Political Science is about much more than the study of elections and government. Students of politics are interested in the structures of power, conflict and ideas that shape the many social relationships that touch our everyday lives.
Political Science courses teach students about elections, parliament and how governments work. But political scientists also study the meaning of important political ideas like representation, democracy, justice, equality, rights and emancipation. They investigate the relationship between politics and economics, examine the structures of social and economic power that influence how we are governed, and investigate approaches to political action, ranging from social movements to interest groups and political parties. The concerns of political scientists include the role of the courts in shaping public policy, the news media’s impact on political behaviour, the politics of knowledge, gender, race, environmentalism, indigenous rights, colonialism, and globalization.
At the University of Alberta, courses are offered in the four major subfields of Political Science:
- Political Philosophy: Courses examine and analyze political thinkers, ideas and theories, from the classics in political thought to contemporary political theory.
- Canadian Politics: Courses concentrate on Canadian political life, including city politics, women and politics, political parties, public policy, federalism and the constitution, provincial and regional politics.
- International Relations: Courses focus on conflict and cooperation among nation-states, theories of international relations, international organizations, the international political economy, and foreign policy.
- Comparative Politics: Courses examine and compare the politics of countries, regions and urban areas, with a particular emphasis on Latin America, the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
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