Politics (Lectures)

Emily Fenton
Flashcards by Emily Fenton, updated more than 1 year ago
Emily Fenton
Created by Emily Fenton almost 6 years ago


final Imperial Russia Flashcards on Politics (Lectures), created by Emily Fenton on 10/18/2014.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Power Ability to control/influence others Impose one's will on others Ability to get others to do something they wouldn't otherwise do
Politics (as a thing) "Who gets what, when and how" -Lasswell 1936 "Authoritative allocation of values for a society" -Easton 1965
Political Philosophy The study of concepts relating to politics (such as government, justice, liberty, rights, war...) Thinking about politics critically and systematically from a philosophical perspective
International Relations Anarchical system; interaction between states (cross-border politics)
Comparative Politics Study of political phenomena across states, focusing on relationships and power relations Focussed on similarities and differences Not prescriptive, but observatory
Political Science Systematic study of politics which give us the tools necessary to understand political events
Empirical thoery Supports description and explanation; (describing and explaining political events)
Interest group theory Interest groups lobby for resources and political power on the political stage
Rational Choice Theory Economic-based theory which states that humans, in general, act RATIONALLY
Totalitarianism More than either a dictatorship or authoritarian; aspiration for total control
Normative Theory Prescriptive analysis of political events; how politics should be
Communitarianism Politics focused and based on a community of free people; community is the top priority (always for the greater good)
Democratic Peace Theory Democracies do not wage war on other democracies (possibly true?)
Marxism (as a Normative Thoery) A way to analyze society (and politics and economics), which at the same time tells us what society should look like: a classless, Utopian society
Political Ideology Set of ideas or beliefs which guide real policies (think of the "isms": communism, socialism, liberalism, etc) The Cold War saw the height of political ideological power (state-level)
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) Political philosopher and practitioner in Italy; wrote one of the most influential and famous books on state craft: The Prince Promoted secularism; bridged political thinking with practice (for strong, effective government)
The Prince Written in 1532 Philosophies on how to keep power once you have it (centred around "the Prince") As a leader, it is better to be feared than loved, because love only gets you so far Good governance is not the same as virtuous government: the Prince must do what is best, not what is morally correct
Politics and Culture Directly related concepts; culture often has a direct correlation to political systems, and vice versa
Realism (in International Relations) Theory that state is the only thing that matters when studying international relations; studying the relative power between states without looking too closely at what is happening within the state
Billiard Ball Metaphore (States) States are like a field of billiard balls: you cannot see inside them, but you can judge it's power, it's size and where it is in relation to the other balls on the table
Constructivism (in International Relations) Theory that within a state, the construction of cultural and national identity has a direct effect on policy and international relations (State values give rise to particular foreign policies)
What is a Nation? A feeling of communal identity ("national identity") "Cultural grouping of individuals who associate with each other based on collectively held political identity" -Samuels
What is a State? Conceptual human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory "A political legal unit with sovereignty over a particular geographic territory and the population that resides in that territory" -Samuels
Sovereignty "Ultimate responsibility for and legal authority over the conduct of internal affairs ... within territory defined by geographic borders" -Samuels
Montevideo Convention 1933 On the rights and duties of states Concerned with International Law, and the ability of a government to have relations with other states
Constitutive Theory of State State which is recognized as a state by other states (and by the United Nations) Usually means state must agree to follow international law
Declarative Theory of State Statehood is independent from recognition from other states; recognition not necessary, but it is necessary to have a government, permanent population, political boundaries, etc.
Leviathan (as a Biblical term) The Leviathan in the Bible was a beast which was the most powerful thing in the world; it's power kept the Earth's people in line, out of fear of repurcussions. People accepted the Leviathan because his power brings order and peace to the world. Hobbes uses this term as an analogy for what he calls our social contract
State of Nature (according to Hobbes) War of all against all; that human instinct is to protect ourself at the expense of others Self-preservation
Social Contract (according to Hobbes) We can peacefully co-exist because we have agreed to limit our own personal power, give that power to a ruler, in order to avoid the state of nature (killing each other) Willingly limit our autonomy in order to have peace and security
Feudalism Based on customary arrangements between a ruling nobility class and peasants; overlapping loyalties (think Game of Thrones)
Impiricism Cultural, authoritative state which spreads power outwards, to lands where it doesn't actually have sovereignty (think of Britain as part of the Roman Empire)
Nation-State Most recent form of statehood, but seems natural and eternal Combines political boundaries and national identity
Westphalian State States as sovereign entities, with internal factors influencing internal matters (full autonomy) Legal equality between states
Westphalian State System (1648) Anarchy orders international affairs, because states are sovereign Interactions between states dictate a balance of power between them
Emergence of the European State ( 4 factors) 1. Peace of Westphalia: formalizing the existence of states 2. Warfare: technological advancements require revenue, which requires resources: brought need for centralized planning and bureaucracy 3. Economics: rise of capitalism, entrepreneurship, social mobility and urbanization 4. Social and political changes: Enlightenment, mass education (language and ideals)
Primordialism National identity is natural and eternal; being born into a national community gives you a particular national identity which can not be taken away or changed
Modernism/Constructivism (same thing) Nations are modern and constructed, and so is national identity. Nations only existed after states did; ever changing
State becomes the Nation-State (3 factors) 1. Conscription to military services: fosters national pride and creates common experience 2. Mass education starting around 1800's: standardization of language and common experience 3. National media sets state agenda but reflects and reinforces popular opinion (relevant to members of a nation)
Ideological State Apparatuses (4) Theory from Louis Althusser 1. State creates capitalist environment, keeping workers happy 2. Products (material and ideological) are an exchange between capitalist producers and consumers 3. Producers use national identity to sell 4. Creation of national history
Monarchy Based on birth right to rule; when combined with democracy it is at the monarch's disadvantage (they give away power)
Absolute Monarchy Monarch retains total power over their subjects (ex. Saudi Arabia, Brunei)
Constitutional Monarchy Monarch is bound by the state constitution; often this means limiting the power of the monarch (not above the law) and sharing power with a parliament (Ex. Netherlands, United Kingdom)
Single-Party Regime State ruled by one party (ex. China), and that party has absolute power (this does not necessarily make it a dictatorship)
Military Regimes State under the control of a military government Was common in Latin America, but most fell around the 70's (except Cuba)
Oligarchy State ruled by an elite few (ruling class); there are elections but they are either controlled completely or pluralism is so limited that voters have very little choice (Ex. modern Russia??)
Theocracies State leader has the right to rule through divine guidance; usually religiously inspired political regime (closest to old-fashioned totalitarianism because of the role of ideology) (Ex. Vatican City, Iran, ISIS[??])
Features of Authoritarianism (4) 1. Leaders are not elected in free and fair elections 2. Rulers are not accountable to the ruled 3. No rule of law (exception: Singapore) 4. Element of political repression in order to control the subjects (censorship, anti-political pluralism)
Features of Totalitarianism (5) 1. Role of ideology; promoting specific ideology 2. Charismatic leader (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin) 3. Mass political terror and political paranoia 4. Mobilization of society: not enough to just keep quiet, but must "tattle" to prove loyalty 5. Centrally directed and controlled economy (especially in communist regimes)
Political Paranoia A state where subjects are afraid of the government, and are encouraged to spy on their neighbours to seek out those who could be seen as disloyal. In Stalin's Russia, terrorists were more focussed on Russian subjects than anyone else. It is believed that Stalin killed more communists than Hitler did
Late Totalitarianism 1970's-80's; communist states were politically totalitarian, it was different from the time of Stalin. Less terror/political repression (except maybe in Romania), and citizens were mostly left alone if they kept their mouth shut
Leonid Brezhnev Russian leader from 1964-1982 Appearance: courageous and clever; totally senile by the end of his career and life. Very corrupt, and was a symbol of corrupt communist control in the West.
Political Commisar Communist party sect of the military, in charge of monitoring the political loyalty of the other soldiers Mostly seen as spies, they were intended to be the civilian control of the military Leonid Brezhnev was a political commisar
Long-term Developements leading to the fall of communist regimes (3) 1. Politicization of the economy: Gorbachev's economic reforms came about because it became clear that the communist system was just not keeping up with the West 2. Totalitarian state: began to not coincide with the pluralist changes in society; people knew what the West was like, and new they were being kept back from it (not repressive, but depressive) 3. Pax Sovietica: area of influence of the Soviet union never made it out of the Eastern Bloc; most of Western Europe preferred the "Pax Americana"
One-Dimensional Superpower Soviet Union was a one-dimensional superpower because it's main strength was military
Multi-dimensional superpower The USA was a multi-dimensional superpower, because not only was it militarily strong, but also a leading economic power, technologically advanced, and had cultural influences (American way of life)
Brezhnev Doctrine 1968, doctrine stating that wherever communism was under threat, it was the duty of communist nations to intervene in order to preserve communism. In 1989, Gorbachev's spokesman admitted that the Brezhnev doctrine was no longer valid (replaced by Sinatra Doctrine)
Sinatra Doctrine 1989, the replacement for the Brezhnev doctrine stating that it was up to individual communist nations to preserve, protect and support communism (without the help from the Soviet Union) Kind of pulled the rug out from under the other communist regimes Name comes from lyrics of Frank Sinatra "I did it my way..."
Why in 1989? (3 factors) 1. Gorbachev's reforms made communist allies feel betrayed by the Soviet Union 2. A lack of purpose for communist governments: the "great experiment" had failed, so what is the point? 3. Peaceful revolutions striving to make a democratic society
Mikhail Gorbachev Soviet leader from 1985-1991 His reforms for the communist way of life essentially led to the fall of communism, making him the most important agent in the end of communist regimes
Regime Transition (2 circumstances) Factors which can lead to a regime change (and subsequently transition) 1. Domestic factors 2. International factors
Domestic Factors (2 aspects) Two aspects often combined... 1. Bottom-up change: popular resistance/revolt 2. Top-down change: Dissension within the elite
Civil Culture Extent to which a population is involved in politics (usually seen more in democratic societies)
Rise of the Middle Class One of the major factors of regime change, and it happens when the average income reaches a certain level giving a middle class with the time, means and education to think of politics independently from state
Dissension Among the Elite Way thinks this is the most important factor in a regime change, because the elite have more political power, so when they are unhappy it is more dangerous for the government. Dissension among the elite can be influenced by international factors (such as sanctions)
Transition Paradigm (5 factors) Theory from Thomas Carothers 1. Transitioning from an autocracy, does not necessarily mean to democracy 2. We assumed that all processes of democratization followed the same stages, but we were wrong 3. Democracy needs elections to be a democracy, but having elections does not make a democracy 4. Democratization is based on conditions (of state) and human behaviour (agency): both must be favourable to democracy 5. Governments must be stable and effective in order for democracy to succeed
Why did democracy fail after Arab Springs (2011), when it succeeded after the fall of communism in the East Bloc? (3 reasons) Mostly because of INTERNATIONAL factors 1. Post-communist democratization was assisted from outside the individual state (by the US, EU), which didn't happen in the Middle East 2. Eastern Europe was following a clear example (immitation effect), of democracy in the West. After Arab Springs, however, Western democracy was not consiered a good option 3. Western Europe forced economic change on Eastern Europe, but not in the Middle East. Therefore there was less pressure on the Arab elites to accept democracy (less motivation)
Hybrid Regimes Ever-messier distinction between democracies and non-democracies: no longer a clear dichotomy Regime which has aspects of authoritarianism and democracy
Competitive Authoritarian Regimes Not failed democracies, but a form of authoritarianism which includes some aspects of democracy, such as the existence of elections, some freedom of press, and some judiciary freedom
Reasons for hybrid regimes (3) 1. Facade: just a fake front by which a non-democratic government can operate in (relative) peace 2. Legitimacy; to other nations and also within a state 3. Adoption of democratic elements which make the state more efficient
Two Treatises of Government John Locke in 1689 Challenged the view that kings had a divine right to rule Challenged the notion of Hobbes' state of nature (war of all against all)
State of Nature (according to Locke) Without governments, it is in human nature to respect one another, because human beings are reasonable
Natural Rights Locke's belief that apart from the government, humans had inherent natural rights, which are embedded in reason, such as life, health, liberty
Social Contract (according to Locke) Hobbes' Social Contract, but instead of killing each other, we agree to it out of respect for the natural rights of people (and that the state should too)
Codified Constitution One single document which enumerates the rights of all members of the state specifically Ex. United States has a codified constitution
Non-codified Constitution No one single document, but official rights which are reflected in many government documents and policies Ex. United Kingdom, New Zealand
Components of Democratic Constitutions (5) 1. Separation of powers 2. Protection of minorities (sometimes?) 3. Constitution of government: concerning "organs of government" (president, congress), rule of law, limited government 4. Constitution of liberty: rights of citizens 5. Popular sovereignty: method of representations, accountability, fair and free elections
Separation of Powers (3 Branches of Government) 1. Executive 2. Legislative 3. Judicial
Executive Branch of Government Essential branch of the government which handles management; supervised by ministers or secretaries
Legislative Branch of Government Branch of government which passes laws and overlooks the work of the executive branch Can be uni- or bi-cameral (with one or two houses)
Judicial Branch of Government Branch of government concerned with JUDICIAL REVIEW
Judicial Review Deciding on the constitutionality of laws
Parliamentary systems Head is either a monarch, monarch's representative, or an elected official with ceremonial powers Head of state appoints the leader of the largest party, who becomes the Prime Minister
Presidential Systems President elected by an electoral college (usually based on popular vote outcomes)
Semi-Presidential Systems President is the elected head, who appoints the Prime Minister, and the two share power
Prime Minister "First amongst equals in a cabinet" (?) Consequence of collective responsibility, the Prime Minister can fire and hire ministers Prime Minister can be transformational or transitional, depending on his or her personality
Transformational vs. Transitional Leader Transformational leaders have strong personalities, and change the way of the state (think of Margaret Thatcher) Transitional leaders have less personality, and kind of "fill time"
Unitary States Delegation of parliament from central authorities; centralized power; power to abolish local governments Ex. Thatcher vs. the Greater London Council
Federal States Multi-layered nation-states with political subunits (usually states or provinces) which have autonomy in their own policy area (constitutionally guaranteed) Ex. Canadian provinces are ruled under provincial governments
Delegating Government in Unitary States (3 D's) 1. Deconcentration: government not only in the capital, but have ministries in different places within the state 2. Decentralization: central government makes laws and local governments execute them (ex. building codes) 3. Devolution: central government retains formal power but delegates powers (legislative, executive, judiciary) to the periphery (ex. UK and Scotland)
Federalism Power shared between the federal government and state governments
Advantages of Federalism (4) 1. Governments can delegate power to periphery while retaining some total powers (like national defense) 2. Mollifies ethnic divides 3. Checks and balances 4. Local governments can be used as "policy laboratories"
Problems with Federalism (5) 1. Slow moving 2. Inconvenient (different laws in different places) 3. Equity: representation is not always fair and equal 4. Finance: replication of tasks (ex. state vs. federal prisons) 5. Institutionalizing cultural boundaries
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