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Politics and Social Movements.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 1100
John Irwin

Politics and Social Movements:  power is exercised in the political arena by political parties, elected legislators, and civil servants  the sstate is the chief actor, using its great power / resource to control and change people’s behaviour politics and Power;  politics is the process by which individuals / groups act to promite their interests in conflict with others; connect with social and economic power o power reflects the extend to which available resources contrain and enable peoples action; resources; provide means for actions, but provide a limit on what action is possibl  Weber; Power; ability of a person or group to achieve their objective even when opposed; o Concentrated in society because some people consistency have greater discretion  Power is capacity to act in a desired way,  Politics is the process of mobilizing these capacities; o Most visible; involves struggle between opposing forces; evident in what people do to avoid conflict and maintain their dominations;  Example; Controlling agendas, timing of decisions, and how others define their interests  John Gaventa; power was maintained for generation in his investigation of why Appalachian miners remained politically inactive; because local elite controlled vital resources, but also the opinion forming insuttions of the areas, school, churches, and the media  Bent Flvbjerg: investiages that wining and losing and how reason is argued and manipulated in the exercise of pwer  Power is hiden in relationships; for it to be observed; it’s subjects must actively resist it o Opposition is rare if people believe they have no chance of successfully resisting the demands Types of Authority: to hold authority is critical in the conduct of poltics;  Where authority is accepted poltics will likely follow peaceful established patterns = not ecist ; intense conflict are probable ;  Weber: three types of tauhtority; which was accepted by those subjected; usually combo of some  Traditional Authority; obey because it is the way things have always been done; santity of immeroial traditions o Obedience as long as rules are followed  Charismatic Authoirty; exceptional qualities of an individual person, someone of exemplary or heroic character who reveals how life will unfold; new social values, patterns of conduct o Chaisma; able to resolve problems beyond the capacity of ordinary people o Devotedfollowing; rooted in religious faith secular ideologies; o Innovative , revolutionary but authority is fragile; dependent on their personal qualities and appearance of result  Rational Legal Authoirty; based on formally establishe rules, procedures, experise in which an individuals acknowledged right to command is limited to his or her official position o Bureaucratic structures both public and private; higher rank vs lower o Specialized knowledge or exertise is another modern basis of authority  Power and politics are dimensions of all social relationships;  Political Insitutions; established rules, procedures for political affairs; including the government of society; o Consistute a network of power relationships o No uniform way development  Special interest groups, social movements, and polticial parties connect various segments of public to the state; core political frame of contemporary complex socities State: in modern societies are both objective of political struggles  Weber; State; human community that successfully claims the monopoloy of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory o Resident consider the use of force to be acceptable only when the state leader calls on it and the probably only when it is applied according to widely held rules o Sometimes physical coercion = being view as illegitimate  State; set of procedures, organition concerned with creating, administering and enforcing rules or decision for conduct within a given terriotrity; legitimacy is not assumed  Pre-industrial states; rudimentary; small; monarchy; rule by single individual due to royal lineage Modern State Insitutions: Authoritarian: public opposition is forbidden; population under pressure to accept and comply with poltical expectations of leaders  Leaders want compliance in all public life, and depend on control of military force to maintain  Absolute Monarchies; tradition + force to control, people supported the elite,  Miltary Dictatorship; take power; seizure are climaed to be temporary until corruption or ethnic problems solved; sometimes in a cycle with experimental democtaice regimes Totaliatrians: mor extreme than authorit; involves intervening in and controlling all aspects of both public and private life;  Cultural homgeniety in every important respect  Strategy for achieve total domination trhough a centralized repressive state apprataus;  No case perfect fits the concept,  Leaders appeal to the anger of the public, who suffer economic or poltical humiliation Liberal Democractic States: rule by the people;  Direct democracy; all citizens discuss and vote on issues; functions effectively onlyin small settings;  Liberal democractic states; characterized by institutions that allow representation of the view of ordinary citizens through political parties that compete for power to govern  Consitutional Monarchies; head of state is hereditary positions or republics  Election practices; is the heart and vary o Legislature by lecting members from small areas ( constituencies ) within the state  Such socities conduct set of minielections all at the same time; o Other democracies count vote for the whole societies and candidates are electated from party list in proportion to the party’s share of total vosts cast; proportional representations  Rapid spread of democracies; Perspective on the democractic State; Old Foes: The Ruling Elites:  Rulng elite approach pointed to small group that effective dominated poltical decisions of interest;  Mills: existence of power elite at the national level in the US;; those poltical economic and military circles which as an intricate set of overlapping clues share decision having at least national consequence  Not fixed group whose members made all the decisions; composed of people who knew each other, shared upper class background, consulted on issues of fundamental importance to societiety  Elite controlled decision making at the local level; thus elite domination encompases all levels of state  Mills; Corporate elite most powerful segment of the power elite;  William Domhoff; corporate wealthy are able to limit government to actions that sever their interests ; capitalist class  Wallace Celement; ruling class in Cnada intimately interconnected that the higest levels of corporate power between privte boardroom and the national government  Image of state implicit with ruling elite puts little emphasis on administration; focuses on policy; which is linked to interest of those who hold institutional postions  Elite needs > ordinary people needs, state is nothing more than a means of domination even when policy is formally democractic procedures Pluralism and Elite Competitions Mills: Critique of Pluarlism; view of american democracy as forum of any person or group had fair chance of being repsented  Rober Dahl; critiques mills that he he only pointed out that a group with high potential for control but had failed to demonstrate that this group actually dominated decision making o Dahl; clear different of position could be observed in public debate o Restive view that power is not exercise in situation where people are persuaded by others to adopt their attitudes; CONCLUDED: democracy was alive and well in the 1950’s  Pluralist; recognize that modern states have intermediate orgniazations between government and the people; parties, interest or lobby groups represent those with particular issues to promote in the state o No one interst is able to dominate the state and democracy is protected by the competition between interest; Political leaders would be swayed by mass opinions because of their desire to win  Interest groups; influence parties but rarely offer their own candidates for election because their objects are limited to particular issues Political Economy Perspetice: Neo Marxism:  State to be structure or programmed so that it acts in the long term interst of capitalist as a class  De emphasize that workers appear not to be against capitalism and see freformeist labour or social democracties parties fulling a need for cpatialism to make concessssion in order to maintain leigitmacy and continuity o Similar to ruling elite; liberal democractic processes are thought to function at a decondary level in the power structure  Nicos Poulantzas; state must be relatively autonomous from class conflicts in the production proves if its is to serve the needs of the dominate class o Autonomous does not mean independence from class control but rather that the sate is not representing the dominat class interest o Role of state is to attain cohesion by individualizing the workers; contribution to their sense of identity as individuasl as a part of a nation rather members of class o Legal and ideological structures resting on claims of equality o Never challenges the poltical power of dominant class; state may have to resist certain short term demands of capitalist; to meet the the longer tern needs of them Partial Autonomous State:  Theda Skocpol and Fred Block; independent source of power for state official based on resources of the state that these official controls st nd o Challenges Marxist; by 1 ; continuation is not necessary . 2 other forms of state or instutinal action might meet the needs fo capitalism, o 3 rdstate action is opposed by those very person for whom it ise thought to be esstential  Skocpol; state ; structure with logic and interst of its own not to fuse with interst of dominant class in society or the full set of member groups in the policy o Directe d to the interest of the state actors themselves as well as the process of policy formation; to explain the policy that is actually producted o State s own fundamental interst in maintain sheer physical order, and poltical peace may lead it especially in periods of crisis to enforce concessions to the subordinate demands o Challenged Neo-Marx; that it fails to accord sufficient independence to the state; and the idea that politics is a free for all compettion among equals Feminist: class issues to the exclusion of gnder and ethnicity; gender primary in analysis of politics and the state as it does for the social life generally;  Brought fourth the subordination of the women, and an instiution that is full of gender inequality  Feminist have no theory for the state because there concept is too vauge and uniary to be applicable to womens poltical stragies  Mary Mcinstosh; state supports system where men control wome in the house, wrok without pay to maintain capitalism labour force, from which they can be dranw as needed to supply cheap labour o Women stay out of certain areas, which are left to men; legislation privledges employed married men o Women idden in the family or house to serve the needs of men and capitalism  Jill Quadagno: development of welfare state; brought forward class issues but nothing for welfare for women o Feminist claim welfare program maintain male dominance as their rules of eligbility favours male breadwinners o Women are more often subjected to emans test for social assistance programs; more likely to qualify for universal entailment programs  Varda Burstyn; state as acting to maintain domination bth by capitalism and men; state policies discriminate against omen interest or fail to address them; o Men have higher lvel jobs, inadequate female rperestation in the state stcutures  Manon Tremblays: marginalization of womens issue in policy but women were more likely to responde to women issues, and feel that htye should be given priority  Women are dismantling the bastion of male political dominance; process is slow; depends on the reorientitng attitudes towards gender roles Dmocracy and Politics in Canada Party Poltics:  Political Party; organization dedicated to winning political power by controlling government  Liberal Democracies: winning a general election ;  Canada; complex structure; power of legislature divided between provincial and federal government  Parties mirror institutional arraignment, secring as much as electoral supportas possible within this strcutreus is the key to their success  Bloc Quebcois: presented seaprist votes in the national parliament; social democractic, as well as nationlist o Canadian Alliance, which began from Reform Party  Alliance was a sociall conservative populist party; populist dimension reflect the part’s formal commitment to directed democracy and members control of the organization, Electoral System:  Advanateges; citizens may approach their local area MP; o Produces a majority and thus a stable government but it makes some peoples votes moreinfluential than others , depending on where they live, often produces a parliament that does not reflect the wishs of population as a whole  Most people vote for party rather than the individual;  No assurance that party with the most votes over the whole cotunry will win the election; if two parties equal support but on has votes equally distributed and other has much more contcentrated. The pary with equal distribution will win  Popular votes does not translate directly into representation;  Constituency system leaves supporters of minority parties with little or no representation; o Difficult for new parties to be successful because they have difficulties translating their support into seats and political visibility. F.e; a part with 10 percent of votes may not get a seat unless votes are contrated in a few ridings  Discoruges participations, difficulties for establishment and viable options for new parties, by the electorarte as a whole o Proportional Representation; designed to avoid thee problems; system functioned with the same voting distribution the country would have had a minority or coalition govrnmnet o Political compromises would have been necessary but many socities achieve stable government with election by proportional representation Political Participation: caries from informal discuisson,, media, voting, to attending meetings, campaigns, contacting politicias in order to influence them, even running for office.  Canada; it is limited to discussion and voting for candidates to the various levels of government p o Public is becoming more cynical about politicians; turnout at elections is falling to 60%  Class is not defining force in contemporary Canada; but economic issues and belief do influence the choice of many votes  Theory in voting behvaiour; inevitably follows from social experience is obviously untenable;  Symbolic interactionist; assumotion that voting is an interepretive action that peoplecarry assumptions from prior experiences filtered through their social positoon and previous commitments to a party o Usually incorporate incomplete information and incomple understand of how political system operates;  Strongest parties; empathize the quality fo their leaders t o cope with whatever problems exist;  Votes make choice that respond only partially to cultural and social factors Neoconsevatism and Privatization;  Policies stressed elimating public deficit by redcing expenditure,stimulatitng the economoy by cutting taxes and withdrawing the state from the economcy by privatizing public enterprise and contracting o the private sector for services previously providn by public employees  -Privatization; sales have legitimized as contributions to debt reduction, the promotion free market forces, small stae is core of new conservatism o Those who benefit from tax reductions favou it more o Of basic goods suchs as water, power, are proing to be controversial; people are concerned that prcies will rise in the long term once supply is in the coproate hands Social Movements: dpends on the actions of the non elite members of society; those people who have relatively little or no control over major economic, symbolic, poltical or military resources, … or over anything  People voluntaryily work together to influence the distribution fo social goods,; o social good is anything that is a particular society value; money, honour, dince grace, security, citizen o No universal social goods, because different socities have different goods; o Social goods emerge and disappear as value change and traditions lose relevance  Social goos are scarce; making the valuable; some people have more access than others;  Inequalities depend on ideologies set of ideas that justify how social goods are dsitributied  Dominant ideology; defends existing inequalities by making hem seem right;  Counter ideologies; challenge the justice of existing social system, promote altnernative values and goals, present a plan for changing,; promoting these ideas are good for social movement  Social movements; change throught voluntary coop of relatively powerless; o These people contribute financial or material resurces, recruit new members or spread a counter ideology; participate in strikes, sit in, boycotts, demonstrations, protest marches,violent action, civil disobedience; o Focused on changing attitudes, everyday practices, public opinion or the policies and procedures of business and government  Social trend; sampling a changing pattern of social behaviour, where as social movement is a cooperative effort to achieve social change from below  Rising labour market participation of women is a social trend; group of volunteers who fight for gender equality is a social movement o Social movements influence some trends; like feminist; women enter paid workforce o Some social trends may be scarecely affected by social movements  Pressure group; influence large institution ; the state; SOCIAL MOVEMENT IS ONE KIND o Interest goups; concerns of specific sets of people; restrict their membership and rely heavily on professional stagg rather than volunteer o Use public opinion to put pressure on political or economic elite but membership I social movements is more open, and their ideologies typically appeal to people from different walks of life  Volunary associations; voluntary particiapation ; o Provid social or health service, organize leisure activities or unite the followers of a spiritual doctrine o Help people to accept and enjot the existing social system ae not social movements  Social movements try to change the distribution of social goods , political parties try to win and keep political power o Social movement becomes a political party when it fields candidate in elections o Parties that have gorwn out of social movements retain feature from their past;  Or they may be more sectarian and rely heavily n grasroot supporters;  These features foster a strong party identity; also discourage outsides from joining  Not all groups with non elite, voluntary members who aim to rellicate social goods are necessarily social movements o Counter movement may have all characteristics of a social movement but difference is that it arise from response to a social movement;  1. Social movement must be seen as successful or gaining success  2. Social movements goals must e seen as threat to another groupAllies must be available to support mobilization of the counter movement o Defend the status qua gainst a perceived threat by social movement; others emerge when a state has amibuous policies or is interally divide on a particular social issue Theoretical Apporaches; Breadown approach; consensus is the basis of social order and that culture is a major determinant of action  Durk: and Talcott Parsons: both though that shared norms and value hold society together  Holds that rapig thorough or uneven change in socity weakens the social bonds that promote social order  Social disintegration; enocourages the formation of groups advocating radicalchange  Relative deprivation theory; that radical social movements result from feelings of fear and frustration o James C Davis: revolutions and rebellions were preced by two phases; o 1 ; economic and social progress; more and more social goods become available- and expextations rise  And then sharp reversal follows; scares and cost social resources, expectations not met o 2 phase; gap between what people expect and what they get grows wider; rebellion result when anxiety and frustration become wide spread  Critique of Relative Deprivative; most frustrated mem of society are not the only people who fight for radical change; more over relative dep does not provide connecting link between peoples feelings and revolution o A great deal must happen before individual grievances will translate into major changes Neil: Smelser: Systemic Theory: role of social breakdown in growth of social movement;  Looks at society at whole, set of linked elements that work to remain stable;  Social movement reflect break down of stability unless 6 conditions are met o Structual doncieness; social conditions give people change to unite for change; isolate = bad o Structural Strain; dominant ideology must be viewed with dissatisfaction or uncertainty o Growth and stress of a genreaalized blief; people must share a counter ideology that binds them o Precipitating factor; straw that breaks the came and force people to fight for change o Mobilization; people readiness for action must have an outlet; people must be able to joint social movements o Response of authorities; because of states powerfulness, it’s response affects a social movements chance of survival and succsss  Corrects the over emphasis on the individual by specifying group and societal factors in the rise of social movements, recognizes that shared grievances alone will not bind protestors together  For the movement to last; people got to share ideas that give guidelines to work together for change  *** Smelser; does not establish cause and effect; rests o ncircular arguemtnt  Contrary to Break down; social conflict may be a normal feature of social life; then the breakdown of value consensus and stability may not explain the formation of social movements o Reakdown accused of treating social movements as ailment;  Resource mobilization approach assumes that social order is based on competition and conflict and that interests are the fundamental cause of actions  Challenges the image of social movements as unusal imperamennt and disorderly; o Assumes that social movement are similar to other organizations; they are managed by leaders whose decisions are no less calculating than anyone elses  Social movement entrepreneurs must deal with free riding; cnono cooperation in the attainment of a good that will be abailable to all members of the community o Sovial movement propaganda is a form of marketing that advertise the benefits of joining  Proponents of R.S approach; arruges that Breakdown is wrong that satisfaction with social order is normal states SINCE * dissatisfaction is built into society; always people with unequal access to resources; o But grievances alone do not make social movement; social movements highlight grievances giving them ideological form and propelling them into public life  Power at the cntre of analysis; one does not have power; one can only be in a position that confers power ; power means having ability to cary out one’s wishes; o WEBER: power refers to persons or groups chance of fulfilling their goals even whne others would have it otherwise  Source of power is control over resources; creates leverage, o Economic power; based on control over the means of material production; land energy capital, technology, labour facotires, raw materials and so forth o Political power; control over legitimate means of violence,; the police and armed forces o Ideological power; control over the means of producing and desseminationg symbols;  Control over any probides elites to shape the lives of powerless  Social Movements must compete against social institutions for scare resources necessary to start organization R.M searchs for the social conditions that affect social movements control over resources and focus on the strategies that translate power into success  Two perspective with R.M; utilitarian and political conflict perspective; both assume that actors are rational seek to maximize self interest ; address different problems tho o Utiliraian perspective; individuals promote their own interest  Critique; assuming social movements attract support for selective incentives may prove untrue for some peoples reason for joing; because they identify wit t other members of social movement,,  Notion of fairness overuses people concerns about efficiency; o Poltical Conflict perspective : how parts of society; classes; promote collective interest; stess isseus central to Marxist tradition; explains the originals of class solidarity o Search for factors that explain the success o failure of class based movements; o Recently; more focus on to the state; because it is so powerful, the state can tip the balance in favour of one class over another Culture in Social Movements: Culture Turn ; 1980s;  Questions how people form the norms and values created in and by social movements; t and believe that formation of goals needs to be explained  Effective social movements redefine identities by cahning or reinforcing peoples sense
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