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Chapter 1

POlS 2300 chapter 1

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2300
Nanita Mohan

POLS 2300 Notes Chapter 1 Introduction - What is Politics? o Politics arise from the fact of scarcity  Limited stock of what people want creates conflicts between claimants • Brings about politics and is also how claims are settled • Politics is public in nature  Definition: The activity by which rival claims are settled by public authorities - Power o Politics is about the exercise of power  Disagreements over which exercises of power are political  Disagreements over the levels/existence of inequalities • Foucault, Marx, feminist movement= politics include domestic relations, unions, student/teacher, husband/wife relations etc • Locke and Easton= politics only settling disputes in a public and binding manner - Political conflict largely about where the line between public and private is to be drawn - Power is the ability to influence what happens o i.e. Vatican has power within the catholic community - Different types of power o Coercion: compliance resulting from threat of force o Influence: The ability to convince someone that a particular action is reasonable and/or in their best interest o Authority: recognition that the person/organization issuing the orders has the right to do so and should be obeyed - Open Society: a society in which individuals are free to speak their minds, associate with whom they wish and move freely without having to justify their movements o 9/11changed some aspects of this within Canada and the U.S.A  Extra tax on travel, less access to certain buildings, anti-terrorism act, etc - State and Government o Difference between state and government o Definition of State: A broad concept that includes government as the seat of legitimate authority in a territory but also includes a bureaucracy, judiciary, the armed forces and internal police, structures of legislative assemblies and admin, public corporations, regulatory boards, ideological apparatuses such as education establishments and publically owned media. This distinguishing characteristic of the state is its monopoly over the use of force in a given territory  Three main characteristics • 1) Territorial Boundaries • 2) Complex set of institutions that wield public authority • 3) State defined in terms of power - Pluralism o Politics fundamentally a competition between different groups and the state will respond to the best organized groups who can claim to speak for the most people o Society-centered variants: emphasize the impact of groups on society in the state o State-centered: emphasize the ability of public officials to act on their own desires rather than responding to the demands of voters o Does not assume competition takes place on an even level  Business occupies a privileged position - Class Analysis o State in capitalist societies= instrument through which wealthy minority maintains economic and social dominance o Argue that influence on state decisions by subordinate classes limited by state vulnerability to a decline in business confidence - Feminism o State inherently patriarchal  Serves to institutionalize male dominance o Many feminists argue that if gender discrimination were eliminated the state as we know it would disappear - Post Modernism o State essentially an oppressive/repressive institution o Repression is eclectic, includes any group outside of the dominant group - Government o Term for those elected to power  Governments chosen and removed by elections • Elections part of the state system - Legitimacy: the rules and institutions which comprise the state and which determine how governments are chosen are considered reasonable o Based on the consent of the governed - Governments usually upheld by both force and consent - Governments that rely
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