Grand Theory in Comparative Politics: by i8D420cV


									Some grand theories in
 Comparative Politics:
    A very hasty overview
Grand theory: what is it?
• A set of general principles about politics
  that can be applied to all countries
• An overarching model that can be used to
  categorize all countries and political
• An attempt to create order out of politics
A problem
       Modernization Theory
        (late 1940s-1960s)
•   Main problem it attempted to
    solve: Differences among              •   Need for “external trigger”: less
    countries (poverty,                       localized economy, improved
    industrialization or lack thereof;,       communications, formation of new
    type of government, etc.)                 elite

•   Theory that all societies in an       •   Idea that democracy naturally
    evolutionary process in which             follows development.
    they move from being
    “traditional” to being “modern.”
                                          •   western countries as “more
                                              evolved” and “better”; others
•   culture as impediment to                  “less evolved”
    development– “traditional groups”
    in society seen as obstacle to
    modernization and development.
    Limitations of Modernization
•   Linear view of history – only one route to modernity
•   “the West” as “the best”
•   assumption that the only possible development is capitalist
•   Democracy doesn’t always follow development
•   Change does not always equal better
•   Societies not homogenous: diversity of modern/traditional;
    developed/undeveloped inside the same society

Note: Although discredited in academic circles, still widely
  believed outside academia, especially in political and popular
     Dependency theory
     (late 1960s-1970s)
• Critique of modernization theory
• Argues that developing countries’
  “underdevelopment” due to external
  exploitation of those countries (NOT
  due to internal factors)
• imperialism prevented emergence of
  western ideal-type development/the
          emergence of a indigenous
• Encouraged isolationist policies that
  sometimes backfired
• Overemphasized external factors in
  explaining political conditions
• Marxian -- Overly economistic?
Other mid-range theories
   and approaches in
  Comparative Politics
•   World systems theory
•   Rational Choice theory
•   State-Society Relations
•   Political Economy
  Comparative Politics paradigms
     & main topics of study

             Early 1900s
European constitutions and judiciaries
 Roots of fascism and totalitarianism
        Modernization theory
        Modernization theory
         Dependency Theory
        World systems theory
          Study of the state
   International Political Economy

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