PO107 (3)

amarjotsidhu's version from 2015-06-07 16:59

Pressure groups

Question Answer
what are pressure groups?organised interests who provide a source for gaining legitimacy
Graham Wilson on pressure groupsorganisations autonomous from government and political parties, who try and influence public policy
Purposes of interest groupskey link between state and society - provide a link outside formal political institutions; change public discourse; political parties must take their views into account when trying to gain power; they focus on a certain issue/represent a specific group of people
A social movementis a wider network of groups attempting to institute change
Sectional/promotional classification of pressure groupssectional = they present particular sectional interest e.g. trade unions, students; promotional = advance a particular cause e.g. liberty
Insider/outsider classification of pressure groupsinsider = privileged access to govt.; outsider = do not have access to govt.
Problem with classificationsabsolutes = cause problems as , for example, sectional groups may also be involved in promotional activities
Pluralismpower is dispersed; people form groups to promote interests; groups channel pressures to the state; policy outcomes reflects these pressures (weathervane model)
Neo-pluralismbusiness groups have a structurally significant position on society; govt. depends on business so it will automatically take into account business interests = not all pressure groups equal
Are pressure groups good for democracy (good)a way for people to express views; pressure valve (pressure doesn't build up); provide expert skills and information; useful for policy implementation; a source of social capital; can do things that the government can't (e.g. work on the front line)
Are pressure groups good for democracy? (no)privileged access by groups (big business, trade unions and labour party); policy capture e.g. when labour comes to power, policies that favour trade unions are likely to be implemented = damages democracy; can undermine policy implementation (strikes, etc.); particular access to power = are they truly representative?
New Right modelreflects importance of individualism which lies at the heart of neoliberal economics; social groups and collective bodies are viewed with suspicion; New Right wants a market economy driven by self reliance; belief in the inverse relationship between interest groups and economic groups e.g. UK suffering from union influence = New Right policies against interest groups in the 1980s such as Thatcher's deregulation move
Negative views on social movementsin the experience of interwar totalitarianism, Fromm and Arendt see social movements in negative terms
Social movements in post-industrial societiestheir emergence = seen as evidence that power in post industrial societies is increasingly dispersed and fragmented (pluralism) e.g. occupy movement


Question Answer
French Revolution 1789new society was to be developed on an intellectual basis - start again; helped to refine conservative thought
Origins of ConservatismIn Britain in mid 17th century; dominant parties = whifs and Tories
17th century Whigsbelieved that ultimate authority for order comes from people (Hobbesian view); if ruler acted against interests of people, then people can get rid of ruler; associated with rising middle and industrial classes + rise of liberal ideas - individualism, laissez faire
Tories - 17th centuryopposite to whigs; authority comes from crown and church which are keystones of social order ;belief in doctrine of divine right of kings and great chain of being; tory idea of crown and church come from this; authority of monarch came from divine right - power comes from god; as British parliament's authority comes from monarch, authority of parliament comes from god; religious legitimacy bases the legitimacy of the entire religious order on something above it, out of its control
Conservative Partyemerges from 1830s; based on traditional authority - churches, land owning classes; conservatism in the late 19th century opposed to free trade - politics should not be subordinated by economics; role of govt. not to establish a free market but preserve traditional authority
Expanded state under Conservative partypost 1945 = expanded state; basis for this state = keynesianism, welfarism
Weaknesses in expanded stateit is exposed to greater social pressures - parties had to promise to do more things; forced to take more responsibility; undermined the economy (70s Britain = 'sick man in Europe' ; eroded govt. authority -ability of govt. to govern undermined as it was tied by social interests
Solutions to problems of the expanded stateembrace free market policies (Thatcher and Reagan) which is traditionally a neo classical concept
Difficult to define conservatism conservatism is difficult to define - has different meanings, does not see itself as an ideology -> it is a pragmatic approach to problems that arise
Typology of conservatism (Andrew Vincent)traditionalist, romantic, paternalist, liberal, new right
Traditionalist (AV)emphasising custom, tradition and order
Romantic (AV)emerges as industrialisation occurs; vision of utopian, rural past; anti-industrialisation; emphasis on importance of communities (TS Elliot)
Paternalist (AV)Conservative party till Thatcher; respect for property; people at top have a duty to help those lower down social scale
Liberal/New right (AV)moral individualism, role of free markets e.g. Hayek
Key features of conservatismoffers organic view of society; functionalist approach; negative view of human nature; anti-rationalism (anti intellectual); gradual change
Feature: offers an organic view of societyemphasises totality of people and traditions - organic, holistic view of society; does not seek to appeal to particular interests of a particular class -> highlights idea of common good -> achieved by cooperation
Feature: functionalist approachsociety described in terms of the function that the individual parts of it play to help the whole; living organism; everyone in society has its place; provides a just-so view of society -> rather than asking where does x come from, it seeks to ask what x does and if x has a role, it has a purpose = means of justifying the current order
Feature: negative view of human naturepeople act on the basis of emotions; reason = slave of our passions; people inherently imperfect; people make bad choices when no mechanisms of accountability in place; political institutions inherited from traditional wisdom - based on respect of authority, hierarchy -> important for society to keep people in their place and society stable
Feature: anti-rationalism (anti intellectual)conservatives emphasise the limits of human reason; they do not believe that you can use abstract conceptual thought to model the world and apply them to society; society has organically evolved - mysterious, complicated; you have to engage with the norms of society to find how it works; context and intuition crucial to understanding human behinds; universal principles cannot be applied to society e.g. equality in the French Revolution; society is finely balanced = production of balance over 1000s over years; French Revolution can be seen as an example of the folly of human reason - revolution collapses, Napoleon took over
Feature: gradual changechange should occur slowly, piecemeal to minimise disturbance in society, not in favour of tradition for its own sake -> tradition is seen to embody something fundamental about human wisdom, necessary for common good to be obtained
Nature of politics for conservativesabout skill, judgement, pragmatism -> not technocratic and abstract e.g. David Cameron - support for gay marriage
Policies that conservatives favourlower levels of public spending, policies that are designed to promote civic responsibility, social obligations = limited govt. and lower levels of tax BUT, govt. should promote law and order (increased intervention)
Dangers for Conservatismsupport for imperialism, totalitarian regimes e.g. British Empire (hierarchy of race); fascism also has an organic view of society and emphasis on hierarchy; in uk, Conservatives often seen as nasty party vs. labour and liberals
Jonathan Haidt on Conservatives and moralityConservatives don't lack morality; they emphasise morality which consists of sacrifice for common good; we are descendants of people in groups = we have respect for group and its law and order; emphasis of tribe (contrast to liberalism)
Is conservatism an ideology?elements of an ideology (a view of the social world- its problems and causes) BUT, does not have a future vision/plan of action; to a conservative, ideology is seen as reducing government to a technocratic and bureaucratic institution
Does conservatism have a future?world characterised by increasing change (globalisation); interconnected with 24/6 media and problems that require drastic change e.g. global warming; society is speeding up and changing at an increasing rate -> does this undermine conservatism? BUT, this offers opportunity for conservatism, people feeling increasingly fearful of their position in the world and direction of change and future = conservatism quite appealing as it offers a sense of security

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