A political system is the totality of political institutions, norms, values, ideas, and relations in which political power is realized. This category came into political philosophy from sociology in the 50-60s of the 20th century to help researchers organize the description of political processes, to clarify the internal patterns of the development of political structures. Conceptual outlines of the category “political system” acquired in the works of American political scientists D.Iston and G.Almond, who stressed that the political system unites not only the organized sides of political life but also such factors as consciousness, ideas, and worldview. The system named this vast network of political relations and interactions because all of them represent interdependence: if any element of this device changes, then the result is a change in the political system as a whole.
The functions of the political system include:
- the definition of goals, objectives, ways of development of society; organization of the company’s activities to implement the adopted goals and programs;
- distribution of material and spiritual values;
- coordination of various interests of the state and social groups of civil society;
- development of specific rules of social and political behavior of people;
- ensuring internal and external security and stability of the political system;
- formation of political consciousness, familiarization of members of the society with political participation and activities;
- control over observance of laws and regulations, suppression of actions that violate political norms.
The political system has an institutional, ideological, normative, communicative and value subsystem. The institutional subsystem includes the state, political parties, and movements, lobby groups, the media (television, radio, print). The ideological subsystem forms a theoretical level (political ideologies: principles, ideas, slogans, ideals, concepts) and an empirical level (political psychology: feelings, moods, prejudices, emotions, opinions, traditions). The communicative subsystem is a set of relations and forms of interactions that develop between nations, classes, social groups and individuals about their participation in the organization of political power. The normative subsystem combines political norms and moral principles that determine and regulate the political life of society. And, finally, the cultural subsystem acts as an integrating factor, which, with the help of cultural values, traditions and customs, can stabilize the political system as a whole.
There are numerous classifications of political systems. Since the time of Plato, classification is known according to the forms of government:
- monarchy is the rule of one person, and its distorted form is tyranny;
- aristocracy – the rule of several worthy people and its distorted form – the oligarchy;
- democracy – the rule of many or all of the people and its distorted form – ochlocracy.
Quite often, typology of political systems is used depending on the form of the political regime. In this case, totalitarian, authoritarian and democratic political systems and their varieties are singled out.
According to the forms of the administrative-state structure, political systems are divided into unitary (where a single centralized system of government and justice dominates the whole territory), federal systems (which consist of governmental units with particular political independence) and confederative (where a union of independent political and state structures).