Questions Youll Be Faced With At Some Point If Youre A Politics Student
Politics is a subject everyone thinks they’re an expert on. From taxi drivers to your dad’s colleague, everyone can sustain a conversation on Trump’s presidency.
As someone considering studying Politics (hopefully at Warwick!), be prepared to be faced with some of these very annoying questions and comments. I can guarantee you that you’ll find yourself answering these questions in one form or another at some point. So, without further due, let’s begin!
1. Do you want to be a Prime Minister?
This one is a classic. I get it all the time and I cringe so much on the inside. Here’s what you need to say in some form or another:
“The significance of a politics degree isn’t the content of what you learn that will enable you to work in a particular career path- unlike say medicine or engineering. It’s more the skills you gain from the course- critical thinking to better understand the world we live in, research skills to consolidate ideas and presenting a formulated argument in a coherent way. These skills are sought after by employers and can take you anywhere- from investment banking to working for the non-profit sector”
But yes, if you do actually want to be the Prime Minister then just nod and say yes.
2. What do you study about anyways? What’s the point of it all?
This one is really such a pain to answer because if you get asked often enough you may even start to believe it yourself. But to get people to stop asking you once and for all, you should probably say something along the lines of this:
“There’s a common misconception that Politics is current affairs- that we’re sat in class discussing what goes on in parliament. But that is not the case. Politics is essentially the theoretical study of political activity and ehavior. There are many sub-branches of the field.
Take Political theory for instance. It is more of a historical module that looks at the contribution of key thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, Burke, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx, etc. And no, we don’t just memorise what these thinkers have said but rather analyse their work. It is, in fact, the foundation of many of their thought that characterise the world we live in today. By scrutinising these texts and engaging with these ideas, we are able to better understand the world.
International Relations and International Security deals with the international system. Studying theories such as realism or liberalism gives you a lens with which to view current affairs in the world and state behavior in the international system. While studying other theories like feminism, post colonialism, or constructivism enables you to challenge the status quo and not take things as a given.
Or perhaps International Political Economy takes your fancy? Put simply, it looks at how economics and politics are intertwined. We look at classical political economists, how they have been misunderstood by mainstream economists, and the implications of this. We also look at contemporary issues such as the Global Financial Crisis, the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system, or Off Shore tax havens.
In a nutshell, Politics is very much a relevant subject. And it is by no means a worthless or easy degree.”
3. Have you heard about (Insert Something From the news) lately? What do you think about it?
This one is just really annoying to answer- especially if you haven’t been totally up to date with the news and current affairs because, let’s face it, the reading for our course just NEVER ends! I guess you could dodge your way out of this situation by applying the different theories you’ve learnt to the topic (realism, liberalism, constructivism, whatever) and just seem really pretentious.