What Is Politics, Is It The Preserve Of Government?

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.. vereign." (cited in Vincent, 1992, p.115) Anarchists hence believe in the ability of humans to co-exist without the need for a centralised all-powerful government to regulate their existence; hence anarchy stresses the importance of individualism above all other factors. Under anarchist theory politics is not and indeed shouldn't ever be a part of government. (Vincent, 1992, p.114, 115 & 119) The list political perspectives outlined here is not by any means a complete list nor does it attempt to breakdown those perspectives into their many fragmented parts but it does give a broad outline of political theories. Now that the basic outlines of how politics can be viewed have been laid out, along with whether they perceive politics to be the preserve of government, then the strengths and weaknesses of these perspectives can be analysed. From the conclusions drawn from this comparison an answer to the question can be formed.

Rational choice theory has taken criticism from many angles, particularly for its failure to reach a consensus on what it means to be wholly rational. It is also questioned that even if this could be satisfactorily defined, whether it is entirely reasonable to expect humans to be completely rational especially when faced with limited information and a limited analytical capacity. (Ward, 1995, p.81) This could be perceived to be a significant criticism, if entirely substantiated, of this theory as it attacks the bedrock principle upon which the perspective is built and hence if individuals can be shown to act in a non rational, even if this is through lack of information, then the theory looks much less steady. A further criticism of this theory is that individually rational actions can lead to communally irrational outcomes. An example of this would be that a rational choice could be to drive to work due to the extra freedom of movement it gives, however if everybody drives to work then congestion and efficiency will decrease and the damage done to the environment will be immense hence leading to an irrational result. (Cloonan, 1997) This can be viewed as an inbuilt flaw in the theory that degrades its standing. The other theories also suffer from probing criticism, the Institutional approach for example is criticised for its narrow definition of politics as some claim that this leads to important variables being overlooked thereby leaving the theory without sufficient tools to explain concepts of policy or power. (Rhodes, 1995, p.48) This formulaic approach appears to, by its limited scope, neglect issues that are as important to politics as government therefore leaving its proponents open to the charge of missing the broad and important picture. Feminism is also a target for criticism but due to the fragmented nature of the ideology this tends to emanate from different fractions of the movement that disagree as to the focus and goals for Feminism

(Vincent, 1992, p.206) However some criticism does come from outside the movement as people question the validity of applying feminist principles to all areas of politics, for example would a feminist interpretation of the Russian revolution differ from those that have already been established? (Cloonan, 1997) The critiques of Feminism do appear to question its absolute relevance to all areas of politics, which can be seen as a serious flaw if it is to be considered a true embracing ideology that sees politics to be intrinsic to all areas of relations. Anarchists face critism over some of their underlying principles. It is argued that the outcome of rigidly sticking to individualism as the target for society would be a world open to manipulation from the conduct of criminals as there would be no institutions there to restrain their actions. (Vincent, 1992, p.139-140) Such basic criticisms of ideologies bring into question whether their definitions of politics and where it is to be found should be accepted. The major area of criticism that can be levelled at all the perspectives is that whether by focusing on a particular area, for example the way that Marxism specifies that politics only occurs in class societies, that they are ignoring the possibility of politics occurring outside their identified sphere, for example the resolution of conflict over say land in a simple tribe. It can therefore be seen that all the theories about where politics can be found take criticism whether it be specific to the underlying assumptions they make or general, that by their narrow definitions of the political they miss either factors relevant to, or areas where, politics can be convincingly argued to exist. Every political theory is hence not infallible as criticisms no matter how small can always be made.

The debate surrounding what is politics is not one that is going to be resolved, there can be no unifying theory of politics for whatever it is said that politics is about there is always a counter argument or situation that does not conform to the mould. This then transcribes itself into the question of whether politics is the preserve of government because as there is no consensus on what politics is there can also be non on whether it is to be found purely within government. However if it is taken that a counter argument or conflicting example can always be found, any theory that states politics is the preserve of government can be said to be incorrect due to the definition of preserve. If preserve, in the context, is taken to mean that government has the monopoly on politics then anyone arguing to prove this point will fail as even one example where politics can be found outside government will destroy the argument as a monopoly is all encompassing. As it has been concluded that such an example can always be found then subsequently it can also be concluded that politics is not the preserve of government as there is always another area where politics exists as perceived by another theory. BibliographyBooks:Heywood, A.

(1999), Political Theory: An Introduction (Palgrave)Vincent, A. (1992), Modern Political Ideologies (Blackwell)McLean, I. (Editor), (1996), Oxford Concise Dictionary of PoliticsHague, R. Harrop, M. Breslin, S. (1992), Comparative Government and Politics: An IntroductionEdited Books:Marsh, D.

Stoker, G. (1995) Theory and Methods in Political Science - Rhodes R. The Institutional Approach - Ward, H. Rational Choice Theory (MacMillan)Web-sites:Cloonan, M. (1997) What is Politics? http://www. york. ac. uk/depts/poli/casestud.

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