What is the difference between Politics and Political Science?


Modern writers make a distinction between “politics “and “political Science” Sir Frederic Pollock, for the first time, breaks up the subject into two parts, viz (i) Theoretical politics and (ii) practical or Applied politics.

The first portion covers theory of the State and Government, theory of legislation and theory of the State as an artificial person. The subjects under the first category deal with the features of the State and the basic principles of government and do not study actual working of any particular government.

The second part covers the study of the State and actual forms of government. Working of government and administration. Political action and election. Those who take part in the actual activities of the State are known as politicians. They form political parties. contest in the elections and run the government and conduct the administration of the State. It is known as applied or practical polity, which deals with the actual working of government.


However, political science as an academic discipline deals with the study of the State and government from theoretical point of view. A political scientist need not be a politician. A political scientist finds keen interest in the study of the subject and not in actual polities.

Thus while polities refers to the practical aspect. Political science refers to the theoretical aspect of the study of the State and Government. Sir Frederic Pollock clearly makes the distinction between the two in the following manner:

Theoretical Polities

a) It should deal with theory of the State.

b) It should deal with the various theories of government.


c) It should deal with theory of legislation.

d) It should deal with the theory of the sate

Applied Polities

a) It should deal with actual forms of the government.

b) It should deal with the working of the government, administration, etc.


c) It should deal with the actual laws, their procedure and courts.

d) It should deal with the State personified i.e. diplomatic relations during war, peace & other international dealings.

Though the terms theoretical and applied politics are quite significant, yet majority of the writers accept political science as the appropriate title of the subject.

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