About This Chapter
Basic Terms and Concepts of Political Science - Chapter Summary
Political science is a broad field of study. These lessons will introduce you to foundational ideas and definitions within the context of American politics. You can expect to review the American political scene, types of political power, political justice, political rights and much more. Be sure to take the accompanying self-assessment quizzes to master the material. The chapter concludes with a comprehensive multiple-choice exam, and our instructors are available to answer any questions you may have. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:
- Define political science, political justice and political rights
- Identify the source of governmental conflict in politics
- Summarize the rules of American politics
- Differentiate between countries, nations, states and governments
- Explain the relationship between civil society and citizenship
- Compare sources and types of political power
- Describe the concept of representation in political science
- Understand how political culture and public opinion relate to each other
- Assess international and local political economies
1. What is Political Science?
The great Greek philosopher Aristotle once called political science the master science. In this lesson, you'll learn what political science is, different subfields in the discipline, and why the study of political science is important.
2. Politics: Definition and Source of Governmental Conflict
In this lesson, we will explore the concept of politics. We will examine the various definitions of the word, take a close look at the role of politics in government, and investigate the conflicts sometimes caused by politics.
3. The Rules of American Politics: Democracy, Constitutionalism & Capitalism
In this lesson, we will explore the three rules of American politics: democracy, constitutionalism, and capitalism. We will define each rule and see how it works to keep the political system running smoothly.
4. The Difference Between Countries, Nations, States, and Governments
The study of political science requires you to relearn familiar terms that hold a different meaning than found in common everyday usage. In this lesson, you'll learn about the difference between countries, nations, states and governments.
5. Civil Society and Citizenship
Citizenship and civil society are important concepts in the study of political science. In this lesson, you'll learn what citizenship is and what it means for people that hold it. You'll also learn about the important role of civil society in a democracy.
6. Political Power: Definition, Types & Sources
In this lesson, we will take a close look at political power. We will define the term, examine its elements, and learn about several theories that help determine who gets to use political power.
7. Representation in Political Science
Given the size and complexity of a modern state, direct democracy is impractical, if not infeasible. In this lesson, you'll learn about representative democracy, its different forms, and how it differs from direct democracy.
8. Political Justice and Political Rights
Some of the greatest questions in political thought revolve around the nebulous concepts of justice and rights. In this lesson, we'll be exploring these complex concepts. You'll also have a chance to reinforce your knowledge with a short quiz.
9. The Relationship Between Political Culture and Public Opinion
Politicians are always trying to take the pulse of public opinion, either to follow it or to try to change it. In this lesson, you'll learn about public opinion and its relation to political culture. A short quiz follows.
10. Political Economy: International, Local and Definition
Political economy is the study of how economic forces relate to laws and the political environment, both national and global. This lesson will explore that relationship, aspects of its history, and discuss what is being done with it today.
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Other chapters within the Political Science 101: Intro to Political Science course
- Political Ideologies and Philosophy
- Forms of Government
- Electoral Systems
- The Branches of Government
- US Federal Bureaucracy
- The History & Role of Political Parties
- Interest Groups in Politics
- Mass Media and Politics
- Political Culture, Public Opinion & Civic Behavior
- Public and Social Policy
- Fiscal Policy in Government & the Economy
- Foreign Policy, Defense Policy & Government
- Concepts of International Relations
- Theories of International Relations
- International Actors in Political Science
- International Law in Politics
- Global Issues and Politics
- Studying for Political Science 101