Democracy and Political Participation

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  • Democracy & Political Participation
    • Definition of Democracy: Means ‘Rule by the people'
    • Representative democracy- when people elect or appoint representatives to make decisions on their behalf.
      • Advantage- less time consuming than direct democracy
      • Advantage-Elected representatives have knowledge to make a judgement. Avoids hasty decisions made by the people
      • Representatives and parties are able to mediate between the interests of different sections of society
      • Disadvantage- Politicians may act in self interest or govern and may not the public opinion to account
      • Disadvantage- Representatives may not accurately represent the opinion and demands of the wider population
      • Disadvantage- Representative democracy is only fair if elections are fair
    • Direct democracy- where people themselves make key political decisons. E.g- Ancient Athens
      • Advantage-Purest form of democracy
      • Advantage-Avoids decisions made by representatives in their own interest
      • Advantage - People are becoming more well informed and educated to make their own judgement
      • Advantage-Decisions are directly made by the people
      • Disadvantage- slow in decision making
      • Disadvantage- Tyranny of the Majority
      • Disadvantage- Only works in a country with a small population
      • Disadvantage- Too complex for people to understand
      • Advantage- Increases participation therefore enhances democracy
    • Referendum- a vote where the people are asked to determine and important issue. Usually a yes or no answer
      • Most direct form of democracy
      • Prevents the government to make unpopular decisions
      • People are likely to respect and conform decisions they have made themselves
      • Issues may be too complex for people to understand
      • Minorities may suffer as they represent the majority
      • They may undermine respect for representative institutions
    • Political Participation
      • is simply being informed about issues
      • Contributing to online forums and petitions
      • Voting in various elections
      • Joining a pressure group
      • Taking part in physical or e-petitions
      • Joining a political party
      • Becoming  active in a party
      • Becoming active in a pressure group
      • Standing for political office

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