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Politics is concerned with the activities of cooperation and conflict within and between societies whereby the human species goes about organising the use production and distribution of human natural and other resources in the course of the production and reproduction of its biological and social life Therefore the discipline of Political Science involves the systematic study of this aspect of our social existence so that we may be able to explain and understand it it aims to identify the functions and structures of power in society and determine who has power and who does not In attempting to study politics one must recognise the importance of theory Theory helps us to comprehend and interpret reality It defines our focus and helps distinguish what is important from what is not Not all theories are equal some are better equipped to explain social and political reality than others If one takes into account the above definition of politics and aims to study these interactions then it must be determined where they occur Politics cannot be pinned down to a single aspect of life it occurs throughout society it involves every aspect of our lives but it is especially concentrated in the modern nation state It is the nation state that establishes sovereign jurisdiction within defined boundariesthe state commands supreme power in that it stands above all other associations and groups in society its laws demand the compliance of all those who live within its boundaries For this reason the state or more precisely three competing theories of the state will be the focus of this paper It will initially outline the key features of the three theories pluralism elitism and Marxism and establish why the Marxist analysis best explains the structure and functioning of the liberal democratic state and its relationship to civil society In supporting this preference it will highlight the deficiencies of the other two perspectives and will also make reference to relevant current
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