Essay on Differing Definitions of Politics

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In the article “Politics and Pseudo-Politics: A Critical Evaluation of Some Behavioural Literature” published in The American Political Science Review author Christian Bay creates an interesting and divisive definition of the word politics in response to his frustration with the ambiguous behavioural research and literature taking place in “the discipline that bravely calls itself Political Science.” Although Bay’s definition for politics assists in “guiding and interpreting (Political Scientist’s) empirical work” it is too specific to be used as a definition that encompasses the larger meaning of the word. Christian Bay and the authors of An Introduction to Government & Politics: A Conceptual Approach (9th Edition) and Critical…show more content…
First he defines politics as “all activity aimed at improving or protecting conditions for the satisfaction of human needs and demands in a given society or community, according to some universalistic scheme of priorities, implicit or explicit.” Bay then defines a term he calls “pseudopolitics” by stating that it is all “activity that resembles political activity but is exclusively concerned with either the alleviation of personal neuroses or with promoting private or private interest group advantage, deterred by no articulate or disinterested conception of what would be just or fair to other groups.” Bay believes that “pseudopolitics is the counterfeit of politics” and that its “relative prevalence… depends on many ascertainable factors, including a society’s degree of commercialization and the degree of socio-economic mobility.” In other words, Bay believes that politics should only be considered the making of political choices that attempt to benefit all of society, not just the individual, and that these choices must be done in accordance to the predetermined framework for problem solving that is set by society. Using Bay’s definition, every policy that is created and every vote that is cast is done so in the attempt to better society no matter what the outcome may be for you as the
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