Government and Politics

Информация - Юриспруденция, право, государство

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rol of the media, and control of the economy.

  • The United States is commonly classified as a representative democracy, since we elect members of Congress and state legislatures to handle the task of writing our laws.
  • The principal institutions of political socialization m American society arc the family, schools, and media.
  • Only a small minority of Americans actually participate in political organizations or in decision making on a local or national level.
  • Women are becoming more successful at winning election to public office.
  • An interest group a often national in scope and frequently addresses a wide variety of social and political issues.
  • Advocates of the elite model of the American power structure see the nation as being ruled by a small group of individuals who share common political and economic interests, whereas advocates of a pluralist model believe that power is more widely shared among conflicting groups.
  • Television is having a growing impact on American political campaigns.

    Authority Power that has been institutionalized and is recognized by the people over whom it is exercised.

    Charismatic authority Max Webers term for power made legitimate by a leaders exceptional personal or emotional appeal to his or her followers.

    Democracy In a literal sense, government by the people.

    Dictatorship A government in which one person has nearly total power to make and enforce laws.

    Dictatorship of the proletariat Marxs term for the temporary rule by the working class during a stage between the successful proletarian revolution and the establishment of a classless communist society.

    Elite model A view of society as ruled by a small group of individuals who share a common set of political and economic interests.

    Force The actual or threatened use of coercion to impose ones will on others.

    Influence The exercise of power through a process of persuasion.

    Interest group A voluntary association of citizens who attempt to influence public policy.

    Legal-rational authority Max Webers term for power made legitimate by law.

    Legitimacy The belief of a citizenry that a government has the right to rule and that a citizen ought to obey the rules and laws of that government.

    Lobbying The process by which individuals and groups communicate with public officials in order to influence decisions of government.

    Marital power A term used by Blood and Wolfe to describe the manner in which decision making is distributed within families.

    Monarchy A form of government headed by a single member of a royal family, usually a king, a queen, or some other hereditary ruler.

    Oligarchy A form of government in which a few individuals rule.

    Pluralist model A view of society in which many conflicting groups within a community have access to governmental officials and compete with one another in an attempt to influence policy decisions.

    Political action committee (PAC) A political committee established by a national bank, corporation, trade association, or cooperative or membership association to accept voluntary contributions for candidates or political parties.

    Political efficacy The feeling that one has the ability to influence politicians and the political order.

    Political party An organization whose purposes are to promote candidates for public office, advance an ideology as reflected in positions on public issues, win elections, and exercise power.

    Political socialization The process by which individuals acquire political attitudes and develop patterns of political behavior.

    Political system A recognized set of procedures for implementing and obtaining the goals of a group.

    Politics In Harold D. Lasswells words, "who gets what, when, how."

    Power The ability to exercise ones will over others.

    Power elite A term used by C. Wright Mills for a small group of military, industrial, and government leaders who control the fate of the United States.

    Pressure groups A term sometimes used to refer to interest groups.

    Representative democracy A form of government in which certain individuals are selected to speak for the people.

    Routinization of charismatic authority Max Webers term for the process by which the leadership qualities originally associated with an individual are incorporated into either a traditional or a legal-rational system of authority.

    Terrorism The use or threat of violence against random or symbolic targets in pursuit of political aims.

    Totalitarianism Virtually complete government control and surveillance over all aspects of social and political life in a society. (390)

    Traditional authority Legitimate power conferred by custom and accepted practice.

    Two-step flow of communication Elihu Katzs term for a process through which a message is spread by the media to opinion leaders and is subsequently passedi along to the general public.

    Veto groups David Riesmans term for interest groups that have the capacity to prevent the exercise of power by others.



    1. Donald Light, Suzanne Keller, Craig Calhoun, “Readings And Review For Sociology”, Fifth Edition, prepared by Theodore C. Wagenaar and Tomas F. Gieryn, New York, 1989
    2. Richard T. Schaefer, “Sociology”, Western Illinois University, 1989