13 Class Summary

13 Class Summary - February 13, 2008 Last class we...

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February 13, 2008 Last class we revisited definitions of ‘politics’ and ‘power’, discussed how elites and non-elites use them, and looked at how statistics play into the ‘politics of talk’. We first discussed the Shively piece on power and choice. We defined politics as ‘the process by which decisions are made and resources are allotted by individuals for a group’. When there are disagreements among decision makers political power is used to determine what actions will be taken. We determined that power is used, not only when the stakes are high, but when there is a disagreement. Power can be exerted through persuasion, incentives, and coercion. We generally agreed that persuasion takes the longest amount of time to use, but is the less likely to create feelings of animosity. Coercion, on the other hand, can typically be used quickly, but is unlikely to lead to long-term stability. As part of our discussion we revisited how important rules are in policy making and message targeting, and how overall most Americans have a respect for rules and the process. We also discussed how it is important to come at things from different angles or dimensions when trying to persuade. This is especially true when lobbying; you would lobby an evangelical Republican much differently than you would an environmentalist Democrat, when discussing an environmental policy. We spent a good deal of time discussing the Patriot Act and how people make decisions
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13 Class Summary - February 13, 2008 Last class we...

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