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Political Science
Yasmine Shamsie

Political Science Chapter One: Understanding Politics Basic Concepts  Politics: activity related to influencing, making, or implementing collective decisions for a political community -> originates from scarce resources and/or differing views o Some believe that politics includes all relationships that involve power o David Easton “authoritative allocation of values and society”  Refers to how limited the recourses of a society are distributed  But there are many demands from societal groups  We need a process to determine who gets what recourses and in what quantity o But it’s not just about resources though** -> Quebec Religious Neutrality  Resolving disagreement and conflicts over values and world views (Rarely violent)  Government: resolving conflicts and getting things done: the activity of individuals and institutions that make and enforce decisions -> the conflict manager o In Canada: Democratic government  Concern for equality  Regular elections to choose citizen representatives  But always fall short of completely fair government Power  Power: achieving an objective by influencing the behavior of others o Coercion: using fear or threats to achieve an outcome (nazi Germany) o Inducements: achieving an outcome by offering a reward or bribe o Persuasion: involved in trying to persuade other people to think act in particular ways o Also power through leadership  If those who are powerful are able to prevent important issues from being raised, then power has been exercised through “non-decisions” -> control of the political agenda (issues that are substantial) keeping it off (ex. Polluting factory)  If ideas work against the minority group, resulting in them to rebel, power is considered to be exercised in an indirect manner  3 Faces of Power o Ability to affect decisions o Ability to ensure that issues are not raised o Ability to affect the dominant ideas of society (not based on relationship but decisions will reflect the dominant groups  The Distribution of Power o Concentrated -> decisions tend to reflect the interests and involvement of a small number of persons (government & business elites) o Widely Dispersed -> voters will affect the general direction of government through their choice among the political parties that want support  Some Power recourses (all except the last unequally distributed) o Wealth o Official position o Control Over info and expertise o The ability to mobilize supporters o Control of the means of force o The ability to vote  Pros and Cons of Power o Cons  Association with efforts to dominate or exploit others  Use power for self-benefit rather than for society  May become arrogant to the needs and desires of the population o Pros  Power to achieve worthwhile collective goals  Induce people to cooperate in order to achieve objectives  Free rider problem: problem with voluntary collective action that results because an individual can enjoy the benefits of a group action without contributing -> forced
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