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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

H. D. Lasswell defines “politics” in terms of “who gets what, when, how.” However, “why politics matters” should be separated from “what it is.” This article discusses political science as a discipline with a mission and defines politics as the constrained use of social power. Before turning to the state of the discipline, it explains the mission of political science. It then considers some of the most common connotations of the word “discipline” and comments on periodic “great debates” among political scientists about their profession as a discipline. It discusses the Manichean, Good versus Evil form of such debates and examines the “revolutions” in political science. It also analyzes the core of the canon that practicing political scientists need to master in order to have mastered the discipline, as well as the main players of the discipline. Finally, it looks at “the next big thing” in political science, the characteristics of things that have become “big things,” and candidates for the next big thing, namely, framing models, evolutionary models, and network models.

Keywords: politics, H. D. Lasswell, political science, discipline, mission, social power, canon, framing models, evolutionary models, network models

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