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Outline Politics and Government Pluralism and the Power Elite Perspective Other sources of Money in Politics Education and its functions Studies of education Trends in education Religion and its functions Trends in religion Secular?
Politics Politics-methods and tactics intended to influence government policy; attitudes and activities related Originated in ancient Greece Government-formal, organized agency that exercises power and control in modern society through the creation and enforcement of laws Power-ability to impose one’s will on others Authority-legitimate, non-coercive exercise of power
Politics Authoritarianism-system of government by and for a small number of elites that doesn’t include representation of regular citizens Dictatorship or totalitarian rule (control every aspect) Monarchy-government by a king or queen, with succession of rulers kept within the family Absolute-complete authority over subjects Constitutional-powers limited by parliament or other governing body Democracy-political system in which all citizens have the right to participate Majority rule, civil liberties, human rights, equality
American Political System Voter turnout varies over time, but the U.S. has comparatively low voter turnout rates…why? Top answer: too busy Some voters don’t vote because they are disenfranchised Disenfranchised-stripped of voting rights temporarily or permanently Felons Regular citizens-Florida 2000 Solutions-increase access to disabled, make absentee voting easier, keeping the polls open longer
Who Rules America? Pluralism-system of political power in which many individuals and groups have equal access to resources and the mechanisms of power Power elite-(C. Wright Mills) relatively small number of people who control the economic, political, and military institutions of a society Know each other .0026% of population-tend to be white, upper-class males “Bohemian Grove”
Who Rules America? Special interest groups-organizations that raise and spend money to influence elected officials and/or public opinion Corporate organizations, lobbies, PACs, 527s Money wins elections: 95% of House races went to candidate who spent most on race Political Action Committees (PACs)-raises money to support the interests of a select group Over 4,000 PACs Primary source of campaign contributions
Who Rules America? 527 Committees-organizations used by supporters of candidates and special interests to avoid campaign finance laws there are no limits on contributions donors can make to 527s $550 million spent in the 2004 election The role of the media in politics increased with the inventions of the TV in 1948 and the internet Candidates must spend money on the media: gain coverage on an issue or buy advertisements “Sound bytes” Opinion leaders-high-profile people whose interpretation of events influences the public Oprah Winfrey
Education Education-process by which a society transmits knowledge, values, and expectations to its members so they can function Formal education began in ancient Greece Modern mass education traced back to Enlightenment Current public high school graduation rate about 70% Georgia: 54% Iowa: 93% Functions of education include transmission of knowledge, obedience to rules, and respect for authority
Education and Inequality Tracking-placement of students in educational programs of study (ex. college prep or remedial) that determine the types of classes students take Happens early in educational career Education benefits everyone, but not everyone equally-inequality in education mirrors inequality in society Hidden curriculum-values or behaviors students learn indirectly over the course of their schooling “Rules, routines, regulations” Can create a submissive and obedient workforce
Studies of Education Symbolic Interactionist-Pygmalion in the Classroom: teacher Expectation and Pupils’ Intellectual Development-conclusion-teachers’ attitudes about students unintentionally influenced their academic performance Conflict-Savage Inequalities-Kozol-because schools are funded by property taxes, kids in poor neighborhoods are trapped in poor schools, which reinforces inequality Functionalist-The Credential Society-Collins- educational inequality is preparation for occupational inequality later in life
Present and Future of Education Charter schools-public schools run by private entities to give parents greater control over their kids’ education More flexible than public schools-free from district governance Students have comparable or slightly lower test scores than conventional schools Homeschooling-education of children by their parents at home academic achievement above that of public school students-can be customized to needs
Present and Future of Education School vouchers-payments from the government to parents whose kids attend failing public schools Pay 75-90% of tuition generally Take funds away from public schools to be used at private schools May blur line between church and state Distance learning-any educational course or program in which the teacher and the students do not meet together in the classroom; increasingly available over the internet
Religion Religion-any institutionalized system of shared beliefs and rituals that identify a relationship between the sacred and the profane Belief-a proposition or idea held on the basis of faith Ritual-a practice based on religious beliefs Sacred-the holy, divine, or supernatural Profane-the ordinary, mundane, or everyday
Functions/Dysfunctions of Religion 1. Shapes behavior by providing morals, values, norms 10 Commandments, fasting, confessing sins, etc… 2.Gives meaning to our lives Each religion answers the fundamental questions (Ex. What is the meaning of life) according to a larger plan 3. Provides the opportunity to come together with others Religions can also be divisive-sexist, anti-homosexual, etc… Can also be agents for social justice: Liberation theology-movement within the Catholic church to understand Christianity from the perspective of the poor and oppressed, with a focus on fighting injustice
Religion in America Religiosity-regular practice of religious beliefs, measured in terms of frequency of attendance at worship services and the importance of religious beliefs to an individual Extrinsic religiosity-public display of commitment Church attendance Intrinsic religiousity-personal relationship to divine More religiosity among women, older Americans, in the South
Religious Affiliation Trends Fundamentalism-the practice of emphasizing literal interpretation of texts and a “return” to a time of greater religious purity Provides a return to tradition 1990-2001-those identifying as fundamentalist tripled Evangelical-term describing conservative Christians who emphasize converting others to their faith 1990-2001-those identifying as evangelicals quadrupled Unchurched spirituality-spiritual but not religious May adopt different aspects of different religions Expressed individually-not through organized group
Are we Secular? Secular-nonreligious; separating church and state and not endorsing any religion Government and business form holiday schedules around Christian holidays-even though 15% of Americans don’t observe them Every president has been Christian Every president since Eisenhower has been advised by Reverend Billy Graham