Goverment & Politics Notes

Notes on AS level Goverment and Politics

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  • Created by: r1994
  • Created on: 08-10-11 22:19

What is politics?

  • Politics is the activity through which people make, uphold and revise the general rules under which they live.
  • General rules are the rules that affect how we interact more widely with other members of society (rules how we behave within a community).
  • Politics focuses on public life; issues that affects all members of the community such as law and order, the economy, defence, social welfare etc.
  • General rules are needed because of conflict. Politics exists because people disagree. Politics is about conflict and finding ways of resolving conflicts (conflict = competion between opposing forces, based on the existence of different opinions, wants and needs.
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Power/ Authority

  • Power = the ability to influence the behaviour of others through rewards or punishment.
  • Power is a vital ingredient of politics. It is the factor that determines who gets what, when and how.
  • Authority (legitimate power)= the right to exert the power that has been given to them, to influence the behaviour of others.
  • What people believe they should follow rather then obeying through fear or intimidation.
  • Three types of authority (according to Max Weber):

-Traditional authority: based on history and belief that something has always happened (status quo).

-Charismatic authority: based on personality.

-Legal-rational authority: most common form in politics, based on formal and impersonal rules.

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