For other uses see Polity (disambiguation).
A polity is a state or one of its subordinate civil authorities, such as a province, prefecture, county, municipality, city, or district. It is generally understood to mean a geographic area with a corresponding government. Thomas Hobbes considered bodies politic in this sense in Leviathan. In previous centuries, body politic was also understood to mean "the physical person of the sovereign" (in monarchies and despotisms, the emperor, king, or dictator, and, in republics, the electorate). Today, it may also refer to a representation of the ethnic or gender demographics of a region; for example, in many liberal democracies, cabinets are chosen to represent the body politic.