- Created by: KDallers-
- Created on: 03-06-19 00:01
Intro and Negative Conceptions of Politics
Politics is regarded as the 'junction of social sciences' by Peter Burnham - meaning it lacks a particular CORE - no set appraoch
- Politics as the ACTIVITY OF INDIVIDUALS - it is what POWERFUL individuals do; however, this contributes to DISTRUST and CYNICISM with regard to politicians - IPSOS Veracity Index 2017; only 17% trust politicians
- 'EVERYDAY VIEW' - agency-centric, the idea of politics as WHAT POLITICIANS DO - view that politicians CANNOT BE TRUSTED and are cunning and amoral - Machiavelli; this views politics as a DIRTY WORD leading to DECEIT AND HATRED - Adams
Why are politicians not trusted? 1) Loss of deference to politicians; 2) Political scandals and 3) Growing inequality
- 'MARXIST VIEW' - politics as class conflict; there is conflict between different classes, and this seeks to remedy power imbalances - so conflict as a means to 'sort out politics'
- CRITICAL THEORISTS - we need to change the WAY POLITICS IS 'DONE' to include 'othered' groups - like women (feminism), ethnic minorities (postcolonialism) etc.
Traditions in Political Science
A key theme is that of PHILOSOPHY VS EMPIRICISM - or 'principles vs particulars'
- BEHAVIOURALISM - study politics like we do science; empirically - based on explaining things - as demonstrated by Locke and Hume; this developed into POSITIVISM with Comte - key scholars like David Easton; was supported in the 1960s, but later seen as TOO RESTRICTIVE by the likes of Rawls and Nozick
- RATIONAL CHOICE - uses economic theory and sees politics as a MARKET PLACE of RATIONAL AGENTS that make decisions by applying 'cost-benefit analyses' - uses economic devices like game theory and the Prisoners' Dilemma - view of Anthony Downs, contributing to Gunnell's 'postbehavioural revolution'
- NEOINSTITUTIONALISM - a structural view - this looks at RULES AND PROCEDURES which guide political activity (institutions) - the 'rules of the game' (North) - how do these influence politics formally/informally? CRUCIAL - not all institutions are POLITICAL
- GLOBALISATION - the newest tradition? Colin Hay suggests that politics is now a global activity due to weakening state borders - the nation-state is no longer the key unit of analysis in political science
Politics as Something People Do
Aristolean view - politics as the 'master science' and a 'noble and virtuous activity' - people engage in politics to achieve the 'good life' - anyone that is NOT a 'perfect being' is political - people can participate in various ways, and spread their views THROUGH GROUP ACTIVITY
- PUBLIC VS PRIVATE DIVIDE - liberal view of Locke - politics only in the PRIVATE so as to prevent government overreach and impingement on the rights of the individual - depoliticising the individual and the private
- HOWEVER - Oakeshott - politics occurs 'in the general arrangements of people' - relates to the outlook of critical theorists like Bryson (feminist) - using 'the personal is political' to pursue women's rights
- Arendt - individuals engage in politics for SELF-DEVELOPMENT - a relatively all-encompassing view of politics, as can be interpreted broadly
ISSUE - defining 'politics' mean some things are always DEPOLITICISED - as DEPOLITICSATION is a POLITICAL PROCESS in itself, this means that DEFINING POLITICS is a political activity in itself - view of Bernard Crick and Aristotle - we are ALL INVOLVED IN POLITICS through conciliation and consensus
Politics as Conciliation and Consensus
The ACT OF POLITICS can be seen as based on CONFLICT RESOLUTION and reaching an agreeement on debated issues - aka process of compromise, deliberation and consensus; using discourse to reach an agreement on political issues
- Is this merely a WESTERN PRINCIPLE - according to Bernard Crick and Aristotle, it is ALL POLITICS - Stoker - 'politics is designed to disappoint' - the art of COMPROMISE
- Aristotle - politics is a 'general activity' involving the 'aggregate of interests' - in the view of Bernard Crick, 'politics is politics' - however, this only makes up ONE METHOD OF SOCIAL ORGANISATION - there are various alternatives - in this sense, Crick's approach is AKIN TO DEMOCRACY
- Some people OPPOSE POLITICS - for example, dictators, oligarchs, tyrants and despots - for example, FIDEL CASTRO - anti-democrats
- Is this interpretation Westerncentric? 'Politics' is therefore a method of policy formulation through discussion in Western societies - politics in this sense INVOLVES FREEDOM - naturally, tyrants seek to limit freeom, so abandon politics - do not use it to ALLOCATE SCARCE RESOURCES AS WESTERN DEMOCRACIES DO
- Politics requires and produces ORDER - circulatory - therefore, no need for a 'Leviathan'
Politics as Power
Bismarckian view - politics as the 'ART OF THE POSSIBLE' - Indira Gandhi; politics as about "acquiring, holding and wielding POWER" - both suggest that politics is a game of acquiring and exerting AS MUCH POWER AS POSSIBLE within social relations
- EXTREMELY BROAD - anything concerning power can be considered POLITICAL (Colin Hay); according to Leftwich, power is at the 'heart of everything'; power can be exercised in all three of its faces - decision-making, agenda-setting and preference-shaping
- Harold Lasswell - politics is "who gets what, when and how" - politics as a WIDE RANGING FIELD - reflects the breadth of power, which is used to BRING ABOUT OUTCOMES - essentially seeking to achieve 'the possible', as Bismarck suggests
- Power - all about control and making decisiosn to shape society - those in power are in charge of the STATE APPARATUS - this links to the Westminster view of success in politics - the GOVERNMENT are said to be 'in power'
- EASTON - politics as about the 'authoritative allocation of values' - can only do this if you wield power - this is essentially what POLITICS BOILS DOWN TO according to thinkers like Bismarck, Gandhi, Colin Hay and Leftwich
Various dualisms as to what politics is
PROCESS OR ARENA - some see is as an ARENA (or a place where politics happens) - this contributes to the Westminster view of politics, looking at states, governments and basic decision and non-decision making power; however, as a PROCESS - politics as in all walks of life and more to do with social relations in general - Carter - interaction between human + nature
EXCLUSIVE OR LIMITED - do debates have to be limited to FORMAL INSTITUTIONS to be political, or are all FORMAL INSTITUTIONS inherently political? Hill; this is a LIMITED VIEW - challenged by McGrew and Hay - suggesting that GLOBALISATION means politics is no longer confined to governments or nation-states - can have an impact anywhere - EXCLUSIVE
- Leftwich - politics can be in all aspects of conflict as it is about HOW POWER OPERATES; Crick - has to be within public policy debate
SCIENCE OR INTERPRETATION - behavioural approaches used to be linked to economics and studies of corruption, and this suggested that POLITICS COULD BE STUDIED SCIENTIFICIALLY - Kaufmann - politics as the 'CONTROL OF POWER; however, others sugest that politics requires great INTERPRETATION, and should be studied like a HUMANITY (Weber)
- Look at on an AXIS - not just process, but EXCLUSIVE OR LIMITED PROCESS, for example
Key thinkers of Political Science
Machiavelli; Adams; Lasswell - the everyday view
Lasswell; Easton; Hay; I.Gandhi; Bismarck; Leftwich - politics as power
Easton - scientific view of politics
Locke - liberal view of politics
Downs; Gunnell - rational choice, 'postbehavioural revolution'
North - 'rules of the game'
Hay; McGrew - globalisation
Aristotle; Crick; Stoker - compromise and consensus
Oakeshott; Bryson - politics can occur in private sphere
Carter - politics as a process