On hearing the word politics, what usually springs to mind are images of government, politicians and their policies or more negatively the idea of corruption and dirty tricks. The actual definition seems to have been obscured and almost lost by such representations and clichÃÂ©s that tend not to pinpoint the true essence, which defines this thing, called politics. In order to make an attempt at a definition of politics a systematic approach is required. To begin with, a brief historical overview will be considered, to understand the origins of politics. Following this, different core concepts, which are imperative to a definition of politics, will be discussed, in the hope to discover a true and fair interpretation of the word politics.
The word politics comes from the Greek word "polis", meaning the state or community as a whole. The concept of the "polis" was an ideal state and came from the writings of great political thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle.
In his novel "The Republic", Plato describes the ideal state and the means to achieve it. Hence, the word politics originally has connotations in the ways in which to create the ideal society. An ideal society is in practice a rather difficult aim and even an impossible aim to achieve. Politics implies measures which could and should, in the views of their devisor, be implemented in the hope to create a better society, than that which is already present. The very fact that Plato and Aristotle saw imperfections in the societies in which they lived, prompted them to write their political philosophies. These philosophies provided the first written recognition of politics. In his writings his "The Politics", Aristotle states that "Man is by nature a political animal"(The Politics, 1) in another words, it lies deep within the instinct of man.