Textbook Notes (369,133)
Canada (162,403)
POLS 2300 (129)
Chapter 1

Chapters 1 and 2.doc

14 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2300
Nanita Mohan

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Week 1: January 7 to January 13 Unit 1: Canadian Political Culture Chapter 1-An introduction to Political Life … Leger Marketing’s annual survey of Canadians, asking them whether they trust people in certain professions • Firefighters 97% • Teachers 89% • Politicians 15% • Car Sales 12% … Therefore it can be seen that Canadians do not trust politicians & to understand why we need to think about the nature of the politician’s craft in societies where not everyone shares the same opinions or has identical interests … Once elected they must balance competing demands and points of view What is Politics? … Arises from the fact of scarcity(desire for wealth, water, clean air-conflicts will take place between rival claimants which is how politics comes about) … However it is also about how the conflicts are settled so politics is also the activity by which rival claims are settles by public authorities … State’s authority reaches=where the boundaries of what is considered political is located … Public realm is inside the boundary line and Private realm is beyond this line where the states authority does not extend … Politics is about the exercise of power but Marxism, postmodernism(Foucault) and feminism think otherwise … For them politics is about the pervasive pattern of oppression. About how inequalities are generated and reinforced through the power relations that exist between classes/gender groups at all levels of society … It doesn’t really matter how politics is defined but rather political conflict is largely about where exactly this boundary between public and private should be drawn, what should be considered a proper matter for public life and decisions by the state and what should remain private matters Power … Power is the ability to influence what happens … When you break down power there are 3 different types • Coercion-compliance may result from the threat or use of force • Influence-the process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, of another or others • Authority-Recognition on the part of the compliant party that the person or organization issuing a command has the right to do so and should be obeyed … Democratic politics relies primarily on the two non-coercive species of power … In democracy those in power must justify their use of coercion as being necessary to maintain values such as freedom, equality, justice, and the rule of law … However people will disagree over these values and how much coercion is acceptable … Open Society –a society in which individuals are free to speak their minds, associate with whom they wish and more freely without having to notify or justify their movement to the public authorities … Difficulties in an open society were brought about after 9/11- public buildings were more restricted, airport security was tightened, border crossings were more time consuming … Most lasting impact of 9/11 on Canadian politics has been the reflection and debate it has generated regarding the appropriate balance between individual rights and national security in a democratic society State and Government … State is a broad concept that includes government as the seat of legitimate authority in a territory but also included bureaucracy, judiciary, the Armed Forces and internal police, structures of legislative assemblies and administration, public corporations, regulatory boards and ideological apparatuses such as education establishment and publicly owned media. Distinguishing characteristic of the state is its monopoly over the use of force in a given territory … The state has 3 main characteristics: • Territorial Boundaries-states have borders, beyond which their legal authority is either nil or strictly limited • Complex set of institutions that wield public authority- courts, the police, and the education system • Terms of power-Weber called its “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order” … Marx argues that the end of class conflict would sound the death knell for the state-it would “wither away” no longer having any function to perform … Feminists view the state as a patriarchal institution, reinforcing the superiority of men over women … On whose behalf and in whose interests the state’s authority is exercised? 1. Pluralism-politics as being a competition between different interests are likely to conclude that the state responds to the demands of those groups that are best organized, superior financial resources and can speak on behalf of the voters of the population that are influential … Society centered variants emphasizes the impact of groups in society on the state … State centered variants place greater emphasis on the ability of public officials to act on their own preferences and according to their own interests 2. Class Analysis-the small minorities who control most of a society’s wealth maintain their social and economic dominance. The state’s complicity in perpetuating inequalities rooted in the economic system is an article of faith shared by all variants of class analysis. Demands and interests of subordinate classes influence state decision makers but this influence is limited by the state’s vulnerability to a decline in business confidence, control that the dominant class has over mass media and popular culture 3. Feminism-view the state as an inherently patriarchal institution. Meaning the state, its structures and laws serve to institutionalize male dominance. Many feminist argue that if gender discrimination were to be eliminated the state as we know it would disappear 4. Postmodernism-views the state as an essentially oppressive and even repressive institution (oppression that is associated with the state and public authority). Oppression may be targeted at groups based on their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference or another trait that places them outside the dominant group in control of the levers of state power and whose values and identity are reflected in the institution. It is believed that the problem of the state is not simply its relationship to economic power but to forms of oppression and repression more generally. … Government-those who have been elected to power(it is more personal than the state, being associated with a particular group of people and usually with political parties) … Legitimacy-the rules and institutions that comprise the state, and which determine how governments are chosen are accepted by most people as being reasonable(therefore legitimacy of the state is based on the consent of those who are governed) … Totalitarianism-is a system of government that suppresses all dissent in the name of some supreme goal(this goal may be tied to ‘race’ as it was in Nazi Germany or ‘class struggle’ like in the Soviet Union-distinction b/w the state, government and society lose all meaning under totalitarianism) … Cultural Hegemony-signifies the ability of society’s dominant class to get its values and beliefs accepted as the conventional wisdom in society at large … Harold Laski argued that American citizens were essentially duped into believing that their society provided equality of opportunity and protection for individual rights … ‘Rugged Individualism’-the capacity and desirability of each person relying on his or her own resources to get ahead in life Democracy … C.B Macpherson argued that there are in fact 3 different types of democracy in the modern world: • Liberal democracy-characterized by competition between political parties • Development & Communist democracy-do not have competitive elections and would probably bot be considered democratic by most(they both claim to attach greater importance to the social and economic equality of individuals) … Democracy is based on equality … Majority rule, government by popular consent, one person-one vote and competitive elections are the political institutions associated with democratic government … The best protection(believed by Tocqueville) of Tyranny of the majority is the existence of multiple group identities in society … Social Capital-norms of interpersonal trust, a sense of civic duty and a belief that one’s involvement in politics and in the life of the community matters(has an economic value but argued that it promotes citizens to be happier and have control over their own lives) … All modern democracies are representative democracies- government is carried out by elected legislatures that represent the people … A study of the 1998 United States elections found that there were 235 referendums(submission of an issue of public importance to the direct vote of the electorate) at the state level, about ¼ of which were initiated by citizen petitions … Rule of Law-says Eugene Forsey “that everyone is subject to the law; that no one, no matter how important or powerful, is above the law” … Public Agenda-the matters that have been identified by opinion leaders in the media and in government as ones that warrant some policy response, even if that response is a decision not an act … When the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was agreed to in 1981by Ottawa and provincial governments, its equality section (s.15) did not include sexual orientation among banned discrimination(it was finally added several years later by the Supreme Court) … Democracy is a political system based on formal political equality of all citizens, in which there is a realistic possibility that voters can replace government and in which certain basic rights and freedoms are protected Political Identities … Identities are ideas that link individuals to larger groups. They are self-definitions that help us make sense of who we are and how we fit into the world around us … They become political interests when they are organized under a collective association that claims to represent the members of the group and attempts to influence the actions of the state … A nation has been a crucial political identity in Canadian politics (the most powerful political identity in the world today). The meaning of the term is a matter of dispute; it is agreed that a nation is a community with certain characteristics that distinguish it from other communities but the dispute is over the details. … Cultural and social identities are not inherently political and the differences that exist between them may give rise to political conflicts when they are associated with inequalities in the economic status, social prestige and political power of these groups … Globalization refers to the unprecedented integration of the world’s economies through trade, capital flows, internationalized production as well as cultural integration through mass media, marketing, satellite and computer-based information technologies and migration … Critics argue that globalization has produced greater polarization between the affluent and the poor Political Fault Lines, Old and New 1. The rift that separates French and English(the oldest) going back to the military conquest of New France in 1759 and subsequent domination of the francophone population by the English speaking minority 2. The American Revolution and the victory of the 13 colonies in the American War of Independence. The impact has been felt as a territorial threat from the United States. From the American’s Declaration of Independence in 1776 to the present day, a shadow has been cast over Canadian politics & culture by the simple but important fact of living alongside a much more powerful neighbour 3. Involves regionalism. Ina a country as physically vast and diverse as Canada it was unavoidable that the economic and social characteristics of the regions would develop differently. Ottawa became sensitive to the needs and preferences of the centre over those of the ‘hinterland’ regions … Donald Smiley calls these 3 fault lines the enduring axes of Canadian politics; however they are not the only fault lines that mark the Canadian political landscape Chapter 2-Political Culture Ideologies, Values and Institutions … When ideas take the form of a set of interrelated beliefs about how society is organized and how it out to function-an interpretative map for understanding the world-this is
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