Political Science Subfields and Concepts

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By AppreciableJackalope



10 Questions

What is the main focus of developmental dictatorship?

According to realism, what leads states to prioritize their own security and interests?

What are the key components of the public policy process?

Which theory emphasizes the potential for cooperation and coordination between states?

What are political institutions responsible for structuring?

What does political theory study?

Which concept in political theory emphasizes the diversity of interests and groups in society?

What is comparative politics concerned with?

Which subfield of political science studies political behavior and decision-making within one country?

What does 'tyranny of the majority' refer to?


Political Science

Political science is a social science that studies political institutions, political behavior, and political decision-making. It also encompasses various subfields, such as political theory, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, and political institutions. This article explores these subfields and their concepts in more detail.

Political Theory

Political theory is the study of political ideas, their development, and their impact on the political process. It includes the analysis and evaluation of political institutions, practices, and ideas. Key concepts in political theory include:

  • Democracy: A system of governance in which the power to make decisions is vested in the people, through either direct decision-making or the selection of representatives.
  • Pluralism: A political theory that emphasizes the diversity of interests and groups in society and their potential to form a complex system of political decision-making.
  • Tyranny of the majority: The undesirable effects of a majority's decisions on the minority, which can lead to an unjust distribution of resources and rights.

Comparative Politics

Comparative politics is the study of political institutions, practices, and ideas across different countries and regions. It seeks to understand the factors that influence political outcomes and the similarities and differences between political systems. Key concepts in comparative politics include:

  • Democratization: The process by which a country transitions from an authoritarian regime to a democratic one, characterized by the expansion of political rights and civil liberties.
  • Authoritarianism: A political system in which power is concentrated in the hands of a small elite or a single ruler, often characterized by restrictions on civil liberties and political rights.
  • Developmental dictatorship: A type of authoritarian regime that prioritizes economic development and stability over political freedoms and human rights.

International Relations

International relations is the study of the relationships between states and other international actors, such as multinational corporations and international organizations. It examines the theories, institutions, and behaviors that shape international politics. Key concepts in international relations include:

  • Realism: A theory that argues that the anarchic nature of the international system leads states to prioritize their own security and interests, often resulting in conflict.
  • Liberalism: A theory that emphasizes the potential for cooperation and cooperation between states, often through the creation of international institutions and the promotion of economic interdependence.
  • Multilateralism: A form of international cooperation that involves multiple states working together to address global challenges and promote peace and security.

Public Policy

Public policy is the study of how governments create and implement policies to address social, economic, and environmental problems. It involves the analysis of policy processes, institutions, and outcomes. Key concepts in public policy include:

  • Public policy process: The series of steps involved in the creation and implementation of public policies, including agenda setting, policy formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Policy instruments: The tools and mechanisms used by governments to implement public policies, such as taxes, subsidies, regulations, and public-private partnerships.
  • Public policy analysis: The process of evaluating the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of public policies, often using tools like cost-benefit analysis and stakeholder analysis.

Political Institutions

Political institutions are the formal and informal organizations, rules, and procedures that structure political decision-making and governance. They include legislatures, executives, courts, and political parties. Key concepts in political institutions include:

  • Separation of powers: The division of political authority into different branches of government, such as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, to prevent the concentration of power and ensure checks and balances.
  • Federalism: A system of governance in which powers are shared between a central government and regional or local governments, often characterized by a constitution that outlines the division of powers.
  • Parliamentary system: A type of government in which the executive branch is accountable to the legislative branch, often characterized by a prime minister who leads the executive branch and a parliament that oversees its actions.

In conclusion, political science is a multifaceted field that encompasses various subfields, including political theory, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, and political institutions. These subfields explore the theories, institutions, and behaviors that shape political outcomes and governance across different contexts. Understanding these concepts is crucial for making informed decisions in various aspects of life, from personal to professional.


Explore the subfields of political science, including political theory, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, and political institutions, along with their key concepts and theories. Delve into the multifaceted aspects of political decision-making, governance, and international relations.

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