Unit 1: Participation and voting behaviour

key words relevant to this part of the exam, and i've whacked in some examples :)


"Government of the people, by the people, for the people"- Abraham Lincoln

Direct Democracy- a form of democracy in which the citizens themselves assemble to debate and decide issues of public importance

eg. Ancient Athens

Indirect or reprasentative democracy- where the people elect representatives who make decisions on their behalf

eg. UK

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Pluralism & Elitism

Pluralism: literally "rule by the many". relates to a society in which there are a diverse and competing centres of power, which seek to exert influence over government

eg. could argue that UK government is pluralist- representative, different parties (more current)

Elitism:  recognition that society should be governed by an elite or small group

would lead to quicker decisions

eg. could also argue that UK is elitist, due to number of Eton reps (Cameron)

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Apathy- a lack of interest or enthusiasm for playing a part in the political system. Others might see it as representing broad satisfaction with things as they are, so that there is no need to exert oneself to register ones viewpoint or take an active role

eg. Decreased voting turnout in the UK (add stats)

however PGs rising

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Referendum: a vote of the people on a single issue of public policy, eg on some proposed law or policy, perhaps to amend the constitution

UK referendums are not legally binding

eg. Lisbon Treaty, continued offering until government got desired answer

eg. 2010 UK referendum on AV (voted No)

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Opinion Poll

Opinion Poll: survey designed to find out the voting intentions or attitudes of members of the public

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Direct Action

Direct Action: Political action outside the constitutional and legal framework

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Voting Behaviour

Voting behaviour: relates to the way that people vote and why they vote the way that they do

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Partisan Alignment & Partisan dealignment

Partisan Alignment: the long-term allegiance of voteres to a political party

Partisan Dealignment: the breakdown of long-term allegiance of voters to a particular party since the 1970's

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Class alignement and Class dealignment

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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 worlds and point towards what form of political action should be taken in particular circumstances

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Third Parties

Third Parties: are ones that 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,

eg. The British Liberal Democrat party

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Volatility: relates to the significant changes in voting habits which have resulted in voting behavour becoming less consistent and more unpredictable. It involves a shift of voter support between parties or between voting and abstention, a process sometimes known as "churning".

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