Government and Politics

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Poor people in such nations can reasonably aspire to upward mobility. Therefore, along with the large middle class typically found in industrial societies, the poorer segments of society may have a stake in economic and political stability. Upset’s formulation has been attacked by conflict theorists, who tend to be critical of the distribution of power within democracies.

As we will see later, many conflict theorists believe that the United States is run by a small economic and political elite. At the same time, they observe that economic stability does not necessarily promote or guarantee political freedoms. Lipset (1972) himself agrees that democracy in practice is far from ideal and that one must distinguish between varying degrees of democracy in democratic systems of government.

Thus, we cannot assume that a high level of economic development or the self-proclaimed label of " democracy" assures freedom and adequate political representation. POLITICAL BEHAVIOR IN THE UNITED STATES As American citizens we take for granted many aspects of our political system. We are accustomed to living in a nation with a Bill of Rights, two major political parties, voting by secret ballot, an elected president, state and local governments distinct from the national government, and so forth.

Yet, of course, each society has its own ways of governing itself and making decisions. Just as we expect Democratic and Republican candidates to compete for public offices, residents of the Soviet Union are accustomed to the domination of the Communist party. In this section, we will examine a number of important aspects of political behavior within the United States.

Political Socialization Five functional prerequisites that a society must .

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