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POLSCI 140 Study Guide - Dirigisme, Glasnost, Nomenklatura

Political Science
Course Code

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Political Science 140: Course Guide
Terms (concepts, parties, etc) [First Half]
Dirigisme (75)
oAn economic system where the state exerts a strong directive influence
over investment. It designates a capitalist economy with a strong directive,
as opposed to a merely regulatory, role for the state.
Cohabitation (66, 67)
oOccurs in semi-presidential systems, such as France's system, when the
President is from a different political party than the majority of the
members of parliament. It occurs because such a system forces the
president to name a prime minister that will be acceptable to the majority
party within parliament. Thus, cohabitation occurs because of the duality
of the executive: an independently elected President and a prime minister
who must be acceptable both to this president and to the legislature.
oIn cohabitation, Prime Minister takes the leading role
European Union (172, 187, 188)
oThe European Union (EU) was founded in 1948 in the aftermath of World
War Two to promote stability and economic cooperation between member
states. Comprised of 28 European countries, the EU has established
common institutions - the Council (which represents national
governments), the European Parliament (which represents the people), and
the European Commission (an independent body that represents the
collective European interest) – to democratically legislate specific matters
of joint interest to participating countries at a European level
Electoral thresholds and small parties (124, 154, 159, 179)
oThresholds are the minimum share of the vote which a political party
requires to secure any representation
Party list Proportional Representation
oThe effect of an electoral threshold is to deny representation to small
parties or to force them into coalitions, with the presumption of rendering
the election system more stable by keeping out radical factions.
Names of Prime Ministers and Presidents of Britain, Germany, France
oBritain: David Cameron (C)
oGermany: Chancellor - Angela Merkel (CDU)
President - Joachim Gauck (Independent)
oFrance: Prime Minister - Jean-Marc Ayrault (Socialist Party)
President - François Hollande (Socialist Party)
Iron Law of Oligarchy (24, 27)
oAll organizations tend toward oligarchy (rule by the few) rather than
o“ Who says organization says oligarchy”
oForces that push (political) organizations to oligarchy

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The need for specialization and differentiation that exists in all
large, modern organizations
Most ordinary members do not have the time or resources to hold
their leaders accountable and that they often crave strong
Parties foster leaders who live “off” politics rather than “for”
politics. They exploit their leadership positions to advance their
own ambitions for wealth and power, often to the detriment of their
Judicial Review (42, 144)
oThe system of high courts ruling on challenges that other units of
government have exceeded there powers allocated to them by the
oNone in Britain
Name ideologically and electorally significant parties and where they would
fall on a Left-Right continuum in Britain, Germany, France
oBritain: Left – Labour Party (Minority)
Center – Liberal Democrats (Coalition w/ Majority) (lean left)
Right – Conservative Party (Majority)
oGermany: Left – Social Democratic Party (Minority)
The Left/Greens (Far Left)
Right - Christian Democratic Union (Majority)
Free Democratic Party (Far Right)
oFrance: Left - Socialist Party (Majority)
Right - Union for a Popular Movement (Minority)
German Länder (states) (144, 148)
o16 States: 10 in the West, 6 in the East (created after unification)
oRegional economic centers dispersed through states
oMass media focused around regional markets
oDifferent states are different culturally and politically
Typically along east-west
Minimum winning coalition
oA coalition that tends to be as small as possible, as long as it is can secure
a parliamentary majority.
oIf two small parties each receive a quarter of the vote they will form a
coalition that gives them the majority over forming with a larger party that
received a less than half the vote because parties will prefer the largest
relative size within the coalition.
Grand Coalition (160)
oFormed by the two leading parties, usually from the left and the right,
which together command a substantial majority of seats
oExample: The first Merkel government was a grand coalition between the
centre-right Christian Democrats/Christian Social Union and the centre-
left Social Democrats, as the CDU/CSU’s more obvious coalition partner
– the Free Democrats – did not have enough seats to give a centre-right
coalition a majority

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Bureaucracy/civil service
oA body of nonelected government officials, administer laws and deliver
public services
oMost important group, are the higher civil servants (smallest group) who
advise ministers and oversee work of their departments.
oRelationship between the Bureaucracy and Legislatures is critical
Duverger’s Law
oWhen there is a systematic relationship between electoral systems and
party systems, so that plurality single-member district election systems
tend to create two-party systems in the legislature, while proportional
representation electoral systems generate multiparty systems.
Mechanical effect: The way that different electoral systems convert
votes into seats. In single-member district systems, parties get no
representation unless they finish first in at least one district.
Therefore, smaller parties that run second, third or fourth across
many districts receive little or no representation.
Psychological effect: Both voters and candidates anticipate this
mechanical effect. Therefore voters do not throw their support
behind hopeless parties and candidates. Instead they support the
second or third best option in order to keep a party they strongly
dislike from winning. Also knowing this makes minor party
candidates reluctant to run
Plurality vs. majority
oRefers to the largest number of votes to be received by any candidate (or
any proposal in a referendum). It is contrasted with an absolute majority,
or simple majority, which is more than half of the votes.
oIn other words, in an election contested by more than two candidates,
plurality occurs when one candidate receives the most votes but not
necessarily more than half of the votes, while in a majority election a
candidate wins if they receive over half of the votes. When no candidate
receives a majority in the first round of voting, a two-round system or
ranked voting system can be used to choose a winner.
Interest Articulation (pluralist, neo-corporatist, controlled)
Multiple groups may represent a single societal interest
Group membership is voluntary and limited
Groups often have a loose or decentralized organizational structure
There is a clear separation between interest groups and the
A single peak association normally represents each societal interest
Membership in the peak association is often compulsory and
nearly universal
Peak association are centrally organized and direct the actions of
their members
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