What is politics: Definition and 73 Discussions

Politics (from Greek: Πολιτικά, politiká, 'affairs of the cities') is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that studies politics and government is referred to as political science.
It may be used positively in the context of a "political solution" which is compromising and nonviolent, or descriptively as "the art or science of government", but also often carries a negative connotation. The concept has been defined in various ways, and different approaches have fundamentally differing views on whether it should be used extensively or limitedly, empirically or normatively, and on whether conflict or co-operation is more essential to it.
A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising internal and external force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.
In modern nation states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party often agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders. An election is usually a competition between different parties.
A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, Confucius's political manuscripts and Chanakya's Arthashastra.

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  1. 256bits

    Canadian Politics Boring Dispelled

    The prime minister and the leader of the opposition face off. Question period behind the scene of Canadian politics at its best.
  2. J

    Where Does Innovation Thrive: Universities or the Capitalist Market?

    I'm curious where real innovation comes from. In trying to understand the economics of both sides of the political aisle, it seems to be a difference in a opinion of where innovation comes from. Conservatives think innovation comes from the wealthy investing in ideas within the free market...
  3. 1oldman2

    Safety regulations, Politics and Nuclear production

    Just wondering how much of this is political posturing and how much is hard science. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/safety-problems-los-alamos-laboratory-delay-us-nuclear-warhead-testing-and-production
  4. Ma Xie Er

    Job Skills Navigating Office Politics: Worker X's Fishy Model Revision Procedures

    I'm fresh out of school, working for a department where there's some office politics. A co-worker, call this person worker X, is friends with the boss. Worker X is using logistic regression to build a model, and whenever I question anything, the boss tells me worker X is too busy to answer...
  5. Salvador

    History Politics and science , world history ,clearing stereotypes

    Recently I had a thread in PF and also participate in another one and somehow time after time the discussion touches on a few important points that deal with both history, politics and also a lot of stereotypical thinking about the world both how it's now and the way it was in history. We live...
  6. DrClaude

    Is the Politics of Education Too Real?

    Another gem from SMBC. Don't know if I want to laugh or cry, this is too real. Edit: If the image is too small, click on the link above to see the original.
  7. WhatIsGravity

    News US Politics & ISIS: Hope for the Best or Natural Selection?

    I spent much of last year in Iraq (Kurdistan), and most of this year in Saudi, mainly spending my time hanging out in remote places; little villages. From what I saw and heard and experienced, ISIS wants the US to get more involved... cause that means more radical recruits- on both sides...
  8. B

    News Any Popular, Non-Biased, and Reputable Sources of Politics?

    I feel like it's hard to find good political news and commentary that's unbiased and reputable (Fox News ought to be shut down). What are the most popular, reputable, and unbiased sources that you guys know of (if any exist!)?
  9. Hercuflea

    Why are there few scientists/engineers in politics?

    Lots of scientists go to Wall Street after getting their PhD. But not many go on to make political careers for themselves. One of my favorite physicists ever was Edward Teller, who spent most of his later years advising the White House on the Russian ICBM threat. Why aren't there more people...
  10. H

    History Middle East modern history/current politics education resources

    Greetings, I am not very knowledgeable on the modern history and the current political situation in the Middle East. When I try to speak with people about the subject, often all I get is a barrage of strong opinions that leave me no more informed than when I started. As a result, I'm not...
  11. D

    Examples of Politics and Physicists

    (Note: This is probably the wrong place for this, but I wasn't sure where to post this) What are some examples of when politics and physics research coincided or had strong direct impacts on each other? For example: Napoleon and Laplace/Poisson Catholic church and Galileo WW2 and the...
  12. W

    Admissions Graduate admissions committee politics

    I was wondering how committees work? Do a certain number of people have to agree to admit a student? What exactly does a chair do, does he get the "last say" or something? I know every school is different but does anyone know in general? Also how about this hypothetical case: You have a very...
  13. Pythagorean

    News Politics of Scale: US Republic Unmanageable at Large Scale

    This video puts forth the idea that an institution the size of the US (in terms of population) is unmanageable as a republic as the concept because a republic was designed for a smaller scale.
  14. phyzguy

    News US Politics & Poverty: A Puzzling Paradox

    One thing continues to puzzle me about the current political landscape in the US, as witnessed by Mitt Romney's recent comments about Obama's "gifts" allowing him to win the election. With many on the right attempting to cut back on the social safety net because of a large number of perceived...
  15. rootX

    News Justin Trudeau coming to politics

    http://justin.ca/ He is making an announcement in Montreal. He will be bidding for liberal leadership: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/10/02/pol-justin-trudeau-liberal-party.html It should be interesting.
  16. Q

    Company Politics / Frustration / Career Advice

    Hello, I recently graduated from University as a Mechanical Engineer. I am currently working at a large oil and gas company as a New Graduate Mechanical Engineer. My roles and responsibilities primarily include Preventive Maintenance and Reliability of pipelines. It is probably one of the...
  17. micromass

    News Funny pictures of politics and world affairs

    Here's a thread to post some funny and sarcastic pictures of politicians and world events. Let's just keep it tasteful and not start any political argument. The pictures are just for fun, so try to laugh even if you disagree with it :smile:
  18. M

    News General American Politics Poll

    I thought it might be interesting to find out what everyone thinks of our politics in general in the US. The question will be how much you disagree with our elected officials, their politics and their legislation. All of them, not just the ones not in your party. It doesn't matter which way you...
  19. Evo

    News Politics - playing the religious card

    Should religion be combined with politics? Should laws be made according to religious viewpoints? Recent Gallup polls* show that the majority of Americans now approve of abortion and gay marriage, oddly there is an increase among outspoken religious politicians attempting to push laws against...
  20. Orion1

    News Will Aliens Destroy Humanity in Intragalactic Politics?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV8BA8DWvkI Reference: http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Entertainment/22-Aug-2011/Aliens-may-destroy-Earth" http://newyork.ibtimes.com/articles/201116/20110820/alien-destroy-humanity-nasa-global-warming.htm"...
  21. H

    News Your view on indian and pakistani politics?

    i would like to rephrase my question - "Which country is the most corrupted country in your opinion? "
  22. Char. Limit

    Music Music & Politics: Does Genre Matter?

    I was wondering, do you think that any particular genres of music primarily have a certain political leaning? For example, would you call most rappers liberal, or most country music artists conservative? In particular, is it possible to assign a political leaning to practitioners of metal?
  23. B

    The business and politics of the Super Bowl

    What do you think about advocacy ads during the Super Bowl? I don't like them because the Super Bowl is supposed to be an event that ought to unite all Americans, and advocacay ads, such as anti-abortion or pro-choice, anti-gay or airing gay dating site, etc. divide us rather than to unite...
  24. Andre

    News Science vs. Politics: Tipping Points in Climate Change Communication

    Twenty years ago, July 5, 1989, we heard this: So when the warnings expire they are just renewed: World has only ten years to control global warming, warns Met Office But how scientific are these tipping points...
  25. R

    News Political Major: Job Options Beyond Politician

    Right now I'm going to college to major in Civil Engineering. But I've been thinking about switching my major to Government and Politics. If I do switch to that major what are some interesting jobs that I could get other than becoming a politician?
  26. N

    News Noam Chomsky's Views on Politics and Public Opinion

    My friend who reads a lot of Noam Chomsky says democrats and republicans differ only on the basis of the industry through which they get their campaign money. Is this view point supported by Noam Chomsky? It seems rather strong. Further more states that public opinion in the states is...
  27. T

    News What is the correct meaning of politics in India?

    What is the correct meaning of politics in India? About political leaders in India
  28. J

    WHO scum - politics over lives

    In 2006, after 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths, the World Health Organization reversed course and endorsed widespread use of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria. So much for that. Earlier this month, the U.N. agency quietly reverted to promoting less effective methods for attacking...
  29. A

    Probability Question - POLITICS?

    Probability Question - POLITICS?! :) In a recent survey 480 out of 600 Canadians polled stated that they were dissatisfied with politicians. OF the remainging 120 who were olled, 75% were satisfied with politicians, and 25% had no opinion. Assuming that these findings can be generalized to all...
  30. B

    News Anyone watch john Stossels special Politically Incorrect Guide To Politics?

    I thought it was very refreshing alternative to tv programs that hyped up the presidential election and tv talk shows hosts that argue why there presidential candidate will make life easier for Americans. This special does a good job comparing the promises politicians actually make vs. the...
  31. JasonRox

    News Canadian Politics - Debate Right NOW

    Who's watching it? Who's Canadian? Who's keeping up on it? I'm a Liberal for this election for sure, and I feel everything should be done to stop a Conservative (Bush/McCain) majority.
  32. Evo

    News Preaching Politics from the Pulpit

    This isn't about Obama. It's about the flagrant abuse of authority of preachers preaching politics to their followers. People that go to church are pretty much taught since a small child that a member of the clergy is always to be trusted, if you have a problem, are in trouble, in need of...
  33. Schrodinger's Dog

    News What say should the church have in politics?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brown-softens-stance-on-cloning-to-head-off-mps-revolt-799931.html" And then today... http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-mps-to-get-free-vote-on-parts-of-embryo-bill-800353.html" Not that this will make any difference, but it...
  34. wolram

    News Clergy & Politics: UK Gov Minister Slams Anglican Leader

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/UKNews1/idUKL0790681320080208 LONDON (Reuters) - A government minister accused Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams of concocting "a recipe for disaster" for suggesting the introduction in Britain of some aspects of sharia was unavoidable. Main political...
  35. Ivan Seeking

    Karl Rove and the Consequences of Partisan Politics

    In honor of the man who lowered the bar for decency in American politics as much as anyone that I can remember: Good riddance!
  36. M

    Navigating the Politics of Academia: My Decision on Pursuing a PHD in EE

    Ah, I'm considering getting a PHD in EE, probably in control systems. A tough decision to make; I have the next 4 months to decide. :) Now that I'm in my final stages of my master's , it's not so bad: I'm finishing implementing an idea. Although I'm still reading a few papers, it's mostly...
  37. R

    Politics presentation on immigration

    hi can anyone give me any good ideas for i what i can include in my politics presentation and how i can make it fun and interesting
  38. BobG

    News Pew Research Center: Religion & Politics - Interesting Polling Data

    Interesting polling report from Pew Research Center on people's impression of mixing politics and religion: http://pewforum.org/publications/surveys/religion-politics-06.pdf Some of the results are surprising. 69% feel liberals have gone too far in keeping religion out of school and...
  39. Astronuc

    News Polarized America & Class War Politics

    "Polarized America" & "Class War Politics" As he often does, Paul Krugman hits home with poignant issue - economic disparity in America, and the politics which supports it - even thrives upon it. "Class War Politics" by Paul Krugman, NY Times, June 19, 2006 The poor don't have money, so...
  40. Schrodinger's Dog

    News Iran's nukes: posturing and playground politics.

    Is Iran really that big a threat? Posturing and playground politics. I have the link for this but since you need to be a subscriber to NS magazine there's little point in putting up the URL, so here's the article in full. My question is if the US knows that Iran has very little real...
  41. G

    News Why are you interested in politics?

    So, i personally hate politics. Why? because they're too complicated, discussing them causes big fights, and usually there's not a lot an individual can do, and I'm not particularly interested in forming some sort of activist group. Based on that, i can't figure out why anyone, (especially...
  42. N

    News Politics and public health - infectious diseases

    Subtitle: Role of Science? In https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=111663", I introduced the general topic of the role of Science in Society, and the extent to which it makes sense to consider politics as some kind of mediator/facilitator/implementor of what scientists have found...
  43. Ivan Seeking

    A very strange but true story: Politics, mystical visions, and murder

    That is, at least part of it is true... http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/02/10/political.whodunit.ap/index.html
  44. S

    News Reforming The Politics Section?

    Due to reading some posts in https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=110026" I think I'd like to renew suggestion that there be a "Current Events" forum separate from a more general political forum to hopefully make this section more focused. Or, as I think some of you would like, Just...
  45. E

    News Do Politics Corrupt? - Is It Inherently Corrupting?

    Do you think politics inherently corrupts? I think so. Even if you start out with good intentions, it seems like you'd be corrupted to an extent. I don't know why, but I always feel like politians are lying to me. Anyone else feel the same way? Nah, it's probably just me.
  46. wasteofo2

    News British politics and assault on character

    So in America, the Republicans are big on calling people harsh names. They accuse people of being traitors, cowards, anti-american, unpatriotic, allies of terrorism, and all other sorts of things like that if that particular person doesn't agree with Republican ideology in foreign affairs...
  47. Ivan Seeking

    News We are witnessing the criminalization of conservative politics

    "We are witnessing the criminalization of conservative politics" http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-10-27-delay-letter_x.htm Gee, and I thought that people like DeLay and Rove claim criminal activity as politics.
  48. D

    News Western politics asking questions

    Can any of you fine people provide me with an example from Western (Canadian/British/American) politics when the public not asking questions made the situation much, much, worse? I am drawing a blank and must write an essay post haste! Thanks in advance for any/all help! Derek Mohammed
  49. Ivan Seeking

    Do Genes Determine Political Orientation?

    If genes determine political orientation, which has been suggested a number of times in recent years, http://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/GeneticsAPSR0505.pdf then isn't democracy a bit of a genetic crap shoot? Depending of course on the total influence of one's genetic, political orientation...
  50. S

    News My politics and world affairs threads going off-topic theory.

    my "politics and world affairs threads going off-topic" theory. All threads will degenerate, by order of priority, through several off-topic discussions arguments ending with a Communism vs. Capitalism argument. Any thread that does not fully complete this sequence will be because of locking...