Lecture+18+-+Institutional+Politics

Lecture+18+-+Institutional+Politics - Institutional...

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Lecture 18 Institutional Politics
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What is Politics? Politics is the arena in which societies make collective decisions about priorities and policies. “Politics is who gets what, when, and how.” Harold Lasswell
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Systems of Government Governments across cultures differ in how they choose leaders and engage their citizens. Monarchies Authoritarian Governments Democracies
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Systems of Government Monarchies are headed by a single person (e.g., king/queen, sultan, emperor, emir), who typically inherits the position as a member of a ruling family.
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Systems of Government 1) Traditional or Absolute Monarchies: single leader holds unconditional power. 2) Constitutional Monarchies: country is run as a democracy with a symbolic royal figurehead. Queen Elizabeth II
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Systems of Government Authoritarian Governments: Leaders are often self-appointed and exert significant control over the lives of citizens, primarily by restricting civil liberties. Run by central ruling parties or the military without popular support from citizens.
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Systems of Government Democratic Governments: Right to vote is widespread and leaders are selected through multi-party elections. Democracy means “rule by the people.”
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Systems of Government Direct Democracy: citizens participate directly in political decisionmaking (e.g., town hall meetings, referendums). Representative Democracy : Citizens elect delegates (representatives) who carry out policymaking.
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Political Participation The central principle of democracy is citizen participation. Political participation : Any activity that has the intent or effect of influencing government action.
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Political Participation Many options for participation: Influence government directly by writing or calling representatives. Influence government indirectly by voting, campaigning for (or sending money to) particular candidates or issues.
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Political Participation Verba et al. argue that meaningful democratic participation requires that the voices of citizens be: 1) Clear (so public officials know what citizens want and need) 2) Loud (so that officials have an incentive to pay attention to what they hear) 3) Equal (so that we abide by the ideal that governments should be equally responsive to the interests of all citizens.
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Political Participation Verba et al. find that American voices are often loud and sometimes clear, but rarely equal. In any given year: Two-thirds of Americans will participate in some form of political activity Half of Americans will speak out about a particular issue.
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Political Participation Political participation declines as we move down the socioeconomic ladder.
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