Rethinking Globalization and Continuing Relevance of the “State” In Comparative Politics
by Boniface E.S. Mgonja & Ernest Kihanga
Abstract - Comparative politics is one of the sub-fields within the academic discipline of political science as well as an approach to the study of politics and development across countries. As a field of study, comparative politics focuses on understanding and explaining political phenomena that take place within a state, society, country, or political system. However, it should be noted that while the field of comparative politics continues to change over time, it is important to note that its definition too changes. This paper, therefore, provides a comprehensive debate on the ontology, epistemology and methodology within the entire field of comparative politics with critical reflections on the continuing relevance of the states in a globalizing world. As a critical reflection, this paper is not wedded to any single world-view or conclusion about globalization. As a whole, this paper is guided by the proposition that, despite the assault on the state from a number of directions, its role will remain central to the study of comparative politics as well as in the contemporary era of globalization.
“Without comparisons to make, the mind does not know how to proceed” (Alexis de Tocqueville, 1945)
Comparative politics is one of the sub-fields within the academic discipline of political science as well as an approach to the study of politics and development across countries. Comparative politics draws on the comparative research method, what Mill characterized as “the method of agreement” and “the method of difference” or, more commonly, most similar (e.g. Anglo-American democracies) and most different (e.g. democracy versus dictatorships) systems. By drawing on the comparative method, comparative politics attempts to provide a systematic study of the world’s polities, and seeks to explain both similarities and differences among and between political systems. It is a systematic, comparative study of the world’s politics which seek to explain both similarities and differences among these political systems (Wiarda, 2007; Lijphart, 1971; Hopkin in Marsh, D. and G. Stoker, 2002).
Arguably, comparative politics is defined more by its methodology, rather than by its substantive or even theoretical areas of focus, which are quite heterogeneous. Comparative politics concentrates on areas such as democratization, state-society relations, identity and ethnic politics, social movements, institutional analysis, and political economy. It addresses these themes from a number of theoretical perspectives such as rational choice theory, political cultural, political economy, as well as institutionalism. As argued by Kesselmanet al (2007), comparativists often analyze political institutions or processes by looking at two or more cases that are selected to isolate their common and contrasting features. Studies in comparative politics can be single-country case studies, comparisons of two or more countries, and/or studies of some dimensions of the entire global universe of countries (Wiarda, 2007).In this respect, a comparative study is drawn upon across political scientists sociologists, anthropologists, among other disciplines.
Comparative politics draws a better understanding of how politics work as well as rules about politics. McCormick refers to CP as a tool to understand ourselves, i.e. gaining knowledge of the self, through knowledge of others. Thus, by studying the ways in which other societies govern themselves, we can better understand the character, origins, strengths and weaknesses of our own system of government (Ibid). Moreover, comparative politics explores how interest groups relate to the state or government, political culture and political values in different countries. Wiardanotes further that comparative politics studies the processes by which countries become developed, modern, and democratic; how civil society emerges in different countries; and the effects of economic growth and social change on the developing nations.
As a field of study, comparative politics focuses on understanding and explaining political phenomena that take place within a state, society, country, or political system (Lim, 2006, 5).It is not necessarily about deciding which political system is best or worst, but learning more about how and why different systems are different or similar. In this respect, comparative politics helps us to understand the effects of both differences and similarities in different political systems. In fact, the real world of comparative politics can be viewed as a laboratory for political scientists to critically and systematically assess what works and what does not, as well as to demonstrate important theoretical relationships among different political variables.Sartori (1970) makes a similar point arguing that“to compare is ‘to assimilate’i.e. to discover deeper or fundamental similarities below the surface of secondary diversities”. This is based on the fact that, we can only obtain comparability when two or more items appear ‘similar enough’to the extent that they are neither identical nor utterly different (Ibid).
Just like other social science disciplines and fields of study, political science has undergone remarkable changes following the end of World War II (Lim, 2006). In part, this was driven by the importance of knowing about other countries so as the militarystrategic interests of the United States (US) could be better protected. As Wiarda (as cited by Lim, 2006: 9) noted, the rise of fascism and military in Germany, Japan and Italy and the rise of communism in Russia and China, had a profound impact on the field of comparative politics and political science as a whole. More recently, the end of the Cold War opened the window of opportunity that has resulted not only in some remarkable political changes, but also in a closer integration of the world’s economies than ever before (Green and Luehrmann 2007). Lim tells us that this historical gen of comparative politics informs us clearly that the field is not immune to a host of subjective, mostly hidden social and political forces and that, “what is true of the past is almost assuredly true of the present” (p11). While the field of comparative politics continues to change over time, it is important to note that its definition too changes. comparative politics as defined by many authors focuses on what happens inside countries, while international relations basically focuses more on what happens outside countries or more accurately relations among states. However, it is interesting to note that the renewed interest in the globalization among political scientists during the 1980s occurred almost parallel with changes in the role of the state in society in most Third World countries. Held (2000) alongside many scholars, argues that “we are in a new ‘global middle ages’, which though the nation states still have vitality, they cannot control their borders and therefore are subject to all sorts of internal and external pressures”.
However, this paper does not agree with this fairly miserable image of the state and its centrality in contemporary governance.The paper provides a comprehensive knowledge about the entire field of comparative politics with ‘critical reflections’ on the continuing relevance of the states (particularly in the Third World) in a globalizing world. As a critical reflection, this paper is not wedded to any single world-view or conclusion about globalization. In the same way, Mittelmanargues that there is no universal agreement on how the critical conceptions should be understood on what characterizes globalization. Whereas others see globalization from inside out, other lens provides peripheral vision which sees globalization from the outside in. A critical perspective in this respect,examines how facts about the Third World’ states are artificially constructed in the name of ‘globalization’ and whose interest they serve. The paper discards any sharp distinction between domestic and international concerns about the state and pays vigilant attention to the environments surrounding states and their influences on variations among states.This paper is guided by the proposition that, despite the assault on the state from a number of directions, its role will remain central to the study of comparative politic as well as in the contemporary era of globalization.
This paper is organized as follows: The first part is an introductory remarks and definition of the subject matter. The second part provides a general knowledge about comparative politics, focusing on the major ontological, epistemological and methodological debates, assumptions and impasses as well as major theoretical approaches in comparative politics. The third part narrows down to discussing comparative politics is the context of the Third World. In this section, the central argument of globalization and state is examined, with the question of ‘what is new and what is not new’ with globalization. Finally, the paper concludes by looking ahead toward a clear understanding of state and its relevance to economic development in a globalizing world. Since it is not possible to cover everything in this paper, the choice and speciality had to be made.
II. The Substance of Comparative Politics
a) Ontological, Epistemological and Methodological Debates
Questions and issues relating to what to compare, why compares, and how to compare are the major concern of any comparativist. Comparative politics and comparative methodologies are, thus, well suited for addressing such questions. Addressing these questions does not only provide extensions of knowledge, but also a strategy for acquiring and validating new knowledge (Sartori, 1970). Making comparisons is a natural human activity. Comparing the past and present of nation X , and comparing its experience with that of other nations, deepens the knowledge and understanding of both nations, their policies, histories and experiences that are being compared (Almand and Powell, 1996). Comparative politics, inter alia, aimsto describe the political phenomena and events of a particular country, or group of countries (Landman, 2003).Comparative methods is a powerful and adaptable tool which enhances our ability to describe and understand political processes and political change in any country by offering concepts and references points from a broader perspective. Thus, this exposesthe comparative politicsfield into diverse intellectual enterprises. While Peters (1998) regards this heterogeneity as both a strength and weakness of comparative politics, Verba (as quoted by Peters, 1998:9) argues that this heterogeneity of the field will prolong its vitality, and it is a source of strength rather than of weakness. According to Verba, the openness of the field to various theories and methodologies helps to maintain its vitality and its capacity to cope with realities in a rapidly changing political world. So, the practical analyst of comparative politics needs to know not only what political reality (ontology) is, but also how to begin to know and explain it, (epistemology), before even addressing the particular problem under investigation (methodology). Landman (2003:16) discusses ontology, epistemology and methodology as terms that occur in the discussion of the philosophy of science and distinctions between them often become indistinct in the comparative literature. Thus, these three concepts provide a ‘directional dependence’ among each other. Whereas ontology establishes what is knowable, epistemology discusses how it is knowable and methodology how it is acquired systematically. In a sense, different broad ontological and epistemological positions inform different methodological orientations or preferences (Marsh and Stoker, 1995:14). Drawing a link between methodology and ontology, Hall (2003) argues that, ‘if methodology consists of techniques for making observations about causal relations, an ontology consists of premises about the deep causal structures of the world from which analysis begins and without which theories about the social world would not make sense.’This author argues further that, ontology is ultimately important to methodology because the suitability of a particular set of methods for a given problem turns on assumptions about the nature of the causal relations they are meant to discover.
‘Ontology’in comparative politics refers to theory of being, or a metaphysical concern. Itrelates to what can be studied, what can be compared, and what constitutes CP.Hall (2003) defines ontology as the fundamental assumptions scholars make about the nature of the social and political world and especially about the nature of causal relationships within that world. It is the character of the real world as it actually is (Ibid). Incomparative politics, ontology is relevant to our study of the ‘what’ of - countries, events, actors, institutions, and processes that is observable and in need of description or analysis. While we may have a lot to analyze in comparative politics, Peters discusses at least five types of studies that are classified as being components of comparative politics. The first unit of analysis according to Peters is a single country’ descriptions of politics in X, whatever X may be. While this is a most common form of analysis in the discipline, it has the least assert to advancing the scientific status of comparative politics. The obvious weakness of this approach is that it is not really comparative but rather an explication of politics ‘someplace else’ (Ibid).
A second unit of analysis in comparative politicsis processes and institutions. This can be a selection of a small number of instances that appear similar or comparable in some significant ways; those instances are then used to clarify the nature of either the process or the institutions itself, or the politics of the country within which it occurs. This method does not describe and implicitly compare whole systems, but rather to develop lower-level comparisons of a particular institution or political process. Example of this can be a comparative analysis of public policy formulation and implementation. A third way of approaching comparative politics is typology formation, where political comparativists develop classification schemes of countries or different components of the political party systems. This form of analysis was used to analyze politics in various countries by comparing their actual performance with the conceptual model. A fourth variety of CP analysis is regional statistic analysis. The purpose of this approach is to test some proposition about politics within the specific region. The initial goal of this approach is to make generalization only about that region, and if successful, then the ultimate goal is to extend that analysis to be a proposition about politics more generally. Example of this can be studies of the welfare state in Western Europe and North America. The final option discussed by Peters is global statistical studies. This does for the entire world what the regional studies do for a subset. Example of this can be the World Development Reports or Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.
Epistemologyin social sciences expresses a view about how we know, what we know and in particular about what constitutes an adequate explanation of a political event or process.Positivism and historicism1 are among the two significant modes of thought that have greatly influenced contemporary social science (Chilcote, 2000:32).Positivism (and its empiricist epistemology), in particular, has indeed dominated the discipline of comparative politics and social science at large for a number of decades. Positivism has a very long history in social science (Smith et al, 1996) with the early theorists, such as Auguste Comte, David Hume, and Herbert Spencer. Comte in particular, is the one who coined the word ‘positivism’ and ‘sociology’ in early 19thcentury (Chilcote, 2000; Smithet al, 1996; Neufeld, 1995). His major aim was to develop a science of society based on the methods of natural sciences.According to Comte, the positivist approach would give in a methodologically unified conception of science which would give true, objective knowledge, in the form of causal laws of phenomena, derived from observation (Neufeld, 1995).Comte’s view was very significant in the development of the social sciences during the 19thcentury, fundamentally influenced writers such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and Émile Durkheim (Smith et al, 1996; Neufeld, 1995). Nonetheless, Comte’s view suffered from a number of ambiguities and even internal challenges which gave way to logical positivism which arose in 1920s in Austria (The Vienna Circle), German (The Berlin School) and Poland. This approach claimed radically that science was the only true form of knowledge. Hence, itbecame very dominant and perhaps the most influential variant in social science, dating from the first half of the 20thcentury (Neufeld, 1995).The logical positivists located many of the problems and uncertainties of science in general and social sciences in particular with the unclear use of language. The proponents of this variant argue that, in order to avoid production of meaningless statements, scientific language must be governed by strict rules of meaning. They appeal to the certainty of empirical sense-perception in an effort to stabilize scientific and social scientific categories (Hall et al, 1995). However, logical positivism was discredited as a philosophy of science especially after World War II. Its epistemology and ontology became increasingly challenged throughout the social and behavioural science in the 1950s and 1960s, thus giving rise to postpositivism (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 1998).
Post-positivism,on the other hand, was a response to the widely discredited maxims of positivism, whereas many of its doctrine were in direct opposition to those of its fore runner. Post-positivism believes that a research is influenced by the values of investigators as well as the theory or hypotheses are used by investigator. Moreover, it believes that the nature of reality is based on the fact that our understanding of reality is constructed (Ibid).The post-positivist objective is not to reject the scientific project altogether, but identify the need to understand properly what they are doing when engaged in any form of research (Fischer, 1998). Post-positivism can thus be explained as an attempt to understand and reconstruct that which already is being done when engaged in scientific inquiry. For post-positivist, the central debates in politics are not often over data as such, but pretty over the underlying assumptions that organize them (Ibid). Tashakkori and Teddlie noted that, since these tenets reflect common understandings regarding both the ‘nature of reality’ and the conduct of social and behavioural research, they are widely shared by both qualitatively and quantitatively oriented researchers.
Moreover, women as a category, gender as a topic and the impact of feminism as an ideology are three powerful sources of ideas which contribute to feminist epistemology in political science (Grant and Newland, 1991). According to Randall (in Marsh and Stoker 2002), feminism has gone through three epistemological phases in political science: rationalist (positivist), anti-rationalist and post-rationalist (interpretive). According to her, both liberal feminism and early radical feminism were implicitly rationalist, but without reflecting upon their own epistemological basis. The anti-rationalist approach represents the world in terms of a series of dualistic oppositions, e.g. between culture and nature, or mind and body, identified with men and women respectively (Ibid). Randall explains this approach as inevitably limited for feminists working in the social sciences. One of the attempts to escape from anti-rationalist approach is feminist standpoint.
Nancy Hartsock (1983) suggests that, standpoint feminism is intellectually indebted to Marxist theory. According to Hartsock (1997) feminist standpoint builds on Marx’s understanding of experience and is used to criticize patriarchal theories which rely primarily or exclusively on male experience in political science.Hartsock’s ideasdraw on the theorizing of Marx, whose theory is centered less on the material aspects of life than on the more broadly defined social ones. Feminist standpoint inherited the more realist notion of historically constrained awareness. That is, it “depends on the assumption that epistemology grows in a complex and contradictory way from the material life” (Ibid).However, standpoint theory has been criticized by other feminists on a variety of reasons. One of the criticisms has come from postmodernist feminists. This paradigm shift to postmodernist feminisms which occurred by the middle of the eighties was highly influenced by French thinkers like Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, to mention but few(Benhabib, 1994). As the impact of their theories, no matter how diverse and sometimes contradictory was felt upon the core of study of social science especially in the US, feminist theorists also discovered an attractive ally in postmodernism for their concerns. As a criticism to standpoint theory, postmodernist feminists such as Judith Butler2 argues that there is no concrete “women’s experience” from which the knowledge can really be constructed.From Butler’s viewpoint, there is no single cause for women’s subordination, and no single approach towards dealing with the issue. Thus,standpoint theory has failed to take into account the substantial differences between women’s lives (Randall, 2002:115).In other words, the lives of women across space and time are so diverse, hence, impossible to generalize about their experiences (Benhabib, 1994).
Given the feminist diversity in politics, there is not one single shared feminist epistemological position so far (Randall, 2002). Feminist epistemology is a loosely organized approach to epistemology, rather than a particular school or theory. Its diversity reflects the diversity of epistemology in general, as well as the diversity of theoretical positions that constitute the position of women in the fields of political science. What is common, however to all feminist epistemologies is an emphasis on the epistemic salience of gender and the use of gender as an analytic category in discussions, criticisms, and reconstructions of epistemic practices, norms, and ideals. Since gender is intrinsic to the politics, political and transformative value of feminist epistemology on the study of politics is crucial to overcome gender silence on this matter (Hudson, 2005).
As it has been noted earlier in this paper, comparative politics is much more than simply a subject of study -- it is also a means of study. Methodology in comparative politics consists of methods, procedures, working concepts, and rules used to test theory, guiding inquiry, and searching for solutions to problems of the real world (Chilcote, 2000). It is a particular way of viewing, organizing, and giving shape to inquiry.Green and Luehrmann(2007) argue that, through the use of the comparative method we seek to describe, identify, and explain trends – in some cases, even predict human behaviour. The most important of these are inferences about causal relationships, where the object of a methodology is to increase confidence in claims that one variable or event (x) exerts a causal effect on another (y) (Ibid). Since comparative politics is a branch of social science, many political scientists emphasize attention to explicit assumptions and to systematic and quantitative investigation. This implies a systematic procedure for comparative political science investigation, akin to that of natural science. In comparing different cases, comparative politics uses various models or hypotheses as a way of simplifying and explaining various political realities more easily. Models bring disparate parts together and demonstrate relationship (Ibid).An effective model simplifies reality by dividing it into clear and manageable components (Wiarda, 2007:36). Models help a researcher to organize, highlight and give coherence to various events, processes, and institutions. They simplify complex events and give a researcher an understanding of them more clearly. However, the overall usefulness as well as limits of models should be recognized by the researcher, especially when they have outlasted their utility.
The systematic study of political science involves the variety of methods that are adopted within the discipline. Hence, the distinction between different comparative methods or approaches is a function of the kind of research, time and resources available, as well as his/her epistemological position. Landman, (2003) emphasizes that the central distinction between different methods in comparative politics depends on the key trade-off between ‘the level of abstraction’ and ‘the scope of countries or cases under study or investigation’. If the level of conceptual abstraction is higher (e.g. focus on many countries), the researcher is more likely to include a large number of countries or cases in his or her study. Conversely, the lower the level of abstraction (e.g. focus on one case or few cases), the researcher is less likely to use abstract concepts that are more grounded in the specific context of investigation.
Case study approach is the popular form of research design which is widely used throughout the social sciences research (Burnhamet al, 2004). It was a dominant mode of inquiry in American government and politics since the 1950s (Eulau, 1962). However, Hall (2003) argues that the role of the case study has been concealed for years for enveloping confusion about what constitutes a case and what constitute an observation relevant to the testing of theory. Burnhamet al give us a simple definition of cases, i.e. ‘how many’ and ‘which’. Yin (2003) suggests that case study should be defined as a research strategy, an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context.Case studies enable comparative researchers to focus on a single individual, group, community, event, policy area or institution, and study it in depth (Ibid). Though this approach can be used in collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, it has more of the qualitative to it as it generates a wealth of data relating to one specific case. Doing a case study in a comparative perspective implies that, a researcher must not only conduct intensive (highly focused) research on the primary case, but must also carry out extensive (broad-based) research on a range of other relevant cases (Lim, 2006, 50). However, the disadvantages of case studies in social sciences is that, a single case study can provide little basis for creating new generalizations or grounds for invalidating existing generalizations (Axline, 1994). It is often noted that, the group studied may be unique, and the observer may be biased in his or her perceptions. Similarly, hypotheses can rarely be put to an objective test, and in some cases the analysis may not rise above mere description.
While case study approach has a considerable influence in comparative politics and social sciences at large, case selection merits some special attention as well. This is because; the quality of any comparative research depends much on what cases are included in that study. This is imperative given that most comparative work does involve purposeful, rather than random selection of cases (Peters, 1998). However, the number of cases to be included in a comparative research design depends essentially on how many suitable cases are available for such a research work.Comparative case selection should take place on the basis of three selection principles: cases should be able to maximize experimental variance, minimize error variance, and control extraneous variance3 (Peters 1998, 31; Burnham, 2004, 62). Two main comparative approaches for choosing cases are: most similar system (MSS) and most different systems (MDS) (Przeworski and Teune, 1970).While, both system designs are used in comparative politics, mostly by those who compare few countries or cases, they do vary to a greater extent. MSS design is the usual method which most of political comparativists undertake. It includes a range of countries or cases that appear to be similar in as many ways as possible in order to control for concomitant variation (Peters, 1998, 37). MSS design is particularly well suited for those engaged in area studies (Przeworski and Teune, 1970; Landman, 2003). It deals more directly with countries as a unit of analysis and attempts to control for extraneous sources of variance by selecting cases which are likely to avoid this problem. By and large, MSS looks for differences between cases that appear to have a great deal in common, e.g. United States and Canada. On the other hand, the MDS design is not particularly interested in countries, rather a more variable based research. It is mainly interested in finding the relationships among variables that can survive being transported across a range of very different countries (Peters, 1998). While cases in MSS should have the different independent variables, the independent variable in the MDS should be the same across all cases (Burnham et al, 2004). Thus, this kind of research compares two or more cases that are as different as possible except on the independent variables (Ibid). MDS looks for commonalities between cases that appear absolutely opposed in experience.
b) Theoretical approaches in comparative politics
Theoretical framework serves as a logical prerequisite of comparative analysis because it alone can provide that tertiumcomparationis4 without which comparison is impossible (Eula, 1962). Among the commonly known approaches to the study of comparative politics are behavioural; political culture; rational choice; and political development approaches. However, the distinctions among these approaches reveal the various tendencies employed in the study of comparative politics.
Behavioural approach to political analysis was one of the dominant paradigms especially in the 1950s and 1960s in American political science (Burnham et al, 2004). Sanders (2002:63) explains behavioural approach as “a single, deceptively simple, question: why do individuals, institutional actors and nation states behave the way they do?”One of the distinctive features of behavioural approach is that, observable behaviour (both individual and social aggregate) should be the focus of analysis (Ibid). Sanders further explains that any description of that behaviour should be inclined to scientific empirical testing. This approach readdressed the field to study and examine political activities such as mass political participation especially in voting; leadership behaviours; actions of interest groups; as well as political parties both at the local and international level. The advocates of this paradigm saw themselves as spokesmen for a very broad and deep conviction that political science should abandon certain traditional kind of research and execute a more modern sort of analysis (Burnham et al, 2004). However, this approach faced criticisms from three broad directions. It was in the first place criticized for its failure to fulfil its own goals i.e. to offer an adequate account of some of the most important dimensions of politics, even in an area such as voting behaviour (Gibbons, 2006; Burnhamet al, 2004). Secondly, behaviouralists were also criticized for inserting an ‘undue emphasis’ on process at the expense of the content and substance of political events and systems. Sanders argues that in between early 1950s and the mid-1970s, many scholars working within the behavioural approach were more concerned with an inductivist approach to research which accentuate what can easily be measured rather than what might be theoretically important. Moreover, behavioural approach was attacked by the American Political Science Association (APSA) in 1967 as of ‘no relevance’ due to its tendency to concentrate on readily observable phenomena -such as voting- rather than more subtle and deeper analysis (Burnham et al2004; Sanders 2002). Notwithstanding all these criticisms, the legacy of behaviouralism and its counterpart post-behaviouralism remains enormous in the twenty-first century in a sense that, its ideas lay across nearly all empirical social researchers (Sanders, 2002). As Macridis (1968) argues, behaviouralism opened up the study of contextual factors within which political structures and forms develop and political roles flourish.
Political culture approach to politics is another eminent approach marked the field especially in the 1960s. Almond (2000) explains the notion of political culture as one of the most powerful themes of classical literatures since the ancient Greek and Roman Empire. According to him, the Greeks had a cyclical theory of political change which explained the rise and fall of political constitutions in social psychological terms. On the other hand, Jacobsen and Losada (2005) explained the evolution of the concept of ‘political culture’ from its root in Plato and Aristotle, through 1960s' political science, to the more recent ‘cultural turn’ where culture is seen as universally constitutive of social relations and identities. They define political culture as a “perspective on processes of change and continuity in any human polity or its component parts which privileges symbols, discourses, rituals, customs, norms, values and attitudes of individuals or groups for understanding the construction, consolidation and dismantling of power constellations and institutions” (Ibid:58). Similarly, Wiarda (2007:66) defines political culture as "the basic values, beliefs, ideas, attitudes and orientations that citizens of different countries have about their political system”. According to him, political culture of nation X means the cognitions, feelings, and orientations of people toward politics of that nation. It comprises of the core values, not temporary ones with regards to whether people accept the basic premises of their political system such as democratic system, rule of law, separation of powers, civil liberties etc., and not whether or not one approves or disapproves on a daily basis of how well the president and his cabinetare doing their job (Ibid). Since political culture varies greatly from one country to another, it is the similarities as well as differences in political beliefs and attitudes between countries and regions that stimulate comparisons and thus make ‘political culture’ a subject of major interest to comparative politics (Ibid). Political culture helps us understand different factors driving politics or political change. At its macro level,political culture serves to characterize nations or national political systems (Chilcote, 2000:104). However, Chilcote argues that the macro political culture revolves around reductionism, bias and explanatory value.This author argues further that “most social science is culture-bound and that most generalizations are valid only within particular cultural situation” (Ibid, 105).Almond (2000:7) points out eminent political theorists such as Machiavelli, Montesquieu and Rousseau who contributed a lot to the political culture tradition. According to Almond, both Machiavelli and Montesquieu draw lessons from Roman history on the significance of moral and religious values and upbringing for the formation of Roman character which eventually explained the steadfast course and remarkable performance in war and peace of the Republic. However, both Machiavelli and Montesquieu emphasized on political culture and socialization in a subjective and descriptive way, rather than analytically (Ibid). On the contrary, Rousseau used to identify political culture in terms of morality, custom and opinion, where he treats these as a kind of law more significant than law properly speaking i.e. a kind of law that is imprinted on the hearts of the citizens.
Rational choice theory (RC T) is another paradigmthat shaped the post-war political science especially in the US but also with an impact elsewhere (Burnham et al, 2004).This paradigm aimed at understanding and often modelling social and economic behaviour. RCT reveals how intentional and rational actors generate collective outcomes and aggregate behaviour (Levi, 1997). While models of rational choice may be widely diverse, they all share one thing in common, i.e. assume that individuals choose the best action according to stable preference functions and constraints facing them. The strength of this approach is seen in its capacity to generate testable theory with clear scope condition as well as its ability to make sense of a correlation or a set of events by providing a reasonable and compelling story that identifies the causal mechanisms which link together the independent and dependent variables (Ibid). Another strength discussed by Levi is,the universalism that rational choice theory reveals generalizable implications applicable to cases beyond those under immediate investigation. RCT embarks on from the viewpoint of the individual, rather than from several individuals interacting together, social situations, or groups. The emphasis on the individual and his or her interests is always an initial point for any theory of rational choice. One of the major aspects of RCT is that it is sociologically minimalist in a sense that, different theorists of rational choice may make somewhat different simple assumptions about the individual and proceed in different ways from the individual to explain the complexities of larger social groups and/or systems. Thus, though the approach is methodologically individualist, yet its focus is not on individual choice but on the aggregation of individual choices. However, Levi argues that comparative rationalists face a very important challenge on “how to offer explanations that compel both logically and empirically” (p20). Similarly, Green and Shapiro (as quoted by Levi) doubts whether rational choice has yet to produce significant empirical contributions in politics. Generally, RCT has been criticized for being too individualistic, too minimalist, and too focussed on rational choices in social action.According to Wiarda (2007), most scholars of comparative politics have so far been sceptical of this approach. Nevertheless, this paper agrees with Wiarda that, politics is too complex and multifaceted to be agreeable to any single causal explanation.
In the late 1950s to early 1960s, political development (PD) approach emerged out of North America as the dominant approach in comparative politics. Viewed as a dependent variable, PD brings into bear a number of different approaches such asculturalism, structuralism, rationalism, political economy, historical institutionalism and regime analysis (Hagopian, 2000).However, PD scholars assert to work in these areas in a manner that is distinct from those specialize in any one of these. Pye, 1965 (as quoted by Hagopian) defines PD as the “extent to which patterns of behaviour identified as ‘modern’ tend to prevail over those considered to be ‘traditional’ and as taking place when achievement considerations replace ascriptive standards, when functional specificity replaces functional differences in social relations, and when universalistic norms supersede particularistic ones”. In general, PD can be viewed as the growth in the capacity of societies to organize for political action and for states to govern (Ibid). Given the sudden emergence in the late 1950s and the early 1960s of the nations of the Global South, PD scholars found particularly appropriate to study the politics of these new or emerging countries. The 1960s witnessed not only a propagation of development studies on a range of subject areas, but also the emergence of the study of development and modernization as the leading paradigm in the comparative field (Wiarda, 1999).Modernization theory elaborates differences between societies in terms of their positions on various indices of modernity or development that measured their similarity to the modern industrial society (Peet and Hartwick, 1999). During the 1950s and 1960s modernisation was taken to mean the process of change socially, economically and politically similar to what happened in North America and West Europe from 17th century to 19th century and later spread to other parts of the world. These processes of change included the advancement from simple techniques towards scientific knowledge-based techniques; evolution from subsistence to commercial agriculture; transition from the use of human and animal power towards power driven machines and the movement from farm and village to urban centres. As a whole, this paradigm was more concern on the conditions and mechanisms necessary for social transformation from traditional to modern. However, PD approach faced a number of criticisms. Among other things, this approach was criticized as biased, ethnocentric and based entirely on the U.S. and European experiences of development. Furthermore, timing, sequences and stages of development5 proposed in this approach are based on the Western experiences and may not be replicated in today’s developing nations. Lastly, Wiarda(1989) noted that, PD was just part of a larger Cold War strategy fomented by the U.S. to keep the Third World depressed and ‘in chain’. Consequently, dependency theory (DT) grew out of dissatisfaction with the PD approach and it main paradigm of modernization. DT emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s both as a guide in its own right to thought and praxis on Latin America (Wiarda, 1999). The main argument raised by DT was that, rather than U.S. and Latin America’s development proceedingcomplementarily and in harmony, the development of industrialized countries had occurred at the expense, and often on the backs of, the developing nations (Rodney, 1974; Wiarda, 1989; Wiarda, 1999). Thus, underdevelopment is seen as the flip-side of the coin of development, with the development of industrialized countries a product of the underdevelopment of the Third World countries (Ibid; Wilber, 1979). According to Stavrianos(1981), the central theme of this school of thought is that the ‘underdevelopment’ of the Third World is the result of the economic exploitation of the ‘periphery’ by the ‘centre’ rather than of any internal impediments to modernization and development. This was due to global expansion of European capitalism which emphasised trade based on the unequal terms and power structure. DT is girded in Marxist perspectives (class analysis) which became increasingly relevant for understanding the situation of underdeveloped countries. DT is hence more critical to the U.S. and often uses the terms ‘colonialism’ and ‘imperialism’ to describe the relationship between developed and developing nations. While PD saw the main causes of underdevelopment as domestic and internal to the developing nations themselves (such as lack of political parties, interest groups, effective government etc.), DT charges U.S. and Europe as a source of the backwardness of the Third World. Despite strong criticisms of PD in the 1970s and its disappearance in the 1980s, it was revived in a form of “Washington Consensus”6 in the 1990s whereas; those who most strongly supported this idea were often the same individuals who had been the architects of the PD thirty years earlier (Wiarda, 1999). Proponents of Washington Consensus insisted that the internal political and economic arrangements in Africa and other developing countries created the disabling environment and slowed the rate of development (Owusu in Smith, 2006). Hence,the Washington Consensus brought with it a “new political economy” that requires elimination of barriers to cross-national interaction and exchange that were earlier created by protectionist states (Haques, 2002). Under this architecture, the state has not only adopted market-driven policies such as privatization, deregulation, and liberalization, but also transformed the remaining public sectors into business-like entities in terms of role, structure, orientation and organizational culture (Ibid). While this mode of governance can easily function in developed countries, it has had many adverse outcomes to the Third World countries both internally and externally. As Haques argues, internal effects include worsening conditions of poverty and inequality, as well as weakening status of citizens’ social and political rights. Externally, the main concern is diminishing state sovereignty, worsening external dependence and expanding international inequality.
III. Comparative Politics Of The Third World
a) Third World: A Genealogy and Theoretical Perspective
The origin of ‘Third World’ can be traced back in the 1950s. As pointed out by Ma (2005), the term originated in France from system of three estates: lords spiritual, lords temporal and the ‘third estate’ comprising the ordinary people. Consequently, in 1952 the French demographer Alfred Sauvy invented the term ‘Third World’ to refer to the ‘third estate’ before the French Revolution. In its initial meaning, Third World is termed as economically poor, politically powerless, and socially marginalized. The term was in fact grounded in the post- 1945 conjure of decolonization, national liberation and the Cold War (Berger, 2004). Even though the original notion of the Third World was “not based upon the prior existence of the First and Second World” (Ma, 1988:344), this clear division gave rise to the notion of the First World, referring to the advanced capitalist countries led by the USA, in contrast with the Second World consisting of the Soviet bloc countries. In such an antagonistic geopolitical context, Third World inevitably became political, expressing the attractions of keeping a neutral position, or finding a third way between the capitalist and communist camp –Non Aligned Movement (NAM) (Payne, 2001). Despite the NAM attempts, most nationalist movements and Third World regimes had diplomatic, economic and military relations with one or both of the superpower, e.g. Ghana and Tanzania – Eastern bloc whereas Kenya and Nigeria – Western bloc.
However, from a modernization perspective especially in 1960s, the emphasis was more on economics. The world was therefore divided between ‘Developing Countries’ (viewed optimistically) or ‘Less Developed Countries’ (viewed only a little less optimistically), on the one hand and ‘Developed Countries’ on the other (Ibid). Under a dependency school of thoughts, especially in 1970s, the world system approach used different vocabulary, i.e. the ‘core’ (developed countries) and the ‘periphery’ (less developed countries), and somewhat ‘semi-periphery’ for those countries which play an intermediate role in the system. As Payne noted, the overall approach was still based on a bipolar analysis. In the 1980s, the world setting was characterized by the notion of a North-South divide. This was mostly a divide between the northern and southern hemispheres, separating North America from South America, Europe from Africa, and North Asia from South Asia, deviating only to draw Australia and New Zealand into the economic and political north (Payne, 2001). Today, most textbooks in comparative politics have traditionally been organized according to two main categories based on the dependency i.e. centre (Global North) and periphery (Global South).
Nevertheless, since early 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the end of Cold War and the intensification of globalization, the notion of the Third World has been challenged by many scholars. Ma (1998), have raised doubts on the validity of the threeworld taxonomy (i.e. 1st World, 2nd World and 3rd World), since the so called ‘Second World’ has disappeared and many former Soviet states fall under developing world. On the other hand, there are countries formerly classified as less developed, but which are becoming rapidly industrialized. The first wave of countries to be identified as ‘Newly Industrializing Countries’ (NICs) included Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. These countries underwent rapid industrial growth in the 1970s and 1980s, attracting significant financial investment, and are now associated with hightechnology industries. More recently, Thailand, China, and Malaysia have been classified as newly industrializing countries.
However, Cho ( 2005) argues that there is still the ‘Third World’ in reality and the validity of it as an analytical category. He argues that the transition from authoritarian to democratic regime in Third World should bring with it a revival of the original spirit of Bandung7. In view of the spirit of Bandung, Cho argues that the only challenge facing the Third World it is to look at how it related to the current globalization context. Cho proposes that Third World states have to put an emphasis on strengthening national sovereignty, in the way of recovering the manoeuvring power of the nationstate and emphasizing that nation-state-centred strategy is still basic and important. Vicky Randall (in Berger 2004) argues that Third World still retains its strategic relevance in some geopolitical circumstances. The 1996 summit of the NAM (of which majority of them are Third World countries) in Havana, Cuba showed that the Third World countries are asking for a bigger say in world affairs. Profound and fruitful debates were held, in an atmosphere of true understanding, unity and cohesion, which allowed for the adoption of documents of crucial importance to the future of the Non-Aligned Movement. From my perspective, the term ‘Third World’ is not useful due to its negative connotation right from its onset8.The authors of this paper would prefer other terms such as - developing countries or emerging nations simply because of their optimistic view on the Third World. East Asian ‘miracle’ provides a particularly good example of the way in which Third World countries can be viewed optimistically.
b) Debating Globalization and Continuing Relevance of the Third World’ States
Globalization has become a key concept in the social sciences (Kiely, 2005) and a new regime of truth from the 1990s (Blackmore, 2000). While the concept of globalization is not new, it is only since the end of the Cold War that the term has been under the analytical spotlight (Haynes, 2003).Globalization is typically described as increased economic, cultural, environmental and social interdependencies and new transnational financial and political formations arising out of the mobility of capital, labour and information, with both homogenizing and differentiating tendencies. Giddens (1990:64) defines globalization as “the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa”. Globalization has transformed the relationship between political process and territorial, sovereign states, thus political responsibilities and practices commonly attributed to states have shifted to an international level (Ougaard, 2004). This has resulted into an emergence of increasingly influential non-state actors (e.g. terrorist groups, civil society) as well as international organizations and institutions. Thus, political decisions are increasingly made at the international level rather than local level. With the current global system, the ability to generate policy for multiple nations is vested to international institutions, since it is not within the boundaries of individual states any more. As Ougaad argues, this ability has become increasingly important in dealing with the most pressing global issues facing states such as climatic change, pandemic diseases, increased migration, proliferation of poverty, economic recession, the spread of weapons, terrorism, and resource scarcity. 9
However, globalization as described by Mittelman is a highly contested domain thus no absolute lines for demarcating it. In fact, there are diverse interpretations with regard to the meaning, intensity, dimension, extent, cause, and consequence of globalization in existing literature (Haque, 2002). Whilst economists have defined globalization as ‘an open economy’, sociologists might define the same as ‘an open society’ (Van Der Bly, 2005), and so do developed states versus developing states. Thus as explained by Kumar (2003), “…the nature of globalization is contingent upon one’s theoretical perspective…”Likewise, Bartelson argues that the concept of globalization stands in a double and paradoxical relationship to the world of international relations. According to this author, the concept of globalization seems to presuppose a stratification and compartmentalization on one hand, and transgress this stratification and compartmentalization on another hand. Bartelsonwrites:“Indeed, the logic of the concept of globalization seems to undermine not only those distinctions that have conditioned the intelligibility and autonomy of international relations, but also to an extent the very practice of making such ontological distinctions”. (Bartelson, 2000:183)
Conversely, social theorists refer globalization as a part of interlocking and long-term social processes beginning in early modernity. As Bohman (2004) noted, the social fact of globalization proves exemplary since it can be experienced from different perspectives and as such can best be understood in a multiperspectival practical inquiry into the framework of decision-making and problem solving. Van Der Bly makes the same claim that, the current sociological concept of globalization is open to various interpretations which offer both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage according to her is the “freedom to highlight the concept in a broad way and from various perspectives”. The disadvantage on the other side arises on the confusion resulting from this broad and yet undefined and implicit points of reference. Thus, Van Der Bly argues that “If something is everything, eventually it becomes nothing”; hence, “The Globalization of Nothing”(Ritzer, 2004) in this aspect has become a tautology.
Moreover, neo-Marxism and postmodernism have explored their own unique definitions of globalization which denotes globalization as a “phase” or a “stage” that the world has come into. Kumar explores a neo-Marxist AnkiHoogvelt’s idea that globalization is not a euphemism for either ‘internationalization’ or ‘transnationalization’ nor… the expanding phase of capitalism, but the “deepening phase of capitalism”. Kumar also discusses the postmodernist theorist Douglas Kellner who describes this “phase” as a move away from modernity. Thus, globalization is a state of betweenness from modernity to postmodernity which according to him is not yet complete. Munck (2002) explores another view which sees globalization as a new imperialism. This author argues that globalization has led not to a levelling of social and economic conditions worldwide but to a dramatic increase in social exclusion within and between nation-states. Vilas (2000) argues on the same trail that, from historical perspective, globalization is the present stage of economic imperialism. According to this author, globalization transforms the market place into the universal mechanism for economic regulation and accentuates and complicates international and internal inequalities. Consequently, Chilcote argues that globalization can only be as a manifestation of imperialism and devastating capitalist order. Although globalization is new phenomenon, I agree with many scholars that its intensification especially after the Cold War, has transformed the economic, social, political and cultural aspects in the contemporary world. However, there is a need for comparativists to clearly delineate ‘what is new’, and ‘what is not new’ with the contemporary globalization particularly in relation to the traditional roles of the state.
In modern political science, state theory and analysis is mainly dominated by two traditions: one derived from Marx (and Engel) and the second one from Max Weber. Derived from the “Communist Manifesto”, Marx sees the state and its institutions as agents of the dominant class in capitalist society to further bourgeois’ interest at the expense of other classes (proletarian). In contrast, Weber’s account of state is less political and more precise than that of Marx. He was more concerned with ‘how’ the state operated rather than the character of its rule or nature of its output. For Weber, the modern state is a compulsory association with a territorial base; legitimate by its members and run by an impersonal bureaucratic staff; in the context of legal administrative order; regulated and limited by legislation and representative government (Leftwich, 1994) The fundamental assumption of the modern state proposes that public offices should not be used for private gain and that occupancy should entail no powers of private patronage in support of any particular private client base. By and large, Weberian conception of the modern state and bureaucracy has been central debates in empirical democratic theory and public administration and policy. Nevertheless, as Leftwich argues, these characteristics of the modern state are just ideal-typical but no state in the modern world is ‘perfectly’ embracing them.
The Third World’ experience reveals that, the making of modern state in colonial and post-colonial milieu was not geared at promoting economic development growth or transformative development. Consequently,these states lack most of the conditions and capabilities associated with the state’s emergence in developed world.However, this was, to a great extent, caused by colonial rulers. With exception of Japanese rule in Korea, the rest of colonial rulers in developing countries were not developmental in a sense, but intended for extraction of riches and raw materials as their focalgoal. In his book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Walter Rodney argues that, “Africa helped to develop Western Europe in the same proportion as Western Europe helped to under-develop Africa” (1972:75).Accordingly, after independence, many states in developing world have had great trouble in establishing their supremacy and maintaining sovereignty within their borders and in relation to regional and international political forces. Most of them aspired to combine the best in their own traditions of governance to oversee social, political and economic development. Thus, the wide variation among states in the developing world is based on: the nature of the precolonial polities; the economic purpose of colonial rule; the characteristics of the colonial state institutions; socio-political groups which dominates these institutions and; the manner of incorporation of pre-colonial political processes and institutions in the systems of colonial and post-colonial rule (Leftwich, 1994).
The theory and practice of state in developing countries vary from country to country and time to time.Hence, different countries will inevitably confront very different historical circumstances and developmental challenges, something that makes generalisation more difficult. Over the past two decades, developmental states have begun to shed their reputations as ‘welfare laggards’ especially in East Asia. The idea of the developmental state is most closely associated with Chalmers Johnson and his influential analysis of Japan’s very rapid and successful post-war reconstruction and reindustrialisation. Johnson’s central argument was that Japan’s pretty remarkable and historically unparalleled industrial revival was neither a fluke nor inevitable, but a consequence of the efforts of a ‘plan rational’ states. According to him, aplan rational or developmental state was one that was dogged to influence the direction and pace of economic development by directly intervening in the development process, rather than relying on the uncoordinated influence of market forces to allocate economic resources. This form of state is well known for its capacity to define, pursue and implement developmental strategies which can and do overrule class, regional or sectoral interests in the reputed national interests. It involves a much closer symbiosis between state and private sectors, but with autonomy, effectiveness and legitimacy. Historically, this form of state can be traced back to Bismarckian Germany and Meiji Japan. However, in contemporary Third World, it has been replicated widely in South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Mauritius and Botswana. Generally, this form of states maintain a control of public good, an arena of public space in which citizens can debate common problems and attempt to achieve a common goal.
Moving to globalization and state, Hirst and Thompson (1996), akin to other scholars, propose that the contemporary globalization suggests that certain (if not all) traditional powers of the state are declining. These authors argue that, the power of nation states as administrative and policy making agencies has declined while the state’s role as an economic engineer is lessening. Held also argues that with the intensification of globalization has diminished the powers of states, thus “national states have largely become decision takers”. In a similar vein, Habermas (1999) explores the idea of weakening of the nation-state. He suggests that state can no longer count on its own forces to provide its citizens with adequate protection from the external effects of decisions taken by other actors. Kahler (in Katznelson and Milner)argues that, globalization has brought about the increased influence of nongovernmental organizations that have international allies. According to him, this shift in bargaining power between states and non-state actors leads those pessimistic about the effects of globalization on the state to accentuate declining state capabilities, whatever the national policies pursued. The critical question for discussion in this paper is; which state is losing power? Can we compare a state like US or UK and Zambia and argue ‘equally’ that state is losing power in capitulate to globalization? It might be true that a state like Zambia is losing power, but is US or UK losing power in capitulate to globalization or rather gaining more power? To me, this sounds like a cover for an imperialistic strategy, where America and many of states of the Global Northare chief beneficiaries of globalization at the expense of the Global South.Lentner (2004) claims that with the idea of globalization, liberal states maintain dominant positions in the international system, managing international political economy through coordinated and largely institutionalized action, where the US remains central and hegemonic within this arrangement (p.44).Moreover, it appears that the events of 11 September 2001 and the so called ‘war on terror’ have brought into sharp focus the classic role of the state. These events have also highlighted the importance of the role of global cooperation for global safety and security. This shows that after 9/11, despite of the globalization forces, states have reaffirmed power, but back to our question is; which state has reaffirmed power? For instance, while a US citizen does not need a visa to go to Zambia, a Zambian immigrant and visitor to the US continues to face both old and new procedures and restrictions, as well as greater scrutiny and suspicion. Moreover,since 9/11, there have been many security enhancements to the visa process which have added to its cost. As Chowdhury(2006) claims, globalization is sometimes used as a cover for endless warfare, where US as a chief beneficiary of globalization, extends its political authorities to undermine the global system.
Although globalization is not a new phenomenon, this paper agrees with many scholars who argued that its intensification has mounted especially after the Cold War. However, the whole debate about “Globalization and State” sounds to me that the state is not losing power, but changing or revising its roles. It should be also noted that, a revised role for the state does not necessarily imply a ‘greater’ role, but a more ‘effective’ role of the state to meet challenges of globalization. Weiss argues that the state is not so much devolving power, rather seeking power sharing arrangements which give it scope for remaining an active actor, for a ‘catalytic’ state.
Hirst and Thompson (1996) discussed three interrelated key functions of states as a crucial element of the international system: i.e. the state must construct a distributional coalition to win the acceptance of key economic actors and the organized social interests representing these actors; the state must orchestrate social consensus among the actors for the common national economic goals and; the state must also achieve an adequate balance between different levels of government in the distribution of its fiscal resources and regulatory activities.Weiss notes that “…nation state will matter more rather than less and…this will advance rather than retard development of the world economy.”
Generally, the historical analysis of comparative politics has manifested to a large extent “expansion of politics” beyond the local boundary. Needless to say, the bright line separating domestic and international politics has been rubbed out by the complex set of cross-border economic, cultural, technological, and relations that constitute the contemporary global order. Hynes (2003) notes that, as a consequence of globalization, states are now subject to a multiplicity of external influences and must make policy in a world characterized by both vague and shifting power structure. As pointed out by Sartori, politics results objectively bigger on account of the fact that the world is becoming more politicized and globalized. In contrast, politics is subjectively bigger in a sense that political focus and/or attention has paradigmatically shifted from local to global. Consequently, the 21st century is racked by turmoil caused by globalizing capitalism, new wars, renewed search for meaning in life and the discovery of newly critical knowledge. As Kesselmanlaid it, there is a danger of entrapping ourselves in worlds of our own making. Such an outlook has inevitably acknowledged the essentiality of states for the continued promotion of social, political and economic development. Nevertheless, instead of fading away, a state in the so called ‘the era of globalization’ remain indispensable to upholding a stable international system and a thriving political economy both in developed and developing nations.The basic argument that has been entertaining in this paper is that, “an effective and autonomous state enables a society to participate and benefit fully in the international political economy and to resist pressures emanating from it”.Munck explores a conception that, “…the global is dynamic and fluid while the local is embedded, static, and tradition-bound”. That said, without a strong state, a country will not be able to compete in a globalizing world. Whilst capital is global, exists in the space of flows and lives the instantaneous time of computerized networks, labour lives in the local, exists in a ‘space of places’ and lives by the clock time of everyday life. As Muncksuggests, we might now consider reversing the 1970s slogan of “Think Globally, Act locally” to “Think Locally, Act Globally”.However, from the analysis made earlier in the paper, it is difficult to escape the feeling that in order for the state to function properly in the contemporary era of globalization, it is subjected to redefinition of its roles, to take into account the emerging global political, economic, social, environmental and cultural challenges.
1 According to Chilcote, Historicism grew out of a German academic debate in the 19th century. This model deals with history and influenced people like Hegel, Marx and other thinkers. Historians try to describe and explain events shaping the world (See Lewy, 1968). Positivists have criticized historicists for theorizing about broadly conceived questions, for utilizing data to illustrate rather than to rest their theories, and for failing to tie theory to data (SeeChilcote, 2000, p.33).
2 See Butler, J (1990)
3 Guy Peters defines Experimental variance as the observed differences or changes in the dependent variable that are a function of the independent variables identified as central to the analysis. ‘Error variance’ on the other hand are that portion of the variance observed in the dependent variable that is not a function of random occurrence and errors in measurement, while ‘Extraneous variance’ refers to the situation where there are one or more variables that have a systematic relationship with the dependent variable, and perhaps also with the independent variables in an analysis. Extraneous variances are more likely to creep into the analysis.
4 Tertiumcomparationisis Latin worldliterally means, a third for comparison. It is a basis for comparison where the quality that two things which are being compared have in common. It is the point of comparison which prompted the author of the comparison in question to liken someone or something to someone or something else in the first place.
5 Walt W. Rostow developed a model in later 1950s – 1960 to elucidate five stages of economic of growth: Traditional society; Pre-conditions for take-off; Take-off; The drive to maturity and; High mass consumption. According to Rostow, all societies are identified, in their economic dimensions, as lying within one of these five categories.
6 The Washington Consensus is a phrase initially coined in 1990 by John Williamson to describe a relatively specific set of ten economic policy prescriptions that he considered to constitute a “standard” reform package promoted for the developing countries by Washington, D.C.-based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the U.S. Treasury Department. Since then, the phrase “Washington Consensus” has become a lightning rod for dissatisfaction amongst anti-globalization protestors, developing country politicians and officials, trade negotiators, and numerous others. It is often used interchangeably with the phrase “neoliberal policies”.
7Bandung is a city located in the middle of the We st Java province, around 180 km south-east of Jakarta, Indonesia. It is a place where the idea for the Non-Aligned Movement was originated during the Asian-African Conference in 1955. This conference played a constructive role in mobilizing the counter-hegemonic forces of what was to become known as the Third World against the bi-hegemony that emerged in the post-World War II period (Mushakoji, 2005). Cho (2005) defined the Bandung spirit as “a non-aligned self-helped organization against the predominance of the powerful, especially the Western advanced countries and analyze in what kind of domestic conditions this spirit was born, how these initial conditions changed in the process of authoritarianization of the Third World, how should the Third World revive its original spirit in democratization of the authoritarian Third World, and consider what tasks are ahead in order to revive the Bandung spirit”.
8 Refer to its invention by the French demographer Alfred Sauvy in 1952.
9 Refer to NIC
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Objective 2: Approaches to the study of comparative politics
We have already introduced you to the three basic approaches to the study of politics: traditional, behavioral, and post-behavioral. Scholars of different persuasions have also used each to study comparative politics. However, in the comparative politics subfield, each approach has some unique implications. These implications involve more than just how we study politics, but include what we study as well.
Historically, as in the study of all politics, the traditional approach to comparative politics liberally combined fact and value to develop theories of the political process. In the twentieth century, the traditional orientation shifted its focus to study the history, institutions, and processes of individual countries. These "case studies" analyzed the structure of the state, elections, political parties, and even interest groups. They attempted to explain how the political systems of individual countries worked. Importantly, they described institutions without comparing them except by pointing out the contrast between democracy and authoritarian regimes and contrasting parliamentary and presidential forms of government.
The underlying assumption of the traditional method was that each nation's politics is unique. The differing national experiences, cultures, and traditions made theoretical comparisons among countries a fruitless task. Unfortunately, this belief made the traditional approach "non-comparative, descriptive, parochial and static" (Macridis 1955). Traditional students of comparative politics learned a great deal about individual countries but were unable to help us understand politics more generally in other than anecdotal ways.
The traditional approach had other weaknesses as well. In studying individual countries, scholars focused on the historical evolution of political institutions. For example, some studies traced the evolution of the British Parliament and the consequent decline of the monarchy. While important, such analyses could not be generalized. Likewise, these studies centered on legal forms such as constitutions. They were concerned with how governments under particular constitutions were supposed to work instead of how they in fact operated.
Finally, most of the traditional studies limited their research to western European institutions. They ignored the array of political activity and institutions throughout most of the world.
The traditional approach to comparative politics came under attack by scholars such as Macridis. The parochial and static character of comparative politics could not satisfy the new movement toward a more scientific and theoretical approach to social science.
The behavioral approach in comparative politics was a reaction to many of the weaknesses identified in the traditional method. As noted in Block1, the behavioral approach argues that we can best understand politics and political systems by studying how political systems behave instead of how constitutions intend them to operate. The chief goal of behavioral research is to explain how people act and why. As an early advocate of the behavioral approach concluded, "behavioral research seeks to explain why people behave politically as they do, and why, as a result, political processes and systems function as they do" (Eulau 1963).
As applied to the study of comparative politics, the behavioral approach had a revolutionary impact. Its underlying assumption differed radically from the traditional school. The behavioral approach presumed that human activity was the subject of study. Human beings are creatures with far more similarities than differences, whether they are American, French, or Laotian. Therefore, by studying human behavior, we could make comparisons among different political systems. Moreover, by studying politics in a comparative way, we could develop more general and scientific theory about human political behavior. In short, we could study the various aspects of politics scientifically.
For example, political scientists are interested in why people vote the way they do. The comparative behavioralist would study voting behavior in democratic nations to discover similarities and differences in levels of participation in elections and the role of political parties, election structures, and information in the vote decision. The goal would be to learn more about what motivates democratic citizens to vote in the first place and to understand why they vote the way they do. By studying voting behavior under different political environments, we develop a better understanding of voting behavior.
In sum, the behavioral approach to comparative politics attempts to apply the following tenets to the study of politics:
During the 1960s and 1970s, the behavioral approach itself became the subject of attack. Many reacted to the "pure science" approach that seemed to reject humanism and the important normative (value) questions in politics (Chilcote 1981, 58). Critics attacked behavioralists for a lack of substance and an overemphasis on study methods. Critics also charged that behavioralists studied trivia. Because reliable quantitative data was unavailable, behavioralists could not study the most interesting and pressing questions.
This dissatisfaction ultimately led to a third approach to comparative politics, post-behavioralism. Post-behavioralism attempted to combine some elements of the traditional and the behavioral approaches.
The post-behavioral approach emphasized the following:
The post-behavioral researcher is one who makes value judgments that guide his or her research, uses the scientific (or other) technique to increase knowledge on the subject, and then becomes an advocate of social change based on the new knowledge.
Much of the disarray in comparative politics stems from the confusion over which approach to the subfield is best. The theme of this book, however, recommends that we employ the composite approach to political research (see Block1). In so doing, we avoid confronting the current debate over approach and still provide you with a variety of research topics and techniques to help you understand the research process in political science.
There are other difficulties in the study of comparative politics, however, that we cannot dismiss so cavalierly and still do justice to the subfield. Once we have agreed that political systems can be compared, we still face the question of how we can compare them. The astute student will observe that we still haven't gotten to the substantive questions of democracy and dictatorship or political change and development. This is because the key concepts and questions in comparative politics are methodological as well as substantive. We treat each in turn.