What is comparative politics 4

Comparative Political Science - History and Subject

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Definitions
2.1 Comparative Political Science
2.2 The state and the political system

3. History of Comparative Political Science
3.1 The ancient world
3.2 From the Renaissance to 194 5
3.3 The post-war period

4. Subject of comparative political science
4.1 Polity, politics and poilcy
4.2 Input, output and outcome
4.3 The research fields of comparative political science

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1 Introduction

Germany is in the chaos of reform. Everything seems in need of reform. But what should the reforms look like? People are only too happy to look across the border to find solutions. Didn't the Netherlands manage to reform its job placement system? Why do the Scandinavian countries do so well in the PISA study?

However, the question arises whether solutions from other countries can also be transferred to the German system.

The results of comparative political science are often used to answer this question. However, there is no uniformity in this either with regard to the object of investigation[1]. It is therefore important to familiarize yourself with this “old”, but also “young” discipline of political science[2] too busy. This inevitably raises questions: What is comparative political science anyway? Where does it have its roots? What is she doing?

All of these questions are dealt with in this paper. In the first part the terminology of comparative political science is clarified, then the beginning and the historical development are dealt with. Finally, it is shown what can and cannot be investigated with the means of comparative political science. Since the subject is very extensive, only the essential characteristics of the subject are to be shown here.

2. Definitions

In order to deal with comparative political science, a number of definitions are first required, which start with the term itself.

2.1 Comparative Political Science

In the past there was talk of comparative governance. This term is the German translation of the English term "comparative government", which was the original name for this branch of political science[3]. However, this term has been abandoned in recent years because it narrows the subject too much. Not only are “governements” examined, but also other areas of states. This is why the term “comparative politics” has established itself. However, there is no equivalent German translation here. “Comparative doctrine of government systems”, “Comparative analysis of political systems” or “Comparative political systems theory” are useful translation options, but they are also somewhat cumbersome to use[4]. Therefore, the term “comparative political science” seems to have prevailed, even if several representatives of political science think that the original English word is not well rendered[5]. For the sake of simplicity and in order not to confuse the reader, the term “comparative political science” is used in this paper[6].

2.2 State and political system

The word state probably goes back to Machiavelli and penetrated from Italian (stato) into all other European languages ​​in the 17th and 18th centuries[7]. A modern constitutional definition says that the characteristics of a state is the successful exercise of the monopoly of force within a fixed area over the people living there[8]. The state was one, if not the central category of comparative political science until the mid-1950s, when it was more and more replaced by the term "political system" introduced by David Easton[9]. A political system is defined by four common characteristic properties[10]: 1) A political structure is in place, with the help of which the political order can be maintained, 2) the system performs the same functions everywhere, 3) a political system is neither completely modern nor completely traditional, but has a mixed character and 4) the political structures are multifunctional[11].

The advantage of the political system is that non-state structures such as terrorist organizations, guerrillas or mafia can also be examined with it.

3. History of Comparative Political Science

In order to illustrate the different stages in the development of comparative political science, it is important to subdivide the development into several phases.

3.1 The ancient world

First comparisons between different political systems were made around the year 500 BC. Employed in Greece as there were many different systems co-operating at the time. Numerous city-states existed in Greece itself, Persia spread to the east and many Phoenician colonies were to be found around the Mediterranean[12].

Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) can be regarded as the founder of comparative political science. He examined 158 constitutions of his time to find out which was the best. Therefore, he classified different forms of government. Finally, he differentiated forms of government according to the number of rulers - with the rule of the people being highest - and according to the quality of rule. For him, the best form of government was politics in the sense of today's democracy, the worst was tyranny[13].

After Aristotle, the tradition of comparative political science lived on for a short time in Rome, until it finally disappeared into oblivion, where it was to remain for almost 1000 years, since in the Western Middle Ages the interest was mostly religious topics and no pronounced system of government stood out an investigation would have made sense[14].

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[1] Nohlen, Dieter: Comparative Government / Comparative Political Systems in: Nohlen, Dieter / Schulze, Rainer-Olaf: Lexicon of Political Science, Vol. 2, Verlag C.H. Beck Munich 2002, p. 1031ff.

[2] Stammen, Theo: Comparative Government, Scientific Book Society Darmstadt, 1976, p. 1.

[3] Nohlen, Dieter: Comparative Government / Comparative Political Systems in: Nohlen, Dieter / Schulze, Rainer-Olaf: Lexicon of Political Science, Vol. 2, Verlag C.H. Beck Munich 2002, p. 1031ff.

[4] Stammen, Theo: Comparative Government, Scientific Book Society Darmstadt, 1976, p. 5.

[5] ibid. p. 7.

[6] see also chapter 3.3.

[7] see Brunner, Georg: Comparative Government. Vol. 1. UTB Paderborn 1979, p. 25.

[8] Lauth, Hans-Joachim / Wagner, Christoph: Subject, basic categories and research questions of the "Comparative Government" in: Lauth, Hans-Joachim (Ed.): Comparative Government. An introduction, Westdeutscher Verlag Wiesbaden, 2002, p.23.

[9] ibid.

[10] Almond, G.A .: Comparative Politics, 6th ed., Little, Brown Boston, 1996, pp. 15f.

[11] Lauth, Hans-Joachim / Wagner, Christoph: Subject, basic categories and research questions of the "Comparative Government" in: Lauth, Hans-Joachim (Ed.): Comparative Government. An introduction, Westdeutscher Verlag Wiesbaden, 2002, p. 24f.

[12] Brunner, Georg: Comparative Government. Vol. 1. UTB Paderborn 1979, p. 22.

[13] Lauth, Hans-Joachim / Wagner, Christoph: Subject, basic categories and research questions of the "Comparative Government" in: Lauth, Hans-Joachim (Ed.): Comparative Government. An introduction, Westdeutscher Verlag Wiesbaden, 2002, p. 15f.

[14] Brunner, Georg: Comparative Government. Vol. 1. UTB Paderborn 1979, p. 23f.

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