political science homework help

political science homework help

Understanding the Key Concepts in Political Science

1. Introduction to Political Science

Our young graduates, therefore, need to answer such questions. As responsible students of political science, they are to inquire about the relevance of the course to the needs of society and, in the long run, to their individual lives. In this venture, the student may be tempted to see political science as little more than “the analysis of the British and American political systems”. That is all you get at A-Level. Principles is just a nice old course that you are doing between now and the next Corpus Christi Feast.

We study subjects because we want to know and seek to understand them. When we set out to study any subject academically, we need to understand its goals, approach, and application. In short, we need to understand the subject matter, its scope, and limitations. Political Science is no exception. The one question that students in the political science course usually ask is: What exactly does the study of political science involve? What is its sphere? What is its nature? Can it help me get a job? Is its study merely an academic pursuit? A study that has no practical value?

2. Theoretical Frameworks in Political Science

The system framework is an attempt to grasp the relative importance of various forces in the political system and to assess the reciprocal impact of each on the others. It discusses the input-output system and the constitution and behavior of the political sub-system. The process framework tries to establish the pattern of behavior on part of the participants at every stage in the political decision-making process. The political structure-function framework is an attempt to determine the function performed by each major part of the system and its contribution to the effective operation of the whole system. The rationality framework is fundamentally an attempt to produce an explanation of political behavior in a framework based on the assumptions of a single rational purposiveness by the individual or on the small group decisional actor. In making decisions regarding the overall goals of peace, order, national security, welfare, socio-economic, cultural and political growth, and activities of the state, policy formulation is an essential though complex part of the process. The best theory so far drawn upon complementary systems concludes that formal political structures in their manifest implications might be inadequate. The reason is that the human mind is not conceived of as able to comprehend in finite terms the full implications of its formulations.

The function of a theoretical framework in political science is to identify, understand, and solve problems. In order to examine any political system, one must draw on a number of areas of understanding, such as political structure, the behavior of groups, individuals, and the process of decision-making, cultural, economic, psychological, historical, and social backgrounds. Political scientists have a continuing search for such universal concepts as power, authority, structure of political institution or political culture, which transcend geographical boundaries. The study of political science also focuses on understanding the power that welds the social fabric together. There are four main theoretical frameworks used in the study of political science: the system framework, process framework, structure-function framework, and the rationality framework.

3. Key Concepts in Comparative Politics

In addition to political culture, political development, and political behavior, political socialization and political change are important subjects for study within comparative politics. Political culture studies the beliefs, norms, values, and symbols of a given society and attempts to understand how they are carried from one generation to the next and how they change over time. Political development, or political modernization, involves the study of the topics and processes that governments are or should be involved in, such as changes in social, economic, political, and demographic structures. Political institutions, which are focused on the study of political behavior, are the subject of other subfields of political science. They are societies or mechanisms that solve specific problems. Political behavior studies how people collectively solve problems created by their interaction with each other. Both political institutions and political behavior depend on a specific political culture and on the conditions of political development within the given place and time.

Comparative politics is the study and comparison of domestic politics across countries, with the object of identifying both similarities and differences between political systems. This area of political science focuses on political culture, political development, political institutions, and political behavior among other topics. Students studying comparative politics tend to have a direct interest in the study of politics in other countries. The field of comparative politics provides a useful method for comparing systems of government and empirical data by which theories concerning government institutions and political behavior can be evaluated. Such theories can be used to justify modifications in existing policies and institutions of government or to advocate new ones.

4. Analyzing Political Systems and Institutions

This material is interesting and valuable. Political research generally takes three major forms: descriptive, analytic, and procedural. Descriptive political analysis has as its purpose the gathering and classification of information pertaining to the formal and informal organization of political power. It is concerned with such data as the distribution of executive, legislative, and judicial functions; the multiple methods by which these two institutions are constituted; the manner in which authority is derived and enforced; and the ways large numbers of people articulate, aggregate, and actuate their desires in the political area. Although many relativities exist, empirical political data can most fruitfully be approached as existing in one of two forms – ethical facts and nonethical facts. Modern political science has found little difficulty in dealing with nonethical political facts.

Once we have identified all the segments that make up the political system, we must proceed to analyze and describe them. This is actually an integral part of the descriptive and analytical parts of our study, but for clarity’s sake, we may separate these two components and study them independently. Descriptive political analysis has as its purpose the gathering and classification of information pertaining to the formal and informal organization of political power. It is concerned with such data as the distribution of executive, legislative, and judicial functions; the multiple methods by which these two institutions are constituted; the manner in which authority is derived and enforced; and the ways large numbers of people articulate, aggregate, and actuate their desires in the political area.

5. Conclusion and Future Directions

Importantly, the workshop on multi-dimensional measurements concluded that at the level of the individual, political participation is best conceptualized as a form of power, as that term is understood in feminist theory. This conceptual framework broadens what is ‘political’, as well as the definition of ‘participation’. Thus, participation in which women are active as wives and mothers may be, but is not necessarily, non-political. Data on unpaid and domestic work provide hints of patterns that suggest that these dimensions are indeed relevant for at least some types of political participation. A central challenge in this work is to continue the process of developing gender-sensitive political concepts and data that include voices from a gender-sensitive political science community. Given the multi- and cross-disciplinary composition of the workshop participants and the range of backgrounds they brought to the discussion, this goal was well served in this instance.

While the PDA and CGA have promoted consistency in data across and within countries, and contributed to a broader understanding of the intersection of politics and gender-related issues, methodological and conceptual challenges remain. Conceptual harmonization is a goal that requires serious consideration of the ‘harmony paradigm’, weighing its costs and benefits against other methodological shifts and emphases that have long characterized scholarship in the field. Careful thought about the goals of measurement strategies in this domain, as well as the most desirable characteristics of outputs across measurements, can help guide the next generation of methodological decisions.

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