Students are given a superlative guide to the concepts and models political scientists bring to bear on real world happenings. Two entirely new chapters consider the dimensions of globalization, focusing on the interplay between political concerns at the level of nation states and their international contexts which shape national agendas. Introduction to Politics balances the need for clarity and ease of understanding with the need for depth of reflection on matters of political substance. It is an indispensable volume clearing a pathway for all students seeking to develop knowledge and a capacity for judgment about politics. Preface to the third edition. Preface to the second edition.
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What transpires in the polis is politics. The origin of the word therefore suggests that politics is a term encompassing the totality of human activities transpiring within the city-state. As it is applied now, it denotes everything that transpires in the state as well as among states. Politics denotes a social activity. It is in essence the interaction of individuals.
As the Greek philosopher Aristotle explains, it is the master science through which individuals collectively set structure, purpose, and ideals in their lives.
Politics, therefore, does not emerge from the activities of a single individual but from that of many. Politics is about conflict and cooperation. On the one hand, conflict is caused by the diversity among individuals. People differ in the way they perceive things, and disagree in almost every conceivable aspect of life. While it is true that men argue and fight, it is also undeniable that they desire for peace.
The process of overcoming conflict to attain order and thereafter maintain that order is politics. In other words, politics is essentially conflict resolution.
Politics is the creation, maintenance, and amendment of societal norms or rules. While politics as conflict resolution aims at establishing order in the society, the basis of order today is law. Undeniably, religion and other archaic institutions have already lost their central role as sources of order. It is law now that serves as the undisputed order-establishing institution.
Modern states and international organizations rely on the adequacy and efficacy of their laws to meet the demands of the people to attain domestic and international peace. Politics therefore, in its broad sense means conflict resolution through the creation, maintenance, and amendment of societal norms or rules. Definition of Politics It must first be pointed out that politics is a vague term. As a matter of fact, scholars and authorities in the field cannot agree on a common definition of politics.
The term includes so many concepts that it could mean almost anything or everything. The descriptions above, for example, are overly broad and may overlap with the meaning of other sciences. The following definitions therefore will only serve as starting points, and the meaning of politics will eventually be understood in the details of later discussions.
Politics is the science of government. As a science, it is a systematic body of knowledge for the most part, practical that deals with the government and regulation, maintenance and development, and defense and augmentation of the state. It also deals with the protection of the rights of its citizens, safeguarding and enhancement of morals, and harmony and peace of human relations. However, other political scientists prefer to define politics as the art, rather than the science, of government.
It is an art because it involves the exercise of control or authority within the society through the creation and enforcement of consensus arrived at by the leaders. It involves the process through which the government skillfully addresses the needs of the society by carefully allocating benefits, rewards, and penalties. Politics is the realm of public affairs or the state.
As the Greek used the term, state transactions public characterize the term political. Education as well as moral and intellectual enlightenment, are among the few things that result from the public life. It must be noted that while there is a dichotomy of public life and private life, these two are intimately connected in that they mutually depend on each other.
Politics is who gets what, when, and how. This is the famous definition of Harold Lasswell. While human needs and wants are so diverse and numerous, the resources are always limited. The struggle involved in allocating the scarce resources, and determining what to produce, how to distribute, and use them is said to be politics. Modern political theories conform to this definition as it establishes the unique connection of politics and power.
Power creates structures and explains the struggle among individuals or groups of individuals. It is in this sense that politics deviates from ethics inasmuch as any means could be used to get whatever is desired and whenever it is desired for as long as it serves the purpose.
According to Ponton and Gill, politics is the way in which social affairs are understood and ordered, and by which people acquire greater control over the situation. The definition puts to light the different political ideologies and philosophies that underlie societal structures. That by which people view and organize the world is said to be politics. Without politics, there is anarchy and a state of constant war.
But its existence establishes order in various forms. It gives rise to different kinds of governments: monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. That the society should be ruled by a single individual, by a selected few, or by all is a matter of preference that depends on the temperament of the affected group of people.
What is important is that politics helps the people acquire greater control over the vagaries of their existence. Definitions in paragraphs 2 to 4 fall under this. In the second sense, something is political because it entails distinctive qualities that make it indeed political, regardless of the place it is performed. Definitions in paragraphs 5 and 6 fall under this.
Concepts are general or universal ideas shared by people. Models refer to networks of ideas that seek to explain political realities. And theories refer to series of models which aim to systemically and empirically explain political realities.
These are intimately connected because one leads to another — concepts lead to the formation of models, and models to theories. The present section deals with three basic concepts: order, power, and justice.
Politics after all exists in diverse forms or levels of societal structures. These structures or orders are community, government, and state: a Community is one kind of social order which refers to an association of individuals who share a common identity.
This identity is formed by the unique circumstances surrounding the group of individuals like geography, history, philosophy, religion, ideology, language, race, and allegiance.
The cause of its existence is primarily protection of individuals. Economic prosperity, cultural enrichment and other social functions are only offshoots of the same. It has the following forms: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy. Monarchy is a kind of government in which one man king noted for his noble lineage and honor is vested with the right to rule and control the society.
It refers to a community of persons more or less numerous, permanently occupying a definite portion of territory, having a government of their own to which the great body of inhabitants render obedience, and enjoying freedom from external control. As a political concept, it has undergone many developments and its discussion still occupies the very heart of the study of politics.
A separate chapter will be devoted for its discussion. Power The different social orders cannot be maintained without power. Their creation and perpetuation are brought about by the exercise of power and the concomitant establishment of structures. It is elementary to know that power has many sources aside from physical force. These include wealth, culture, diplomatic relations and intelligence, to name a few. The basic rule is that the more abundant the power source, the greater the capabilities of the government.
This includes influence over the behavior of others, making them do things which they would not otherwise have done. Under such meaning of power, politics involves manipulation through the popular methods of reward and punishment.
Political scientists and philosophers, like Niccolo Machiavelli and Friedrich Nietzsche, grounded their political treatises on the concept of power. They explained the nature of politics by studying the essence of power. Justice It is said that the correct exercise of power produces justice.
If in the exercise of its power and authority, the government gives what the people need, protect and respect their rights, and put the common good over and above the personal interest of the leaders, then there is said to be justice. It must be highlighted that the embodiment of order and power in this modern times is law, whether written or customary. Thus, law is said to be the approximation of justice.
Justice is that on which law is anchored. Sometimes the law becomes unjust because it can no longer capture perfect justice. An innocent person, for instance, may be convicted, or a perpetrator may be acquitted of a crime because of the technicalities and restrictions of the law on evidence. Nevertheless, law must still be upheld since it is still the best medium of justice and by which power may be exercised correctly for the promotion of societal order.
On the one hand, political philosophy is the traditional approach in which the primary goal is to understand the essence or truth about politics. This approach aims to establish what politics ought to be. As such, it is normative or prescriptive, analytical, speculative, and essentially ethical. It is analytical because the approach is to a large extent an examination and literary analysis of the various classic writings of intellectuals and philosophers such as Confucius, Lao tzu, Plato, Aristotle, St.
Augustine, St. It is speculative because it entails abstract, theoretical and not scientific explanations of the varied subjects of politics. As such, it is descriptive, empirical, objective, and it avoids ethics.
It is empirical because it studies only observable facts, and not abstract values and concepts. It is objective because it adheres strictly to the methods of the natural sciences; it considers only the observable quantifiable facts that can be measured through the scientific method. It avoids ethics, in that values are not within its scope; only directly observable facts are studied.
It is nevertheless wrong to ask which of the two approaches is better. They complement each other. While political philosophy provides the aim, purpose, and guidelines of politics, political science gives a realistic account of what is actually happening in politics. Political science concretizes the abstract concepts of political philosophy, while political philosophy provides a basis or direction to political science.
As one writer aptly puts it, political philosophy without political science is lame, and political science without political philosophy is blind.
INTRODUCTION TO POLITICS
Introduction to Politics, 3rd Edition