Political Science 1020E Key Terms
Politics-Activity related to influencing, marking or implementing collective
decisions for a political community.
Power-The ability to achieve an objective by influencing the behavior of others,
particularly to get them to do what they would not have otherwise done.
Political Agenda-The issues that are considered important and given priority in
Free Rider Problem-A problem with voluntary collective action that results
because an individual can enjoy the benefits of group action without contributing.
Authority-the right to exercise power that is accepted by those being governed as
Legitimacy-Acceptance by the members of a political community that those in
positions of authority have the right to govern.
Charismatic Authority-Authority based on the perception that a leader had
extraordinary or supernatural qualities.
Traditional Authority-Authority based on customs that establish the right to
certain persons to rule.
Legal-Rational authority: The right to rule based on legal rules and procedures
rather than on the personal qualities or characteristics of the rulers.
Common Good-What is good for the entire political community.
Individualist Perspective-A perspective that views human beings as acting
primarily in accordance with their own interests.
Pluralist System-A political system in which a large number of groups representing
a wide variety of interests are able to influence that decisions of government.
Government tries to satisfy as many groups as possible and no group has a
dominant influence on government.
Political Science-the systematic study of politics. Empirical Analysis-analysis that involves explaining various aspects of politics,
particularly by using careful observation and comparison to develop generalizations
and testable theories.
Normative analysis-Analysis that includes examining ideas about how the
community should be governed and what values should be pursued through politics.
Policy Analysis-Analysis that involves evaluating existing policies and assessing
possible alternatives to deal with particular problems.
State-An independent, self governing political community whose governing
institutions have the capability to make rules that are binding on the population
residing within a particular territory.
Government-the set of institutions that makes decisions and oversees their
implementation on behalf of the state for a particular period of time.
Sovereignty-the principle that states are the highest authority for their population
and territory and are not subject to any external authority.
Failed State-A state that is unable to enforce laws, maintain order, protect the lives
of citizens, or provide basic services.
Nation State-A sovereign state based on people living in a country who share a
sense of being a member of a particular nation.
Nation-A group of people who have a sense of common identity and who typically
believe they should be self governing within their home-land.
Binational and Multinational Studies-States whose populations are composed of
two or more nations.
Multiculturalism-the idea that different cultures within a country should be
recognized and respected and provided with encouragement and support to help
them retain their cultures and traditions.
National Self-Determination: The idea that nations should have the right to
determine their political status, including choosing to have their own sovereign
Nationalism-The idea that the nation state is the best form of political community
and that a nation should have its own self-governing state. Ethic Nationalism-Nationalism based on common ancestry along with the cultural
traditions and language associated with a particular ethnic group.
Civic Nationalism-Nationalism based on the shared political values and political
history of those who are citizens of a country.
Citizenship-The idea that a country’s permanent residents are full members of the
political community within certain duties and rights.
Globalization-The processes that are increasing the interconnectedness of the
Utilitarianism-the view that humans seek to maximize pleasure and minimize pain
and that government should act to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest
Negative Freedom-The absence of physical and legal restraints on the actions of
Positive Freedom-The capacity to do something worth doing or enjoying.
Equal Rights-the same legal and political rights for all persons.
Equality of opportunity-The equal chance for all persons to get ahead in life,
regardless of their backgrounds or characteristics.
Equality of Outcome-an equal distribution of wealth, income, power, and other
Affirmative Action/Employment Equity-Policies designated to increase the
proportion of persons from disadvantaged or under represented groups in various
Democracy-Rule by the people
Direct Democracy-A system in which citizens themselves make the governing
Liberal Representative Democracy-A political system that combines a high level
of individual freedom and the election of representatives to a legislative body,
Plebiscitary Democracy-A form of democracy in which citizens have greater
control through the use of such devices as referendums, initiatives, and recall
elections. Referendum-A vote by citizens on a particular issue or a proposed law.
Initiative- A procedure that gives citizens the right by obtaining a sizeable number
of signatures on a petition, to have a proposition that they have drafted put to a vote
by the electorate for approval.
Recall-A procedure that allowed citizens to remove representatives from office. By
gaining a sufficient number of signatures on a petition, citizens can require that
their representative seek re-election before the term of office is over.
Deliberate Democracy-A political system in which decisions are made based on
discussion by free and equal citizens rather than by elected representatives alone.
Political Ideology-a package of interrelated ideas and beliefs about government,
society, the economy and human nature that inspire the affect of political action.
Enlightenment-An intellectual movement that developed in the mid eighteenth
century emphasizing the power of human resource to understand and improve the
Left-The general ideological position associated with advocacy of greater social and
economic equality, laws based on universal human rights rather than traditional
morality, and opposition to state support for religious institutions.
Right-The general ideological position associated with opposition to imposing
greater social and economic equality and with maintaining traditional (usually
religious based) moral values and institutions.
Rule of Law-the idea that people should be subject to known, predictable and
impartial rules of conduct rather than to the arbitrary orders of particular
Liberalism-Emphasizes the desirability of a high level of individual freedom based
on belief in inherent dignity and worth of each individual.
Classical Liberalism-A form of liberalism that emphasizes the desirability of
limited government and the free market place.
Lassiez-Faire Economic System: A system in which privately owned businesses
workers, and consumers freely interact in the marketplace without government
interference. Reform Liberalism-A version of liberalism that combines support of individual
freedom with a belief that government action may be needed to help remove
obstacles to individual development.
Neo-Liberalism: A perspective based on a strong belief in the free marketplace and
opposition to government intervention in the economy.
Conservatism-A perspective or ideology that emphasizes the values of order,
stability, respect for authority and tradition, based on a view that humans are
inherently imperfect, with a limited capacity to reason.
Reactionary-A conservative who favors a return to the values and institutions of
Welfare State-A state in which government ensures that all people have a decent
standard of living and are provided protection from hardships resulting from
circumstances such as unemployment, sickness, disability and old age.
New Right-A perspective that combines, in various ways, the promotion of free-
market capitalism and limited government and traditional cultural and moral
Socialism-An ideological perspective based on the view that human beings are
basically social in nature and that the capitalist system undermines the co-operative
and community-oriented nature of humanity. Socialism advocated the
establishment of an egalitarian society.
Historical Materialism-The view that historical development and the dynamics of
society and politics can be understood in terms of the way society is organized to
produce material goods.
Communism-A system in which private property has been replaced by collective or
communal ownership and everyone is free to take from society what they need.
Leninism-The version of Marxism that includes the belief that the capitalist system
can be overthrown only by force, by means of a tightly disciplined party controlled
by revolutionary vanguard.
Democratic Socialism-The perspective that socialism should be achieved by
democratic rather than revolutionary means, and not that a socialist society should
be democratic in nature with political rights and freedoms respected.
Anarchism-An ideology that views the state as the key source of oppression and
seeks to replace the state with a system based on voluntary co-operation. Fascism-An ideology that combines an aggressive form of nationalism with a strong
belief in the naturalness of inequality and opposition to both liberal democracy and
Nazism-A version of fascism associated with Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader of
Germany, emphasizing racial conflict and the superiority of the “Aryan Race”.
Holocaust-The systematic extermination of six million Jews by the Nazi’s during
Social Darwinism-The use of Darwin’s theory of evolution to argue that
competition and conflict allow humanity to evolve through the “survival of the
Corporate State-A system associated with fascist Italy in which business and labor
work harmoniously to achieve goals established by the state to advance the good of
Neo-Fascism: A revival of fascism in contemporary times.
Feminism-A perspective that views society as patriarchal and seeks to achieve full
independence and equality for women.
Patriarchy-A system which power is in the hands of men and many espects of
women’s lives are controlled by men.
Liberal Feminism-A version of feminism that advocated equal opportunities for
women in such areas as education and employment as well as equal legal and
Socialist Feminism-A version of feminism that views women as oppressed by both
the male-dominated character of society and the capitalist system. The liberation of
women is connected to the transformation of capitalism into a more co-operative
and egalitarian socialist system.
Radical Feminism-A version of feminism that views society as based fundamentally
on the oppression of women and seeks to liberate women through the fundamental
transformation of social institutions, values, and personal relationships.
Liberation-Freeing the human potential that has been stifled by the organization
and values of society. Environmentalism-A perspective based on the idea that humanity needs to change
its relationship to natural environment and ensure that it can sustain all forms of
Anthropocentrism-The focus on human well being that is the center of most
Ecocentrism-The view that nature has intrinsic value and should not be valued only
in terms of its use for human beings.
Sustainability-Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems by ensuring that renewable
resources are not being used at a rate that exceeds the ability of ecosystems to
regenerate them, developing renewable substitutes to replace the consumption of
non-renewable resources, and ensuring that the emission of pollutants does not
exceed the ability of the ecosystem to handle them without damage.
Participatory Democracy-A democratic system in which all citizens are able to
participate directly in the decision that affect their lives.
Sustainable Development-Meeting the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their own needs; it involves development to
ensure that the needs of the poor are fulfilled and protecting the environment for
the well-being of future generations.
Reform Environmentalism-A perspective that views the solution to environmental
problems primarily in terms of better science, technology, and environmental
Free-market Environmentalism-The perspective that holds that holds the
guarantees of the rights of private property and a fee market economy are crucial to
Deep Ecology-An environmentalist perspective that views anthropocentrism as the
fundamental cause of environmental degradation and advocated the cultivation of
an environmental consciousness and a sense of oneness with the world that
recognizes the unity of humans, plants, animals, and the Earth.
Social Ecology-A perspective that views social, economic and political relationships
of hierarchy and domination as the cause of both human and environmental
Ecofeminism-A combination of environmentalism and feminism that views male
dominance as the basic cause of the degradation of the Earth.
Chapter 11 Liberal Democracy-A political system based on the ideas that the power and scope
of government should be limited that government should observe the rule of law,
and that the rights of the people should be protected.
Electoral Democracies-Countries in which representatives to the national
legislature are chosen in competitive multiparty and multi candidate elections, all
adult citizens have the right to vote in reasonably free and fair elections, and
political parties are able to appeal through the media and election campaigns.
Polyarchy-A political system in which there is open competition for power and
government actions are freely contested.
Vertical Accountability-The various ways in which citizens, civil society, and the
media seek to ensure that government institutions and public officials work to seek
the common good.
Horizontal Accountability-Sometimes called the requirement of government
agencies to report sideways. That is, it refers to how government institutions check
the performance of other government institutions to ensure that they work in the
Transparency-in government, t