Flashcards in Democracy and Political Participation: Nature of Democracy Deck (21):
What does legitimacy mean?
refers to the right of an individual or body to be recognised and to have the right to exercise power
In what three ways can legitimacy be recognised?
1. If government is widely recognised EG UK gov universally recognised BUT Gov of Kosovo disputed
2. If a body/ gov can be justified in exercising power
3. conferred through elections EG 2010 coalition lacked legitimacy since no electorate mandate
What is power?
refers to the ability of an individual or a body to force others to do something they might not want otherwise to do. Said to have 3 levels:
1. Coercion - Force
2. Political power - reward, sanctions, legal authority and persuasion
3. Influence - affect how people think, no force
What concept is legitimacy closely related to?
Authority - the right to exercise power and said to derive from 3 possible sources:
What is consent?
refers to evidence that shows the people have given permission to be governed in a particular way and/or by a particular government
What are the 5 ways in which consent be conferred?
1. Free elections
2. Good turnouts in Free elections
3. Distinct lack of popular dissent (difference in opinion)
4. Clear demonstrations of support for Gov
5. Explicit referendum (plebiscite) to adopt a particular constitution
What is democracy?
a political system based on the idea the people have access to independent information and are able to influence government decisions and so is accountable to the people (Serve the interest of the people)
List 5 features of modern democracy:
1. Peaceful transition of power from one government to the next
2. There are free and fair regular elections
3. People have open access to independent information, including free press and other media
4. Different political ideologies and beliefs are tolerated
5. Gov accountable to people and representative institutions
EG: UK, USA
What is direct democracy?
Type of D, people themselves make the important decisions that affect them. done through several arrangements of constant referendums or direct consultations
EG: AV referendum in UK May 2011
What is representative democracy?
Type of D, where the people of an area delegate their decision making power to a representative, who is elected by the people. The representatives express the will of the people and of sections of society
What are the different types of representation?
1. 'Burkean' representation states that the elected representatives should use their own judgement rather than slavishly following wishes of their constituency or party
2. Delegation - idea that a representative should follow very closely the wishes of those who have elected them
3. Party representation - if a representative is part of a party, they are expected to support and vote from the known policies of that party
What is pluralist democracy EG UK?
political system where ...
1. Multiple parties and political associations are allowed to operate: Pressure groups - Animal aid, minority parties
2. Different political beliefs are tolerated and allowed to flourish: 2010 coalition Con/lib, BNP extreme - only operate within the law
3. There are many sources of independent information and opinion through the media: Strict broadcasting regulations, different newspapers
4. Power is dispersed among different individuals, bodies and institutions, rather than being concentrated in one or a few locations: Parliament, local councils, mayor
What is liberal democracy EG Germany?
political system where...
1. Individual liberties are respected and well protected
2. There is a strong constitution that limits the power of gov
3. High level of political toleration
The citizens are expected to influence decisions or make decisions themselves
What is participatory democracy?
an opportunity which advocates citizens to make meaningful contributions to decision making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. All have opp to be politically active, passive or inactive.
What is parliamentary democracy?
Type of LD in which a parliament or elected assembly is the key institution - the source of political power. Makes gov accountable.
What does Widely dispersed mean?
Where the power, in democracy, is among the people and non-governmental associations
List 6 advantages of representative democracy
1. Most people don't have time to be continually involved in politics so the reps act in their behalf
2. Reps may have more experience/ knowledge
3. Easier to be made accountable for their decision
4. Demands by people may be incoherent, Reps can convert into coherent political demands
5. Reps can be more rational, than emotional, and can educate public about political issues
6. Different sections of society and various political causes and beliefs can be well represented by elected reps
List 5 disadvantages that representative democracy may be subject to
EG: Problems presented by 2010 British coalition, Low election turnout in UK 2001 suggested lost faith in party politics
1. May be difficult to make reps accountable between elections
2. Reps may ignore/ distort demands of people to suit their own political advantage
3. Reps may follow party line rather than represent constituency
4. May result in too much conflict which can only be resolved by Direct D
5. Idea of electoral mandate flawed as voters only presented w/ manifesto - accept or reject - no preference can be expressed
List 5 advantages of direct democracy and referendums
EG: 2016 EU referendum, Referendum on AV 2011, devolution referendum 1997
1. Important decisions can be strengthened if they receive direct consent of people - referendums give decision legitimacy
2. Referendums and direct consultations can educate public about political issues
3. People can participate more directly in DD = improved engagement may strengthen +tive citizenship
4. Important constitutional changes can be 'entrenched' through a referendum
5. When gov itself is divided, referendums can solve the conflict and secure a consensus decision
List 7 disadvantage of direct democracy and referendums
1. issues may be too complex for avg person to understand - Euro single currency
2. People may vote emotionally - Capital punishment
3. May suffer from 'voter fatigue' = low turn
4. Voters may start to lose respect for representative institutions if they become used to making decisions
5. May encourage the 'tyranny of the majority' = oppression of minorities: 2009 minaret referendum Swiss
6. Low turn-out may lack legitimacy: only 34% turn-out in referendum to have a elected mayor in London, 1998
7. Close referendums may = unsatisfactory conclusions and fail to achieve acceptance: 2016 EU referendum 51.9%L 48.1%R