David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Students of politics cleave to a welter of conflicting conceptions of their subject. We all know that these conceptions shape the questions researchers put to politics, as well as the assumptions on which they make their inquiries. But we lack any attempt to list and classify these conceptions. This research note does just that, listing and classifying 29 1/2 definitions of politics I have found in the scholarly literature. I present the definitions and divide them into seven classes: power-seeking definitions, power-distributing definitions, struggle-and-competition definitions, collective decision and -action definitions, group- and social order-production definitions, authority-asserting definitions, and shaping -values and -arrangements definitions. Among those listed are the Weberian, Marxist, feminist, collective-choice, and conservative definitions of politics.
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