The Basics of Political Science

1. The distinctive feature of political science that makes it so important among other social sciences is its deep connection with the government. The government is a social institution and this extremely complex system touches all aspects of human life. Political science is mostly focused on studying, researching, and analyzing political economy that is also closely connected with some other social sciences such as sociology, psychology, philosophy, and others. However, the nature of the institution of government makes the science very specific and different from all other social sciences. The connection with a wide range of other sciences makes political science extremely important, as changes in political economy generally lead to a series of shifts in all other aspects of human life.

2. The best theory concerning people’s ability and desire to exercise power over others is the pluralist theory. The theory states that there are various social groups within society that are more or less influential and able to compete for the power and influence with each other. In this system, there is an opportunity for one particular group to achieve absolute dominance. According to the theory, there is a plurality of political, cultural, and other groups, which is typical of the contemporary democratic society. In contrast to this theory, there is the elite theory that seems more harsh and realistic and may be considered less democratic and unsuitable for the healthy development of society. This theory tells about the existence of certain elite groups that are competing with each other for the dominance and influence in society without any other social groups.

3. Aristotle is one of the most well-known philosophers of Ancient Greece that is also considered to be the father of Political Science. This is because he gave a clear definition of justice and virtue and set distinct approaches within the political science. His observation of the political life of Athens and other cities and his work Politics created the basis for the Western political thought. In addition, being the teacher of Alexander the Great, he had a great influence on the world politics of that period and on one of the most renowned political and military leaders of all times. Niccolo Machiavelli is reasonably considered to be the father of the modern political theory and thought. He was a great politician who worked in various political institutions and took part in missions in France until the fall of the Empire. His books provided a new basis for the formation of modern political theory. Among the most famous works of this political scientist are The Prince and The Seven Books on the Art of War.

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4. In political theory, the term contractualism refers to the group of people that believe in the existence of the system of particular abstract contracts between people that are needed to follow. These contracts cannot be seen or signed, but in case one person breaks such an abstract contract, the other person does not need to stick to the points of the contract. The theory has a significant influence in social science and is also supported by the theory of neo-contractualism. Power comes from the abstract contracts that are followed by the representatives of society and it is regulated by people in each particular case, as the members of society have personal interest in securing such contracts.

5. The Marxist theory was innovative for the modern political thought as Marx explained that the capitalist system would come to crisis and provided the reasons for it. He saw the government as an oppressor of the working class and his proposed solution to the problem was the revolution and the “class struggle,” He suggested a rather utopian government system, which was the communist government where the power would be distributed among the representatives of the working class that would rule the country and work for it.

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6. This idea was a revolutionary one and it was absolutely different from other theories, such as the institutional theory and behaviorism. Institutionalism is connected with modern democratic systems and it concentrates more on a deeper structure of the government and how different parts connect and communicate with each other. It is far more liberal and supports evolution rather than revolution. In political science, behaviorism has always been associated with challenging the ideas of liberalism and realism. Behaviorism uses scoring, interviewing, and statistical analyzing and it is more focused on how people behave in the political environment than how they should behave, as compared to the Marxist theory.

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