Government As An Academic Field Of Study

Define government.


Government as an academic field of study.

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Government as an academic field of study is a vast subject, encompassing political institutions and political theories. There are several sub-disciplines within the field, including public administration (the human management of governmental institutions), international relations (the study of diplomacy and the relationships among countries), political theory, political economy (the way governments handle fiscal matters), and comparative politics (comparing the way different nations are governed). The study of government, also called political science, is important because it allows students to understand their role in our system as citizens and to understand the ways in which our government operates. This knowledge helps students become well-informed citizens who can make knowledgeable choices about how to vote and how to participate in the democratic system. In addition, the study of comparative government allows us to understand how our government is different than others and to study what makes government effective and ineffective in different contexts.

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Government is the mechanism by which people are ruled.  Government allows for civil order by creating laws and protecting its citizens.  In order to ensure enforcement of laws, government also creates punishments for those who break the law.  

The study of government can take on many forms.  One can compare systems of government, such as comparing democracies and dictatorships.  One can study political issues, such as health care and campaign finance reform.  One can also study why one candidate prevailed over another, or why a dictator's leadership style allowed him to rule over a country so successfully.  These topics usually fall under the collegiate major of political science. At the grade school level, courses in government are less about political theory and more about how government is structured and operates at the local, state, and national level.  History is important in the study of government both at the collegiate and grade school level, and many people who study history also study political science, and vice versa.  

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Defining government as an academic study requires multiple descriptions. Depending on what type of education is being taught (middle school, high school, undergraduate, graduate school, etc), the subject and content being taught will vary significantly. However, regardless of where or what is being taught, the academic field of study will always include how a country/state governs its citizens, manages the finances, works for the people, looks to grow, enforces the law, provides a foundation for businesses, controls borders, elects officials, settle disputes, and many more actions.

Whether the study of government looks at the political side of things (such as electing mayors, governors, the president, etc.), or looks at the action the government takes (spending tax money, providing healthcare, etc.), every individual needs to know the importance and role the government plays within a country and community.  

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As a field of study, government explores many aspects of the human condition.  It examines the notion of freedom, collectivity, liberty, justice, as well as how individuals interact within one another when their interests are at stake.  In the academic world, the study of government an take some divergent paths.  One such path is political science, which helps to analyze the study of government in a form that seeks to analyze the institutional hermeneutics of governing structures.  Political theory is another branch of the study of government from a conceptual point of view.  It seeks to analyze how different thinkers conceived of government in a theoretical point of view and contrasts these different understandings.

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