What is PMESII-PT?
The military teaches PMESII-PT as a tool to help users organize large amounts of operations information. It’s a tool a strategy and stands for: Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, Infrastructure, Physical Environment, Time.
This is a great tool to use in novels where military plays a significant role, but also you can use it to discover the worlds you create more in depth. Today we’re focusing on the first P, Political.
The Political aspect focuses on the total political power of an area, often referred to as an Area of Operation. (I will try to refrain from military slang for clarity’s sake.) This encompasses political structure, official governmental institutions, state institutions, non-recognized groups such as terrorists, criminal organizations, cartels, tribes, individual or influential families.
Okay, so, that’s a lot of words, and for the uninitiated may sound like utter chaos. So, let’s break it down for the writer looking to develop a political understanding of their world.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Political Structure is Totalitarian
Choosing a political structure sets the basis for how your civilization runs. The people your characters, whether protagonist, antagonist, or invisible, put in power determine the barriers your Main Character will experience. The barriers can be literal, walls between cities (Districts), or psychological, believing that one must sacrifice themselves for the safety of a sibling. So is your character in a Democratic Republic like the United States where Law enforcement has a figurehead? Or is it a communist community where the state owns everything, but not the person. How does this affect your MC/Story?
The Official Government institution is The Capitol of Panem.
Is your government run out of a capital? Or does it have another location? What features distinguish the Official Government institution from other structures? In the Hunger Games, The Capitol of Panem is the height of society. Not only do those highest in the social status live there but also, they enjoy the most luxuries. Is your government going to have grand buildings and livelihoods? Or be more equal to the status of those they rule?
The Non-Recognized (by the governing body) group is The Rebellion
There were multiple rebellions in Panem in attempts to launch an insurrection against the ruling totalitarian government.
As Katniss progresses through her storyline, she discovers she has become the Rebellions symbol. She became a symbol when she defied the Capitol’s rules and threatened suicide with Peeta.
Whenever you create an “us vs. them” concept in a story, remember that each side views themselves as the heroes. So, what makes each side in your story believe they are the hero? Each choice will create your own Capitol Vs. Rebellion.
Movement through society
In The Hunger Games, it seems like the only way to move up in society from the lower class is through the Hunger Games themselves. From there, your children can be born into the higher levels and live in Panem.
So, how can your characters move through the Social-Political spectrum? Are there tournaments, contests, or lotteries that determine status? Or does your society require certain deeds, monetary donations, or services to move through the ranks? A society always has a separation and while the politics behind that separation may not be blatant, it’s up to you to know what goes on in the background of your world.
If you have questions, or other tips for looking at politics, please comment or send a message through my contact page.
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