Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (170,000)
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SOCA01H3 (400)
Chapter 14

SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Free-Trade Area, Elite Theory, Civil Society


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Francisco Villegas
Chapter
14

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Textbook Notes SOCA01 November 30, 2015
Chapter #14 (356-371)
1
Politics
Introduction
Free Trade and Democracy
- Free trade agreement of 1988
- The degree to which the Canadian people as a whole have benefited from free
trade is a matter of ongoing debate
- The election allowed a diverse range of Canadians to express conflicting
views
- In the end, the people got the government they elected
- Genuine democracy is not based solely on elections
- For democracy to take root and grow, large classes of people must win legal
protection of their rights and freedoms
What is Politics? Key Terms
- Power: the ability to impose one’s will on others
o The use of power sometimes involves force
o People for the most part agree with the distribution system
- When most people agree with how the political machine is run, raw power
becomes authority
- Authority: legitimate, institutionalized power
- Power is legitimate when people regard its use as morally correct
- Power is institutionalized when the norms and statuses of social
organizations govern its use
- Max Weber: three ideal bases on which authority can rest:
o Traditional authority: the norm in tribal and feudal societies, involves
rulers inheriting authority through family or clan ties. The right of a
family or clan to monopolize leadership is widely believed to derive from
the will of a god.
o Legal-rational authority: typical of modern society. It derives from
respect for the law. Laws specify how a person can achieve office. People
generally believe these laws are rational. If someone achieves office by
following these laws, people respect his or her authority
o Charismatic: based on a belief in the claims of extraordinary
individuals that they are inspired by a god or some higher principle
Sometimes emerge during a political revolution
- Political revolution: the overthrow of political institutions by an opposed
movement and its replacement by new institutions
- These institutions form the state
- States: consists of institutions responsible for formulating and carrying out a
country’s laws and public policies
- In performing these functions, the state regulates citizens in civil society
- Civil society: the private sphere of social life
o Citizens in civil society control the state to varying degrees
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Textbook Notes SOCA01 November 30, 2015
Chapter #14 (356-371)
2
Authoritarian state: states sharply restrict citizens control of
the state
Totalitarian state: citizens lack almost any control of the state
Democracy: citizens exercise a high degree of control over the
state. They do this mainly by choosing representatives in regular,
competitive elections.
- Political parties: organizations that compete for control of government. In
the process, they give voice to policy alternatives and rally adult citizens to vote
- Lobbies: are organized formed by special interest groups to advise and
influence politicians
- Mass media: Print, radio, television, and other communication technologies. In
a democracy, the mass media help keep the public informed about the quality
of government
- Public opinion: refers to the value and attitudes of the adult populations as a
whole
- Social movements: are collective attempts to change all or parts of the
political or social order by means of rioting, petitioning, striking,
demonstrating, an establishing lobbies, unions and political parties
Theories of Democracy
A Functionalist Account: Pluralist Theory
- Pluralist theory: holds that power is widely dispersed. As a result, no group
enjoys disproportionate influence, and decisions are usually reached through
negotiation and compromise
- Pluralists believed that politics worked much the same way in the US as a
whole and in other democracies such as Canada
- Democracies are heterogeneous societies with many competing interests and
centres of power.
- No single power centre can dominate consistently
- Politics involves negotiation and compromise between competing groups
democracy is guaranteed
- Viewed the political system as an institution that helps society achieve its
collective goals and interest, in the process integrating its members and
keeping it in equilibrium
Conflict Approaches I: Elite Theory
- Elite theory: holds that small groups occupying the command posts of the
most influential institutions make important decisions that profoundly affect
all members of society. Moreover, they do so without much regard for elections
or public opinions
- C. Wright Mills was the earliest theorist
- Elites: small groups that control the command posts of institutions
- Mills: people who control these institutions make important decisions that
profoundly affect all members of society without much regard for elections
or public opinion
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