This article introduces the basic concepts of politics and government. To better understand the concepts, it is helpful to look at examples from various societies. Symbolic interactionism is an important framework, rooted in the work of Max Weber and George H. Mead. This theory stresses the importance of meaning, in that the political course of action or behavior must be coherently based on its meaning. In other words, a government is not sovereign if its citizens can appeal to a higher body to change its political policies.
The term government implies relationships of power between rulers and ruled. This is not limited to the state alone. It can also refer to power relationships between institutions and clients, such as employers and employees, masters and servants, and physicians and patients. The word government can also refer to relationships between oneself and another, such as diets and training regimes. In addition to these, the concept of government refers to the influence of the state on society.
As the definition of politics implies, it involves the promotion and protection of political ideas, negotiation between groups with different interests, and the exercise of force against adversaries. This form of political activity is practiced on various social levels. Modern nation states have political parties, which represent ideas and support the laws and leaders of the state. These parties compete in elections for power and influence. The balance of power affects the world order. Whether a country is democratic or dictatorial is up for debate.