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Meaning of Political Science

Eminent Political Scientists have given different definitions of Political Science. Traditional definitions defer from the Modern definitions. 

Traditional Definitions

1. French Political Scientist Paul Janet

"Political Science is that part of social science which treats of the foundations of the state and principles of government."

2. Bluntschli of Switzerland

"Political Science in the proper sense is the science which is concerned with the state, which endeavours to understand and comprehend the state in its fundamental conditions, in its essential nature, its various forms or manifestations of development." 

3. According to R. N. Gilchrist, "It is a study of state and government."
4. In the words of R. G. Gettell, "It is a historical investigation of what the state have been, an analytical study of what the state is and a politico-ethical discussion of what the state should be."
5. Harold J. Laski has observed, "The study of politics concerns itself with the life of man in relation to organised states."
6. According to Catlin, "Political Science means the study of the activities of political life and activities of various organs of government".
7. In the words of J.W. Garner, "In short, Political Science begins and ends with the State."

These observations suggest that Political Science is confined to the study of;
  1. the state,
  2. the government and
  3. the political organizations.

Modern Definitions

  1. According to Lasswell and Kaplan, "Political Science is a Policy Science. Political Science is a study of shaping and sharing power. "
  2. According to Hillman, "Politics is the science of who gets what, when and why."
  3. The eminent social scientist, Max Weber has observed, "Political Science is both positive and normative science which studies human behaviour in its justice seeking aspect."
  4. In the words of David Easton, "Political Science is concerned with the authoritative allocation of values for a society."

More Recent Definitions

Etymological Definitions


  • The word politics has its origins in Ancient Greece.
  • All of the cities in Ancient Greece, such as Athens, Sparta, and Corinth, were referred to as city-states.
  • The Greek word for a city-state was polis (πολις)


  • Politicus was an adjective that was used to describe anything “of the state”.

On the other hand (for fun only),

  • Poli = many
  • tics = blood-sucking parasites
  • So, Politics = many blood-sucking parasites


  • The term Political Science is the systematic study of the state and the government.
  • Political Science is a social science regarding the practice and theory of politics, the analysis of political systems, and the study of political behavior.
  • Simply put, political science is the study of politics. Some particular areas that political scientists study include public policy, national politics, political theory, international relations, and comparative politics.
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