Unit 2: Structures and Political Institutions (2015)Apunte Inglés
Structures and Political Institutions:
-Different political regimes
-The Western State
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POLITICAL SCIENCE. UNIT 2
STRUCTURES AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS.
1- THE STATE AND THE DIFFERENT POLITICAL REGIMES.
The modern idea of the state developed in Europe from the end of Medieval Europe (1500).
During Middle Age = European governance in hands of the Roman Catholic Church and feudal lords.
Thirty years war —> Reformation and confrontation of religions = The Peace of Westphalia (1648).
Central idea: Sovereignty, a new understanding.
Bodin = New centralizing ideology Hobbes = Rational individuals seeking for protection Locke = Citizens possess natural rights.
After the American and French revolution… -Contract: Modern State needs a contract between the citizens of the State —> Constitution *Power in hands of the citizens.
-Sovereignty: Importance of the independence of the powers -Consent: Agreement of the citizens to recognize several institutions, to approve several laws… -Rule of law: The Constitution is the basic law — It’s the basics of democracy.
WEBBER AND AUTHORITY.
-Traditional authority: Authority derived from traditional customs and values.
Ex. Divine right of kings.
-Charismatic authority: Authority derived from the personality traits of an individual.
Ex. Leaders of authoritarian or totalitarian regimes.
-Legal-rational authority: Authority derived from the status of an office as part of a system of constitutional rules, in a democratic country, or a religious document such as the Koran in Islamic regimes.
THE WESTERN STATE.
1-Centralization: Penetration of central power over a specified territory.
Expansion (1789-1974): National police forces + border controls.
Restructuring (1975-2000): Agreed elimination of border controls within some EU states.
2-Standardization: Greater uniformity within society.
Expansion (1789-1974): Common language + consistent time zones + standard weights and measures.
Restructuring (1975-2000): Regional autonomy and identities + support of multicultural society 3-Force: Strengthened monopoly of legitimate force.
Expansion (1789-1974): National police backed by the military.
Restructuring (1975-2000): 4-Mobilization: Increased capacity to extract resources from society.
Expansion (1789-1974): Income tax + increased public spending.
Restructuring (1975-2000): Reduced rates of income tax.
5-Differentiation: State institutions and employees become increasingly distinct from society.
Expansion (1789-1974): Idea of public sector Restructuring (1975-2000): Idea of governance as collaboration between society and state.
6-Functions: Growth in the state’s tasks and its intervention in society.
POLITICAL SCIENCE. UNIT 2 Expansion (1789-1974): War-making + welfare provision.
Restructuring (1975-2000): Privatization + modest reduction of welfare provision.
7-Size: Expansion of the state’s budget and personnel.
Expansion (1789-1974): Growth of public sector.
Restructuring (1975-2000): Stabilization of public sector + increase of fiscal deficits + failure of military spending.
The model of democracy is a form of self-government in which all citizens participate in collective decisions in an environment of equality and open deliberation.
In Athens there were some limitations … 1-Most adults (including women, foreign residents and slaves) were excluded.
2-The practice wasn’t as extensive as the Athenians liked to claim.
3-A lack of permanent bureaucracy became a problem.
Many times democracy has been regarded in a negative light —> It was a synonymous of perverted form of government (Plato, Aristotle, for instance).
FORMS OF DEMOCRACY.
1-REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY System of government in which all eligible citizens vote on representatives to pass laws for them.
Ex: US, where citizens elect a president and members of the Congress. They also elect local and state officials. All of these elected officials supposedly listen to the populace and do what's best for the nation, state or jurisdiction as a whole.
2-DIRECT DEMOCRACY In a true direct democracy, every single law, bill, or issue of justice is voted on by all the people. A direct democracy is usually contrasted with a representative democracy. In a representative democracy, the general public votes for representatives, who then make laws on its behalf.
-Popular accountability of Government: Leaders are accountable to citizens.
Accountability is the acknowledgement and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions and policies.
-Political competition: Voters must have a choice, either of candidates or parties.
*Citizens must be free to choose between some options (between different parties and different candidates).
-Alternation in Power: The reins of power must occasionally change hands. A system in which the ruling party stays in power for many decades cannot really be democratic.
-Uncertain Electoral Outcomes: Elections must have an element of uncertainty, fluidity and individual vote switching.
POLITICAL SCIENCE. UNIT 2 -Popular Representation: In representative democracies, the voters elect representatives to act as legislators and, as such, to voice and protect their general interest.
-Majority decision in respect with the minority view: The majority should decide but respecting minority’s rights.
*Try to avoid the tyranny of majority.
-Political Equality: All adults are equally able to participate in politics —> One person, one vote.
-Popular consultation: The government must know what the people want and must be responsive to their needs and demands.
-Free press and freedom of expression: A dictatorship cannot tolerate free and critical mass media and press.
*Considered the Fourth Power.
-Checks and balances.
DEMOCRACY IN PRACTICE.
-ELITE MODEL: A little elite control the mass (few people control society) -PLURALIST MODEL: Small interest groups interact with each other and with power.
-POLYARCHY MODEL: Different elites, that control their own mass, interact with each other and with power.