Chapter 1, 4 and 5 notes

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Political Science
Fiona T Rahman

Political Concepts- Chapter 1 Notes 16/12/2012 10:02:00 AM Politics is the activity or process by which groups reach and enforce binding decisions affecting the collectivity as a whole. Three aspects of politics are:  Politics is a collective activity, occurring within and between groups. A castaway on a deserted island could not engage in politics.  Politics involves making decisions on matters affecting the group. These decisions can be reached by a variety of means, from informed deliberation to violent imposition.  Political decisions become authoritative policy for the groups as a while, binding and committing its members. These decisions are enforced. Government: consists of institutions responsible for making collective decisions for a society. More narrowly, government refers to the top political level within such institutions.  Broader sense, government is the entire terrain of institutions endowed with public authority. Governance: denotes the activity of making collective decisions, a task in which government institutions may not play a leading, or even any, role. In world politics, many issues are resolved my negotiation: governance without government.  Conception than a concept Aristotle’s classification of governments Form vs. Rule by One (Rule by) Few Many Genuine Kingship Aristocracy Polity (common- interest form) Perverted (own Tyranny Oligarchy Democracy interest form) Ex) According to Aristotle, Kingship was the genuine form and the regarded tyranny as it’s degraded equivalent. Kingship: involved one person as the leader Tyranny: arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority. Aristocracy: which was defined as the rule by the virtuous. Oligarchy: is the rule by the rich. Polity: rule by the moderate middle class, exercised through law Democracy: rule by the poor in their self-interest. Classifications of Governments Liberal democracy: in a liberal democracy, representative and limited government operating through law provides an accepted framework for political competition. Regular elections based on near universal suffrage are free and fair. Individual rights, including freedom of expression and association, are respected. In combining a measure of political equality with a market economy based on private property, liberal democracy has proved to be a successful form of rule.  Ex) Canada and India. Illiberal democracy: in an illiberal democracy, leaders are elected with no or minimal falsification of the count. However, the rules exploit their position to prevent a level playing field. To keep their potential opponents off- balance, they interfere with the rule of law, the media and the market. Horizontal accountability is weak, with the rulers often claiming a patriarchal relationship with the people. Individual rights are poorly entrenched, the judiciary is weak and the rulers claim to be the best judge for the national interest and the guarantor of stability. An illiberal democracy is a common if far from inevitable outcome of the transition from authoritarian rule in poorer countries.  Ex) Malaysia and Africa Authoritarian regimes: rulers stand above the law and are free from effective popular accountability. The media are controlled or cowed. Political participation is usually limited and discouraged. However, the rulers power is often constrained by the need for tacit alliances with other power-holders such as landowners, the military and religious leaders  Ex) Military governments  Totalitarian states: participation was compulsory but controlled as the government sought total control of society, justified by an ideology seeking to transform both society and human nature. These regimes placed heavy reliance’s on party members, the secret police and other agents of social control. o Ex) Russia Power: is the capacity to bring about intended effects. The term is often used as a synonym for influence, to denote the impact (however exercised) of one actor on another. But the word is also used more narrowly to refer to the more forceful modes of influences: for example, getting one’s way by threats.  Ex) Parsons vs. Arendt o Parsons thinks the conception of power as the capacity of a government to draw on the obligations of its citizens in order to achieve collective purposes such as order and environmental protection. o Arendt thinks that power is to be empowered by a group’s members to pursue joint objectives.  A group whose members are willing to act together to possess more horsepower than does a group dominated by suspicion and conflict.  Arendt viewed power and violence as enemies rather than siblings. Max Weber’s Classification of Authority Authority is the right to rule. Authority creates its own power so long as people accept that the person in authority has the right to make decisions.  3 types of authority: Traditional, Charismatic, and Legal- rational. Traditional authority: is rule based on custom and established procedures. It formed an element of Max Weber’s influential classification of authority.  Ex) Monarchy Charismatic authority: is based on the intense commitment of followers to the leader and his message. Charisma refers to the nature of the relationship between leader and followers, not to any intrinsic characteristics of the leader; thus, charisma is a sociological rather than psychological construct.  Ex) Jesus, Hitler, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Legal- rational authority: is based on regular and formal procedures; the basis of rule is the office rather than its occupant.  Ex) Bureaucracy A legitimate system of government is one based on authority: that is, those subject to its rule recognize its right to make decisions. The state and sovereignty State is a political community formed by a territorial population subject to one government. Sovereignty: refers to the ultimate source of authority in society. The sovereign is the highest and final decision-maker within a community.  Internal sovereignty refers to law- making power within a territory.  External sovereignty refers to international recognition of the sovereign’s territorial jurisdiction. Nation: According to John Stuart Mill in his book, a portion of mankind may be said to constitute a nationality if they are united among themselves by common sympathies… which make them co-operate with each other more willingly than other people, desire to be under the same government, an desire that is should be government by themselves or a portion of themselves exclusively.  Nation according to Hague and Harrop is basically a more elusive con
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