What is politics?
What is politics?

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

What is politics?

What is politics?


This course introduces you to the world of politics. It is dedicated primarily to answering the question of what politics is. Although the question might seem rather simple, it elicits various and often contradictory responses. As you will realise, in politics – as in much of the humanities and social sciences – definitive answers are difficult to come by. What politics is – and equally, who does it and where it is done – is hotly debated and highly contested. This course will introduce you to some of these debates, and their implications for the study and practice of politics. It will also explore a second, perhaps equally crucial question: Why is politics important?

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DD211 Understanding politics: ideas and institutions in the modern world [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371