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Political Spectrum

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  1. Political Spectrum

  2. Political Ideologies • Ideology: A connected set of beliefs about people and society, which generally consists of some of the following: • a set of basic assumptions about human nature and society • an interpretation of the past • an explanation of the present • a vision for the future • a goal for which to strive (usually Utopian) and a strategy to achieve this

  3. Political Ideologies • heroes (martyrs, leaders, founding fathers, etc.) and rituals (pledges, anthems, sacred documents, etc.) • a strong emotional appeal • a simple, easily understood picture of the world, which claims to be the truth

  4. Belief or Ideology? • Ideologies are social constructions rather than individual belief systems • for beliefs to be ideological… they must concern matters important to the group, and must be in some way functional in relation to it: they must serve to hold it together or to justify activities and attitudes characteristic of its members. (John Plamenatz, 1970)

  5. Political Ideologies • Why have ideologies? • help people understand their society • allow people and governments to explain past actions • used by governments and societies to set future goals and policies

  6. Political Ideologies: Examples • liberalism • Nazism • fascism • communism • liberalism • anarchism • separatism • totalitarianism • conservatism • socialism • libertarianism • feminism • imperialism

  7. Political Spectrum • Represents a range of political beliefs in society • Is used to study the similarities and differences among groups of people, governments and countries • Political scientists often classify societies by placing them on the political spectrum • A country’s position may change with a change in government

  8. Political Spectrum Authoritarian Libertarian Right Left

  9. The “Right” • Moderate right: decentralized government traditional morals and values stern punishment for breaking laws protection of private property • Extreme right: usually associated with foreign dictatorships enforce rules, laws, norms with extreme force

  10. The “Left” • Moderate left: activist government believe traditional values are usually unfair to women and minorities government is responsible for helping the disadvantaged in society personal property can be used toward the public good government must protect freedom

  11. Between moderate and extreme left Large governments where citizens pay large taxes in return for the provision of many necessary services • Extreme left: governments are repressive; may look like extreme right governments

  12. Political Ideologies in Canada • Conservative Party • Reform Party and Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party (acronyms anyone?!) • Bloc Québécois • Liberal Party • New Democratic Party • Green Party