2. What Are Social
• Social institutions are systems and
structures that shape the activities of
groups and individuals in society.
• You can’t “visit” a social institution—
it is a structure, not a place. Politics,
education, and religion are
examples of institutions.
3. What Is Politics?
• Politics: the methods and
tactics of managing a nation or
state, as well as administering
and controlling its internal and
4. What Is Politics?
• Government: the formal,
organized agency that
power and control in modern
society, especially through the
creation and enforcement of
6. Types of Political
• Authoritarianism is a system of
government by and for a small
number of elites that does not
include representation of
7. Types of Political
• A dictatorship is one form of
an authoritarianism system;
usually a dictator does not gain power
by being elected or through
succession but rather seizes power
and becomes an absolutist ruler.
8. Types of Political
• Totalitarianism is the most
extreme and modern form of
authoritarianism, in which the
government seeks to control
every aspect of citizens’ lives.
9. Types of Political
• A monarchy is government by
a king or queen, with succession
of rulers kept within the family.
• Absolute monarchies typically have
complete authority over their subjects.
• Constitutional monarchs are royal
figures whose powers are defined by
a political charter and limited by a
parliament or other governing body.
11. Pluralist Theory vs. Power
• Pluralism: a system of political
power where a wide variety of
individuals and groups have
equal access to resources and
12. Pluralist Theory vs. Power
• C. Wright Mills coined the term
power elite — a relatively small
number of people who control the
of a society.
13. What Is Politics? (cont’d.)
• Many people worry about the
influence of money in politics.
Special interest groups are
organizations that raise and
spend money to influence
elected officials or public
14. What Is Politics? (cont’d.)
• In addition to special interest
groups, the mass media also
impacts politics. For instance,
many people form their beliefs
based on information from
• Opinion leaders are high-profile
people who interpret events
and influence the public.