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Political Science - Politics Glossary
Category: Government and organisations > Politics
Date & country: 17/11/2008, US
Words: 290


public authority
Authority based on institutional office-holding.

public debt
The accumulated sum owed by the government to its creditors.

provincial courts
Courts created by provincial statute, staffed by judges appointed by the province to deal with matters such as small claims and minor criminal offences.

proportional representation (PR)
An electoral system in which the share of seats won closely matches the share of popular votes received.

proletariat
A Marxist term referring to those who sell their labour to the bourgeoisie; the working class.

property franchise (suffrage)
The requirement that citizens own a stipulated amount of property to receive the right to vote.

progressive tax
A tax rate which increases as the amount of one's income increases.

Privy Council Office
A governmental department that supports the prime minister, cabinet, and cabinet committees in devising government policy.

proclamation
The announcement of the official date a new law will take effect.

Privy Council
A ceremonial body made up of all present and former cabinet ministers.

privatization
The sale of government-owned assets or activities to the private sector.

private law
Laws controlling relations between individuals.

private member's bill
Public bills introduced in the legislature by members who are not in the cabinet.

primus inter pares
Latin phrase meaning 'first among equals.'

priming
The selective portrayal of political events and personalities by the media which in turn affects public opinion.

Prime Minister`s Office
Support staff appointed by the Prime Minister to carry out political functions.

prerogative
The residual powers of the Crown that can be exercised at its own discretion.

preferential (alternative) ballot
Electoral system in which voters rank the candidates.

precedent
A previous judicial case used as an example for deciding the case at hand.

pragmatic party
A type of political party concerned primarily with winning elections.

power
The ability to get other individuals to do as one wants them to do.

post-materialism
The shift in values since the late 1940s from public order and material prosperity to self-fulfilment.

portfolio
The administrative responsibility carried by a minister, usually some combinations of departments and other agencies.

popular sovereignty
Supreme authority residing in the consent of the people.

polyarchy
Robert Dahl's term for pluralist forms of liberal democracy, in which there is competition between many different interests.

polity
A form of government characterized by popular sovereignty but exercised within a constitutional framework to prevent the oppression of the minority by the majority rule.

politics
A process of conflict resolution in which support is mobilized and maintained for collective action.

political socialization
The process by which political culture is transmitted from generation to generation.

political philosophy
An area of political study based on historical, reflective and conceptual methods.

political police
Forces reporting directly to a political leader who uses them for political purposes rather than law enforcement.

political process
The interaction of organized political structures in making and administering public decisions for a society.

political party
An organized group that makes nominations and contests elections in the hope of influencing the personnel and policy of government.

political patronage
Government appointments made as a payoff for loyal partisan activity.

political culture
Attitudes, values, beliefs, and orientations that individuals in a society hold regarding their political system.

political economy
The study of the involvement by the state in the economy of the nation-state.

polis
Greek city-state.

political alienation
The sense of estrangement from political power.

political consultant
A professional advisor who puts his/her political expertise to work in the private and public sectors.

policy community
The network of individuals and organizations deeply involved in a particular area of public policy.

plurality
A voting decision based on assigning victory to the largest number of votes, not necessarily a majority.

pluralism
The open competition of political interests.

plebiscite
Another term for an advisory referendum.

planning
Production and allocation of resources determined by a central authority.

patriarchy
The domination of society by men.

peace-building
A process for working towards objectives associated with peaceful coexistence of combatants.

permanent secretary
The British equivalent of a Canadian deputy minister.

personal freedom
The absence of coercion in various aspects of life.

personal party
A type of political party founded by a single, overwhelmingly influential political leader.

parliamentary sovereignty
The supreme authority of parliament to make or repeal laws.

party discipline
The convention that all MPs within any party vote together, as predetermined in the party caucus and enforced by the party whip.

order-in-council
Decision by Cabinet which carries legal force.

opposition
Those members of Parliament who are not part of the government of the day.

one-party-dominant system
A party system in which there are political alternatives but a single political party dominates the political process as a result of the overwhelming support of the electorate.

oligarchy
A form of government in which a minority rules outside the law. ombudsman. An official with the power to investigate complaints against government administration.

official opposition
In a parliamentary system, the largest of the opposition parties, given a special role to play in the legislative process.

notwithstanding clause
Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which allows federal or provincial legislatures to pass laws that may violate certain sections of the Charter.

normative
Political analysis based on values, commitments and ideas.

nonassociational (latent) group
A group which lacks formal organization but has the potential for mobilizing politically.

new international economic order
A revision of the international economic system in favour of Third World countries.

neoconservatism
An ideological term characterizing parties or politicians who not only advocate an end to government expansion, but believe in reducing its role via downsizing, privatization, and deregulation.

natural law
Rules of conduct binding on humankind by virtue of human rationality alone.

natural authority
Authority based on spontaneous deference to an individual's knowledge or social position.

nation-state
A state with a single predominant national identity.

nationalism
The feeling of loyalty and attachment to one's nation or nation-state, and strong support for its interests.

national interest
Interests specific to a nation-state, including especially survival and maintenance of power.

multipolar
A system of actions involving several states.

nation
Individuals whose common identity creates a psychological bond and a political community.

multiparty system
A party system in which there are three or more major contenders for power.

multinational state
Three or more nations co-existing under one sovereign government.

movement party
A type of political party which emerges from a political movement, such as a national liberation movement.

monarchy
Form of government in which a single person rules under the law.

monism
Exclusive emphasis on a single principle or interest.

modernization
The gradual replacement of traditional authority with legal authority.

mixed-member-proportional (MPP)
Electoral system in which voters cast two ballots, one for a local candidate running in a territorial constituency (first-past-the-post) and the other for a list of candidates put forward by a political party (list system).

mixed economy
An economy based on both private and public (government-controlled) enterprises.

minority government
A parliamentary government in which the government party has less than 50 percent of the seats in the legislature.

ministry
The entire group of MPs appointed by the Prime Minister to specific ministerial responsibilities.

ministerial responsibility
The principle that cabinet ministers are individually responsible to the House of Commons for everything that happens in their department.

microcosm
The idea that a governing body should be a miniature replica of the society it represents.

merit recruitment
A system of hiring public servants on the basis of qualifications rather than on party preference or other considerations.

majority government
A parliamentary government in which the party in power has over 50 percent of the seats in the legislature.

logrolling
The act of vote-trading among legislators in the process of getting legislation passed.

Magna Carta
(Great Charter) A document signed by King John in 1215, conceding that the king is subject to law.

lobbying
An activity of interest groups aimed at influencing governors and the public to achieve a favourable policy decision(s).

list system
A form of proportional representation in which the elector votes not for individuals but for parties who have lists of candidates running for office.

limited state
See limited government.

limited government
A state restricted in its exercise of power by the constitution and the rule of law.

liberal feminism
The advocacy of equal rights between men and women.

liberalism
A theory of international relations stressing the rule of law.

liberal democracy
A system of government characterized by universal adult suffrage, political equality, majority rule and constitutionalism.

legitimacy
Belief in the 'rightness' of rule.

legislature
A representative assembly responsible for making laws for society.

legislature
The branch of government responsible for making laws for society.

law
Enforceable rules of conduct.

legal positivism
A theory holding that law is the command of the sovereign.

laissez-faire
The non-intervention of the state in the economy.

jurisprudence
The philosophy and analysis of law.

justice
The virtue of protecting individuals' possessions within the acknowledged rules of conduct.

junta
A Spanish word meaning a group of individuals forming a government, especially after a revolution or coup d'etat.

judiciary
The branch of government with the power to resolve legal conflicts that arise between citizens, between citizens and governments, or between levels of government.