Political Science: Meaning, History, Career Scope & More

Political science is a field of study that has been gaining significant attention in recent times. With the increasing complexity of governments, political systems, and international relations, the demand for professionals who understand the intricacies of politics has grown exponentially. But what exactly is political science? In this blog post, we will delve into the meaning, history, scope, features, importance, and major theories of political science to provide a comprehensive understanding of this fascinating discipline.

Meaning and Definitions- What is Political Science? 

Political science is the systematic study of governments, political institutions, and public policies. It examines the processes by which decisions are made, how power is distributed, and the impact of government actions on society. Political scientists use various methods such as statistical analysis, case studies, and comparative research to analyze political phenomena and develop theoretical frameworks that can explain and predict political behavior.

Who is the Father of Political Science?

Aristotle is widely regarded as the father of political science. His work “Politics” (c. 350 BCE) laid the foundation for the study of political philosophy and provided insights into the nature of the state, citizenship, and the ideal form of government. Aristotle believed that humans are social animals and that the state exists to promote the common good. He argued that the best form of government is a mixed constitution that combines elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.

History of Political Science

The study of political science can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, and China. However, it was not until the late 19th century that political science emerged as a distinct academic discipline. The establishment of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in 1903 marked a turning point in the development of political science. Today, political science is taught in universities worldwide and has become an essential part of higher education. 

Scope of Political Science 

Political science encompasses a broad range of topics including political theory, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, and public administration. It also draws upon other disciplines such as economics, sociology, psychology, and law to understand the complex interactions between politics and society. 

In our country, studying political science is not just about learning theories. It helps you understand the complex world of Indian politics. From different political beliefs to how the government operates, students get a deep understanding of what makes Indian politics unique. 

Beyond just studying, political science is important for practical reasons in India. With our diverse cultures and languages, politics plays a big role in shaping our society. Learning political science helps us navigate through the complicated world of how decisions are made and policies are created. 

So, the scope of political science in India isn’t just about books and classrooms. It’s about understanding and participating in the ongoing changes in our country. It’s about being informed and contributing to the discussions that shape the future of our nation.

Features of Political Science

Political science has several unique features that set it apart from other fields of study. Firstly, it deals with normative questions about justice, equality, and freedom. Secondly, it involves both empirical observation and analytical reasoning, making it a social science that relies heavily on quantitative data and qualitative analysis. Thirdly, political science is prescriptive, offering recommendations for improving political institutions and practices. Finally, political science is interdisciplinary, drawing upon multiple perspectives to shed light on political issues. 

Importance of Political Science 

Understanding political science is crucial in today’s world where politics plays a central role in shaping our lives. Here are some reasons why studying political science is important: 

  1. Informed Citizenship: Political science helps individuals make informed decisions about their political beliefs and participation in civic life. By analyzing political ideologies, policies, and institutions, citizens can engage more effectively in debates and decision-making processes. 
  2. Career Opportunities: A degree in political science opens doors to a wide range of career paths, including government service, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, business, journalism, and academia. 
  3. Globalization: As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, understanding global politics and international relations is critical for addressing challenges like climate change, terrorism, and economic inequality. 
  4. Policy Analysis: Political scientists play a vital role in evaluating public policies and providing evidence-based solutions to social problems. Their expertise helps policymakers design effective legislation and programs that benefit society. 

Major Theories of Political Science 

Political science is a diverse field that offers various theories to explain political phenomena. These theories help us understand the underlying mechanisms that drive political behavior, institutions, and policies. Here are some of the major theories in political science: 

Realism: Realism is a traditional theory in political science that views politics as a struggle for power among self-interested actors. This theory emphasizes the importance of military power, diplomacy, and strategic thinking in international relations. 

Liberalism: Liberalism is another prominent theory in political science that stresses the importance of individual liberties, equal rights, and democratic institutions. This theory emphasizes the role of markets, trade, and international cooperation in promoting peace and prosperity. 

Marxism: Marxism is a theory that focuses on the role of class struggles in shaping political and economic systems. This theory emphasizes the need for revolutionary change and the establishment of a socialist or communist society. 

Feminism: Feminism is a theory that highlights the role of gender in shaping political and social relationships. This theory emphasizes the need for policies and institutions that promote gender equality and challenge patriarchal structures. 

Post-Modernism: Postmodernism is a theory that critiques traditional notions of objective truth, reason, and progress. This theory emphasizes the importance of diversity, tolerance, and skepticism in political discourse. 


In conclusion, political science is a rich and dynamic field that offers various theories to explain political phenomena. From realism to postmodernism, each theory provides a unique perspective on the nature of politics and governance. Understanding these theories is essential for grasping the complexities of political issues and developing effective policies. As we continue to face new challenges in the 21st century, the study of political science remains vitally important for creating a better future.

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