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David Easton on Political System - Dictionary of Arguments

Brocker I 491
Political System/Easton: The political system is a social system among others, and social systems consist of interactions between people. The political system differs from the other social systems through such interactions, which refer to an authoritative allocation of values for society. (1)
Brocker I 492
VsEaston: later, instead of the concept of the authoritative allocation of values, the formulation of the production and enforcement of collectively binding decisions prevailed.
Individual members are not part of the political system as individuals, but by assuming political roles, acting in these roles and interacting with others.
The political system is open and adaptive in order to fulfil its functions for society. (2)
The openness to influences (see Environment/Easton) can lead to disturbances that change the system.
Brocker I 493
Def Stress/Easton: is when disturbances of the system exceed a critical limit and threaten its existence.
System variables/Easton: the allocation of values for the company and the acceptance of this allocation by the company. (3)
Persistence/continuance/system: from the possibility of disturbances endangering the existence of the inventory, it follows that conservation is the fundamental problem for political systems. Persistence differs from stability by a certain dynamic: Persistence can be guaranteed by the change of peripheral structural elements. The concept of persistence allows all other political issues to be integrated: For example, electoral behavior, behavior of interest groups, coalition behavior, production of various policies. The individual theories on these terms have in common that they are directly related to the allocative consequences of political interaction. (4)
Brocker I 494
Environment/System Environment/Easton: the environment affects the political system through inputs such as claims or external support. The system in turn has an impact on the environment through outputs: in the form of collectively binding decisions and actions. (5)
Brocker I 495
Claims: are a selection from the set of ((s) individual) wishes. They are defined as an explicitly formulated expectation to the decision-makers of the political system. (6)
Interest Groups/Easton: are essential for the conversion of wishes into claims, including political parties and mass media.
Decisions: the claims on the political system have the potential to drive the system variables beyond a critical limit, i.e. to undermine collectively binding decisions. (7)
Brocker I 496
Objects of the Political System/Easton: "Authorities" - "Regime" - "Political Community. See Authority/Easton, Community/Easton.
Def Regime/Easton: the set of restrictions on political interactions. This set also contains three components: 1. values, goals and principles, 2. Norms
Brocker I 497
3. the structure of authority (8).


1. David Easton, A Systems Analysis of Political Life, New York 1965, S. 21-23.
2. Ibid. p. 17
3. Ibid. p. 24
4. Ibid. p. 474
5. Ibid. p. 74
6. Ibid. p. 38f
7. Ibid. p. 57
8. Ibid. p. 193


Dieter Fuchs, “David Easton, A Systems Analysis of Political Life” in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

PolEast I
David Easton
A Systems Analysis of Political Life New York 1965

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-01-19
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