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Flashcards in Chapter 2 Deck (15):

Define a state

In comparative politics, the state is a series of institutions that maintains a monopoly of violence over a territory. It relies on sovereignty—the ability to carry out actions in a territory independently—and power.


What is a regime?

A regime is the rules and norms of politics; in some nondemocratic countries where politics is dominated by a single individual, we may use the term regime to refer to that leader.
- Often embodied in a constitution


What did Hobbs say about the state?

The state tries to precent a war against all
- If you have all freedom, it leads to no freedom at all
- people give away a little bit of freedom to the state in order to protect them
- If the state does not commit to this agreement, the people have the right to oppose


Three most important things about Machiavelli:

1. Be pragmatic, as the end justifies the means
2. It is better to be feared than loved
3. A leader should possess a lot of good qualities, but it is more important that it seems like he/she does, than that they actually do. (Basically: fake it till you make it)


Define the government

Government is the leadership in charge of running the state
- Limited by existing regime
- Often composed of elected officials (president, PM, or unelected officials such as a monarch)



Shorthand for the combined political entities; state, regime government, as well as the people who live within that political system



Individuals are brought together by a ruler, who imposes authority and monopolises power. Security through domination; authoritarian rule


What were three important advantages of modern states over alternative forms of political organisation?

- States encouraged economic development
- States encouraged technological innovation
- Domestic stability, which increased trade and commerce and permitted the development of infrastructure
- People's ability to travel more freely within the territory of their country encouraged interaction and the emergence of a shared identity


How do we understand differences between states?

Through legitimacy: value whereby something or someone is recognized and accepted and recognized by the public. It confers authority and power.


What are the differences between traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal legitimacy?

Traditional legitimacy: someone/something is valid because 'it has been that way'. Certain things are legitimate because they have been build over a long period of time

Charismatic legitimacy: based on the force of ideas and those who present them

Rational-legal legitimacy: based on the system of laws and procedures that are presumed to be neutral or rational


In what ways can states be centralised or decentralised?

- Federalism: helps represent local interests as well as check the growth of central power. Powers such as taxation, law-making and security are devolved to regional bodies and local legislatures that control specific territories within the country.
- Asymmetric federalism: power is divided unevenly between regional bodies.
- Unitary states: political power is concentrated at the national level, and local authority is limited. Central government is responsible for most areas of policy.



Tendency toward decentralisation.


What is the difference between Strong, weak, and failed states?

- Strong states: able to fulfill basic tasks: defend their territory, make and enforce rules and rights, collect taxes, etc.

- Weak states: Cannot execute such tasks very well. Rules are haphazardly applied, if at all: tax evasion and other forms of public noncompliance are widespread.

- Failed state: when structures of a state are so weak, they break down



Ability of a state to wield its power independently of the public international actors.



Ability of a state to wield power in order to carry out the basic tasks of providing security and reconciling freedom and equality