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What is Politics? Produced by Dr Peter Jepson - with materials from UK Govt & Politics by Philip Lynch & Paul Fairclough + The Essentials of UK Politics.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Politics? Produced by Dr Peter Jepson - with materials from UK Govt & Politics by Philip Lynch & Paul Fairclough + The Essentials of UK Politics."— Presentation transcript:

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2 What is Politics? Produced by Dr Peter Jepson - with materials from UK Govt & Politics by Philip Lynch & Paul Fairclough + The Essentials of UK Politics by Andrew Heywood. 1

3 What is expected? Turn off your mobile. Raise your hand to ask a question. Annotate your notes. 2

4 What is politics? Here are some possible answers (1) Politics is about government. (2) Politics is about public affairs. (3) Politics is about compromise. (4) Politics is about power. 3

5 (1) Politics is about government? Closest to the everyday definition - concentrates on specific people and institutions (MPs, parliament and civil servants). Problem is that it limits politics to decision makers. 4

6 (2) Politics is about public affairs Voting is undertaken by citizens - so they are also part of the political process. Participating in society is one of our rights/duties. Politics, therefore, means we take an active part in society. This can include things like office politics. 5

7 (3) Politics is about compromise? Aristotle - a man is a political animal? What does he mean by that? What Aristotle means is that we live in association and this causes conflict, however people prefer compromise. Hence, politics is about people compromising on private and public matters. 6

8 (3) Politics is about compromise? A problem with the compromise definition is that it fails to deal with imposition. Say the govt impose a tax without consultation - there is no compromise but politics has taken place. Also, what if the govt use force to impose its tax? Does that mean it has abandoned politics? Obviously not - hence is politics about compromise? 7

9 (4) Politics is about power? This is the most far reaching definition - man has power over woman in the household. The boss at work, teacher at College. On this view conflict is unavoidable - man v woman (feminist) or owner v worker (Marxist). This definition includes force - it is about the use of power. 3 Types of power: decision-making, agenda setting and thought control. 8

10 Which definition do we choose? It is something from all. Do pressure groups fit into the first definition? Is the second definition better or too inclusive? The third and fourth definitions are more about how decisions are made and not by who. Needs to reflect both. Is politics about community? 9

11 Approaches to the study of politics … Political science - facts such as govt, elections, parties - describing activities rather than what people ought to do. Political theory - more to do with values and theories of politics. AS Politics is more about political science than theory. 10

12 Key Terms … Define the following key terms (see pages 8-9 of the textbook The Essentials of UK Politics – by Andrew Heywood) … Civil society Hard power Soft power 11

13 Break into Political Groups Define what is politics and what is not politics. List items that are not and cannot be influenced by politics. Report back to the whole class. 12


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