Competitive Exams: Political Science Study Material: Glossary D

Political Science Glossary: D


According to Abraham Lincon, Democracy is a Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Democracy is the most valued and also perhaps the vaguest of political concepts in the modem world. Political systems as diverse as the USA, various one-party states in Africa and communist states all describe themselves as democracies. The word ‘democracy’ is derived from two ancient Greek words: Demos ( ‘the people’ ) and kratos ( ‘strength’ ). By itself democracy means little more than that, in some undefined sense, political power is ultimately in the hands of the whole adult population, and that no smaller group has the right to rule.

Democratic socialism

It literally means the establishment of a socialist society by the democratic methods. Under the socialism, the ownership of the means of production and distribution is socialised and are under the control of the Government. If this purpose is achieved through the revolution, it is called a revolutionary socialism and if the objective of socialism are realised gradually by the peaceful and democratic means, it is referred to as a democratic socialism. The methods of democratic socialism are nationalization of the industries, progressive taxation, planned development etc. Democratic Socialism aims at providing socio-economic justice and equal opportunities to all for the development and progress.


It refers to a situation of reduction of tensions between the two nations or groups due to downward swing of the cold war relations. In Detente, normalcy is restored in place of cold war tensions and hatred among nations. The reduction in tensions between the superpowers in late 1960s and early 1970s, after the climax of the cold war in 1962 during the Cuba Crisis is mentioned as an example of detente in the international relations.

Doctrine of Necessity

The doctrine states that even though there is a reasonable ground to suspect that a public authority may be biased, the authority may exercise his power to break a stalemate. This doctrine was evolved by the Supreme Court in the Jayalalitha case.

Distributive Justice

It means that the profits of the economic development shall be shared by all and not appropriated by a few. Also, there shall be no concentration of wealth. This intention is embodied in Art. 39 a & b of the Constitution.

Dialectical Materialism

The concept of dialectical materialism was given by Karl Marx to understand the process of development. In terms of Dialectical materialism, the matter, which is self propelled, is the basis of social development, which moves ahead through a dialectical process consisting of three stages-thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Antithesis is opposed to thesis and synthesis tries to reconcile the contradictions inherent in both. Marx used this technique to emphasis that the economic structure forms the base of the social development and which would move ahead through the dialectical manner till the final stage of communism is reached.


A form of Government in which the functions and powers of the executive are divided into two parts. One part of the executive is responsible to the Legislature while the other part is not responsible to the Legislature. The diarchy was introduced in the Indian States by the British Government in India under the provisions of the Government of Indian Act, 1919. Under this system, the powers and responsibilities of the State Governments were divided into two sections. Some powers were to be exercised by the popular Ministers responsible to the State Legislatures, while the rest of the powers were exercised by the Governors of the States, who were not responsible to the Provincial Legislatures.


Dictatorship is a form of government in which one person has sole and complete political power. In antiquity, a temporary dictator was often appointed as an emergency measure by states which were normally organized in some other fashion. The Roman Republic appointed dictators during military crises (the term actually originates from this practice), and the ancient Greek city states sometimes gave supreme law-making power to individuals.

Dinner Diplomacy

If some leaders or individuals, invited to a dinner party discuss and try to find a solution to some problems, it is referred to as a dinner diplomacy.


The idea of ‘diplomacy’ is used in a variety of rather vague ways in political language, all deriving from the techniques and styles developed by European foreign affairs representatives during the 18th century, though, of course, diplomacy as behaviour and political strategy is as old as politics. Technically the diplomatic corps consists of all the men and women professionally engaged in representing the interests of their countries abroad. This activity varies from the gathering of information and evaluation of the politics of the host country, via the direct protection of the legal interests of any fellow nationals who are in trouble in that country (the consular function) to international negotiations and the delivery of special messages to the host government.


Disarmament stands for the process of elimination of the weapons of war by the nations in order to ensure peace. Disarmament is technically distinct from Arms control as in the latter, only the future growth of arms is prohibited whereas in the disarmament, the existing arms and weapons are to be eliminated.


Discrimination in politics refers to the singling out usually for unfavourable treatment of certain groups which are defined by such characteristics as race, language, gender or religion. As a practice it is endemic in most societies; but during the 20th century, especially in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust, most democracies have made serious efforts to combat it through legislation and judicial decisions.