructure and market regulations. They also provide a social
framework for health and education services and redistribution of wealth. However, different states perform
these functions with varying degrees of success and performance varies over time…e.g. Mexico 1985 vs. 2013
(2013 violent drug war, failed state? And struggling for security)
…And China 1960 vs. 2013 (1960 attempt to modernize China, famine, poverty; 2013 non-democratic,
Sovereignty: Theoretically, there is no higher form of power in a country. The state has a monopoly on use of
force (coercion) within territory, and this is externally recognized. Practically, however, there are constraints
on state sovereignty.
Government: A specialized activity of those individuals and institutions that make and enforce collective
decisions in a state. It is both a set of activities (occurring over time) and also a collection of institutions that
carry out these activities. The difference between a state and a government is that the government is the
institution that runs the state and the state is more enduring (governments change but states don’t
necessarily – state is the car government is the driver)
Freedom House “Map of Democracy”: Each country is rated on a seven category scale, 1 is most free and 7 is
the least free. There are two foci: political rights, which enable people to participate freely in the political
process, including the right to vote, run for office etc. The second is civil liberties, which allows for the
freedoms of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, personal autonomy and
individual rights. Democracy: Democracy means rule by the people and is a set of ideals about how government should work,
what the role of citizen is in the political system and a set of procedures and institutions guiding operation of
government participation of citizens.
The Democratic Ideals (7)
1. Popular Sovereignty: Sovereignty is the supreme authority in a political community and popular is the
people are the source of all political power and have the right to overrule other bodies. For example, we can
“throw the rascals out.” Power in some way rests with the people. Under popular sovereignty the people have
the right to get rid of the representative.
2. Political Equality: The idea that each individual citizen, regardless of their gender or race, carries the same
weight in voting and other political decision-making. It is measured by extent to which citizens have equal
voting in governing. This is important because political activity means by which we inform our governors of
our interests and make them responsive to us. Essentially, each individual citizen should carry the same weight
in the political process.
3. Majority Rule: Idea that, if each vote is to be counted equally, the decision of the majority must be
accepted. The government accepts what most people want. The alternative is “oligarchy” which is rule by the
few. In majority rule you must accept that at least some of the time you will get what you want. Canada has a
majority government in the sense that conservatives had most seats in 2011 elections but not necessarily the
popular vote. Mexico has 3 similar parties.
4. Political Liberty: Liberties are freedoms that protect the individual, sets limits on government or fellow
citizens and is essential to exercise of popular sovereignty. There are two types of freedoms negative and
positive. Negative liberties are the freedoms from, such as speech, association, religion, press, fair trial, right
to bear arms, sexual orientation…unrestricted by government. Positive freedoms are the freedoms to such as,
education and health care, which are provided by government. States that were formed after the early 1900s
tend to focus on positive liberties rather than negative.
5. Minority Rights: Minority rights were designed to ensure that a specific individual or group (which may be
vulnerable, disadvantaged) is able to achieve equality. This includes both individual rights, which are applied
to all types of people and collective rights accorded to minority groups.
6. Political Competition: If people are to be sovereign, they must be able to choose their political
representatives, so there must be more than one choice. Elections are key to political competition, must be
fair, affects legitimacy of political systems for example Canada vs. Singapore. There are election in Singapore
however, the state controls the media and it is not fair competition…the government always wins because
they manipulate means of power.
7. Rule of Law: The rule of law is the idea that government authority is legitimately exercised only in
accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws. It is intended as a safeguard against arbitrary governance.
There is a distinction between “rule of law” and “rule by law.” In China for example, the rule of law isn’t
practiced as much as the rule by law.
*Some of these ideals are in tension with each other…so how do you create a balance (countries all have
different ways of distributing these rights. Democratic Elitism: In this system citizens delegate law-making authority to elected representatives.
Essentially, you choose elites to do the job so citizens participate indirectly. This assumes that direct citizen
participation is unrealistic and undesirable, usually in larger populations. The system is democratic because
elites must compete for votes, and it does realize popular sovereignty. This system is also known as a
Deliberative Democracy: In this system all citizens are involved in decision making, not just good for the
system also food for the citizen (citizens participate directly). This argues that it is not enough for citizens to
vote for their representatives. Citizens must have the opportunity to take part in political debate on issues and
help to for consensus.
*Democracy is framework for institutions and procedures for putting these ideals into practice…how do we
Constitutions: Constitutions are fundamental and provide a body of rules and principles according to which a
state is governed. It includes who and what institutions are to carry out major functions of government and
how to change the constitution or how things are amended. A constitution should outline the basic rights and
obligations of citizens and is a basic source of natural law. Constitutionalism fulfills the democratic
requirement of the rule of law and is the fundamental principle of political life. There are two types of
constitutions written and unwritten (uncodified). Britain has an unwritten constitution, which is comprised of
ancient documents, acts of parliament and judicial decisions. Constitutions also lay down the foundations for
power relations such as the different parts of state (horizontal) and different levels of government (vertical).
Horizontal (power relations): Different parts of the state are analyzed under three functional headings.
Horizontal power is the legislative branch, or the lawmakers (house of commons), the executive branch (law
implementers), and the judicial branch (law adjudicators). Some democracies are concerned that power
should be strictly divided among branches (presidential – separation of power system is hard to get things
done). Other democracies are less concerned about the concentration of power in one branch. The
parliamentary system is considered a fusion of power system.
Vertical (power relations): Vertical powers include unitary and federal systems. The unitary system refers to
the idea that the central government ha power over regional governments (Britain and France). The federal
system refers to the idea that the central and regional governments each have power and cannot overrule
each other (Canada, US, Mexico).
ETA – Basque Fatherland and Freedom: Basques have long wanted their own government but struggle to do
so. Because they haven’t been able to attain their own government they have turned to violence. This group
represents an ethnic group that wants independence.
Relations Between State and Citizens: The British tradition of parliament is to safeguard rights of citizens not
courts while the American tradition is to set out rights in the Bill of Rights enforced in courts. (Political liberty,
equality and minority rights)
Canadian Constitution: Created democratic parliamentary system, based on the British model. The most
important characteristic of this system is that it concentrates power in the hand of a few decision makers.
There is less emphasis on popular sovereignty, individual rights, fragmentation of power and constraints on
the majority. Legislatures: Legislatures have important functions in a democracy. Legislatures bring about “rule by people
(popular sovereignty) and represent people. For example, you may want someone to represent you who have
the same views as you. Also, govern – form the government by majority rule and legislate to formulate and
pass laws. Also legislatures hold leaders to account and act as an opposition.
Legislative Functions Parliamentary Systems Presidential Systems
Representational Rep by pop, link to Rep by pop, link to district. No
constituency…but with party party discipline better way to link
disciplines members can vote voters?
Governmental With majority, can act quickly to More debate on issues but
pass laws, but elected parliament separation of powers leads to
Procedural No confidence vote, lines of Check on president, discourages
responsibility clear abuse of power by one brand but
blurs lines of responsibility
Elections: Elections are critical because for popular sovereignty to exist people must be able to throw the
rascals out. Also, elections are crucial for fair political competition, and are key to even the most minimalist
versions of democracy (democratic elitism). Elections must be present to achieve political equality since
citizens should have an equal voice. Elections are also key in organizing majority rule because if each vote is to
be counted equally, the decision of the majority must be accepted. Elections also must represent minorities
because minorities must be able to achieve equality. In the sense of fair political competition what constitutes
as fair? Who chooses candidates and how much debate takes place? If you want to have an election there are
different things you need to work out.
Single Member Plurality System (SMPS): One representative per geographic areas (riding, constituency,
district). This is a first-past-the-post or winner-take-all system. Considering the democratic ideal SMPS create a
majority government but not necessarily minority rule. So what happens to minority rights? Minorities can
work within existing parties to get some ideal in. It is especially hard to create a new party and what prospects
are for minor national parties? In the sense of political equality does every vote really seem to count? In the
sense of popular sovereignty there is a direct representative-citizen link.
Ridings: Ridings are sections in a geographic area and all try to have the same number. In Canada, there are
308 ridings and each riding has separate elections and separate candidates. Elections are like horse races (first
horse to get their nose past the line wins).
Proportional Representation System (PR): In this system, representation (number of seats) is directly
proportional to the share of the popular vote (received number of votes). This means that this system is
directly proportional, there are no ridings or districts (all organized by parties) and the number of
representatives is simply allocated on basis of how many votes they get in this election. This system is
structured by party lists, which are lists of people the party wants to elect and ranks them in a hierarchy
system. The general public has no say on who is on the list and people are only voting for the list of people,
which means people have no say who gets on a list or the order. There is a single-transferable vote. This
means that you choose the party but can only rank people on the list, some votes are allocated to party and
some to the people you prioritized. In this system it is extremely unlikely to get a majority government but
minorities are probably better represented. In the sense of political equality every vote seems to count, how
ever there is no direct representative-citizen link. There is also more political completion, which means there is more choice because there is more representative of the public opinion, minorities and diverse interests.
German Hybrid System: In this model it is a mixed member proportional system. This means that there are
two votes, the candidate and the party list and a 5% rule.
Parties: Parties connect society and state by forming a bridge between politics and citizens. Parties are the
miracle glue of democracy. There are four critical functions of parties: policies and programs, package them up
to easily understand, recruit leaders and over see or control government depending on whether they are in
government of opposition. Political parties are groups of people that nominate candidates and contest
elections, seek to gain powers and control government. They are also organizations that seek to forma a
government. The functions of parties are that they serve to socialize and mobilize. For example they inform
you and get you thinking about issues and then eventually to go and vote (get you interested). Parties also
aggregate diverse interest and demands (bundles demand into packages). How do we actually resolve conflicts
that resolve from different demands? Parties are one key method to do this. Parties also play a role in
recruiting political leaders and oversee government and ensure political accountability. Considering the
democratic ideal, parties support popular sovereignty by mobilizing participation, recruiting leaders and
keeping government accountable. Parties also organize majority rule by aggregating diverse interests, and
structuring the popular vote. Parties help to represent minority interest and are key to political competition.
Ideologies: Ideologies seek to promote particular political and social order and tend to be action-oriented and
seek to promote particular economic and social orders. Ideologies have core concepts but can sometimes be
quite flexible. Ideologies reflect historical circumstances, but they are constantly changing.
The Left – The left includes socialists, which want more government involvement in the economy. Policies
help disadvantages groups and redistribute income and taxation is appropriate to fund redistribution. This
ideology is more focused on the collective rather than the individual.
The Right – The right includes conservatives that seek less government control. There is a greater reliance on
the market and fewer government regulations. There is no special treatment for certain interest groups and
Do Political Parties in the West offer voters a choice? There is a tendency for parties to gravitate towards the
center and capture the average voter. There is a question if right-left tendencies are breaking down. Issues
that confront us make us think differently between government and society. Is there a broad agreement on
role of government? Candidates are separated more by style than by ideology. There is an argument that the
post-911 world had changed politics…polarization.
Parties and Democracy: The decline of ideological differences among parties might explain a low voter
turnout. For example, the SMP system encourages pragmatic or broad parties, which are better able to
construct majorities. The PR system promotes ideological or interest parties, which means its harder to
construct majorities but it is good at opposition function.
Islamic Republic of Iran: There is a city of contrast between modern life and undeveloped rural areas. In the
West we say the republic is repressive and authoritarian, but citizens elect presidents and legislative branches
and elect representatives. The governmental system in Iran has been called a theocracy, which means rule by
clerics, with some concessions to democracy. There is the principle of jurist’s guardianship (jurists are legal
scholars steeped in Islamic religious law). Iran didn’t always have this system; it had a constitutional
democracy but was considered an authoritarian conservative. Iran also has a history of being meddled with
(US and GB). In 1906 Iran adopts a democratic constitution but it didn’t work. Iran has tried to work on a
democracy, it is a country with a highly educated class and many have immigrated to US and Canada. There was a revolution in 1979 against the Shah, which was caused by a tension of people who wanted to be strong
Islamic state or a democratic state.
How do we put Islam with Democratic ideals? In the end forces of the ayatollah was in exile, which lead to a
revolution and ran out in putting together a constitution to put people in referendum. This shows tension to
bring democratic functions and principles to Islam.
Supreme (religious) leader – Ayatollah Ali Khameini has a wide range of responsibility and a wide range of
forces and links between branches. He is the revolutionary guard of internal defense of the nation. He is in
charge of the armed forces, the judiciary and the media. All laws must conform to shari’a and clergy. The
supreme leader controls a lot and appoints members to the council of guardians.
Council of Guardians – The Council decides who can run for office in the Majles and can also remove president
on advice of Supreme Leader. Both the supreme leader and the council is not elected, but all other bodies are.
The Executive – the people elect the president for a four-year term, and he forms a legislative branch and
The Majles – They are similar number to Canada and are elected by the people.
The Judiciary – different systems of groups
The Clerics – elect supreme leader and can remove him under extreme circumstances
*This system appears to be a mix of elements: the problem is that it has a layer of officials that can practice
arbitrary rule, but many elements are democratic.
Political Equality – The council of guardians vets all political candidates. Barred 2000 candidates from
contesting 2004 parliamentary elections (85 of which were reformists in current parliament). Women may
vote, run for office, but many don’t exercise these rights. Civic organizations allow as long as they don’t
question basis of Islamic republic (guided democracy) as long are associating properly.
Majority Rule – Iranians cannot change their government democratically, the supreme leader is appointed for
life and the council of guardians isn’t elected
Popular Sovereignty – Unelected council of guardians approves all legislation passed by parliament and
regular vetoes of legislation. Local elections were first introduced in 1999 and there was an overwhelming
support for reformers. The supreme leader is trying to balance tendencies in regime for more conservative
rule in mind that people wont like it.
Political Liberty: Citizens, especially dissidents, MPs are subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention and the
problem is getting worse. Freedom of expression is severely limited, because media is state controlled.
Freedom of association is also limited, public demonstrations that “violate principles of Islam” are prohibited.
Religious freedom is also limited, morals police practice intimidation for example women need to dress
correctly and is becoming more repressive.
Minority rights – Additional seats in the Majles are reserved for non-Muslim deputies and religious minorities
may practice their faith but cannot hold senior government positions, face restrictions in education, property
ownership and the Bahai’s face official discrimination. Ethnic minorities are permitted to establish
associations. Also competition for minorities for parliamentary seats is restricted
Rule of Law – The judiciary is not independent. Supreme leaders appoint the chief of justice, who then
appoints other judges. Political and sensitive cases are tied in the revolutionary courts (due process is often
Peoples Republic of China: China has had a past of being a totalitarian regime. In 2013 is a different entity and
holds more elections than any other country in the world. 600 million people are eligible to vote and 1 million
villages elections. Fear of political competition is starting to emerge and less communist party control. Political
reform must follow economic reform and China has been growing at a rate at 8% per year, and is not black
and white. Authoritarian Governments: Authoritarian regimes are an umbrella term for governments whose authority is
not put to the test in elections but not totalitarian opposition is not tolerated. In Iran this is not so clear and
great variation among so called authoritarian regimes. To call a regime authoritarian doesn’t tell you much.
There is right winged conservative usually military like Saudi Arabia, Latin America. Usually these are very
unstable, don’t last long, relatively non ideological often utilitarian. A recent example of democratic transition
is Egypt. Saudi Arabia ruled as an absolute monarchy – controls government. The other type of authoritarian
regime is left-winged socialist (China and Russia). One party government method for choosing a leader and
tend to do better jobs at governing and last longer and are typically more ideological
Tyranny (self-interested rulers USSR Stalin) or oligarchy (rule by few)
Political subjugation (not free you are constrained)
Repression of minorities
Power monopoly (not shared)
Arbitrary rule (rule by law – law used to suppress individuals)
IR: Can mean international or world politics and emerged after WW1. Early practitioners thought relations
between states and maintenance of international order should be the subjects of specialized study in their
own right without reference to political institutions. Frederick Dunn pioneered it in the US.
NGOs: Non-state organizations.
Cosmopolitanism: Idea of global citizen is linked to cosmopolitanism and emphasizes that we all belong to one
world not just one country. This also represents different ethnical version of international order.
Globalization: emphasizes a global connectedness that transcends state boundaries and controls. Globalism
believes in transformation is underway and recognizes the growing irrelevance of boundaries.
State: A distinctive political community with its own sets of rules and practices that is separate from other
communities. IR states refer to modern sovereign states and posses legal personality and recognized as
possessing certain rights and duties. States are:
A permanent population
A defined territory and a government capable of maintaining effective control over its territory and of
conduction of international relations with states
States have the right to not serve intervention by any other state.
Nation: A people as opposed to a territorial entity.
Nationalism: as an ideology it calls for political organization to be based on national identity. No state in the
world contains a single homogeneous nation. The tough distinction between nation and state exemplifies the
idea of that the UN is not completely accurate (its members are states not nations)
Modern-State System: Fundamental definition of the modern state is the relationship between a permanent
population and a defined territory. Formation of states gave rise to state systems or international orders. Cross-culture exchange of ideas and knowledge happened even between the Greeks, Romans and the North
Africans. The Greek city-state is the archetypal model of democracy.
Aristotle: saw the state not as an artificial construct separating human form nature but as the natural habitat
for humans. Described man as being a political animal. The polis belongs to the class of objects which exists by
nature. Man is designed by nature to live in the polis. In IR theory Athens stands out as a historic empire of a
state driven by the imperatives of political realism.
Empires: when considering empires we need to consider that states have existed in various parts of time in
various in various forms. The first empires were first around rivers because of the agriculture. The history of
empires is long and many empires come from all over the world. For example early in 4000 BCE saw the rise of
Babylonian and Persian empires. The Ottoman Empire was significant – lasted from 1453 until the 1920s and it
comprised of 14 million in modern periods. The Chinese empires lasted from 18 century BCE until the 20 th
century. And virtually all empires have left and important legacy of some sort. The European empires had the
largest effect on the modern state system. The British empire was the largest and strongest and most
influential of all empires in Europe. Transmission of culture was influenced by European imperialism and the
beginnings of contemporary global interdependence can be traced to European empires.
Modernity: A complex phenomenon associated with the rise of European science and technology, which
began around 1500, and lead to industrialization and increased military power as well as political and social
changes (gradual decline of authority of religion).
Emergence of Sovereignty: the idea of sovereignty was meant to guarantee states external intervention in
domestic affairs. Protective shell of sovereignty guaranteed the freedom of all states, the ruling elements
within each state to arrange their domestic affairs as they liked. State sovereignty is difficult to be put into
practice. 300 years following Westphalia Europe was no less prone to war among its constituent states than
before. Today there’s an understanding that humanitarian intervention trumps the sovereign of states.
Sovereignty can be external and internal. In an international system where all states are sovereign there cant
be a higher authority. Therefore the theory of state sovereignty is paradoxical of creating anarchy in the
international sphere. It may be danger of having anarchical international system but also danger of having no
law and order.
Thomas Hobbes: he was the best known theorist for sovereignty. He was the writer for Leviathan and stood in
the same political position as Machiavelli. He believed that only an all-powerful sovereign could establish
order. Emergence of nationalism is also important to consider and the principle of national self-determination
(each state is entitled to state of their own) this is a problem because thousands of places claim this but aren’t
states. He starts by positioning the nature of the state and human nature. His sate of nature lacks all that’s
necessary for the good of life (justice, security and morality). He argued that individuals must contract
together to live under a single political authority that can enforce order and obedience to a set of laws.
Development of the Modern Nation-State: at the time of Westphalia the link of nation and state was
nonexistent. Sovereignty wth with the person at the top position and people didn’t acquire common political
identity until the late 18 century and democracy as a key was emerging. The record of democratic ideals
didn’t come until the recent times. Development of modern state has 3 characteristics: sovereignty,
territoriality, and nationality. The French revolution marked the turning point of the European state system
and converted subjects into citizens. A major development of the Napoleonic wars was the concert of thrope,
which was an agreement among Europeans to meet regularly to resolve diplomacy. By the 20 century
sovereign states were in Europe and parts of the west but rarely in other parts of the world. Imperialism: imperialism increased with emergence of sovereign states. European empires exported
sovereign systems to the rest of the world and shipping or trading routes around the world furthered
colonization. After WW2 colonialism was questioned. Many European countries couldn’t afford colonies after
the war and many colonies weren’t worth it. The idea of self-determination imposed by other colonies and
questioned the legitimacy of the colonizers. Unclear boarders were drawn between colonial states. The
arbitrary divisions created this way have made task of nation building (effort to develop coherent sense of
national identity with different groups of people) difficult. Sovereign statehood was hard for some former
colonies. Few of these collapsed and a lot weren’t able to keep up a good statehood (weak, quasi or failing or
Weak states: states that cant organize ad regulate societies and cant deliver adequate range of political and
social and economic goods.
Quasi States: sometimes overlaps with weak state…specifically developing states that are dependent on
support of international community and posses negative sovereignty.
State Failure: a state that’s already weak and reaches point where factors like corruption, incompetence and
unfair distribution of resources etc. Somalia is more or less a failed state since it doesn’t have centralized
IR and WW1: the main impetus for IR as a formal academic discipline was WW1. Brought the term total war. It
was also used for militarization of states entire resources for the purpose of annihilating the enemy. There
was also urgent search for new international order that would make lasting peace possible.
Woodrow Wilson: Under the influence of him this was to be liberal. He served as a US president and took the
US into WW1 to help make the world safe for democracy. He resonated in American foreign policy every since.
Wilsonians idealism was reflected in efforts to establish a new international order. The chief architect of
League of Nations was unable to persuade a republican dominated congress to join.
Hugo Grotius: Important liberal ideas during 30 years war. He promoted the view of natural condition of
humanity was peace not conflict. He founded liberal international thought and formulated ideas in modern
period of sociability of the international sp