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Encyclopedia > Comparative politics

Comparative politics is a subfield of political science, characterized by an empirical approach based on the comparative method. In fact, comparative politics does not have a substantive focus in itself, but rather a methodological one: it focuses on "the how but does not specify the what of the analysis".[1] In other words, comparative politics is not defined by the object of its study, but rather by the method it applies to study political phenomena. When applied to specific fields of study, comparative politics may be referred to by other names, such as for example comparative government (the comparative study of forms of government) or comparative foreign policy (comparing the foreign policies of different States in order to establish general empirical connections between the characteristics of the State and the characteristics of its foreign policy). The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... Consent of the governed is a political theory that says a governments legitimacy and moral right to use state power is, or ought to be, derived from the people or society over which that power is exercised. ... Information on politics by country is available for every country, including both de jure and de facto independent states, inhabited dependent territories, as well as areas of special sovereignty. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political history is the narrative and analysis of political events, ideas, movements, and leaders. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      International relations (IR), a branch of political science, is the study of foreign affairs and global issues among states within the international system, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs). ... Main International Relations Theories and derivates Realism & Neorealism Idealism, Liberalism & Neoliberalism Marxism & Dependency theory Functionalism & Neofunctionalism Critical theory & Constructivism International relations theory attempts to provide a conceptual model upon which international relations can be analyzed. ... This is a list of notable political scientists. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Public administration can be broadly described as the study and implementation of policy. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article is about the sociological concept. ... Street-level bureaucracy is a term used to refer to a public agency employee who actually performs the actions that implement laws. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Separation of powers, a term coined by French political Enlightenment thinker Baron de Montesquieu[1][2], is a model for the governance of democratic states. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      In law, the judiciary or judicial is the system of courts which administer justice in the name of the sovereign or state, a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. ... A legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws. ... Sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise supreme political (e. ... The psychodynamics of decision-making form a basis to understand institutional functioning. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... An election is a decision making process where people choose people to hold official offices. ... Voting is a method of decision making wherein a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political federalism is a political philosophy in which a group of members are bound together (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. ... A form of government (also referred to as a system of government or a political system) is a system composed of various people, institutions and their relations in regard to the governance of a state. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political campaign is an organized effort to influence the decision making process within a group. ... Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas. ... Comparative government or comparative politics is a method in political science for obtaining evidence of causal effects by comparing the varying forms of government in the world, and the states they govern, although governments across different periods of history may also be the units of comparison. ... A form of government (also referred to as a system of government or a political system) is a system composed of various people, institutions and their relations in regard to the governance of a state. ... A countrys foreign policy is a set of political goals that seeks to outline how that particular country will interact with other countries of the world and, to a lesser extent, non-state actors. ...


Sometimes, especially in the United States, the term "comparative politics" is used to refer to "the politics of foreign countries". This usage of the term however should be considered incorrect.[2]

Contents

The comparative method

The comparative method is - together with the experimental method, the statistical method and the case study approach - one of the four fundamental scientific methods which can be used to test the validity of general empirical propositions,[3] i.e. to establish empirical relationships among two or more variables while all other variables are held constant.[4] In particular, the comparative method is generally used when neither the experimental nor the statistical method can be employed: on the one hand, experiments can only rarely be conducted in political science;[5] on the other hand the statistical method implies the mathematical manipulation of quantitative data about a large number of cases, while sometimes political research must be conducted by analysing the behaviour of qualitative variables in a small number of cases.[6] The case study approach cannot be considered a scientific method according to the above definition, however it can be useful to gain knowledge about single cases, which can then be put to comparison according to the comparative method.[7] In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex-+-periri, of (or from) trying), is a set of actions concerning phenomena. ... A graph of a normal bell curve showing statistics used in educational assessment and comparing various grading methods. ... Case studies involve a particular method of research. ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ...


Comparative strategies

Several different strategies can be used in comparative research.[8]

  • Most Similar Systems Design/Mill's Method of Difference: it consists in comparing very similar cases which only differ in the dependent variable, on the assumption that this would make it easier to find those independent variables which explain the presence/absence of the dependent variable.
  • Most Different Systems Design/Mill's Method of Similarity: it consists in comparing very different cases, all of which however have in common the same dependent variable, so that any other circumstance which is present in all the cases can be regarded as the independent variable.

Mills Methods are five methods of induction described by philosopher John Stuart Mill in his 1843 book A System of Logic. ... Mills Methods are five methods of induction described by philosopher John Stuart Mill in his 1843 book A System of Logic. ...

Some major works in comparative politics

  • Aristotle: In his work The Politics, Aristotle compares different "constitutions", by introducing a famous typology based on two criteria: the number of rulers (one, few, many) and the nature of the political regime (good or corrupt). Thus he distinguishes six different kinds of "constitutions": monarchy, aristocracy, and polity (good types), versus tyranny, oligarchy and democracy (corrupt types).
  • Montesquieu:
  • Alexis de Tocqueville:
  • Seymour Martin Lipset:
  • Barrington Moore:
  • Samuel P. Huntington:
  • Robert A. Dahl:
  • Arend Lijphart:
  • Giovanni Sartori:
  • Theda Skocpol: In States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China Theda Skocpol compares the major revolutions of France, Russia and China: three basically similar events which took place in three very different contexts. Skopcol's purpose is to find possible similarities which might help explain the phenomenon of political revolution. From this point of view, this work represents a good example of a research conducted according to the Most Different Systems Design.

Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Aristotles Politics (Greek Πολιτικά) is a work of political philosophy. ... Montesquieu can refer to: Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu Several communes of France: Montesquieu, in the Hérault département Montesquieu, in the Lot-et-Garonne département Montesquieu, in the Tarn-et-Garonne département This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages... For other uses, see Tocqueville (disambiguation) Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (Verneuil-sur-Seine, ÃŽle-de-France, July 29, 1805– Cannes, April 16, 1859) was a French political thinker and historian. ... Seymour Martin Lipset (born 1922) is a political sociologist. ... Barrington Moore Jr. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Robert Alan Dahl (b. ... Arend DEngremont Lijphart (b. ... Giovanni Sartori is an Italian political scientist specializing in the study of comparative politics. ... Theda Skocpol (born May 4, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan) is a sociologist and political scientist at Harvard University, presently serving as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. ...

See also

The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... Comparative government or comparative politics is a method in political science for obtaining evidence of causal effects by comparing the varying forms of government in the world, and the states they govern, although governments across different periods of history may also be the units of comparison. ... There are a great many similarities between the countries of Canada and Australia. ... There are a great many similarities between Australia and New Zealand. ... Though whats up there are many similarities between the politics of Canada and the politics of the United States, there are also important differences. ...

References

  1. ^ Lijphart, A. (1971) "Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method", in American Political Science Review, vol. 65, no. 3, p. 682
  2. ^ Hopkin, J. [2002 (1995)] "Comparative Methods", in Marsh, D. and G. Stoker (ed.) Theory and Methods in Political Science, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 249-250
  3. ^ Lijphart, A. (1971), cit., p. 682
  4. ^ Lijphart, A. (1971), cit., p. 683
  5. ^ Hopkin, J. [2002 (1995)], cit., p. 250
  6. ^ It should be noted however that, as Lijphart points out in the article cited above, the experimental and statistical methods share the same logic as the comparative method: they all imply a comparison between cases which differ on the variable which is being studied, while remaining identical on all the other possible variables.
  7. ^ Lijphart, A. (1971), cit., p. 691
  8. ^ http://poli.haifa.ac.il/~levi/mlogic.html

External links

Comparative Methods in Political & Social Research: useful resources from Prof. David Levi-Faur's course at the University of Haifa.


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