Comparative Politics Today: A World View

Comparative Politics Today: A World View

Comparative Politics Today: A World View

Comparative Politics Today: A World View

Excerpt

In the fourth edition of Comparative Politics Today: A World View we have maintained the successful theoretical framework and thematic balance of the previous editions, while updating and extending the country coverage.

In response to suggestions from readers we have added a substantial discussion of politics in South Africa to the introductory and theoretical sections. The sections devoted to South Africa in each chapter illustrate the general framework by relating it to current conditions and events of great interest and importance in that country.

Each of the country studies has been revised to describe and analyze recent developments. These include the 1987 national elections in Britain and West Germany and the test of the French Fifth Republic's Constitution under a Socialist president and a Gaullist prime minister. The country analyses also discuss the transfer of power to Mikhail Gorbachev in the U.S. S. R. and his experimentation with policies of greater political and economic openness, the important debates over economic and political reform in China, and the continuing economic crises in Mexico. The chapter on subSaharan Africa continues to treat the major themes of African politics in comparative perspective, including the colonial legacy, international dependency, and social and economic underdevelopment.

As in the previous editions, we have tried to integrate the introductory, theoretical chapters and the country studies, while allowing the country experts to stress the themes and structures unique to each area.

The "system, process, policy" framework has been followed throughout the book. The countries described in the later chapters, along with others, are systematically used as illustrations in the theoretical chapters. Tables and figures have been updated with the most recently available statistics and whenever possible include the data for the countries that we treat in depth. Teachers and students wanting to make systematic comparisons will find their effort facilitated by the Analytic Appendix, a popular feature of previous editions, which provides page references relating the theoretical discussions to appropriate topical materials in the country chapters. The Analytic Appendix also provides comparative questions for class discussion.

Finally, Comparative Politics Today continues to emphasize the role of state and government leadership in shaping policy processes in the context of the environment, the system, and the political culture. The themes of constitutional and governmental organization and public policy and performance are treated in detail in Chapters Seven and Eight, as well as in the introductory and concluding parts of each country study. In this edition we have also drawn upon recent work in political behavior and the comparative analysis of democratic performance for our discussions of the political process level and its consequences.

We want to acknowledge the contributions of Neil K. Friedman, Robert J. Mundt, Andrew J. Perry, and Lawrence E. Rose to the early development of this book. A number of reviewers provided useful suggestions: Leonard Cardenas, Jr., Louisiana State Univer sity . . .

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