Talk:Political science

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Some possible changes[edit]

The organization in the begining of this article is horrible. Here is a possible change. Feel free to improve upon it or leave some feedback.

Political poopee science is a branch of social science that deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior. There are many fields and subfields of Political Science, including but not limited to:

• Political theory • Law and Legal Studies • Comparative Politics • International Relations • Public Policy and Administration • Judicial Process and Behavior

[edit] Overview

Political scientists study the allocation and transfer of power in decision-making, the roles and systems of governance including governments and international organizations, political behavior and public policies. They measure the success of governance and specific policies by examining many factors, including stability, justice, material wealth, and peace. Some political scientists seek to advance positive theses by analyzing politics. Others advance normative theses, by making specific policy recommendations.

Political Scientists in the Modern Era

Just stopping by, I notice that only one political scientist of the 20th century is mentioned. It's not Schnattschneider, or Lipset, or Key. Instead, it is a certain Kenneth R. Mladenka, of whom I had never heard, whose name appears after Franklin, Hamilton and Jefferson. (It seems possible that Dr. Mladenka had a role in writing that section.) While Dr. Mladenka is now nearly famous, the article is rendered laughable.Sgsnow (talk) 13:48, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

The study of politics is complicated by the occasional involvement of political scientists in the political process, since their teachings occasionally provide the frameworks within which other commentators, such as journalists, special interest groups, politicians, and the electorate analyze issues and select options. Political scientists may serve as advisers to specific politicians, or even run for office as politicians themselves. Political scientists can be found working in governments, in political parties or as civil servants. They may be involved with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or political movements. In a variety of capacities, people educated and trained in political science can add value and expertise to corporations. Private enterprises such as think tanks, research institutes, polling and public relations firms often employ political scientists. In the United States, political scientists known as "Americanists" look at a variety of data including elections, public opinion and public policy such as Social Security reform, foreign policy, U.S. congressional power, and the U.S. Supreme Court—to name only a few issues.

Political Science as A Discipline

Most American colleges and universities offer B.A. programs in political science. M.A. and Ph.D programs are common at larger universities. Some universities offer B.S or M.S. degrees.[1] The term political science is more popular in North America than elsewhere; other institutions, especially those outside the United States, see political science as part of a broader discipline of political studies, politics, or government. While political science implies use of the scientific method, political studies implies a broader approach, although the naming of degree courses does not necessarily reflect their content.[2]
Also, the discussion of the History of Political Science is completely void of any discussion of advancements in the last 500 years, so I have written a brief piece for this.
During the Italian Renaissance, Niccolò Machiavelli established the emphasis of modern political science on direct empirical observation of political institutions and actors. Later, during the Enlightenment, many different ideas emerged, including that of democracy, among others. Early in the period, Montesquieu set forth the groundwork for 3 branch organization of government (Montesquieu), along with the natural rights and social contract ideas exuded by John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau (Locke’s Political Philosophy). During this time, both the American Revolution and the French Revolution turned the political sphere around the world. No longer was the classic Monarchy the only major political system in the Western world, as the ideas of these thinkers we put into action by both the French and the Americans, with later Enlightenment thinkers such as Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison.

Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, May 24, 2008 Locke’s Political Philosophy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, May 24, 2008
CBKDX80 (talk) 02:57, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Remove unnecessary and ambiguous sentences
The description of political science that reads: "It is often described as the pragmatic application of the art and science of politics defined as "who gets what, when and how", leaving out of the picture most of the "why".[1]" is difficult to understand unless you go to the source of the quote for context. I think this sentence should either be removed or explained better. Jonadon (talk) 07:23, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't meet standards[edit]

This article discusses the topic in a very strange way discussing odd aspects about political science. But the bigger problem is, it doesn't cite any sources.

Please NOTE: the second paragraph of antecedents is full of fabrications and anachronisms. somebody please change that!

I don't have time to deal with this now, but I agree with the above statement - this article is an underdeveloped, inaccurate, misleading disaster. Political science is a modern field of academic study that only came into its own as a distinct social science in the late 19th/early 20th century. Most of this article discusses political philosophies (NOT political science) from periods prior to the establishment of political science as a discipline of academic study. Political science is an enormous field and there is almost nothing in the article actually addressing it! There needs to be a discussion of the subfields, major topics of inquiry, various theoretical approaches, methodology, the development of the discipline, etc. Metacrias (talk) 08:13, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

List of terms[edit]

The gargantuan list of topics in the second paragraph of this article, circa this date, is unnecessary, given the links in the See Also section. However, if we should salvage it, it'd be better to break it out into a box or some other sort of separate list for readability's sake. MrZaiustalk 21:40, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

New Template: Lib[edit]

I just created a new template Template:Lib. (It's my first template). It takes one parameter, declaring whether the use on the page is "liberal", "libertarian", or "both". My idea was to use it to head articles such as Liberal International and Libertarian perspectives on gay rights where it might not be clear at first glance which meaning is intended. This would hopefully ensure consistent usage within an article, and prevent overly verbose unclear repetition from article to article. Feel free to discuss on the talk page Template_talk:Lib. samwaltz 20:37, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Topics in political science[edit]

Oh my goodness, what do do with all this clutter in the intro paragraph?!

I agree that there is a lot of clutter in the intro paragraph. My main concern, however, is the page's lack of important issues within the field. Although it may be a lot of information to post on the main 'political science' page, policy issues are not even listed on the public policy page. Perhaps there should be a link, or list, on the main page for all, or some, of the following issues: Abortion, Affirmative Action, AIDS and HIV, Alcoholism, Animal Rights, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Campaign Finance, Censorship, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence, China, Civil and Human Rights, Cloning and Genetics, Crime and Justice, Death Penalty, Democratization, Disability, Disaster Preparedness, Economics, Education, Employment and Labor, Environment, Gangs, Gay and Lesbian Marriages, Global Warming, Globalization, Gun Control, Hate Crimes, Health Care, Homeland Security and Patriot Act, Homelessness, Housing and Urban Development, Hunger, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Gambling, Immigration, Media Ratings, Multiracialism, Pollution, Pornography, Poverty and Welfare, Prescription Drug Policy, Prisons, Prostitution, Race, National Origin, and Ethnicity, Recycling, Religion and State, Renewable Energy, Smoking, Social Security Reform, Stem Cell Research, Suicide, Term Limits, and Terrorism (many of these issues could have their own page and be broken down even further).

Misplaced comment moved from top[edit]

srilanka has political science as a subject for AL —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:25, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

[Another misplaced comment also moved up to chronological position earlier (2007) from bottom. --NYScholar (talk) 02:49, 5 February 2009 (UTC)]

Comment about NYU in a note citation[edit]

Made no sense; removed it. Most of this article lacks reliable and verifiable citations. The ones that were here and the "Further reading" section were a mixture of citation formats and bibliographical styles, with most of the references in style closest to MLA Style, but not most recent ed. The lone citation template was closer to APA Style (generally used for academic social science disciplines, though, as source added today indicates, as an academic discipline "Political science" straddles "science" and the "humanities"). (Most college and university teachers in the U.S. generally ask for APA Style in papers submitted for their courses.) I've used another citation template (which may still need work for a paper in a conference; I adapted citation template for web citation format, keeping the example APA Style format in the source ( If one clicks on the citation URL, one can see the samples (which are based on older eds. of the style manuals in each case and which also have multiple punctuation errors or oddities). If in doubt, please strive for consistency and use a single format, following links via Style guides template in Wikipedia. Thanks. (This article still needs a lot of work.)--NYScholar (talk) 02:49, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Worldwide View[edit]

I updated the information on Indian political philosophers and added a mention of the Manusmriti (Code of Manu). Shockingly, there was absolutely no mention of any ancient Chinese system. Consequently, I added a paragraph in which I mentioned Mohism, Taoism, Legalism, and Confucianism. I only created a brief skeletal paragraph- users are welcome to expand on what I wrote. -AP, Washington DC, September 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:14, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Paragraphs copied verbatim[edit]

Some of the sentences and paragraphs in this article are copied verbatim from this book, which is cited not nearly enough (regardless, it's copying): I don't have time to fix this now, the only efficient solution I can think of is to blank the page. Yohan euan o4 (talk) 23:31, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:37, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Invitation to editors to vote/discuss definition of science in Talk:Science[edit]

There has been an extensive discussion on the Talk:Science of what the lead definition of the science article should be. I suspect this might be an issue that may be of interest to the editors of this page. If so, please come to the voting section of the talk science page to vote and express your views. Thank you. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:35, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Discussion or non-discussion on Talk:republic[edit]

There is new information on the Talk:republic page that challenges the accuracy and efficacy and truth of the Wikipedia entry. Need to stir interest and more comment on the page.WHEELER (talk) 18:01, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

I think that in the paragraph about The Renaissance should be said something about Guicciardini. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 5 July 2011 (UTC)


I removed American Politics from being listed as a subfield and moved it into a separate paragraph saying that many departments teach country specific courses. I've never heard of American Politics being considered a subfield before, and every country has its own specific courses on its own domestic politics or foreign policy (i.e. Canadian Politics or British Politics). We can't very well list every country as a subfield. In an international context American Politics is usually studied as part of international relations, in fact you can't study international relations without looking at the US. Vietminh (talk) 01:12, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

As stated in my edit summary, it's even more inaccurate to cast American politics as merely a course offering. In most U.S. colleges, universities, and professional associations it's unquestionably a full-fledged subfield, and, in both teaching and research, it overlaps very little with international relations (or, for that matter, comparative politics) even if some IR scholars happen to "look at the US." Sgelbman (talk) 13:52, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
But Wikipedia is not just for the US. As pointed out, most countries have a similar situation with their own local politics being a special subject. Obviously we can not make a full list of all countries and say for each one that the national politics is a subject.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:13, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Then get rid of the line about offering courses in American politics, which doesn't belong in a section about subfields anyway, and include one about some (not most, and probably not even many) countries' political science departments and associations treating their national politics as a distinct subfield. I agree that constructing a list of subfields that are unique to particular national contexts isn't worthwhile, but to pretend that the subfield of American politics doesn't exist, is merely a course offering, or could be subsumed under international
If I understand correctly, that sounds like a reasonable solution. I do not object to removing any implication of US politics being somehow under IR, and I had not really thought that was Vietminh's intention either.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:54, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Experimental political science?[edit]

In several books on voting, I've seen references to experiments in voting (including ones the authors did themselves). What do people think about the creation of a page on Experimental Political Science? (It would go into the Experimental Social Sciences category as well as under Political Science.) Thanks! Allens (talk) 19:57, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. This article may be a useful resource. Sgelbman (talk) 20:03, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! I'm taking a look at it right now. I have to confess that I'm not a political scientist by profession so may not be the best person to do the initial writeup (especially if it were to be anything but a stub article at first, although even that could possibly be helpful). Allens (talk) 20:17, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Experimental research isn't really my thing, but I may be able to expand the article a bit if you can get a stub going. Sgelbman (talk) 21:01, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
OK, I'll get to work on a stub version. Allens (talk) 18:18, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I've created an initial stub version at Experimental political science. I'll try to also put pointers to it other appropriate places (Wikiproject Politics, etc). Thanks! Allens (talk) 18:16, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Philosophy as a subsection of Political Science[edit]

This article claims, "Political science is commonly divided into three distinct sub-disciplines which together constitute the field: political philosophy...". However, it is generally accepted[1] that philosophy is not, in fact, a sub-discipline of political science. In fact, the very notion is absurd. Philosophy is the discipline from which political science arose originally. However, the two fields are very distinct in their areas of study, methods, desiderata, and scope. To claim anything else is flagrantly fallacious. Political philosophy examines fundamental abstract questions about what constitutes a government and the normative criteria for governments. The methods by which philosophers examine these questions are through argumentation and thought experiments. Political science, conversely, studies existing (or previously existing) governments and much of the methodology is empirically-based. As such, the two fields have entirely different focuses and methods, and it is false to conflate them in this manner. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Disciplinary structures and divisions aren't often logical. Like political psychology, which straddles the discliplines of political science and psychology, political philosophy has a home in (at least) two disciplines. There's lots of evidence of this -- political science departments have faculty members and offer courses and degree concentrations in political philosophy, political science associations have political philosophy sections, political science journals publish political philosophy articles, etc. Sgelbman (talk) 00:31, 25 February 2012 (UTC)


  1. ^ Lane, Melissa, "Ancient Political Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>

Notification: article vandalized 18 February 2012‎[edit]

Inappropriate changes were made to the article on 18 February 2012‎. I do not feel comfortable about making corrections; I hope that someone else will.

Mecanoge (talk) 02:23, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Political "Science"[edit]

Read the definition of science and then I ask - is this really science? This is more about studying human behavior than repeatable, testable results. -- (talk) 03:29, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

These things come under the heading of the social sciences. They do differ from the physical sciences quite a bit, as the article on social science acknowledges from the outset, but the term "science" for them is something that is broadly accepted and it is not for us to argue with the dictionary. --DanielRigal (talk) 18:34, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

I also wonder why it is called political "SCIENCE". Many college offer the degree Bachelor of "Arts" in political science219.151.149.195 (talk) 10:30, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Although the term science can be used as shorthand to refer to the natural sciences, it has several other definitions as well. Look it up: Also, political hypotheses and theories are often tested in purposeful practice and by naturally occurring events.--TDJankins (talk) 21:51, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Capitalization inconsistency[edit]

The article title is Political science, and there is a redirect from Political Science, which is also the capitalization used in the lead sentence. Which is correct? Which need fixing? —[AlanM1(talk)]— 02:03, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Political game theory[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Political_game_theory. Spirit Ethanol (talk) 19:18, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Unsuported statement[edit]

Removed this unsupported statement (added by a SPA with some POV[1]) per WP:YESPOV #2 re:The Cambridge History of Science: Volume 7, The Modern Social Sciences, Nature And Scope Of Political Science, A New Handbook of Political Science. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 20:39, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

the statement needs a little hedging: 1) "It will surprise no one—I shall simply repeat a well-received opinion— if I say that Machiavelli is the founder of modern political science." says Modernity and Its Discontents' Steven B. Smith - 2016; 2) "Machiavelli is often dubbed the 'founder' of modern political science," says Machiavellian Democracy (2011) p 11 by Professor John P. McCormick; 3) "Machiavelli, Niccolo Founder of Modern Political Science" in Philosophers and Religious Leaders (2013) - Page 117 by Christian von Dehsen. 2013; 4) "Machiavelli created the modern perspective in ... political philosophy, and political science." Handbook of Organizational Theory and Management by Thomas D. Lynch - 1997. 5) " Machiavelli is cited as the founder of modern political science" Dialogue as a Trans-disciplinary Concept by Paul Mendes-Flohr - 2015. Rjensen (talk) 20:55, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

Note that the same account also added similar to Political_ethics#Ethics_of_process. I have no opinion as to it's truth William M. Connolley (talk) 21:22, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

Noted part of the problem is: what goes here in overview, and what should be explained in the sub-article History of political science. This led me to do a very rough cleanup of article structure since there seem to be multiple "overviews", multiple "history" sections, multiple "education" sections. Machiavelli was dropped in out of context in a non-history section. He could be mention here in summary, he is covered in context in History of political science, we should probably not make any YESPOV claims here. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 19:49, 28 September 2017 (UTC)