Understanding Comparative Politics: A Framework for Analysis

Understanding Comparative Politics: A Framework for Analysis

Understanding Comparative Politics: A Framework for Analysis

Understanding Comparative Politics: A Framework for Analysis

Synopsis

Comparative politics has undergone significant theoretical changes in recent decades. Particularly since the 1980s, a new generation of scholars have revamped and rejuvinated the study of the subject. Mehran Kamrava examines current and past approaches to the study of comparative politics and proposes a new framework for analysis. This is achieved through a comparative examination of state and social institutions, the interactions that occur between them, and the poltical cultures within which they operate. The book also offers a concise and detailed synthesis of existing comparative frameworks that, up to now at least, have encountered analytical shortcomings on their own. Athough analytically different in its arguments and emphasis from the current "Mainstream" genre of literature on comparative politics, the present study is a logical outgrowth of the scholarly works of the last decade or so. It will be essential reading for all students of comparative politics.

Excerpt

Despite having been a subject of intellectual curiosity for centuries, comparative politics did not begin to attract serious scholarly attention until the closing years of the last century. It was only then that a growing number of scholars began studying and comparing politics on a cross-national basis. Most of these early comparativists were English speaking, and a majority American. Not surprisingly, their early writings did not extend far beyond comparative examinations of American and European politics. Over the years and decades since, the schools of thought and the approaches employed by these and other comparativists as well as the areas of their focus have undergone fundamental and radical changes. The scope, direction, and focus of comparative politics has been and continues to be influenced by a plethora of diverse and disparate phenomena, a development not unlike that experienced by most other speculative sciences. Such variables as the evolving international system, the growth of the modern nation-state and its far-reaching social and political ramifications, diplomatic alliances and hostilities, national prejudices and preferences, and ideological predispositions and biases have all contributed to the ways in which comparativists interpret politics and develop methodological approaches to the subject. In more ways than comparativists like to admit, the study of comparative politics has been captive to the national and personal predicaments of its principal scholarly interpreters as well as the changing beats of history. That shifts in the major theoretical and methodological approaches to comparative politics happen to loosely correspond with changing historical eras is more than simply coincidental. In fact, such changes in the study of comparative politics have in most instances been, even if indirectly, a result of evolving historical, national, or international circumstances. It is with this understanding that the different approaches

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