Political Systems



a political system is a set of interrelated social institutions that collectively perform the function of public governance within a society politics is a process through which a group of people make collective decisions that affect all and implement them the process of doing this we call public governance a political system is then the set of institutions required to conduct governance within a society whenever there is a group of people that are interdependent in some way their actions would affect each other and some form of organization is required to effectively manage this combined organization and thus arises the need for a political system political systems are then a response to the question of how this combined public organization will operate whose opinion will be included how will the process of reaching a decision be conducted how would it be implemented and enforced in order to facilitate this process in an organized and structured fashion a number of social institutions are required which constitute the political system public governance takes place in and between a group people that are interdependent as they share some commonality thus political systems have historically emerged out of a local geographic context and socio-cultural organization all forms of social systems have had some form of political system bands tribes chieftains states and empires throughout history have all developed institutions for collective decision making and implementation people who share common culture and social institutions and thus identify with each other as a single socio-cultural organization have historically formed the basis of political unity however political systems do not necessarily need to be based on people sharing a common culture and social structure for example the great agrarian empires such as that of Rome regarded subjects of vastly different ethnic and cultural heritage to be equally subject to aristocratic and central authority the legitimacy of the Emperor king or aristocrat had nothing to do with what language they spoke or what culture they came from with the rise of the modern era nationalism became a dominant paradigm for political organization nationalism means a sovereign state that itself represents one culture or ethnic group over a large area and the belief that this ethnic group or people ought to be self ruling and this can be seen as a relatively modern concept an ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestral language social or cultural experiences the idea that people of the same nation are connected to each other is called nationalism the concept of the nation-state becoming equated to the nation became dominant in the twentieth century in Europe it's true that humans have always lived in groups that share a common culture religion ethnicity or race but these were not what we would call States they were predominantly local kin based associations perhaps with the dialect of a language spreading over a number of villages a short distance from one another the idea of a nation is a relatively modern phenomenon the central idea of nationalism is as Ernest and Rey Gellner stated it to each people a state to each state one people nationalism went hand-in-hand with the rise of the commercial class in capitalism during the modern era as a centralized government over a large geographical area can provide an ideal platform for commerce standardized homogeneous centrally sustained high cultures pervading entire populations and not just the elite as Ernest Gellner noted the idea of nationalism if the people have a right to self-rule in order for government to be legitimate it has to share and Express the culture of the people however this is typically not what occurred in the past the legitimacy of the rudest power over subjects had nothing to do with them sharing a common culture to say that the Japanese should rule themselves and not be taken over by Korea is a nationalist idea we can note that nationalism is in essence idealistic in there instead of the foundation of political authority being based on power it is seem to be based on the shared culture of a people the idea of nationalism is to say that the peasant and the noble shares something in common that is greater than their differences and this idea would have been abhorrent to the nobility of the Middle Ages nationalism promotes equality within the nation but may also do this at the expense of inequality between nations it requires literacy and a degree of education because people over a large area must know that they share a common history and identity it is unifying and centralizing in nature your loyalty to the government is based upon your shared identity thus nationalism has had a huge homogenizing effect on culture during its rise as out of the many thousands of cultures that previously existed on the planet today only a small fraction have become national cultures Benedict Anderson pointed out in his influential book imagine communities the nation is an imagined community the vast majority of the people will never meet and will live very different lives from each other but they have some conception of a shared identity Anderson trace the formation of the nation-state act the printing press as a key element in its formation we're people consuming the same media came to see that they had something in common the book illustrates how the printing press played a powerful role in the development of a shared sense of identity that is the foundation of the nation imagined communities suggested that nationalism is not the awakening of an existing community but in fact the invention of one the nation is an abstraction it emphasizes the commonalities among a group people about their differences and thus constructs a basis for modern political organization nationalism creates one dominant culture over a large geographical area and promotes this as the foundations to political legitimacy for example today Ethiopia is composed of more than 80 different peoples and cultures but the centralized government still promotes itself as representing one people a nation defines itself and others through race history culture and common language for example in contemporary France if you know the language and the history you can be considered French this can be called cultural hegemony hegemony is when one element rules about question cultural hegemony is when one cultural perspective dominates all others which is a key part of nationalism the political theorist Anthony Gramsci argued that the political state produce cultural hegemony to maintain its rule cultural influence is a critical part of the maintenance of the state and that is why language and culture feed into the power structures and the state will try to control them to varying degrees he posits that the state uses an often subtle array of means and cultural institutions do this from the media to the educational system in order to create a cultural assumption of its validity and the validity of the cultural narrative that supports him for a political system to operate an exercise governance it must have the institutional means to affect or influence the members it governs the set of political institutions can take different forms from bands to tribes chieftains and empires at the contemporary form through which governance is exercised is called the state in terms of a political entity a state is any political organised community living under a single system of governments the Oxford Dictionary defines the state as a territory considered as an organized political community under one government the key aspects have stated our population citizens territory and governments states are defined by a given territory with boundaries to it and they exercise governance within their combines states have a permanent population a defined territory and a government that is capable of maintaining effective control over the corresponding territory and of conducting international relations with other states these elements are summed up in Max Weber's definition which describes the state as a compulsory a political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a certain territory for most of human history people have lived in stateless societies characterized by the lack of concentrated Authority and the absence of large inequalities in economic and political power the earliest forms of state emerged whenever it became possible to centralize power in a durable way agriculture and writing are invariably associated with this process agriculture has allowed the emergence of a social class of people who did not have to spend most of their time providing for their own subsistence and writing because it made possible the centralization and dissemination of vital information it is only in relatively modern times that states have almost completely displaced alternative stateless form political organization all of the planets roving bands of hunter-gatherers and even relatively large and complex tribal societies based on animal husbandry or agriculture have existed without any full-time specialized state organization these stateless forms of political organization have in fact prevailed for all of prehistory and much of the history of humans and civilization initially states emerged over territories built by conquest in which one culture one set of ideas and one set of laws have been imposed by force or threat over diverse nations by civilian and military bureaucracy the modern state arose of the breakup of European Christendom during the early 16th century the Reformation integrated a century of religious wars between Catholics and Protestant powers by the end of the century the modern state had been established in Western Europe a centralized power with exclusive lawmaking and law enforcing authority over a territory conventionally however the modern state and state system is dated from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 treaty established the key principle of modern statehood which is sovereignty since the late 19th century virtually the entirety of the world's inhabited land has been divided out into areas with more or less defined borders claimed by various sovereign states however even within present-day States there are vast areas of wilderness like the Amazon rainforest which are uninhabited or inhabited solely or mostly by indigenous people also there are states which do not have de facto control over all of their claimed territory or where this control is significantly challenged what we call failed states such as Somalia or contemporary Syria currently the international community comprises some 200 sovereign states the vast majority of which are represented in the United Nations nation-states often force into a single mold a diverse set of people and cultures that historically have had little to do with each other the state tries to mold them into a single entity under a single rule of law and subject to the same fixed rules in order to achieve this nation-states often worked actively to foster a sense of national culture over that of local cultures if we look around the world most of the nation-state borders are those that were imposed in a very artificial way by the colonial powers and today remain fragile Iraq is one such example being a product of the British carving outs of a territory according to their own interests not in the interests of the indigenous people for example the northern border of Iraq was drawn so as to enable the British to exploit oil resources or the line that the British drew separating Pakistan and Afghanistan cuts right through the Pashtun area the colonial empires had little interest in developing the institutional capabilities required for a functioning state before leaving up to the world wars in the absence of the required institutions many nations around the world have remained weak particularly in Africa and the Middle East however the nation-state remains the dominant institutional framework on a global level through which political order and organization is maintained and remained the primary units of analysis for much of contemporary political science States may be classified as sovereign if they are not dependent on or subject to any of the power or state in exercising influence over their territory states then may or may not be sovereign for instance federated states like that of contemporary Germany are members of a federal union and may have only partial sovereignty but are nonetheless states such States are subject to external sovereignty or hegemony in which ultimate sovereignty lies in another state or some super state institution states that are sovereign are known as sovereign states sovereign states exercised supreme authority within a limited sphere the ability to rule absolutely within a territory when no outside force can dictate the internal workings of the state sovereignty implies supreme ruler Authority this authority can be achieved through what people see as legitimate or illegitimate means illegitimate means are those that people do not see as correct the most obvious being the arbitrary use of physical force legitimate means are those that people see as being right or correct when a government is seen to be legitimate people act in accordance with the government's will because they recognize its authority as deriving from something higher or more valid than their own specific interests culture and national homogenize ation featured prominently in the rise of the modern state system since the absolutist period states have largely been organized on a national basis however even in the most ethnically homogeneous societies there is not always a complete correspondence between state and nation hence the active role often taken by the state to promote nationalism through emphasis on shared symbols and national unity Estate can be distinguished from the government a government is a particular group of people and organizations that control the state apparatus at any given time that is to say governments are the specific means through which state power is employed and exercised States are served by a continuous succession of different governments states are immaterial and non-physical social objects whereas governments are specific groups of people with certain powers a government is the means through which the abstract concept of governance is realized within a particular community the government is the organization within the state framework that manages the process of governance the relationship between a government in its state is one of representation and authorized agency that is to say the government acts on behalf of the state governments manage societies and they do this by defining the protocols or rules through which that society will operate they then have to implement these rules enforce them and do de Kate in certain matters governments firstly mean some system for defining who gets participation in the decision-making process or maybe caught an electoral system secondly in order to make decisions and create rules a decision-making body is required what we call the legislative thirdly there needs to be some Organization for executing on the initiatives and rules agreed by the group or may be called the executive or Public Administration find me then it's be some organization for ensuring that members adhere to the rules of the government and adjudicate on disputed issues or we call the judiciary and law enforcement agencies in political systems based on the principle of separation of powers authority is distributed among these several branches in an attempt to prevent the concentration of power within the hands of a small group people although it should be noted that the mere existence of such institutions in law does not guarantee a separation or balance power many autocratic political systems have all the institutions designed for a balance and separation of power while behind this power remains concentrated within a centralized group governments manage the public sphere and they have to decide the best choices to make on what is the best direction to go in this starts with deciding who gets a place at the decision-making table whose opinions will be included in the final decision different political systems will do this in very different ways some will be restrictive reducing the number of people others will be expansive some will be based upon the use of force some on individual rights and representation in an autocratic system decision-making is concentrated in a single center with the limited number of members having representation within the decision-making process based upon their access to the source of power however today almost all political systems around the world purport to be based upon the interests of their people and display the institutional apparatus for public opinion to be expressed within the decision-making process of course in autocratic systems this is merely for appearance only in a modern republic based on the social contract the law ensures that the decision-making process is open to those who had citizenship within the nation in such a system the decision-making power of the citizens has comes be mediated through a representative body that is elected by the people broadly speaking an electoral system can be defined as the regulation of the election of public officials in a more concentrated definition an electoral system can be seen as the regulation of the relationship between boating and the elected officials therefore an electoral system is the way in which public opinion and interests through votes can be translated into elected representatives into elected representatives and ultimately the decisions that the citizens wish to see enacted even if this is a highly mediated process the design of electoral systems determines the ways in which votes are turned into public Oxus the constitution of most countries today both provides the legal framework for that country and serves as the basis for the conduct and delivery are free fair credible and legitimate elections although this is only realized in practice in a subset of political systems those are elected to government form part of the legislative system the legislative makes laws that are binding for the community modern democratic political systems based on law are designed to formulate new rules based upon the use of Reason through debates this process is called argumentation individuals have particular perspectives from which they derive opinions on topics they then construct a case for particular action or sets of rules people construct a case by presenting data creating premises and drawing inferences that lead to conclusions however not all arguments are reason based in which case people resort to various other means such as persuasion and manipulation people present their various cases before an audience with the hope of persuading them to adhere to their course of action ultimately the outcome of the process depends on the audience there will in some way express their approval of some options over others which then go on to be implemented by other government institutions what the legislators can and cannot do is govern by the Constitution indeed the Constitution is the expression of the social contract made by the people in forming the government and thus defines the parameters of the government what it can and cannot do a constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization can legitimately operate these rules together make up the entity itself when these principles are written down into a single document or set of legal contracts these documents may be said to embody a written constitution few states in the modern world have constitutional arrangements for the more than a century old indeed the vast majority of all the world states have constitutions that were written in the 20th or even 21st century the executive is the elements within the political system exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the management of state modern public administration's take the typical bureaucratic form found within most Industrial Age organizations similar to that of the corporation as is the case for all hierarchical bureaucratic systems and management the operations of the executive are broken down into various departments with department ministers or heads responsible for the provision and maintenance of various public services in a presidential system the leader of the executive is both the head of state and head of government in a parliamentary system a cabinet minister responsible to the legislators it's the head of government in this case the head of state is usually just a ceremonial Manik or president it is very often said that politics is about power and power is the ability to impose one's will on others but the state to have power it must have some apparatus for influencing or controlling people towards the ends that is decided upon ultimately politics often involve power in the day often requires the implementation and enforcement of rules made by the collective on the individuals the group in this respect the origins of the state is to be found in the development of the art of warfare historically speaking all political communities of the modern type Oh their existence to successful warfare the exercise of power through the use of force is the origins of the state and it remains a critical element of it this power of the state is exercised to the law-enforcement agencies law enforcement is the element of the political system by which members of the government act in an organized manner to enforce the laws by discovering deterring rehabilitating or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society a modern law enforcement system will include such elements as police force courts intelligence and surveillance agencies army etc these enforcement agencies are largely limited to operating within a specific jurisdiction outside of this the military is responsible for state security questions of how to interpret and apply the law within specific context are managed by the judiciary which adjudicates between the written code in its application the judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state but also providing mechanisms for resolving disputes in some nations under the doctrine of separation of powers the judiciary generally does not make laws or enforce those laws but rather interprets law and applies it to the facts of each case in other nations the judiciary can make laws which is known as common law by setting precedents but other judges to follow as opposed to statutory law which is made by the legislators and the judiciary is often tasked with ensuring equal rights for citizens under the law




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