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Cover Global Politics

2. Politics  

This chapter discusses the meaning of politics and where it operates at the global level. Using a distinctive approach to theorising global politics, it explores the meaning of politics through everyday uses and understandings, considering ideas of coercion, authority, and legitimacy. The chapter also examines and challenges the myth that only powerful elites engage in politics, showing instead that politics is at work all the time in everyday lives and experience. It then looks at how influential thinkers define politics, studying the theories of political scientist Harold Lasswell and ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Finally, the chapter considers what it means to think theoretically about politics. Thinking critically and theoretically about politics is itself a political act that alters the everyday understanding of the world, and opens up new possibilities for action, challenging the myth that there is a natural way of organising politics.