What is Political Science?

What is Political Science?

A systematic study of governance through the application of political science, research and the analysis of scientific methods in general. Political science, sometimes called political science, is a social science that deals with the analysis of governance and political activities, political thinking, and political behavior. The contemporary discipline, however, is broader; a combination of all social, cultural and psychological issues that unilaterally influence the operation of government and organization politics.

Political science has numerous fields including comparative politics, political economy, international relations, political theory, public administration, public policy, and political system. Political science is generally used singularly, but in French and Spanish, the plural is used (politics of science and Ciencias políticas, respectively), probably an echo of the eclectic nature of the discipline. Although political science overlaps substantially with political philosophy, the two fields are different. Accordingly, political science deals with and draws on the fields of economics, law, sociology, history, philosophy, geography, psychology/psychiatry, anthropology, and neuroscience.

Although the social sciences were not recognized academically until the 1800s, the concept of state science has existed since ancient times. During the 1950s and 1960s, a behavioral revolution spread the discipline by emphasizing the systematic and rigorously scientific study of individual and group behavior. In the sixteenth century, a more systematic understanding of governmental issues arose with the presence of political theorists such as Machiavelli, Hobbs, Russo, and Locke, whose views on property and individual rights influenced American founding father Thomas Jefferson. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the use of deductive, game-theoretical formal modeling techniques to create a more analytical corpus of knowledge in discipline was discontinued. During this time, political institutions such as the American Congress saw a boom in research that borrowed theory and methods from the economy to study, such as political behavior such as voting. William H. Ricker and his colleagues and students at the University of Rochester were the main proponents of this shift. The movement, led by political scientists David Easton, Gabriel Almond, and John Ralls, announced the merits of the study of political behavior. The concept has clearly caught on, as most colleges and universities should have students in their political science degree take classes in political behavior. Although political science, like modern science, is involved in research inquiry, it usually does not provide precise measurements and forecasts. This has led some scholars to question whether discipline can be accurately described as a science.

Political science is methodologically diverse and is used for many methods derived from the sources of psychology, social studies, and cognitive neuroscience. Methods include positivism, interpretive, rational choice theory, behaviorism, structuralism, post-structuralism, realism, institutionalism, and pluralism. Probably political science can never develop a single, universal paradigm or theory, and the attempt to do so rarely lasts longer than a generation, making politics a series of many trends but a few classics.

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