The major functions and significance political theory.

The major functions and significance political theory.

The major functions and significance political theory, Systematic reflection on politics, the nature and purpose of government and political institutions, involving both to understand them and if necessary, how to change them, is quite old. Political activity is an activity concerned with the management of man’s collective life through the state.

The major functions and significance political theory From classical period onwards, political speculation has been about: how fundamental political activity is; how it provides the groundwork for human civilization which distinguishes man from all other living creatures; and to inquire into the basic problem of ‘how to live together’ in a community because living together is necessitated by human nature and forms the core of individual life. Political theory seeks to understand, explain and analyse the political phenomena and prescribe ways and means to rectify the shortcomings. Political theory is a complex subject. This is because in the Western tradition, it is at least 2300 years old and has been attended to by philosophers, theologians, kings, economists, sociologists, popes and others.

The number of political theorists is very large, and the interests and commitments of those engaged in this field have been so different that we are faced with the difficult task of answering a simple question: What is political theory? Moreover, because of the diversity and changes in the socio-economic circumstances, there have been substantial changes both in the subject matter of political theory and the methods of studying it.

The major functions and significance political theory at the most general level, political theory is ‘a body of knowledge related to the phenomenon of the state’. While ‘theory’ refers to ‘a systematic knowledge’, ‘political’ refers to ‘matters of public concern’. According to David Held, political theory is a ‘network of concepts and generalizations about political life involving ideas, assumptions and statements about the nature, purpose and key features of government, state and society, and about the political capabilities of human beings’ The major functions and significance political theory.

1. Andrew Hacker defines it as ‘a combination of a disinterested search for the principles of good state and good society on the one hand, and a disinterested search for knowledge of political and social reality on the other’.

2. Another writer, George Catlin expresses almost the same views. He says, ‘political theory includes political science and political philosophy. While science refers to the phenomena of control in many forms over all the process of whole social field... It is concerned with means; political philosophy is concerned with the end or final value, when man asks ‘what is the national good’ or ‘what is good society’.

3 Again, according to W.C. Coker, ‘When political government and its forms and activities are studied not simply as facts to be described and compared or judged in reference to their immediate and temporary effects, but as facts to be understood and appraised in relation to the constants needs, desires and opinions of men, then we have political theory’.

4 We can sum up the meaning of political theory by referring to the comprehensive definition given by Gould and Kolb who say that it is ‘a sub-field of political science which includes: i) political philosophy—a moral theory of politics and a historical study of political ideas, ii) a scientific criterion, iii) a linguistic analysis of political ideas, iv) the discovery and systematic development of generalizations about political.

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