A polity is an identifiable political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who are organized by some form of institutionalized social relations and have a capacity to mobilize resources. A polity can be any other group of people organized for governance (such as a corporate board), the government of a country, or of a country subdivision. A polity may be a republic administered by an elected representative, or the realm of a hereditary monarch.
In geopolitics, a polity can be manifested in different forms such as a state, an empire, an international organization, a political organization and other identifiable, resource-manipulating organizational structures. A polity like a state does not need to be a sovereign unit. The most preeminent polities today are Westphalian states and nation-states, commonly referred to as countries and also incorrectly referred to by the term nations.
A polity encapsulates a vast multitude of organizations, many of which form the fundamental apparatus of contemporary states such as their subordinate civil and local government authorities. Polities do not need to be in control of any geographic areas, as not all political entities and governments have controlled the resources of one fixed geographic area. The historical Steppe Empires originating from the Eurasian Steppe are the most prominent example of non-sedentary polities. These polities differ from states because of their lack of a fixed, defined territory. Empires also differ from states in that their territories are not statically defined or permanently fixed and consequently that their body politic was also dynamic and fluid. It is useful then to think of a polity as a political community
A polity can also be defined either as a faction within a larger (usually state) entity or at different times as the entity itself. For example, Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan are parts of their own separate and distinct polity. However, they are also members of the sovereign state of Iraq which is itself a polity, albeit one which is much less specific and as a result much less cohesive. Therefore, it is possible for an individual to belong to more than one polity at a time.
Thomas Hobbes was a highly significant figure in the conceptualisation of polities, in particular of states. Hobbes considered notions of the state and the body politic in Leviathan, his most notable work. Polities do not necessarily need to be governments. A corporation, for instance, is capable of marshalling resources, has a governance structure, legal rights and exclusive jurisdiction over internal decision making. An ethnic community within a country or subnational entity may be a polity if they have sufficient organization and cohesive interests that can be furthered by such organization.
Politeia (πολιτεία) is an ancient Greek word used in Greek political thought, especially that of Plato and Aristotle. Derived from the word polis ("city-state"), it has a range of meanings from "the rights of citizens" to a "form of government". According to Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon a meaning of (1) politeia is "the conditions and rights of the citizen, or citizenship", analogous to the Latin civitas.
Politeia, in Greek means the community of citizens in a city / state. It should not be confused with "regime" that is meant by politeuma or "Status quo" that is meant by kathestos. Politeuma is the word describing the political situation of the community of citizens in a city/state, and kathestos means also the general situation of an object, an agreement, or something else.
Politeia is derived from both the root word polis meaning "city" or "state", and from the verb politeuomai that means "I am living as an active citizen of the polis."
People living in a Greek city/state were not necessarily citizens. A person that was ostracized from the active matrix of the city was an example of such. Another example was people who lived in the city but were not active citizens who had a say in the political processes of the community. Women, slaves and others who Greek men deemed unworthy were not in the active matrix of the political formations of that city state, making them not-citizens, so not part of politeia.
The phrases system of government, state organisation, form of government, and, more recently, régime have also been used to translate politeia. Régime has drawbacks: it is ambiguous where politeia is not. It has a negative tone in English, which politeia does not in Greek. It is also a loan-word; and in that regard, has no advantage over simply adopting politeia itself.
Some translators thus use a different term for this second meaning of politeia. Most common is the vague term polity. Specific translations of this second meaning as constitutional democracy or republic are at least anachronistic, and in most instances contentious and/or inaccurate. Some translators feel it is incorrect to translate the same word in different ways, arguing that the ambiguity must have been deliberate and that it is impossible to always know which way the word should be rendered. In the Greek New Testament politeia is translated as "commonwealth" or "freedom" in Ephesians 2:12 and Acts 22:28.
Further information: Types of democracy – Rule by majority. Very dubious and usually a recipe for tragedy due to the fact that if an illiterate mass of people decide they wish to appropriate a minorities wealth, possessions or lives, then they have the “conventional right to so do” based upon democratic reasoning – The Law of the Mob. There have never been true democracies on this planet and the WHY NOT is seen evident in the Laws of The Universe that each component has its mission and purpose and set course to fulfil. Planets maintain their orbits, fish and birds obey the seasons and at a whim they don’t all decide to change place.
Authoritarianism is a political system characterized by the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political status quo, and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic voting. Political scientists have created many typologies describing variations of authoritarian forms of government. Authoritarian regimes may be either autocratic or oligarchic and may be based upon the rule of a party or the military. States that have a blurred boundary between democracy and authoritarianism have sometimes been characterized as "hybrid democracies", "hybrid regimes" or "competitive authoritarian" states.
Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual and group opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high if not complete degree of control and regulation over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. In totalitarian states, political power is often held by autocrats, such as dictators (totalitarian dictatorship) and absolute monarchs, who employ all-encompassing campaigns in which propaganda is broadcast by state-controlled mass media in order to control the citizenry.
A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from restricted and largely symbolic (constitutional monarchy), to fully autocratic (absolute monarchy), and can span across executive, legislative, and judicial domains.
The succession of monarchs in many cases has been hereditical, often building dynastic periods. However, elective and self-proclaimed monarchies have also been established throughout history. Aristocrats, though not inherent to monarchies, often serve as the pool of persons to draw the monarch from and fill the constituting institutions (e.g. diet and court), giving many monarchies oligarchic elements.
Further information: Democratization and Democratic backsliding A hybrid regime[a] is a type of political system often created as a result of an incomplete democratic transition from an authoritarian regime to a democratic one (or vice versa). [b] Hybrid regimes are categorized as having a combination of autocratic features with democratic ones and can simultaneously hold political repressions and regular elections.[b] Hybrid regimes are commonly found in developing countries with abundant natural resources such as petro-states. Although these regimes experience civil unrest, they may be relatively stable and tenacious for decades at a time.[b] There has been a rise in hybrid regimes since the end of the Cold War
The term hybrid regime arises from a polymorphic view of political regimes that opposes the dichotomy of autocracy or democracy. Modern scholarly analysis of hybrid regimes focuses attention on the decorative nature of democratic institutions (elections do not lead to a change of power, different media broadcast government point of view and the opposition in parliament votes the same way as the ruling party, among others), from which it is concluded that democratic backsliding, a transition to authoritarianism is the most prevalent basis of hybrid regimes.[b] Some scholars also contend that hybrid regimes may imitate a full dictatorship.