A social science dealing with the making of high-level policy (as in a government or business)
The study of politics and political life. Originally it concentrated on the state and how it was organized, but more recently it has come to include the analysis of all those institutions and groups which possess and exercise political power.
Many philosophers, including Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, and J J Rousseau, have been concerned with defining the political institutions that are held necessary for a properly functioning civil society. Political science, however, differs from political philosophy or political theory in being descriptive rather than prescriptive, more concerned with how political institutions actually function than with how they ought to function.
ETYM Cf. French politique. Related to Politic.
1. Social relations involving authority or power; SYN. political relation.
2. The opinion one holds with respect to political questions; SYN. political sympathies.
3. The profession devoted to governing and to political affairs.
4. The study of government of states and other political units; SYN. political science, government.
Ruling by the consent of the governed; an activity whereby solutions to social and economic problems are arrived at and different aspirations are met by the process of discussion and compromise rather than by the application of decree or force.
A much misused term, it has been expounded by Bernard Crick in his classic book In Defence of Politics 1962. Its popular description as “the art of the possible” was probably first used by Otto von Bismarck of Prussia, in a recorded conversation in 1867. Both Bismarck and Crick made the point that politics is essentially an activity and not a science or set of rules. It is an activity based on diversity: diverse opinions about aims to be achieved and means to achieve them. Politics accepts this diversity as a fact of life and seek to resolve conflicting views by discussion and compromise.