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Chapter 1

POLB50Y3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Rand Dyck, Public Choice, Voluntary Sector


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLB50Y3
Professor
Christopher Cochrane
Chapter
1

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Canadian Politics: Critical Approaches by Rand Dyck
Chapter 1: The Study of Politics
THE POLITICAL SYSTEM
Pg. 3 34 million in Canada
- Needs ranked by Maslow hierarchy
- Private or voluntary sector parts of society and the economy that function separately from
government
- Expressing our feelings to government need to demand
- Public sector
- Demand is the expression of opinion that government action be taken
Pg. 5. government the set of institutions that make and enforce collective, public decisions for a
society
- Power the ability of one actor to impose its will on another, to get its own way, to do or get
what it wants
- Coercion the government has the ability of one actor to impose its will on us by means of
sanctions or penalties
- We created government so we agreed to be bound by its decisions
- Legitimacy power called “authority”
- We obey government because of threat and penalties
- 4 branches of government: the legislature, the executive, the bureaucracy, the judiciary
Pg. 6 the demand will require 2 of executive, legislative, bureaucratic or even all 3
- Authoritative decisions can be referred to as the “outputs” of political system
Need approval of 2 or more levels of government
- Transmitting Demands:
Interest groups, pressure groups, advocacy groups
Political parties can grow by promising things that people need, if large, they become
government
Mass media of communication they shape the quality of political discourse in Canada
Pg. 7 small concerns can be easily ignored (ex. Aboriginals)
- Politics said to originate in conflict, defined as the struggle for power and the management of
conflict
- Canadian government signed an accord in 2001 committing to increase interaction with
nonprofit groups
- Support positive orientation toward something
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Support from the government of the day, decision making apparatus, or the political
community
- Support most demonstrable by trust, efficiency, pride, patriotism
- Demand -> Support -> Output -> Feedback
Pg. 9 environment everything surrounding the political system geographic, economic, social
- Cleavages a deep and persistent division is society that has significant implications for the
system (geographic, socioeconomic classes)
- Demands can originate from cleavages in the internal environment
- External environment international, multinational, transnational, supranational factors
- Globalization / external factors serve as source of demands on national politics and constraints
to domestic policies (ex. NAFTA)
APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF POLITICS
Pg. 10 identities evolve from characteristics and experiences that are important to us
- Identities are not necessarily automatic, voluntary, individualistic choices
- Social structures (traditions, customs) determines how a society behaves
- Hegemony the general idea that we all operate within the context of the dominant values and
expectation of society
- We are accustomed to think and act in traditional way
- 5 approaches useful in illuminating aspects of the Canadian political system: the pluralist, public
choice, class analysis, state-centred and globalization
- Pluralist, public choice, class authorities respond to demands, concerned to discover what
population wants
- State-centred government do what they think is best
- Pluralist, public choice power is derived from majority
- Class, state power is concentrated in the corporate and state elite
THE PLURALIST APPROACH
- Closest to democratic ideal
- Power is widely dispersed among many society
- People are free to join together to seek government response
- Authorities are open to pressure
- Policies adopted are the result of compromises
Pg. 12 “brokerage politics – a pluralist system, the authorities engage in wheeling and dealing with the
various groups in an effort to keep them all content
- Group action is more common and more effective than individual political activity
- Power widely dispersed
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