Three Theoretical Approaches

  • Created by: Q_
  • Created on: 07-04-19 11:15


  • Focuses on institutions in a political system and the process within them. 
  • Suggests that political outcomes are largely determined by the formal structures and processes laid out within a political system.
  • Relevant when comparing legislatures, executives, judiciaries, constitutions, electoral systems, political parties and pressure groups.
  • For example, the structural differences between the US and UK constitutions, being codified and uncodified, lead to difference of outcome. 
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  • Focuses on individuals within a political system.
  • Suggests that an individual acts rationally, choosing to act in a particular way out of self-interest, as a way to give them a beneficial outcome.
  • Relevant when comparing legislatures, members of the executive branch, voters, political parties and pressure groups. 
  • For example, the different choices made by te affluent and the poor when voting in elections - each attempting to achieve their desired policy goals. 
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  • Focuses on shared ideas within a political system or group. 
  • Suggests that these shared ideas, beliefs and values of a group within society often determine the actions of that group. 
  • Culture tells us who we are collectively, what is important to us, and how we should behave. 
  • For example, the different relationships between the state and organised religion in the USA comnpared with the UK being accounted for by the cultural history of each nation. 
  • (Tip: look at freedom of speech/religion amendment, and at the % of voting for each party based on religion).
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