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An Introduction to Government and Politics: A Conceptual Approach, 9th Edition

  • Mark O. Dickerson
  • Thomas Flanagan
  • Brenda O?Neill
  • ISBN-10: 0176507884
  • ISBN-13: 9780176507886
  • 0 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2010, 2006, 2002
  • COPYRIGHT: 2014 Published
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About the Product

An Introduction to Government and Politics continues with its traditional and trusted framework to equip readers with a comprehensive and logically consistent vocabulary for the study of politics, helping them to better see the relevance of government in their lives. This ninth edition has been streamlined, replacing dated material with current political realities, news events, and approaches in order to better situate the student for discussion about larger political issues. It retains its prominence as an authoritative and accessible text with a historical and “Canadianist”-based approach that appeals to the traditional Introduction to Political Science course.


  • Presents conceptual material using a careful sequence in order to equip readers with a comprehensive and logically consistent vocabulary for the study of politics: concepts are introduced one at a time, discussed at length, and then used as a basis for explaining further ideas. Important terms are boldfaced where they first occur or where they are thoroughly explained; these terms are used consistently throughout the text and are

  • Supplies information about watershed events such as the French and Russian Revolutions and uses historical figures whose reputations are well-established in order to address the lack of historical knowledge possessed by many of today’s students.

  • Part One defines those terms, ideas, and concepts that are basic to political science. An understanding of terms such as state and society, authority and legitimacy, and law and sovereignty is essential to a systematic

  • Part Two discusses the ideological basis of modern political systems. Liberalism and socialism, the fundamental ideological systems in the modern world, are discussed in the context of the political spectrum that runs from communism to fascism. The emergent ideologies of feminism and environmentalism are also discussed here and placed in context.

  • Part Three looks at forms of government and a myriad of different types of political systems: liberal-democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian; parliamentary and presidential; federal and unitary.

About the Author

Mark O. Dickerson

Mark O. Dickerson is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary. His major field of study was Comparative Politics with emphasis on political development in the non-industrialized world. His research also focused on political development in Canada's north. This work resulted in Whose North? Political Change, Political Development and Self-government in the NWT(1993). While at the University of Calgary he received a number of awards for teaching excellence. In 1997 he ran, unsuccessfully, as an Alberta Liberal Party candidate for MLA. After retirement in 1997, he maintained his interest in Aboriginal self-government and was acting Executive Director of the Arctic Institute of North America in 2000.

Thomas Flanagan

Dr. Tom Flanagan is perhaps the only person ever to have lived in both Ottawa, Ontario, and Ottawa, Illinois. He studied political science at Notre Dame University, the Free University of West Berlin, and Duke University, where he received his Ph.D. He has taught political science at the University of Calgary since 1968. Dr. Flanagan's research interests include political philosophy, Canadian politics, and aboriginal rights. He is best known as a scholar for his books on Louis Riel, the North-West Rebellion, and aboriginal land claims. His most recent book, entitled First Nations? Second Thoughts (published by McGill-Queen's University Press), received the Donner Prize for the best book on Canadian public policy published in the year 2000. The Canadian Political Science Association also awarded it the Donald Smiley Prize for the best book on Canadian politics and government published in 2000. Dr. Flanagan was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1996. He writes for the National Post and works frequently as an expert witness in aboriginal and treaty rights litigation. His hobbies are hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and ballroom dancing.

Brenda O?Neill

Brenda O’Neill is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary and a Visiting Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba. She holds a Ph.D., Political Science from the University of British Columbia; Master of Arts, Public Policy and Administration and Master of Arts, Economics, both from McMaster University. Her research interests include the political behaviour of women, particularly public opinion and political engagement; the interplay between religion and feminism as determinants of women’s political behaviour; quantitative and qualitative research methods; gender and politics in Canada; and public policy and public administration. Dr. O’Neill’s teaching interests include political behaviour; gender and politics; research methods (including statistical analysis); Canadian government and politics; public policy and public administration; and introductory political science.

Table of Contents

Introduction - The Study of Political Science

Part One: Basic Concepts
Chapter 1: Government and Politics
Chapter 2: Power, Legitimacy, and Authority
Chapter 3: Sovereignty, State, and Citizenship
Chapter 4: The Nation
Chapter 5: Political Culture and Socialization
Chapter 6: Law
Chapter 7: Constitutionalism
Chapter 8: Cooperation under Anarchy

Part Two: Ideology
Chapter 9: Ideology
Chapter 10: Liberalism
Chapter 11: Conservatism
Chapter 12: Socialism and Communism
Chapter 13: Nationalism
Chapter 14: Feminism
Chapter 15: Environmentalism

Part Three: Forms of Government
Chapter 16: Classification of Political Systems
Chapter 17: Liberal Democracy
Chapter 18: Transitions to Democracy
Chapter 19: Autocratic Systems of Government
Chapter 20: Parliamentary and Presidential Systems
Chapter 21: Unitary and Federal Systems

Part Four: The Political Process
Chapter 22: The Political Process
Chapter 23: Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Social Movements: The Organization of Interests
Chapter 24: Communications Media
Chapter 25: Elections and Electoral Systems
Chapter 26: Representative Assemblies
Chapter 27: The Political Executive
Chapter 28: The Administration
Chapter 29: The Judiciary

Appendix A: Constitution Act, 1867
Appendix B: Constitution Act, 1982

New to this edition

  • Streamlined, replacing dated material with current political realities, news events, and approaches in order to better situate the student for discussion about larger political issues.
  • Chapter 8 on has a new co-author—Gavin Cameron—as well as a new title—“Cooperation Under Anarchy”—and a new approach to its coverage of International Order, with an emphasis on current, illustrative case studies.
  • Includes discussions of current, compelling, and sometimes controversial issues, such as the Occupy movement, “slutwalk,” Obama and charisma, the Arab Spring, challenges to the Rule of Law, nation states, the gender gap, opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the proroguing of Parliament.
  • New box: Chapter 2, “Historical Perspectives: ‘Crush on Obama’”
  • New box: Chapter 3, “International Perspectives: The Failed State of Somalia”


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Resource CD for An Introduction to Government and Politics, 9e  (ISBN-10: 0176653066 | ISBN-13: 9780176653064)

The Instructor Resources include the NETA Test Bank, computerized test bank, NETA PowerPoint presentation, Image Bank, and Day One slides. These resources are also available under “Instructor Resources” on the website, at

DVD for An Introduction to Government and Politics, 9e  (ISBN-10: 0176653074 | ISBN-13: 9780176653071)

Nelson Education offers a compilation of current cbc news clips covering a wide range of topics. The videos include suggested discussion questions for use in class, making these videos a great enhancement to lectures. Ask your Nelson Education sales representative for more information on how to order the dvd.