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Unformatted text preview: 11 Conceptions of Political Theory UNIT 1 UNDERSTANDING THE POLITICAL Structure 1.0 Objectives 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Politics as a Practical Activity 1.2.1 Politics Difficult to Define Precisely 1.2.2 Nature of Politics 1.2.3 Politics: An Inescapable Feature of the Human Condition 1.3 What is Politics? 1.4 What is State? 1.4.1 State: Differences on Account of Political Institutions/ Social Context 1.4.2 Ralph Miliband’s Views on the State 1.5 Politics as a Vocation 1.6 The Legitimate Use of Power 1.6.1 Max Weber on Legitimation 1.6.2 Legitimation: Central Concern of Political Science 1.6.3 Process of ‘Delegitimation’ 1.6.4 Manipulated Consent 1.6.5 Personnel of the State Machine: The Elite 1.7 Let Us Sum Up 1.8 Some Useful References 1.9 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 1.0 OBJECTIVES This introductory unit of the first bock of the new course in political theory at the Bachelor’s Degree level tells you about the basic meaning of politics and thus, about the fundamentals of the discipline of political science. After going through this unit, you should be able to: • Explain what is politics; • Explain the meaning of state; • Describe and explain the concept of power; and • Discuss legitimation and delegitimation. 1.1 INTRODUCTION The main objective of this unit is to understand the concept of ‘political’. The essence of political is the quest for bringing about an order that men consider good. The term politics is derived from the Greek word polis meaning both ‘city’ and ‘state’. Politics among the ancient Greeks was a new way of thinking, feeling and above all, being related to one’s fellows. As citizens they all were equal, although the citizens varied in positions in terms of their wealth, intelligence, etc. It is the concept of political which makes the citizens rational. Politics is the activity specific to this new thing called a citizen. A science of politics is possible, because politics itself follows regular patterns, even though it is at the mercy of the human nature from which it arises. 12 What is Political Theory and Why Do We Need It? Greek political studies dealt with constitutions and made generalisations about the relations between human nature and political associations. Perhaps, its most powerful component was the theory of recurrent cycles . Monarchies tend to degenerate into tyranny, tyrannies are overthrown by aristocracies, which degenerate into oligarchies exploiting the population, which are overthrown by democracies, which in turn degenerate into the intolerable instability of mob rule, whereupon some powerful leader establishes himself as a monarch and the cycle begins all over again. It is Aristotle’s view that some element of democracy is essential to the best kind of balanced constitution, which he calls a polity . He studied many constitutions and was particularly interested in the mechanics of political change. He thought that revolutions always arise out of some demand for equality.always arise out of some demand for equality....
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2012 for the course IR 101 taught by Professor Harfancoofers during the Spring '12 term at Sunway University College.
- Spring '12