ballbPolitical Science

Scope of Political Science : Traditional View (Part 1)

There are divergent opinions about the Scope of Political Science.
According to some thinkers its scope is limited to State and its related activition alone, while according to others its study take us far beyond the State to international field and problems dealing with the whole universe.

In fact the study of Political Science embraces man, government, State, international relations and similar other political institutions.
Its scope vast and with ever increasing political problems it is windening day by day.

1. Traditional View

According to traditional political thinkers, political science covers the study of following areas:

  1. Political Science and Man: Today it is beyond all doubts that State is the only agency for individual happiness and is in fact its end. It has rightly been said that it is the foremost duty of modern State to be an instrument for happiness of man. It should guarantee to its citizens rights, inducive and conducive atmosphere for human development, nourishment and happiness. Every State today realized that only happy citizens can make a prosperous State. Political science studies this aspects of man in the State.
  2. Study of the Political Aspects of Society by Political Science: Political Science is a study of society viewed from a special standing prints of mankind in it is regarded as organized political unit. According to Aristotle “that man is a political animal while living in a “Polis’ man comes to own certain obligations towards it. The study of the ‘polis’ or the ‘State’ forms the subject matter of political science.
    • Burke says, “The State is to be looked on with reverence, because it is not a partnership in things, subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue, and in the perfection. As the ends of such partnership can not be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership only between those who are living, but also between those who are dead and those who are to be born.
  1. Political Science Studies Government Only: Dr. Stephen, Leacock, Seeley limit political science to the study of Government alone. Seeley says “Political Science investigates phenomenon of Government as political economy deals with weath, biology with life, algbra with numbers and geometry with space and magnitude. “Now in ancient times political science was little more than the science of municipal Government.
  2. Political Science Studies State Only: Some writers among whom we may include Gavies and Garner, restrict its scope to the study of phenomenon of State alone. Bluntschli declared that Political Science is concerned with the State and endeavours to comprehend its essential nature, forms of manifestations and development. Garner says, “Political Science begins and ends with the State.”

Gilchrist, Gettell, Laski and Paul Janet are of the opinion that political science is the study of the State and Government. According to Gettel “Political Science deals with the associations of human beings that from political units with the organization of their governments and with the activity of these Governments to making the administering laws and in carrying on inter State relations. In which this topic is mainly interested for State, Government and law”

Gilchrist says, “The scope of political science is determined the inquiries that arise in connection with the State. These inquiries may broadly be classified under the State as it is, the State it has been, the State ought to be.”

According to Gettell “Political Science is a historical investigation of what the State has been, an analytical study of what the State is and a politicoethical discussion of what the State should be”. He again, says it is a study of the past, present and future.

The modern political scientist went beyond this view that political science is a study of both the State and Government remained generally accepted. According to Paul Janet “Political Science is a art of Social Science which treats of the foundations of this State and principles of Government. It is true that the study of the State is incomplete without the study of Government. The State is an abstract entity and works only through the Government and Government is State in action.

5. Study of Theoretical as well as Political Aspects of Politics: The scope of political science has been divided in two parts:

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(1) Dealing with political theory, and (2) Applied politics. The politics theory is primarily concerned with the end or purpose for the realization of which man organizes the State, the nature of the State, the source and extent of its authority. The proper aspects of political obligation and with the fundamental concepts like sovereignty, law, liberty, equality and rights. The applied politics is mainly concerned with an analysis of the working of the Government. It studies the various forms of the Government their relative merits and demerits and their organization. Political Science is comprehensive study of the State. It is a study of the State in the past, present and future of political organization and political function of political institutions and political theories.

  1. Political Science Attempts a Dynamic Study: The study of the past, present and future of the political institutions like State and Government attempts of political Science. Study of political science is not limited by the particulars time period.

According to Gettell “In its historical aspects, political science deals with the origin of the State with the development of political theories in the past, present and future. In dealing with the present it attempt to describe and classify existing political institutions and ideas. Political science also looks to the future to improving political organizations and activities in the light of changing the conditions and ethical standards.

Read Next: Scope of Political Science : Modern View (Part 2)

Previous: Nature of Political Science – Is it Science or an Art

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