In non-political settings, or anything not based on a real-world government, the local government and how it got its power or where it derives its power tends to be really vague. Sometimes there's a princess or two hanging around since, you know. But generally speaking, all we have to go by is that good rulers are good rulers and bad rulers are bad rulers, without any sort of explanation about how exactly things are run. For tax policy, as an example, at best you might get "good rulers don't tax and evil ones do", without really explaining how anyone funds anything without taxes.
This concept is the Genericist Government. Genericists are government the way people who aren't involved in government see it — definitely present, but not relevant except in its lowest level of bureaucracy (e.g. the local police and the DMV). They're most common in works of fiction where the main point of the story is the Call to Adventure, so the nature of government and political science isn't all that important to the plot. This trope is a common cause of much Fridge Logic.
Not so common in non-fantasy works since those are usually based on real-world governments, instead of whatever we think monarchies used to be like. No Party Given is a related trope when a fictional government is based on the specific government of a specific country, but the specificity stops at the individual politicians' ideological affiliations.
Related to Skeleton Government, though a Genericist Government can be of any size. May involve an Evil Chancellor. Subdivides into The Good Kingdom, The Empire and The Federation. Contrast Royals Who Actually Do Something.
- Chrono Crusade: In the manga version, we know there's a Queen of the Demons and there are "Elders" that have some position of authority, as well as possibly a caste system or military (Chrono is specifically mentioned to be a soldier, and some demons are referred to as "low-ranked")...but we're never really clearly told how all of this works, and who makes what decisions. We're only really told that it's "corrupt." The anime is even worse in this regard, the demons are said to have a leader that rallied against God, but are still apparently working under God...
- The Pyar city and town governments appear to be these in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, though it's implied that if the four bothered to get involved with any of them, their workings would be made clearer. Basically, though, the city guards run things, and what the city governors do is a mystery.
- Subverted a bit in Chandalla, where Paul and George overhear some business taking place in City Hall. But they're not interested and pay no real attention.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Rather deliberately subverted, where King Arthur claims to be a king, and the peasant blithely demands to know what kind of government he offers, and how it is an improvement over the anarcho-syndicalist model already practiced by the local peasantry (which he insists on describing in detail). The conversation ends with the peasant complaining about "being oppressed" when King Arthur attempts to shut him up in annoyance.
- Star Wars and its prequels blurs the line between democracy and hereditary autocracy. Naboo is a monarchy with an elected queen who serves a fixed term, and Alderaan is a hereditary principality whose head of state, Prince Bail Prestor Organa, Viceroy and First Chairman, is also the sector's representative in the Galactic Senate (and later, the founder of the Rebellion).
- Inheritance Cycle: For some reason, Galbatorix is 'King' of the Broddring Empire and nothing is really described about how the government works, save for the fact it's "evil".
- In Harry Potter, the title of Minister for Magic doesn't appear to be an elected position, it seems to be appointed in some way (Dumbledore was offered it, but turned it down). The Daily Prophet is said to be explicitly in the ministry's pocket. The only other newspaper mentioned is the Quibbler, which seems to be for conspiracy buffs.
- Discworld: Most of the governments are pretty generic, except for Ankh-Morpork (Best. Tyranny. Ever.), Lancre, Klatch and Sto Lat (monarchy) and, kind of, Pseudopolis - in Unseen Academicals, Lord Vetinari is very amused by the fact that they decide to try a brave new experiment in democracy, and promptly vote not to have to pay taxes.
- The Castle in Septimus Heap has a Queen and a Palace buraucracy, but it is never shown what her job exactly is or what the bureaucracy does, apart from the vague "keeping the Castle safe".
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe averts this trope: many books go into great detail about exactly how the government works. The only problem is, it usually changes beyond all recognition from book to book Depending on the Writer, although this has reduced in recent years.
- Star Trek: Articles of the Federation laid out some of the fine points; the Federation, appropriately, seems to be a federal legislature, not entirely unlike the American Congressional system (or perhaps the Articles of Confederation; member nations retain a lot of individual control).
- Averted with a vengeance in A Song of Ice and Fire, which goes into great detail about the governments of Westeros and some of the nations of Essos too, and how they function. Westeros mostly resembles the feudal system of medieval Europe (namely England) , though things get a bit more complicated when more than one person claims to be king...
- Nineteen Eighty-Four: The dystopian state in the novel doesn't have a specific ideology beyond naked totalitarianism. Oceania officially practices Ingsoc (English Socialism), while its rivals Eurasia and Eastasia respectively practice Neo-Bolshevism and an ideology that can best be translated as "Obliteration of the Self". However, there's no practical difference between them, and any illusion of such is just to keep the state of war between them active. A government agent of Oceania specifically defies the notion that they are successors to the Nazi Germans or Soviet Communists, since those groups still couched their murderousness behind utopian goals. Big Brother's regime is after power and making people suffer for its own sake.
- Star Trek: There is a Federation Council, but what are its powers and how are its members selected? What's the role of the President (seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)? Is Starfleet Earth's space military, the Federation's as a whole, or is it some combination? Is it even a military force at all? We don't know how the civilian government is selected at all, the role of Starfleet (how does it answer to the civilian authority?), what it means to be a member of the Federation (does a member planet completely lose its independence, or is it like being in the UN?)...
- Dungeons & Dragons lists a magocracy, a government made up of magic users as a government type. It was also used in a vague manner in The Movie and the sequel. Given the vast distinctions between inherited magic (sorcerers), book-learnin' (wizards), and divinely-granted magic (clerics, etc.), "magocracy" raises lots of questions...
Magocracies tend to be run by wizards, the ones who benefit the most from a structural edifice with libraries and suchlike. They tend to be like a university on a larger scale, with everyone who can't cast being stuck as a servant. Pretty much a plutocracy/meritocracy, except the only merit being measured is how good you are at playing hob with the fabric of reality and nuking those who annoy you. Except for the monarchy/magocracy, where the ruling family are all sorcerers.
- GURPS lists "Utopia" as a government type.
- The government in Mirror's Edge is vague. People are elected somehow but the rest of it is not detailed.
- Mass Effect: We know the three (later four) people at the very top of Citadel space, law enforcement on the Citadel, a small organization of black-ops agents with extremely high authority, and beyond that... not much else. We don't see any middle management or local self-government except on two Vice City planets that aren't even part of Citadel space. We know that Earth is still fractured into nation-states, but nothing about the colonies. Still, much of that information is present in the codex (though in the secondary part). For example, you find out that the Asari are made up of a group of nation-states reminiscent of Ancient Greece, and the only official that the Asari recognize among their own people is the Asari Councilor.
- The Systems Alliance is even more generic, they never show a civilian leader beyond the Ambassador, and we only hear vague references to some kind of parliament, and it being some kind of conglomeration of corporations.
- Used in Dominic Deegan, where the government is vaguely defined. We know there's a king, and up until recently there was an order of Royal Knights, and that Dominic doesn't think much of the government as a whole (likening them to criminals) and...well, that's about it.