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COURSE NUMBER: POLI 205
COURSE TITLE: Invitation to Politics and Government
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr John Hiemstra
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An introduction to the main problems, concepts and ideologies at play in political life and an analysis of the processes and institutions by which these are realized in the Canadian political system.

Students with credit in POLI 200 or POLI 201 cannot receive credit for POLI 205.
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Dickerson, Mark O.,  Thomas Flanagan, and Brenda O’Neill: An Introduction to Government and Politics: A Conceptual Approach, 9th Edition.  Nelson Canada, 2014
  • Students are REQUIRED to read a daily major newspaper, specifically the Edmonton Journal, Globe and Mail, or National Post.  A copy of each is available daily The King’s library.
  • Additional readings will be listed on Moodle as the course proceeds
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Midterm exam 25%
Class participation and unannounced quizzes (readings, media & previous content)15%
Research Paper25%
Paper proposal5%
Final exam30%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:
  1. Students will gain understanding of key concepts in political science
  2. Students will articulate and begin to tackle the central questions of public life, with an explicitly focus on the role that citizens, civil society, politicians, and governments ought to play in these questions.
  3. Students will understand how different governmental practices, systems and institutions operate, and how well they solve contemporary public problems.
  4. Students will develop skills in researching and writing an analytical research paper.
  5. Students will understand the nature of ideology and political ideas, and their influence on everyday politics, government & public policy.
COURSE OUTLINE: PART I: NAVIGATING CONTESTED PROBLEMS & SHIFTING CONCEPTS
  • 1. ‘Political Science’ & ‘Problems of our Time’
  • 2. Government & Politics
  • 3. Power, Authority and Legitimacy
  • 4. Sovereignty, State & Citizenship [plural society]
  • 5. Nation
  • 6. Political Culture and Socialisation
  • 7. Law
  • 8. Constitutions
  • 9. Globalisation and the International order
PART II: DEEPER BELIEFS  Politics, Concepts & Science?
  • 10. Ideology: Contested Roots, Divergent Explanations?
  • Political Ideologies in Modernity:
    • 11. [L]iberalism [classical and reform]
    • 12. Conservatism
    • 13. Democratic Socialism and Communism
    • 14. Nationalism and Fascism
    • 15. Roots of ideology?
    • 16. The Political Spectrum
  • Beyond Ideology? Radical critiques of Modernity
    • 17. Feminism
    • 18. Environmentalism
    • 19. Other political ideas:
    • 20. Christian Options
PART III: FORMS OF GOVERNMENT: CONCRETE POLITICAL RESULTS
  • 21. Classifying in Political Science
  • 22. Basic ‘forms of government’: what is the relationship between ‘society and state’?
    • Liberal democracy
    • Transitional States
    • Autocratic and totalitarian systems
  • 23. Another typology: what is the relationship between ‘executive and legislative powers’?
    • Presidential and parliamentary systems
  • 24. Another typology: what is the degree of centralisation or de-centralisation of political power?
    • Unitary, devolution, federal, confederation.
PART IV: THE POLITICAL PROCESS: functions & elements of the system
  • 25. The political process
  • 26. Interest groups, Parties and Movements
  • 27. Mass media
  • 28. Representation, elections and electoral systems
  • 29. Representative Assemblies
  • 30. Political Executive
  • 31. Bureaucracy
  • 32. Judiciary
  • 33. Conclusions


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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