Theoretical Foundations of Comparative Politics
Subrata Mukherjee and Sushila Ramaswamy
180 x 240 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

The modern study of Comparative Politics emerged in the late nineteenth century, and since then has evolved largely due to the research in US universities. Comparative Politics is one of the three core components of political science, the other two being political theory and international relations. However, it was only in the twentieth century that comparative government and politics emerged as an important sub-field within the discipline of political science. Since then, it has undergone tremendous transformation in terms of its nature and ambit of study.

Theoretical Foundations of Comparative Politics analyses in depth the theories and concepts that form the foundation of comparative politics. Concentrating on the study of this sub-discipline in the context of the developing world, this book:

  • Analyses core concepts from a non-Western perspective.
  • Explains new modifications to the study of comparative politics, for example, through the theories of Skocpol and Wallerstein.
  • Analyses various forms of government—federal system, parliamentary and presidential systems.
  • Analyses the notion of the state and its different perspectives.
  • Discusses the impact of liberalisation and globalisation on comparative politics.
  • Discusses important world events, such as the collapse of communism in the 1990s, a unified Europe and the recent Brexit, and their effect on the discipline.
  • Examines new issues of gender and environment, and how they are affecting contemporary comparative politics.

Detailed and filled with recent, relevant examples from world and Indian politics, this book will be invaluable to undergraduate and postgraduate students of political science and comparative politics.

Subrata Mukherjee is former (retired) Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi South Campus, and former Head of the Department.

Sushila Ramaswamy is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi.

List of Images
Preface and Acknowledgements

1. Nature and Scope of Comparative Politics

Aristotle’s Contribution
Polybius: Precursor to Modern Theories of Power Sharing
Contributions of Rome
European Enlightenment and Eurocentricism
Significance of Hegel and Marx
Weber’s Contribution
French Enlightenment and Great Britain
Triumph of Liberal Individualism
Impact of the Industrial Revolution
Distinctiveness of the American Contribution
Comparative Government to Comparative Politics: Shift from Institutions to Processes
The Behavioural Revolution
Comparative Method: Advantages

2. Approaches: Political System, Structural Functionalism and Political Sociology

The Institutional Approach
Limitations of the Institutional Approach
Easton’s Political System (1953)
Criticism of the Concept of State
Limitations of the Power Approach
Authoritative Allocation of Values
Faults of Historicism
Idea of Political Equilibrium
What Should Political Theory do Today?
The New Revolution in Political Science
Easton’s Innovations in Systems Theory
The Framework of Structural Functionalism
Framework for Studying the Politics of Developing Countries

3. Approaches: New Institutionalism

Political Institutions: Search for a Theoretical Foundation
Multiculturalism and Institution Building
Dominant Schools in Political Institutionalism
Theories of Institutions: The Classical Tradition
Recent Trends
Concluding Remarks

4. Approaches: Political Economy

The Difference between the Old and the New
Political Economy and International Economics and Politics
Origins of Political Economy
Political Economy and the Scottish Enlightenment
The Marginalisation of Political Economy
Revival of Political Economy
The Nature of Political Economy

5. Approaches: Political Culture and Political Socialisation

Grand Theories of Culture
Impact of the Grand Theories of Culture
Notion of Civic Culture
Criticisms of Civic Culture
Subject-Participatory Culture and the Communist Variant of Political Culture
Political Socialisation

6. Debates on the State

The State in the Modern Age
Debate on the Advanced Capitalist State
Social Democratic State
Weber’s Analysis
Fascist State
Totalitarian State
Post-colonial/Overdeveloped State
Failed/Collapsed State

7. Constitutionalism

Greek Heritage and Aristotle’s Classification of Constitutions
Rome’s Legacy
Age of Constitutionalism
The Federalist Papers and the US Constitution
Paine’s Rights of Man
Nineteenth Century—Bentham and J. S. Mill
Weimar Constitution
Meiji Restoration and the Making of the Japanese Constitution
Pacifist Constitutions
Plan for Pan-African Unity
Judicial Review and Conventions

8. Federalism

Advantages of Centralisation and Decentralisation
The Arguments for Decentralisation
Origins of Federalism
Is Federalism an Ideology?
Typology of Federal and Unitary Systems

9. Parliamentary and Presidential Systems of Government (with Special Reference to India)

Characteristics of a Presidential System
Characteristics of a Parliamentary System
Difference between Parliamentary and Presidential Systems of Government
Parliamentary System in India

10. Consociational Democracy and Power Sharing

Power Sharing as a Model to Cement Majority-Minority Conflict

11. Corporatism

Corporativist View of Representation
Modern Corporatism and the Medieval Guild System
Modern Revival
Modern Revival of Corporatism
Critique of Contemporary Industrial Society: Durkheim’s Study of Suicide
Fascism and Corporatism

12. Authoritarianism and Military Rule

Definition of Authoritarianism
Ideologies and Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism
Factors leading to Authoritarian Rule
Types of Authoritarianism
Forced Democracy

13. Democratic Elitism and Pluralism

Context of Theorising
Democratic Elitism

14. Political Parties and Pressure Groups

The First Political Parties: Whigs and Tories in Great Britain
Development of Party System in the US
Functions of Political Parties
Pressure Groups and Political Parties
Criticisms of Political Parties
Iron Law of Oligarchy
Party Systems
Classification of Political Parties
Catch-All Party
Cadre and Mass Parties/Caucus and Mass Parties
Left and Right Parties
The Spoils System

15. New Social Movements

Origin of Social Movements
Factors Leading to the Consolidation of Social Movements
Types of Social Movements
Difference between Old and New Social Movements
The Scope of New Social Movements
Factors Leading to the Establishment of Social Movements
Theories of Social Movement
An Evaluation of Different Approaches
The Debate in Latin America
Criticism of Social Movements Theory

16. Development

Prebisch Thesis
Dependency Theory
The South Korean Experience
Sustainable Development and Environmentalism

17. Revolution

The Meaning of Revolution in Modern Times
Restatement of Marxist Orthodoxy
Recent Theories of Revolution: Arendt's On Revolution 
Skocpol's States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China
Functionalist Accounts of Revolution

18. Multiculturalism

Meaning of Multiculturalism
Theories of Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism and the Communitarian Critique of Liberalism
Criticisms of Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism as Policy
Political Backlash against Multiculturalism

19. Women and the Political Process

Origins and Context of Feminism
Representation and its Different Perspectives
Why Women’s Representation?
Quota Law, Gender and Politics Worldwide
Different Types of Quota Laws
Women’s Representation in India
Why Women’s Reservation?
Reservation: Party-wise or State-sponsored?




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