- Peter Ferdinand, Peter FerdinandEmeritus Reader in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
- Robert GarnerRobert GarnerProfessor of Politics, University of Leicester
- and Stephanie LawsonStephanie LawsonProfessor of Politics and International Studies, Macquarie University
This chapter discusses the nature of politics and political analysis. It first defines the nature of politics and explains what constitutes ‘the political’ before asking whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It then considers the boundary problems inherent in analysing the political and whether politics should be defined in narrow terms, in the context of the state, or whether it is better defined more broadly by encompassing other social institutions. It also addresses the question of whether politics involves consensus among communities, rather than violent conflict and war. The chapter goes on to describe empirical, normative, and semantic forms of political analysis as well as the deductive and inductive methods of the study of politics. Finally, it examines whether politics can be a science.