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Lexicon
Basic concepts required for study
of government
Defining concepts
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Lets not be Humpty Dumpties!
Don’t stipulate!
Be ostensive!
In what different ways is the word used?
Define it by saying what it isn’t
Venn diagrams: what other concepts does
it overlap?
What are the schools of thought
available to us?
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That’s a matter for Political theory module
But: still Marxist, Weberian
Probably functionalist, neo-functionalist
Definitely feminist
Neo-conservative
Neo-liberal
Chicago school too
Institutions
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State
Executive
Legislature
Assembly
Judiciary
State
• Marx “the executive committee of the
bourgeoisie” an instrument of class
oppression
• Weber: “the human community that
[successfully] claims the monopoly of
legitimate force within a given territory”
[the modern state, remember]
The State [2]
• The state is to be distinguished from civil
society [public life and private life]
• The state includes government as well as
other institutions
• The state endures where individual
governments even systems of government
come and go
Executive
• Supposed to carry out/ implement the laws
passed by the legislature
• As policy-making became more specialist,
power passed to “experts” employed
within civil service
• As foreign policy became more important
and technology shrank time and distance,
policy had to be made more quickly.
Everything’s an emergency
Legislature
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Supposed to make law. Doesn’t cos it cant
Deliberative function
Tax-passing
Forum of accountability [?]
Committee systems review detail
Other committees hold individual policy making
structures to account
• Soap opera?
• Or now part of the “dignified” aspect of politics?
Politics
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power
Government/institutions
Allocation of values
“Party politics”
Decision-making/policy making
Arbitrating between competing claims
Allocating scarce resources
Power, authority and legitimacy
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Power has notion of coercion within it
Influence more persuasive
Authority = legitimate power
More legitimacy you have, less power
[coercive force] you have to use
• Using force expensive
• Legitimacy means citizens accept your
right to take decisions for them
Ideology
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Opposite of pragmatic
[yet pragmatism can be an ideology]
Originally meant the study of ideas
Marx made it the belief system that
defined a class
• But also said that the ideas of the ruling
class were dominant/ hegemonic
• Key Cold War concept
Ideology 2
• In Cold War “their” policies were derived
from ideology i.e. were irrational
• And not what a pragmatic person would
have decided was in the interests of the
public
• “They” would say that their policies were
about the achievement of “ideals”
• Hence the frequent misspelling idealogy!
Nation, Race, Class, Gender, Age
• Are nations mythical? Is there a British
nation?
• Scottish, Welsh English and irish nations?
• Geordie, Liverpudlians, Brummies,
Estuarine Essex girls
• Or are these races.
• Does it matter?
• Yes if it produces political party cleavages
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