Government & Politics AS (1)

Mr Hinchliff's Lesson

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What is politics? 

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  • Concerned with developing a knowledge and understanding of government and society.
  • In particular, about the struggle for power and influence between competing individuals and groups. 
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What is democracy?

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  • Is people power
  • Abraham Lincoln "government of the people, by the people and for the people"
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What is equality?

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  • Is the belief that people should be treated equally and be given equal opportunities, as long as there are no ground for treating them differently. 
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What are authoritarian regimes? 

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  • are non-democratic countries in which there is very strong central direction and control. There may be elections, but the range of candidates is usually limited or the campaigning is made very difficult for those who take an alternative view to those in power. 
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What's legitimate? 

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  • a legitimate system of governement is one which the authority of the government is widely accepted by those who are subject to it. We speak of the authority of an official, but of the legitimacy of a regime. 
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What is participation?

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  • is the engagement of the population in forms of political action
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What is direct democracy? 

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  • is a form of democracy in which the citizens themselves assemble to debate and decide issues of public importance
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What is indirect/representative democracy? 

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is where the people elect representativs who make decisions of their behalf.

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What is elitism? 

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  • is the recognition that society should be governed by an elite or groups
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What is pluralism? 

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  • literally 'rule by the many', relates to a society in which there are diverse and compreting centres of power, which seek to exert influence over government
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What are pressure groups? 

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  • comprise organisations that do not stand for election themselves, but rather seek to influence those who do gain political office and are therefore in a position to shape public policy
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What's an electorate?

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  • All qualified voters
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What's a franchise? 

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  • also known as 'suffrage'
  • is the right to vote for representatives in a legislative body
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What's an abstainer? 

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  • are those who do not vote. This may be for involuntary reasons (sickness, not registered or the lack of a candidate representing their views)
  • more often abstention is a deliberate choice not to vote
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What are devolved assemblies? 

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  • are the national parliament in Scotland, the National Assembly in Wales and the Assembly in Northern Ireland. 
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What is apathy? 

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  • is a lack of interest or enthusiasm in this case for playing a part in the political system. Other may see it as representing broad satisfaction with things as they are, so that there is no need to exert oneself to register one's own viewpoint or take an active role. 
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What is alienation?

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  • in general means a feeling of separateness, of being alone and apart from others. 
  • in this sense it refers to the feeling of being estranged, from the rest of the community, society or the world
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What is capitalism?

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  • generally relates to 'free enterprise' economic systems in which the means of production are mostly privately owned and operated for profit, as in much of the Western World
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What is communism?

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  • is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless society based on common ownership (everything held 'in common') of the means of production.
  • it represents a strand of the broader socialist movement, sometimes being regarded as a revolutionary form of socialism. 
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What is the cold war? 

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  • the cold war was the state of constant rivalry, suspicion and sometimes extreme tension in the post-1945 era between communist eastern Europe and the Western Nations (led by the US)
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What is a post-materialist age? 

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  • the post-materialist age is an era in which people are less concerned about their material needs (such as the basic requirements of food, clothing and shelter) which are all available to the majority and are more concerned with quality-of-life issues
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What is ecology? 

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  • is the study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment
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What is an initiative? 

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  • is a procedure through which an individual or group may propose legislation by securing the signatures of a required number of qualified voters
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What is a referendum? 

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  • is a vote of the people on a single issue of public policy
  • e.g. on some proposed law or policy, perhaps to amend the constitution
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What's a recall vote? 

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  • is an infrequently used device that enables a certain number of voters to demand a vote on whether an elected official should be removed from office.
  • a famous recall being in California in 2003, resulting in the removal of the State Governor and the election in his place of Arnold Schwarznegger. 
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What are the London Bombings? 

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  • terrorist attacks on 7th July 2005 (52 killed) and 21 July 2005 (none killed)
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What's a suicide bomber? 

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  • a ****
  • are those individuals or groups who are prepared to kill others to register their protest and establish their particular vision and know that they are likely to die in the process. 
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What's an opinion poll? 

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  • a survey designed to find out the voting intentions or attitudes of members of the public
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What's a focus group?

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  • are small groups of people whose views are probed on a range of questions
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What is direct action? 

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  • is political action outside the constitutional and legal framework
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What does anti-globalisation mean? 

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  • relates to the political outlook of those social movements that protest against global trade agreements and the impact they have on the world's poorest people, on the environment and on the prospects for international peace
  • e.g. global justice movement
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What is a 40:30:30 society? 

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  • a society in which 40% of the population have secure employment and are comfortably or well off
  • 30% have insecure employment (nowadays mainly self-employed and part-time workers)
  • 30% economically and socially marginalised, jobless or working for poverty wages and barely able to subsist
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What is social capital? 

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  • relates to the connections between individuals, and the social networks and trustworthiness that arise from them. 
  • a strong fund of social capital (good social ties between individuals who trust each other) is said to enable a community to develop political institutions and processes that have the capacity to solve society's problems 
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What is socialisation?

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  • is the instilling of political attitudes and values via agencies such as family upbringing, education, the media, etc.
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What is social class? 

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  • relates to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in society. It is the the division of people with similar characteristics into strata or distinct levels.
  • e.g. the term working class has traditionally related to the section of society dependent on physical labour, especially those paid by hourly wage
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  • the suffragettes were supporters of the Women's Social and Political Union which campaigned for the right of women to vote in the early 20th century. They often used aggressive tactics. 
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