Grand Theory in Comparative Politics: by i8D420cV

VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 9

									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
  systems
• 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
              Theory?
•   Linear view of history – only one route to modernity
•   “the West” as “the best”
•   assumption that the only possible development is capitalist
    development
•   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
  circles.
     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
          alternative
          Critiques?
• 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
                   ↓
              Post-WWII
 Roots of fascism and totalitarianism
                   ↓
             1950s-1960s
      “structural-functionalism”
        Modernization theory
                   ↓
             1960s-1970s
        Modernization theory
         Dependency Theory
                   ↓
             1970s-1980s
        World systems theory
          Study of the state
   International Political Economy

								
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