I am reading a book where I find some sentences like

... how international actors impact civil wars

... being a 'player' in regional politics

... further study of each of the six actors' policies towards Syria

I'm not familiar with the meaning of "actors" and "player" in this perspective.

How can I understand it clearly?

  • In addition to the answer below, consider also that people who write often take care not to repeat words too much, which would give the impression that they have a poor vocabulary. So there is also the strong possibility that actor/player are used as basically synonyms, without great intent to differentiate between the 2 terms. Sep 4 at 6:13

These terms don't have a specific political meaning. Both player and actor can be used to refer to people, groups or organizations who have some influence in a (political) process or event.

According to Cambridge Business English Dictionary, one of the definitions for player is:

a company, organization, or person that has influence within a particular activity, industry, or type of work:

According to Merriam Webster, actor has the following definition (among others):

one that takes part in any affair : PARTICIPANT

For example, Merriam Webster gives the following example sentence of a political actor:

Benjamin Franklin was a major actor in many of the events leading up to the founding of our nation.

  • 2
    in case it's not clear why: actor = someone who acts = someone who performs actions
    – user253751
    Sep 2 at 10:08
  • Whereas a 'player' could just be someone moving pieces (IE, actors) into position. To use chess as a metaphor, the chess players are 'players' but not actors, and the pieces are actors but not 'players'.
    – Shadur
    Sep 2 at 11:06
  • @Shadur In politics I think there's rarely a distinction. But you could say that in warfare the soldiers are the actors while the officers and politicians giving orders are the players.
    – Barmar
    Sep 2 at 13:11
  • @barmar Depending on the situation there can be significant overlap.
    – Shadur
    Sep 2 at 15:08
  • @Shadur And as suggested by the definitions in the answer, in those cases "player" is often used for the actors with more influence.
    – Barmar
    Sep 2 at 15:14

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