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1. Definition: politics is the way in which we understand and order our social affairs, and acquire greater control over the situation.
It is also the strategy for maintaining cooperation among people with different needs and ideals in life, or for resolving the conflict within the group, whether this is a family, a tribe, a village or a nation-state.
2. Basic Concepts: order, power, and justice
a. Study of politics seeks to study how human life in the aggregate is ordered.
i. Community – one kind of social order which is an association of individuals who share a common identity. This identity is usually defined by geography, sense of common purpose, and a single political allegiance. It arises to fulfill a wide variety of social functions (such as physical security, economic prosperity, cultural enrichment) that cannot be met by individuals acting on their own.
ii. Government – a political order that maintains and perpetuates the community. It is said to possess “sovereignty” if it can successfully assert its claim to rule. And it is said to “legitimate” if its claim to rule (authority) is willingly accepted.
iii. Nation-state – most distinctive and largest self-sufficient political configuration in the modern world… its actions and reactions affect not only the welfare and destiny of its own people but, increasingly, the fate of peoples in other lands.
1. Nation is a distinct group of people who share a common background including any or all of the following: geographic location, history, racial or ethnic characteristics, religion, language, culture, and belief in common political ideas.
2. State denotes the existence of a viable, sovereign government exercising authority and power in the name of the society. It is often used synonymously with country and nation, although a nation may be composed of more than one state, like USA. In more technical and formal terms, state is a community of persons more or less numerous, permanently occupying a definite portion of territory, having a government of their own to which the great body of inhabitants render obedience, and enjoying freedom from external control.
b. The government cannot maintain order w/o power.
i. There are many sources of power aside from physical force.
Ex. Wealth, eloquent oratory, vigilant secret police, cunning
ii. The more abundant the power source, the greater the capabilities of the government.
iii. Who rules? In accordance with the law, or is it the just or the moral?
c. When the power is exercised in the interest of the ruled, there is justice.
Aristotle (384-322 BC)
– “Human beings use reason and language to declare what is just and unjust. Therefore it is the peculiarity of man, in comparison with the rest of the animal world, that he alone possesses a perception of the good and evil. Human faculties make moral judgment and therefore also political discussion. “
3. Politics and Everyday Life
a. Politics is all about the way human beings are governed, which involves order, power, and justice. It is not just an abstract study.
b. It involves the government’s day-to-day performance.
c. It does not affect only one individual, but is inextricably bound up with the perpetual quest for what is fair or just in light of the interest of the entire community.
d. Issue is more or less political based on the extent that the use of political power affects the lives and well-being of private citizens.
e. An issue becomes political when the government must render a decision, which must always be for the common good of the community.
4. How is politics studied?
a. Traditional Approach: to understand the truth about politics (Aristotle); to assess how well a particular policy, process, or institution works; what politics ought to be.
Confucius, Lao tzu, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx
b. Behavioral Approach: place little emphasis on abstract or normative political questions, and focus on more concrete task of describing and predicting political behaviors and the dynamics and outcomes of political processes; avoids moral and philosophical judgments; considers only those which can be scientifically proved; does not study “values”, only facts, which can be measured by means of scientific method (quantifiable).
But because of complexity of human behavior, experts argue over methodology.
5. Purpose of Political Science
a. By studying political science, we become more aware of our dependence on the political system and better equipped to determine when to favor and when to oppose change.
b. to be able to advise communities on how to become more effective.
c. To have better political opinions and decisions.
d. to foster moral and intellectual growth.
6. What’s wrong with politics nowadays?
a. It deviates from the concept of good politics, which ought to be a reflection of the aspirations to contribute to the happiness of the community and not of the need to deceive or pillage the community.
b. It is now associated with art of deception, intrigues, demagoguery and ruthless egoism.
7. Politics in the Philippines
b. It revolves around the three separate and sovereign yet interdependent branches: the legislative branch (the law-making body), the executive branch (the law-enforcing body), and the judicial branch (the law-interpreting body).
 B. Ponton and P. Gill, Politics, Introduction. (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1982), p.6.
 Amable G. Tuibeo, “Politics and Governance: A Critical Introduction (Makati: Grandwater Publication, 1998), p . 1.
 Thomas M. Magstadt & Peter M. Schoten, “Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions, & Issues. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988), p. 4.
 Ibid. p. 5.
 Ibid. p. 5-7.
 Garner, Introduction to Political Science, pp. 38-41.
 Ibid. p. 7.
 Ibid., p. 21
 The New York Review of Books, Feb 15, 1990, p. 22.
 Tuibeo, p. 11.
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