AP Comparative Government Vocab GabrielA SALVINI

Social Cleavages

Divisions between people on the basis of social classes, ethnic/racial groups, religions, and languages

Political Efficacy

A citizen's capacity to understand and influence politics

Social Class

Cleavage based on social class

Ethnic Cleavages

The most divisive and explosive cleavage, based on different cultural identities

Religious Cleavages

Cleavages that are often intertwined with ethnicity, but may occur among people with similar backgrounds

Regional Cleavages

Political values and attitudes characterize people living in geographic regions

Coinciding Cleavages

Cleavage that weakens society by piling differences on top of each other; can be explosive

Cross-Cutting Cleavages

Exists when groups on one cleavage overlap among groups on another cleavage

Political Socialization

How citizens learn about politics

Subject Activities

The ways citizens interact with the state, involving obedience (obeying laws, paying taxes, following military orders)

Social Movements

Organized activities that aim to bring about or resist change in an existing group or society ( Ex: African National Congress, which sought to overthrow apartheid in South Africa)

Civil Society

Voluntary organizations outside of the state that help people define and advance their own interests

Tyranny of the Majority

Tendency in democracies to allow majority rule to neglect the rights and liberties of minorities


Universal political order that draws its identity and values from everywhere

Nongovernmental Organizations

Informal organizations through which people seek to create change

Political Institutions

Structures of a political system that carry out the work of governing

Unitary System

System that concentrates all policy making powers in one central geographic place

Confederal System

Spreads the power among many sub-units and has a weak central government

Federal System

Divides the power between the central government and sub-units, and regional bodies have significant powers


A process that encourages states to pool their sovereignty in order to gain political, economic, and social clout

Supranational Organization

Cooperating groups of nations that operate on either a regional or international law

Foreign Direct Investments

Purchase of assets in a country by a foreign film


A tendency for people to base their loyalty on ethnicity, language, region, or cultural identity

International Organizations

Cooperating groups of nations that operate on either a regional/international level

Centripetal Forces

Bind together the people of a state, giving it strength

Centrifugal Forces

De-stabilize the government and encourage the country to fall apart


Identities based on nationhood, encouraging loyalty and commitment as well as allegiance

Separatist Movements

Movements in which nationalities within a country demand independence


The tendency to decentralize decision-making to regional governments


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