Politics – A Very Short Introduction

Politics is a word used to refer to the study of political systems and societies. It includes civil society, government and other political organizations. Politics is one of the most important aspects of human civilization, because without politics, there would be no social order, and people would not be able to interact in any meaningful way. Indeed, politics is an essentially political activity, with a long history stretching back to the earliest forms of polity, such as those of ancient Rome.

For other uses, read Politics (again, disambiguation). Politics (in Greek: polis, ‘state’) is the structured system of social organization made up of a political system based on defined rules and laws by which the members of a community or polity establish and develop their own relations of authority and rule over each other. The aim of all political theories is to provide a means by which the members of a polity may come to understand and control their relations of authority and rule, and to control the creation and modification of institutions by other members of their community. This also involves the creation and modification of institutions that will allow the polity to carry out its political purposes and to guarantee the equal distribution of political power among its members. The elements of politics include social organization, political institutions, political decision-making processes, and political contestation. There is considerable debate as to the precise nature of politics, but one thing is clear – it exists at least in part as a system of class struggle, as represented by the existence of different political parties.

If you’re interested in learning more about politics and what this politics really is, there are plenty of good books to read. A quick look through the University library will reveal hundreds of books in print about political theory, political science and political philosophy. In particular, for a quick introduction to how politics has developed in the Western world over the last few centuries, I recommend reading The Political Writings of John Locke (an ideal introduction to the politics of modern society), and The Principles of Totalian Politics by Leo Tolstoy. These two books form the basis of my own understanding of how the politics of today is formed and developed.

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