Complete Revision Notes for AQA AS Government & Politics; Participation Topic

Good luck! I used a number of sources for these notes and not just the AQA textbook, thus they may be suitable for all exam boards.

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  • Created on: 28-04-13 18:37
Preview of Complete Revision Notes for AQA AS Government & Politics; Participation Topic

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(in random order ­ sorry!)
Q Milbrath and Goel in the USA used Roman gladiatorial contests to label the public:
- GLADIATORS: small percentage of activists who are keep participants
- SPECTATORS: large majority, observe the contest but limit their participation to voting
- APATHETICS: non-participants, do not watch the contest and are indifferent to the result.
Q Parry in 1992 conducted political research on how politically active people were.
- 23.2% were involved in political activities beyond voting
- 51.1% limited voting to elections
- 25.85% were almost inactive
- The British were "less trusting and more cynical" (about politicians) than West Germany,
Austria and Switzerland. However, they are more trusting than the USA.
Note: The USA has an estimated turnout by the Bipartisan Research Centre and the Centre for
Studies on the American Electorate of 57.5%, lower than the UK 2010 turnout of 65.1%. However,
it is important to note that the USA takes a percentage of the Voting Age Population rather than just
the registered voters.
Many feel that politicians are untrustworthy and feel alienated from the political system. This has
resulted in what Q Will Hutton has said is the 40:30:30 society.
KT 40:30:30 society: A society in which 40% of the population have secure employment and are
comfortably well off. 30% are in insecure employment and 30% are socially and economically
marginalised, jobless or working for extremely low wages.
Q Robert Putnam: there is now a "degree of social disengagement and civic connectedness" which
damages political life.
- "People spend more time watching Friends than making them"
- he uses the term `social capital' to refer to the social networks and connections online. This
interaction builds bonds and allows people to build communities. This helps build communities and
help develop political institutions to help grow democracy.
- The community helps "develop the `I' into the `we'"
KT Political Culture: The ideas, beliefs and attitudes that shape political behaviour within a given
area. It describes the way citizens view the political system and their role within it.
The nature of political participation within a state is often defined by the political culture. UK culture
was traditionally described to have three characteristics:

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Homogeneity ­ the belief that citizens share a common heritage and identity; a sense of
togetherness that overrides what divides them.
2. Consensus ­ UK citizens accept the basic `rules of the game'. These are things such as the
need for tolerance, pragmatism, peaceful negotiation and compromise.
3. Deference ­ people have deferred to an elite that was regarded as being `born to rule'. A
natural willingness to accept a class based inequality and social rigid hierarchy.…read more

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The Burkean view is that citizens elect representatives to represent them in a legislature and
that these individuals should represent the interests of their constituents until the next
However represents are not simply delegates sent with instructions to follow. They may
make their own decisions that may go against constituents wants.
Since the historically low turnouts of 2001 & 2005 it's been said that the UK is in participation crisis.…read more

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E.G an e-petition trying to stop the Nursing and Midwifery council from rising nurse's
registration fees to over £100. Because the petition went over 10,000 signatures the
government responded and offered the NMC (an independent body) a one of £20 million
pound grant to help improve services. If the petition continues to surpass 100,000 signatures
then it will be debated in government.
Long Term
1. Party Identification
Citizens identify with a particular party and loyalties are formed.…read more

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Q Howard Macmillan: "events, dear boy, events"
Crewe's publication of the "decade of dealignment" was a psephological milestone.
He used date from Essex University's British Election Study he analysed elections in the
1970s culminating in the Conservative 1979 victory.
In particular he discovered that demographic changes were having a huge impact on Labour.…read more

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Instrumental act for people to achieve their goals.
Q Sanders in 1996 suggested that the state of the economy and voters views on it was
very important in how people decided to exercise their vote.
4. DOMINANT IDEOLOGY THEORY: In an age of of dealignment, what people see, hear and
read is important in influencing their decision. People are influenced by the mass media and
this affects their vote. The media are seen as reflecting a dominant prevailing ideology.…read more

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E.g. In the American election focus was mostly on swing states such as New Hampshire,
Ohio, Colorado and Florida. Whereas Texas has been Republic in every election since 2000.
5. Electoral System
Some argue that an electoral system that has representative representation would achieve
more votes as people feel like their vote is worth more.
However the 2011 AV referendum conflicts this with a substantial vote to stick with FPTP.…read more

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E.g. in Labours 1997 manifesto they pledged to bring about a more democratic social
chamber. It delivered this with the House of Lords Act 1999.
Low turnout brings into question the government's legitimacy and the strength of the
In 2005 the Labour Party won with the support of35% of the vote which is equivalent to
21.6% of the electorate.
Turnout figures also mask regional turnout variations.
e.g. the turnout in 2010 was 65.1% with the highest turnout in East Renfrewshire 77.…read more

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KT Donkey Vote: Under a preferential system where people simply number 1,2,3,4 in the order
they are on the sheet.
KT Informal Vote: Ballots which are completed incorrectly under a system of compulsory voting.
As we know voting is influenced by long and short term factors.…read more

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Features of the Post War years up to the 1970s:
Stability of Voting Patterns
Q Punnet: "for most people, voting behaviour is habitual and ingrained"
Elections determined by a body of floating voters in key marginal constituencies
recent examples include Florida and Texas in the USA.
The Domination of the two main Parties
In 1951 Conservatives and Labour between them gained 96.8% of the vote, in 1966 they
obtained 89.9%
Many of these features are no longer valid, especially with the rise of Third Parties.…read more




Former Member

Thanks a lot for this. Just what I need...a concise set of notes!

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