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PLS 205 Exam 1


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Comparative Politics
A subfield of political Science: the systematic study of comparison of different countries’ political structures and practices other than the U.S. It seeks to explain differences between as well as similarities among countries.

Comparative Method
Comparing and contrasting multiple different government structures and policies of other countries.
Most Similar systems design
looking at similar countries and finding the differences in the areas being focused on.
Most Different systems design
looking at different countries and finding the similarities in the areas being focused on.
Systems Theory
A theoretical system for analysis designed to bring about stability faster; demands, expectations, and support (inputs) approach the political system. Out of the political system decisions (outputs) are made. Then, feedback from these particular decisions will facilitate more inputs. All the while, the environment explains why the political system works the way it does. Basically, it is a theory about how the political system functions by identifying the strengths and weaknesses in the government through compare/contrast in different forms of government.
An evolutionary process in which political institutions adapt a control change, as well as identify certain crises that a nation incurs.
Crisis of Identity
Developing a national identity versus members of different ethnic groups; culturally heterogeneous. Basically, there is a crisis of identity when a portion of a countries population does not associate themselves with the country or their government; rather they identify themselves with a specific religious, tribal, or ethnic group.
Crisis of Participation
The people’s choice to participate in voting, paying taxes or lacking of participation.
Crisis of Legitimacy
Establishing the government’s right to exist and hold power of decision making even when people do not feel the government is acting legitimately. If significant numbers of people don’t respect or think the government is a legitimate source of authority, than the developing country will not be able to modernize
Crisis of Penetration
The governments ability to follow through on, and to enforce, its decision. When a government enacts a policy, people do not give a desired effect because there is no bureaucratic force to enact or enforce policy.
Crisis of Distribution
There is an unequal distribution of materials: food, medical supplies, housing, water, electricity and so forth are either not being equitably distributed in a society, or although equitably distributed, are not sufficient. Basically, a significant portion of the countries economy goes to a small amount of the people. Also there is no middle class just the very rich and the very poor.
Constitutional Government
Powers of the government are limited by the state and freedoms are recognized at birth. It can best be described as limited government because there are certain things that the government may not do, whether it wants to or not; there are certain parameters beyond which the government may not go. Powers are expressed and delegated to the sate as well.
Legislative Supremacy
The legislature is the supreme, the most superior branch of government; in a parliamentary democracy, the judicial system is subservient. The ratio of representation is smaller, therefore democracy is higher; representatives are directly elected.
Unitary State
There is only one level of government above the local level. There is a strong national government, which creates efficiency. Unitary States are found in smaller countries and are culturally homogeneous. More centralized government.
There are two houses at the national level. All federations have a bicameral legislature; one house typically represents the people and the other represents the states. Usually, the lower house is more powerful and is more action-oriented; it is the house of regular people. The U.S. is the only case where the upper house is more powerful. The upper house in Britain is an aristocratic entity, called the House of Lords. Basically, there are two different sets of legislative bodies that make up the legislative branch.
There are two levels of government about the local levels; found in large countries with much diversity—however, a federation looks differently from country to country. There is also a degree of power sharing. Less centralized government but still a strong national government.
Single Member District Plurality
A district based system of legislative selection in which candidates are elected in single member districts, with the winner being the one with the most votes (plurality of the votes); the majority is over-represented and the minority is under-represented. People do not like this because it is not democratic and perpetuates a two-party system. This is more efficient than democratic.
Party Discipline
The rank and file members of a particular legislative party can dictate how the people of the party vote.
Proportional Representation
A group of voting systems whose major goal is to ensure that parties and political groups are allocated seats in legislative bodies in proportion to their share of the vote. This is a more democratic but less efficient system of legislative selection. There is more representation of minorities, but requires much more cooperation.
Structural independence
Legislatures can act independently of the president and the president cannot do anything since senators and representatives are elected by the people. Structural independence of the branches of government means that the president can veto acts of Congress, but Congress can override the presidential veto (Checks and Balances). However, the potential for gridlock and immobility, which essentially amounts to a slow decision making process.
Writ of Dissolution
document written by the Queen following a “vote of no-confidence” in which the old government is dissolved to make way for the new one. In essence, the Prime Minister and his cabinet are fired.
Vote of No Confidence
In Britain, it is a measure taken by Parliament to express dissent and disapproval of the leader and cabinet members; it unofficially removes the current leadership and a new government is formed after an election. This is one tactic that can perpetuate support for the minority party.
Majority Party Government
One party rules and has majority rule over the government with very little opposition from other minority parties. This is the case of the British Parliament. Britain is geared towards centralization of power because the leader of the majority party deliberates bills that are introduced by the government.
Coalition Government
A government in which two parties join together to form the majority; must receive a vote of confidence; this occurs in political systems that have more than two political parties (most Parliamentary Democracies)—In a coalition government, the head of state will go to the leader of the party with the highest percentage and join with another party. Similarities in size and ideology will dictate which parties make a coalition with each other.
A condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society where competition for attention from policy makers is high (Britain, France, and the U.S.) Interest groups are lobbying and propagandizing; interest groups compete.
This is a limited number of interest groups. All the political groups work together in the interest of the nation; formal policymaking is done for social and economic reasons; workers are represented by business, labor and the state. Interest groups are part of the policymaking process and this in turn leads to less militancy, strikes, and inflation as well as higher economic reasons.
Supplementary questions
During parliamentary question time, each member is allowed to ask the leader one supplementary question; however the leader does not always know what the question will be, therefore it is possible to catch the leader off guard and make quite and embarrassment.
Classical Liberalism
A political ideology derived from the philosophies of John Locke. Beliefs in: human potential, the ability of individuals to change social institutions for the better, human rationality, and fundamental belief in human equality (equality = political and social equality; not economic equality). Divided into moral core, political core and economic core.

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