Power and Politics 1


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  • Created on: 11-03-14 21:05

Power and Politics 1

Power - the ability to get what you want despite opposition/influence people - Max Weber

Coercion - force, involves violence,torture ect - dictatorship

Authority - willfully, right thing to do,agreement/consent

Types of Power

  • Traditional - custom/traditonal/accepted e.g Monarch
  • Legal Rational - accept authority due to law, held within organisation e.g President
  • Charismatic - extraordinary personal qualities,inspirational e.g Gandhi/Mandela

They are not mutually exclusive, can be more than one.

Democracy - ruling by the people [democractic political systems]

  • Direct democracy: direct involvement by citizens in decision making process
  • Indirect/Representative democracy: citizens elect represenatatives (MPs) to make political decisons on their behalf. 
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3 parts of UK Government:

  • Legislative Power - Parliament
  • Executive Power - Civil Service
  • Judicial Power - The Courts

General Election/ Electoral Govt

  • Every 5 years x 2
  • Mps represent House of Commons
  • Party needs 50%+1 of seats (326)= Government    1 candidate= MP
  • FPTP system x 2

+ Precise winners, decisive results, easy to understand/calcuate, each constituency elects specific MP

- Concentrated areas= better chances, constituencies= less chances (spread), votes go to waste

Citizenship rights: freedom of speech,right to own property, right for equality

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Everyone 18+ can vote except:

  • Citizens of foreign countries, even permanent residents
  • The insane
  • Peers (Lords)
  • Those serving prison service 1 year +
  • Under 18s (biggest group)

Parliament - House of Common/Lords

  • Debate on issues/vote on bills = passed to monarch to sign
  • MPs occasionally change parties
  • MP that dies = re-elect
  • Coalition: an alliance between 2+ parties, PM= leader of party with most MPs
  • Senators form Cabinet

Other elections - MEPs, local councillers

Reforms?- scrap house of commons + monarch, instead precidential elections

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Political Involvement

  • Men> Women interested in politics
  • Older= more interested
  • Higher education= more interested
  • Higher social class= more interested
  • Higher income= more involved
  • Employed= more involved
  • Household Composition- childless> lone parent because it's time consuming,effort

What stops others?

  • Uninterested/bored by politics
  • Feel it won't make a difference
  • Time consuming/ Effort
  • Less social awareness
  • Not politically socialised
  • Over representated in Parliament = Proffesional/Oxbridge (Uni educated)/Private 
  • Under represented in Parliamenet= Women,Ethnic minorities,Under 30s, Under 65
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Why don't women participate?

  • Culture: westminister has a yob culture/male public private school attitude "old boys network"
  • Childcare: difficult to arrange childcare,struggle with family responsibility - CRESH in Parliament now 
  • Cash: paid less than men, less ability to afford accomidation + childcare
  • Confidence: based on perception of MPs, difficult to compete with other candidates

Labour Party

  • Left wing
  • Mostly supported by working class (+ M/C teachers/doctors)
  • Inner cities/towns + North
  • Trade Union funded
  • Big Govt, NHS 1945, Clement Attlee - After WW2 (Welfare state)
  • 1997 Tony Blair "New Labour" shifted towards middle ground, critizised by tradional left wing

Political consensus: both parites share similar ideas about what govt should do

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Conservative Party

  • Right wing
  • Mostly supported by middle/upper class, some w/c (essex man/white van man)
  • Rural areas/ countryside support + South East
  • Funded by big business/wealthy individuals "old boys network"
  • Smaller Govt/ welfare state  = Free market
  • 1979-97 Margret Thatcher (First female MP)
  • Traditonal values, Biggest Party
  • Critisized because of the lack of support from ethnic minorites/women

Liberal Democrats

  • Middle ground
  • 3rd party of British politics
  • Disagree with FPTP = want proportional representation
  • Don't have concentrated support
  • Rural areas: Wales,Scotland,SW England
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Welfare state:

  • NHS- free healthcare for all 1945
  • Financial benefits from "cradle to grave"
  • Social services/council housing, free education
  • Funded through tax

+ lifting children out of poverty, people into work, cut unemployment (dr/nurses), NHS walk in centres, important to society (Labour), wellbeing/safety net

- innificent because of no competion to improve standards, dependency culture, less social values/ responsilbilties, avoid work,long-term

NHS: National Health Service that provides free healthcare to all (UNIVERSAL)

National Insurance Benefits: insurance against illness,unemployment, retirement

Contributory Benefits: NI benefits,job-seekers allowance, pensions

Non-Contributory Benefits: pension/plan/insurance for employees, income support,working tax credits,child tax credits

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Changes in Welfare State:

  • Private healthcare companies offered to those who can afford it= more efficient alternative option, ease on NHS, expensive
  • No longer Universal= Means tested
  • Limited funds, less reliance
  • Remove barriers to uplifting e.g Welfare into work programme= job interviews,clothing,computer skill training/ sure start.

Unemployment: 16+, jobless,ready to work in 2 weeks, looking for job for 4 weeks

Economically inactive: neither in work or looking for work

Does the welfare state encourage laziness? [depends on sociologist]

Agree: no longer universal, conservatives, limited funds,no competition= lazy, N.R, Dependency culture,benefit scroungers

Disagree: NHS= good society, Labour, cuts umemployment/provides jobs, safety net, people into jobs 

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Pressure Groups: people who join together/share a common interest or cause. Try to get their views publisicsed, influence public opinion/ decisions taken by people in power

Interest/Sectional/Protectional: aim to protect interest of members/section of society e.g BMA,AA,Law society,CBI,TUC

Promotional: focus on specific issue/cause e.g Greenpeace, Friends of the earth, Oxfam, Gingerbread

Insider: regularly consulted by govt, good access to power, possess valuable info/expertise that govt need

Outsider: no direct access to power,pressure on govt,campaigns may break law

  • media campaign,advertising,demonstrations,stunts,leaflets,celebrities,petition MPs during legislations passing, Lobby MPs with letters, sponsor political party £££, strikes

Pressure groups - specific cause, don't seek parliamentary seats,promote democracy, members

Political party- range of issues, members, need seats,promote democracy

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Pluralism: power is diffused, different power bases compete for power, state acts as neutral referee to sort out disputes

Conflicted: power is concentrated in the hands of the elite, power benefits minority, state uses it to benefit themselves

Pluralist pressure groups - share equal power/influence

Conflicted pressure groups - constantly compete for power and it's okay

+ raises awareness, youth participants,more direct route to politics (representative), promotes democracy, voices heard

- many people don't join, too many different groups with different views, Marxists= pressure groups have no real power [illusion], insider pressure groups have real power 

NSM vs Pressure group

  • SIM: Try to influence society's decisions for a specific cause
  • DIFF: No formal membership, short lived, normally aimed at youth
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NSM: New social movements

  • Less formal/loose
  • Movement on single issue (based on quality of life/expressing individuality)
  • Short lived/dramatic event
  • No leaders/members (anyone can get involved)
  • Arguements due to differences - direct decision making
  • Not based on class (mostly m/c support)
  • Use social media for awareness


  • Road protestors in areas e.g tree/building sites
  • Animal rights: breaking into labs
  • Protestors e.g blocking roads
  • Vs genetically modified crops - destroy them

Voluntary activity participants: women>men, 16-24 yr olds, 65-74 yr olds

Formal e.g organisation / Informal volunteering

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Power types

Parent/child: legal rational + charismatic power to socialise you. Present- children have more power e.g in divorce cases "march in progress" = "toxic childhood"

Employee/Employers: legal rational + charismatic power e.g Headteacher over other teachers

Children/Peers: Charismatic. + influence/motivation to do work/revise. - bad influence to smoke or do drugs

Students/Teachers: Legal rational/ charismatic e.g supply is seen as less legal rational

Police: Legal rational power sometimes coercion 

One way employees can increase power in workplace + explain success

1- go on strike. 2- set date,unite,refuse to work. 3-can be more successful depending on job. 4- e.g doctors are needed ect 5- pay rise 

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Types of poverty

  • Absolute poverty: when a person lacks money for basic neccessities e.g food,water,shelter,clothing. Associated with starving in Africa (hard to believe in UK)
  • Relative poverty (Ablesmith + Townsend): when a person can't afford activites or own possesions normal for others in society. Dangerous = can lead to social exclusion - feel unable to be fully part of society. Due to lack of material resources/discrimination from others. Unwanted by society.
  • Spiritual: we live in a modern secular society= not religious e.g help others,marriage/divorce
  • Cultural: x Art galleries/musuems. Culturally poor.
  • Environmental: X Parks,play areas,green space. Environmentally poor
  • Subjective poverty: feel poor compared to those they identify with. Similar to relative deprivation (feel unfairly worse off than others in society).
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5 mark questions

One way govt changed how they provide beneifts for unemployed. Explain why it may lead to polticial arguments

Means tested - Labour may disagree

Incentives for work - Cons disagree on stats/costs

One way police powers increased. Explain problem (groups)

Anti- terrorist powers - discrimination/stereotyping ethnic minorities

Erosion of habeas corpus (right to stand by judge) - civil rights groups disagree/ human rights organisations

Armed police - amnesty, human rights 

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12 mark questions

agree that young people are not interested in politics

Agree uninterested: stats show they're less likely to vote, feel it won't make difference, household composition, not politically socialised, apathy,disenchantment

Disagree interested: pressure groups, new social movements - short lasting, promote democracy, interested through social media

agree power is shared qually between different social classes

Agree equal: functionalists say meritocractic, universal society, social mobility, blurred lines

Disagree and is unequal: marxits say no, "old boys network", "social elite",pluralist say fight for power, feminists say gender affects it, age affects power, 

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