Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Worldbuilding Wednesday - Politics in the Making


As authors we make many decisions. The story, setting, characters all lie in our imaginations and storytelling. In traditional novels we may choose to set the story in the real world as we know it - or perhaps an alternative history to our world, however, in fantasy and science fiction we create not only our story but the story of the world in which our story takes place. There are many things to consider when we build worlds.

Government is but one element. There are many types of government we have experienced in our world through various cultures throughout the world throughout the years. When you consider worldbuilding for your story, what type of government will rule your world? Here are some possibilities to consider:




Absolute Monarchy -- kingdom in which monarch has complete power


Anarchy -- absence of government


Aristocracy -- government by a wealthy, privileged minority or hereditary ruling class


Caliphate -- government by Islamic civil and religious leader


Civil Government -- government established by laws made by citizens or their representatives; nonmilitary, nonreligious authority


Coalition Government -- temporary alliance of members of two or more parties to form governing majority


Collective -- group or institution organized and run by all members equally


Commonwealth -- government in which ultimate authority lies with people


Constitutionalism -- government based on written constitutional principles


Constitutional Monarchy -- government headed by monarch and regulated by constitution


Democracy -- government by the people with majority rule exercised in periodic, free election of representatives


Despotism -- government in which ruler exercise absolute power


Dictatorship -- government in which absolute power rest with one person or a few


Duarchy or duumvirate -- government by two equally powerful rulers


Dyarchy -- dual responsibility shared by colonial government and native ministers


Empire -- several territories, nations or peoples governed by single sovereign authority


Fascism -- government based on establishing oppressive, one-part, centralized national regime

Federal Government -- system in which political units surrender individual sovereignty to central authority, but retain designated powers


Feudalism -- political system in Europe from 9th to 15th century in which lord owned all property worked by vassals


Gerontocarcy -- rule by elders


Gynecocracy -- government by women


Hagiocracy -- government by group of persons believed to be holy


Hierocracy -- rule by priest or clergy


Isocracy -- government in which all individuals have equal political power


Matriarchy -- government or monarchy in which power rests with females or descends through female line


Meritocracy -- government in which criterion for leadership is skill or intellectual achievement


Monarchy -- government with absolute hereditary ruler who serves for life


Ochlocracy -- rule by the multitude or mob


Oligarchy -- government by small group of privileged individuals


Pantisocracy -- utopia in which all members rule equally


Parliamentary Government -- system in which executive (prime minister) is chosen by elected legislature (parliament) from among its members


Patriarchy -- government or monarchy in which power rests with males or descends through male line


Plutocracy -- government by the wealthy


Principality -- state ruled by a prince, often part of larger state or empire


Regency -- reign of non-monarch during youth or indisposition of monarch


Republic -- government in which power is vested in elected representatives of citizenry


Sovereignty -- political autonomy and freedom of state from outside authority


Stratocracy -- government by the military


Technocracy -- government run by experts and technicians


Thearchy -- government based on divine sovereignty


Theocracy -- government by church officials, who believe they have divine authority


Timocracy -- government based on love of honor and military glory or on requisite ownership of property


Totalitarianism -- authoritarian political system in which citizen is totally subject to will of state


Triarchy -- government ruled jointly by three person; triumvirate


Tyranny -- government by single absolute authority, especially one exercising oppressive power


Unitary Government -- system in which power is held by single central source, and local governments are merely administrative agents, the opposite of federalism


Welfare State -- system in which ultimate responsibility of government is well being of all citizens





Choosing how to run your country will have an obvious impact on every day life. Where will your imagination lead you and your story? Which system of government will you opt for in your world? Why? Think about the impact it will have one your storyline and how the storyline will depend on details such as this. It is mindboggling how much the change of one detail, such as government, can change your entire story.





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8 comments:

cassandrajade said...

Some very good words in this list. There were a few I was unfamiliar with but all the old favourites as well. I think this is a great reminder for all authors (but very relevent to those of use who write fantasies) that we are creating worlds and there is always some form of government, even if it is mostly unofficial and unmentioned. Something to keep in mind while writing. Thanks for the excellent post.

N A Sharpe said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! I was amazed as the list kept growing of how many different types of government we have in the various societies in our own world!

Maybe in your worldbuilding you'll come up with something totally different...but these ideas can get you started.

Ironically, I am probably the least political person you will ever know, lol.

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Karen Walker said...

I had no idea there were so many different kinds of governments. Great post, Nancy.
karen

Stephen Tremp said...

Very thorough list and one authors should save to their Favorites. I just did. When developing the setting, a writer needs to set the political, social, economic, and religous background of the time.

Stephen Tremp

Tara said...

That's a great list and well worth some thought. :]

The Old Silly said...

You blew my mind with this one! I had no idea all those forms of government! My first choice would be Gerontocarcy (wink) well, dependin on WHICH elders, lol.

Good points made here, Nancy!

Marvin D Wilson

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Wow! I hadn't realized how many types of government exist. I must get out into the world more. :)

Bev

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

N A Sharpe said...

Hi everyone - thank you so much for stopping by. You know, I was amazed when I was researching this one - I had no idea there were so many types of government. Think what else you may come up with for your world!?! It boggles the mind.

Nancy

 
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