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Political science is the study of politics. It involves the study of
structure and process in government - or any equivalent system that assures
safety, fairness, and closure across a broad range of risks and access to a
broad range of commons for its human charges. Accordingly, political
scientists often study trade unions, corporations, churches or other forms
of collective intelligence that are not "political" in the sense of
influencing law or executive decisions - but have structure and process
approaching that of government in complexity and interconnection.
Political scientists study the allocation and transfer of power in decision
making. Because of the complex interaction of often conflicting interests,
political science is often an applied instance of game theory.
Political processes are often associated with the possibility or the
prevention of violence.
Since the end of the World War II, the study of International Relations,
that is also part of Law, Economy, Sociology, among others, became an
important area of Political Science. As the time passes, International
Relations studies get more and more independent of Political Science,
including the methodology and scholars themselves.
One thing that complicates the study of political science is that political
scientists are themselves part of the political process, since their
teachings provide the frameworks within which other commentators, such as
journalists, pressure-groups, politicians and the electorate select what
they see as the most viable options.
The complex interplay of economic and political choices is reflected in the
field of political economy, where economics and political science overlap.
In the United States, political scientists look at a variety of data
including elections, public opinion (on matters ranging from Social Security
reform to foreign policy), institutional roles (how the U.S. Congress acts,
where congressional power gravitates, how and when the Supreme Court acts,
or does not act, etc.).
While historians look backward, seeking to explain the past, political
scientists try to illuminate the politics of the present and predict those
of the future.