Introduction to Political Science
Full course description
This course will be an introduction to a field of study that is often subdivided into five or more disciplines. The subdivision list includes International Relations, Comparative Government, Political Theory/Philosophy, Public Policy/Public Administration and finally a state-centric discipline which depends on your country of origin (i.e. American Politics or Dutch Politics to name two).
The course will start with a simple examination of the meaning of the world “politics.” How much of politics is really about solving distribution problems? In other words, a limited amount of resources in society must be distributed in some equitable manner. After this initial discussion, the course will move to consider the central themes of Macro politics, with particular emphasis on the classification of political systems, political ideology and political authority.
Themes in Micro politics are addressed in the second half of the course. Micro politics refers to the study of how individuals “fit” into their political system. Micro political topics will include political socialization, political groups, elections, voting, political parties, party systems and political leadership. The course ends with a look at system performance and how to bring about change in political systems when performance is wanting.
To help students understand and relate to the political realm in which they exist, each student is required to embark on an individual research paper about their country of origin. It is hoped that this assignment will not only allow students to apply concepts learned in the course but also prompt them to expand their knowledge of how to use resource materials available via the library.
To introduce students to the concepts, ideas and theoretical underpinnings which constitute the study of government and politics.
To outline the scope of political science and its central themes.
To provide the intellectual skills necessary for coming to informed judgments about political issues.
- Heywood, A. (2019). Politics, 5th edition. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.