Patterns of Government: The Major Political Systems of Europe

Patterns of Government: The Major Political Systems of Europe

Patterns of Government: The Major Political Systems of Europe

Patterns of Government: The Major Political Systems of Europe

Excerpt

In the first edition of this book, the authors stressed the study of politics as a scientific discipline. They recognized that the scientific approach had made considerable progress in recent years and were convinced that the new ideas should not be confined to the learned journal and the graduate seminar, but should be shared with undergraduates. They knew that such a design would make unusual demands upon the student. But they also believed that the college students of today -- to whose rising ability and better preparation teachers throughout the country testify -- were themselves impatient of easy texts and ready for more rigorous analysis.

The reception of the first edition has confirmed the authors' belief that there is a need for such a book. Comment and criticism from colleagues all over the country have been very helpful in the work of revision. Errors of fact have been corrected and some of the original interpretations have been reconsidered. Considerable illustrative material has been added and the studies of the various systems have been brought up to date. The authors, however, have been encouraged to retain the same basic approach.

We characterize this approach as "scientific." This does not mean that political science -- or any social science -- can progress by mechanically imitating what is presumed to be the procedure of some natural science. A method of inquiry needs to be adapted to its subject matter. That being understood, the stress on scientific method performs the useful function of keeping in the foreground of attention certain major tasks of political analysis. These tasks are discussed in Part One, which tries to show how the present book fits into the political scientist's general program of inquiry.

In adapting their method to the subject matter of political science, the authors have been impressed by the utility of "systems analysis." One purpose of Part One is to explain this approach -- the theory of the political system. In the following sections, the authors put the theory to work, analysing respectively the political systems of Great Britain, France, Germany and the Soviet Union. The principal changes in this edition have been made in the section on France: the actual practice of de Gaulle's Republic is fully treated, and at the same time, this particular pattern of . . .

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