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A guide for A2 politics students
Series: Understandings

In liberal democracies there is a belief that citizens ought to take an active interest in what is happening in the political world. Political debate in modern Western democracies is a complex and often rowdy affair. There are three fundamental political issues: 'politics', 'power' and 'justice', which feature in almost all political discussions and conflicts. The book assesses the degree to which the state and state sovereignty are disappearing in the modern world of 'globalised' politics, economics and culture and new international institutions. The main features of the nation and the problems of defining it are outlined: population, culture, history, language, religion, and race. Different types of democracy and their most important features are discussed. 'Freedom' is usually claimed to be the prime objective of political activity. The book discusses equality of human rights, distributional equality, equality before the law, the claims for group equality on the grounds of race, gender, class. Rights, obligations and citizenship are closely associated. Ideology is the driving force of political discourse. The book also discusses nationalism's growth and development over the last two centuries with particular reference to its main features and assumptions. It outlines the development of conservatism as a political ideology and movement in Britain during the last two centuries. An overview of liberalism, socialism, Marxism, anarchism, and Fascism follows. Environmentalism and feminism are also discussed. Finally, the book talks about how ideological change occurs and stresses the importance of rationality in politics.

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the book. 1 The state and sovereignty The state is arguably the most important concept in political theory. We introduce you to the main features of the state: territoriality, longevity, a power structure and sovereignty. The second part of the chapter assesses the degree to which the state and state sovereignty are disappearing in the modern world of ‘globalisedpolitics, economics and culture and new

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Contextual, analytical and theoretical issues

moment in time, the strategic resources at the disposal of particular actors, the constitution and the institutionalised practices of the party, and so forth. Similarly, accounts privileging the (invariably) harsh economic realities of a newly globalised political economy have nonetheless had to invoke some conception of agency – if only as the immediate mechanism by which the party’s commitments might be brought in line with a new external environment. It might seem tempting at this stage to suggest some middle ground, or even a potential rapprochement, between these

in Interpreting the Labour Party

Heikki Patomäki, ‘Republican Public Sphere and the Governance of Globalising Political Economy’, in Maria Lensu and Jan-Stefan Fritz (eds), Value Pluralism, Normative Theory and International Relations (London, MacMillan, 2000). The unilateralism and aggressive reciprocity of US trade policy is discussed in P. Martin, ‘The Politics of International

in Mapping European security after Kosovo