Canadians = liberal democratic
Politics and Ideologies
Political sociology ≠political science. Sociologists study how power
is converted into authority.
Politics in the last few years have been aimed at dividing
Canadians rather than bringing them together (attacking
opponents).- results in low voter turnout and lack of interest in party leaders.
WAYS OF LOOKING AT POLITICS
Barrington Moore (critical theorist), Talcott Parsons (functionalist), Seymour Martin Lipset (functionalist),
and George Homans (functionalist) are some important people.
Talcott Parsons = functionalist. (Social System). Focused on politics as a key process in different types of
Goal attainment function- political process that all social systems (families, organizations) have that is
necessary for the survival of the system.
Criticism: too philosophical and qualitative.
Seymour Martin Lipset -“what social conditions and processes promote democracy?”- want public
engagement in political processes
Michael Adams-wants to connect political ideas to historical and cultural values
George Homans (functionalist) focuses on the microstructure of politics.
social exchange theory – small groups rule themselves through processes of informal control =’small
Exclusion or ridicule towards anyone who deviates too much from group.
Barrington Moore (critical theorist):
During modernization, if the majority is:
-middle class, you will get democracy.
-peasant/proletarian class, you will get communism
-traditional ruling class, you will get fascism.
Classic Studies: The First New Nation (Seymour Martin Lipset)
What distinguishes the Canadian society and what role does politics play? Lipset compares US to
Canada, Australia and the UK.
Key features that mad US different from the other countires: revolutionary war and a commitment to
conflicting values = equality and achievement.
The American Revolution symbolizes the birth of the world’s “first new nation”. US was a very religious
country and unions created equal opportunity.
In comparison, Canada- less equalitarian, Australia-more equalitarian and treats achievement similar to
US (but diff because they haven’t had a revolution) Why is Canada less egalitarian than the US?
“The US was born in blood.” Revolution followed by a civil war. Canada= more
equal than Britian
“Canada was founded in peace.” but less than US
Political Science and Political Sociology – both study state and social policy
political science- deals with machinery of government and public admin
political sociology- deals with relations between social institutions, ideologies and culture (study power)
Authority is essential for politics. Weber classified it into three:
traditional – power holder is supported by ancient traditions. (Inherited power)
charismatic – based on the leaders force of personality.(calls people to turn their backs on old practices-
opposite of traditional)
rational-legal- most common form (based on formally established rules)
States run on rule of law (gives people in authority power) rather than tradition= modern society
Three types of modern states: authoritarian (Mumbarak), totalitarian (Hitler), and liberal-democratic
Authoritarian- forbid public opposition and use force to ensure compliance. Dictator has complete control
of country w/ military.
Totalitarian- more extreme and more stable. Intervenes in public and private life- controls distribution of
rewards and punishments
liberal-democratic- ideally governed by citizens, do not suppress people and free will exists
- oldest democracy existed in Athens
Canada is a representative democracy. We vote for a person to speak for us.
Constitutional monarchy - Queen is inherited but controlled by Parliament. This is in contrast to a
république. (head of state replaced periodically)
Canada has constituencies –voters use ‘first past the post’ method= candidate who receives most votes is
Problem: excludes smaller parties from representation in the legislature.
Proportional representation, where vote total is tallied up, and the Parliament chairs are divided up
according to popular vote – more people represented.
We also have lobby groups and stuff. Next chapter.
People’s political participation is a function of demography, social elements, and psychology.
Democratic pluralism theory- all citizens have the chance to voice their views and pursue their interests in
a democracy. State should be neutral and no interests are favoured over others. Gender and the State
Feminists see the state as gender unequal – subordinates women evident by lack