According to David Easton
, "A political system can be designated as the interactions through which values are authoritatively allocated for a society".
Anthropologists generally recognize four kinds of political systems, two of which are uncentralized and two of which are centralized.
- Uncentralized systems
- Band society
- 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.
- 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 governments
- Supranational political systems
Supranational political systems are created by independent nations to reach a common goal or gain strength from forming an alliance.
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 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.
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:
- In authoritarian governments, the people have no power or representation and it is characterized by absolute or blind obedience to formal authority, as against individual freedom 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.
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
and constitutional monarchies
. 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
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. However, the presence of democracy does not always mean citizen’s wishes will be equally represented. For example, in many democratic countries[which?]
immigrants, and racial and ethnic minorities, do not receive the same rights[clarification needed]
as the majority citizens.[according to whom?]
- ^ Easton, David. (1971). The political system : an inquiry into the state of political science. Knopf. OCLC 470276419.
- ^ Haviland, W.A. (2003). Anthropology: Tenth Edition. Wadsworth:Belmont, CA.
- Almond, Gabriel A., et al. Comparative Politics Today: A World View (Seventh Edition). 2000. ISBN 0-316-03497-5.
- 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.
For further resources on political theory and the mechanics of political system design, see the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre's topic guide on political systems
Last edited on 22 June 2021, at 06:49
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