Terms: 1. Democracy: A system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences. 2. Elite and class theory: A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization. 3. Government: The institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society. 4. Hyperpluralism: A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened.
Hyperpluralism is an extreme, exaggerated, or perverted form of pluralism. 5. Individualism: The belief that people can and should get ahead on their own. 6. Linkage institutions: The channels or access points through which issues and people’s policy preferences get on the government’s policy agenda. In the United States, elections, political parties, interest groups, and the mass media are the three main linkage institutions. 7. Majority rule: A fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. In a democracy, choosing among alternatives requires that the majority’s desire be respected.
8. Minority Rights: A principle of traditional of traditional democratic theory that guarantees rights to those who do not belong to majorities and allows that they might join majorities through persuasion and reasoned argument. 9. Pluralist theory: A theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies. 10. Policy agenda: The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time.
11. Policy gridlock: A condition that occurs when no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and establish policy. The result is that nothing may get done. 12. Policy impacts: The effects a policy has on people and problems. Impacts are analyzed to see how well a policy has met its goal and at what cost. 13. Policymaking institutions: The branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. The U. S. Constitution established three policymaking institutions – the congress, the presidency, and the courts.
Today the power of bureaucracy is considered as a fourth policymaking institution. 14. Policymaking system: The process by which political problems are communicated by the voters and acted upon by government policymakers. The policymaking system begins with people’s needs and expectations for governmental action. When people confront government officials with problems that they want solved, they are trying to influence the government’s policy agenda. 15. Political issue: An issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and a public policy choice.
16. Political participation: All the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they 17. Politics: The process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders pursue. Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues. 18. Public goods: Goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must share. 19. Public policy: A choice that government makes in response to a political issue. A policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problem. 20.
Representations: A basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers. 21. Single-issue groups: Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics. These features distinguish them from traditional interest groups. 22. Traditional democratic theory: A theory about how a democratic government makes its decisions. According to Robert Dahl, its cornerstones are equality in voting, effective participation, enlightened understanding, final control over the agenda, and inclusion.