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Political Science Nature and Scope

Political Science

Man is a social animal. He cannot live in isolation, because he is not self-sufficient and the natural instinct to survive compels him to live a collective life. According to Aristotle, this collective life necessitates a political mechanism of rules, regulations and leadership. An organized society needs some system to make and enforce rules for orderly behaviour in society. This led to the evolution of a political system with elaborate governmental institutions and procedures in each society. Therefore, man is also a political animal. Political science is one of the oldest subjects of study of this political life of man. It focuses on the theory and practice of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels.

Political Science is the branch of knowledge that deals with systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the state and political institutions through scientific analysis. It is an academic discipline concerned with man’s official institutions and activities, such as the state, government, citizenship, public affairs, etc. In other words, it is a social science concerned with the theory, description, analysis and prediction of political behaviour, political activities and political system as a whole.

Meaning

The word ‘politics’ is derived from the Greek word ‘polis’ which means the city-state which was the basic unit of political organization in ancient Greece. It was the Greeks who first embarked upon the study of state as distinct from the church.

Science is the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation, evidence and experiment. So, political science is the branch of knowledge that deals with systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the state and political institutions through scientific analysis.

Explanation

Politics refers to the subject matter of study whereas science denotes the methodology or the way of studying the process of politics. The first term seeks to answer the question “what is studied” and the second term refers to “how is it studied”. Therefore, the political phenomenon which should be studied in accordance with a definite plan or system is called political science.

Founders

The foundations of political thinking were laid by Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Plato was the author of “The Republic”. Aristotle, also considered the father of political science, was the first to use the term ‘politics’ and he is the one who converted the subject into an academic discipline. He published his book ‘Politics’ as a first systematic study of politics.

Read More: Delinking political and economic liberalism


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