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Presentation on theme: "PSIR 104 INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL SCIENCE"— Presentation transcript:


2 Some definitions about politics
Politics as a process that help to harmonize differences in society. Politics as a process by which society allocates resources and values. Politics as a class struggle Politics as a means of getting into positions of political power.

3 Two Permanent Elements of Politics.
Exercising of political power (conflict). Common decision making (consensus).

4 Class Discussion The Difference Between ‘Political’ and ‘Non-Political’ In groups of two discuss how the following issues could be categorized as political and non-political. Domestic Violence Car Insurance Fees

5 Which subjects do Political Scientists Study?
The structure of political power. The use of political power. Decision making process (how are important decision made?) The distribution of economic values between different parts of society. The making of laws.

Political science is an academic discipline of social sciences. It is concerned with the political analyses, especially with the politics of state. Generally, sciences can be classified into two basic categories: Natural Sciences Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Social Sciences Political science, Economics, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology

7 Sub-fields of Political Science
International relations Political philosophy Comparative politics Political Theory Public policy Public law Public administration Religion and politics Political communication Politics and history Political psychology Politics and literature Elections, public opinion and voting behavior Race and ethnicity Women and politics Political economy

8 Concept of Politics and Political Science
It is not easy to find a stable definition for the concept of politics. However, we may say that political science deals with many aspects of politics, political events, political structure, and political relationships in society. Political scientists try to explain these aspects of politics and especially the use of power and decision making within societies.

9 Sub-fields of Political Science
International Relations is one of the academic sub-fields of political science that deals with the relations between states. Those scholars who study international relations try to understand, for example the causes of wars, economic dependencies, and political alliances between nations. How do the independent states make their foreign policies? What are the conditions for cooperation between states? What are the agreements between states? How can any kind of conflict between states be solved by peaceful methods?

10 Sub-fields of Political Science
Comparative politics, on the hand, looks at how politics is similar or different between countries. It compares many aspects of politics of one country with the politics of another country. If we want to compare the functions of military forces in politics in two or more countries we have to organize a comparative study.

11 Sub-fields of Political Science
Political philosophy deals with ideas. Ideas form the basis of politics. This sub-field is concerned with the way the state and society ought to be organized and the way the citizens ought to behave. For example, British political thinkers developed the ideas of capitalism and parliamentary democracy. The ideas of socialism and communism are based on Karl Marx’s

12 Sub-fields of Political Science
Political theory. There are two major concerns of political theory. One is how political research is conducted and the other deriving models on functioning states and societies  e.g. When do revolutions take place? A political theory based on making observations and recording what we see is is called the inductive approach. The study of election data is a good example of inductive research. The data from a series of elections in a particular country can be used to obtain a model about how people vote in elections. The second approach in political theory is called deductive approach, by which we can understand society by applying general assumptions that apply to all societies.

13 Sub-fields of Political Science
It is possible to say that these two approaches try to understand society by using different models. Empirical or inductive approach collects data about society in order to construct a model to explain political phenomena. Deductive approach, on the other hand, tends to use a model in order to explain the meaning of empirical facts.

14 Sub-fields of Political Science
Public Policy deals with making and implementing public policies in certain areas such as public health, public housing, education, agriculture, the economy and so on. How are public policies made? How are they applied in particular area of social life? Public Law concerns with how laws are interpreted and used and how they affect people and social life. Public Administration is one of areas of political science, which deals with the activities, powers, and functions of central government and local governments.

15 Sub-fields of Political Science
Religion and Politics deals with how religion and religious institutions affect political processes. Environmental Politics concerns with the formation and activities of political groups, which are organized around environmental issues, and environmental policies of governments, the international dimensions of environmental issues. Political Communication deals with how communication media such as T.V, Radio, and Newspapers affect the political behavior of individual and society.

16 Sub-fields of Political Science
Political History deals with the historical events by using a political framework. Historians study the history of a country. However, political scientists study historical events by a political model. Political Psychology attempts to explain psychological roots of political behavior.

17 Sub-fields of Political Science
Race and Ethnicity concerns with the political significance of racial and ethnic movements in order to understand and explain under which conditions a racial or ethnic group begin to affect the politics of a given society. Political Economy deals with the relationships between politics and economics. It tries to explain how the distribution of national income between different parts of society affects the political process.

18 Some Basic Concepts of Politics
POWER Power can be defined as the capacity or ability to exercise command, influence, or coercion which makes a political actor do what another actor wants. In modern states, most of people pay tax to the state. To pay taxes to the state is commanded by the Laws of the state. We cannot refuse to pay tax because the state has capacity to collect tax from its citizens. To put it differently, the state has power to collect tax. It has power to make its citizens pay tax.

19 Concept of Power Power of a state may derive from several sources. In other words, power may be gained or exercised in various forms. There are several basis of power. The Sources or Bases of Power to be discussed is not exhaustive and could be expanded Discussing the bases of power provide us with a proper perspective to start to develop our knowledge on the NATURE OF POWER.


21 Bases of Power FORCE: Power may be gained or exercised by the use of force. The state has power to make people obey the Tax Law. Force is an important basis of power in international relations. By using military force, a particular state causes another state to follow particular policies or to change its policy on a particular issue. For example, the USA forced Iraq to withdraw its military troops from Kuwait in 1991.

22 Bases of Power INCENTIVE: A political actor may use power on another actor by encouragement. The state or an organ of the state may use positive and negative incentives as a basis of power. Positive incentive refers to giving reward to encourage a person to do what you want. Negative incentive is usually in the form of a punishment. We obey the decisions of government by considering that the government is able to punish those who oppose to the decisions taken by the government. Carrots and Sticks?

23 Bases of Power PERSUASION: A political actor may be convinced to do something. For example we may accept to pay tax because an authority convince us that money collected from tax payers will be used for public welfare. A good example of persuasion in international politics appears when a government uses a method of diplomatic bargaining to influence another government. In the process of diplomatic relations a government may get another government to change its policies by rational persuasion.

24 Bases of Power LOVE: As an important factor in relationships between two individuals, love may affect political behavior. It is observed that when a person loves another person this emotional relationship gives power to the second to affect the behavior of the first. e.g. Love of a spouse: Liani-Andreas Papandreu, Rahsan-Bulent Ecevit Love felt towards one’s country? Love felt towards a leader?

25 Bases of Power PSYCHOLOGY: As a basis of power, psychology refers to the collective behavior in a group which creates a strong persuasive tendency towards affecting other members in the group. Political leaders and governments tend to use psychology to encourage people to follow majority in society and obey their decisions.

26 Bases of Power LEGALITY: We obey the laws and regulations which are passed by the legal institutions such as the parliament. Our obedience to the laws derives from the belief that they should be obeyed because the parliament has legal power (authority) to regulate social life.

27 Bases of Power CHARISMA: The concept of charisma means the quality of an individual who has great persuasive ability because of strong personality, speaking ability or some other quality that affect beliefs and behavior of people. The existence of particular abilities in a person makes his or her a charismatic leader. People obey charismatic leaders because they accept charismatic leaders as having some unusual quality. e.g. Arafat? Denktaş? Goodluck Jonathan:


29 Bases of Power TRADITION: People can be persuaded to do something because they have been doing the same things for a long time. In other words, political habits may provide a basis for power. It is possible to observe some traditions which have generated important effects on the political life of a society. The power of kings and queens in the middle ages is a good example of power that is based on tradition. In the middle ages the authority of kings was the result of a tradition that the king had the right to rule society.

30 Some Basic Concepts of Politics
SOVEREIGNTY: The concept of sovereignty originally comes from old French and means “to rule over” or one who is “superior” to others in a given society. It was first to describe the power and position of the French Kings among other persons and institutions in the French society in the middle ages. Its meanings can be divided into two: External Sovereignty and Internal Sovereignty

31 Sovereignty External Sovereignty: The concept of sovereignty is first used to mean the independence of a state among other states in the world. This is a legal concept that states that a particular state is free from external control and influence. In this sense every independent state has external sovereignty. In the real world however, there are a set of inequalities among `independent states` in terms of economic and military capacity, population, and technological and scientific capability. This means that more powerful states have more `sovereignty` in their relations with other states. A state which has external sovereignty does not have absolute freedom to regulate its relations with other states.

32 Sovereignty One of the limitations over the state’s sovereignty is the existence of international laws and regulations. These laws and rules restrict the state’s sovereignty. (consider the role of European Union over member states)

33 Internal Sovereignty Another form of sovereignty is called internal sovereignty which refers to the position of sovereign power inside the country. This is the original meaning of the concept of sovereignty. We know that in the end of middle ages in France this concept was used to identify the power of the French king. The French king was considered as the superior authority in society. To describe his position he was called “the sovereign”. The French kind was considered as having absolute power to make any final decision for society. After French revolution political regime changed in France. The monarchy was destroyed and the French nation became the holder of ultimate authority to take decisions (sovereignty).

34 Internal Sovereignty We may say that internal sovereignty explains the supreme authority inside society. In other words we use this concept to explain which group, individual, or institution inside the country has capacity to control national territory and make collective decisions for entire society.

35 Some Basic Concepts of Politics
LEGITIMACY Legitimacy can be defined as the belief of people that regards the existing political regime and its exercise of power as morally right and acceptable. The political regime has legitimacy when people accept the rule and are willing and ready to obey the laws. A legitimate political regime is one in which people voluntarily obey the laws.

36 Some Basic Concepts of Politics
LEGALITY – LEGAL AUTHORITY It refers to the correct procedure in the making of laws or governing society according to the established rules and principles written down in the state’s constitution and laws.

37 Class Discussion Evaluate the following statement in groups of 4 and report to class ‘A government may have legal authority to rule but at the same time, it may not have legitimacy’.

Politics has always been a powerful source of appeal or attractiveness. The struggle for power, influence, wealth, and control in society is the basic reason generating this attractiveness of politics. The word “politics” has been popular from the time when human societies began to develop particular forms of rule to make common decisions. The word “politics” comes from the Greek word “polis” meaning a political unit in ancient Greek civilization which is called “city-state”.

39 Polis and Politics - “Polis” (the city-state) had about inhabitants. - A form of government establıshed in the ancient Greek city-states was direct democracy in which citizens were given the right to directly, personally participate in decision-making process. - In the city-state the women, slaves, and foreigners did not have the right to participate in politics because they were not considered as citizens. - Only citizens (adult male population) formed the political community with the right to take part in political decision-making. - Politics became a systematic activity in the city- states of ancient Greek World. We get many fundamental ideas and concepts about politics from political thinkers of ancient Greek civilization.

40 Plato and Aristotle Two of these thinkers are Plato and Aristotle. Both of them and others tried to understand how the “good” or “ideal” state would be. “The Republic” written by Plato and “The Politics” written by Aristotle provide us with detailed ideas and arguments relating to the nature of politics and political institutions in city-states. An Argument made by Plato:  “ The purpose of the state (political community) is to provide justice”. For Plato it is possible to have justice (adalet) and goodness (erdem) in the state. Plato believes that, “ The state needs a truly good and virtuous person to rule in order to establish a truly just state”.

41 Plato For Plato, only a philosopher king can rule society according to the principles of justice and goodness. The philosopher king, according to Plato, will provide what is good and just for society. And “ he will not give people what they want but what they need.” It is clear that Plato is not interested in establishing a democratic system. He actually believes that giving ordinary people the right to rule themselves (democracy) will necessarily result in a bad or unjust political community.

42 Plato Plato gives details about his ideas about politics in the Republic by a dialogue (conversation) between Socrates and Thrasymachus. Socrates was another philosopher who trained Plato. Plato had deep sympathy to his teacher and agreed with many ideas developed by Socrates. Thrasymachus was an imagined person opposing ideas of Socrates and Plato. The dialog between Socrates and Thrasymachus was also imagined by Plato as a method to explain his ideas about politics.

43 In the dialogue, Plato attempts to convince the reader that it is possible to establish a political community based on justice and goodness. For Thrasymachus, politics is just based on self-interest and force not on justice in the state. For him whoever tries to find justice in the state is foolish.   Politics for Thrasymachus, is a struggle between conflicting groups who attempt to protect only group interests. If a particular party comes to power its leaders try to establish policies which are beneficial to that party. If another party comes to power, the leaders of the party will try to serve their own selfish interests.

44 Links For more information about Plato’s life The classics (Works of Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophers) Country Data


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