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Nature and Scope of Political Science

• Term “Politics” derived from the Greek word

“Polis” which means “city state”
• Aristotle is considered as the “Father of Political
Science” His celebrated treatise is named as
To the Greeks, politics embraces everything that
touches the life of the State. Politics is commonly
understood to mean anything related to the
State. Traditionally Political Science is defined as
the subject that studies state and government
Many writers prefer the term “Politics” to “Political Science “
• Sir Frederick Pollock used the term “Politics” in its broadest
sense and divides it into theoretical and practical politics.

• Theoretically, “Politics” includes: the theory of the State the

theory of the Government the theory of legislation and the
theory of the State as an artificial person
• Practical or applied politics includes: the State (actual forms of
government) the government (working of government,
administration, etc.) laws and legislation (procedure, court,
etc.) the State personified (diplomacy, peace, war and
international dealings)
• Political Science is defined differently by different writers.
• Some of the selected definitions are as follows:
• Paul Janet ‘Political Science is that part of social science which
treats the foundations of the State and the principles of
• Gettle ‘Political Science is the historical investigation of what the
State has been, an analytical study of what the State is, and a
politico-ethical discussion of what the State should be.’
• Jenks ‘Political Science is the study that deals with state and the
• Harold Lasswell and Kaplan . Political Science as an emperical
enquiry is the duty of shaping and sharing of power.”
• Political Science is organized body of knowledge the facts of
which have been scientifically and systematically observed,
collected and classified.
• From these facts are formulated and proved a series of
propositions or laws which form the basis of the science
and these laws are used as ground work for further
• Political Science is the scientific designation of the subject
and this name has been accepted by the political scientists
in a meeting
• The foundations of the state and principles of government
have their roots in the past and their branches swing
towards the future.
• Man is a Social animal
• Is man a Political animal ?
• The concern of politics and political science is not very
different either.
• Politics relates to the interaction of individuals and groups
in relation to the state and the government.
• Aristotle, the father of political science used the term
politics for the first time in his book ‘Politics’. Politics
derived from the Greek word Polis, which means city-state.
• Politics deals with the activities and designed to shape the
decisions of politicians and officials who exercise state
power in a manner subserving the aspirations of the people
and conforming to the framework of the Constitution.
• Political Science includes Politics and more.
• Political Scientists study the interactions and processes which take
place between the people and their government in a systematic
and scientific manner explaining the behavior and relating it to the
ethos, culture and conditions of a given society.
• Political scientists study the new legal structures and techniques in
their interaction with people and officials and modify their findings
thereby contributing knowledge on political behavior and social
• Political Science has helped in the understanding of complex issues
of international politics and international relations.
• The terms politics, political science, political theory and political
philosophy are used as synonyms though there is slight change in
the shade of meaning,i.e,the study of State.
Classical Definitions
• J.W.Garner-Political Science begins and ends with the State.
• Dr.Stephen Leacock-Political Science deals with Government.
• Jenks-Politics is the study that deals with the State and the
Modern Definitions
• Harold Lasswel and Kaplan- Politics as an empirical enquiry is the
duty of shaping and sharing of power.
• Herald J.Laski- The study of politics concerns itself with the life of
men in relation to organized states.
• Max Weber- Politics is the struggle for power or the influencing of
those in power.
Scope of Political Science
• The scope of the political science is determined by the inquiries
may broadly be classified under the state as it is, the state as it has
been, the state as it ought to be.
• Political Science explains the theories such as
idealism,liberalism,fascism,communism etc,originated in the past
and present.
• Democracy,liberty,equality,sovereignty are the central concern of
the political science.
• Power, authority and legitimacy are also the central concern of the
political science.
• Political Science covers social values, political socialisation,public
administration, national and international organizations etc.
Nature of Political Science
• Aristotle,Bodin,Hobbes,Montesquieu etc,hold that
politics is a science
• J.S.Mill,Auguste Comte,Barker etc,opinied that politics
is not a science
• Politics is a social science as well as an art.
• Science requires art, art requires science, each being
complementary to the other.
• Politics is considered as an art as well as social science.
• Politics gives practical guidelines to the rulers and
administrators along with citizens.
Science is associated with methodology, generality and
verifiability. Science means knowledge obtained and
legitimized through a specified methodology
The aim of science is to formulate general propositions which
explain the behaviour of objects and make predictions about
their future mode of operations. The findings and
propositions are possible to be verified
Political Science has yet to evolve concepts which have agreed
upon meanings Political phenomena are too complex, so they
elude scientific explanations. Political phenomena are not
subject to verification; findings of different observers vary

Political Science cannot attain all the characteristics of a science like
physics, a natural science.
• Human behaviour is not always altogether erratic. General predictions are
possible in some cases
• Science means a systematic study of any subject
• Political Science studies systematic study of political phenomenon
• Modern behaviouralists seem to be convinced at the scientific nature of
Political Science
• Comte says, no consensus as to its methods, principles and conclusions,
lacks continuity of development. Political Science is a social science.
Long tradition in Political Science of value-oriented discussion. Analysis of
many political phenomena has been empirical. It is also has become
prescriptive by combining both its normative and empirical nature