Forms of government defined by “who governs” include autocracy/monarchy (rule of all by one), oligarchy (rule of the few or elite), and democracy (rule of all by all).
Forms of government defined by the degree of government control include constitutional, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments.
Canada has a liberal-democratic constitutional monarchy
How do we understand government and politics?
A: We use social scientific techniques
Logistics / Announcements
Tutorials are on. You should be going. Next week, they will be focussed on the reading and lectures from THIS week.
The course now has a coursepack of 8 required readings. You should by it at the bookstore(±$17)
there may still be a few web readings in addition
More information on papers is now on the website.
let’s have a look
Tuesday, Jan. 11 from noon-1pm in the Meekinson Arts Space (Buch D140)… Vancouver Councillor Peter Ladner speaking on “What’s Happening in Vancouver Civic Politics”
Education in the Middle East
Social science is an attempt to understand human behaviourbydescribing regularities in that behaviour, so that behaviour can be predicted. And all of that behaviour takes place in society - interpersonally.
economics, political science, sociology, parts of psychology, human anthropology
Standards and goals differ from those of the natural sciences and of the humanities
Social Scientific Terms & Concepts
Theory is the key element of the social scientific enterprise: “a theory is a statement linking specific instances to broader principles.” A story without proper names.
Empirical statements – address the way things are; descriptive. These are necessary before theory.
Normative statements – address the way things should be, judgmental. (relating to “norms” or expectations)
Theories provide explanation and prediction
but they need to be tested if we’re going to trust them to predict behaviour
Political science: study of the political world, its institutions and behavior, in a systematic way
Political science is also analysis and argument about the values, principles, and identities that form the basis for much of political behaviour and the policies of governments (e.g. national identity & unity)
At this point, Political Science doesn’t have overarching theories that have great success at prediction, as in the natural sciences. But understanding of behaviour and institutions has grown.
e.g: cooperation increases when likelihood of future interaction increases
Canadian Political Science
Like other ‘domestic’ political science
Goal is to understand, explain, and predict, and sometimes criticize how Canadian politics and government work.
Preoccupation with unity: Quebec and national identity, regional grievances, political parties as ‘brokers’ keeping the country together, the Charter of Rights as a unifying symbol, multiculturalism, etc.
But also study of citizen behaviour, party organization, elections, media, policy formation, policy effectiveness, political economy, foreign policy, equality and inequality, etc.