Political Science is the scientific study of power. When the discipline of Political Science was established, the dominant view was that systematic thinking about political life was largely a matter of studying the state and cooperation and conflict among states. Today, collective problem solving broadly understood is seen as the core of modern Political Science. Analysis of social organisation, governance and division of power in society are of central importance. Considerable attention is therefore devoted to questions of democracy, power and powerlessness at all social levels – international, national and local. More generally, Political Science can also be understood as the study of the authoritative division of material and cultural values in a society. What are these values? Via what processes and institutions are they divided among members of society? Why and with what consequences? These are questions at the heart of Political Science.
Political Science also includes the study of more specific questions about politics and the exercise of power. For example, what do political parties, interest groups, parliaments, national and local governments and bureaucracies do? What interests and ideologies do the articulate and promote? Which policy questions – and whose – get lots of public attention and resources and which ones get relatively little? How does this vary across states and why? What characterizes relations among states and contemporary global politics? What actors other than states are important? How do societies draw the line between the public and private spheres and what consequences does this have for gender equality and power? What political values do young people? How are these values formed and what consequences do they have for the development and practice of democracy?