This is the tendency for space states not to have an actual identification beyond a generic term for a given political system. Often this is specified a little by equally generic terms such as "of planets". But there is no identity with any local culture. Writers can justify this by explaining that past conquerors decided that it was bad politics to hurt their subjects' feelings more than necessary. This is partly a result of Good Republic, Evil Empire
: The Republic
or The Kingdom
are generic goodness, empires are simply evil, and that's all that needs to be said.
Anime and Manga
- Star Wars: The Galactic Republic, which Palpatine turned into the Galactic Empire. (The trend continues in the Expanded Universe with the New Republic, then the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances...) Also, the separatists are officially the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
- David Weber's Dahak series (Mutineers' Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance, Heirs of Empire) has the Fifth Imperium. And the Fourth Empire, and the Fourth Imperium, and the Third Imperium and... well, you get the picture.
- They are technically the Xth Imperium/Empire of Man, but since they're usually the only real game in town people usually don't bother.
- Played straight in The History of the Galaxy series with the Confederacy of Suns (which doesn't actually include the Sun) and the Stellar Caliphate. Averted with the Earth Alliance.
- The Galactic Federation in the Sector General books, which strictly speaking isn't confined to a single galaxy.
- Present among the more important entities in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, including the eponymous Foundation (eventually called the Foundation Federation), the Galactic Empirenote , and the Union of Worlds (founded by the Mule). Technically, the term "Foundation" is a remnant of the Encyclopedia Foundation, whose original perceived purpose is abandoned after the first few decades. And, of course, the Second Foundation. Averted with many of the smaller states that arise during and after the Empire's collapse, which are generally named after the old Imperial provinces and/or the capital worlds of the new states.
- Dune has the Imperium, officially known as the Galactic Padishah Empire. The prequels have the Synchronized Worlds and the League of Nobles, as well as another unnamed Empire preceding both.
- Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys duology has the Conclave, the Star Shadow, the briefly-mentioned Crystal Alliance, and the Trade League.
- The government the Galactic Patrol belongs to in the Lensman books is only ever referred to as Civilization.
- Ender's Game has the Hegemony and the Starways Congress.
- The Associated Worlds, from the Eldraeverse. Lampshaded as necessarily generic to let otherwise disagreeable polities agree on it, and that everyone disagrees on what exactly the "Associated" means.
- The Empire of the Star could reasonably claim to be the Eldraeic Empire, but at the time they formed they hadn't made it out into space, much less encompassed their homeworld.
- The Common Confederation in The Androids Dream, a loose multi-species union similar to the modern-day UN.
- Vyacheslav Shalygin's The Fall of the Galaxy has the Galaxy, a vast empire taking up a large chunk of our galaxy. One of the other star nations, the Seven Systems Union, also fits the trope (although their nickname "Crabs" doesn't, as it refers to the Union's location in the Crab Nebula). The other great nation, the Bargon Empire, doesn't fit, though.
- Star Trek: The United Federation of Planets.
- By contrast, Klingons still consider themselves Klingons, and Romulans still regard themselves as Romulans. No crisis of ethnic identity there.
- Of course, both the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire include other species as well. They just aren't given equal status and are really only mentioned in the Star Trek Expanded Universe (there is a novel where both the Federation and the Romulans are offering membership to a civilization that has recently discovered warp drive; while the choice would seem to be a no-brainer, the race ends up going with the Romulans, as they need stability more than they need freedom).
- Played straight with the Dominion.
- Also averted with the Mirror Universe Evil Counterpart the Terran Empire but played straight with the Alliance.
- Not necessarily. While it is often just called "the Alliance," the full name is the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.
- The Alliance in Firefly, though technically, the full title of the government is "the Union of Allied Planets." There's also the "Hands of Blue" and the "Academy," though both of those are actually nicknames for specific people or organizations, and the Operative, which is, well, a title for a secret government agent.
- The Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda. The name doesn't sound like something that stretches throughout three galaxies. Averted with the Nietzschean Empire that never arose.
- Also averted with the Vedran Empire, which preceded the Commonwealth.
- The original Battlestar Galactica has the Eastern Alliance on the Planet Terra (which isn't Earth), a fascist nation subscribing to the "Master Race" idea and fully prepared to unleash a nuclear Armageddon on their ideological opponents known as the Nationalists.
- Traveller: The Third Imperium
- The Third Imperium even went this one better by changing its capital's name from Sylea to "Capital"
- Arguably justified. While the Third Imperium began as what was effectively a Sylean Empire, it became an empire glued together by its upper caste rather then by a core ethnicity. It probably would have been diplomatic to not stress the Sylean origins.
- Other states are less bland about it. The Terran Confederation was the TERRAN Confederation long after most of its population grew up on other planets and were of mixed Solomani-Vilani descent.
- And the Vilani before them were blatant about their Vilani origins. But one of their empire's names is the Ziru Sirka which means Grand Imperium of the Stars.
- The Planetary Consortium in Eclipse Phase.
- The games in the Space Empires series even have a list of generic empire names and titles, all of which are cosmetic. Starting in SE4 however, you can define the political system your civilization adopts. Which doesn't prevent you from calling your very loose federation an empire.
- It never stopped the Holy Roman Empire, later the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, from calling itself one.
- Humanity's spacefaring government in Mass Effect is the Systems Alliance. Possibly justified since it has little or no authority on Earth itself, which is still a collection of independent nations.
- The United Nations Space Command and the Covenant in Halo.
- The Wing Commander series features the Confederation and the Border Worlds. Although sometimes the Confederation is the Terran Confederation.
- The Avernum series lampshades it with the Empire, which is described as "Not the Something Empire or the Empire of Something. Why bother with names, when you are the only Empire around?"
- The Coalition of Ordered Governments in Gears of War. (Get it? COG? Gears?) In the backstory there's also the Union of Independent Republics.
- Escape Velocity Nova has the Federation (full and formal name the Federation of United Planets, although that is only mentioned in the Preambles) in the present and in the past the latest (and possibly first — there is no information on what preceded it) pan-human government, the Colonial Council. More-or-less inverted by the Polaris (named for the North Star, as the colonial expedition that led to their founding set beyond that star), where we never find out if their state has a governmental term in it.
- Sins of a Solar Empire has the Trade Emergency Coalition (formerly the Trade Order) and the Advent.
- The Northern Coalition in Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
- Star Lancer has the Coalition and the Alliance.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Federation - in opposition to The Triceraton Republic. In the '80s cartoon, they were called the Triceraton Empire.
- The "United Republic of Nations" in the The Legend of Korra. It's meant to be a politically neutral country in the world of Avatar, as well as negotiator to prevent future conflicts between the Fire Nation, Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribes and the (slowly resurgent) Air Nomads.
- The Hanseatic League which dominated the Medieval Baltic (the word Hanse roughly means "merchant's guild" or "trading league", at least for older examples). There were other Hansas, but the North German one was so powerful and dominant (and long-lasting — the last diet was in the mid-17th century) that if one didn't add any other descriptors it was assumed that was the Hansa meant.
- The League Of Nations and the United Nations, although those don't claim to be states.
- The actual name of what used to to be the British Commonwealth (and before that the British Empire) is the Commonwealth of Nations.
- The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a description of the supposed form of government, with no reference to geography or nationality (a "soviet" was a kind of local workers' council). Of course it just led to the rest of the world referring to the people (or at least the leaders) thereof as "Soviets".
- The Commonwealth of Independent States, the organization that replaced the USSR.
- Silly but real: the Miss Universe pageant is hubristically generic in name, considering that no one from outside of one local planet has ever been allowed to compete. At least, as far as we know.
- The United States of America is often referred to as simply "the United States", especially in formal contexts such as official titles like President of the United States or Supreme Court of the United States. Conversely, The United States of Mexico usually has that part of it's name dropped just to avoid confusion.
- Similarly, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is often simply the United Kingdom, presumably for the sake of brevity. Of course, even this is rare outside of formal contexts.
- Assorted sporting events that banner themselves as "World Series" - especially since they universally neglect to specify which world and almost never have representation from the whole world. Baseball is among the worst offenders of the latter type. note
- The Little League World Series averts this, as champions have come from the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Venezuela, and Curaçao.
- China's Mandarin name, Zhōngguó, means "central states" or "middle kingdom". Sometimes referring to the culturally distinct core area of the region or the capital, sometimes referring to the belief that they were the center of civilization. Though often the empire was known by the name of the ruling dynasty, such as the Qin dynasty which may be where the English name comes from.