Political Science Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 2 - Question 2

90 Days Political Science Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 19-Nov-2018

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19-Nov-2018 - Question 2


Describe the changing nature of Comparative Politics, Briefly explain the Political Economy approach to the study of Comparative Politics. (150 words) - 2018

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Model Answer

Comparative politics is a methodological sub-discipline of political science , employing comparison as a method of political inquiry. According to John Blondel , it is the study of patterns of national government in contemporary world.

The changing nature of comparative politics.

The comparative politics has mainly two approaches traditional approach and modern approach.

So how comparative politics changed from tradition to comparative , same way the nature of comparative politics also changed.

It changed its nature from  normative to scientific.

It shifted its focus from text to context. Just study of constitutions was not enough to understand politics.

Its research area shifted from developed world to developing world.

It also changed its nature from the study of governments to study of politics as system replaced state

Function substituted power , role substituted office and structure substituted institution. This substitution claimed to be solution to the problem of studying different categories of political systems

Change from traditional approach to modern approach also made it comparative in true sense since uniform west are more or less uniform. While , political structure in developing countries are multifunctional and culturally mixed.

It changed from status- quoist to dynamic, from value laden to factual analytic , from formalistic to comprehensive too.


Political economy approach 

Political  economy  as  defined  by  Friedrich  Engels,  in  the  widest  sense,  is  the  science  of  the  laws governing  the  production  and  exchange  of  the  material  means  of  subsistence  in  human  society.  A Political  Economy  approach  studies  the  effects  of  people's  involvement  in  society  as  members  of groups,  and  how  that  changes  their  ability  to  function.  Comparative  Politics  employs  Political Economy  to  focus  on  the  interaction  between  institutions  and  human  behaviour,  the  way  in which  the  former  shapes  choices  and  how  the  latter  change  institutional  frameworks.   

Political economy, an inter-disciplinary approach involves economics and politics. It is the methodology of economics applied to the analysis of political behaviour & institutions. Since the institutions do not change considerable over time, a comparative perspective helps in identifying institutional influences on political behaviour as well as on social & economic outcomes. In comparative politics, political economy has participated in three major theoretical developments: -

It helped in establishing an analytical perspective to politics in which uncovering regularities, patterns & causal mechanisms are of primary interest rather then political orders.

Political economists provided path- breaking insights into the interaction b/w corporations & governments. It explains why policies in autocracies tend to differ from policies in democracies & government spending is higher in countries with proportional electoral system than in countries with majoritarian electoral system. 

(iii) Political economists are at the forefront of explaining how government decisions are altered by the increase in global economic integrations.

Despite  numerous  studies  proving  the  effectivity  of  Political  Economy  approach,  there exists certain  limitations  which  render  its  use  only  upto  an  extent.  Political  Economy  Approach  neglects understanding  of  Constitution,  and  Political  Institutions  by  turning  its  focus  to  economic  aspects of  polity.  Studies  related  to  the  approach  uses  nomenclature  like  North-South  countries, Developing-  Developed  countries,  Third  world  countries  which  has  made  political  economy approach  biased.  The  approach  is  normative,  and  specialized  knowledge  is  needed  for quantitative techniques utilized by it. Political Economy studies are costly due to  sophistication, and  due  to  such  numerous  faultlines,  it  can't  give  comprehensive  understanding  of  the  subject. Samuel  Huntington  exclaimed  that  challenge  to  reconcile  economic  determinism,  with  political determinism remains in this approach.  


Adam  Smith  called  Political  Economy  as  that  science  for  statesmen  which  leads  to  wealth  & prosperity.  The approach has now more than four hundred year old history and includes the works  of  French  Physiocrats,  Adam  Smith,  David  Ricardo  and  Karl  Marx,  among  others  which despite  limitations  have  led  to  emergence  of  conclusive  findings  beneficial  for  better understanding  of  politics.


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