About Approaches And Different Groupings in Political Science
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Political Science is a field of study that ranges in a variety of different topics. According to the Department of Political Science from the University of Washington, “Political Science focuses on theories and practices of government in a local, state, national and international level”. To break things down into simpler terms, politics is normally is divided by theorists into two categories, “Area/Site Approach” and “Processual Approach” that analyzes political thoughts and behaviors. Being political has a lot to do with your mentality and thinking in a political process mind frame. Knowing how political power is distributed throughout society is a crucial tool to have in order for us to avoid repeating historical misunderstandings.
In the Area/Site approach politics are normally limited to societies within states and tends to have a narrower and sharper focus. Politics as a Collective Choice refers to a decision-making process that normally reflects actions being motivated by self-interests. For instance, the public having access to public goods without cooperating with the government (in taxes or other things). Thomas Hobbes argues in his book “Leviathan” about social unity and how civil peace form a social contract within a community. He believes that a strong state can guarantee a more harmonious secured society.
The idea of Collective Choice has been around since our democracy was formed, an example of this in the public is when there’s elections and we have to elect our state representatives or even the president hoping that they will have our same interests at heart and in mind. Although that’s rarely the case recently, since we see in our community representatives/influencers being incented by their own selfish motives and rarely getting things the public wants done. This relates to the term “Market Place” where people are “pursing their interests in such a way as to maximize their benefits and minimize their costs.” Coming to conclusion on how people in their own way are rational and are looking out for themselves. Overall, this approach is more like a movement, it gets people involved and opens the table for bigger discussions in a broader perspective.
Another approach is the Processual Approach which emphasizes the vast of other topics covered in politics in a general sense. This approach focuses on the importance and how much of a necessity it is in all different types of societies. Politics on this view are found in stateless societies. That is because more developed societies are more likely to use the first approach. The processual approach is best explained by Bernard Crick when he states that politics is related to a debate of public interests that most likely ends in a compromise, so therefore any type of War or violence he believes are examples of failure. On a similar but slightly different angle Adrian Leftwich mentions in his book, “Thinking Politically” a different perspective that all types of disputes whether their peaceful or not he believes that, that’s politics.
The idea of war itself is a general process since it represents the breakdown and not the extension of politics, but when things get specific between the two parties it normally would fall into the other category. Generally, politics as a process can be seen as people interacting within themselves in their social class and through their natural environment. That relates to Class Struggle in politics where everything seems to fall into a never-ending cycle that slowly will deplete itself. Although the concept wasn’t originally introduced by Karl Marx, he believes that “Class is the manifestation of economic differentiation” and every class group plays their own specific role in the production cycle.
In a Marxist perspective, if the Earth was to deteriorate environmentally and the only option was to relocate to the Moon, most likely only the elite upper-class citizens would be able to afford it. When referring to Governing, its usually about making goals and bringing stability into public issues and the power influence it has over different types of societies. Harold Lasswell, a leading American political scientist wrote a book named “Politics: Who Gets What, When, and How” where he brings up his study of influence and the influential. What he means by that is literally what the title means, the government has a strong influential power on the public.
Thinking politically generally means how much comprehension and interest you have in wanting to know what’s going on in society and wanting to make an impact to it. Having social awareness of what’s occurring in society currently is extremely important even more-so with our current president and how he seems to run things benefiting his own personal agenda. The study of political science helps explain how rules are formed and enforced (to an extent). In my opinion, being political means being “woke” which is a reference used nowadays that refers to people being familiar of current affairs in our community. There are multiple ways one-self could be political for example, by taking a stand in current affairs that matters to you. As an American citizen it is our duty to be informed and aware since things that are being discussed influences us all economically and socially. Understanding the mistakes and accomplishments that were made throughout history is important to us because it can help us end the cycle of making the same mistakes over again. Political science links with possibly every aspect of our lives, on a business level it is important to know our government’s motives and priorities are.
In conclusion, the concept of politics is very broad and has a variation of different issues. The general idea of politics is the emphasize in relationships among governments and to guide/enlighten citizens of what is going on in the world. Without these different groupings and approaches in political science, it would’ve been very complex and difficult to explain and understand. Finding a specific definition about politics may be challenging since there’s an assortment of different ideologies from different civilizations but as an overall idea it revolves around social research.