Political Concepts


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Lecture slides for an undergraduate class on Philippine Politics and Governance I taught between 2003 and 2005. These slides deal with concepts such as power, influence and authority.


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Political Concepts

  1. 1. Some Basic Concepts in Politics
  2. 2. Overview: Key Political Concepts  Power  Government  Democracy  Ideology  Conservatism  Liberalism  Socialism
  3. 3. What is power?  Power is a term of influence. Influence terms are difficult to define:  power, influence, authority, coercion, persuasion, control, etc. Power is the ability of one actor (A) to make another (B) do something s/he (B) would not otherwise do.
  4. 4. Types of Power 1. Manifest  Based on any observable action that results in (B) doing what (A) wants. 2. Implicit  More tacit than observable.  Generally contextual and indirect.
  5. 5. “Measuring” Power 1. The amount of change in the position of the actor influenced. 2. The costs of compliance. 3. The amount of difference in the probability (or frequency) of compliance. 4. Differences in the scope of the responses. 5. The number of respondents.
  6. 6. What is government? 4 Meanings of “Government”:  The process of governing.  A condition of ordered rule.  The people who govern.  The mode of governance.
  7. 7. What is democracy? Democracy has two basic meanings:  Procedural meaning:  “Free and fair elections”  Substantive meaning:  a system of government whereby the people’s will is effected into the program of government
  8. 8. What is ideology?  Value or belief system accepted as fact or truth by some (large) group  Mixture of factual and moral beliefs  Somewhat simplified, yet organized and logical
  9. 9. Example 1: Conservatism  Rooted in the belief that man is imperfect and unperfectable.  Strong emphasis on the preservation of traditions and institutions.  Considers freedom in the positive sense  Places high value on stability, order, and conformity.  Views society as preceding the individual.
  10. 10. Example 2: Liberalism  Based on the fundamental belief in individual freedom.  Highly individualistic in orientation.  Emphasizes equality of opportunity.  Social contract.  High regard for pluralism and diversity (complementarity rather than conflict)
  11. 11. Example 3: Socialism  Rooted in the belief that man is conditioned by social forces.  Maintains that the natural relationship between people is cooperation.  Places high regard for social equality.  Strong focus on what man can become.