- There is no unanimity about the way politics should be studied.
- Over the years opinions on this have varied.
- For a long time politics was considered as coming within the scope of Philosophy, History or Law.
- However, in the late 19th century, there took place a shift in this view.
- An attempt was initiated to make the study of politics scientific.
- The philosophical tradition of politics gradually yielded to the scientific tradition of politics.
- Emphasis was shifted from political norms and values to political behaviour.
- Since late 19th century, behaviouralism has dominated the study of politics.
However, of late, emphasis on values in the study of politics has been revived.
- It is now realized that while scientific method is useful for studying politics, the study of politics would be directionless and meaningless if it does not aim at realizing some values.
- This renewed emphasis on norms and values in studying politics has given birth to 'post-behaviouralism'.
There are a number of methods for studying politics.
- Historical Method
- Observational Method
- Experimental Method
- Behavioural Method
- Philosophical Method
- Sociological Method
- Exponents include; Freeman, Aristotle, Leacock, Seely etc
- Seely: “History without Political Science has no fruit and Political Science without History has no root”
- They are 02 legs of the same body.
- Therefore, History forms the very foundation for the study of Political Science.
- First adopted by Plato and Aristotle.
- Plato visited large number of countries, studied their social, economic and political conditions and then propounded certain principles of political science.
- It gives most realistic conclusions.
- Gilchrist: “Every change in the government, every change in law, every change in policies, every war etc are experiments in political science”
- The world itself is the laboratory.
- Example: US Post-independence 13 colonies confederation (loose association) failed but next experiment with 50 states federation (tight association) still continues as world Super Power.
- In 1950s and 1960s the study of politics assumed a new form called "behaviouralism" or "behavioural persuasion in politics".
- This doctrine, made the theoretical development of the scientific tradition of the study of politics.
- It is a protest movement against the traditional methods.
- It studies behaviour of political stakeholders via observation, data collection, interview, research etc.
- It made Political Science more scientific.
- In 1970 a group of scholars argued that "behaviouralism narrowed down the scope of Political Science and undermined its quality by ignoring the value or values and norms in the study of politics.
- They stood for going back to political values and norms without discarding the scientific method of collecting and processing data.
- This new phase in the study of politics has been known as post-behaviouralism.
- The writings of John Rawls and Robert Nozick reflect this trend.