AQA Politics Chapter 2 Key Terms

All the key terms which relate to the second chapter in the AQA Government and Politics AS textbook

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Chapter 2 Key Terms
Voting behaviour ­ relates to the way that people vote and why they vote the way that
they do
Psephologists ­ are specialists in the study of elections and voting behaviour
Partisan alignment ­ the long term allegiance to a political party
Partisan dealignment ­ the breakdown of long term allegiance of voters to a particular
party since the 1970s
Social class ­ relates to the hierarchal distinctions between individuals or groups in society.
It is the division of people with similar characteristics into strata or layers. It is usually
assessed on such characteristics such as background, education and occupation
Class alignment ­ relates to the strong association of membership of a social class with
support for a political party. Such as working class people traditionally voted for Labour
Class dealignment ­ relates to the breakdown since the 1970s of the long-term association
of a social class with support for a particular party
Instrumental ­ is voting which is a one-off assessment of the party's policies and reputation,
based on their past performance as well as a judgement about their ability to deliver what
they promise
Ideology ­ a system of assumptions, beliefs and values about public issues which are part of
a comprehensive vision of society. The concept is central to politics as almost every political
tendency has some degree of ideological backing. Ideologies help us to explain the political
world and point towards what form of action should take place in particular circumstances
Ethnic group ­ relates to people who share a common sense of identity as a result of
kinship, culture, religion or often skin colour. The term `ethnic minority group' is usually used
to refer to non-white groups which are mainly the result of past immigration
Mass media ­ the collective name for the organisations involved in publishing, broadcasting
or other forms of political communication that channel information to the electorate
Neil Kinnock ­ was Labour MP (1970-95) and leader of the opposition (1983-1992)
Winter of Discontent ­ (1978-79) the period of widespread industrial unrest that seriously
disrupted everyday life and damaged the prospects of the then Labour government
ERM ­ Exchange Rate Mechanism of the European Community, a mechanism for regulating
relationships between the basket of currencies of the member states
Major Government ­ the government under John Major (Conservative) (1990-97)
Sleaze ­ the collective name for the various financial and sexual scandals that have occurred
under governments
Thatcher ­ Conservative MP (1959-92) and Prime Minister (1979-90)
Middle England ­ the political middle ground often seen as being occupied by the
aspirational middle, lower middle and working classes of England, those who wanted to
better themselves.
Stability of voting patterns ­ describes a period when voting habits seemed to be
consistent and predictable
Third parties ­ parties which are capable of gathering a sizeable percentage of popular
support and regularly gain seats in the legislature, but which have no meaningful chance of
being the majority party and forming a government after an election such as the Lib Dems
Demographic changes ­ changes that relate to the size and distribution of population

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Embourgeoisement ­ the tendency of better-off working people with aspirations to
become more like the middle classes in their outlook and voting behaviour
Volatility ­ relates to the significant changes in voting habits which have resulted in voting
becoming less consistent and more unpredictable.…read more


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