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Politics, Policy, Polity

How much do the terms politics, policy, and polity differ from one another and how helpful is their distinction for the research on political communication? In Anglo-American technical terminology, each of these terms describes a different nuance of the political.

  • Polity is used in the sense of “community.” The term comes from the Greek word polis and includes not only the city state, but also other forms of politically organized societies such as the nation-state and the empire.
  • Politics describes the theory and practice of the power struggle between the players inside the polity. It constitutes the core of the political system.
  • Policy aims at the planned formation of social domains such as economy, environment, or education through collectively binding decisions (“policy making”). With this functional perspective the ...
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