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PS 210 Shane Stevens. 2 Political Institutions One approach is centered on understanding institutions Defined as organizations or patterns of activity.

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Presentation on theme: "PS 210 Shane Stevens. 2 Political Institutions One approach is centered on understanding institutions Defined as organizations or patterns of activity."— Presentation transcript:

1 PS 210 Shane Stevens

2 2 Political Institutions One approach is centered on understanding institutions Defined as organizations or patterns of activity that are self-perpetuating and valued for their own sake Embedded in people’s lives as a norm or value Not easily dislodged or gotten rid of Rules, norms, values that give meaning to our actions

3 3 Why Study Institutions? Set the stage for political behavior Generate norms and values Allow for certain kinds of political activity and not others How they are constructed will shape how politics unfolds Brings us back to early studies in political science, but also tries to emphasize explanation, not just description

4 4 Freedom and Equality Institutions as our approach to studying politics—how structured Freedom and equality as the basic content of politics—to what end

5 5 Freedom Ability of an individual to act independently No fear of restriction or punishment by state or other actors Examples: Free speech Free assembly Other examples?

6 6 Equality Shared economic standard within community, society or country Examples: Wages Healthcare Housing Others?

7 7 Matrix of Freedom and Equality

8 8 Reconciling Freedom and Equality Can you have both high freedom and equality? Why or why not? How might one impinge on the other? Which is more important? Why?

9 9 Politics, Institutions, Freedom and Equality Politics must balance freedom and equality Politics the struggle over these two values Institutions reflect our preferences for the balance between the two Use this knowledge to make your own decisions about politics Which political values do you believe are the best to pursue?

10 The State Difficult term for most Americans Tend to think of local government—this a function of federalism and early confederation Instead, we are thinking of centralized authority

11 Defining the State Max Weber: Monopoly of violence over a given territory Sovereignty: ability to carry out actions independently of internal/external challengers State is thus institution that wields force to ensure order within and resisting threats from without

12 Are States Just Rackets? Not unlike organized crime! Provide protectionProvide protection Demand paymentDemand payment Punish violatorsPunish violators Adjudicate disputesAdjudicate disputes Battle rivalsBattle rivals

13 States Make Policy Turning ideas into political practice Laws and regulations Social welfare Realizing public goals regarding freedom and equality

14 States and Regimes How is a regime different from a state? Regimes as the fundamental rules and norms of politics Long-term goals regarding freedom and equality Where should power reside? How should it be used?

15 Ways in Which Regimes Differ Democratic or authoritarian: How different? United States versus Canada: How different? Can trace these differences in constitutions, but also in informal practices and rules

16 Regimes As Institutions Often institutionalized Not easily changed Dramatic events, revolutions or crisis, removal by war: “regime change” (Iraq) Sometimes not institutionalized, leader operates as she or he sees fit: “L’Etat, c’est moi” (Louis XIV—”I am the state”)

17 States and Regimes, Hardware and Software States as machinery or computer of politics Regimes as political “software,” setting the basic range of actions for the computer Each state is “programmed” differently

18 What Is Government? The leadership in charge of running the state The operator of the hardware and software! May be democratic or undemocratic Weakly institutionalized—removed by public, by force, by mortality…

19 State, Regime, Government

20 Origins of Political Organization Where did states come from? Did not exist for vast majority of human history: Tribes City-states Empires Now only states rule the earth. Why?

21 Early Political Organization Nomadic groups become sedentary— agriculture Creation of surplus, specialization Creation of inequality Growth in population Need to resolve dilemmas of freedom and equality—had not existed before

22 Emergence of Political Organization Development of societies required political organization Make and enforce rules Protect citizens Set collective goals

23 Consensus or Coercion? Is political organization the result of public consensus (bottom-up) or elite coercion (top-down)? Consensus: social contract between rulers and ruled (Hobbes) Coercion: those few with political power force their rule onto others (Marx) Both are true, depending on time and place

24 From Complex Organization to The State Mentioned the diversity of political organizations A thousand years ago, there were no states! Arose in Europe in Middle Ages. Why?

25 Collapse of Roman Empire Europe fragmented into many rival territories No central authority Decline of basic institutions, political, economic, social “Dark Ages,” C.E

26 Europe, Twelfth Century CE

27 Dark Ages and Political Change Hypercompetitive environment Constant warfare, rapid organization evolution Small states emerge as warlords consolidate territory Also shaped by geography—hard to unify Europe (unlike China)

28 The Advantages of States Encouraged economic development as way to gain revenue, fight rivals Encouraged technological innovation or application for same reason—gunpowder, cartography Homogenization of peoples within territories—common language, customs, identity (a nation)

29 European States Expand Outward Remove rivals in Europe (such as Catholic Church Begin to voyage outside of Europe for new markets and resources Creation of empires across globe Even after end of empire, former colonies themselves become states

30 Comparing State Power How do we compare and evaluate states? Forms of legitimacy Relative centralization of power

31 Legitimacy Defined as a value where someone or something is recognized or accepted as right and proper Confers authority Confers power Legitimate behavior is seen as “right thing to do”. Taxes? Consensus over coercion.

32 Forms of Legitimacy According to Max Weber: Traditional Charismatic Rational-Legal

33 Traditional Legitimacy Valid because “it has always been done this way”. Accepted over a long period of time Historical myths and legends Continuity between past and present Example: Monarchy. Highly institutionalized

34 Charismatic Legitimacy Opposite of traditional Charisma as the force of ideas Embodied in a single individual Example: Hitler, Martin Luther King Weakly institutionalized

35 Rational-Legal Legitimacy Based not on rituals or force of ideas Based on laws, procedures Rules are key—how did someone come into power? Example: George Bush, though some might contest this! Bumper Sticker: “He’s not my president” Questioning election process Strongly institutionalized

36 Centralization/Decentralization How much power does a state have, and where does that power reside? Federalism/unitary Strong/weak/failed states

37 Federalism Versus Unitary States Federalism: significant powers devolved to the local level by constitution, not easily taken away. Examples of powers: Taxes, education, security (local police, militia Examples of federal states: United States, Germany, Russia, Canada, Mexico

38 Unitary States Power resides with central government Can devolve powers to local level, but also take them away if it chooses Examples of unitary states: Britain, Japan, France, Sweden

39 Strong Versus Weak States Strong states are able to carry out basic tasks expected of them: security, public policy, basic goods and services Weak states less able to fulfill tasks, and may face rivals (organized crime, guerrilla movements, other states) Failed states have lost most of their ability to monopolize force and provide services

40 Another Cut: Capacity and Autonomy Capacity: The ability of states to get things done. Fulfill tasks Autonomy: ability to act free from direct public interference. Act on their behalf, not at their behest Too high autonomy and capacity leads to authoritarianism; too low, to state failure Both depend on the issue at hand—might have autonomy or capacity in one area, not another.

41 Weak or Strong State? US? Capacity: high or low? Examples? Autonomy: high or low? Examples? China? Capacity: high or low? Examples? Autonomy: high or low? Examples?

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