The term ‘Politics’ is used by laypersons and scholars with confusing meanings. While different scholars have interpreted the concept differently and the evolution of our subject has witnessed gradual broadening of its meaning, the laypersons’ understanding of the term is either too narrow or, very often, quite negative.

Politics is thought of as voting, public processions, slogans, meetings, rallies, demands, strikes, politicians, political parties, false promises, etc. Such vague common sense notions of politics lead to condemning ‘Politics’ as a ‘dirty’ word implying trouble, violence, manipulation and lies. It has been dubbed as the ‘last resort of the scoundrel’ or even as ‘the systematic organisation of hatreds’.

For a systematic study of politics, it is necessary to dissociate the term from such vague, narrow and negative impressions and to establish that it is a valuable activity without which an orderly social life becomes unthinkable.

In fact, Aristotle, the famous Greek Philosopher considered politics as the ‘master science’. It is an inevitable activity through which human beings attempt to improve their lives and create the ‘good society’.


Politics is a social activity through which people make, preserve and change the general rules of social life. While doing such things, people disagree among themselves on many issues. They disagree about distribution of economic resources and political power. They also disagree on the nature of good life, common goals of society and the methods to pursue it; politics is about disagreement and the reconciliation of those disagreements.

According to J. D. B. Miller, “Politics, to be distinguished as a recognizable activity, demands some initial disagreement between parties and persons, and the presence of government as a means of resolving the disagreement in some direction”.

At the heart of politics, exist the phenomena of conflict and co-operation. Disagreements on vital issues of our collective existence result from opposing views and competing interests of individuals and social groups. Such situations of conflict, however, coexist with ‘cooperation’. Cooperation implies working together or achieving goals through collective action. People recognise that they must work together to influence and uphold the general rules of society.

While conflicts are bound to exist, ‘Politics’ seeks solutions to resolve these conflicts. Hence, politics is often understood as a process of conflict resolutions, i.e. a process in which opposing views and interests are reconciled with one another.


However, it should be realised that all conflicts cannot be resolved and new conflicts keep emerging. Nevertheless politics is bound to exist in all human societies simply because two conditions exist.

One is diversity, that is, difference of opinions and interests and the other is scarcity which forces people to compete for limited resources.