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Nature of Politics Areas of Study in Political Science.

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Presentation on theme: "Nature of Politics Areas of Study in Political Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nature of Politics Areas of Study in Political Science

2 Political Philosophy The oldest field of study in the discipline Concerned with normative (what ought to be) concepts. Concerned with the clarification of the meaning of major political concepts such as freedom, justice, equality, human nature and the purpose of political life. In the classical period of Greek civilization, the major focus of political philosophy was what the ideal society was like and the relationship between the state, individuals and governance. (Plato and Aristotle) Out of the Renaissance the focus expanded to include the nature of political obligation. (Hobbes, Locke and Rosseau)

3 Political Economy Deals with the inter-relationship of economic and political processes. Analysis is placed on how nations produce wealth and processes of regulation and control. Major contributors to this field include: David Ricardo advocated the lifting of restrictions on private investment and the elimination of government’s role in the economy. Adam Smith attempted to develop a theory of society based on the operation of the free market. Karl Marx’s methodology rooted political economy in the historical movement of production.

4 Comparative Politics The study of a broad range of activity including government and political institutions. Through the study of comparative politics, attempts have been made to develop global systems. For example, David Easton developed the notion of the political system. In the 1960’s notions of political culture and political values became important. Theories of development are also an area of focus. Since decolonization, attempts have been made to identify the nature of the state, institutions and political values in former colonial territories.

5 Public Administration Studies institutional arrangements, the complex of agencies and the formal rule structures and conventions which govern the delivery of public services. The critical concept is that of the bureaucracy and it role in policy making.

6 International Relations Examines in essence the political, economic and diplomatic relations between governments and nation states. Examines the role of the world economy in influencing foreign policy and decision making. Also important is the study of international organizations and their role in international relations.

7 Political Methodology Focuses on the collection of quantitative data and analysis. The objective is to explain why people behave politically as they do, and why as a result political processes and systems function as they do. The critical tenets are: -the regularities of political behaviour which can be generalised into a theory. -empirical verification and testing of the validity of the theory -development of techniques for seeking, interpreting, quantifying and measuring data. -a distinction between values as ethical behaviour and those linked with empirical causation. (Major area of success is the development of public opinion polls)

8 References Thorson and Sabine. A history of Political Thought Harris, P.B. Foundations of Political Science De Vos, T. Introduction to Politics Barry, N.P. An Introduction to Modern Political Theory.

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