- History of political science
While the study of politics is first found in
ancient Greeceand ancient India, political science is a late arrival in terms of social sciences. However, the discipline has a clear set of antecedents such as moral philosophy, political philosophy, political economy, history, and other fields concerned with normative determinations of what ought to be and with deducing the characteristics and functions of the ideal state. In each historic period and in almost every geographic area, we can find someone studying politics and increasing political understanding.
In ancient India, the study of politics can be traced back to several
Vedic Sanskrittexts: " Rig-Veda" (c. 1500-1200 BC), the " Samhitas" (c. 1200-900 BC), and the " Brahmanas" (c. 1200-900 BC). The study of politics is also found in the Buddhist " Pali Canon" (c. 6th century BC). Chanakya(c. 350-275 BC) was a professor of political science at Takshashila University, and later the Prime Ministerof Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya. Chanakya is regarded as one of the earliest known political thinkers, economists and king-makers. He wrote the " Arthashastra", which was one of the earliest treatises on political thought, economicsand social order. It discusses monetary and fiscal policies, welfare, international relations, and war strategies in detail, among other topics on political science.
The antecedents of western politics trace their roots back even earlier than
Platoand Aristotle, particularly in the works of Homer, Hesiod, Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, and Euripides. Later, Plato analyzed political systems and abstracted their analysis from more literary- and history- oriented studies and applied an approach we would understand as closer to philosophy. Similarly, Aristotle built upon Plato's analysis to include historical empirical evidence in his analysis.
During the rule of
Rome, famous historians such as Polybius, Livyand Plutarchdocumented the rise of the Roman Republic, and the organization and histories of other nations, while statesmanlike Julius Caesar, Ciceroand others provided us with examples of the politics of the republic and Rome's empire and wars. The study of politics during this age was oriented toward understanding history, understanding methods of governing, and describing the operation of governments.
With the fall of the
Roman Empire, there arose a more diffuse arena for political studies. The rise of monotheismand particularly for the Western tradition, Christianity, brought to light a new space for politics and political action. During the Middle Ages, the study of politics was widespread in the churches and courts. Works such as Augustine of Hippo's " The City of God" synthesized current philosophies and political traditions with those of Christianity, redefining the borders between what was religious and what was political. Most of the political questions surrounding the relationship between church and Statewere clarified and contested in this period.
Middle Eastand later other Islamic areas, works such as the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyamand Epic of Kings by Ferdowsiprovided evidence of political analysis, while the IslamicAristotelians such as Avicennaand later Maimonidesand Averroes, continued Aristotle's tradition of analysis and empiricism, writing commentaries on Aristotle's works.
Italian Renaissance, Niccolò Machiavelliestablished the emphasis of modern political science on direct empirical observationof political institutions and actors in The Prince. Later, the expansion of the scientific paradigm during the Enlightenment further pushed the study of politics beyond normative determinations.Bold text"Italic text"hjkhku
Modern political science
The advent of political science as a university discipline in the
United Statesis evidenced by the naming of university departments and chairs with the title of political science shortly before the Civil War. In 1857, Francis Lieberwas named the first Professor of History and Political Science at Columbia University. In 1880, Columbia formed the first School of Political Science. The discipline established the American Political Science Associationin 1903. Integrating political studies of the past into a unified discipline is an ongoing project, and the history of political science has provided a rich field for the growth of both normative and positive political science, with each part of the discipline sharing some historical predecessors.
1950sand the 1960s, a behavioral revolution stressing the systematic and rigorously scientific study of individual and group behavior swept the discipline. At the same time that political science moved toward greater depth of analysis and more sophistication, it also moved toward a closer working relationship with other disciplines, especially sociology, economics, history, anthropology, psychology, and statistics. Increasingly, students of political behavior have used the scientific method to create an intellectual discipline based on the postulating of hypotheses followed by empirical verification and the inference of political trends, and of generalizations that explain individual and group political actions. Over the past generation, the discipline placed an increasing emphasis on relevance, or the use of new approaches and methodologies to solve political and social problems.
In 2000, the so-called
Perestroika Movementin political science was introduced as a reaction against what supporters of the movement called the mathematicization of political science. Perestroikans argued for a plurality of methodologies and approaches in political science and for more relevance of the discipline to those outside of it ( [http://www.btinternet.com/~pae_news/Perestroika/Miller.htm Chronicle of Higher Education 2001] ).
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