Political system: elements and structure - Political sociology

Political system: elements and structure

The existence of a political system is determined through the separation of the system and the environment. In general, these concepts can be used when we have an idea of ​​the space and time of existence of socio-political phenomena.

Political space is formed within the boundaries of human communications about the distribution of power. It is formed because each person lives not only in the geographical world, but also in a world similar to himself. Man initially socializes this world, giving it the qualities and qualities necessary for interpersonal communication. Such a sociocultural macrocosm, welded together by culture and tradition, consists of separate worlds - legal, economic, political, religious, etc.

Thus, the sphere of the political world is seen as a limited space filled with life. Within this space there is a constant interaction of various interests, their clash and cooperation. The predominance of one of them leads to the loss of meaning to another, the clash of interests leads to a conflict that affects many areas of political life in general. Depending on the breadth of coverage by political interaction, three levels of political space can be distinguished: micro, macro and mega-level. In micro-politics the main is the interaction of individuals and groups, the dynamics of their interests in power. Macro-politics is more closely related to the characteristic of the functioning space of the basic agent of modern political life - the nation-state, limited by the administrative and legal boundaries of the spread of legitimate public authority. The content of the megalopolitan level is the connections and external interactions of national-state and supranational actors in global relations about the world political order. From this point of view, it is the state-nation that provokes the greatest interest for research, since it contains elements of micro- (parties, movements, interest groups) and mega-structures (international associations) of the political world.

So, the national state is the nucleus of the political space, its main functional component. It combines a multitude of differently directed vectors of the entire spectrum of political forces. Awareness of this, the theoretical famine in political science, the development of a system theory in the natural sciences, the urgency of the need to combine theoretical developments with the empirically observed led to the emergence of a theory of systems in the political sphere.

The most serious research in the theory of the political system is associated with the "systemic" D. Easton's model, functional the model of G. Almond and the "cybernetic" the model of K. Deutsch. D. Easton and G. Almond laid the foundations for various versions of the concept of the political system and gave impetus to the development of the theory of the political system of society as a whole. D. Easton emphasized the consideration of the political system from the point of view of its constituent subsystems, the study of the totality of interrelations and interactions arising within it. G. Almond, in contrast to the first, focuses on the consideration of more general characteristics, namely, on the study of inputs and outputs, as well as feedbacks that are established between the political system and the environment.

You can compose an idea of ​​the political system using the D. Easton model (Figure 6.1).

The model of political system (according to D. Easton)

Fig. 6.1. Model of the political system (according to D. Easton)

As you can see in the picture, within the political system, the conversion (conversion) of public requirements into political decisions takes place, they affect the environment, and corresponding changes occur in it, which in turn leads to changes in public opinion, and the process of conversion repeated. This process is described using the concepts input-output and feedback .

Logging into the system provides a flow of information from the environment to the political system. According to D. Easton, such information is expressed in the requirements and various forms of support. These are requirements concerning: 1) the distribution of material and spiritual values; 2) regulation of behavior, i.e. publication of norms; 3) participation in politics - the rule of voice, access to the political system, etc .; 4) necessary information on the activities of the authorities, etc. Support, in turn, manifests itself: 1) in tangible form - payment of taxes and other payments; 2) in the form of subordination to existing norms; 3) through political participation - elections, rallies, demonstrations, etc. in support of the existing system and its decisions; 4) in various forms of expression of respect for the state - state symbols, ceremonies, etc.

The decision makers process the information received and provide a way out of the political system. They determine the order of distribution of values, publish norms of behavior, establish forms and methods of material support, offer samples of political symbols, etc.

The interaction between the input and output is provided by feedback & quot ;: the decisions taken affect the environment, cause changes in it, and, accordingly, cause the emergence of new needs, desires, requirements, aspiring to the "entrance" in the political system. Thus, the policy appears as an endless process.

The effectiveness of the political system is assessed depending on its ability: 1) to extract the necessary material and human resources from the environment; 2) to effectively distribute material and spiritual values ​​(goods, services, honors, etc.); 3) regulate and control the behavior of individuals and groups, using coercion if necessary; 4) to provide for himself the support of society, instilling in him respect for the state-approved symbolism, i. affect the feelings and attitudes of people, and more broadly - the political culture in order to use it for its legitimation. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the political system is determined by its ability to respond adequately to changes occurring in the environment.

Strictly speaking, any political system is secondary in the sense that it is formed in response to the demands of the environment, and its stability and effectiveness are determined by the ability to adapt to the changes taking place in the environment; it concerns the content of the decisions made and the structural characteristics of the systems.

The appeal to this category is a way of studying power as a product of the aggregate activity of people, as a process and result of interactions of laws, the administrative system, parties, associations, leaders, and elites. These empirically observed phenomena are considered in theory as interactions of internally complex structures and processes about the adoption and implementation of power decisions. The primary elements in the political system are political resources, i.e. those or other forces for the realization of power, interests through which an individual or group is involved in the process of making and implementing decisions, values ​​and orientations of subjects in political behavior.

According to Easton, the study of politics is focused on understanding how authoritative decisions are made and implemented in society. If politics is the authoritative distribution of values, then the political system is an organism that reacts to impulses coming to it, prevents conflicts arising from the distribution of values. Almond proposed to understand by political system all types of actions related to the adoption of political decisions, or a set of interacting roles. From his point of view, the main concepts in the system analysis of power are the role and interaction that can give much more than the individual concepts of the institution, as they presuppose the consideration of both formal and informal relations. According to Almond's views, the political system should be understood as a system of interactions existing in all independent societies that performs the functions of integration and adaptation (within society, outside it and between societies) through the use or threat of more or less legitimate physical violence.

F. Almond and J. Powell singled out a common for all definitions of the political system - an association with the application of legalized physical coercion in society, since in general this category is associated with the concept of power, which is the core of the political system, determining its essence, nature, structure and boundaries.

In general, the political system is a combination of state and public organizations, norms and rules that determine their relationship with regard to power, and the psychological attitudes and orientations of individuals about the nature of the exercise of power in society. Based on this definition, we can identify the main components, or subsystem, of the political system that make up its essential characteristics:

1) the institutional subsystem;

2) normative;

3) communication;

4) cultural and ideological.

Center of the institutional system - state, which is a combination of elements: legislative power, the structure of executive power and state apparatus (bureaucracy), judicial power. In addition to the state, this includes also institutionalized elements of civil society - parties, lobby structures. The institutional system interacts with the system of standards and creates the rules (norms) necessary for subordination of participation in power relations that are generated and accepted by the whole society, but are legitimized through the proclamation of them by the state. This is due to the fact that it has a monopoly on the use of legalized violence in case of failure to comply with the established norms. Relationships about power exist insofar as people enter into communication with each other, therefore norms and institutions are possible only in the field of human communications. In modern systems development, communication is understood as the basis of society. For example, N. Luhmann argues that to understand the society as a set of individuals is impossible, because all its structures and systems exist only in the field of our communications. Man in this sense is excluded from the concept of society.

The study of the political system is not limited to the study of its internal space. The environment of her dwelling is distinguished, both internal and external. Easton defines the internal environment by the concept intrasocietal & quot ;, and the external one is extrasocietal & quot ;. The first consists of systems that are not political by definition of the political system, they have other types of interaction. Intrasocietal systems include such sets of types of behavior, attitudes, ideas as economics, culture, social structure, interpersonal relationships. They are components of society as a whole, as well as the political system itself. In this society, these systems act as sources of influence on the actions of the political system. The other part of the environment is extrasocietal and includes all systems considered external to the given society. They act as functional components of the international environment. Easton cites as an example of extrasocietal system the interethnic system of culture. Both considered classes of systems form a complete environment of the political system, influencing it and vice versa. The mechanism of these interactions was described in detail in Section 2.3. Therefore, we will supplement the presentation with only one refinement.

In his first development, Easton paid little attention to the core of the political system - the decision-making center, or, as it was called, the "black box". This is where most of the functions performed by the system are concentrated. The functions of the political system can be defined as the actions of its structural components aimed at achieving the goals set for the system. Achieving the goal includes the ability of the system to interact with the environment, adapt to changing conditions of existence and self-preservation. The emphasis on the functional aspect of the political system was made in his works by Almond (more on this later).

So, we can distinguish the main components of the political system: the environment, the relationship between the system and the environment ( inputs & quot ;, outputs ), structure, functions.

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