What Is Politics In Defence Of Politics By Bernard Crick? University First Year Essay

1013 words - 5 pages

POL105 – What is Politics?
In Defence of Politics by Bernard Crick, What is Politics: The Activity and its Study by Adrian Leftwich and Structures of Power by J.J. Schwarzmantel explore the definition and relevance of politics in their respective texts. All three authors explain the meaning of politics and its relation or importance to political tools such as power, state and resources. Although, their definitions of the subject differ in many ways; Leftwich believes politics affects everything, that it is universal and occurs not just in the government but also in an individual’s everyday life He adds that thought “the forms of politics vary greatly, but [they] are found everywhere.” (Leftwich. S. What is Politics? 1984) Crick also provides a boarder meaning of politics where he agrees with Leftwich and states that politics as an activity affects and takes place in all human activities. Schwarzmantel, in contrast, believes that politics deals with the “activities of a politician” and their “struggle for power.” (Schwarzmantel, Structures of Power, 1993)
Power plays a crucial role in the definition of politics for all three authors. Though the authors may not agree on the primary definition of politics, all admit to the importance power plays in any political activity. About power, Schwarzmantel states, following Webber, that “politics is about power and how it is distributed.” (Schwarzmantel, Structures of Power, 1993) Schwarzmantel views political activity as a struggle or fight for power and authority by an individual, or a group, in order to gain a higher social standing or leadership position. He uses sexual politics as an example, the dominance of men over women in a patriarchal society, or the quest alter this relation can also be viewed as a political movement. Similarly, Leftwich also suggests the importance of power in politics; he agrees that an essential ingredient of politics involves “power (whether it is by force, status, age, tradition, gender, wealth, influence or authority).” (Leftwich, What is Politics? 1984) However, Leftwich opposes Schwarzmantel’s view that politics only concerns power. He talks about the issues of mass media and mainstream textbooks portraying politics as being largely concerned with the nature of political parties or the government. This creates an untrue image of politics only being concerned where power or the aspiration of power rests. Instead, Leftwich believes that politics is a “universal and pervasive aspect of human behaviour” and though power is important, it is not the primary focus of politics. Crick agrees with Leftwich as he disregards Schwarzmantel’s theory about power in politics and states “the struggle of power is not politics; the struggle of power is the struggle for power.” (Crick, In Defence of Politics, 1982) Crick appreciates and acknowledges the crucial nature of power within political activity, however, he disagrees that power is the only aspect that defines politics. Furthermore,...

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