Exploring the Fundamental Purpose of Political Science

Topics: Government, Democracy, Political philosophy Pages: 7 (1105 words) Published: April 22, 2013
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Lisa Navarro

Western Governors University

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Political Science is the study of global change, from the beginning of civilization to

present, in regards to human interaction and mankind’s quest to coexist peacefully. Many

attempts to control how we act as individuals and interact with each other have been made

throughout time. In order to gain control over a few or many, some sort of power must be

exercised. Thus, the question, “Who has the right to rule?” is too narrow when trying to

summarize the fundamental core purpose of Political Science. To better understand these

concepts, let’s break down the two words. In general, the word science by itself, means ‘the

study of’. So then, what does the study of politics mean?

Intentional or not, the word “politics”, although not limited to government, is often

inferred as having something to do with the subject of government. Additionally, the word

“politics”, can also be defined as: issues or events which affect human beings on all levels of

social, cultural and environmental aspects. Therefore, we can surmise that the formation of our

government systems, throughout the world, were formed in attempt to regulate these issues.

Examples of such issues are:

Public health, safety, education, technology, culture, employment, agriculture, sanitation,

taxation, law enforcement, protection of personal property, welfare assistance to the

needy, public transportation, censorship, terrorism, pollution, global warming and

foreign policy.

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And of course we must realize that the list does not stop here, in fact, it most likely never ends.
In terms of studying the science of politics, it is important for us to understand, that what

we are studying here, is not what is right or wrong, but rather what we as humans have done in

the past and what we continue to do in the present based on what we believe to be right or

wrong. Of course, the various individual branches of science may help to explain different

aspects of Political Science, we could not stop at just one branch. This is what makes political

science unique within itself. It is the combination of many factors which have influenced and

continue to influence societal interaction and function, from man’s earliest attempts to regulate

all of it and the changes that have occurred though out history leading up to our present day.

With all of these factors in mind, we can clearly see how Political Science has earned its own

unique branch amongst the many branches of science that exist.

So now that we have defined what Political Science is, we can now attempt to determine

its purpose. To help us do this, let’s go back for a moment and look at the purpose of

government. As stated earlier, the purpose of government, that is – any government, whether

democratic or not, is formed in order to attempt to control how the society which it governs over,

deals with various issues, events and factors which affect people as individuals, societies as a

whole and the world in which we live in.

Now, let’s consider, that even though there are and have been many forms of government

in existence, why then do we use democracy to define such different forms of government as

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“democratic or not”?. Maybe it is because democracy is mentioned in even the most ancient

times of human civilization. Or, maybe, it is because that when we study the changes and trends

from our past to the present, we see that globalization is on the rise like never before and that

several governments have changed over to democratic rule. Of course they have, After all,

democracy represents the people themselves....

References: Sodaro, M.J. (2004). Comparative Politics: A Global Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill
Wilson, J.Q. & J.J., Dilulio. (2006). American Government. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
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