Significance of Political Theory

Political theory originated in the ancient Greek world and it is made up of two words – politics and theory. Therefore, it is important to understand the meaning of the principle here. Theory has been considered an essential tool for the progress of civilized mankind. The word Siddhant is the Hindi version of the English word Theory, Which originates from the Greek word Theoria, Which means – vision of understanding or mental vision, which reveals the existence and reasons of the object. To understand the meaning of the theory it is necessary to understand the approach. There can be many approaches to study any phenomenon. The perspective through which an event is considered is also interpreted from the same perspective. The next step in the approach is called theory. When the work of approach goes beyond the problem of a phenomenon and the selection of base material, then the approach takes the form of theory. Theory is the explanation of the rules of any science. Theories are hypotheses that investigate the root causes of any phenomenon. The main function of theory is to explain. Political theory is like a toolbox for understanding how governments work. It uses ideas, theories, and even guesses (hypotheses) to explain the different parts of a political system

Definition of Political Theory

  • G. H. Sabine suggests that political theory essentially involves people attempting to understand and resolve issues that arise within their communities and organisations.
  • According to Andrew Hacker, “Political Theory is a body of philosophical and scientific knowledge which, regardless of when and where it was originally written, can increase our understanding of the world in which we live today and will live tomorrow”.
  • According to David Held, political theory comprises a complex network of concepts and generalizations that explore the nature and functions of governments, the state, society, and the inherent political capabilities of humans.

Political theory has been divided into two parts –

  1. Ideal Theory: Focuses on what a perfect political system should be like. It explores concepts like justice, equality, and good governance. (e.g., Plato’s Republic)
  2. Empirical Theory: Analyzes how real-world political systems actually function. It examines power dynamics, institutions, and political behaviour based on evidence. (e.g., John Locke’s social contract theory).

Historical Context of Political Theory

  • Political theory was created by various political scholars from Plato to the middle of the 20th century. Philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Mill, Thomas, and Robert were directly concerned with the goals and objectives of political society.
  • There used to be debates and discussions on the problems of the political society of the state. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have a philosophical solution to these problems of the state. Because politics asks big questions about how societies should be run, political theory borrows heavily from philosophy. Thinkers like Plato and Aristotle used philosophical ideas about justice and good governance to develop early political theories.

Unscientific nature of political theory
The scientific method is based on observation or experiment. In this, conclusions are drawn through investigation on the basis of facts and evidence. These findings are such that they can be presented to others.
But from this point of view most political theories are not scientific. The meanings of the concepts of political theory are not clear and definite. Apart from this, many difficulties have to be faced in the formulation of political theory.

For example-

  1. The formulation of political theory has a philosophical legacy and it has not been able to get rid of that legacy.
  2. Empirical testing of political theories is not possible. It would be appropriate to call them merely analyzable principles.
  3. Most political theories are value-based.

Nature of Political Theory

  • The following are the nature of Political Theory:
  1. The study of politics is known as political theory. It aims to comprehend, evaluate, and clarify political occurrences. Additionally, it makes an effort to change by making up for the flaws in society’s political system.
  2. Political theory, like to ideology, encompasses a collection of convictions, principles, and concepts that are endorsed by the populace throughout their political process.
  3. Political theory entails methodical analyses of state, federal government, and political institutions. Those who provide a theoretical explanation of the political realities and phenomena of the state are often intellectual and moral constructs.
  4. Political theory can be empirical, normative, or both.
  5. The objectives of Political Theory include description, analysis, explanation, prediction, and change. Political theory encompasses all spheres of political interactions.
  6. Lastly, political theory has bearings on the state, political institutions of administration, and political relations. It is the product of the labours of political scientists, historians, economists, theologians, sociologists, philosophers, thinkers, journalists, and intellectuals, among others, who attempt to understand and explain the political reality.

significance of political theory

Politics can feel complicated, but political theory is here to help! It’s like a toolbox for understanding the who, what, and why of power, government, and how societies function. Here’s why it’s significant:

  1. Making politics a scientific study
  2. Understanding political behaviour
  3. For autonomous discipline in politics
  4. Theory acts as a guide
  5. Historical Context

  1. Making politics a scientific study
    Since ancient times, scholars of politics have been trying to find out how to give the knowledge related to political behavior the form of science. The very purpose of attempting to bring politics into the category of science is to indicate possible behaviors by looking for consistencies and generalizations. Theories are helpful in presenting scientific explanations. Political theories act like blueprints for studying political behavior. They help scientists develop frameworks to understand how people act within political systems, just like scientists use theories to understand the natural world. Through this, new areas are discovered, and new generalizations, approaches, and principles are achieved.
  2. Understanding political behaviour
    Political theories are essential tools for political scientists. They help analyze how political systems work and identify patterns in political behavior. This allows scientists to develop general ideas (generalizations) about how people act in political situations.
  3. For autonomous discipline in politics
    Political theory is essential to establish political science as an autonomous discipline. Bringing integration, harmony, and scientificity in this subject and other research possibilities depend on the theory itself. Therefore, development of any discipline is not possible in the absence of theory.
  4. Theory acts as a guide
    The principle provides direction like a compass in politics. He provides inspiration and direction to fact collection and research.
  5. Historical Context: Understanding historical political theories provides invaluable context for comprehending the evolution of political thought. By tracing the development of these ideas, we gain insights into how our current political systems came to be and how they might continue to evolve.

In short, in political science, such comprehensive principles are being searched which help in broadly understanding the political behaviour of the entire world. Well, the ultimate objective of every scripture is to generate principles. A good theory gives more momentum to theorizing. Seeing the increasing progress in the fields of science and technology, the usefulness of Raj siddhanta has increased even more.