An Introduction to Politics: Lectures for First-Year Students

An Introduction to Politics: Lectures for First-Year Students

An Introduction to Politics: Lectures for First-Year Students

An Introduction to Politics: Lectures for First-Year Students


An Introduction to Politics is essential material for first-year students in social sciences and for the general reader interested in the basics of contemporary politics. The book's various sections and lecture summaries deal with the important areas of political science, different systems of democratic government, the fall of communism and post-communist politics, as well as issues in Caribbean politics such as globalization, constitutional reform, and regional integration. This third edition is fully revised and incorporates pertinent new material to the needs of students in the twenty-first century. Table of Contents Section I Political Behaviour, Political Culture, and Political Socialization Section II The Changing Definition of Political Science and Politics Section III Democracy: Representative and Participatory; Parliamentary and Presidential Section IV The Presidential and Parliamentary Systems of Government Section V The Transition from Communism and Post-Communism Section VI The Anglophone Caribbean State: Decolonization, Contemporary Constitutions, Reform Proposals Section VII Contemporary Caribbean Politics: Globalization, Regionalism, and Political Change


This book is divided into seven sections and we summarize them here.

Section 1 is “Political Behaviour, Political Culture, and Political Socialization”. We will explain the meanings of these terms and their significance to the study of politics.

In section 2 we look at the definition of political science. What does that subject entail? What does the term political science really mean? At the end of that, we are going to see that the meaning of political science and the meaning of politics have changed significantly over the years. We are going to see how it has changed, what it means now, what accounts for that change, and, most significantly, how it is likely to change in the future.

In section 2 you will see that understanding politics and political science is extremely important in paving your way, whatever your chosen career. Whether you become a businessperson, professional, or academic, this course will help you to understand the environment and its context that impacts on you.

Section 3 is perhaps one of the most fundamental elements in our course. Certainly, the most significant part of any course in political science in any university deals with the issue of democracy. These days we hear so much about human rights. What are these human rights? What do they do? What is democracy? We will look at questions such as, Is Jamaica a democracy? What is it that makes the United States a democracy, if indeed it is? What are some of the dimensions of life in these countries that need to be changed if they are to be better governed as democracies and if the rights of the people are to be more recognized and advanced?

We are going to define democracy and the different types of democracy. Representative democracy is one type, the kind of democracy that exists in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Jamaica, and Barbados. We will also look at participatory democracy, where much rests on the participation – the involvement – of the people themselves directly, not being so dependent on their political representatives. We are going to look at this distinction between representative and participatory democracy. We will see how many countries in the world are democratic; how many are not; how far some countries have changed from being democratic to being undemocratic, and how far in the other direction have countries that were undemocratic become democratic. This is a very . . .

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