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Cover Introduction to Politics

13. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governance  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter explores the relations between the executive and legislative branches of government, along with their role in formulating government policy. It first describes the general framework of legislature–executive relations before discussing the civil service and its embedded autonomy. It then examines theories of bureaucratic policy-making, with particular emphasis on the problem of facilitating policy innovation, as well as the more recent proliferation of government agencies and the concepts of governance and good governance. It also considers the spread of the domain of policy-making beyond state officials or civil servants to issue networks and policy communities and concludes by analysing the emergence of a ‘network state’ and its implications for civil servants.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

20. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter discusses diplomacy and the conduct of foreign policy, both of which are fundamental to relations between political communities worldwide. It first considers diplomacy and its related concept, statecraft, in global history, focusing on some important concepts such as raison d’état (reason of state) and machtpolitik (power politics). It then examines diplomatic practice in contemporary global politics, with particular emphasis on track-two diplomacy and third-party mediation, along with developments in diplomacy during the Cold War. It also looks at public diplomacy, which may be understood as an instrument of ‘soft power’ in contrast with the methods of power politics. It concludes with an overview of the European Union’s common foreign and security policy.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

12. Political Parties  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter deals with political parties: why they emerged, how they can be classified, what functions they perform, how they interact, and what challenges they are facing today. One of the paradoxes about democracies is that there is almost a unanimous consensus about the indispensability of political parties. On the other hand, the benefits of being a member of a political party are bound to be minuscule compared to the costs of membership. Thus it is irrational for people to join parties. They should only form (small) interest groups. The chapter first provides a historical background on the development of political parties before discussing their functions, such as legitimation of the political system, structuring the popular vote, and formulation of public policy. It then considers different types of political parties as well as the characteristics of party systems and concludes with an analysis of the problems facing political parties today.