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Outline of political science

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to politics and political science:

Politics – the exercise of power; process by which groups of people make collective decisions. Politics is the art or science of running governmental or state affairs (including behavior within civil governments), institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic, and religious segments of society.

Political science – the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior.

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Political science is the systematic study of government and politics. It is a social science just like sociology or psychology or anthropology in that we are fascinated by human behavior, but in the case of political science we look at political behavior in particular. Political science has often been defined as who gets what, when, where, and how. Political science is about power relationships. Why should one study political science? Political science is fascinating! It's about people. Politics impacts our lives directly and indirectly whether we're aware of it or not. If there's a crime that takes place one calls the police. That's government. If there's a fire that takes place one calls the fire department. That's also government. The military is government as well. Our civil liberties, our rights, that impacts us on a daily basis, so if one happens to get pulled over by a police officer, for example, what are their legal rights in that kind of situation? The question of textbook costs and so on and so forth, these are actually fundamentally political decisions that are made by politicians, by elected officials. Political science is a very broad discipline, but some of the subdisciplines include national, state, and local government, so if one is taking political science courses in the United States then they might take courses in American government, on the American presidency, the court system. There's international relations. That is a discipline where we look at how all of the various actors within the global system or the international system interact with one another. In an international relations course one might learn about topics such as human rights, such as globalization, such as international relations theories that help us understand the world around us or at least attempt to explain various international phenomena. Power, military power, hard power, soft power. Another area that one might study within international relations would be foreign policy decision-making. And, in fact, one can take courses at most American colleges and universities and colleges and universities, indeed, throughout the world in studying the foreign policy of particular countries. Another subdiscipline within political science is political theory and/or political philosophy. And, in those courses one would study some of the great thinkers throughout human history who have grappled with tough political, philosophical questions about the nature of power, about the nature of human beings, and also really get into discussing various ideas and many of the "isms": socialism, communism, Islamism, feminism and so on. Another subdiscipline of political science is comparative government and politics. In comparative politics courses, we discuss and analyze the various political systems around the world. And, there are two major approaches to the study of comparative politics. The first is the thematic approach where one would study the various broad themes that would help us understand the various political systems around the world, such as revolutions or nationalism, things of that nature. Another approach is a country-by-country approach where one studies the various countries around the world and their political systems, and domestic politics, and domestic political issues within a particular country. So, within comparative politics one can focus on the various regions of the world. So, for example, Middle East North African politics, or Latin American politics, or Asian and/or African politics, or European politics. Another subdiscipline in the area of political science would be research methodology or quantitative analyses courses, and that's actually sort of the science part of political science where one would utilize numbers to understand, explain, and predict political behavior. There are many things that one can do with a political science major in terms of career options. One could work for government at the federal, state, or local levels. One could work for the United Nations or other international governmental organizations. One could work in the nonprofit sector for non-governmental or nonprofit organizations, or one might actually become a Senator or president or an elected official. In addition, one could teach with a political science background. One could be a diplomat and work as a foreign service officer or work for the State Department. One can also work in business and/or even in journalism, in the news media. A political science background really prepares one for a wide range of possible career options. I would say that one would want to study political science because it's fascinating. It's about people, it's about the story of people. Political science will help you better analyze current events. Anyone whose literate can read newspapers or articles online, but political science will give you that ability to analyze the current events that are going on. It'll help you better formulate arguments, and strengthen your arguments, and develop your critical thinking skills. It's perhaps human nature to sort of look for easy answers and easy solutions and kind of get into black-and-white thinking, but what political science will do for someone is actually get you to understand that there are shades of grey, and that there's nuance, and that the world around us is not just black and white. And, again, political science is a social science, so it's about people, and any social scientist finds the study of people fascinating. If you'd like to learn more about your legal rights, if you would like to learn more about the constitution, United States Constitution that impacts you every day, then political science might be for you.

Fields of study of political science

Related disciplines

Political theory


Voting is a key form of decision-making in politics. A female journalist displays her inked finger after casting her vote in Afghanistan's western Herat province.


Order of succession


Political institutions

Institutions are often the framework within which politics happens. Pictured is the Supreme Court of the United States.

Branches of government

The separation of powers is typically set in the constitution or basic law in order to achieve checks and balances within government. The typical model has three branches, and is referred to as the trias politica.

Political parties, and their number, are important aspects of representative systems. The number of political parties in the Hellenic Parliament of Greece has varied across time.

Political parties

Political behavior

Theories of political behaviour

Political strategy

Voting behavior

Political dysfunction

Types of polities and forms of government

By level of social organisation

By formal power structure

By source of power

Political ideologies and philosophies

Governments of the world

Political issues and policies


Economic policy

Foreign and security policy

Social policy

Politics by continent

Foreign relations by continents

Political parties by continent

History of politics

Political scholars

Influential literature

See also

Further reading

  • Roskin, M.; Cord, R. L.; Medeiros, J. A.; Jones, W. S. (2007). Political Science: An Introduction. 10th ed. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-242575-9 (10). ISBN 978-0-13-242575-9 (13).
  • Tausch, A.; Prager, F. (1993). Towards a Socio-Liberal Theory of World Development. Basingstoke: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Oxford Handbooks of Political Science – ten-volume set covering the political science topics political methodology, public policy, political theory, political economy, comparative politics, contextual political analysis, international relations, Law and Politics, political behavior, and political institutions. The general editor of the series is Robert E. Goodin.[5][6]


  1. ^ Suissa, Judith (2001). "Anarchism, Utopias and Philosophy of Education". Journal of Philosophy of Education 35 (4). pp. 627–646. doi:10.1111/1467-9752.00249.
  2. ^ Mill, John Stuart (1861). "Chapter VII, Of True and False Democracy; Representation of All, and Representation of the Majority only". Considerations on Representative Government. London: Parker, Son, & Bourn.
  3. ^ Carlisle, Rodney P., ed., The Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right, Volume 2: The Right (Thousand Oaks, California, United States; London, England; New Delhi, India: Sage Publications, 2005) p. 693.
  4. ^ Mabbett 1964 "References to the work in other Sanskrit literature attribute it variously to Viṣṇugupta, Cāṇakya and Kauṭilya. The same individual is meant in each case. The Pańcatantra explicitly identifies Chanakya with Viṣṇugupta."
  5. ^ Oxford Handbook Of Political Theory
  6. ^ Walsh, Mary (1 May 2008). "The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory". Contemporary Political Theory. 7 (2): 232–234. doi:10.1057/cpt.2008.2.

External links

This page was last edited on 30 October 2023, at 12:15
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