The term political system refers to a recognized set of procedures for implementing and obtaining the goals of a group.
Each society must have a political system in order to maintain recognized procedures for the allocation of resources. In political scientist Harold Lasswell (1936 ) terms , the policy of the who, what , when and how. Thus, like religion and the family , the political system is a cultural universal , is a social institution , in every society.
We will focus on government and politics in the United States and other industrialized nations and preindustrial societies . In his study of politics and political systems , social scientists are engaged in social interactions between individuals and groups and their impact on much of the political order . For example, in the study of the dispute nomination of Judge Robert Bork , sociologists might wish to focus on how changes in the structure of American society increasingly important black vote for Democratic candidates southern -influenced decision-making Howell Heflin and other senators ( and , ultimately, the outcome of the battle confirmation Bork). From a sociological point of view , therefore , the main question is how the country's social conditions affect its day-to- day political and public life?
The power in the center of the political system. Power can be defined as the ability to exercise their will over others. In other words, if one of the parties in a relationship can control the behavior of others, that person or group of persons exercising power . Power relations can involve large organizations , small groups, or even people in close contact. Blood and Wolfe (1960 ) developed the concept of marital power to describe the manner in which decision-making is distributed within families.
There are three basic sources of power within any political system—force, influence, and authority. Force is the actual or threatened use of coercion to impose one's will on others. When leaders imprison or even execute political dissidents, they are applying force; so, too, are terrorists when they seize an embassy or assassinate a political leader. Influence, on the other hand, refers to the exercise of power through a process of persuasion. A citizen may change his or her position regarding a Supreme Court nominee because of a newspaper editorial, the expert testimony of a law school dean before the Senate Judiciary Committee, or a stirring speech at a rally by a political activist. In each case, sociologists would view such efforts to persuade people as examples of influence. Authority, the third source of power, will be discussed later.