Power: Politics always involves the exercise of power. Power is the ability of one actor (or group) to
impulse his/her will on others. Sometimes described as hard(force) or soft (manipulation) power
3 ways of excercising power:
1. Coercion: Others submit involuntarily because of use of force, intimidation and psychological
pressure (does not always have to be physical)
2. Authority: Others consent to your exercise of power, thus the exercise of power is legitimate
3. Influence: You sway the opinions and preferences of others
The State: An organization that has the monopoly of legitimate use of force in certain areas
Functions of State: 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
Sovereignty: The state has a monopoly on use of force within a territory and it is externally recognized
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 and also a collection of institutions that carry out these
Freedom House “Map of Democracy”: Each country is rated on a seven category scale, 1 is most free
and 7 are the least free. There are 2 foci: political rights, which enable people to participate freely in the
political process, including the right to vote, run for office etc.
Democracy: 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 7 Democratic Ideals:
1. Popular Sovereignty: Under popular sovereignty the people have the right to get rid of the
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
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
4. Political Liberty: Liberties are freedoms that protect the individual, set limits of government or
fellow citizens and are essential to exercise of popular sovereignty. Two types of liberties:
Negative liberty and positive. Negative liberties are freedoms from, such as speech, association,
religion, press, fair trial etc. Positive are the freedoms to such as, education, health care etc.
5. Minority Rights: Minority rights were designed to ensure that a specific individual or group is
able to achieve equality 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, effects legitimacy of political systems ex Singapore vs. Canada
7. Rule of Law: The idea that government authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance
with the written, publicly disclosed laws.
Democratic Elitism: In this system citizens delegate law-making authority to elected representatives.
Essentially, you choose elites to do the job so citizens participate in directly. This assumes that direct
citizen participation is unrealistic and undesirable, usually in larger populations.
Deliberative Democracy: In this system all citizens are involved in decision making, not just good for the
system also good for the citizen. This argues that it is not enough for citizens to vote for their
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.
*Horizontal (power relations): Different parts of the state are analyzed under 3 functional sections. It is
the legislative branch, or the lawmakers, the executive branch and the judicial branch.
*Vertical (power relations): Vertical powers include unitary and federal systems. The unitary system
refers to the idea that the control government has power over regional governments.
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.
Relations between State and Citizens: The British tradition of parliament is to safeguard rights of
citizens not courts while the American tradition is set out rights in the Bill of Rights enforced in courts.
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
Legislatures: Have important functions in a democracy. Legislations bring about “rule by people and
represent you who have the same views as you. Also, govern – form the government by majority rule
and legislate to formulate and pass laws.
*Single Member Plurality System: One representative per geographic areas. This is a first-past-the-past
Ridings: Sections in 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
*Proportional Representation System (PR): In this system, representation is directly proportional to the
share of the popular vote. This means that this system is directly proportional, there are no ridings or distracts 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.
German Hybrid System: In this model it is a mixed member proportional system. This means that there
are 2 votes, the candidate and the party list and 5% rule.
Parties: Parties connect society and state by forming a bridge between political citizens. Parties are the
miracle glue of democracy.
*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 authoritarians, but citizens elect presidents and
legislative branches and elect representatives. The governmental system in Iran has been called a
theocracy, which means rule by cleries, 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.
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
*Supreme (religious) leader: Ayatollah Khamein: 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 a 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 council is not elected, but all
other bodies are.
The Executive: The people elect the preside