Introduction to political science. Discusses the character of the 'political'; its essential characteristics; key question to address for understanding politics; key concepts such as power, conflict, cooperation, political system and political community. Politics is about the resolution of matters for a society or group that are contested. It exists not only in and between states (with their governments and other political institutions), but also in churches, sports organisations, commercial enterprises, schools and social organisations. Politics is driven by conflict, but also by cooperation. To understand politics requires asking specific ('key') questions about the nature of conflicts; about persons, groups and institutions that are involved; about their resources; and about the wider context that provides constraints and opportunities for all. It Also requires a grasp of key concepts such as power, influence and political community, and, of course, of the term politics, conflict and cooperation. This book is about the 'essence' of politics, which is introduced by way of key questions and key concepts that are indispensable for understanding politics in many different settings.