Comparative Politics Today Notes Chapter 5.doc

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Political Science
Kaare Strom

Comparative Politics Today Notes Chapter 5 Interest Aggregation the process by which political demands are combined into policy programsInterest aggregation can happen in many ways Political parties may perform many different functions other than interest aggregation and that interests may be aggregated by different structures Personal Interest Aggregation One way to bring political interests together in policymaking is through personal connections Personal networks are not confined to relationships cemented by patronage onlyPatronclient networks structures in which a central officeholder authority figure or group provides benefits patronage to supporters in exchange for their loyaltyThe patronclient network is so common in politics that it resembles the cell in biology or the atom in physicsthe primitive structure out of which larger and more complicated political structures are composedContemporary research on patronclient relationships was pioneered in studies of Asian politics where this structure runs through the political processes of countries such as Japan the Philippines and IndiaInstitutional Interest Aggregation In developing societies as citizens become aware of larger collective interests and have the resources and skills to work for them personal networks tend to be regulated limited and incorporated within broader organizationsInstitutional groups important interest aggregators They have formal organization but they also have other social and political responsibilities other than that of explicitly communicating their interestsdemands to the government The influence of these groups is usually drawn from the strength of their primary organizational base A group based on a governmental institution has direct access to policymakers ie military factionsCompetitive Party systems and Interest Aggregation In many contemporary political systems parties are the primary structures of interest aggregation Political parties are groups or organizations that seek to place candidates in office under their label There may be two or more parties in one government systemParty system there propertiesthe number of parties and the relationships among themCompetitive party systems where parties primarily try to build electoral supportNoncompetitiveauthoritarian party systems where parties seek to direct societyThe distinction between the two different party systems depends on the ability of political parties to form freely and compete for citizen support and on whether this competition for citizen support is the key to government control The role of competitive parties in interest aggregation depends not only on the individual party but also on the structure of parties electorates electoral laws and policymaking institutions Political parties have been around as long as there have been elections and representative assemblies but modern democracy parties began developing in Europe and the Americas thfrom about the mid19 century The first parties were typically internally created their founders were politicians who already held seats in the national assembly or other political offices Many of these parties still exist today and keep close ties to one another across nations
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