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A polity is an identifiable
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection ...

political
entity—any group of people who have a
collective identity Collective identity is the shared sense of belonging to a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2 ...
, who are organized by some form of institutionalized
social relations In social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer t ...
, 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, country subdivision, or a sovereign state.


Overview

In
geopolitics Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
, a polity can be manifested in different forms such as a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
, an
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

empire
, an
international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Organizations ...
, a
political organization A political organization is any organization that involves itself in the political process, including political parties, non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups and special interest groups. Political organizations are those engaged ...
and other identifiable, resource-manipulating organizational structures. A polity like a state does not need to be a
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...
unit. The most preeminent polities today are Westphalian states and
nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newsp ...
s, commonly referred to as countries and also incorrectly referred to by the term
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
s. A polity encapsulates a vast multitude of organizations, many of which form the fundamental apparatus of contemporary states such as their subordinate
civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platform for independent journalism *Civilian, someone not a member ...
and
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
authorities. Polities do not need to be in control of any geographic areas, as not all political entities and
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
s have controlled the resources of one fixed geographic area. The historical Steppe Empires originating from the
Eurasian Steppe The Eurasian Steppe, also simply called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characteri ...
are the most prominent example of non-
sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching television are characteristic of a sedentary lifestyle A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle involving l ...
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 Iraqi Kurdistan or Southern Kurdistan ( ku, باشووری کوردستان ,Başûrê Kurdistanê,) is the part of Kurdistan in northern Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, ج ...

Iraqi Kurdistan
are parts of their own separate and distinct polity. However, they are also members of the sovereign state of
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

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 Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an , considered to be one of the founders of modern . Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book ', in which he expounds an influential form ...
was a highly significant figure in the
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the bo ...

concept
ualisation of polities, in particular of states. Hobbes considered notions of the state and the
body politic The body politic is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people ...

body politic
in ''
Leviathan Leviathan (; , ) is a sea serpent A sea serpent or sea dragon is a type of dragon A dragon is a large, snake, serpentine, legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. Beliefs about dragons vary consid ...
'', his most notable work.Hobbes, Thomas (1651)
''Leviathan''
Retrieved 2 January 2019.
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.


See also

* ''
Kokutai is a concept in the Japanese language translatable as "system of government", "sovereignty", "national identity, essence and character", "national polity; body politic; national entity; basis for the Emperor of Japan, Emperor's sovereignty; Jap ...
'' *
Nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

Nation
*
Politeia ''Politeia'' ( πολιτεία) is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into t ...
*
Political system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...


References


External links


''Dictionary of the History of Ideas''
– analogy of the body politic (elaboration of correspondences between society or the state and the individual human body) {{authority control Government