Comparative Politics

  • Created by: jess
  • Created on: 21-04-17 21:43
Electoral regulations
rules governing elections, e.g. age, citizenship, voluntary or compulsory
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access-requirement to ballots
registration and terms of presidency or parliament (how long)
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electoral system
set of rules governing the conversion of votes into seats. Often according to number of constituencies
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Majoritarian systems: Single Member Plurality (FPTP)
candidate with most votes elected
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Majoritarian systems: Two Round System (TRS)
if no candidate achieves majority in the first round, the least successful candidates are eliminated and a second round takes place
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Majoritarian systems: Alternative vote (AV)
rank order of candidates, lowest is eliminated and their votes are redistributed to voter's second preference.
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Proportional systems: List systems
party present list of candidates. in Open systems, candidates are ranked, closed systems can not rank
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Proportional systems: Single Transferable Vote
application of alternative vote to multi-member districts. Requirement is set by the number of seats available
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Mixed Systems
Some seats kept back to counter dis-proportionality. Voter has two votes (one for candidate and one for party list)
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Compensatory mixed systems/mixed member proportional (MMP)
List seats are used to iron-out the disproportionality
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Parallel mixed systems/mixed member majoritarian (MMM)
List and constituency part are independent
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Variations in electoral systems
district magnitude, number of tiers, number of votes, ballot structure, intra-party choice, thresholds (prevent small parties winning, 3-5%)
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Consequences of different electoral systems
mechanical: disproportionality. Psychological: decisions e.g. tactical voting. Effects political outcomes e.g. trust in legislature, candidate behaviour
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rule of politics, establish governmental institutions
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commitment to accept legitimacy of constitution
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constitutional justice
procedures for judicial protection of fundamental rights set by constitution
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absolutist constitution
absolute power- rules are 'above the law'
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legislative supremacy constitution
requires legislative elections, constitution not entrenched, no constraints on parliamentary power
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higher law constitution
requires legislative elections, constraints on public authority, legislative sovereignty rejected
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long process to amend constitution
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constitutional rights
Meta-norms that impose constraints on the acts of public authority. These acts may be invalidated if contrary to a Constitutional Right
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constitutional review: decentralised American model
judicial review, all judges possess review powers
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constitutional review: centralised European model
constitutional court, separate from legislature & judiciary. Must be reasonable doubt as to constitutionalist. Often ineffective
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zone of discresion
combination of authority given to the court & instruments available for constraining the court
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Judicial activism
general tendency now for the courts to take a more active role in government across the democratic world where the judiciary has the right of judicial review
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constitution = contract
Incomplete contract; uncertainty & not all possible outcomes can be negotiated. Courts are a response to this
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Presidential govt
power balanced by separate legislatures, may appoint cabinet members that are also seperate
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Presidential govt
president is head of state & govt, executes policies, dependent on legislative branch for approval
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parliamentary govt
have a PM drawn from elected legislature
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parliamentary govt
must have directly elected legislature, fused exec and legislative institutions, executive that emerges from legislature
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parliamentary govt
separation of head of state and head of govt, PM share responsibilities with cabinet memeber
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head of state elected by people, head of state =/= head of govt. focus of national feeling, newly dependent states. overcome party fragmentation
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where is semi-presidentialism used
ex-communist countries
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Roles of legislature
representation, legitimisation, law making, scrutiny, debating, policy influencing
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Representation of legislature: descriptive OR substansive
reflect demographic makeup OR reflect diversity of perspectives
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Representation of legislature: Trustee OR delegate
follow their own judgement OR stick to preference of their group
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Representation of legislature: local OR national
act in interest of constituencies OR country a whole
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Legislature Legitimisation
can resolve conflict. reflecting and discussing the view of the country
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Consultation, initiation, amendment, delay, rejection/approval. YET actually have minor power to amend legislatures
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oversight of governmental policy, budgetary control, debates hearings and committees
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bicameral vs unicameral
two houses/chambers versus one house/chamber makeup
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congruent bicameralism
two legislative chambers possess a similar political composition (e.g. all elected)
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incongruent bicameralism
two legislative chambers differ in their political composition (e.g. elected, nominated)
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strong VS weak bicameral legislature
equal powers VS unequal power. strong chamber is 'lower' and weak chamber is 'upper;
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symmetric VS asymmetric bicameral legislature
same constitutional powers in chambers VS unequal power
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resources of legislature
parliament budget, committees, representatives & staff pay
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Arena VS transformative legislatures
little impact on policy making VS focus on committee work
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presidential internal workings
exec power tends to be concentrated in directly elected person. govt includes president and appointed cabinet
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parliamentary internal workings
cabinet govt discuss and decide collectively. takes long to develop
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directional govt
federal council with 7 leading members, elected by both legislative chambers. lots of referendums. federal president = head of exec and state
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influence of political parties on govt
party manifestos, selection of cabinet members, duration of partys control of govt
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three ideal types of party-govt relations
one of the two dominates, autonomy: coexistance without influence on another, fusion: party & govt become politically indistinguishable
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semi/presidential executives political capacity
constrained in cases of divided govts, where president is from one party and one chamber of legislature controlled by another. risk of gridlock
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majority parliamentary govts
leading party has majority of seats
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minority parliamentary govts
largest party in legislature has plurality of seats, often stable govts, policy oriented rather than office-seeking politicians
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single party vs coalition
single party means quick decisions, no compromise, yet internal rivalry
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layers of govt
national/federal, regional/country/state, local/municipal, sub-national
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supra-national/international govt
cooperation between countries to keep national sovereignty. supra-national govt includes UN, joint decision making
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international confederations
NATO and UN: manage affairs of common interest whilst maintaining independence
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federal states vs unitary states
unitary more centralised, federal allow independence from central govt
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actual difference
federal features in unitary states, unitary not as centralised as they seem, federal becoming more centralised. unitary used in smaller countries
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federal states
divided into units given their own govts, authority to govern is constitutionally divided, makes it easier to hold politically and ethnically diverse area together
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cooperative vs dual federalism
federal and state govt share powers VS clear separation of functions and powers
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dual federalism
clear s
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de jure federalism
constitutionally designed to be federal
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features: geopolitical division
mutually exclusive regional govt that cannot be abolished by central govt
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features: independence
regional & central govt individual authorities
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features: direct govt
authority must be shared, and each level of govt must act independently in one policy area
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features: congruent federalism
The territorial units of a federal state share a similar demographic makeup
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features: incongruent federalism
the territorial units of a federal state differ in demographic makeup
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features: symmetric VS assymetric
territorial units possess equal powers relative to central govt VS some units have more powers than others
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causes: coming-together
previously sovereign states comes together and agree to give up some sovereignty to improve collective wellbeing
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causes: holding-together
top-down process in which the central govt of a state chooses to decentralise its power to sub-national govt
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local govt services
planning and transport, high priorities handled by central govt
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fused systems
central govt agents sent out to local to supervise work
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dual systems
central has large power but cant control local, only 'manage'
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local self-govt
nordic countries. local govt entrusted to tasks by central
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central-local political conflict
if opposition parties are elected locally, or problems of how to fund local govt
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political interests
may be material e.g. money or ideal e.g. freedom or justice
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political culture
absorbed through socialisation, based on our own social background. must fit democratic structure
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the civic culture- almond and verba
describe political culture as a pattern of orientations to parts of politics.
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the civic culture- cognitive orientation
to participate in politics we must understand the system
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the civic culture- effective orientation
we must believe politics is important enough
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the civic culture- evaulative orientation
ask q's, such as should the system be supported
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they identified 2 pure types of political culture
parochial (low awareness/involvement) VS subject (awareness, small input)
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participant culture VS civic culture
knowledge & participation VS subject & participant mixed
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materialism and postmaterialism- inglehart
values in west go from material to post-material due to economic development
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post materialism
greater tolerance, young/wealthy/educated groups
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religious conflict, political participation, new issues (feminism), persistant left/right divisions
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political cleavages
social differences that must be aware of their identity & express them. e.g. race
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spatial seperation
likely to involve the concentration of ethnic/religious groups in an area
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modes of political behaviour: gladiator
leader & activists who run parties/campaigns
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voters, discussions
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no involvement
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change in voting patterns from one election to another due to rise in class
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patterns of political behaviour
most people occasionally vote
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reasons for inactivity
marginals (e.g. criminals), conflict avoiders, apathetic, alienated, sporadic
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mass media should be
pluralist, provide full and fair account of political opinion
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media are strong political players bcos
may influence peoples thoughts, difficult to be pluralist because difficult to be both subjective and neutral
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regulating the media: public service model
granting broadcasting licenses to public bodies for public interest rather than profit.
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tv and radio regulated by democracies in the 1920s-70s through:
market and content regulation. public funding
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the market model
print media subject when danger of monopoly.
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mixed model adopted due to:
news media increasingly driven by commercial pressures of profit. also now have internet/texts
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mixed model
regulation to ensure market competition, content regulation for political balance
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ownership of media
media is global so companies merge. cross-media ownership, internationalisation
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potential of social media
promote discussion / impoverishes politics and creates divides
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media dangers for democracy
few corporations with similar political/economic interests; no competition
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reinforcement theory
mass media has minimal effects, reflect + reinforce
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agenda-setting theory
media does not determine what we think but strongly influences
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priming and framing theory
media has influence over how the public sees politics
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direct effect theory
media has effect on politics e.g. attitudes and behaviours of citizens and politicians
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political parties
autonomous group of citizens having the purpose of making nominations and contesting elections in the hope of gaining control over governmental power through the capture of public offices’
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media parties
no need for mass meetings due to technology
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cartel parties
collaborating for resources as well as stability and continuity for leaders
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electoral-professional parties
parties run by skilled professional career politicians
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new parties/anti-parties
more affluent democracies; 'new' issues e.g. feminism
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functions of parties:
coordination, contest elections, recruitment and selection, representation
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elite parties
earliest, aristocrat and bourgeious membership
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mass parties
strategy of 'encapsulation', working and middle classes, extensive organisation
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catch-all parties
weaker ideologically, developed from mass parties
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cartel parties
get subventions from the state, agencies of the state rather than society
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anti-cartel parties
deeper commitment from members, frustration with mainstream parties and systems
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2 ways to measure membership
# of members, ratio of party membership to size of electorate
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party families: liberals
democratisation, economic liberalism, supported by bourgeoisie
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support from aristocracy, maintaining old regime with strong state aithority
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parties created as sections of international workers movement, led by soviet union
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Socialists, social democrats, labour
initially unions, increase living standards of working class
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Agrarians, peasants, farmer parties
reaction to industrial revolution, favour protectionism of agricultural sector of economy
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religious parties
after WW2, Christian democrats moved away from church's refusal of liberal democracy
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generational value change, environmental protection and international peace
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Neo-populist, right wing/nationalist
recently developed from 'opening borders', appeal to 'losers of globalization'
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party systems: dominant 1-party
one party holds >50% for several decades
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party systems: two-party systems (most stable)
two parties share majority, alternation of power, effect of FPTP system, similarity of parties
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party systems: multi-party systems (the norm)
coalition govt, more distinctive ideologies, involves minorities and reaches consensus
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bipolar systems
two large pre-election coalitions of several parties, each sharing majority of votes, alternation of power
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Duvurgers law
affinity between electoral and party systems
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1st law
majoritarian electoral systems favour two party systems
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2nd law
PR system leads to multi-party systems.
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interest associations
voluntary membership organisations that appeal to govt but dont participate in elections
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what they do
aggregate interests, articulate interests
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cause groups
fight for non-occupational goals e.g. churches
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3 types of pressure groups
episodic (e.g. football club), fire brigade (particular political campaign) and those created to engage in politics
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'insider' groups
have direct access to high-level govt officials, often represent professionals
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direct vs indirect routes
going straight to a govt official VS going to parties or public campaigns
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features of pressure groups
income, membership size, divided groups, sanctions, leadership, the issue
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differentiating between different groups
pressure groups want to influence, parties want to become
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republican theory- rousseau
interest groups a threat to democracy. corrupt relationship between citizens and the state
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liberal theory
interest groups as a source of democracy. pluralist perspective.fundamental to political rights
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corporatist theory
inbetween previous 2. political system as a body composed of cells (individuals) and groups (organs)
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corporatist theory
policy production through negotiations, interest groups pursue interests cannot be excluded from political progress
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large institutional groups providing public services with financial help from state e.g. churches. neither public nor private
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less centralised system of policy making. consultation between govt and business/trade union organisations
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agenda setting
by politicians
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policy formulation
proposals developed, discussed and accepted/rejected
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conversion of new laws/programmes into practice. longer the chain of people involved, more difficult the process
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examine whether it has attained the goals. feedback loop. cost-benefit analysis
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the incremental model
more realistic model, consider fewer alternatives to come to a quick decision
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the scientific method
replicability, precision, falsifiability, parsimony
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comparative method
a collection of approaches that enable us to make comparisons/conclusions
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small-n VS large-n
2-5 cases VS 20+ cases
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method of agreement
MDSD: comparing two cases that differ in every aspect except those being studied
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method of comparison
compare 2 cases that differ on the aspects of study
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political culture
mass patterns in beliefs/values/attitudes of a country or nation
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2 dimensions of cross-cultural variation:
traditional VS secular-rational
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survival VS self-expression
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deductive vs inductive
theory testing of concepts and patterns from empirical data, theory-building from observed data
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spurious relationship
between 2 factors, infact no correlation but a hidden factor
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d'hondt method
divide by 1,2,3,4... largest number gets seats
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sainte-lague method
divide by odd number
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


registration and terms of presidency or parliament (how long)


access-requirement to ballots

Card 3


set of rules governing the conversion of votes into seats. Often according to number of constituencies


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


candidate with most votes elected


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


if no candidate achieves majority in the first round, the least successful candidates are eliminated and a second round takes place


Preview of the back of card 5
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