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Politics and Government

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Presentation on theme: "Politics and Government"— Presentation transcript:

1 Politics and Government
Macionis, Sociology, Chapter Seventeen

2 Politics & Government Politics Government Power
The social institution that distributes power, sets a society’s agenda, and makes decisions Government A formal organization that directs the political life of a society Power The ability to achieve desired ends despite resistance from others

3 Authority Power People Perceive As Legitimate, Not Coercive
Traditional Power legitimized through respect for long established cultural patterns Rational-legal Power legitimized by legally enacted rules and regulations Charismatic Power legitimized through extraordinary personal abilities that inspire devotion and obedience

Absolute Monarchy Rulers monopolizing power based on divine right Modern Example: Saudi Arabia Constitutional Monarchies Modern-day monarchies More figure head than ruler Political principles rule Elected official actually rules Modern Example: Great Britain, Spain, Denmark, etc

5 Democracy Linked to Rational-legal Authority
Democracy – A political system which gives power to the people as a whole Representative Democracy – Authority in hands of elected leaders, accountable to the people The U.S. Is not truly democratic (power-elite) extensive use of unelected bureaucratic officials rich have more political clout than poor Capitalist societies claim to be democratic because of personal liberties while socialist countries claim to be democratic because of economic equality

6 Other Forms of Government
Authoritarianism A political system that denies popular participation in government Totalitarianism A highly centralized political system (concentrates all power) that extensively regulates people’s lives

7 Lobbies Special Interest Groups
Political alliance of people interested in some economic or social issue NRA, AARP, AFL-CIO, ACLU, Christian Coalition Political Action Committees Organizations formed by special interest groups, independent of political parties, to pursue political aims by raising and spending money

8 Theoretical Analysis Pluralist model The power-elite model
Power is dispersed among many competing interests groups The power-elite model “Real” power is concentrated among the very rich in America Can the wealthiest in America ever encounter pressure to not act in their own best interests? Marxist model Power is divided along the lines of a political economy Bias is rooted within the nation’s social institutions Revolution is the only answer

9 Political Revolution Political Revolution – The overthrow of a political order in order to establish another Coup d’etat – one leader disposing another Political Revolutions have common traits Rising expectations Tend to happen when quality of life is improving Unresponsive government Government unwilling or unable to reform Radical leadership by intellectuals Revolution is often “university centered” students play crucial role Establishing new legitimacy Guarding against the counterrevolution

10 Characteristics of Terrorism
Acts of violence, or the threat of violence, employed by an individual or a group as a political strategy Define violence as a legitimate political tactic while bypassing established channels of negotiation Used by governments as well as individuals State Terrorism – use of violence generally without the support of law, by government officials Democratic countries are especially vulnerable to terrorism It is a matter of definition, one person’s terrorist is another's freedom fighter

11 Reducing Chances For War and Increasing Chances Of Peace
Deterrence Balance of power between societies High-technology defense Strategic defense initiative Diplomacy and disarmament Keep talking about reducing arms Resolving underlying conflict Increase spending on promoting peace rather than building up military

12 View life through the eyes of a happy, optimistic child
“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” Author Unknown

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