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					POLITY
THE STATE & POLITICAL
SYSTEMS
The Modern State- emerged in the
 last few centuries

The Rise of the Modern State
Weber’s definition- ‘a human
 community that successfully
 claims the monopoly of the
 legitimate use of physical force
 within a given territory’.
   This means- the state has authority over
    those who live in a defined geographical
    area, and that it can use force to back up
    this authority.
   Modern nation states in Europe emerged
    with the rise of capitalism & the decline of
    the feudal system.
   From 16th century onwards- European
    monarchs began to impose much more
    effective control over their kingdoms.
   Rule by local nobles was replaced by
    professional administrators who were loyal
    to monarchs.
   Customary laws replaced by written codes
    of laws
   Borders of states became more clearly
    defined which led to a sense of nationality.
   Capitalism – private ownership, profit
    making and importance of free trade and
    market forces.
   According to Weber, the rise of
    bureaucratically organised states was part
    of the growing process of rationalisation
    which accompanied the rise of capitalism.
   Life became increasingly governed by
    written rules & subject to bureaucratic
    authority.
   Power increasingly centralized in the state,
    and exercised by elected or appointed
    office holders.
The State & Democracy

Origins of Democracy
*concept has its origins in the
  political system of the ancient
  Greek city of Athens.
*democracy – from Greek word
  ‘demos’ – people and ‘kratos’ –
  power; power in the hands of
  the people.
*5th century BC Athens –
  assemblies of all
citizens were held to discuss important
  issues.
*often referred to as participatory
  democracy or direct democracy
*on the scale of a modern state will pose
  problems
*more liberal democracies have developed
  some system of representative democracy
  or indirect democracy, which involves
  citizens choosing representatives who
  exercise power on their behalf.
   Democracy in its modern form developed
    in the last two hundred years.
   Liberal ideas influenced the French &
    American revolutions at the end of the 18th
    century and demands for extension of the
    franchise (voting rights) in England in the
    19th century.
   Liberal thinkers argued that all people
    should have equal rights under the law.
Modern Liberal Democracy

   The right of citizens to elect their
    own representatives in regular &
    fair elections
   Freedom of speech
   Freedom to oppose the sitting
    government
   Equal treatment under the law
   Right to a fair trial
   Freedom from arbitrary arrest &
   Example – UK, USA.
   Some argue UK has some undemocratic
    features like the existence of an unelected
    monarchy & House of Lords, an unelected
    judiciary (powers to interpret application of
    the law) and a civil service (many activities
    carried out in secret with limited public
    scrutiny).
Alternative Views to Democracy
*challenge claim that UK & USA are
  democracies
*this alternative view argues for a more
  participatory system where citizens
  become more involved in their own
  government.

				
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