Before we delve into discussing Political Theories, we must first understand the meaning of the word Politics and what is and represents. Accoring to (Heywood) Politics is the activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general rules that are binding to them, in cooperation and conflict. With that, since all conflict can not be resolved, Politics is therefore the search for conflict resolution other than the achievemment of conflict resolution. We can also define Politics as the struggle for power. That is said because there hardly is any Political activitity that does no involve power or is influenced by it. Politics is power, but that does not make power politics, that is because not all power or unfluence relationships are political relationships, that is religion, family relations among many others.
Broadly defining Politics, we can define it as an arena or we can define it as a process. The former meaning that behaviour becomes political because of were it takes place, that is the art of government and public affairs. The latter then describes Political behaviour is behaviour that exhibits distinctive qualities and therefore can take place in many social contexts, that is compromise and power.
That being said, we can all then come to the conclusion that Politics does not have a single definition, rather each that is set correctly into a criteria to fit a particular agenda.
Politics affects all levels of society in many different ways, that could be our health, where we go, our rihgts, what we do, and where we live. In terms of what we do, politics is easily involved in our educational system, this expounds on how the then current gobernment can be able to make certain that all collage/university courses are available and accessible to all, be it disabled or able-bodied. As for instance, they can offer material or copies of documents that you need in different formats and offer sign language as well. This is all influenced by politics, which in this case wil be used to cater for educationall needs of the citizens of the host country and foreign students as well. In a workplace, under employment or volunteering, there are rules and laws and health safety measures that apply to protect one, and it is one of the ways politics affects us in what we do.
In the context of our health and how politics affects society, The Government determine what drugs and medication are to be available to people through a National Health Organization/Institution. In our case, the Ministry Of Health Swaziland. The Government can decide which drugs are too expensive for people to buy on their own and then let them have the drugs for free. It also deliberates which medicine is highly on demand due to the countries health crisis (if any) and give that medicine out for free. The Government determine what free treatment the society can get from the Ministry Of Health Swaziland. These treatments include having an getting a check up, getting medication from your doctor, having physiotherapy and counselling.
Perhaps the most easy effects politics has on society is how it can easily efect where we go. Politics has determined age restrictions and places people below a certin age can not go, for example, a minor at the age of 15 is not allowed to be in a bar or strip club. Politics and law are always around us, another way politics affects society is even when going for shopping, one pays a tax which is called VAT (Value Added Tax). It is added to the cost of bought products such ass Furniture and CDs. On the receipt it should show how much VAT one has paid. This means that some of the money goes to the government. Politics then determines which items should be taxed and which items should not be. Taxation determines the amount of money citizens are allowed to keep as well as how much citizens must pay. When one travels to another country, they woud ned a passport or visa, ones government is responsible for issuing out a passport to them for them to gain access into their country of choice.
Politics also decides how much housing is avail in the areas people live in, they also make decisions on what type of housing should be erected in ones area, that is flats, houses or condos. This is how politics affects where we live. Politics affects what places there are to go to in an area. For instance, politicians can conclude if there are hospitals, colleges and community centres where one lives.
Politics affects us in society as much as money affects our lives. Politics decides our future leaders, Senators, Representatives, and more at that. Politics affects the way we think daily about our leaders and that of the world at large. As day by day passes, the government affect a number services that include electricity, health care, and water to name a few. This directly impacts the amount of money citizens have on a daily basis, this we see as government has set li its iin ban withdrawals and the amount we can withdraw per day.
What is the state? To most living in a political collective, such a question sounds bizzare, to some even offensive. “We are the state” they believe naively, and indeed their perceptions seem to confirm them. Considering, they all speak the same language, they all hold the same passport, they all learn the same in schools. And there are many more things feeding into a national identity. However that is not the most ideal or whole way to define a state, rather it is an incomplete way of defining the State. Defining this term can done so through pointing out the States characteristics or attributes. In addition to that, there is also the Functionalist approach which then views the state as a set of institutions that uphold order and provide social stability. With that rises another theory which is the Organizational theory, that defines the state as the apparatus of government responsible or the collective organization of social existence and its institutions are funded by the public. These both help into bring in an idea of what a State is supposed to be like.
There are four other elements that we have to our disposal to help us define the term State. These being;
I. The state has an association of persons with intention of forming a government.
II. It can be seen as a legal organization, which means its powers are exercised trough the law, hence the law may be limited and determined by the constitution.
III. The state can e visualused through attachment to a aparticular geographica territory over which it exercises jurisdiction. This means a State exists within a given geographical territory.
IV. The State has an element of personification particular in international law, meaning it will have its rights, obligations, personal identity which is distinct from identity oof its memory.
A solid definition of State we can conform with is that, a community of persons ,permanently occupyinig a definite territory, legally independent of external control and possessing an organized government which creates and administrates law over all persons and groups within its jurisdiction is a State.Population, territory, government and sovereignty are the four elements of what a State is.
As aforemontioned when we speak of the nature of the state we are wholly speaking of the innate characteristics of the state. The state has a number of characteristics. The State is an Abstraction this means that a State cannot be seen or touched but that it can only be apprehended in our mind. One cannot possibly be able to lay hands on the state or claim to have come into visual contact with it for the State is somewhat a state of mind. The State is Sovereign, this means that the State has the power and authority to make change and enforce laws in its defined jusrisduction or territiory over the people that abide to it. It has rights and obligations that are binding. It neither the people nor the government nor the territory. Meaning any legislation that is binding over a certain group of people is passed by the state, whom as stated before have the authority to make, change and enforce laws. There is a distinct
nature between the State and government. The state is an affiliation of people with the intent of creating a government. Whenever there is an association of persons to form a government body, we then speak of a state. In that manner, the state has a perculiar throughput of maintaining law and order.
States are equal in rights and status regardless of population or geographical size. As recognised by the International community each and every state is the same, it matters not the size of its geographical territory or economical standpoint, which then means that all rules and laws that apply to states are uniform in application. There are no other states exempted from international laws.The state comprises of an effective government – thus the talk of weak states and failed states. A state is regarded as a failed state or a weak state it is not effective and unable to provide the needs of its people.
There theories that have helped up shape up the nature of a state. Theories such as;
I. The Liberal Theory
II. The Marxist Theory
III. The Ideallist Theory
The liberal theory introduced by one of many liberals by the name of John Locke introducd the concept of limited government. So this means a liberal state donates a limited government and limited state. This theory also points out that a liberal state adopts a liberal attitude towards the rights and priviledges of the citizens. A state is liberal when it acknowledges the opinions, attitudes and behaviours of individuals and does not think these as a threat to existence and administration of state. A liberal state also embraces multiplicity of ideas, views and existence of numerous groups and parties. Switerland and Netherlands are examples of liberal countries. A liberal state maintains absolute neutrality towards all groups. Since multiplicity of groups and organizations and co-existence among them are the characteristic features of a liberal state, clash os interests can be seen as an inevetable consequance. In summary the liberal theory states that the state is a body corporate to regulate the affairs of the whole society. The Marxist Theory also brings in its ideas of the nature of the State. The theory explains that The state is a product of the irreconcilability of class antagonism and it only emerged as a result of social stratification. According to Fredrich Engels, a close friend and associate of Karl Marx, although the state arises from out of society, it places itself above society and tends to alienate itself more and more from society. This then means that the state gains authority and power over society and stands alone as the one responsible for exercise of state authority and power. In short the Marxist views states that the state is an organ which ensures the domination of one class by another. Idealism says that the state is the ethical institution and therefore a end itself. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel the fou der of the idealism theory conceived the state as an ethical community. The theory regards the state as an organic unity, held as a high expresion of social morality. It denotes that a state exists to create and maintain those conditionsin which free and moral life is possible.
When we look at the evolution of the state, we will have to refer to the Evolutionary Theory Of The State, accordig to this theory, the State evolved due to multiple forces that contributed to its origin: kinship, religion, coercion (war), economic conditions and political inclinations. The state begins as an imperfect entity; through gradual processes such as kinship, and religion, human society is developed. From this the state evolves towards greater stability, prosperity and progress. Stephen Leacock (Elements of Plitical Science) proposes that the first states possibly began as patriarches and matriarches, which is the kiship factor. Aristotle agree with this supposition of progressive change. Aristotle belived that the state evolved from monarchy to oligarchy, from oligarchy to tyranny and from tyranny to democracy. However, in hindsight, this evolutionary theory only applied to the Greek-City States; it is far less applicable in our modern states today.
When we we look into the significant changes of characteristics and functions of the state to that of ancient times, that is Greek City State, we will notice that in the Greek City State, every polis had an acropolis, which was a fortified citadel that was usually on a hill. Later, they were used for religious purposes. Agoras, or marketplaces, were usually in the center of a city-state. Citizens could buy, talk, and exchange here. Now we can be most certain that this characteristic is different from that of what our modern state is like. The ancient Greek was a self-governenent, self-sustained city that had it’s own army, ruled it’s own lands and had it’s own laws. This is much different because rather than a city having its own army and laws, it all applies to the whole state in the modern day state. The citizens, were the recorded, indigenous inhabiteds of the city with the right to vote, suggest laws, speak publicly on civic matters. To some certsin extent that feature of thhe state still pplies to the modern-day state, but that all chnges when we look at the governing bodies and their characteristics. For instance a monarchial government does not have all the qualities in which people of the society could vote or suggest laws because it is the King or Queen is the supreme leader and only He/She has the power and authority to change or make laws.