Politics is the systematic arrangement of actions which are performed by humans in response to external demands, either in terms of sharing of resources, social status or the distribution of scarce goods. The branch of academic social science that studies government and politics is known as political science. This study is also called political philosophy. In United States politics is a system of government in which political leaders work to form and maintain an order based on institutions created by the society and political institutions developed through history.
Politics is a subject of inquiry and controversy that has been discussed for over two thousand years. It is a field that engage individuals from all walks of life, all social status, and from all levels of education. For this reason politics is an extremely diverse field. Politics is not a single field; rather it is the study of politics as a field of inquiry and as a practice practiced by individuals both publicly and privately. There are various types of politics that exist today.
The most traditional type of politics is defined as that which arises through the institution of governments in different nations and through the adaptation of institutions based on the societies in those nations. Since politics first emerged in the modern era, there have been major advancements made in the areas of political theory and the practice of political action. In the past decade, international political action has become one of the leading fields of study. Politics also includes political party politics, multipart government politics, constitutional politics, international relations, international law, and national politics.
Within the modern era, politics has developed in four different manifestations, which can be grouped under two broad perspectives. First is that of majoritarian or mass politics, which is characterized by majoritarian party politics, in which the party in control of the state or the country form the state’s ruling elite. Second is provisional politics, which occurs when a group of political parties disagree on the fundamental principles, strategies, methods of governance, and goals of the state. Finally, there are proportional politics, which refer to any form of politics that attempts to affect political change through the use of elected bodies such as parliament, the executive, and other organs of the state such as the lower house and the Senate.
Politics as a practice and theory has evolved over time, especially with the development of new parties and social groups. As more parties agree on specific political platforms that include common platforms on social issues, national programs, and vision statements, politics becomes more rooted in the different interests of citizens. However, some of the major political parties differ on their platforms for the reasons that include the differences on philosophy, ideology, values, and beliefs, as well as on the nature of political competition between the party in control of the state or the country.
Many argue that the conception of politics as a formalized set of facts is a relatively recent invention and that politics actually emerged as an important way of contesting societal conditions and power structures over time. By creating different institutions that help people govern themselves, groups of individuals also contest the power of rulers and establish different forms of government. The emergence of modernity, the growth of cities, and industrialization all changed the way power was distributed among many previous societies, giving birth to political systems and institutions. Moreover, during the 20th century, major political transformations also impacted the definition of politics as different definitions developed for the sake of contesting various political and social structures.
Some political scientists see modernity as a major force in politics, claiming that it led to the decline of traditional institutions and replaced them with transnational and global ones. At the same time, these changes have also affected political competition, as they have increased the mobility of parties and made it possible for smaller parties to gain support from regional and national organizations. Political competition also has served to unify and unite different political forces and ideologies under one banner, paving the way for various reforms. Still, some political scientists believe that these changes have also affected the character of politics, making some aspects of politics less significant while others become the main source of arguments and debates.
The development of democracy, however, also paved the way for the expansion of political debate and the redefinition of political institutions. Today, there are a number of definitions that scholars use to describe politics. The Oxford Dictionary, for instance, defines politics as the “organization that strives to achieve a common end through a process of political action.” International Relations Theory also sees politics as the “order of societies” and says that it is “the relationship between a political unit and the external environment.” Still, political scientists disagree with these definitions, pointing out that politics is a complex phenomenon that can be studied using a number of methods. Political scientists also believe that politics has become too abstract and that it is difficult to study using only one methodology.