Comparative Politics

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1.Approaches to Comparative Government
and Politics
In the last chapter we saw that comparative politics is concerned with the study, analysis and explanations of significant regularities, similarities and differences in the working of political institutions, political processes and in political behaviour. It has also been mentioned that during the course of its history the comparative method has gone through various developments and changes both in the scope of its areas of study as well as approaches and tools used. Since Aristotle began the study of comparative politics, countless students have analysed the nature and quality of political regimes. They have looked at the way in which the functions of government are performed and relationships between rulers and ruled. They have also posed questions about the kind of rules that exist and actions that are taken. In recent years two major additions have been made in the study of comparative politics. One the students are also interested in the politics of the newer nation states in which an increasing part of the worlds population lives and try to include these states within the scope of generalisation about comparative politics. Second, students are not content merely with descriptions of political institutions and constitutional arrangements, more attention is now paid to non governmental and social organisations and to the political behaviour of individuals and groups.1 In this context the student today has many approaches to choose from. At the same time the various approaches and techniques have different implications for the process of theory building. Broadly the approaches are categorised into two: Traditional and Modern.

Traditional Approaches
Among the Traditional Approaches we can include:
a) The Historical Approach
b) The Formal-legal Approach
c) The Configurative Approach
d) The Problem Approach
e) The Area Approach
f)The Institutional Approach
Of these approaches the most important...
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