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AP Comparitive Politics Intro Terms

Intro toAP Comparitive Politics terms.


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Single-member district
Districts in which candidates compete for a single representative's seat.
Judicial review
The mechanism that allows courts to review laws and executive actions for their constitutionality
"Third Wave" Democratization
Characterized by the defeat of dictatorial or totalitarian rulers from South America to Eastern Europe, according to Samuel Huntington.
Social Cleavages
Religion, ethnic groups, race, social and economic classes, which interact with the political system and have an impact on policy making.
anchored by strong institutions that carry over through generations of individual leaders.
Political ideologies
sets of political values held by individuals regarding the basic goals of government and politics
Indications of democratization
The will of the people, Competitive elections
Head of state
A role that symbolizes and represents the people, both nationally and internationally, and may or may not have any real policymaking power.
Recruitment of elites
Ways to identify and select people for future leadership positions.
Unitary System
Concentrated power. Most countries, including the 6 core have unitary governments.
Political Socialization
The way in which people learn about their government and politics. Might shape their learning through various media formats.
Devalues the idea of personal freedom like communism, but rejects the value of equality, and accepts the idea that people and groups exist in degrees of inferiority and superiority. State is to mold society and economy, and to eliminate obstacles that might weaken them.
Proportional representation
Creates multi-member districts
Head of government
Deals with the everyday tasks of running the state, and usually directs the activities of other members of the executive branch.
Rule Of Law
supersedes the actions and statements of individual rulers
Describes the state's re-creation of a market in which property, labor, goods, and services can all function in a competitive environment to determine their value.
Presidential Systems
Where citizens vote for legislative representatives as well as executive branch leaders, and the two branches function with separation of powers.
Reactionary beliefs
Oppose revolution and reform and find the status quo unacceptable. They would like to see Social, Political, and Economic institutions turned back to an earlier era or time in which they existed. Willing to use violence to reach these goals.
Defines who can and cannot use weapons and force, and sets rules as to how violence is used (Armies, navies, etc).
Focuses on issues that require value judgments
Competitive Elections
A broad essential requirement for democracy. Must be a free, fair, and real election, in which the incumbent government may be defeated.
"the right to rule, as determined by their own citizens. Secured through compacts, constitutions, and ideologies. Ex. Traditional - Myths, Legends, Family to family power transfer / Charismatic - Indefinable set of qualities that make people want to follow a leader / Rational-Legal - Not tradition or force, but a systematic method based upon well established laws.
Confederal system
Spreads the power of policy making among many sub-units, such as states. It also has a weak central government.
group of people that are bound together by a common political identity
Bicameral legislature
Two houses, upper and lower. Evolved from House of Lords and House of Commons.
Mixed economies
Pure market economy, with no control from central government.
First past the post
A system in which they divide their constituencies into single member districts.
Three-world approach
(Used until early 1990's) largely based on cold war politics. The three worlds were The U.S and allies, Soviet Union and allies, and "third world" nations. Comparisons based on democracy vs. authoritarianism and communism vs. capitalism
The process that determines the procedure for replacing leaders when they resign, die, or are no longer effective.
limits individual freedoms in order to divide wealth equally. Controls everything from gov. to economy. (Russia - post comm. China - comm.)
Patron-client systems
Provide reciprocal favors and services to their supporters.
Samuel Huntington's "Clash of civilizations"
a theory that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world.
Mixed Economies
Economies that represent a blending of capitalism and socialism. Some allocation of resources is made by the market and some by the government.
Liberalism as an approach to political/economic change
Supports reform and gradual change rather then revolution. They do not believe a system is broken, just that it needs repair. Even then, they believe this repair should happen over time.
Exercised by states, the ability to carry out actions or policies within their borders independently from interference from the inside or outside
Advanced democracies
(One is Great Britain) has well established democratic gov. and a high level of economic development
Civil Society
The way that citizens organize and define themselves and their interests - to the ways that the formal government operates
Federal system
Divides the power between the central government and the sub-units.
Constitutional courts
Serves to defend democratic principles of a country against infringement by both private citizens and the government. A system that decides the guilt or innocence of lawbreakers.
Mixed electoral system
Combines first-past-the-post, and proportional representation.
the rules that a state sets and follows in exerting its power.
Empirical data
Based on factual statements and statistics.
A reference to the leadership and institutions that make policy decisions for the country.
Illiberal democracies
Free, regular, and fair, elections, that lack civil liberties, rule of law, neutrality of judiciary, open civil society, and civilian control
Electoral systems
The rules that decided how votes are cast, counted, and translated into seats in a legislature.
Social Boundaries
The degree to which cleavages separate one another
Liberalism as a political ideology
Maximize freedom for all people, including speech, religion, and association. Also have right to disagree with state decisions.
An arrangement in which government officials interact with people/groups outside the government before they set policy.
Politicization of religion
Dominated world politics in the early 21st century
Stable, long lasting organizations that help to turn political ideas into policy (Bureaucracies, legislatures, parties). Help during transfers of power.
Market economies
Either allows for significant control from the central government, or a mixed economy
Multi-member district
One or more legislative seat is contested in each district
the sense of belonging and identity that distinguishes one nation from another (Patriotism, pride, etc).
The transfer of state owned property to private ownership
Political Frameworks
Structures of a political system that carry out the work of the governing.
Unicameral legislature
Only one house
Change that does not advocate the overthrow of basic institutions. The focus more on changing the methods in which leaders use to reach goals that the society generally accepts.
Those that hold political power/economic control
See change as disruptive, and highlight that it sometimes brings unforeseen outcomes. See change as a threat to the state, which they view as an important source of law and order. The worry of legitimacy being undermined is present.
Linkage institutions
Groups that connect the government to its citizens, such as political parties, interest groups, and print/electronic media.
Authoritarian regimes
a regime in which the decisions are made by political elites (Dictator, monarch, political party, aristocrats), without much input from citizens. Some are communist based.
Liberal democracies
Value the idea of equal opportunity, and tolerate inequality, especially within the economy.
Freedom house ratings
"A rating system in which countries are rated from 1, most free, to 7, least free".
Third World
Nations that don't fit the first two categories in the three world approach. All usually economically underdeveloped and deprived
An integration of social, environmental, economic, and cultural activities of nations that has resulted from increasing international contacts
Political Culture
Refers to the collection of political beliefs, values, practices, and institutions that the government is based on (If society values individualism, the gov. will reflect this value in the way it is structured and in the way it operates, if it does not reflect the values of people it will no longer remain viable).
Command Economies
An economy where supply and price are regulated by the government rather than market forces. Economic competition between capitalism and socialism during the 20th century.
Informal Politics
Takes into consideration not only the ways that politicians operate outside their formal powers, but also the impact that beliefs, values, and the actions of ordinary citizens have on policy-making
Belief that rapid, dramatic changes need to be made in the existing society, often including the political system. Radicals feel that the current system can't be saved, and starting new is the only option.
A tendency for people to base their loyalty on ethnicity, language, religion, or cultural identity
Consists of agencies that generally implement government policy. They usually are a part of the executive branch of government, and their size has generally increased over the course of the 20th and 21st century, due to government efforts to improve welfare, health, and security.
Implies change on a basic level, and involves either a major revision or an overthrow of existing institutions. Usually impacts more then one area of life.
Coup d'etat (Blows to the state)
Most limited type of change, When leadership of a country is replaced with new leaders. Occurs in places where government is weak and leaders are overthrown with those who dispose of them. Usually done through military or means of force.
Direct Democracy
when individuals have immediate say over many decisions the government makes.
(Stronger in Europe) Accepts and promotes private ownership and free market principles. Also promotes the state playing a strong role in regulating the economy and providing benefits to the public to ensure some measure of equality.
Parliamentary Systems
Where citizens votes for legislative representatives, which in turn select the leaders of the executive branch.
Indirect Democracy
elected officials representing the people

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