Poli-Sci Notes Chapter 6.docx

8 Pages
Unlock Document

Howard University
POLS - Political Science
POLS 002
Anta Sane

Introduction to Political Science- Chapter 6 “Regimes” Key Terms  Standing Committee- Top leadership of Chinese Communist Party, China’s ruling elite  Democracy- Political system of mass participation, competitive elections and human and civil rights  Illiberal democracy- Regimes that are elected but lack democratic qualities such as civil rights and limits on government  Referendum- a mass vote on an issue rather than for a candidate; a type of direct democracy  Representative democracy- one in which the people do not rule directly but through elected and accountable representatives  Caste- rigid, hereditary social class or group  mandate- a representative carrying out the specific wishes of the public  trustee- a representative deciding what is the public good without a specific mandate  civil disobedience- the nonviolent breaking of an unjust law to serve a higher law  Mass media- modern means of communication that quickly reaches very wide audiences. (media is plural, medium is its singular form)  elites- the top or most influential people in a political system  pluralism- the theory that politics is the interaction of many groups  interest group- an association that pressures government for policies it favors  totalitarian- political system in which the state attempts total control of its citizens  hierarchy- organized in a ranking of power from top to bottom as if on a ladder  authoritarian- nondemocratic government but not necessarily totalitarian  third world- the developing areas; parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America  Whig democracy- democracy for the few, typical early stages of democracy  demagogue- politician who whips up masses with extreme and misleading issues  Petrostate- country based on oil exports. i.e., Saudi Arabia  kleptocracy- rule by thieves, used in derision and jest  democratic peace- theory that democracies do not fight each other Notes In the early 1990s with the collapse of Soviet-Style dictatorships, democracy was celebrated as the permanent winner or the ideological struggle. By 2010, during the financial meltdown, democracy faced criticism. Western democracies had gotten into a severe economic downturn. Aside from its presence in America, democracy grew slowly in the world and the late 19 and early 20 th centuries. There are many variations between dictatorship and democracy; Some countries are “pretend democracies” in which their media is controlled, elections are rigged and obedient parliaments and parties are present such as in Russia and Egypt. Many countries shift between more and less democratic and vice versa, more and less dictated. These countries are referred to as “transitional regimes”. Authoritarian- Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru Democratic- Indonesia, Nigeria Illiberal democracies are those in which elections, even fair ones, produce regimes that ride roughshod over rights and freedoms. Democracy carried a negative connotation until the 19 century as thinkers accepted the ancient Greeks criticism of direct democracy as mob rule. A “true” democracy is one in which all citizens meet periodically to elect officials and personally enact laws; Athens’s General Assembly, New England town meetings, and Swiss landsgemeinde. Some direct democracy continues in the US through referendums (mass votes) on issues the legislature will not handle. Direct democracy is difficult to carryout due to the matter of population size. Representative Democracy has evolved as the only workable system. The people play a more general role in modern democracy. Democracy today is “a political system which supplies regular constitutional opportunities for changing the governing officials, and a social mechanism which permits the largest possible part of the population to influence major decisions by choosing among contenders for political office”- Lipset Constitutional- the government is limited and can wield its authority in specific ways Characteristics of a Representative Democracy:  Popular Accountability of Government- The policymakers must obtain the support of a majority or a plurality of votes cast. Leaders are accountable to citizens. Elected leaders who govern badly can be voted out. Political positions of power cannot be inherited. People in positions of power must be periodically, and fairly elected by citizens, either at regular intervals as does the US or in a maximum time span as in Great Britain.  Political Competition- Voters’ choice between officials to elect. The political parties must have time and freedom to organize and present their case well before elections. A regime that permits no opposition activity until shortly before election day has rigged the election. Much of democracy depends on the political freedoms in the months and years prior to balloting. Elections by themselves do not equal democracy.  Alternation in Power- Power must change occasionally in a peaceful and legitimate way. No party or individual should get a lock on executive power. An important role of alternation in power is control of corruption. An opposition party that hammers incumbents for corruption is a powerful corrective to the human tendency to misuse public office. Systems without alteration are corrupt.  Uncertain Electoral Outcomes- democratic elections must have an element of uncertainty, fluidity and individual vote switching. Voting must not simply be by groups, where entire groups of tribes, religion, social class or region automatically votes for a given party or candidate. A certain percentage of the electorate must be up for grabs to keep politicians worried and attentive to the nation as a whole. [In Iraq voting follows religion, in Africa voting follows tribes, in India elections can be partially predicted by knowing which social classes favor which parties]  Popular Representation- In representative democracies, the voters elect representatives to act as legislators and to voice and protect their general interest. Legislator usually act for specific groups or districts. [Some theorists claim legislators must treat elections as mandates to carry out constituents’ wishes while others disagree arguing that constituents often have no opinion on issues so representatives must act as trustees, carrying out the wishes of constituents when feasible but acting in the best interest of the nation as a whole. Representative democracy does not mean that the representative must become a cipher for constituents, rather that the people as a body must be able to control the general direction of government policy.  Majority Decision- Self-explanatory; the majority decides the outcome of any government decision. Our concept of democracy is that the majority decides but with respect for minority rights. To uphold minority rights an independent judiciary (one not controlled completely by the Regime) is a necessity. Most of what is now public policy became law as a result of conflict between majority and minority groups. Just as minority view may grow until widely accepted, so may a majority view be proven unwise, unworkable or unwanted. If minority view is overshadowed, the will of the majority becomes what is known as “tyranny of the majority” which is just as bad as executive tyranny.  Right of Dissent and Disobedience (1776)- People must have the right to resist the commands of government that they feel are unjust or unreasonable. Henry Thoreau made the most profound defense of civil obedience, stating thus “all men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist the government when its tyranny or inefficiency are great and unendurable.” Without civil disobedience, minority claims would have gone unheard.  Political Equality- In a democracy all adults 18+ are equally able to participate in politics. In theory all are able to run for political office but it costs a lot of money, however, pressured by minority claims and civil disobedience democracies tend to open up and become less elite in nature.  Popular Consultation- To govern effectively leaders must be aware of the wants and needs of the people and be responsive to them. Critics have noted that US officials rely often on the opinions of small segments of their constituencies because they are highly vocal and organized.  Free Press- Dictatorships cannot tolerate free and critical mass media, while democracies cannot do without them. To determine the degree of democracy in a country, see if the media criticize the government. No criticism, no democracy. The mass media provide citizens with facts, raise public awareness, and keep rulers responsive to mass demands. Without a free and critical press rulers can disguise wrongdoings and corruption and sweep the population into passive support. Democracy in Practice: Elitism or Pluralism? Even if all the above democratic criteria are met, political power will still not be evenly distributed. Political scientists see this uneven distri
More Less

Related notes for POLS 002

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.