Is Britain a democratic country?

Essay by sandman666High School, 11th gradeA+, January 2005

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The statement "Britain is a democratic country" can be evaluated from several different sociological perspectives.

The pluralists would agree with this statement as they believe that none of the groups in our society are more powerful than others, the state aligns with different groups at different times. They would draw attention to the fact that in Britain citizens have the right of free speech, freedom to demonstrate and protest, the right to vote, and most people can start there own political party. However it can be argued that not all citizens have the right to vote, for example homeless people, criminals and under 18's. Furthermore although citizens in Britain have the right of free speech, in contrast to dictatorships or totalitarian states, there is no bill of rights which protects the rights of individuals, under powers of the national government.

An alternative view would be that of Marxist sociologists. Marxists would argue that the state governs in favour of the ruling classes and the so called democratic process is in favour of capitalist interests.

Marxists believe that the government use ideological tools of control, such as schools and the media to ensure that the ruling classes remain in control. The government also use repressive tools such as the police to maintain this stability. For example, The Criminal Justice Act 1994 gives the police power to disperse groups of people in public places. Marxists would also argue that other legislation such as the Official Secrets Act means that citizens are unaware of much of the goings on in the country and the government can use this Act to prevent critical information from being used against them.

Elite theorists hold the view that some people rule in their own interests and possess exclusive qualities over the majority of the population. Therefore allowing...