Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Political Systems, Types
The term political system is an abstract concept and is used widely and often with different meanings. In this entry, a political system is defined as a form of governing society that is embedded in a legal (constitutional), economic, and cultural environment. The essence of a political system relies on the interdependence of its institutions (rules of the political game) and collective actors (political parties, organized interests, governments, and bureaucracies) that operate within such a system. From this definition, it follows that political systems are seen as a whole: Authority is exercised over a territory through the body politic, including its state format, organization of public decision making, and related processes of policy formation. The study of types of political systems is—almost by definition—comparative by means of developing typologies. One can distinguish between two directions in the study of types of political systems: one, the descriptive approach and, two, the ...