Politics: the Basics

Politics:the Basics sells all over the world and has been translated into Polish, Turkish, Arabic , Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese and Persian. (The Persian editions are unauthorised and may not be accurate). It is an introduction to the subject suitable for those with no previous academic background who are, or are considering, studying at undergraduate level. First published in 1995, it has been regularly updated, laterly by Dr Nigel Jackson of Plymouth University. World-wide sales exceed 30,000 copies.


The fifth edition of Politics: the Basics was published by Routledge in September 2014 & now costs £19.99 (Paperback),£84.99 (Hardback) £17.09 (ebook).

The  ISBN numbers are 978-0-415-844142-9 paperback;  978-0-415-84141-2, hardback; ebook versions  - 978-1-315-75474-4 .

The amendments to the fifth edition are primarily the work of Nigel Jackson. The blame for infelicities and errors remains, of course, with both of us.

The new chapter headings are:-













To understand why politics is important at both a systemic and individual level;

To assess the meaning of politics;

To identify how politics can be studied;

To evaluate the different approaches to the study of politics.


To Understand the meaning of power;

To assess different interpretations of power;

To identify the components of the exercise of power;

Assess how the exercise of power changes over time;

To evaluate how power is exercised, and the limitations to power.


 To challenge the assumption that the state is the only legitimate form of political system;

Identify the historical political developments which shape much of our understanding of modern political systems;

Assess the concept of the sovereign nation state;

Evaluate politics beyond the state within deterritorialisation.


 To understand the meaning of ideology;

Assess the development of the key traditional 'isms';

Assess the meaning and relevance of most recent 'isms'.


To assess the relevance of the state;

Identify the different types of state;

Considers the differences and similarities between democratic and autocratic states;

Introduces different levels of the state.


Identify the meaning and importance of globalisation;

Understand some key factors which shape the global political world;

Assess the approaches to international relations;

Evaluate the role of the key actors in global politics.


Understand how individuals’ rights are maintained;

Assess the application of a separation of powers;

Identify the key institutions of governing in liberal democracies;

Evaluate the role of key ‘actors’ in the political process.


Identify some of the problems associated with policy making;

Evaluate how policy is made;

Assess why different policy making processes are used;

Consider the factors which shape a government’s ability to implement their policies.


Identify the key current issues shaping the future of democratic government;

Consider how the concept of democracy might be evolving;

Assess the applicability of e-democracy and e-representation;

Evaluate the future of political science.

More About Politics: the Basics

There is an additional page on this site Notes and Queries which records the history of the book and includes some minor corrections.

Politics News

9 Articles

According to the Good Reads website, there are two Persian editions of Politics: the Basics - they were not authorised by us and hence we cannot say how accurate they are!

Politics the Basics was sixth on Amazon's list of Government and Politics References Best Sellers on 4th November 2020.

A Turkish Edition of Politics the Basics (5th. ed.) is to be published by Utopya Yayinevi.

A Portuguese translation of Politics: the Basics has now been published in Brazil as Polίtica, Editora Saraiva, Sao Paulo, 1st Brazilian ed., 2016.


The Fifth Edition of Politics: the Basics was published by Routledge in September  2014.

Nigel has updated the book and has made some interesting innovations.

If you run a class which might use the book, let us know using the feedback button on this site and we will arrange to send you a free inspection copy.

The fourth edition of Politics: the Basics has been published in  Arabic by the Arab Network for Publishing and Research based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Politics: The Basics, 4th Edition is to be translated by Jiangsu People's Publishing Ltd into Chinese (simplified) for distribution in Mainland China.


Conservative MP Steve Baker puts Politics: the Basics first on his recommended reading list for newcomers to the Conservative Candidates List.

"Politics, Political Theory, Political Philosophy" Thinking Philosophy (U3A Philosophy Network), Summer 2010, 11-14

Link Listing

7 Links

Political Studies Association
Association for lecturers in Politics in UK (and others interested in politics) - excellent general source of information on Politics.Contains briefing papers on House of Lords Reform, AV etc.
Publishers of Politics: the Basics and Business, Information Technology and Society
House of Commons Library
As impartial information as you will find from the House of Commons Library on many policy issues as well as parliamentary activities
Full Fact
Another good source of balanced comment on policy issues including Coronovirus, vaccines, Brexit, abortion etc. A charity devoted to checking factual assertions by media and campaigners
CIA World Fact Book
Interesting material on every country in the world. (Allow for the obvious bias of where the material comes from!)
Political Data Yearbook
Basic data on government and politics for all European countries and some other major powers.
Academic Earth
Includes Free Yale University Introduction to Political Philosophy course. See also FutureLearn on Adult Education Links List.

More News

One Article

Other pages on the site commemorate the life of Sue Tansey and describe Free Attractions in Dorset. Please let me have any suggestion for further content.

Readers Comments

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Please let us have any reactions so we can improve the book's next edition.
If you have any queries we will try to answer them - although we do not undertake to write your next essay!
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