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Politics and Governance
“It’s really hot over here. That’s why I’ve stripped down.” -Teppy
“Your test scores are probably being posted this very minute.” -Teppy
Median: 75%. Mean: 72.5%
“Today I want to talk about politics. Politics is not my favourite subject, I don’t know why. Every now and then I enjoy talking about it for a little.” -Teppy
What’s the consequence of living in Canada vs. the USA? One major difference is in politics. We can’t compare society without comparing the political structures. These differences come from culture, economics, history, etc. etc.
Politics is about states. States govern.
Governance = collective decision making + policy implementation
Governance also refers to all norms and processes related to the delivery of public goods.
“Social institutions are not mortar and bricks. Social institutions are norms and processes. So what do we mean by public goods? It includes things like healthcare, education, etc… that the public relies on the state to do for us.” -Teppy
So you are turning over a large power to the state.
Governance encompasses the regulatory framework and authority of the state. It’s about the state but also how the state affects the non-state (i.e. things like family, markets, etc. etc.).
You’d think families are private. But the state is interested in the family as well.
“There’s a very strong connection between the state and non-governmental networks which also delivers public goods.” -Teppy
e.g. University of Toronto relies on the state. For funding. State also direct the U of T. Should the state remove funding this is a huge crisis.
e.g. NGOs, professional associations (P. Eng., CMA, etc.)
How to measure good governance
The World Bank has developed six measures of good governance:
1.Voice and accountability
2.Political stability and absence of violence
5.Rule of law
6.Control of corruption
e.g. Norway does exceedingly well in all these dimensions.
Related concept: governmentality
“Governmentality” — a term invented by Michel Foucault in 1978 to describe the development of modern states and of liberal political economy
How does the state accomplish “rule”?
-Foucault’s work broke with critical social science literature
-he sakes not “who benefits” but rather what and who is being governed — and how.
Post-Marxism (Foucault): the state is distanced (a little bit) from the ruling class. Marxism is an oversimplification.
State rule and non-state (e.g.) rule are connected
-Governmentality studies put aside the distinction between state and non-state governance.
-In this way, Foucault broke with the Marxist approach
The trick is getting people to rule themselves.
-Foucault interested in the rise of science.
-Foucault examined liberalism’s promise to govern us by aligning governing objectives with out desire for autonomy.
-i.e. to connect freedom with public constraint.
Debate: university is not producing enough technicians, artisans, crafters.
Government might decide to raise tuition to reduce number of people receiving education — this is influencing the members of the non-state!
People behave themselves by striving to achieve normality
“Governmentality” — manipulating notions of normality.
-refers to innovations, roughly originating in late 18th century Europe
-controls “populations” without laying down prohibitory rules or individually disciplining deviants.
Interesting fact: number of diagnosable illnesses increased over the past 50 years!
Illness is a social acceptable form of deviance. What we’re doing is saying that the medical profession is having more and more power to excuse people.
Incentives and expert knowledge
-In general, governmental power tends ot work on people indirectly
-by incentivizing and rewarding certain activities
-by using expert or state knowledge to do so.
Some differences between political sociology and political science
-**Political science** deals mainly with machinery of gov’t and public admin
-**Political sociology** deals with relations between political institutions and **other social institutions**.
Central concern of political sociology: bases of authority
TRADITIONAL: e.g. Louis XIV of France
By the end of WWI almost all traditional rulers (in Europe) are gone.
CHARISMATIC: e.g. Adolf Hitler
Charisma is known by its effects, not its traits.
Cf., Foucault on governmentality
Most common type of authority in modern states.
Absence of rational-legal authority -> “failed” state.
Beaureaucratic organization: characterized by rational-legal authority
Legitimacy of authority depends on codified rules
Example of the sociological approach: Seymour Martin Lipset’s “First New Nation”
-Examiens role of politics in making American society different from others
Lipset: a Marxist. Why didn’t the Marxists find success in the United States?
Key features of the US:
2.Commitment to two core values: equality and achievement
These values form basis of all American institutions: family, school, politics, etc.
The role of revolution in nation-building
-The American revolution established a basis for legal-rational authority (don’t need to listen to the Queen anymore)
-Created a new republic
-Created a new set of **constitutional** rights
-Created a new sense of community
Sociologists also study the role of class influence in modernization
B. Moore (former Marxist) explores connection between class influence and type of state
-compares societies in examining democracy, equality, and class formation
-disagrees with Marx’s view that working class revolution would produce equality necessary for democracy
-also challenges “modernization theorist” who believed in only one route to modernity
The way a state becomes modern:
-upper class (and military) domination leads to modernity through fascism (Germany, Japan, Italy, etc)
-middle class domination leads to modernity through liberal democracy (states)
-peasant domination leads to modernity through communism (China)
-so far, no working class domination has led to modernization
Moore believed “bourgeois revolution” brings western democracy in **5 ways**
1.Undermines role of monarchy or aristocracy
2.Moves rural economy to independent small farming, away from large feudal estates
3.Helps eliminate impoverished peasantry and landed classes dependent on this exploitation
4.Makes bourgeoisie less likely to ally with aristocracy against peasants/workers (as in fascism)
5.Breaks from the past, economically, politically and ideologically
Like Lipset, Moore focuses on the occasional importance of violence in setting democracy
Like Lipsets, Moore sees the value of cross-national comparison
-Both use cross-national, comparative and historical research, like Marx, Weber, Marx, etc.
-Comparison helps to identify laws of societal change
-also useful in studying “failed states” (more later)
One commonality between successful modern states: rule of law
Without written rules…
-you can’t have rule of law
-you can’t have predictable economic life (economic growth, investment)
-predictable social life (e.g. in families, schools, workplaces)
-systematic growth of science and technology
Features that distinguish the top 10 “failed” states form sustainable states
-include demographic pressures, refugees, civil war
-corruption, low confidence in government, inability to control economy, and no rule of law
SUMMARY: NO PREDICTABILITY
Most sustainable state: Norway
Most failed state: Somalia
Question of interest: what combination of social, historical, political, economic, and cultural factors **produce success**?
Not all rational-legal states are just or sustainable
3 types of rational-legal state:
**Authoritarian**: use force to ensure compliance
-leader is often dictator
-often cooperates military, church, multinational corporations
e.g. South American countries (Argentina)
**Totalitarian**: more extreme, stable versions of authoritarian states
-intervenes in both public and private life: complete loyalty and compliance
e.g. China?!!?!?!? (One child policy)
“Telling people how many children to have is an extremely totalitarian thing to do.” -Teppy
Authoritarian state controls people mainly throughout he military and church. e.g. many latin American dictatorships
Totalitarian state controls all social institutions, including schools and families
By contrast, a liberal-democratic state reflects the goals and values of lalalalla
Types of Liberal Democratic State (most sustainable)
In ancient Athens, all citizens would come up to one place and talk about politics.
This is cool, but majority of Athenians were non-citizens.
Impossible in Canada.
We have **representative democracy** with **constitutional monarchy**.
Ways of voting
-Methods of voting vary between democracies
-Canada uses “first past the post” method
-Candidate with most number of votes in riding is the winner
-A popular alternative is **proportional representation**
Mainstream and minority parties
-Only liberal and conservative parties have ever held federal government
-NDP began as Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)
–socialist, farm, co-operative …
Many groups are unrepresented
-The Canadian voting system leaves many unrepresented.
“60% of Canadians voted for Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper is the prime minister.
“60% of Canadians voted for Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper is the prime minister.
“60% of Canadians voted for Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper is the prime minister. Are you seeing a problem here?” -Teppy
-Voter turnout has steadily declined over years to about 60%
-Younger people less likely to vote
-Those with higher education, boring in Canada or living in Quebec are most politically active
(Non-Democratic) Elites in Democracies
-C Wright Mill’s “ruling elite theory”: in liberal democracies, a small privileged groups controls society
-elites share similar interests and views, serve on same boards of largest companies, and create networks.
-There is Canadian elite at top of corporations, linked through common networks and ideas about power
The (partly) autonomous state
e.g. Supreme Court of Canada (not swayed by politics)
-The state usually tries to resist short-term demands from ruling elites (e.g., to reduce elite taxes) to fulfill longer term goals (e.g., to educate labour force)
-Neo-Marxists view state as partly autonomous — not always responding to demands of elites
The development of citizenship rights
-In England, legal rights developed over centuries
-By 18th Century, fair and predictable treatment was common in law courts
-Political citizenship developed in 19th century
-but women in Canada did not get right to vote until 1919
-Social citizenship developed around Great Depression in Britain, Canada, and US
-social safety nets like welfare, health insurance, old age pensions, etc.
“Neither legal citizenship nor political citizenship mean anything without effective social citizenship.” -Teppy