Is Politics the Preserve of Government? Essay

Is Politics the Preserve of Government? Essay

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  Politics is a very emotive word and is used by different people to mean different things. There is no unifying theory of politics and hence no set boundaries of what can and cannot be said to be political. It is this ambiguity that makes it impossible to argue that politics is the preserve of government. This is so since preserve is such a precise word and there is always going to be a perspective that can illustrate an example of politics that is outside the governmental sphere.
     In order that a meaningful conclusion to this question can be gained it is essential to initially define what the question is asking by laying down what definitions of the terms within are to be used. The key word in the debate that the question encompasses is “preserve;” although this could be taken to mean, does politics maintain the existence of government, in the context of the question the use of “preserve” that fits more fully is whether politics is solely found within government. Government in this case being taken to mean the specialised leading component and institutions of a society that are responsible for the decision making processes of that society as a whole. (Hague et al, 1992, p.20) It is however the definition of politics that poses the greatest difficulty in the question because, as McLean states, the definition: “is highly, perhaps essentially contested.” (1996, p.388) This contested nature of politics is key in respect to the question because the conceptual model of assumptions and beliefs with which a person tackles politics will influence the interpretation of politics that they attain. (Hague et al, 1992, p.3) Therefore an individual who uses one model, and hence definition of politics, will come to a different conclusion about whether politics is the preserve of government to someone who utilises a different model. It is then essential that the perspectives from which politics is viewed be outlined so that the debates between them can be analysed in respect to their strengths and weaknesses and a conclusion formed over whether indeed politics is the preserve of government.
     The important area of debate in the definition of politics is where the political world ends and the other areas of the world start; if it is made clear where each perspective views this barrier to occur then by evaluating a perspective against its competitors a conclusio...

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...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.



Heywood, A. (1999), Political Theory: An Introduction (Palgrave)

Vincent, A. (1992), Modern Political Ideologies (Blackwell)

McLean, I. (Editor), (1996), Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics

Hague, R. Harrop, M. Breslin, S. (1992), Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction

Edited Books:

Marsh, D. Stoker, G. (1995) Theory and Methods in Political Science – Rhodes R. The Institutional Approach - Ward, H. Rational Choice Theory (MacMillan)


Cloonan, M. (1997) What is Politics?

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