Conceptual Explorations around “Politics”

Thematizing the Activity of Politics in the Plenary Debates of the German Bundestag

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Kari Palonen Professor Emeritus, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

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This article discusses the ways of conceptualizing politics in parliamentary debates. When the politics-vocabulary is ubiquitous in them, which kind of speech act lies in emphasizing the political aspect? Focusing on thematized uses allows us to identify conceptual revisions in the politics-vocabulary in digitalized plenary debates of the German Bundestag from 1949 to 2017. My fourfold scheme for conceptualizing politics (polity, policy, politicization, politicking) provides the analytical apparatus. The units of analysis in this study are compound words around politics written as single words, a German language specialty. Their frequency has remarkably risen in the Bundestag debates, and the search engine can easily find them. This research interest allows me to speculate with changes in the understanding and appreciation of politics in postwar (West)Germany

Contributor Notes

Kari Palonen is professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Jyväskylä. ORCID: 0000-0001-7274-1690 E-mail:

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