What is Political?

Der Begriff des Politischen. Soziale Welt, Sonderband 14, Armin Nassehi und Markus Schroer, Herausgeber, Nomos, 2003

CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, 2006

11 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012  

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

l1lere is no widely agreed upon definition of what is political. A definition that seems fruitful is to hold that political processes concern bridging power differences with society with those within the state, bridges that carry inputs both from society to the state (e.g., the results of elections) and from the state to society (e.g., Presidential speeches; legislation). The political realm also includes intrastate - but not intra-societal - processes concerning the application, reallocation, and legitimation of power. Hence, if one adopts the suggested definition, one can speak about 'politics' within a voluntary association or on a private college board only by the way of vague analogues, because such talk confounds society and the state to the detriment of sound analysis and normative judgement. Indeed, one of the main merits of the suggested dentition is that it calls attention to an often overlooked cardinal distinction between the state and society. Note also that only once society and state are systematically separated can one analyze
the relationship between the two realms. I proceed next to examine key attributes of the political realm, including its limits.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, What is Political? (2003). CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2157170

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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