Political Science Day 3.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Political Science
Christopher Anderson

Political Science Day 3 Pages 52-72 Lecture on Thursday, September 20 “Power is to politics what money is to economics: the medium of exchange, the universal common denominator” Concepts  Concept- something conceived in the mind: thought, notion  Concepts can be used to help us in our research as well as hinder our efforts by closing off avenues of investigation  The concept of a tree for instance is very simple compared to the democratic concept or the concept of justice  Walter Bryce Gallie had the following concerns o Dogmatism  You think there’s one view and it just so happens to be yours, there is simply right and wrong and you are right  This limited progression in politics because nobody could see past their view o Relativism  There are two correct viewpoints, were both right! You are both right relative to your personal life, this also limits progression o Eclecticism  A little bit of everything, sees sacrifices from everyones argument and therefore is a massive compromise, this still limits progression because a compromise does not determine a policy that is right it is just convenient  Essentially Contested Concept- besides the basic definition upon which we agree, when it comes to the application or practice we all disagree and it cannot be settled by pure logic because there may be more than one successful way! There is no way to solve it using empirical evidence  Reasons for contested concepts o Complex- not a physical thing, very complex o Change- the concept of justice has changed from 200 years ago when public hangings were accepted o Value- our values spark change because a concept will change based on the values of society Power and Politics  Aristotle declared over 2000 years ago that man is by nature a political creature  Politics is not simply voting as we often think but it is present in every relationship we participate in  It is both the glue that holds these relationships together as well as the friction that can tear apart friendships, neighbourhoods and nations  Politics although considered a science has its flaws for instance nobody could predict the terrorist attacks of 9/11  But events such as these have changed politics by trying to heal war-torn Iraq we have uncovered even more corruption, as well as heightened military levels and increased surveillance  Think airport security and racial profiling  Ironically as security increases by the gov’t our sense of security in our own homes or in our streets has lessened  This uncertainty was at the definition of politics according to Karl Mannheim nearly 70 years ago where the predictable routinized day to day events were considered administration and politics was the uncertainty and unpredictability as a result of uncontrolled competition and domination of a force  Political science is the study of how power within politics is distributed and can it improve society Politics and Power  Power- is the bringing about of consequences  Power like politics has many different faces and can be used in many different ways, the real question is who benefits from power? How do we attain it? Who decides how it will be used “Power to” and “Power over”  Power to is thought of as the power to do something take the popular phrase “power to the people” simply means we have the power to pick our leaders, hold them accountable and ultimately throw them out of office in a democratic society  Although political pessimists will tell you that power to is a sham, and that politics are influenced by the higher-ups in society history would disagree Ex: Rosa Parks  Power over is the presence of inequality in the distribution of power  The idea that there is an external force that guides our actions influencing us to do things that we would not normally do  Behavioural Approach- the approach to politics of analyzing human behaviour and trying to develop a science based off of human behaviour to predict wars and elections  The problem is that many sciences involving human interaction operates under the assumption that humans operate under a scientific law when it has been proven it cannot  Class Analysis- the approach to politics that analyzes the struggles of the structure of our economy in the capitalist society for example which sees people with mental disabilities, be born into a situation of power over. People engage with a political world that is marked by political imbalances Power and Knowledge  Post-modern politicians reject the idea that power is something that can be simply possessed  At least not in modern forms of government unlike the monarchs that had ultimate power and were able to control whomever they wanted  Foucault defines power in 2 ways o Disicplinary- which exacts appropriate behaviour not by punishment or cruelty but by defining what is normal o Dividing Practices- stigmatizes those who do not fit the mould by naming them different or normal (mark people as different or absurd or label them)  Therefore when we are told what is normal we discipline ourselves to be normal and subsequently reject people who do not fit such mould  He related his dividing practices such as scientifically naming homosexuals and criminals to the panopticon which was a prison that allowed the guards to see the prisoners but not the prisoners the guards, the idea was that eventually the prisoners would begin acting as if they were being watched at all times and in the end it did  This was Foucault’s way on ensuring proper behaviour  Foucault believed that exercising power will always result in some sort of resistence Authority  This emphasizes the idea of power as authority  Authority means getting obedience without bribery or incentive  Socially approved power that is legitimate and impartial  Authority power often backed by punishment by institution not an individual  One of the founding fathers of social science Max Weber determined there were three types of authority 1. Traditional Authority  Where a person or institution was given power because that’s the way it was (chief or king)  Usually selected through custom or heredity  May take advice from a god but their ruling is incontestable 2. Charismatic Authority  Also vested in individuals but candidates are normally selected for personal qualities  Usually occurs in area experiencing very tough times such as Hitler in Germany in the 1930’s  The Great Depression of the 30’s led to many facist leaders due to people being fed up with democracy 3. Legal- rationalism Authority  Seen as more prevalent today  Based in the rule of law and bureaucratic institutions  Rulers are held to the same laws as the governed and hold positions pending they follow certain rules  Heredity and charisma have no meaning on a rise to power they must be declared legitimate through a certain event such as an election  There are still examples of traditional authority in many parts of modern life such as our education systems  Kim Jong-il is an example of a modern traditional and charismatic leader but we consider that to be a throwback to
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