Politics - Key Terms straight from Comparative Politics

Emily Fenton
Flashcards by Emily Fenton, updated more than 1 year ago
Emily Fenton
Created by Emily Fenton over 6 years ago


final Imperial Russia Flashcards on Politics - Key Terms straight from Comparative Politics, created by Emily Fenton on 10/19/2014.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Politics The making of authoritative public choices from public preferences
Comparative Politics The systematic search for answers to political questions about how people around the world make and contest authoritative public choices
Hypothesis An argument linking cause to effect
Falsifiable The possibility that a hypothesized relationship can be shown to be incorrect
Comparative Method A way to examine patters of facts or events to narrow down what is important in terms of building a convincing comparative politics argument
Method of Agreement Compares and contrasts cases with different attributes but shared outcomes, seeking the one attribute these cases share in common to attribute causality (find something that AGREES)
Method of Difference Compares and contrasts cases with the same attributes but different outcomes, and determines causality by finding an attribute that is present when an outcome occurs, BUT is absent in similar cases when the outcome does not occur (finding the DIFFERENCE)
Correlation A measure of observed association between two variables
Causation A process or event that produces an observable effect
Quantitative Research Relies on statistical data to assess relationships between attributes and outcomes, analyzing those data using computers
Qualitative Research Focuses on an in-depth understanding of attributes and outcomes. Emphasis on depth rather than breadth
Mixed Method Research Uses both quantitative and qualitative methods in order to build convincing claims about the relationship between attributes and outcomes
State A political-legal unit with sovereignty over a particular geographic territory and the population that resides within that territory
Sovereignty Ultimate responsibility for and legal authority over the conduct of internal affairs, including a claim to a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force - within territory defined by geographic borders
Failed State A state where sovereignty over claimed territory has collapsed or was never effectively established at all
Legitimacy The degree to which citizens willingly accept the state's sovereign authority to use power
Collective Action Problem A situation wherein each individual has private incentives not to participate in an action that benefits all members of a group (think of the Prisoner's Dilemma)
State of Nature Term coined by Thomas Hobbes to describe an imaginary time before human beings organized into governments or states for the collective good
Social Contract A theoretical political agreement in which everyone agrees to limit their ability to do as they please in order to achieve some collective benefit
Government The organization that has the authority to act on behalf of a state, and the right to make decisions that affect everyone in the state
Nation A cultural grouping of individuals who associate with each other based on collectively held political identity
Nationalism A subjective feeling of membership in a nation
Society ("Civil Society") A term for all organized groups, social movements, interest groups, and individuals who attempt to remain autonomous from the influence and authority of the state (outside the realm of the state)
Feudalism A form of political organization in which no single political entity or ruler held unambiguous territorial sovereignty and in which political rule involved multiple and often overlapping lines of authority
Political Identity The ways that individuals categorize themselves and others, and how they understand the power relationships of domination and oppression that exist between groups
Race Categorization of humans into large populations supposedly based on hereditable physical characteristics such as skin colour, facial features and hair texture
Ethnicity A group of people who share an understanding of a common heritage based on religion, language, territory or family ties
Bourgeoisie An economic class of wealthy capitalists that emerged during the Industrial Revolution
Proletariat An economic class of wage labourers who work in factories that emerged during the Industrial Revolution
Class-Consciousness Individuals' self-awareness of the political implications of being a member of a particular economic class (Marx)
Political Cleavage A deep and lasting salient dimension of political conflict and competition within a given society, such as religion, ethnicity, ideology or other forms of identity. (Ex. class cleavage in the UK is illustrated by popular support from working class for the Labour party, and wealthier voters go for the Conservative party)
Primordialism An approach to understanding identity which assumes that identities are something people are born with or that emerge through deep psychological processes in early childhood (think of the "nature" side of the nature/nurture debate)
Constructivism An approach to understanding identity which assumes that political identities are malleable, even if they often appear to be primordial, and suggests that we think of identity as an evolving political process rather than a fixed set of identity categories (think of "nurture" on the nature/nurture debate)
Kinship Bonds A connection to others formed by blood, marriage or other family relations
Democracy A political system in which the rulers are accountable to the ruled
Accountability A political mechanism that offers citizens regular and realistic opportunities to remove the rulers from office through peaceful and constitutional means
Electorate A group of citizens eligible to participate in the election of government leaders (often in the form of age minimums)
Universal Suffrage Wherein all adult citizens have the right to participate in the electoral process that selects and removes government leaders
Constitution A set of key laws and principles that structure the extent and distribution of government authority and individual rights, by setting up the rules of the political game
Unitarism The constitution grants the central government exclusive and final authority over policymaking across the entire national territory
Federalism The constitution grants two or more governments overlapping political authority over the same group of people and the same piece of territory
Presidential System A constitutional format in which the executive and legislative branches enjoy both separation of origin and survival
Separation of Origin Voters directly elect the members of the legislature and also cast a separate ballot directly electing the chief executive, the president
Separation of Survival Members of both the executive and legislative branches serve for fixed terms of office (ex. in the USA)
Parliamentary System A constitutional format in which the executive and legislative branches have neither separation of origin nor separation of survival
Prime Minister The chief executive in a parliamentary system
No-Confidence Vote A parliamentary vote which, if successful, terminates the Prime Minister's appointment
Semi-Presidential Hybrid A constitutional format in which the president and parliament enjoy separation of origin, but only the president enjoys separation of survival
Dual Executive In hybrid democratic regimes, an executive branch of government that is characterized by a division of authority and responsibility between a president and a prime minister
Divided Government Occurs in presidential systems when the president comes from one party, but a different party controls the legislative branch
Judicial Review The ability of a country's high court to invalidate laws the legislature has enacted by declaring them unconstitutional
Parliamentary Supremacy A principle according to which judges' decisions remain subordinate to decisions of the legislative majority
Marbury vs. Madison A US Supreme Court case, which established that the judicial branch had the authority to undertake judicial review of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president
Electoral System The political rules that translate citizens' votes into legislative seats and/or control of a directly elected executive
Plurality Rule The candidate who receives the largest share of the votes in the district wins, even if that share is less than a majority of 50%+1 of the votes
Majority Rule Requires that candidates obtain a majority of 50%+1 of the votes in the district to win
Proportional Representation An electoral system that distributes seats proportionally to the vote each party receives
Mixed Electoral Rules Combine a plurality or majority rule to elect some members of the national legislature with a Plurality Rule electoral rule to elect the remainder
Regime The basic form of a state's government
Selectorate In non-democratic regimes, a subset of the population that chooses and removes the leader or leaders
Reciprocal Accountability The selectorate chooses and removes the leadership, but the leadership also selects and removes the members of the selectorate
Ideology A set of political beliefs or ideas that structures and gives meaning to political interests and that motivates people to act politically in particular ways
Communism Holds that under capitalist economic systems, the wealthy exploit the workers and the poor. Communists believe that efforts should be made to redistribute economic wealth as much as possible, and that a single political party should direct the government and control the state
Fascism A totalitarian ideology based in racist principles that glorified militarism, violence, nationalism and the state over individual interests and identities, usually led by charismatic individual political leaders
Cold War A period of international conflict lasting from 1945-1990, which opposed democratic capitalist countries against non-democratic communist countries
Capitalism An economic system in which individuals hold and invest property
Social Darwinism The idea that certain races are inherently superior to others and that the superior races would inevitably conquer the weak ones (used as principle of fascism)
Monarchy Non-democratic systems in which rulers assume power via birthright and are removed from power when they die (and replaced by heir)
Absolute Monarchy A monarchy in which no selectorate exits, meaning the ruler answers to no one
Constitutional Monarchy A system in which the constitution sets formal limits on the monarch's powers
Single-Party Regime In which a single political party dominates all government institutions and restricts political competition to maintain itself in power
Military Regime A non-democratic regime in which the selectorate is typically limited to the highest ranks of the military officer corps
Junta The group of leaders of a military regime
Oligarchy A non-democratic regime in which the selectorate consists of a small social, economic or political elite, which selects a leader to represent their interests
Theocracies Non-democratic regimes in which leaders who claim divine guidance hold the authority to rule
Personalistic Regime A system built around the glorification and empowerment of a single individual (think of Stalin in Soviet Union)
Corruption The illicit use of public authority to achieve private gain
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