Definition of Government
(noun) An organization with the authority and power to make and enforce laws and enact policy to control an area of land or a group of people.
Types of Government
- American English – /gUH-vuhr-muhnt/
- British English – /gUH-vuhn-muhnt/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈɡəvər(n)mənt/
- British English – /ˈɡʌvəm(ə)nt/
- Plural: governments
- A government (verb) governs (adverb) governmentally through (adjective) governmental mechanisms.
- “According to [functionalism], a society is composed of interrelated parts, each of which serves a function and (ideally) contributes to the overall stability of the society. Societies develop social structures, or institutions, that persist because they play a part in helping society survive. These institutions include the family, education, government, religion, and the economy. If anything adverse happens to one of these institutions or parts, all other parts are affected and the system no longer functions properly” (Kendall 2006:15).
- “Bureaucracy represented a new group of rulers and a new method of government in contrast to monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. The concept of bureaucracy began to refer to power over the population. By the nineteenth century, the theme of bureaucracy as a threat to democracy developed into ideas that democracy was the fundamental corrective to the routine, inflexibility, and power that came to characterize bureaucracy” (Colignon 2007:179).
- “Hunting and gathering societies represent the earliest form of organized social life. Individuals in groups of about 50 survive by hunting animals and gathering edible foods. Kinship—ties by blood and marriage—is the foundation for most relationships and is principal institution for hunting and gathering societies. There are no specialized or enduring work groups, governments, or standing armies” (Hughes and Kroehler 2008:62).
- “Patriarchy literally means ‘rule of the fathers‘ and comes from the Old Testament—all power was given to male elders. Today, its meaning is more general: male domination of all the major institutions of society including government, religion, education, the economy, the military and the media” (Kaufman and Kimmel 2011:112).
- “The government itself is an agent of socialization, especially if it delivers rising living standards. Many government activities are intended to explain or display the government to the public, always designed to build support and loyalty. Great spectacles, such as the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, have a strengthening effect, as do parades with flags and soldiers and proclamations of top leaders. The power of government to control political attitudes is limited, however, because messages and experiences reach individuals through conversations with primary groups of kin or peers who put their own spin on messages. Alienated groups may socialize their children to dislike the government and ignore its messages” (Roskin et al. 2016:125).
- Politics and Policy Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “government” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Locke, John.  2015. Second Treatise of Civil Government, edited by A. Bailey. Peterborough, OT: Broadview Press.
Colignon, Richard A. 1969. “The Sociology of Organization.” Pp. 179–88 in 21st Century Sociology: A Reference Handbook, edited by C. D. Bryant, and D. L. Peck. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Kaufman, Michael, and Michael S. Kimmel. 2011. The Guy’s Guide to Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Roskin, Michael G., Robert L. Cord, James A. Medeiros, and Walter S. Jones. 2017. Political Science: An Introduction. 14 ed. Boston: Pearson.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Delaney, Tim, and Tim Madigan. 2015. The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Farlex. (N.d.) TheFreeDictionary.com: Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Farlex. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).
Ferrante, Joan. 2011a. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011b. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Cite the Definition of Government
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “government.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/government/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
government. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/government/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “government.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/government/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“government.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/government/>.