Political science can be described as a field of study that concentrate on power and its distributing in different types of political systems present in various states (Greenstein & Polsby, 2005). It put more emphasis on various sources of power, exercise of power, people responsible to exercise power and how power is being exercised. In other words, political science focuses on the study of politics as well as governance within empirical model. Additionally, political science deals with the study power relations as well as how political behavior is practiced in the society at large. It seeks to identify the acquisition, sustainability and demonstration of political power in the society.
Furthermore, political science to a large extent contributes not only in the distribution of power in a country, but also in the distribution and allocation national resources. It directs political unit and operations of governments. It also identifies the acquisition of power mechanisms, power relations and its use (Eulau & March, 2002).Therefore, political science play a key role in helping leaders to comprehend what good governance is all about and its importance to the society.
On the other hand, politics can be described as a game of power and influence. It reveals itself in situations that involve power, hierarchy, society and decision making. Moreover, power relation states the individual in higher level in the hierarchy exercises more power in the society compared to the inferior.
Political science also focuses on various social, political, economical and cultural arrangements through which individuals in the society govern their daily lives. It tries to provide comprehensive information about the past, explain the current and attempt to anticipate about the future. As a field of study, political science deals with various fields such as the development of political philosophy as well the implications of the current political concepts to the issues of development in rising nations. The discipline covers diverse and broad areas such as the performance of state government from the local to international level.
However, many people perceive politics from the perspective of what governments do, but the fact of the matter is that political science deals with matters of more interest in the society and globally. Political science study and explain the occurrence of issues such as the problems of cities, authoritarian and democratic political system. Additionally, it deals with war and peace, human rights, global political economy, political parties and types of political participation, constitutional law and international law among other issues.
As a result of abundant knowledge that political science majors gain from the study of various fields, most of them opts to work in public service. Also, most political science graduates choose to work in government agencies. Other areas that political scientists can work include business, journalism and teaching. Additionally, a large number of such political science graduates opt to join politics, whereas a large number of them decide to join law school.
Aristotle's View of Politics
According to Aristotle, political science can be described as a field of study that is concerned with the study of government and politics. The main tasks carried out by political scientist include the investigation of nature of various states, voter behavior, different functions that are performed by the central authority/governments. Additionally, political scientists concentrate on the study of political parties, political economy, political culture, public opinion among others.
Although, political science is linked with political philosophies of Aristotle and Plato, in the modern sense, it did not start until the 19th century, which is the period when many social sciences were established. The first school that introduced political science as a field of the study was the Free School of Political Science which was established in 1871 in Paris.
According to Aristotle, who was a Greek philosopher, political science studies various tasks that a politician or a statesman is expected to perform in the same way that medical science deals with the work of medical professionals such as doctors and nurses. This is because it happens to be the vital body of knowledge that such experts apply in executing their daily tasks. The most vital task that politicians are expected to perform is that of lawmaking which involves the enactment of laws that govern a state. Additionally, politicians have the mandate of framing the proper constitution for a nation. This process entails enduring customs, laws as well as institutions for the state’s citizens.
Once the constitution is functional, politicians are required to take proper measures in order to maintain it. They are also required to take appropriate measures when introducing necessary reforms and prevent adjustments which can destabilize the political system. According to Aristotle, this is legislative science, which is extremely vital than politics that take place in daily political activities like passing of a verdict.
Moreover, Aristotle has consistently compared a politician with a craftsman. Such analogy is not clear since politics deals strictly with the logic of legislative science. Additionally, it is also a form of practical knowledge while craft like medicine or architecture is a type of productive knowledge. However, the comparison between the two can be valid with regard to the fact that politicians produce, maintains and operates a legal system according to general principles.
Main areas of study in Political Science
The main areas of study in political science include comparative politics, international relations, Political Theory, public policy and Political Behavior (Jacobsen & Lipman, 2005). These are extremely vital aspects in ensuring proper governance in a country as well as enhancing the operations of the government. Acquisition of comprehensive knowledge in such fields enables politicians as well as the government leaders to ensure that they maintain people’s confidence and enhance the relationship between the public and the government. Moreover, these fields of study promote strong relationships between different countries. This implies that these fields of study enable a government relate well with foreign countries.
Political science is described as the scientific study than one politics and/ or system of government. In the current world, there are different systems of governments with regard to historical or cultural orientation or the geographical location of a specific society. Therefore, diverse administrative systems are studied by specialists in political science so as to be able to draw parallels. The study of comparative politics in political science intends to identify the main reason as to why some systems in the society are more effective and efficient than others (Marsh & Stoker, 2002). It also seeks to identify why some societies have a stable government while other societies face political mayhem.
Basically, comparative politics studies politics among nations and administrative systems in a society. It can study constitutions, administrative structures or policies of different countries. Comparative politics can also investigate the common phenomenon cases such as democratic transition, electoral violence, political assassinations, military or civilian coups, public administration.
Therefore, political science plays a vital role in enabling politicians and students in political science major to identify the political systems in different countries. It also help them to identify the relationship that exist between the political systems of different countries, benefits of various political systems as well as issues that can arise as a result of application of particular forms of political systems in a country. For instance, through comparative politics, both politicians and political science majors are able to identify the political systems that can lead to political stability or instability within a country or between different nations.
Additionally, comprehensive knowledge on comparative politics enables politicians and leaders of a country to exhibit or practice political activities that can be beneficial to the domestic country with relation to the foreign countries. Furthermore, comparative politics enable politicians and leaders of a country to prevent political practices that can destabilize the political stability of a country or destroy mutual relationships among countries.
In political science, international relation is also one on the major field of study. International relations deal with the study of the interaction or relationship primarily between states, this interaction between states can either be friendly relationship or antagonistic in nature. Therefore, anything that is across the border can be classified under international relation. This field deals with the study of international organizations and institutions. It also focuses on the study of foreign policy processes, global political economy, peace and strategic studies as well as peace research. International relations have led to the introduction of more fields of study which comprise of terrorism, global warming, democratization, piracy just to name a few.
In addition, international relations studies are currently facing paradigm shift as a result of globalization and dynamic scientific innovations in areas such as information, communication and technology. As a result of globalization, the world has changed into a global village; this implies that some problems which were initially considered to be of national concern, are currently gaining recognition internationally as a result of globalization. For example, terrorism is currently an international problem which cannot be addressed by one political actor, but it requires the combined efforts among countries.
The study of international law can either be multidisciplinary or meta-disciplinary approach. Multidisciplinary deals with gathering the global features of law, history, economics, sociology and politics. On the other hand, meta-disciplinary deals with universal structures as well as patterns of interaction between people in history.
International relations obtained academic approval immediately after the end of World War II. During that period, attention had shifted to potential means of preventing any possibility of a World War. As a result of the damages that were contributed by the World War II, different scholars and professionals established appropriate solutions to end conflict, and this resulted to the establishment of foundation of international relations as one of the academic disciplines in political science. Therefore, international relations mean total interactions with the international systems which include government or state activities, individual activities and the activities of various non-governmental organizations.
As a result of inclusion of international relations as a field of study in political science, politicians and other experts are able to realize political activities that can unite a country with foreign countries as well as those political activities that can hamper good relationships among states. Therefore, it is through the concept of international relations that a country can work together with other nations in enhancing the stability of a country in terms financial stability and well as national security. For instance, due to the knowledge of international relations, many countries are currently working together to eliminate terrorism because it poses a massive threat to the international security. Therefore, political science plays a vital role in enhancing the relationship between countries.