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In politics, a regime (also known as "régime", from the original French spelling) is the form of government or the set of rules, cultural or social norms, etc. that regulate the operation of a government or institution and its interactions with society.


While the word régime originates as a synonym for any type of government, modern usage has given it a negative connotation, implying an authoritarian government or dictatorship. Webster's definition states that the word régime refers simply to a form of government,[1] while Oxford English Dictionary defines regime as "a government, especially an authoritarian one".[2]

Contemporary academic usage of the term "regime" is broader than popular and journalistic usage, meaning "an intermediate stratum between the government (which makes day-to-day decisions and is easy to alter) and the state (which is a complex bureaucracy tasked with a range of coercive functions)."[3] In global studies and international relations the concept of regime is also used to name international regulatory agencies (see International regime), which lie outside of the control of national governments; some authors thus distinguish analytically between institutions and regimes while recognizing that they are bound up with each other:

In other words, regimes can be defined as sets of protocols and norms embedded either in institutions or institutionalized practices – formal such as states or informal such as the "liberal trade regime" – that are publicly enacted and relatively enduring.[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Regime as defined in the Merriam–Webster website
  2. ^ Regime as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ Breakdown of the GCC Initiative
  4. ^ a b James, Paul; Palen, Ronen (2007). Globalization and Economy, Vol. 3: Global Economic Regimes and Institutions. London: Sage Publications. p. xiv.