Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues

By Ronald H. Chilcote | Go to book overview

8
THE UNENDING SEARCH FOR A PARADIGM IN POLITICAL ECONOMY

This book illustrates various lines of thinking as related to the major theories and issues of contemporary social science, their impact on comparative inquiry in political science, and the endeavors of scholars working in political economy. The problematic of a paradigm in shaping and conditioning political economy is considered. Attention to capitalist accumulation makes possible the examination of political as well as economic issues. Political scientists focus on issues related to the political superstructure, and economists look at the base, specifically questions about precapitalist and capitalist formations and mode of production. Accumulation, superstructure, and base are depicted in Figure 8.1 in relation to comparative and international dimensions of political economy. In the social sciences scholars tend to identify economics with theories of imperialism and underdevelopment (development) and political science with theories of state and class. These distinctions are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and the respective disciplines should pay attention to all three concepts.

Accumulation generally is associated with capitalism. Primitive communal production, in which labor collectively participates in and owns the means of production and there is no exploitation of classes, disappeared long ago. Slavery, in which the owner of the means of production owns the worker and accumulation of wealth falls into the hands of a few, also has been largely overcome. Competitive capitalism grew out of feudailsm, in which the feudal lord owned the means of production but did not fully own the worker. Alongside feudal ownership there was some private property in the hands of peasants and artisans, whose ownership

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Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Part One - Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Politics of Comparative Inquiry 17
  • 2 - Theoretical Paths 31
  • Part Two - Dichotomies of Theories 53
  • 4 - The Social Dimension 83
  • 5 - The Cultural Dimension 103
  • 6 - The Economic Dimension 119
  • 7 - The Political Dimension Representative and Participatory Democracy 151
  • Part Three - Conclusion 177
  • 8 - The Unending Search for a Paradigm in Political Economy 179
  • GLOSSARY 187
  • References 197
  • Index 210
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