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In
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
, a political system defines the process for making official
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
decisions. It is usually compared to the
legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and infl ...
,
economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environm ...
,
cultural system A cultural system is the interaction of different elements in culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, la ...
, and other
social system In sociology, social system is the patterned network of relationships constituting a coherent whole that exist between individuals, groups, and institutions. It is the formal Social structure, structure of role and status that can form in a small ...
s. However, this is a very simplified view of a much more complex system of categories involving the questions of who should have authority and what the government influence on its people and economy should be.


Definition

According to
David Easton David Easton (June 24, 1917 – July 19, 2014) was a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) ...

David Easton
, "A political system can be designated as the interactions through which values are authoritatively allocated for a society".


Anthropological classification

Anthropologists generally recognize four kinds of political systems, two of which are uncentralized and two of which are centralized.Haviland, W.A. (2003). ''Anthropology: Tenth Edition''. Wadsworth:Belmont, CA. * Uncentralized systems **
Band society A band society, sometimes called a camp, or in older usage, a horde, is the simplest form of human society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and ...
*** Small family group, no larger than an extended family or clan; it has been defined as consisting of no more than 30 to 50 individuals. *** A band can cease to exist if only a small group walks out. **
Tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understa ...

Tribe
*** Generally larger, consisting of many families. Tribes have more social institutions, such as a chief or elders. *** More permanent than bands. Many tribes are sub-divided into bands. *
Centralized government#REDIRECT Centralized government A centralized government (also united government) is one in which both executive and legislative power is concentrated centrally at the higher level as opposed to it being more distributed at various lower level g ...
s **
Chiefdom A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, alth ...
*** More complex than a tribe or a band society, and less complex than a state or a civilization *** Characterized by pervasive inequality and centralization of authority. *** A single lineage/family of the elite class becomes the ruling elite of the chiefdom *** Complex chiefdoms have two or even three tiers of political hierarchy. *** "An autonomous political unit comprising a number of villages or communities under the permanent control of a paramount chief" **
Sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
*** A sovereign state is a state with a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. * Supranational political systems ** Supranational political systems are created by independent nations to reach a common goal or gain strength from forming an alliance. *
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

Empire
s ** Empires are widespread states or communities under a single rule. They are characterized by the ruler's desire for unanimous religious affiliation or posing as a threat to other empires in times of war. Empires - such as the Romans, or British - often made considerable progress in ways of democratic structures, creating and building city infrastructures, and maintaining civility within the diverse communities. Because of the intricate organization of the empires, they were often able to hold a large majority of power on a universal level. * Leagues ** Leagues are international organizations composed of states coming together for a single common purpose. In this way leagues are different from empires, as they only seek to fulfill a single goal. Often leagues are formed on the brink of a military or economic downfall. Meetings and hearings are conducted in a neutral location with representatives of all involved nations present.


Sociology

The sociological interest in political systems is figuring out who holds power within the relationship of the government and its people and how the government’s power is used. There are three types of political systems that sociologists consider: *
Authoritarianism Authoritarianism is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a mon ...
** In authoritarian governments, the people have no power or representation and it is characterized by absolute or blind obedience to formal
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
, as against
individual freedom Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships betwe ...
and related to the expectation of unquestioning obedience. The elite leaders handle all economic, military, and foreign relations. A prime example of authoritarianism is a dictatorship. ** Totalitarianism is the most extreme form of authoritarianism because it controls all aspects of life including the communication between citizens, media censorship, and threatens by the means of terror. *
Monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
** A monarchy is a government controlled by a king or queen determined by a predisposed line of sovereignty. In other words, it can be seen as an undivided rule or absolute sovereignty by a single person. In the modern world there are two types of monarchies,
absolute monarchies Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. ...
and
constitutional monarchies A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated el ...
. An absolute monarchy works like a dictatorship in that the king has complete rule over his country. A constitutional monarchy gives the royal family limited powers and usually works in accordance with an elected body of officials. Social revolutions of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century overthrew the majority of existing monarchies in favor of more democratic governments and a rising middle class, as well as of authoritarian regimes like the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. *
Democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

Democracy
** A democracy is a form of government in which the citizens create and vote for laws directly, or indirectly via representatives (democratic republic). The idea of democracy stems back from ancient Greece and the profound works of ancient academics.


See also

*
Political structurePolitical structure is a commonly used term in political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, politi ...
*
Polity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cog ...
*
Systems theory in political science 250px, Easton, David (1965). A Systems Analysis of Political Life, New York, S.32. Systems theory in political science is a highly abstract, partly holistic view of politics, influenced by cybernetics. The adaptation of system theory to political sc ...
* ''
Tractatus Politicus ''Tractatus politicus'' (''TP'') or ''Political Treatise'' is a political paper by Baruch Spinoza written in 1675–76 and published posthumously in 1677. This paper has the subtitle, "''In quo demonstratur, quomodo Societas, ubi Imperium Monarch ...
'' *
Voting system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and referendums A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote ...


References


Citations


Sources

* Almond, Gabriel A., et al. ''Comparative Politics Today: A World View'' (Seventh Edition). 2000. . * * Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. ''The Real World An Introduction to Sociology''. 3rd ed. New York City: W W Norton & Co, 2012. Print. *
political system
. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2012.


External links

* For further resources on political theory and the mechanics of political system design, see the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre'
topic guide on political systems
{{Authority control
Political terminology Technical terminology of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...