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University Degree: Political Theories

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 3
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    Do you agree with Scruton (1990) that the main aim of Conservatism is preservation of a pre existing social order?

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    One of the key premises in the assertion that Conservatism's main aim is the preservation of a pre existing social order is the concept that society is going through a process of degeneration. The idea of regression is as Goodwin (1992) asserts, either explained with reference to religious beliefs, or the idea that there was once a moral Golden Age. Whilst naturally in order to survive in the political sphere Conservatism cannot reject modernity. As Scruton (2006, p.208) himself states "The conservative response to modernity is to embrace it...critically".

    • Word count: 1103
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    'A gets B to do something that he or she would not otherwise do. Does this sum up the essence of political power?

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    While analysing Dahl's one dimensional view of power, Hay stated that "the powerful are those whose opinions hold sway in the decision making area"i. This pluralist view of society insinuates that power is widely dispersed throughout society, with groups of people competing with each other in order to advance their own interests. The quote in the essay title is referring to the one dimensional view of power, as summarised by Dahl in "The Concept of Power", thus Dahl would have agreed with the statement that this is the essence of political power.

    • Word count: 1682
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    What are the strengths and weaknesses of a positivist/empiricist approach to political analysis?

    He would then use his experience to make a hypothesis and then directly observe more women drivers to see if his experience could be established as a general fact. Critics have suggested that experience is a subjective variable. When interpreting results, to explain a casual relationship, one's personal experience will influence the interpretation. Everyone has a value system that will affect the way they interpret actions. For example, when studying voting behaviour, one may consider age to be more important that gender.

    • Word count: 1447

    In order to examine Marx's criticism of capitalism and the subsequent emergence of communism, capitalism must first be put into historical perspective. It is asserted that societies go through different processes as civilization progresses. Communism cannot simply manifest itself out of nothing, class struggle and development must bring societies into a capitalist economy, from which communism will develop. The first premise of this particular argument is that the division of labor will be the indicator of "how far the productive forces of a nation are developed" (Marx, Selected Writings 177), and thus how advanced the society is.

    • Word count: 2262
  5. Book Review Thomas Paine's "Common Sense".

    The first chapter of the pamphlet examines the origin and end of government reaching to the conclusion that it is in fact a natural outcome of a developing society. In other words, it is reckoned that government is rather 'intolerable', but 'necessary evil' (Paine, 1976: 65). It seeks not to ensure freedom and security at their most but on the contrary, security exceedingly overcomes freedom. Society is 'a patron', 'produced by our wants', whereas government is the 'punisher', 'restraining our voices' (Paine, 1976: 65).

    • Word count: 911
  6. What is politics? Whilst scholars such as Weber and Schwarzmantel largely focus on defining politics as power, others such as Leftwich and Crick focus on the scope within which politics occurs.

    Weber (1991: 78) argues that any power related conflicts arising from political institutions should be constituted as politics. This is a point that could be criticized by Crick, based on his ontological belief that politics is an activity exclusive to the proportional delegation of power. When the need for the elite to consult diminishes, Crick (1982: 21) argues that politics ceases to exist. However Crick's ontological approach lacks credibility as to define all forms of government that don't follow the model of shared power as non-political seems too narrow.

    • Word count: 1089
  7. In this critical review I will be looking at the topic of Europeanisation and in particular its impact on the executive branch of national governments. The two articles in which I will be reviewing are

    They investigate, in particular, whether centralisation or -de-centralisation occurred and also whether control was politicised or bureaucratised. In this review I will amylase the two articles separately, analyse their findings and conclusions and discuss them. 2 Adapting to Brussels: Europeanization of the core executive and the 'strategic-projection' model; Scott James 2.1 James has chosen to analyse the Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair administrations in this article. The reasoning behind this is allows for exploration of how large and small member states manage and adapt to the demands of EU membership and also offer different meso-level characteristics. Another advantage of using these two countries is that the same political party was in power for the 10 year period and thus allows for a constant political variable.

    • Word count: 2478
  8. How persuasive is Thomas Hobbes case for supposing that human nature is so constructed that we can only attain peace if we are governed by an absolute ruler?

    Peace the main concern of politics could be realized only by a strong sovereign established through a 'social contact'. People would have no rational grounds to challenge the rule of the sovereign so long as peace was maintained. Thomas Hobbes is best known as a philosopher of human nature. Also, he is famous for maintaining that the natural condition of people is one of war, in which life is 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short'. Hobbes was an early contract theorist.

    • Word count: 1344
  9. What are the main themes of classical liberalism?

    in Political ideologies, 2005, p61) This shows Locke's view that the individual has a right to anything he puts his labour into regardless of any societies ruling ideas. Therefore the ideal for classical liberals is to create such a society in which the individual is capable of looking after him or herself based solely on freedom of choice without constraints. This negative freedom, in which the individual is living without restrictions and left to their own devices, is a main theme in classical liberalism.

    • Word count: 1417
  10. Do chimpanzees (or other animals) have politics? How does your answer to this question affect your understanding of what it means to be human?

    The main differences between human and animal politics is that, such as with chimpanzees animal politics has only evolved as a means to purely find genetic superiors to mate with, or that of foraging for food, 'for this reason, females must disperse and forage by themselves, and so they never have the opportunity to form coalitions.' (Epstein, H, 2002, p.376) Epstein here shows that animal politics is only based upon surroundings, more importantly the location of food. This is very unlike that of human politics as we have a social hierarchy, which is much more advanced based on 'social skills: social learning, communicating, and reading the intentions of others.'

    • Word count: 1117
  11. Outline and Discuss the Main Concepts of Political Fascist Thought.

    nationalistic" organisation, it was soon taken to represent an ideology of which is frowned upon by all but the most right-wing activists such as those in right-wing political parties including the British National Party and Austrian Freedom Party.3 A Marx definition of fascism said "Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism"4 highlighting the Marxist opposition to fascism. Many of the first fascist initiators including Mussolini, were previously Marxists which had since positioned themselves as being opposed to materialism which was seen as being a strong

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  12. Applying Machiavelli to the career of Ed Milliband. By drawing the audiences attention on some of the key points in Milibands career path, included in the reviewed book, Gray is attempting to determine, whether or not the Machiavellian vir

    ( Machiavelli, Ch. 6 ) 3. Critical discussion: Niccolo Machiavelli, one of the prominent minds of the Italian Renaissance, dedicated much of his active lifetime to clarification of the outstanding qualities and surrounding elements of fortune and luck, required for making a man into a successful leader. Skinner (2000, p. 34) argues that the new prince - fortunate enough to be 'far- seeing and virtuoso', ought to aim at 'double glory', that is, building a stable foundation for his new principality, accompanied with good laws.

    • Word count: 1092
  13. Is the role of the Far Right in influencing immigration policy-making in Europe exaggerated?

    security issues. Today, distinction is made between an "Old Far Right" and a "New Far Right". The former is used to refer to the classic fascist organisations of Mussolini and Hitler, as well as their later sympathisers such as the National Front and are identified in the West with the image of skinheads- brutish white working class men with a definitive uniform. Today's post-industrial Far Right, however, are far less conspicuous. More embracing of the democratic process, or rather wiser to it, the spokespeople of the Far Right across Europe are more likely to be found wearing suits, and are no more distinguishable than any other political person.

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  14. A Study of Nationalism and its relevance in Muslim States.

    TO NATIONALISM 61 CONCLUSION 64 BIBLIOGRAPHY 66 INTRODUCTION NATIONALISM Nationalism is a bond between people that is based upon family, clan or tribal ties. Nationalism arises among people when the predominant thought they carry is that of achieving domination. It starts from the family, where one member asserts his authority to achieve leadership in the affair of the family. Once this is achieved, the individual extends his leadership to the wider family. In this way, the families would also try to achieve leadership in the community they reside in.

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  15. Explain and Assess Nozick's Account of the Principles of Justice in Acquisition (68/100)

    Nozick's belief in original acquisition owes its foundations to John Locke and more specifically what he calls the Lockean Proviso (which states that an acquisition of un-owned things is legitimate so long as "as much and as good" remains), from which Nozick produced his own modified proviso. It states that "if others are not harmed (i.e., made worse off) by an original acquisition then it is legitimate" (Kavka cited in Corlett, 1991: p.299). The means by which un-owned things come to be possessed, according to Locke and thus Nozick, is by mixing one's labour with them.

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  16. Do the people truly rule in a representative democracy?

    The second issue is that of the frequency of election of the representative. The final issue is a practical one which is relevant in analysing the nature of representative democracy in the modern day. This is the declining power of the representative due to the rising power in unelected transnational bodies in society. I intend to start from the dictionary definition that to rule is "to exercise ultimate power or authority". I also intend to define representation as the etymological definition which is "to make present again", whilst defining the people as the whole population of a nation state.

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  17. Is Marx Right to Think the State Could Wither Away?

    Marx claimed, however, that this increasing wealth and the birth of a new political class came at the cost of the oppression and alienation of the majority of society; the proletariat. As technology and economics advanced, the idea of the division of labour allowed factories to produce goods more cheaply and efficiently; however, this necessitated fewer workers, creating large scale unemployment, and those who were employed were forced to work in miserable conditions with low pay and no job security.

    • Word count: 2009
  18. What, in De Tocqueville's View, are the Virtues and What are the Vices of Democratic Government?

    He believed there was a 'noble' impulse in man towards equality which sought to raise everyone up to a higher standard, but there was also a darker side to this impulse stemming from pride and jealousy which makes men want to bring all his fellow citizens down to the same low level. Tocqueville believes it is the first sense of equality which is advantageous in a nation, but only if it is tempered by laws that ensure individual liberty is protected.

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  19. To what extent is Locke's argument concerning the state of nature and the social contract an attempt to justify private property?

    This state of nature, were it to exist, were to be governed by reason rather than to have to have an authoritative figure, however it was excepted that when individuals interfered with the freedoms of others, as well as their own natural rights, that war was likely to take place. Locke was looking to answer the question as to why a political society and authority would then be created from this state of nature, with Locke's answer being that it would be due to a strong insecurity over property which would in turn reduce individual productivity due to Locke's "link between insecurity and optimal productivity"5, therefore strongly justifying Locke's argument for private property.

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  20. Compare and contrast the oratorical skills of Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill in their speeches.

    Deliberative rhetoric concerns contingencies within human control. The deliberative orator addresses topics such as war and peace, national defence, trade and legislation, in order to assess what is harmful and beneficial. Accordingly, he must grasp the relationships between various means and the ends of expedience and happiness."1 Both speeches are examples of Aristotle's 'deliberative rhetoric' as they aim to persuade the audience, are addressed to a judge of the future, and aim to promote the good, whilst avoiding the harmful.

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  21. Why, for Hobbes, must every man 'endeavour to Peace', and why might it be difficult to do so?

    However, it will be easier to explain how he defines 'war' first. According to Hobbes, during the war every man is against each other, all humans are enemies. However, the war is not just about battling. It is also 'the declared disposition to resolve conflicts of will by resorting to force' (Boucher 1990, p. 208), or to put it another way: a constant readiness to fight. And as Hobbes states, peace is all other time (Hobbes 1996, p. 84). We also need to examine what he exactly means by saying that 'every man ought to endeavour peace'.

    • Word count: 2830
  22. Why, for Rousseau, is it impossible for the General Will to 'err'? Is he correct in his conclusion?

    Later he asks a question what form of association could defend each member and his goods, and under which, while united with other citizens, he would obey nobody but himself and stay free. The answer, he claims, is the social contract (Rousseau 2006, 1762, p. 14). In The Social Contract Rousseau argues that the individual can only achieve complete humanity and moral freedom if he moves from the state of natural independence towards participation in civil society (Affeldt 1999, p.

    • Word count: 2691
  23. On what grounds, and in what circumstances, do you consider that the population of a particular region within an existing state, might have a right to self-determined secession? Do they only have such a right if they are ethnically homogeneous; do they h

    4 There are cases when secession is warranted, justified and acceptable, but which sit outside of the context of ethnic conflict. Constitutional secession or what Buchanan describes as the consensual type of succession such as Norway's secession from Sweden in 1095 does not form part of this argument about the justification of secession.5 When there exists no conflict between people or states, acts of secession can be managed in a way that does not establish regions or inflict harm or damage to people, property or institutions.

    • Word count: 4326
  24. Why was neofunctionalism the dominant theoretical approach in the early years of European integration, and in what ways is it still useful today?

    Countries, whilst undoubtedly disposed to peace, would have no desire to loose all of their sovereignty to a European Cosmopolitan government. Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the EU recognised that all encompassing cooperation was a gradual process and championed the belief that cooperation in basic areas such as the coal and steel community would lead to cooperation in other areas (McCormick 2008: 9). This gradual cooperation deepens and forges integration among states. With integration and cooperation comes peace as the costs of going to war with a Country upon whom you depend are simply too great.

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Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent does the "relative deprivation theory" provide a convincing explanation of the causes of political violence and revolutions?

    "In conclusion it is credible to say that using the relative deprivation theory, as an explanation to the causes of violence and revolutions is solely dependent on the circumstances of one nation at a given period of time. As I have discussed a revolution can only happen if a government is weak enough to be toppled and there is a strong enough military force to ensure there is a revolution. The weakness and strength of the two variables are possibly the defining cause to whether or not violence can take place or even a revolution. As seen in the Russian revolution Lenin and the Bolsheviks strength and superior tactical abilities meant that they were able to use the relative deprivation to their own advantage in order to take power. In the Ottoman Empire there was a similar process by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who used his own ideals of nationalism to enlighten the people and secure their confidence in him. However the difference as with the 17th century in the Ottoman Empire, the relative deprivation of a select group of people cannot be a sole reason for violence or revolutions."

  • Analyse the different forms of Nationalism that operate within the UK.

    "In conclusion, nationalism in the UK takes many forms. In Scotland and Wales it is used as a tool to preserve their own economic, cultural and historical roots. In Northern Ireland nationalism two different forms struggling to preserve their own religious values through violent political means. English nationalism is expressed through symbols, which only emerges when a threat emerges such as immigration or loss of economic independence e.g. losing the pound."

  • Using the evidence of this chapter (9), to what extent do you feel That nationalism had taken hold in Italy before 1848

    "In conclusion, nationalism went through stages between 1815-1848. At first, nationalism had only taken a hold of a small percentage of Italy- some of the Upper class. Through circumstances such as economic failure, it became more of an issue, however was repressed by the Austrian government, although there were messages of nationalism hidden in literature, art and music. It was not until the early 1840's that the power of the Austrian government was reduced, allowing the first true movement of widespread nationalism. 981 words"

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