Politics and Knowledge

Chapter One
Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Longman © 2011

On Politics • Politics is defined in a variety of ways: – – – – – Exercise of power Determination of who gets what. when. and how Public allocation of things that are valued Resolution of conflict Competition among individuals and groups pursuing their own interests – Overall: • Politics is the process through which power and influence are used in the promotion of certain values and interests .

and approaches whose objective is to increase the clarity and accuracy of our understandings about the political world • Three general types of political knowledge: – Description – Explanation – Prescription .” “how. concepts.” and “why” questions • Political science – A set of techniques.Types of Political Knowledge • Political analysis – The attempt to describe and then to explain politics – It seeks to answer the “what.

Sources of Political Knowledge • Three important sources of political knowledge: – Authority • • • • • • • • Specific authority sources General authority sources “Everyone” as authority Problems Rationality Intuition Personal experience Problems – Personal thought – Science .

Sources of Political Knowledge: Science • Four essential characteristics of the scientific method: – Entails a search for regularities in the relationships among phenomena – Is empirical in that it is concerned with phenomena that can be observed. or at least measured – Is cumulative in nature – Is testable .

Political Knowledge of Different Age Groups: Applying the Scientific Method to Politics .

Political Science • • • • • Comparative politics American politics International relations Political theory Boundary-spanning hybrids – – – – – Political anthropology Political economy Political psychology Political sociology Biopolitics .

Political Science and Political Knowledge • Some argue that political science is not a real “science” • Do politics and science go together? Are generalizations possible? – Debate in 1 .

Political Science as a Means of Understanding the Political World • Desirable to use systematic and analytic thinking • Importance of shared knowledge – We need methods to reach some interpersonal agreement about political facts • Enables us to develop: – Better concepts – Improved methods – Sound generalizations .

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