Chapter 1:1. Define the State.
2. Define Power
Power - is a capability to impose one`s will, to affect the activities and behavior of other people, even in contradiction to their resistance. Political power – is an ability of one individual or a group of individuals to control behavior of citizens and of society on the basis of state aims.
3. Distinguish Authority from Legitimacy
Legitimacy – is consent of the people with power, when they voluntarily recognize its right to make binding decisions. Authority – is limited responsibilities and rights, formally granted to anyone in order to let him commit anything through the use of available resources. A person with authority still may not have legitimacy, provided to him by the people, but being able to commit deeds that result from his authority, although such deeds lack legitimacy and people`s approval. On the other hand, a person granted with legitimacy by people may not have authority to commit actions. These concepts are mutually binding and nowadays there are many examples of communities where political leaders either have legitimacy or authority but do not posses with another characteristic.
4. Distinguish between social equality and political equality
Social equality – is a concept that refers to the same social status of people belonging to different social classes and groups. When political equality, – is an equal distribution of political power and influence within the community, which reflects in a principle of “one person – one vote, and every vote is equivalent”.
5. Why is “order” so important to the State?
Order within a State – is an important value of the state. Existence of a state, of its agencies, of public figures is directly dependent on a preservation of order. Of course, the stability of the internal order is affected by many factors and conditions, but mostly it depends on actions of a state.
6. How are free markets and democracy related to each other?
People pursue democracy with practically the same motives when they pursue an opportunity of having free markets. Free market economies cannot be strong without democracy, just as democracies cannot function consistently without efficient free markets.
Chapter 2:1. Define ideology
Ideology – is a system of conceptually organized views and ideas, expressing the interests of the various societies, social classes and groups, in which a relationship of people to the reality and to each other is realized and evaluated, and also either existing forms of domination in society and government are sanctioned (conservative ideologies), or their transformation is substantiated (radical, revolutionary ideology).
2. Distinguish conservatism, liberalism, and socialism conceptually and with historical examples.
Conservatism shows ideological adherence to traditional values and order, social or religious doctrines, in politics it upholds already settled values of law and order, rejection of “radical” reforms, and extremism. Examples of it may be Reagan`s reforms in the U.S., the reforms of M. Thatcher in the UK.
Liberalism – is a philosophical and social and political movement that proclaims the inviolability of human rights and individual freedoms, encourages the minimization of state intervention in the lives of citizens. Manifestations of liberalism may be the U.S. Bill of Rights, 1789, and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of the same year.
Socialism stands for denomination of doctrines, in which a goal and an ideal of principles of social justice, freedom and equality is put forward. For the first time, ideas of socialism were described in the works of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato – in his dialogues “The Republic” and “The Laws”.
3. Trace and explain Marx’s Five Stages of Economic Organization
K. Marx designated Five Stages of Economic Organization: primitive, slave, feudal, capitalist and communist with its first stage – socialism. In summary, the development of world history is a movement from a primitive society (society with no classes) through slavery, feudalism, capitalism (class societies) to communism (the new classless society). Changing of these social and economic systems is carried out, according to him, by means of revolutions and is a universal law of historical development, which states the following: all countries and all peoples are to go through all these formations in their development and will end up in communism.
4. Define fascism and provide examples.
Fascism – is generalized name of extreme right-wing political movements, ideologies, and their corresponding form of government of dictatorial type, which hallmarks are nationalism, the cult of personality, militarism, and totalitarianism.
Particularly popular this idea was in Italy and it was the basis of the various radical political groups, often of different orientation. Many of such groups of nationalist orientation evolved into a movement called “fascism” and in 1915 at a meeting in Milan Italian fascist organization, uniting many representatives of “fascism”, was created.
5. Is feminism a Marxist ideology? If so, how so?
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels believed that when class oppression is destroyed, a gender inequality will disappear. Marists linked subordination of women to men because of an emergence of private property, class society and the changing nature of the division of labor in the family. According to the Marxists, the oppression of women will completely disappear only with the final liquidation of the social division of labor and class division. Hence, feministic theories originate from the ideas of K. Marx.
6. Distinguish ethnic nationalism from religious fundamentalism and provide examples of each.
Pursuant to an idea of ethnic nationalism, any nation has the ethnic core and ethnic nationalism is opposed to a civic nationalism.
Religious fundamentalism is the opposition process desacralization of culture. It appeals to the absolute authority of divine nature of religion and opposes any manifestation of pluralism of thoughts. Religious fundamentalism is a radical rejection of separation of the secular and the religious existence; it is an attempt to interpret religion solely in terms of power over a man both spiritually and politically.
These concepts may be regarded as inter-related in some cases. For example, radical Islamic fundamentalism, emphasizing on the religious identity, considering it as synonym for an ethnic identity, which is contrary to and civic identity, leads to strengthening of ethnic nationalism of the Muslim peoples of some particular countries (Russia, Indonesia, India, etc.), which, hence, also serves as a catalyst for political separatism in those countries.
7. What, exactly, is the welfare state?
Welfare state – is a political system which redistributes wealth in accordance with a principle of social justice for the sake of decent standards of living for every citizen, of smoothing social differences and of aid to those in need. The mentioning of the social state is contained in the constitutions and in other highest legislative acts of many countries. The theory of the welfare state suggests that the social benefits are provided by the state regulation of the economy and by tax policy.
8. What are four characteristics of classic liberal ideology, the historical basis for the growth of capitalism.
Classical liberal ideology implies the following main characteristics: maintenance of natural rights of human beings (including the right to life, to liberty, to property) and of their civil rights, establishing equality of all citizens before the law, the establishment of a free-market economy, ensuring of government accountability and transparency of government authority.
The historical basis for the growth of capitalism is, in my opinion, private property, which led to emergence of entrepreneurship, exchange of goods, free market economy and, as a result, to a capitalist regime of society.
Chapter 3:1. Politics and culture includes ethnicity and race. Provide an example and explain this link.
Ethnicity is a concept that combines social, religious, linguistic variables, and especially the use of food and other characteristics to identify individuals and populations. This concept is more specific concept than “race”. Today in different parts of the world we experience battles between different cultural and racial groups, some of which have led to tragic consequences and even bloodshed. Bloody wars on this basis took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Georgia and other parts of the world. These two concepts – ethnicity and race – provoke much disputes in politics because of inability of self-determination of national minorities, unequal rights and freedoms of representatives of different races.
2. What is identity theory? How is it related to political socialization?
3. What are the key proximal and distal groups that influence the cultural formation of political values? Putting it another way, what the primary agents of socialization?
It is needed to be mentioned, that agents of socialization – are social institutions, individual groups and people who contribute to the socialization of the individual. Every person meets main agents of socialization in childhood (up to 8 years) and later in adolescence. Those key agents (or proximal and distal groups) are: parents, relatives, child care institutions (nursery, kindergarten, etc.), school, the “street” (interaction with peers and other people outside the home, schools, and other institutions), acquaintances, friends, and mass media.
4. How do the media shape our socialization?
Mass media affect, particularly, young people. Social roles, rules and norms of behavior, are acquired on the basis of films, television, radio, press, movies, library, disco, computers (especially the Internet). Television used to play a special role in socialization. The influence of television on children was as huge as influence of their family. Nowadays this role is given mostly to the Internet.
According to scholars, media let people discover, perceive important information that shapes them as decent individuals. On the other hand, mass media are sometimes harmful to young people and encourage their deviant behavior.
5. Do political cultures evolve? How so? Is the concept of post-materialism linked to cultural evolution?
The nature of man is being shaped in the process of socialization – and the national political culture is shaped by factors in something similar to the factors of socialization of the individual factors. Among factors that organize political culture of a nation are the following: influence of other nations, social institutions of a state: army, church, business (industrial and financial) circles, universities, the media. Moreover, political culture changes evolve with the changes and evolutions within the state itself, within a system of international relations that incorporates specific country.
And the concept of post-materialism, which is used to identify features of the development of modern society, is definitely linked to cultural evolution, as any culture falls under changes and evolves with every new generation.
6. Discuss James C. Davies J-Curve of political behavior.
Apart from other fields, in political science J-Curve is called for to visually explain a theory of James C. Davies who developed thinking over the issue of rising number of revolutions all over the world.
Davis draws attention to the fact that there were ancient periods when people lived in abject poverty and were subject to the cruelest oppression, but did not rebel and did not protest. Persistent poverty or destitution do not turn people into revolutionaries, they tend to experience similar circumstances humbly, with quiet despair. Revolutions take place when there is some improvement in the living conditions of the people. When living standards are beginning to rise, the level of expectation is also increasing. If the actual improvement of living conditions is slowing down, prerequisites to the perturbation are emerging, as rising expectations do not come true. And revolutions break out. The J-Curve shows this by means of a graph.
7. What is political culture?
Political culture – is a part of a general culture, including historical experience, memory of social and political events, political values, attitudes and skills that directly affect political behavior of people.8. What are the agents of political socialization?
Agents of political socialization – are institutions that shape political culture. Most influential agent is a state that is represented with its legislative, executive and judiciary agencies. It determines the important parameters of the political culture, develops legislation which defines political behavior of citizens, shapes and reinforces the national political symbols, etc.
Other main agents of political socialization are the social institutions such as education, the mass media, family, and others.
9. What is democratic political culture?
Democratic political culture – is a kind of political culture that characterizes with its content a technology of forming a policy based on democratic rules of making decisions over governing a country. Its functioning democratic political culture tends to weaken the authoritarian political culture, and, as a result, creates conditions for political progress.
10. What is authoritarian political culture?
Authoritarian political culture – is such type of political culture, which essence is that the bureaucracy establishes monopoly on political reasoning, on the expression of one`s will and thoughts, on the means of control, as well as on the interpretation of morality. Authoritarian political culture is formed and operates under the dominant influence of the bureaucracy. A state that guards such a culture is called the “police state”.
11. What is consensual and conflictual culture?
In accordance with the orientation of society on either strife or cooperation such political cultures are distinguished as conflictual and consensual political cultures.
Conflictual political culture expresses the differentiation of values and attitudes, the lack of agreement on the most important issues of social development. The political culture of consent implies a wish for a dialogue and cooperation with a view to a solution of important problems.
12. What is postmaterialism and cultural change?
Postmaterialism – is a term used to describe the features of modern society. Postmaterialism is such a sociological trend in a culture, which is regarded as a consequence of general prosperity and economic stability. This trend results in cultural changes among which the following can be named: level of voluntary service to the community among people decreases, the importance of a family increases, postmaterialism and a high and respected position in society have a positive effect on interest of those individuals in politics, etc..
21st Century Geopolitics1. What are the key considerations of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations?
Among all considerations of Huntington`s “Clash of Civilizations” I would like to mention the following:
Civilization – is a large conglomerate of states having any common defining features (culture, language, religion, etc.). Usually, the main defining feature is a common religion;
Civilizations, in contrast to countries, exist and develop usually for a long time – usually more than a millennium;
After the rise of the earliest civilizations there were no contacts for nearly three thousand years between them, or they were extremely rare and limited;
Every civilization considers itself to be the most important formation in the world and takes into account the history of mankind according to that understanding;
Western civilization emerged in the VIII-IX centuries AD. It reached its zenith in the early XX century. Western civilization has had a decisive influence on the rest of civilization;
2. What is the basis of Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History?”
Talking about the book, continuation of his essay with the same title, I believe the main reasoning of Fukuyama implies in the following. The author states that the spread of Western-style liberal democracy all over the world indicates the end of social and cultural evolution of mankind and soon formation of the final form of government – world government (I need to remind that Fukuyama is a representative of mundialization – a movement that presumes the organization of world-wide government in future). In the view of Fukuyama, end of history, however, does not mean the end of the history of events in life of mankind, but it means the end of the century of ideological confrontations, global wars and revolutions, and alongside with it – the end of art and philosophy the world knew earlier and rise of newly modernized art.
3. What is the essence of Edward Said’s rebuttal entitled “Clash of Ignorance?”
The main essence of Edward Said is the argument that accuses Huntington`s “Clash of Civilizations” in an extremely subjective way of analysis conducted by the researcher. The main danger is of Huntington`s theory is that it “blurs the mind” of readers who start to qualify the world in the same manner Huntington does – in “black and white” approach dividing the world into “us and them”, “friends and enemies”. Said argues that the scholar in his book practically despises Muslims by separating them from the West and finding them as a source of evil that needs to be eradicated.
4. What is Michael Klare’s assessment of the current geopolitical landscape?
“The world changes and will never be the same again in a pair of decades”, – believes Michael Clare after a research he has conducted in the field of energy security and having written the book “Blood and Oil”. He believes by the year 2035 there will be a conflict among nations, mostly between the U.S. and China, for scanty energy resources. Moreover, the conflict among countries for resources, in scholar`s opinion, has already started in its latent phase. He also believes, that the purpose of the war in Iraq was to change the geopolitical map of Eurasia, to ensure the U.S. power in the region against potential competitors – Russia, China, the EU, Japan and even India. And, lastly, Clare defines that the main content of the new American military strategy is not against counterterrorism, but it is directed at the containment of economically booming countries, in particular, – China.
Chapter 4:1. What are key modes of political participation?
Among modes of political participation the following are distinguished as key ones, in my opinion:
- Individual and collective;
- Voluntary and involuntary;
- Active and passive;
- Traditional and innovative;
- Legitimate and illegitimate.
2. Identify the sources of party identification and ideological orientation.
Both concepts can be changed during life of an individual, mostly being changed and modified by factors that shape them. Usually any citizen of any country lives in a society where participation in political life is highly welcomed, though non-mandatory. Sources that mould these characteristics are the same as sources of socialization of a person. However there is one difference between socialization of a human being and shaping of person`s party identification and ideological orientation – the first notion is common for the first decades of human life, when the second notion takes place in individual`s life during all his life time starting usually from his adolescence.
3. Be able to interpret Figure 4.4 on page 111 (5th Edition) entitled “A Model of Voting Choice and Opinion Formation.”
4. Distinguish single-member districts from proportional representation.
In elections to which proportional representation is applied parliamentary seats are distributed among the lists of candidates in proportion to the votes given for the candidate lists, if these candidates have overcome election threshold. The advantages of the proportional electoral system are considered to be the following: approximately equal representation of political parties in a representative body, depending on their popularity among voters and the possibility of a minority to be represented in a parliament, among disadvantages the following may be named –partial loss of communication with voters and with specific regions where candidates have special favorable respect and trust from voters.
Single-member district – is such an electoral constituency in which one member is elected to a body of representatives. Single-member districts form a system of elections to a collective body, when those candidates who received the majority of votes in the electoral district, where they run for a seat in elections, receive a seat in a collective body (ex. parliament).
5. Should the media be restricted by the State? Why/why not?
The media of different countries should be responsible not only to their national audience, but also to the international one. Freedom of expression in the mass media is recognized as a rule in the framework of international law. Limitations are the exceptions that are to be introduced for the protection of:
- the rights or reputations of others;
- national security;
- public order;
- health and morals of society, of a nation as a whole.6. What is Voter Turnout
Voter Turnout – is the ratio (expressed, as a rule, in percentage) of the number of voters who participated in the elections to the total number of citizens eligible to participate in these elections. In some countries there is a lower threshold of voter turnout introduced. When Voter Turnout doesn`t reach this lower threshold, the elections are declared invalid.
Chapter 5:1. Identify the basic functions of political parties.
Some functions of political parties may be identified:
- representative – an expression of the interests of certain groups of the population;
- function of socialization – involvement of the population to a number of its members and supporters;
- ideological – the development of appealing to a certain part of society political platform;
- formative – the formation of principles, elements, structures of political systems;
- organizational – which includes the selection, placement in the party and in the other state and public organizations;
- Integrational – ending conflicts, alignment of the interests of the contending forces, the political stabilization of society.
2. Do you favor a two-party or multi-party system? Why/why not? On a related note, why is it that Europe generally has multi-parties and the US has a two-party system?
Positive aspect of a multi-party system is that within state`s borders there exist identification of opinions, interests, and their harmonization, legalization of a democratic state, alternation of parties in power, an option of choice of social forces capable of implementing the tasks facing society. In my personal opinion, the greatest drawback of two-part system can be seen in states with two distinct layers of the population: either in national, ethnic or religious aspects. In such countries two competing parties are tend to become simply parties of clans and provoke civil war. Hence, I favor a multi-party system of political parties.
Political systems of Europe and the USA have developed historically, when in European countries there was always a larger number of groups, organizations willing to take authority over the government by means of various approaches to politics. In the US, on the other hand, electorate wanted political parties to take real actions, it didn`t want to observe struggle between political parties. Hence, there was no support to the new parties that emerged after the Republicans and the Democrats.
3. Provide some examples of how parties reflect ideologies.
Conservative Party in the UK is an even example of ideology of conservatism; Labour party in the UK under Tony Blaire showed much of socialistic ideas. Communist parties ruling in the USSR, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and other states of the Warsaw Pact were governing in times of the “Cold War” on the basis of communist ideas derived mostly from teachings of Marxists. Nazi Party being at leading wheel of Germany from 1920 to 1945 functioned on the basis of ideas of National Socialism.
4. What is Robert Michel’s “iron law of oligarchy”?
The “iron law of oligarchy” – is a principle of the theory of elites. It specifies that any form of social organization, regardless of its original democracy or autocracy, inevitably degenerates into the power of a selected few – into the oligarchy (a particular example – the nomenclature). It follows out of the “iron law of oligarchy” that democratic governance cannot be present in any large community of individuals. The larger the organization is – the fewer there are elements of democracy and more there are elements of the oligarchy.
5. Why are religious parties influential?
Religion still has got a considerable influence on political life in most countries, including the countries where most of the population is non-religious. Religious leaders are always a part of the political elite in many countries. Religion can be used by politicians for their own purposes. Usually such political parties backed by concepts and dogmas of religion have got reasonable support among citizens of a state. Such state of things occurs when civil political parties are not able to suffice needs of population and the latter becomes looking towards religion and religious political parties as at the way out of the dead end in which a state turned up governed by ruling political parties.
Chapter 6:1. What are interest groups and how do they influence the democratic process?
Interest groups – are voluntary or compulsory amalgamations of people, adapted or sometimes intentionally-created by others to meet and defend vital (urgent-, power-) significant interests of its members in relation to: the state, the rest of society, political institutions and other entities. By participating in the activities of interest groups, citizens are taking a step from social to political activity. The democratic process may either be fostered by such interest groups (when their actions show much humanism and generally accepted lawful principles of democracy), or be suppressed (when interest groups have an aim to establish authoritarian, totalitarian state, to coup an existing democratic government, etc.).
2. Do political action groups in the US have a political party bias or do they purely appeal to private interests?
Definitely, spheres of lobbying by political action groups in the USA vary. Usually political action groups focus on issues of different kinds, starting from interests of private persons, tycoons and finishing with concerns of political parties.
3. What is the notion of extra-constitutionalism with respect to interest groups? How does Domhoff’s model explain this?
Under extra-constitutionalism processes of transparent participation in different spheres of state government are neglected. In these processes those interest groups are participating which actions are beneficial to interests of specific groups or individuals. This phenomenon, extra-constitutionalism can involve people of different kinds of occupation: either in a sphere of governance, or in spheres of civil occupation. Domhoff explains this state of things as the following. In the USA power belongs to power elite which possesses its supporters in the mass media, in courts, academic institutions, think-tanks. Moreover, Domhoff emphasizes that such murky deeds of elite circles act openly not trying to disguise their actions, which leads to the existence of extra-constitutionalism.
4. With respect to Domhoff’s model, what are the key elements in the policy planning process? How do they preempt participatory democracy?
According to Domhoff`s model, the most important decisions for the country on political, economic and other issues are discussed firstly on the sidelines of the aristocratic private clubs where only the chosen are allowed to be present. And only then those decisions are conducted through appropriate democratic institutions into implementation and become part of a public domain. Under such sort of things participatory democracy loses its necessity and policy making process becomes unreachable behind power of elite circles.
5. Comment on Chomsky’s propaganda model. Do you agree that we have a “polyarchy” rather than a democracy?
In terms of the Chomsky’s propaganda model, the media are considered as enterprises that sell goods – readers and audiences (rather than news) – to other enterprises (advertisers). The mass media, according to Chomsky, may manufacture consent of the people and the efficiency and speed of achieving consent among people is a matter of volumes of funding of the mass media charged with an aim of achieving all-people consent.
I believe nowadays we have polyarchy as a political system which is based on open competition between different political groups in the struggle for the support of voters. I also agree with the inventor of this notion, Robert Dahl, who considers polyarchy as a process of approaching democracy.
6. Are violent revolutionary organizations another form of interest groups? Why/why not?
I believe among interest groups nowadays we may find revolutionary organizations as well. The proof to it is the following. People united by one common aim make everything possible to achieve it, sometimes by all means. When all endeavors have been used in vain, and no goals of interest groups may be attained due to some reasons, such interest groups, still driven by the same intention, may transform into more radical organizations for which the end justifies the means. Hence, revolutionary organizations are still a kind of interest groups. Vivid example of it is fascist organizations in Italy in the forties years of the previous century. Those organizations that transformed into Fascist Party of Italy supporting ideas of totalitarianism began as groups of individuals encouraged with a common purpose of revival of the Great Rome.