The return to institutional approach in comparative politics is linked to global support for democracy. Many development agencies (e.g., as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development Programme, and other nongovernmental organizations) have devoted significant resources to the strengthening of the institutions of governance. In particular, across the former Soviet Union, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the focus has been on strengthening parliamentary and judiciary institutions, and academics and practitioners are studying these programs to assess their impact. A substantial body of comparative politics literature on development assistance has thus emerged. Weakened parties in the European parliamentary democracies have contributed to the decision-making decline of legislatures, thus leaving larger room for maneuvering to the executives.
In the physical sciences, researchers can perform controlled studies in laboratories where the variables of the study can be manipulated. In contrast, social science relies on observation and interpretation of the available social and governmental data; no direct manipulation of variables is possible. If globalization has challenged the assumptions of comparative politics, this is even truer in the case of the Europeanization induced by the process of European integration. According to Vivien Schmidt, it consists in the process through which the political and economic dynamics of the EU have become part of the institutional and cultural logic of domestic politics.
Phd’s In Comparative Politics Completed Since 2018 Include:
But they hardly explain the mechanisms through which power is maintained and the consequences those different institutional structures may have on political stability, citizen compliance, and economic development. At this point it is important, however, to pause to stress that embracing the principle of methodological individualism does not necessarily mean accepting a purely instrumental or rationalist model of human action. Nor does it mean that the interests and preferences of individuals are not shaped by social and political forces. Recent work in comparative politics has stressed that partisan, ethnic, national, and class identities are in important ways inculcated in individuals by parties, states, and other political actors. As is well known, our increasing reliance on microfoundations has been triggered to a considerable degree by an influx of mathematical and game-theoretic tools and by the influence of economic models in the discipline. But as Moon discussed in the Greenstein–Polsby handbook thirty years ago, models built on propositions about how individual actors will behave under certain circumstances may well employ a variegated set of assumptions about the interests and beliefs of the actors themselves.
- Sartori argued that empirical concepts are subject to a sort of trade-off between their extension and their intensity.
- Accordingly, culture is transmitted by means of institutions, and because of this, they are simultaneously formative and constraining.
- Political scientists may compare one or several aspects, such as economic prosperity, level of education and employment.
- Barrington Moore’s Social Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship embarked in a parallel examination of the political and economic evolution of great powers since the early modern period.
- Although Africa has made a big step toward democratization, democracy is far from having been consolidated.
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P 4 Political Instability, Political Conflict
As the name suggests, comparative politics compares two or more countries and attempts to draw conclusions based on those comparisons. Political scientists may compare one or several aspects, such as economic prosperity, level of education and employment. The comparative method is similar to the scientific method in the physical sciences because it seeks to establish empirical relationships between variables.
Citizens behave in a certain way because of the presence of a particular culture, but that particular culture is defined by the fact that citizens behave in a certain way. As a consequence, this concept makes it hard to explain the changes in social behavior and individual beliefs, changes that nevertheless occur regularly in contemporary political systems. The main macrolevel theory of comparative politics is historical institutionalism. It has been developed by scholars such as Paul Pierson, Theda Skocpol, and Kathleen Thelen among others, elaborating the rich tradition of the historical social sciences of the 1950s and 1960s, represented by Barrington Moore Jr., Reinhard Bendix, and Seymour M. Lipset. It differs from rational choice institutionalism to the extent that it understands institutions not simply as arrangements that serve to regulate an interactive game but as historical structures that have origins and develop independently from those that operate within them. Moreover, whereas the analytical focus of rational choice institutionalism is on the actor, the analytical focus of historical institutionalism lies instead on institutional structures and their evolution over time.
It is systematic in that it looks for trends, patterns, and regularities among these political systems. The research field takes into account political systems throughout the globe, focusing on themes such as democratization, globalization, and integration. New theories and approaches have been used in political science in the last 40 years thanks to comparative politics. Some of these focus on political culture, dependency theory, developmentalism, corporatism, indigenous theories of change, comparative political economy, state-society relations, and new institutionalism.
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