Power and politics notes

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DEMOCRACY
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: democracy is the
government of the people, by the people,
for the people.
In Athens qualified citizens discussed
current issues - direct democracy
Use of referendums and initiative helps keep popular involvement
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY
Large societies, cannot all be involved, choose someone who represents their
views
Key elements: popular control of policymakers, opposition, equality,
freedom, majority rule
Elections are key to a democracy
LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
All the elements of representative, with a commitment to pluralism, limited
government, civil liberties, civil rights, open government, independent
judiciary, free and open media
Legitimacy verifies legitimacy
Power can depend on naked force of coercion, used in authoritarian regimes
maintain office
In a democracy those who govern have authority to govern, decided in
elections, participation of mass voters
Power enables collective decisions of government to be made and enforced
Power affects many relationships in every day life Foucault: power
mechanisms operate everywhere in every aspect of social and political life
Exercising of power takes different forms:
HAGUE&HARROP: distinguish between:
Power to ­ overcoming opposition and exercising control over others
Power over ­ ability to achieve goals

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THEORIES ON POWER IN THE MODERN STATE
3 TYPES OF POWER
MAX WEBER: believed power depends on force to achieve its ends, identified types
of authority
TRADITIONAL
Things follow natural order, `the way it's always been'
Based on patriarchy
Legitimacy acquired through long continuity
CHARISMATIC
Intense commitment of followers
Believed they have exceptional qualities that will lead to promise of a
better life
Emerge in times of crisis, lead to a `promise land'
Younger generations challenge their authority
LEGAL RATIONAL
Based on legal framework which…read more

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MILLIBAND
State would always operate to the rulers of capital, its different elements
pose no threat
The Labour party has not challenged `big business' to show it can operate
under capitalism in a more humane way
Those in senior positions came from similar backgrounds that predisposed
them to accept the interests of those perusing wealth
All key personnel had vested interests
ALTHUSSER
Less interested in the background of `elite'
Operation of the state supports capitalist modes of production, narrowly
conceived with repressive state apparatus ­…read more

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Power is dispersed amongst many groups, prestige and organizational
clout are also factors
Power is available to everyone, no personal can realize all of their goals
but everyone can organize some
A neutral honest broker that ensures there is equality of group
influence
Over time there will be a balancing of group influence
DAHL
Mechanisms existed that allowed the political interests of all sections of
society
No one is lacking power
Accepted in modern democracies their was few occasions for the mass to
become involved…read more

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PAERTO
Critical of Marxism and did not see society in terms of struggle
Placed emphasis on personality of elites, distinguished between lions that
were at ease with exercising force and foxes that used cunning. Most of
the population fell into neither of these categories, so were of no use in
choosing governments.…read more

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CRITICISMS
MARXIST
Wealth based power not the only form of control
Elites in non communist countries do not always support capitalist view
point
No withering of the state has yet occurred and theory not easily
demonstrated
PLURALISM
O Ignores Luke's second and third face of power, by which voters are persuaded
to accept what is in their best interests
O Some groups have more influence than others leading to unequal
opportunities
ELITE
O Some governments have provided real change that has benefited the
majority such…read more

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THE DISTRIBUTION OF POWER IN MODERN BRITAIN
EXECUTIVE e.g. Elected government
Develop policies and bring them to the population
Most bills become laws
Therefore governments have the power to change how we live
CIVIL SERVICE
Responsible for administering the laws parliament has passed
Whitehall departments and executive agencies advice
ministers, prepare documents and implement decisions
Recently began making decisions
Experience, expertise and permanence ­ mandarin power
- LEGISLATURE e.g.…read more

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More willing to rule on political matters
Judicial intervention on public policy has become apparent e.g.…read more

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SAUNDERS: Pointed to the growth in shared ownership
Marxist perspective agrees with the increase in shared ownership but believes this
has not modified the domination by ruling class. Economically dominant class exists
at the top, below status circles that overlap, strong bonds due to social
background.
Free movements of capital and labor have created greater wealth at one pole of
society e.g. Britain's richest 5% own 43% of Britain's total wealth.…read more

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MAINTAINING INTERNAL ORDER
Expected that people will abide by rules, transgression = punishment
Government ministers responsible for maintaining internal security, ensuring
procedures are in place
Four motivations for punishment
Retribution
Reformation
Deterrence
Prevention
The armed forces
possess enormous physical
power, have weapons and
technology
Some countries are ruled by military regime or have had to bring down one
Militaries less inclined to get involved in political disputes, aware they lack
international legitimacy and would be under pressure from other countries to
hold elections
Fall of…read more

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wngono

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