Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues

Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues

Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues

Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues

Synopsis

The purpose of this text is to sketch an overview of major theories and concepts, to expose issues, summarize arguments and counter-arguments, and to encourage critical thinking in the recognition that mainstream ideas deserve scrutiny.

Excerpt

This book is intended as an introductory text for students involved in comparative inquiry in politics and political economy. My assumption is that inquiry becomes or should become comparative and that although study of a single theory, issue, country, or institution may be appropriate or necessary at any particular time, ultimately reference must be made to parallel or alternative phenomena. The willingness to examine a variety of perspectives and to explore alternative possibilities arouses curiosity, stimulates creativity, builds interest and self-motivation, and enhances comprehension of complex matters.

Two decades ago I began to synthesize and find order to the wide- ranging themes in and multitude of approaches to the comparative study of politics. The result was a book, Theories of Comparative Politics (1982), which presented a framework of the major trends and theoretical directions in contemporary politics. It focused on a juxtaposition of theories of political system and the state; particular and total political conceptions of culture; development and underdevelopment; and the distinctions between elites and masses through various approaches to a theory of class. The book was intended to guide advanced undergraduate and graduate students in a comprehensive and critical overview of comparative politics and to serve as a resource for teachers and as a reference work for scholars already familiar with the field. In fact, it proved especially popular among graduate students, especially at the doctoral level, although it was used at the undergraduate level and occasionally served as an introductory text. This book has been refined, rewritten, and substantially updated in a second edition (1994). A sequel also has been written, entitled Theories of Comparative Political Economy (forthcoming), which emanates from the plea in the conclusion of the first book for the study of politics and economics; the sequel emphasizes comparative historical themes and theories of transition, class, imperialism, state, and democracy.

The present text draws from both these books, digesting their content in a way that facilitates and provides the introductory student of social science with a theoretical basis and the foundations for comparative inquiry in politics and political economy. Its purpose is threefold: to provide an . . .

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