Klaus von Beyme
Government is a key concept in comparative political science that has undergone frequent changes in terminology and has different importance in the intellectual traditions of democratic countries. Its core, more current definition refers to all activities of steering within human groups, from tribes to the state and to supranational and international organizations. This entry first discusses the meanings of the term government and then reviews the main functions of government. In the third section, the different contemporary models of government are illustrated. The subsequent two sections examine the key institutional aspects of government and the new approaches to the study of government, such as the so-called core executive models, the rational choice institutionalism, and governance studies. In the Middle Ages, the terms regere and gubernare were used as synonyms. The tradition of English- and French-speaking countries derived to govern and government or gouverner and gouvernement from the Latin term gubernare ...