An Introduction to Political Science
Political science is the systematic study of governance through the use of empirical and scientific methods of analysis.
Traditionally, political science is defined as the science that examines the state, its organs, and institutions.
However, the modern definition is far more flexible. The contemporary discipline encompasses the study of every cultural, psychological, and societal factor that collectively influence the government’s operation.
Albeit political science adopts most of its core principles from the other social sciences, it differentiates from them by its emphasis on power—characterized as the ability of one political actor to impose its will on another political actor—at the national, international, and universal levels.
Political science is commonly utilized in the particular form, yet in French and Spanish, the plural form (sciences politiques and ciencias políticas, respectively) is utilized, maybe as a reflection of the degree’s eclectic nature.
Albeit political science covers impressively with political way of thinking, the two fields are particular. Political way of thinking is concerned basically with political thoughts and qualities, for example, rights, equity, opportunity, and political commitment (regardless of whether individuals ought to or ought not comply with political power); it is regulating in its methodology (i.e., it is worried about what should be as opposed to with what is) and rationalistic in its strategy.
Conversely, political science favors the descriptive over the normative, and creates hypotheses, develops theories, and makes predictions based on empirical observations which are expressed in quantitative terms where conceivable.
Is political science a real science?
Many scholars question whether this discipline can be considered a proper science since, despite making use of empirical investigation, it doesn’t produce precise measurements and predictions.
Be that as it may, if the term science applies to any discipline of methodologically organized knowledge dependent on facts ascertained by empirical methods and described by as much measurement as the material allows, then political science is a science.
During the 1960s the American science historian Thomas S. Kuhn contended that political science was “pre-paradigmatic,” not yet having created essential paradigms, for example, the periodic table that sets the table for chemistry.
All things considered, political science never will build up a solitary, widespread worldview or hypothesis, and endeavors to do so have not endured the test of time, making political science an art of many trends but few classics.
Fields And Subfields
Many universities separate political science (known as government or politics at some institutions) into several fields, each of which contains various subfields.
- Domestic politics: the most common field of study. Its subfields include elections, national government, public opinion, and state, local, or regional government.
- Comparative politics: as the name suggests, comparative politics analyzes the similarities and differences between countries and their politics.
- International relations: studies the political relationships and interactions between countries, including the causes of war, formation of policy, international economy, among others. International relations is usually a separate department in some universities.
- Political theory: the most philosophical of the political sciences, it studies classical political philosophy in contrast to contemporary political theories.
- Public administration: studies the role of the governmental bureaucracy. It is the field most oriented toward practical applications and prepares students for careers in the civil service.
- Public law: studies constitutions, civil rights, criminal justice, and legal systems.
- Public policy: considers the implementation of policies, particularly those related to civil rights, civil defense, education, health, economic growth, regional development, and environmental care.
Debates In Political Science
Political researchers accumulate information and define hypotheses. When the two assignments are regularly out of parity, it drives either to the assortment of immaterial realities or to the development of misdirecting hypotheses.
All through the post-World War II era, political researchers created and disposed of various speculations, and there was significant (and uncertain) banter with regards to whether it is essential to create hypotheses and then gather information to affirm or dismiss them or to gather and dissect information from which hypotheses would stream.
Maybe the most seasoned philosophical debate has to do with the overall significance of subjectivity and objectivity. Numerous political researchers have tried to create approaches that are value-free and entirely objective.
In present-day political science, a lot of this discussion happens among structuralists and cultural theorists. Structuralists guarantee that the manner by which the world is sorted out (or organized) decides governmental issues and that the correct objects of study for political science are force, interests, and institutions, which they interpret as target highlights of political life.
In contrast, cultural theorists study values, psychology, and opinions argue that subjective interpretations of reality are more important than objective reality itself. In any case, most researchers currently accept that the two domains feed into each other and can’t be completely isolated.
To clarify the obvious inertia of Japan’s political framework, for instance, a structuralist would refer to the nation’s appointive laws and ground-breaking services, whereas a cultural theorists would point to Japanese deeply rooted values such as obedience and honor. Not many in either would dismiss the arguments of the other.
Is Political Science Worth it?
If you’re considering a career in politics or government, perhaps you’re wondering whether it would be worthwhile to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science.
The truth is that I can’t answer that for you. Political science is a lovely career with great professional opportunities. However, its not for everyone. Just like with any career, there is no guarantee that you will find a job that you love, or that the things you learn are going to be of any use for you.
Thankfully, there’s one thing that can guarantee that you will not regret studying ANY career: passion. If politics is something you truly love, there is no shortage of jobs or bar to entree that will take away the joy of doing what you love.
And with that, I sign off. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to read more articles like this one, subscribe to my newsletter.