Sociology SY3: Understanding politics key writers

Flashcard maker : Lily Taylor
Manuel Castells
Says power relationships are the foundations of society. Those in power create norms and values and shape them to their own interests. However, wherever there is power there is also counter power.
Stephen Lukes
Defined power by saying power exists when A gets B to do something that B would not otherwise have done. He also outlined three main ways people use power as Decision making, Agenda management and Wish manipulation.
Max Weber (on power)
Defined power as the probability of persons carrying out their own will even when opposed by others. Also outlined types of power such as coercion and authority which can be divided into legal rational, charismatic and traditional.
Abraham Lincoln
A US president who said that democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Thomas Jefferson
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of people may take away the rights of the other 49%.
An Sung Su Chi
The leader of a movement against the Junta rule in Burma.
Kim Jong-un
Leader of North Korea, which is an example of a totalitarian state.
Francis Flukyama
After the Berlin wall fell there was a spread of democracy because there was no longer any credible alternative to capitalism and representative democracy.
Thomas Hobbs
A political philosopher who pessimistically thought that humans are naturally selfish. He said without control life would be nasty, brutal and short.
Max Weber (on bureaucracy’s)
Defined bureaucracy as the legal rational basis of state institutions and identified features of bureaucracy such as written rules, division of labour, hierarchy of authority, qualified people and written communications. He saw this as a threat to individual freedom.
Winston Churchill
Conservative wartime leader who was defeated by Labour in 1945 when the warfare state gave way to the welfare state.
Margaret Thatcher
British politician who became Prime Minister in 1979 and famously said ‘I am not a consensus politician. I am a conviction politician’ and was nicknamed the Iron lady. She reduced taxes for the wealthy, removed state subsidies from companies and sold off publicly owned industries such as the National coal board, the Water board and National rail.
Ronald Ragen
USA president who was in power the same time as Maggie Thatcher- he is said to be her political soulmate as he exercised similar policies in the US as she did in the UK.
Tony Blaire
Labour leader who became Prime Minister in 1997 after creating ‘New Labour’ who’s ideology was said to be the third way. Essentially, it was Labour moved toward the right wing.
Edmund Burke
A Conservative who said we should respect traditions as they embody the collective wisdom of all the generations that have come before us.
Stephen Fielding
Argues that political parties perform an important role in representative democracies because they ‘aggregate interests’ which means they draw together incoherent ideas and shape them into a more coherent program of government.
Herbert Samuels
Argues that without political parties to organise them, the electorate would become a mob.
Gerry Stoker
Says that a key feature of British politics is that a lot of people are alienated from it’s mainstream practices, creating a mood of ‘anti-politics’.
Nigel Farage
Leader of UKIP who got 12.6 of the votes in May 2015 and most votes in the most recent European election. He describes this as a ‘political earthquake’.
Hansard Society
In 2010 this group conducted a study and found that 2/3 of the population could be described as ‘anti-politics’ as they expressed negative views toward the system.
Robert Dahl
A pluralist who says that there are many different centers of power, none of which can be wholly sovereign. He studied a USA town called newhaven and concluded
Karl Marx
Creator or Marxism, a left wing theory that believes the foundation of society is it’s economic base and that power comes from the ownership and control of the means of production and therefore is concentrated in the hands of the minority ‘ruling class’
John Dewey
Said that politics is the shadow cast on society by big business
Ralph Miliband
Coined ‘Instrumental Marxism’ who claimed that politicians are puppets of the rich through lobbying and campaign funding. He also noted how the political and economic elites share similar socioeconomic backgrounds.
Nicos Poulantez
Coined ‘Structuralist Marxism’ which claims that there is a certain degree of autonomy of the state, like a dog on a long lead. Capitalism is balanced by interests of the working class and moderate welfare is necessary to re balance wealth.
Pareto and Mosca
Classical elite theorists who believe we live in an Oligarchy, with there always being a class that rules and a class that is ruled.
Robert Michels
Used the phrase ‘Iron law of Oligarchy’ to describe how in every system a small group will always become leaders. Even after revolutions all that changes is the faces of the leaders.
C Wright Mills
Power elite theorist who thinks that American democracy is bad and powerful people in politics and business all have common interests
Hywel Williams
Explained how the ‘revolving door’ where politicians, rich business owner and military elites all swap roles also happens in the UK.
Talcott Parsons
A functionalist who said society develops collective goals and is held together by mostly shared values, and leaders are necessary to collaborate these.

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