What Is Comparative Politics? With Pictures comparative politics

Indeed, it is a development of the rich tradition of cultural theory of comparative politics, which was rather relevant in political science until the 1970s. After a phase of decline, during the 1990s, the interest in political culture has clamorously returned to the stage of scientific debate. In particular, with the development of large-scale researches on social capital, the interest in political culture was and continues to be shared not only by political scientists but also by sociologists, economists, and anthropologists. In both cases, Putnam has shown how the quality of civic life forms the basis for the development of effective institutions in the context of a democratic society. This model was thus tested in a comparative research effort, directed by Putnam and published in 2002, which analyzed the relation between social capital and institutional performance in the main contemporary advanced democracies. (p. 559)The promise of economic voting was that voters would be able to use economic conditions as a measure of the success or failure of governments; the anticipation of being thus measured would induce politicians to improve economic conditions on their watch.

  • To rule, dictators have to combine some degree of repression with the construction of political loyalty.
  • For instance, it has been argued that African parliaments have been weak because of both one-party dominance of the country and an overly powerful executive, although other studies have pointed to a lack of public support for them.
  • Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses.
  • We’re here to help and support you throughout your time at LSE, whether you need help with your academic studies, support with your welfare and wellbeing or simply to develop on a personal and professional level.
  • The main macrolevel theory of comparative politics is historical institutionalism.

Substantively, this can include questions relating to political institutions, political behavior, conflict, and the causes and consequences of economic development. When applied to specific fields of study, comparative politics may be referred to by other names, such as comparative government . Following pioneering works on the quality of democracy, such as that by Larry Diamond and Leonardo Morlino , scholars have investigated the same in the countries of Africa and Asia, reaching very critical conclusions. In Africa, due mainly to the low levels of development and widespread poverty, the traditional debate on democracy versus economic development has been very much alive (Adam Przeworski, Michael Alvarez, José Antonio Cheibub, & Fernando Limongi, 2000).


The latter portion of the article is devoted to determining how political demands are processed and viewing governance using a comparative perspective. The study of constitutions and constitution-making processes features prominently in the comparative politics discourse, especially in the newly democratizing countries. In this regard, in Africa, the constitutions of Namibia and South Africa have been considered good examples because of their racial and ethnic balancing, power-sharing mechanisms, protection of basic human rights, and enshrined checks and balances. Constitutional reforms have been introduced in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Lesotho to deal with internal conflicts.

In democracies, how do citizens’ preferences get translated into demands for one public policy over another? If everyone in a society had the same preferences, the problem would not be a problem at all. And scholarship on preference aggregation must come to grips with social choice theory, which should lead us to doubt that citizens in any setting in which politics is multidimensional can (p. 555)evince any stable set of policy preferences. The dominant strains of research, some of which come to grips with the social choice challenge and others of which ignore it, include examinations of the congruence of various sorts . One kind of congruence study looks at the fit between constituents’ preferences and the issue positions of their representatives. Another looks at the fit between electoral outcomes and the allocation of elected offices, treating citizens’ policy preferences as though they were fully expressed by their votes.

The historical transformations that have occurred after the end of the Cold War have called into question the concept of sovereignty itself, which is the foundation of the study of comparative politics. With the processes of globalization that have unfolded tempestuously since then, the external and internal sovereignty of the nation-state has been eroded. Simultaneously, the complexity of political systems and their external relations has increased to such an unprecedented extent as to give rise to a complex interdependence. This complex interdependence is changing the nature, powers, and outlook of the units used by comparative analysis for the study of politics. It simultaneously disarticulates domestic and international politics, creating more levels of correlation between variables, levels that are not necessarily connected with each other. The main theories generally have a focus on institutions; they are variations of the institutionalist approach.

Electoral And Party Systems

There may be a hundred different things that need to be changed, improved, or altogether invented in our discipline. But we still know little about the ways in which political institutions, social practices, norms, and arrays of political interests originate and collapse. History was important in the broad, sociological literature written a few decades ago. We think that, with the new tools we have in our hands, the right time has come to deal with that question again.

P 4 Political Instability, Political Conflict

The course covers a range of topics in Comparative Politics drawing on different ideas, concepts, theories, and countries. The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems is a collaborative program of cross-national research among election studies conducted in over fifty states. Usecountry profilesto locate basic information, facts, and statistics about individual countries. I initially chose the LSE for academic purposes, because it is such a respected institution and also because of the programme of my degree.

Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect contact hours in total. In addition to the core course and the dissertation, you will take courses to the value of two and a half units. If you choose not to specialise, you will take courses from any of the specialisms, or from an approved list. An independent research project of 10,000 words on an approved topic of your choice. For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status.