A Systems Analysis of Political Life

A Systems Analysis of Political Life

A Systems Analysis of Political Life

A Systems Analysis of Political Life

Excerpt

This is the third work in a long-range project on empirically oriented political theory. The first, The Political System, sought to present the case for general theory in political science. The second, A Framework for Political Anaylsis, laid out the major categories in terms of which it has seemed to me that such a theory might be developed. In the present book, the task will be to put that structure of concepts to work and, in doing so, to elaborate them further so that they can be more readily applied to empirical situations.

But this book remains a work confined to the theoretical level. Its primary objective is to elaborate a conceptual structure and suggest, where possible, some theoretical propositions. Its goal is not to undertake the validation of the statements or to demonstrate definitively the applications of such concepts. Testing is closely interwoven with theory construction; each feeds and grows on the other. But for sustained periods of time it is vital, in the development of a discipline, that particular attention be given to the separate needs and problems of each. In the specialization of labor that inevitably takes place, I have chosen to devote my efforts in this book to the elaboration of empirical theory. It is significant that although, until the last decade, empirical theory had received the blessings of but a small minority and the attention of only an isolated few, it is now increasingly becoming a special field of teaching, training, and research in political science.

This book picks up where A Framework for Political Anaylsis left off. Here I explore in detail what may be called the life processes of a political system, those kinds of functions through which it performs its characteristic work as a political system. I continue to view political life as a system surrounded by a variety of environments. Because it is an open system, it is constantly subject to possible stress from these environments. Yet, in spite of these dangers to political life, many systems are able to take the measures necessary to assure their own persistence through time. Our problem will be the deceptively simple one: How does it come about that any type of system can persist at all, even under the pressures of frequent or constant crises?

In seeking an answer to this central problem of empirical political theory, we are led to inquire into the exact nature of these stresses, to...

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.