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Price: $114.95

Paperback 504 pp.
88 photos; 13 tables; 1 map, 8" x 10"



Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

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Introduction to Politics

Second Canadian Edition

Robert Garner, Peter Ferdinand, Stephanie Lawson and David B. MacDonald

Now in its second Canadian edition, this truly international introduction to politics offers comprehensive coverage of key concepts and ideologies, institutions, and international relations. Balancing theory with a wealth of Canadian and international real-world examples, this text equips students with the knowledge required to think critically about the current state of global politics.

Readership : First- and second-year introductory politics courses at universities.


  • "The text does an excellent job of presenting a wide range of core concepts in a way that is highly accessible to a student new to the concepts."
    --James Milner, Carleton University

  • "This text is written in a clear, effective style. It is comprehensive without being overwhelming, and it is approachable without being simplistic. It is ideal for students new to the discipline."
    --Marcella Firmini, Dalhousie University

Note: each chapter includes:
- Chapter outline
- Chapter overview
- Conclusion
- Key questions
- Further reading
- Web links
Introduction: What Is Politics and How Should We Analyze It?
Why Is Politics so Hard to Define?
Is Politics Unavoidable?
Political Questions
Boundaries of the Political: State, Society, and the International Community
The Study of Politics
The Rise and Fall of Normative Analysis
Empirical and Semantic Analysis
Deductive and Inductive Theories of Politics
Can Politics Be a Science?
Part One: Political Concepts and Ideas
1. Politics and the State
The Political Importance of the State
A Typology of the State
Theories of the State
The Role of the State: What Should the State Do?
The Future of the State
2. Political Power, Authority, and the State
Power and Authority
Conceptual Questions about Power
Power and Theories of the State
Pluralism and Lukes's Three Dimensions of Power
Interests and Power
Socialism and Power
3. Democracy and Our Relationship to the State
What Is Democracy?
Historical Background
Competing Theories of Democracy
Deliberative Democracy
Why Is Democracy Thought to Be Special?
Is Democracy Special? The Problem of Majority Rule
Cosmopolitan Democracy
4. Freedom and Justice
Constraints on Freedom
Negative and Positive Freedom
Is Freedom Special?
The Meaning of Justice
Rawls's Theory of Justice
Critiques of Rawls
Alternative Theories of Justice
5. Traditional and Western Ideologies
What Is an Ideology?
6. Alternatives to the Mainstream Western Ideologies
Religious Fundamentalism
Part Two: Comparative Politics
7. Institutions and States
Understanding Institutions: Informal and Formal
The Rise of the European State
The Spread of the European State Model
The Modern State
The Democratic State
8. Key Elements of the State: Laws, Constitutions, and Federalism
Law and Politics
Fundamental Rights
Constitutional Courts and Judicial Review
Legal Adjudication of Political Problems
Federalism, Consociational Democracy, and Asymmetrical Decentralization
Conclusion: The Legalization of Political Life
9. Legislatures and Legislators
The Functions of Legislatures
Types of Legislature
The Structure of Legislatures
10. Bureaucracies, Policymaking, and Governance
The Civil Service
"Embedded Autonomy"
Theories of Bureaucratic Policymaking
Policy Communities, "Iron Triangles," and Issue Networks
Conclusion: Toward a Network State?
11. Voting, Elections, and Political Parties
The Voting Paradox
Political Parties
Emergence of Parties
Functions of Parties
Party Systems
Problems Facing Parties
12. Civil Society, Interest Groups, and the Media
Civil Society
Interest Groups
Modern Corporatism
Infrapolitics and Subaltern Studies: The State Viewed from Below
The Impact of the Media
The Challenge of New Technologies
13. Political Culture
Civic Culture and Political Culture
Challenges to the Concept of Political Culture
The Persisting Significance of Political Culture
Part Three: International Relations
14. Sovereignty, the State, and International Order
Discipline, Definitions, and Subject Matter
States and International Systems in World History
The Rise of Modernity and the State System in Europe
The Emergence of Sovereignty
The Globalization of the Sovereign State System
15. Traditional Theories of International Relations
Liberalism and the Rise of International Relations
The Realist Turn
Behaviouralism versus Normative Analysis
The English School and the Idea of International Society
Neoliberalism and Neorealism
16. Alternative Approaches to International Relations
Critical Theory
Feminism and Gender Theory
Postcolonial Theory
17. Security and Insecurity
Security, Insecurity, and Power Politics
The United Nations and Collective Security
The UN Security Council
The Role of NATO
Alternative Approaches to Security
Post-Cold War Conflicts
From State Security to Human Security
Security and Insecurity After 9/11
18. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
Diplomacy and Statecraft in International History
Diplomacy in the Contemporary World
Cold War Diplomacy
Summit Diplomacy
Public Diplomacy
Foreign Policy
The EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy
19. International Organizations
What is an International Organization?
The Emergence of International Organizations
Colonialism and the Spread of European Power
Intergovernmental Organizations
Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
Social Movements and International Civil Society
20. International Political Economy
International Relations and the Study of IPE
The Age of Mercantilism
The Rise of Liberal Political Economy
Critical IPE
The Postwar International Economic Order
The North-South Gap
Globalization and Regionalization in the Post-Cold War World
Politics in Context
The New Medievalism
The Rise of the Global South
The Study of Politics in a Globalizing World

Instructor's Manual:
- 7-8 essay questions per part
For each chapter:
- Updated and revised chapter summaries, chapter outlines, and key terms with definitions
- 7 discussion questions
- 4 activities
- 8 further resources such as movies, books, videos, and websites
PowerPoint Slides:
For each chapter:
- 25-30 lecture outline slides
Test Generator:
For each chapter:
- 30-35 multiple choice questions
- 18-20 true-or-false questions
- 5-8 short answer questions
Student Study Guide:
Updated chapter summaries, chapter outlines, key terms, and flash cards
Practice quizzes: 15 questions per chapter
Updated Key Thinkers Biography
Internet Links:
- 5-10 updated web links per chapter from sources such as: CBC, TVO, NFB, YouTube, podcasts, editorials, etc.
- Annotated list of 2-5 videos and podcasts per chapter
Online Simulations:
- 6 online simulations explore various facets of political life and processes in Canada and around the world, including foreign-policy decision-making, treaty negotiations between the crown and Indigenous peoples, and election processes
- Adapted for Canadian readers by David MacDonald
E-Book (ISBN 9780199021741)

Robert Garner is a professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester.

Peter Ferdinand is a reader in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick.

Stephanie Lawson is a professor in the Department of Modern History, Politics, and International Relations at Macquarie University.

David B. MacDonald is a professor of politics at the University of Guelph. He earned his PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics; his research focuses on International Relations, Nationalism, Identity Politics, and American foreign policy; and he has a long-standing interest in comparative indigenous politics in western settler societies, namely New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the US, making him an ideal candidate to the Canadian adaptor on Introduction to Politics. Dr MacDonald has written a number of articles and book chapters and has authored three books.

Political Argument - Marc Menard
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese
Politics - George A. MacLean and Duncan R. Wood

Special Features

  • Focus on the international community rather than on one particular country encourages students to explore themes of collective decision-making, diversity, power, and justice on the global stage.
  • Canadian examples, included where appropriate, show how political ideas play out in the Canadian context and enable students to assess this country's role in the global political system.
  • Comprehensive treatment of theory, comparative politics, and international relations offers students a thorough introduction to the discipline as a whole and prepares them for future study.
  • Balances traditional ideologies and critical responses to offer students a fair and well-rounded introduction to political thought.
  • Case studies connect theory to the real world, exploring topics that range from the WTO and global trading to intersections between climate change, democracy, political cultures, and political parties.
  • Marginal cross-references help students make connections across chapters and tie together key points on essential topics and themes.
  • Key Concept boxes offer in-depth treatment of essential ideas and issues.
  • Key Quote boxes provide insightful observations from political actors and scholars.
  • Biography boxes introduce students to key thinkers and political figures.
New to this Edition
  • More coverage of Indigenous issues - including leadership and diplomacy and Indigenous relations with national governments in Canada and around the world.
  • Expanded coverage of alternatives to mainstream Western ideologies - including feminism, environmentalism, and religious fundamentalism - gives students a broader understanding of political and ideological issues in the study of politics.
  • Additional discussions of diversity and colonialism help students explore political issues facing marginalized groups.