Since time immemorial politics has played a key role in every society. Leadership has devolved from witch in tribes to oligarchy in villages and cities and from king to president and Prime Minister in modern democracy. Politics is not the talk of palaces but it is a concern of the mass in general. Thus it has also become a subject of discussion for common people
Politics is derived from the Greek word “polis” which means a city state. In ancient Greece every city was a state. Aristotle, the father of political science in his book deals with the political life of the city state.
Traditional definition of politics
In political parlance it is claimed that “politics “deals with the state. It is said that state is the pivot around which politics revolves. Various writers have considered politics and state as synonymous. Professor Garner says that politics begins and ends with the state. According to Getell politics is the study of the state in the past, present and future. It is hence forth understood that the government is an agency through which the state expresses its will. Ultimately, Politics as the theory of the state leads to politics as the theory of the government. In a nut shell the study of politics embraces men, government, political parties among others.
Modern definition of politics
Politics as the theory of state and government is no longer in existence these days. Both Marxists and the liberals believe that “politics “is the study of power. Machiavelli and Hobbs may be described as the foremost thinkers who had advocated the study of power as the central theme of politics. In the words of Max Weber, “politics is the struggle for power or the influencing of those in powers and embraces the struggle between states as such and between organized groups within the state”. In the words of Lass well, the subject matter of politics is “who gets what, when and how?
Traditional writers have measured politics on an institutional, formal and legal basis whereas the modern writers put much emphasis on the study of socio- economic condition of a country. In the absence of the above one will find it difficult to understand the political life of the state. Because politics is entangled with controversies both the traditional and the modern thinkers believe that it is not a science. The modern thinkers have adopted the scientific methods like surveys, statistical methods, computers, questionnaires, interviews, opinion polls etc just to give the subject a scientific horizon. Despite the applications of these methods politics is still considered as an art. In politics there is no relation between causes – effects which are generally found in the realm of science.
Politics: political science
A line of distinction should be drawn between politics and political science and also between politicians and political scientists. Generally by politics we mean current politics or day to day problems of government. Anyone who takes interest in current politics, participate in political activities and political movements is a politician.
Social legislation, labour laws, tariff, strikes and minority representation attract the attention of the politicians. A political scientist is one who shows inordinate interest in the study of political principles and government organization. On the hand, a politician may have a superficial knowledge of political science. Well read politicians may have a deep knowledge of political affairs and this can help them to become political scientists as well as politician.
Political science is the study of various forms of government together with their respective pros and cons and so on. It also includes the study of the legislative, executive and judiciary systems. Political and allied matters such as the growth, development and manifestoes of various political parties as well as their influence on public opinion, press and platform which have become vital organs of these days, have a direct concern with the making and unmaking of government.