Politics is the process and method of making decisions for large groups, and any activity aimed at influencing that public decision making.

Although it is generally applied in and to government to help manage violence including inherently violent acts such as collecting tax or enforcing law, a lower-stakes form of politics is observed in all human group interactions including corporate, academic, and religious.

For further discussion of the definition of politics see politics itself. Any page that makes a generally applicable comment about politics is linked to that page.

the boundaries of politics

Politics is a game best defined by what it isn't: war, philosophy or crime. Anything else is "in bounds".
  • Politics is not war because it excludes violence, or at least mortal violence - though the intimidation of voters and suppression of dissidents has, particularly in fragile states or non-democratic states. If a state fails to control violence within its own borders, it is arguably not a state but a failed state or a land without laws.
  • Politics is not crime by definition, if you can go to jail for it is not politics but corruption.
  • Politics is not philosophy because in every decision there are winners and losers. While direct democracy or grassroots democracy often intends to circumvent the corporatism or "battle of interest groups" in favor of the wider public interest no model of this type has been successful enough to thwart politics as usual in any major jurisdiction.

how the game is played

see: politics as usual for a description, or political reform for a list of proposed alternatives to the "as usual" forms

political theories

public choice - an economics based theory where politicians try to maximize their term in office.
democratic theory
electoral system - links to different kinds of voting systems.

See also:
open politics itself - disscusses what open politics is in theory.