political behaviour

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The term refers to any form of (individual or collective) involvement in the political process, or any activity which has political consequences in relation to government and policy. This broad definition embraces both legitimate forms of political participation (such as voting in elections, activism in interest groups, or social movements) and illegitimate political activities (including coups d’état, terrorism, and revolutions (see rebellions). While formal participation aims at containing social conflict within the extant political system, so that the political order remains stable, dissent which cannot be channelled via existing political structures is likely, not only to pursue changes in policy, but also to challenge the political order itself. The study of political behaviour also embraces the study of inactivity and apathy, as well as the analysis of political ideologies, values, and attitudes as the basis of participation and non-participation in the political sphere.

Subjects: Sociology.

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