Political Sociology Final Questions and Answers

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Sociology
15.05.2020
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Response to Question One: Types of Authority

Today’s social rulings have a set of laws whether written or verbal. In a school environment, there is a definite hierarchy of power. The principal or president act likes the CEO of the company as he or she has the authority to make major decisions in the school. The leader creates a culture that the institution is following. Other levels of power including deputy, administrators, deans of various schools, chief finance officers, and others must report to the principal before carrying out major operations. Those under the leader’s control take his or her sermons and warnings with a lot of seriousness. Everybody respects and follows the rules set by their leader. Besides, every person in a leadership position in the school has authority over those who work there. Apart from giving commands, they solve problems and conflicts. They have the mandate to manage the available resources in the best way possible and are accountable for any losses.

The authority is also present in a classroom environment. The teacher has power over the students. For example, the latter tend to keep quiet and become attentive once they spot the teacher approaching. The students follow their mentor’s instructions without questioning unless they have permission from him or her. For example, if the teacher asks them to stand up, they do so even when they are not sure about the reason behind the action. In doing practices, they follow the instructions either given by the teacher verbally or written on particular page of the book. Every disciplinary action is received and followed. The students complete the assignment as stated as they know the consequences of not finishing. Class representatives also hold some authority over the other students. They have the mandate to communicate with the teacher and administration on behalf of the whole class. They connect their peers with higher authority in this chain of command.

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The type of power experienced in a school environment is rational-legal. With this kind of power, the leaders follow some rules and policies in giving commands. The authority to order is given to the office they hold rather than to a separate person (Dobratz, Waldner & Buzzell, 2011). For example, in the case of a school principle, the rules and policies remain even after the transfer of the principal. Those holding lower ranks like deputy principal and other offices have to obey the primary one. In this case, it does not matter who the leader of their choice is; all they should do is to follow and respect the person as long as they are in the office. In some occasions, people in the institution have a chance to vote for a leader of their choice. Students usually vote for student leaders to represent them in the senate and other activities. Employees’ unions also choose their leaders. Even those who do not vote for the winners have to view them as their current leaders. The position is not permanent with specific person or particular group of people like in traditional authority. There is a maximum number of years that one can stay in the office. There is a possibility to remove these people from power if they go against the set of rules they are supposed to follow when they hold the position. They are also accountable for any losses that happen when they are in the office.

Another type of authority that is common in society is a traditional way, which is practiced in religious places. Considering an example of Christianity, its followers are expected to stick to the rules in the Bible without questioning. God is the highest ruler, and no Christian is supposed to question His power even when things are not going well. He should be obeyed, feared, and respected at all times. The position is not changing with time, and no one can overpower God. There is no questioning of religious leaders. Christians believe that those who engage in arguments with the church leaders and question their activities will suffer punishment from God. This fear is what makes most church leaders able to manipulate the followers as they command them to offer more in church and even quote some bible verses. It is only in recent past that some traditional churches have started to apply democracy in leadership positions restricting pastors and priests in what they can do and even attaching a salary to the position.

All the rules governing each educational institution originate from the ministry of education. The state controls every institution through a set of policies. The state controls the civil society through this regulation, and those who do not abide by them take punishment. The politicians dictate how to run schools and all other institutions in the country. The state chooses who holds the ministry of education offices, which, in turn, dictate those heading different schools and possessing the minimum qualification they are supposed to have. Every person in the society has to follow the rules made by the state. For example, drivers who fail to follow some traffic rules experience the risk of facing some charges and penalties. Any driver is expected to pull over if the police car flashes. In this case, the police have the authority over the driver due to the set rules. The set of standards is designed to keep order in the society.

Response to Question Two: Influence of Agents of Socialization to Political Decisions

The primary agents of socialization in every child’s life are the parents. There is a close tie between the children and their parents. Furthermore, the latter are the first people that children listen to. Most children hold the same political ideologies as their parents at an early age (Dobratz, Waldner & Buzzell, 2011). They will believe a political party or a particular politician is right just because their parent think so. At a later age, media becomes an important agent of socialization. Children spend a lot of time watching television programs, probably more than the time they spent in school. Media present different political ideas. At this stage, children can listen to the view of various politicians. They also listen to arguments from various people, slogans, and commitments of political parties. Most of the time, media do not decide which political idea or belief and what person or party to follow. They present information and give people a chance to decide for themselves. In this case, the children can critically analyze and decide which ideologies to follow.

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Peer group has a significant influence on a person’s decision on his or her political views. Such influence is experienced due to frequent discussions about politics. These debates are sometimes a way of passing the time. In the process, some people may convince others who end up following a certain political ideology. There is a tendency of a group of peers to develop and believe in a particular politician and political parties. Some individuals may not necessarily believe in the ideas but follow them to fit in the group. The blind following mostly happens with small children who fear to express their thoughts especially if they are the minority. For example, sometimes I support an individual presidential candidate not because I believe he/she is the best one, but because my friends like him/her.

The school gives the students a platform to express their ideas even if they do not have majority support. History subject teaches students political system in the country. Some teachers chose to give their political views, while others do not think it is right. After giving their opinions, they continue by saying that their views might be wrong and give the students a chance to argue. Other teachers may choose to support a small or non-popular party or a politician to train the students that they should not just follow blindly without critically analyzing the situation, and the majority ideology does not matter in making personal political choices. The students also get a chance to experience democracy and make choices when they vote for their leaders. This opportunity prepares them for the national election. Education trained me to always critically analyze an ideology instead of to follow it blindly. It also made me appreciate diversity in every situation. I always give people a chance to explain their cases before I can judge them as being right or wrong. I still appreciate and maintain relationships with individuals who have different ideologies. At some point, I regarded persons with various points of view as my enemies and expected everyone to believe my ideas.

One of the problems that I had to deal with in my school life is the need to read for exams. The system dictates that bright people who get high-paid jobs are those who pass the exams. These have forced me to engage in rote reading for subjects that were not interesting for me. Politicians make the school policies but are not able to come up with a system that encourages acquisition of knowledge rather that passing the exam. The great scholars are not always high performers in a job setting. Companies and institutions have fallen into the trap of employing persons who performed well in school only to realize they cannot apply their knowledge in a real-life situation. In the end, students have a loan to pay, academic papers showing qualifications, and no job or skills. The lack of employment after finishing school has led many young people in the society to lose faith in education. They are now taking rich people without education as their role models. Students have turned to colleges and universities as socialization institutions instead of places to acquire knowledge. They spend more hours on socializing and attending parties and clubs than the time spent on reading books. Those in a hurry to make money do not even bother joining the institution of higher learning. I believe that education can be more efficient if students have less hours of sitting in class but more hours of practicing. I also believe that the country that educates its citizens to have higher chances of innovation than the country with more physical resources. The system should be organized in a way that encourages students to spend more hours on acquiring knowledge than socializing.

Response to Question Four: Influence of Political Leaders

Political leaders have a significant impact on mobilizing and encouraging participation in electro politics. First, political leaders have associated themselves with certain parties. Post leaders that win the elections are chosen by their political party. The party supports their preferred candidates regarding resources, finances, and participation in other campaign activities. The current leaders choose their preferred candidates and present them to society. They pick a person with the same ideologies as the party has. The candidates stand a chance to be elected if they are the representatives of an influential party. The candidates of the government ruling can only win if the society is happy about the services during the period. Otherwise, such candidates may lose to their opponent. For example, in the concluded US president election, the most popular candidates were Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton because of the popularity of their political parties.

As politicians hold campaigns to familiarize themselves with the citizens, they also urge them to vote when the election time comes. Some politicians have been disappointed after having a large number of followers during the campaigns period only to realize that most of them did not vote at all and had not registered as voters. Before the party campaign time, most political leaders come together regardless of their political ideologies and encourage citizens to register as voters. They remind them of the importance of participating in elections by telling them they are the only people who can decide who holds an individual office. There has been a tendency of politicians to say that even one vote counts. They tell the citizens that it will be their fault if they get themselves being ruled by a leader they do not like or who is irresponsible. These campaigns change the mind of many citizens who had previously decided not to vote.

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Political leaders may discourage voting through voters’ suppression. In this case, a politician tries to discourage voting in areas of their opponents (Dobratz, Waldner & Buzzell, 2011). One of the ways is telling voters that voting is not necessary. Others go to the extent of paying the opponent’s supporters and making them promise not to vote. The paying is especially possible when the voting is done manually by the use of voter cards. The citizens exchange their card for money in order not to be able to vote. Another thing that politicians do to discourage voters is to intimidate them. The former may say that if the citizens vote for the opponent, they risk being isolated, especially if the opponent loses. Others threaten to send goons to beat and harass them if their rival wins in the region. In this case, the population prefer not to vote.

Another method that politicians resort to in discouraging voting is the tendency to use abusive language in public. Most politicians go in public to discuss their opponents’ weaknesses rather than their strengths (Dobratz, Waldner & Buzzell, 2011). Citizens receive so much negativity about each one of them. They view the rivals as evil leaders; and, in the end, they decide not to vote. Turnout of voters is low if the citizens have a feeling that there will be manipulation of results. They regard voting as wasting their time when some corrupt officials are going to make their preferred candidate win. In such a case, the officials may hide some votes belonging to the candidate they want to lose. Turnout is also low in areas with the regularity of post-election dispute.

Collective action is a situation where people come together and contribute to the achievement of their predetermined goal. The politics of the USA have a lot of collective action and movements. Politicians make political parties to achieve their aims. They together convince citizens to vote for a candidate they present. Some voters do not care to analyze individuals. They do not even bother to look at the manifesto or if the presented candidate is capable of being a good leader. They move with the party of their choice and vote for the respective candidate. The evidence shows that the Democratic and Republican Parties dominate the politics of the US today. The candidates of these two sides in the recent election were full of scandals but received the highest number of votes with Hillary Clinton winning the popular votes and Donald Trump winning electoral college votes. The other candidates of less popular political parties were far from winning even if there was little expose of their scandals like in case with the Republic and Democratic Parties.

Response to Question Five: Contemporary Global Conflict

The current global conflict is the fight against extremism. The extremists reside in most Islamic states and are responsible for many terrorist activities including the 9/11 attack in the United States. They target young non-educated people in their recruitment. They take advantage of civil wars and join the rebel groups to fight against the government. Further, the extremists are the driving force in Syria and Iraq, though the conflicts there had started as civil wars. Their negotiation with the leaders is usually impossible as they do not state what they want. They are happy when they cause destruction, and it seems like they are not interested in peace at all. These are some other countries where extremist war dominates: Afghanistan, Yemen, and Lake Chad Basin area among others. There have also been several terrorist attacks like in Paris that one of the extremist groups carried out. Any country that tries to fight against terrorism (e.g. the US or France) becomes a target.

The political socialist who has an interest in violence and terrorist approach can successfully study the extremist war, which can help to overcome terrorism. First, he or she needs to get to the root of the matter before criticizing the group. He or she can try to reach out to the terrorist leaders in a careful way as one might get him/herself in trouble during such a campaign. Such politician should stop assuming the common idea that the cause of terrorism is poverty and lack of education. Besides, most of the group leaders are well educated and are not poor. For example, some of the extremist groups have emerged as people tried to defend their countries’ boundaries and resources. Other groups were fighting against corruption and misuse of resources. The members may also say that they joined the group after experiencing tortures while being in the hands of the American government. Some of them fight as they believe that superpower country are on a mission to deplete the natural resources of other nations so that they may control the whole world. For example, America and China control a lot of oil industries in the world, most of which are located in developing countries. These facts lead to the formation of the terrorist groups who protect their resources and make sure there will be enough of them for future generations. Some extremists fight for equality as they claim that only certain people have so much, while others are not even able to satisfy their basic needs. After getting the main reasoning of the leaders, the mentioned politician can now engage the international community in trying to stop terrorism. No fight can end by starting another fight. The only way to stop a fight is to negotiate. The battle continues as most leaders think the terrorists’ aim is to destroy peace and just fight with no motive. If the terrorist have valid claims, they will fight for them by all means, even the wrong ones. Thus, the situation can only be solved by brilliant people but not by fighting the rebels back.

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There is an emergence of a global culture in America. Most people are demonstrating against the leaders, yet they are more transparent than in earlier years. They misuse the freedom of speech and democracy. These groups are the ones that will later turn into the opposition and then join an international terrorist group. The terrorists look for every opportunity to disturb the peace of a country they have declared as their enemy. Citizens and leaders should be careful when presenting the ideas or discuss them, even if they do not agree.

The Muslims backlash among the American citizens as the latter view the former as agents of terrorism. The Americans fail to recognize that not every Muslim is a terrorist. In a recent case, the presidential aspirant, Donald Trump, made a statement which meant that Muslims should not be allowed in America. This report created a lot of tension as people might follow his ideology especially now when he has been elected as the USA President. The public may also harass the Muslims, which can lead to the formation of an extremist group against America. However, Trump has not shown any signs of implementation of his earlier thoughts since the time he was elected.

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