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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.

Why study philosophy (political theory) at Gordon?

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 scientists.


  1. Rational choice theory;
  2. Understanding Political Theory: An Introduction.
  3. First year module!
  4. Political Theory.
  5. Navigating Infinity;
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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. Politics is an observational, not an experimental science.

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.

Mario Feit

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. The American Political Science Association and the American Political Science Review were founded in and , respectively, in an effort to distinguish the study of politics from economics and other social phenomena.

In the s and the s, 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 sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld and public opinion scholar Bernard Berelson.

The late s and early s 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.

Peter Lindsay

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. The theory of political transitions, [7] and the methods of their analysis and anticipating of crises, [8] form an important part of political science.

Several general indicators of crises and methods were proposed for anticipating critical transitions. The theory of apparent inevitability of crises and revolutions was also developed. 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. 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 regime. 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 , 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.

Some evolutionary psychology theories argue that humans have evolved a highly developed set of psychological mechanisms for dealing with politics.

STV9028 – The Methodology of Political Theory

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 current politics. 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. Most United States colleges and universities offer B.

The term political science is more popular in 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.

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. 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. Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs [21] , particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency.

In both the public and private sectors, stakeholders often want to know whether the programs they are funding, implementing, voting for, receiving or objecting to are producing the intended effect.

What is Political Science?

While program evaluation first focuses around this definition, important considerations often include how much the program costs per participant, how the program could be improved, whether the program is worthwhile, whether there are better alternatives, if there are unintended outcomes, and whether the program goals are appropriate and useful. Policy analysis is a technique used in public administration to enable civil servants, activists, and others to examine and evaluate the available options to implement the goals of laws and elected officials.

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 Aristotle , and Plato which were written nearly 2, 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.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Social science concerned with the study of politics and political systems. For the academic journal, see Political Analysis journal. For other uses, see Political Science disambiguation. For the academic journal, see Political Studies journal. Not to be confused with Politicization of science.

Primary topics. Index of politics articles Politics by country Politics by subdivision Political economy Political history Political history of the world Political philosophy. Political systems. Academic disciplines. Political science political scientists. International relations theory. Public administration. You will also engage with a community of Christian scholars who will introduce you to a life-long dialogue on crucial contemporary questions. This grounding in the foundational issues and figures will prepare you to complete your major with a concentrated area of study that reflects your specific interests and career goals.


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  • The study of the fundamental elements of philosophy will improve your ability to think and write clearly, uncover hidden assumptions, explain complexity, make connections and evaluate and construct strong arguments. These critical thinking and writing skills are essential preparation for any further study or vocation. In conjunction with your area of concentration, your philosophy degree will prepare you for graduate work or employment in areas such as:.

    Overview of Political Theory - Oxford Handbooks

    Every philosophy major will complete their program with an internship or final research project appropriate for their concentration. If you are interested in cross-disciplinary issues, build on your philosophy studies and explore these interests through the Kenneth L. Pike Honors Program. As Pike Scholars, Gordon philosophy students have pursued interdisciplinary study in topics such as environmental ethics, religion and society, and combinations of politics, philosophy and economics.