Important General Knowledge Notes For All Competitive Exams: Political Science - Part-01


MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Introduction:
  • Political Science is a systematic study of state and power.
  • Political Science deals with both empirical facts and normative issues.
  • Politics, as the study of structures, institutions, processes and activities, recognizes the possibility of the use of power.
Meaning Of Political Science:
According to - 
  1. J W Garner, “Politics begins and ends with the state.”
  2. R G Gettel wrote that Politics is the “study of the state in the past, present and future”. 
  3. Harold J Laski stated in the same vein that the study of Politics concerns itself with the life of men and women in relation to organized state.
Distinction between Political Science and Politics:
‘Politics’ refers to the process of actual happenings in society and in institutions, which Political Science refers to its understand in a systematic manner.

Scope Of Political Science:
1. Role of the State:The state to act as ‘trustee’ of the people means that it should hold people’s power as a trust for welfare of the people. It should not consider people as helpless subjects, but as co-rulers in its governance.
2. Citizens and Government:The relationship between citizens and the government is reciprocal. The citizens are members of the State. The state recognizes certain rights of the citizens and in turn expects certain duties from them.
3. Liberty:The term liberty is derived form the Latin word liber meaning free. Thus liberty means
freedom. Freedom is of paramount importance for the development of an individual’s
personality.
Justice and its Relevance for Citizens and State:The term Justice is derived from the Latin word jus, which means a bond. Thus the word Justice means joining or fitting. “Justice”, says E Barker, “is the reconciler and the synthesis of political values.”The best general definition of Justice is to “render to everyone his/her due.”

Important Points :

  • The ancient Greeks thought of Political Science as Political Philosophy. They laid stress on the ethical aspects of Politics. During the Middle Ages, Political Science became a branch of the Church, subordinating political authority to the authority of  the Church.
  • In modern times, Political Science acquired a realistic and secular approach. As a result of the emergence of capitalism following the Industrial Revolution, the role of the State underwent considerable changes.
  • The subject of Political Science became a specialized science of the st ate. It studied about different forms of government and its organs like Legislature, Executive and Judiciary.
  • Laski stated that the study of Political Science concerned itself with the life of men or women in relation to organized states.
  • In the twentieth century, the behavioural approach shifted the focus of study from political institutions to their functions and to the study of political activities and behaviour of men and women.
  • The scope of Political Science includes the study of the role of the State, functions of Government and its relationship with citizens.
  • Political Science is distinct from Politics. While the former deals with the study of Politics, the latter refers to the problems of man and woman which interact with political power and conflict with each other.
  • Power is the ability to control others. It is the capacity to get things done as one would like others to do. Power in combination with legitimacy is called authority.
  • Generally, freedom is defined as absence of restraints in the behavior of a person. But positive freedom means self-realization and that individual should be free to act only to the extent that others’ freedom is not curtailed. Law protects freedom. Generally it is considered that there is Justice in  society if it rewards people on the basis of merit without being oblivious of the needs of the worst-off. Further, freedom and equality are considered important pillars of Justice.

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