• Claims
  • Society
  • Politics
  • Government
  • Sovereignty(citizenship)
  • The stats
  • Power


  • Empirical = factual claims pointing to actual evidence
  • Normative = evaluative (moral evaluation)
  • Combination of both in all claims about politics, etc. Make a balance of both


  • 2 or more people developing/having a social relationship with each other
  • voluntary & spontaneous you create societies with people around you
  • self-sufficient; self generating societies that generate the society again and again and make it pass on to next generation
  • common rules of conduct
    • enforceable commands; a common set of rules that are set by people in the society
    • predictable behaviour
  • Individual: one human being


  • Is pursued through Coalitions — collective configurations: personal relationships, family, formal alliances, mass politics, etc. Small groups formed from coalitions change the world
  • Idea of the Common Good:
    • Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
    • “polis” = “city-state” in Greece
    • common political community
    • pursuing the “idea of the common good” — not self-interest(s) what is best for all of us
  • Human Projects:
    • Bertrand de Jouvenal: “activity of gathering and maintaining support for human projects”
    • Modernists: progress, individual achievements in a community
    • These are projects that are made for the good of people for example the soviet union and democracy
    • When these system don’t perform results they fail and end as people look for other systems
  • Management of Conflict:
    • JDB Miller: “disagreement or conflict”
    • Alan Ball: “reconciliation of disagreements”
    • Karl Marx: economic production; the state is needed to deal with problems using economic powers
  • Distribution of :
    • Lasswell: “the good things …[in] life” (material & non-material); we distribute things such as education to all it is all available and its a matter or choosing.
    • Easton: “authoritative allocation of values” (desires, etc.) how much do you want to get it, do you deserve it?
    • Foucault: subjectivity/identity — body, mind, legal. We are assigned identities by the society that protect us or go against us
    • Pateman: male sex-right = women’s role and services — reproduction, sexual access, marriage [add now: men’s] patriarchal-heterosexist system. It’s a system of how men set womens roles and rights. Its a sexual system, it all comes down to the women ie. Bill Clinton is remembered for his Monica L. Case rather then all his initiatives.
  • Bernard Crick: “not unity, but harmony” — really? Its creating these configurations of ideas and beliefs.


  • specialized activity within a society; the structures within the society
  • enforce binding decisions on all individuals in a society
  • functions:
    • protection
    • enforce rules of conduct
    • settle disputes
    • provide services
  • force: selective use of power, but monopoly of use.
  • States aren’t universal eveyrones different but everyone has a government with a different structer


  • Modern concept developed in Europe, but broader history as a general idea
  • Bodin: “in any community there ought to be a single highest authority who is not subject to other human authority”
  • Establish right of kings
    • Pateman: (Filmore v. Locke, etc.) head male of family — trans-historial and trans-cultural
  • Family is the base of sovereignty, the man is the power in this system
  • Leader is the head of the family
  • authority to over-rule and not be subject to other authorities
  • bundle of powers given to governments:
    • enforce rules
    • make laws
    • control government functions
    • ownership of all lands, they own all the property
    • deal with other sovereigns
    • non-interference by other sovereigns
  • two main types:
    • William Blackstone: parliamentary sovereignty = representative government; people give you the power to take control
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau: popular sovereignty = direct democracy
  • may be delegated: militaries, bureaucracies, private groups, leaders, judiciary (judicial review), etc.

The State

  • Organized society
  • General elements:
    • (identifiable) population; your Canadian
    • (demarcated) territory
    • (defensible) sovereignty
  • European socio-eco-political institution-Treaty of Westphilia, 1648 a European treaty
    • “universal” = accepted as the only legitimate or recognized collective organization by whom?
    • collective subjectivity = identity — above, beyond, overriding others
      • Tribal systems in South America
      • Native confederacies in North America such as Caledonia
  • Citizenship: official membership in a particular state allowing certain privileges and rights (as compared to non-citizens) it gives us an identity
    • by birth
      • jus soli (soil) = born in the state
      • jus sanguinis (blood) = children of citizens
    • by naturalization
    • by identity?


  • in general, two patterns [Nig’s approach]:
    • dominance & control = “the capacity to achieve what one wants” + the ability to make others do what one wants them to do
    • empowerment & emancipation = the capacity to empower people to achieve their wants + ability to remove obstacles preventing this achievement
  • in politics, power is:
    • a medium of exchange
    • a means and an end
    • pursuit or goal in relationship to other wants (domination, liberation, sex, race, etc.)
    • used for “good” and “evil”
  • Influence = persuade/convince
    • emotion = supportive
    • persons believe it is right, justified, or gain benefit through appeals to intellect/reason, passions, self-interest, group solidarity
  • Coercion — force/control
    • emotion = fear
    • persons believe violence or threat of violence will occur
  • Authority — accept/follow
    • leadership
    • power is accepted and followed
    • “respect source of command” = commander has right + follower has obligation to obey
  • Legitimacy — obey/oblige
    • followership
    • makes Authority possible
    • “right to obey”, “duty”, “obligation”
  • Authority-Legitimacy relationship — Max Weber:
    • traditional authority = inherited position of authority
    • legal authority = authority achieved through process and structures involving general rules agreed/consented/imposed upon all
    • charismatic authority = “extraordinary personal qualities” generating authority beyond/above (sometimes without) traditional or legal
  • Identity & Body:
    • Power over subjectivity = our identity
    • Biopolitics (Foucault & feminists): written in/on/of the body — war, sex, economy, psyche, etc.
    • Governmentality (Foucault): self-governing, self-regulating (Panopticon)
  • Language & Ideas
    • “Common Sense” = naturalizing languages & ideas, and limiting scope for critical inquiry (Gramsci)
    • Categories, words, knowledges, etc.
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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