Explain what is meant by politics

Q.2 Explain what is meant by politics.

Politics, Political theory is one of the core areas in political science. It is only in recent times that it has emerged as an academic discipline. Earlier, those who engaged in this enterprise styled themselves as philosophers or scientists. Political theory is the most appropriate term to employ in designating that intellectual tradition which affirms the possibility of transcending the sphere of immediate practical concerns and ‘viewing’ man’s societal existence from a critical perspective. Politics, Political theory was political science in the full sense, and there could be no science without theory.

So, political theory may legitimately and accurately be used as synonymous with political science. Developments in political theory always reflect the changes which occur in society. Political theories are produced in response to the challenges which emerge at different times. Politics, Hegel’s symbolic characterisation of political theory as ‘the owl of Minerva takes flight when shadow of darkness falls’ is very apt. However, we will do well to remember that political thought, which also emerges due to societal challenges, is bound by time as well as space, and is therefore, different from theory which breaks such barriers and proves its worth in understanding and explaining political phenomena of different nature and origin.

This happens, because theories are purged and purified from ideologies and biases and arrive at certain principles, which are not only timeless, but may even be called knowledge. Political theorists, while indulging in theorisation, pursue ideas not for the sake of fulfillment of their fads and fantasies, but in order to search those principles whose understanding can make life better. Politics, And in this enterprise, theorists, by and large, are motivated by the concrete political situation. The history of political theory bears out how ills and maladies afflicting societies have lubricated the tools of theorisation, through which various accepted principles and practices and the assumptions behind them were questioned and the blueprint for the future was drawn. It is, however, true that the stimulus for theory always comes from some sort of failure and a related conviction that things can be bettered through an improved understanding and may, ultimately be resolved. Hence, political theory’s task is not limited to providing a fleeting response and getting contented with a compromise. Rather, it has to reach at the root of the problem and has to discover remedies in the form of an alternative set of principles.

Hence, Politics, any project on theory requires a ‘vision’ through which a theorist could think not only about the problems at hand, but also beyond them. It is here that political theory might be differentiated from art or poetry. In terms of vision, reflections and ruminations, there is not much difference between political theory and other creative activities like art and poetry. But what sets apart the political theorist from the poet is that his urge and search are a conscious act with a definite design, whereas a poetic act is one of spontaneity. Politics, Therefore, it is not creativity, but consciousness that denies poetry the status of a theory.