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the institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society

public goods

goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must share


The process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders pursue. This produces authoritative decisions about public issues.

political participation

All the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. (Voting, protest, civil disobedience)

single-issue groups

Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics.

policymaking system

The process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time. People's interests, problems, and concerns create political issues for government policymakers.

Linkage institutions

The political channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the policy agenda. (elections, political parties, interests groups, media)

policy agenda

this issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time

political issue

an issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it

policymaking institutions

The branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. (Congress, presidency, courts, bureaucracy(?))

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


a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public's preferences

majority rule

a fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory
choosing among alternatives requires that this desire be respected

minority rights

a principle 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


a basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers

pluralist theory

a theory of govt and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies

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


A theory of govt and politics contending that groups are so strong that govt is weakened. It is an extreme, exaggerated, or perverted form of pluralism.

policy gridlock

a condition that occurs when no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and establish policy

political culture

an overall set of values widely shared within a society

gross domestic product

the sum total of the value of all the goods and services produced in a nation

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