Democracy and Political Participation Exam Questions

  • Created by: Elena.S
  • Created on: 24-05-17 14:00

Define democracy (5)

  • system of government where people either make political decisions themselves/have direct influence upon them
  • features:
    1) people have free access to information
    2) elected gov. accountable to the people
    3) application of rule of law
    4) peaceful transfer of power from one gov. to next
    5) gov. carried out in interests of the people
    6) high degree of political freedom
  • examples: UK, USA
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Define direct democracy (5)

  • citizens make political decisions themselves without representative politicians in mass meetings
  • consultative democracy: people are directly consulted when gov. makes decisions
  • initiatives: people themselves determine what decisions should be considered
  • examples: Ancient Anthens, Paris Commune (1871), New England, California
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Define power (5)

  • ability of an indiv./institution to force people to act in certain ways
  • types:
    1) coercive power: use of force i.e terror, prison, execution etc as sanctions i.e the state
    2) political power: use of rewards, sanctions + the acquisition of consent to behave in certain ways ie gov.
    3) influence: weak form of power, influencing how people behave, but not forcing them to do so i.e media
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Define authority (5)

  • authority: right to exercise power, granted by those over whom power is to be exercised
  • forms:
    1) legal-rational: based on formal set of rules giving those in power right to govern people bc electorate freely gave that power i.e British Parliament
    2) traditional: authority which is valid because it has lasted for a long time over many generations i.e monarchies
    3) charismatic: authority gained through force of one’s personality + ability to command followings i.e Thatcher, Hitler, Trump
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Define legitimacy (5)

  • closely related to authority
  • refers to degree to which body/gov. can be justified in exercising power i.e House of Commons is legitimate bc it is elected; House of Lords is not bc not elected
  • legitimacy of gov. in Britain may be challenged bc it is always elected on >50% of votes
  • foreign regimes may be legitimate bc gov. widely recognised but legitimacy might be disputed i.e Kosovo
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Define representation (5)

  • instead of making decisions themselves, people elect/appoint representatives to make decisions on their behalf
  • forms:
    1) delegation: representatives reflect very accurately wishes + demands of those who have elected/appointed them, e.g. delegates to party conferences
    2) ‘Burkean’ representation: implication that representative elected/chosen to use their judgment > slavishly to follow wishes of those whom they represent
    3) party representation is most common form in Britain; representatives represent party manifesto? official policies > own views (except under exceptional/particular circumstances)
  • people in democracy normally represented by members of Parliament (or legisl.), parties and pressure groups.
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Define representative democracy (5)

  • decisions are by representatives > people themselves
  • representatives are normally elected (sometimes appointed)
  • representative institutions exist i.e parliaments + elected assemblies
  • representatives expected to make decisions + policies on basis of popular opinion/having consulted those whom they represent
  • normally characterised by political parties + pressure groups.
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Define political participation (5)

  • ways in which people can become involved in political processes
  • basic level is in voting (elections/referendums)
  • people become politically active in parties/pressure groups (highest level people may seek to be elected/appointed to political office)
  • i.e parties, pressure group membership, voting, standing for election
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Define referendum (5)

  • held to determine a specific political question in yes/no answer
  • not legally binding in UK but force state to conform to outcomes
  • gov. + parliament choose when to hold them
  • i.e 1998: Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland; 1997: devolution in Scotland; 2011: AV; 2016: EU membership
  • uses of referendum:
    1) approving important constitutional changes i.e 1997: devolution in Scotland; 1998: Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland
    2) resolving internal gov. conflict i.e 1975: EU membership due to Labour split, 2016: EU membership due to Tory promise
    3) voters have direct say in government i.e 1998: Mayor of London
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Define citizenship (5)

  • implies enjoyment of certain rights i.e right to vote/to stand for office/to a fair trial/to be treated equally by law/freedom of expression/of belief/of movement/of association
  • granted by parentage/being born in country/naturalisation
  • implies certain duties + obligations i.e to obey law/pay taxes/vote (Australia)/conscription
  • i.e active citizenship: as citizens we have duty to be politically active + to care for communities + to protect environment (Labour 1990s)
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Features of liberal democracy (10)

  • free and fair elections.
  • limited gov. (constitutionalism)
  • gov. accountable to the people
  • rule of law applies with all citizens equal under the law + gov. subject to legal constraints (implies independent judi.)
  • separation of powers between branches of gov., internal checks and balances (implying strong + entrenched constitution)
  • ‘bill of rights’, protecting rights of indiv. + minorities
  • transition of power from one gov. to next is peaceful i.e losing parties accept authority of winners
  • existence of representative institutions
  • free access to independent (from gov.) sources of political information (implies freedom of expression + free media)
  • ‘liberal’ largely bc it conforms to C19th philosophies of political liberalism (James Madison - constitutionalism. + Abraham Lincoln - strengthened federal gov. + John Stuart Mill - limited gov., as well as being contained in founding principles of UN
  • i.e most established Western democracies like USA, UK
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Features of pluralist democracy (10)

  • similar to liberal democracy
  • stress laid on features i.e free elections + representative institutions + protection for indiv. + minority rights
  • many different groups (i.e parties + pressure groups + other free associations allowed to flourish with political life)
  • implies high level of tolerance of variety of different political ideologies + cultural lifestyles + belief systems
  • implies multiculturalism: different cultural/ethnic/religious groups tolerated
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Effects on voting (5)

    1) issue voting
    2) recent events
    3) party regions
    4) media
    5) protest voting
    6) tactical voting
    7) single issue voting
    1) party loyalty
    2) social class
    3) gender
    4) age
    5) ethnicity
    6) party history
    7) long term issues
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Types of non-voters (5)

Intelligent voters - people who only vote when it matters
Apathetic voters - people can't be bothered to vote
Disaffected voters - people who have lost confidence in voting
Media voters - people who rely on media to influence voting

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Types of rule (5)

  • Monarchy - hereditary ruler in power i.e UK/Denmark
  • Republic - no hereditary ruler in power i.e Nepal/Malta
  • Democracy - citizens in power i.e USA/France
  • Dictatorship - one person/group in power i.e Zimbabwe
  • Totalitarianism - dictatorial government in complete power i.e North Korea/Eritrea
  • Theocracy - religious leader in power i.e Vatican City/Saudi Arabia
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Reasons for increase in referendums (5)

  • constitutional reform by Blair's New Labour shifting power from politicians to people i.e HoL reform to 92 Peers
  • Official recognition
  • Need/acceptance of direct democracy
  • Political participation between elections
  • Judgement on specific issues i.e 2017: EU
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