defining politics

Topics: Political philosophy, Sociology, Politics Pages: 9 (1298 words) Published: September 20, 2013
Definig Politics
Ing. Mansoor Maitah Ph.D. et Ph.D.

Defining politics

• Politics, in the broadest sense, is the activity
through which pepole make, preserve and amend
the general rules under which they live.

Lasswellian Definition

"Politics is the process of who gets what, when, and how."

politics = allocation


values (resources)


Politics is a process of allocating scarce values.

Defining Politics

"A political system can be designated as those
interactions through which values are authoritatively
allocated for a society."
(David Easton)
"A political association exists if ... the enforcement of its order is carried out continually within a given territorial
area by the application and threat of physical force."
(Max Weber)


Defining Politics

"A political system is any persistent pattern of human relationships that involves ... power, rule, or authority."
(Robert Dahl)
"A political association exists if . . . . its order is carried out the application and threat of physical force."
(Max Weber)

Defining politics

• Politics is linked to the phenomena of conflict and cooperation. • Conflict: Competition between opposing forces, refelecting a diversity of opinions, preferences, needs or interest.
• Cooperation: Working together, acheaving goals through collective action. • On the one hand, the exitence of rival opinoins, different wants, competing needs and opposing interest guarantees disagreemnet about the rules under which people live. On the other hand people recognize that, in order to influence these rules or ensure that they are upheld, they must work with others.

• Disagree: How they should live, Who sould get what? How sould power and other resources be distributed?

Defining politics

• Authority: authority can be most simply defined as „legitimate power“. Where as power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others, authority is the right to do so.
• The different views of politics examined here are as follows: • politics as the art of of government
• politics as public affairs
• politics as compromise and consensus
• politics as power and the distribution of resources.

Politics as the art of of government

This is perhaps the classical defintion of politics, developed from the original meaning of the term in Ancient Greece.
The word „politics“ is derived from polis, meaning literally city-state. Ancient Greek society was divided into a collection of independent city-states, each of which processed its own systém of government. The largets and the most influential was Athens.

Polis: (Greek) City-state, classicaly understood to imply the highest or most desirable form of social organization.
Polity: A society organized through the exercise of political authority, for Aristotle, rule by the many in the intersets of all.
Politics is what takes place within a polity, a system of social organization centred upon the machinery of government. Politics is therefore practised in cabinet rooms, legislative chambers, government departments and the like, and it is engaged in by a limited and specific group of people, notably politicians, civil servants and lobbyists.

Politics as the art of of government

• Governance is a boarder term than government. In its
boardest sense, to govern means to rule or to control others. • Niccolo Machiavelli ( 1469-1527). Italian politician and author. • Aristotle (348-322BCE), Greek philosopher. Aristotle was a student of Plato.

Politics as public affairs
• The distinction between „the political“ and „the nonpolitical“, public sphere and private sphere.
• The term civil society has been defined as a political community, a society governed by law, under the authority of state. More commonly, it is distinguished from the state, and the term is used to describe institutions that are private, that are independent from government and...
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