Political science is a social science which deals with systems of
governance, and the analysis of political activities, political
thoughts and political behavior. It deals extensively with the
theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as
determining of the distribution of power and resources. Political
scientists "see themselves engaged in revealing the relationships
underlying political events and conditions, and from these revelations
they attempt to construct general principles about the way the world
of politics works."
Political science comprises numerous subfields, including comparative
politics, political economy, international relations, political
theory, public administration, public policy, and political
methodology. Furthermore, political science is related to, and draws
upon, the fields of economics, law, sociology, history, philosophy,
geography, psychology, and anthropology.
Comparative politics is the science of comparison and teaching of
different types of constitutions, political actors, legislature and
associated fields, all of them from an intrastate perspective.
International relations deals with the interaction between
nation-states as well as intergovernmental and transnational
Political theory is more concerned with contributions
of various classical and contemporary thinkers and philosophers.
Political science is methodologically diverse and appropriates many
methods originating in social research. Approaches include positivism,
interpretivism, rational choice theory, behaviouralism, structuralism,
post-structuralism, realism, institutionalism, and pluralism.
Political science, as one of the social sciences, uses methods and
techniques that relate to the kinds of inquiries sought: primary
sources such as historical documents and official records, secondary
sources such as scholarly journal articles, survey research,
statistical analysis, case studies, experimental research, and model
1.1 Behavioural revolution and new institutionalism
1.2 Anticipating of crises
Political science in the Soviet Union
1.4 Recent developments
Political science education
2.1 Cognate fields
4 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links
7.1 Library guides
Political scientists study matters concerning the allocation and
transfer of power in decision making, the roles and systems of
governance including governments and international organizations,
political behaviour and public policies. They measure the success of
governance and specific policies by examining many factors, including
stability, justice, material wealth, peace and public health. Some
political scientists seek to advance positive (attempt to describe how
things are, as opposed to how they should be) theses by analysing
politics. Others advance normative theses, by making specific policy
Political scientists provide the frameworks from which journalists,
special interest groups, politicians, and the electorate analyse
issues. According to Chaturvedy,
Political scientists may serve as advisers to specific politicians, or
even run for office as politicians themselves. Political scientists
can be found working in governments, in political parties or as civil
servants. They may be involved with non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) or political movements. In a variety of capacities, people
educated and trained in political science can add value and expertise
to corporations. Private enterprises such as think tanks, research
institutes, polling and public relations firms often employ political
In the United States, political scientists known as "Americanists"
look at a variety of data including constitutional development,
elections, public opinion, and public policy such as Social Security
reform, foreign policy, US Congressional committees, and the US
Supreme Court — to name only a few issues.
Because political science is essentially a study of human behaviour,
in all aspects of politics, observations in controlled environments
are often challenging to reproduce or duplicate, though experimental
methods are increasingly common (see experimental political
science). Citing this difficulty, former American Political Science
Lawrence Lowell once said "We are limited by the
impossibility of experiment.
Politics is an observational, not an
experimental science." Because of this, political scientists have
historically observed political elites, institutions, and individual
or group behaviour in order to identify patterns, draw
generalizations, and build theories of politics.
Like all social sciences, political science faces the difficulty of
observing human actors that can only be partially observed and who
have the capacity for making conscious choices unlike other subjects
such as non-human organisms in biology or inanimate objects as in
physics. Despite the complexities, contemporary political science has
progressed by adopting a variety of methods and theoretical approaches
to understanding politics and methodological pluralism is a defining
feature of contemporary political science.
The advent of political science as a university discipline was marked
by the creation of university departments and chairs with the title of
political science arising in the late 19th century. In fact, the
designation "political scientist" is typically for those with a
doctorate in the field, but can also apply to those with a master's in
the subject. Integrating political studies of the past into a
unified discipline is ongoing, and the history of political science
has provided a rich field for the growth of both normative and
positive political science, with each part of the discipline sharing
some historical predecessors. The American Political Science
Association and the
American Political Science Review were founded in
1903 and 1906, respectively, in an effort to distinguish the study of
politics from economics and other social phenomena. To date, the
American Political Science Review is the leading journal in
Political Science research.
Behavioural revolution and new institutionalism
In the 1950s and the 1960s, a behavioural revolution stressing the
systematic and rigorously scientific study of individual and group
behaviour swept the discipline. A focus on studying political
behaviour, rather than institutions or interpretation of legal texts,
characterized early behavioural political science, including work by
Robert Dahl, Philip Converse, and in the collaboration between
Paul Lazarsfeld and public opinion scholar Bernard
The late 1960s and early 1970s witnessed a take off in the use of
deductive, game theoretic formal modelling techniques aimed at
generating a more analytical corpus of knowledge in the discipline.
This period saw a surge of research that borrowed theory and methods
from economics to study political institutions, such as the United
States Congress, as well as political behaviour, such as voting.
William H. Riker and his colleagues and students at the University of
Rochester were the main proponents of this shift.
Despite considerable research progress in the discipline based on all
the kinds of scholarship discussed above, it has been observed that
progress toward systematic theory has been modest and uneven.
Anticipating of crises
The theory of political transitions, and the methods of their
analysis and anticipating of crises, form an important part of
political science. Several general indicators of crises and methods
were proposed for anticipating critical transitions. Among them, a
statistical indicator of crisis, simultaneous increase of variance and
correlations in large groups, was proposed for crises anticipation and
successfully used in various areas. Its applicability for early
diagnosis of political crises was demonstrated by the analysis of the
prolonged stress period preceding the 2014 Ukrainian economic and
political crisis. There was a simultaneous increase in the total
correlation between the 19 major public fears in the Ukrainian society
(by about 64%) and also in their statistical dispersion (by 29%)
during the pre-crisis years. A feature shared by certain major
revolutions is that they were not predicted. The theory of apparent
inevitability of crises and revolutions was also developed.
Political science in the Soviet Union
In the Soviet Union, political studies were carried out under the
guise of some other disciplines like theory of state and law, area
studies, international relations, studies of labor movement, "critique
of bourgeois theories", etc. Soviet scholars were represented at the
International Political Science Association (IPSA) since 1955 (since
1960 by the Soviet Association of Political and State Studies).
In 1979, the 11th World Congress of IPSA took place in Moscow. Until
the late years of the Soviet Union, political science as a field was
subjected to tight control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
and was thus subjected to distrust. Anti-communists accused political
scientists of being "false" scientists and of having served the old
After the fall of the Soviet Union, two of the major institutions
dealing with political science, the Institute of Contemporary Social
Theories and the Institute of International Affairs, were disbanded,
and most of their members were left without jobs. These institutes
were victims of the first wave of anticommunist opinion and
ideological attacks. Today, the Russian Political Science Association
unites professional political scientists from all around Russia.
In 2000, the
Perestroika Movement in political science was introduced
as a reaction against what supporters of the movement called the
mathematicization of political science. Those who identified with the
movement argued for a plurality of methodologies and approaches in
political science and for more relevance of the discipline to those
outside of it.
Evolutionary psychology theories argue that humans have evolved a
highly developed set of psychological mechanisms for dealing with
politics. However, these mechanisms evolved for dealing with the small
group politics that characterized the ancestral environment and not
the much larger political structures in today's world. This is argued
to explain many important features and systematic cognitive biases of
Political science education
Political science, possibly like the social sciences as a whole, "as a
discipline lives on the fault line between the 'two cultures' in the
academy, the sciences and the humanities." Thus, in some American
colleges where there is no separate School or College of Arts and
Sciences per se, political science may be a separate department housed
as part of a division or school of
Humanities or Liberal Arts.
Whereas classical political philosophy is primarily defined by a
concern for Hellenic and Enlightenment thought, political scientists
are also marked by a great concern for "modernity" and the
contemporary nation state, along with the study of classical thought,
and as such share a greater deal of terminology with sociologists
(e.g. structure and agency).
United States colleges and universities offer B.A. programs in
political science. M.A. or M.A.T. and Ph.D. or Ed.D. programs are
common at larger universities. The term political science is more
North America than elsewhere; other institutions,
especially those outside the United States, see political science as
part of a broader discipline of political studies, politics, or
government. While political science implies use of the scientific
method, political studies implies a broader approach, although the
naming of degree courses does not necessarily reflect their
content. Separate degree granting programs in international
relations and public policy are not uncommon at both the undergraduate
and graduate levels. Master's level programs in political science are
common when political scientists engage in public administration.
The national honor society for college and university students of
government and politics in the
United States is Pi Sigma Alpha.
Most political scientists work broadly in one or more of the following
Comparative politics, including area studies
Political philosophy or political theory
Some political science departments also classify methodology as well
as scholarship on the domestic politics of a particular country as
distinct fields. In the United States, American politics is often
treated as a separate subfield.
In contrast to this traditional classification, some academic
departments organize scholarship into thematic categories, including
political philosophy, political behaviour (including public opinion,
collective action, and identity), and political institutions
(including legislatures and international organizations). Political
science conferences and journals often emphasize scholarship in more
specific categories. The American Political Science Association, for
example, has 42 organized sections that address various methods and
topics of political inquiry.
History of political science
As a social science, contemporary political science started to take
shape in the latter half of the 19th century. At that time it began to
separate itself from political philosophy, which traces its roots back
to the works of Chanakya, Aristotle, and
Plato which were written
nearly 2,500 years ago. The term "political science" was not always
distinguished from political philosophy, and the modern discipline has
a clear set of antecedents including also moral philosophy, political
economy, political theology, history, and other fields concerned with
normative determinations of what ought to be and with deducing the
characteristics and functions of the ideal state.
Political science portal
Outline of political science – structured list of political topics,
arranged by subject area
Index of politics articles – alphabetical list of political subjects
Political lists – lists of political topics
Political science terminology
Outline of law
Index of law articles
^ Oxford Dictionary: political science[dead link]
^ Political Science. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
(22 February 1999). Retrieved on 27 May 2014.
^ Chaturvedy, J. C. Political Governance: Political theory. Isha
Books. p. 4. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
^ Druckman, James; Green, Donald; Kuklinski, James; et al., eds.
(2011). Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Political Science. New
York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-17455-8.
^ Lowell, A. Lawrence. 1910. "The Physiology of Politics." American
Political Science Review 4: 1-15.
^ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. "How to Become
a Political Scientist". Retrieved 13 September 2016.
American Political Science Association
American Political Science Association > PUBLICATIONS > About
APSA Journals > American Political Science Review".
www.apsanet.org. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
^ Kim Quaile Hill, "In Search of General Theory," Journal of Politics
74(October 2012), 917-931.
^ Acemoglu D., Robinson J.A. "A theory of political transitions."
American Economic Review. 2001 Sep 1:938-963.
^ McClelland C.A. "The Anticipation of International Crises: Prospects
for Theory and Research." International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 21,
Special Issue on International Crisis:Progress and Prospects
for Applied Forecasting and Management (March 1977), pp. 15-38
^ Scheffer M., Carpenter S.R., Lenton T.M., Bascompte J., Brock W.,
Dakos V., Van De Koppel J., Van De Leemput I.A., Levin S.A., Van Nes
E.H., Pascual M. "Anticipating critical transitions." Science. 2012
^ Gorban, A.N.; Smirnova, E.V.; Tyukina, T. A. (August 2010).
"Correlations, risk and crisis: From physiology to finance". Physica
A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. 389 (16): 3193–3217.
^ Rybnikov, S.R.; Rybnikova, N.A.; Portnov, B.A. (March 2017). "Public
fears in Ukrainian society: Are crises predictable?".
Developing Societies. 29 (1): 98–123.
^ Kuran T. "Sparks and prairie fires: A theory of unanticipated
political revolution." Public Choice, Vol. 61, No. 1 (April 1989), pp.
^ Political Science in Russia: Institutionalization of the Discipline
and Development of the Professional Community
^ Perestroika!: The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science. Yale
University Press. ISBN 0300130201.
^ Michael Bang Petersen. "The evolutionary psychology of mass
politics". In Roberts, S. C. (2011). Roberts, S. Craig, ed. "Applied
Evolutionary Psychology". Oxford University Press.
^ Stoner, J. R. (22 February 2008). "Political Science and Political
Education". Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Teaching
and Learning Conference (APSA), San José Marriott, San José,
California. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved
19 October 2011. ... although one might allege the same for social
science as a whole, political scientists receive funding from and play
an active role in both the
National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation and the
National Endowment for the
Humanities [in the United States].
^ See, e.g., the department of Political Science at Marist College,
part of a Division of
Humanities before that division became the
Liberal Arts (c. 2000).
Politics is the term used to refer to this field by Brandeis
University; Cornell College; University of California, Santa Cruz;
Hendrix College; Lake Forest College; Monash University; Mount Holyoke
College; New York University; Occidental College; Princeton
University; Ursinus College; Washington and Lee University; and
Government is the term used for this field by
Bowdoin College; Colby College; Cornell University; Dartmouth College;
Georgetown University; Harvard University; Smith College; Wesleyan
University; the College of William and Mary; the University of Sydney;
the University of Texas at Austin; the University of Ulster; the
University of Essex; Victoria University of Wellington, which has both
a "School of Government" and a separate "Political Science and
International Relations Programme"; and the London School of Economics
and Political Science.
Politics and government is the term used by the
University of Puget Sound.
Government and politics is used by the
University of Maryland, College Park.
^ Vernardakis, George (1998). Graduate education in government.
University Press of America. p. 77. ISBN 0-7618-1171-0.
...existing practices at Harvard University, the University of
California at Berkeley, and the University of Michigan.
^ APSA Organized Sections APSA(subscription required)
The Evolution of Political Science (November 2006). APSR Centennial
Volume of American Political Science Review. Apsanet.org. 4 February
European Political Processes: Essays and Readings (1968). [Compiled
and] ed., with original essays, by Henry S. Albinski [and] Lawrence K.
Pettit. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. vii, 448 p.
Goodin, R. E.; Klingemann, Hans-Dieter (1996). A New Handbook of
Political Science. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Grinin, L., Korotayev, A. and Tausch A. (2016) Economic Cycles,
Crises, and the Global Periphery. Springer International Publishing,
Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London, ISBN 978-3-319-17780-9;
Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, ed. (2007) The State of Political Science in
Western Europe. Opladen: Barbara Budrich Publishers.
Schramm, S. F.; Caterino, B., eds. (2006). Making Political Science
Matter: Debating Knowledge, Research, and Method. New York and London:
New York University
New York University Press. Making Political Science Matter. Google
Books. 4 February 2009.
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 and
Tausch, Arno (2015). The political algebra of global value change.
General models and implications for the Muslim world. With Almas
Heshmati and Hichem Karoui (1st ed.). Nova Science Publishers, New
York. ISBN 978-1-62948-899-8.
Oxford Handbooks of Political Science
Noel, Hans (2010) "Ten Things Political Scientists Know that You
Don’t" The Forum: Vol. 8: Iss. 3, Article 12.
Zippelius, Reinhold (2003). Geschichte der Staatsideen (=
political Ideas), 10th ed. Munich: C.H. Beck. ISBN 3-406-49494-3.
Zippelius, Reinhold (2010). Allgemeine Staatslehre,
Politikwissenschaft (=Political Science),16th ed. Munich: C.H. Beck.
This article's use of external links may not follow's
policies or guidelines. Please improve this article by removing
excessive or inappropriate external links, and converting useful links
where appropriate into footnote references. (November 2017) (Learn how
and when to remove this template message)
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Political Science
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Political science.
Institute for Comparative Research in Human and Social
European Consortium for Political Research
International Political Science Association
International Studies Association
IPSAPortal : Top 300 websites for Political Science
International Association for Political Science Students
American Political Science Association
Midwest Political Science Association
Southern Political Science Association
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
"Political Science Department which offers MA and PhD programmes"
Dalmacio Negro, Political Science Emeritus Professor at CEU San Pablo
University, Madrid (SPAIN)
Political Studies Association of the UK
PROL: Political Science Research Online (prepublished research)
Truman State University Political Science Research Design Handbook
A New Nation Votes: American
Elections Returns 1787–1825
Politics in Argentina & Latin America: Site dedicated
to the development of comparative politics in Latin America.
Introduction to Political Science Video
Library. "Political Science". Research Guides. USA: University of
Bodleian Libraries. "Political Science". LibGuides. UK: University of
Politics Research Guide". LibGuides. New Jersey, USA:
Libraries. "Political Science". Research Guides. New York, USA:
University Libraries. "Political Science". Research Guides. USA: Texas
Environmental (social science
History of technology
Philosophy of science
Science and technology studies