Examine the trends in the study of comparative politics since the Second World War

 By World War II, then, comparative polities was characterized by a reawakened interest in large-scale comparisons, a relatively broad conception of the nature of politics and what is relevant to politics, and a growing emphasis upon solving middle-range theoretical problems concerning thedeterminants of certain kinds of political behaviour and the requisites for certain kinds of political institutions. Comparisons, however, were still made largely without the use of any special technical procedures, speculation and data were only beginning to be deliberately integrated. The subject-matter treated was still predominantly the sovereign state, indeed still mainly the formal aspects of Western nation-states. The concepts used for analysis were largely conventional rather than technical, no explicit conceptual schemes designed for theorizing were used, and some of the most important aspects of analysis were left implicit. The interwar period was one preeminently of ad hoc and common-sense theorizing. This brings us to our own time. 

What have been the trends in comparative politics in the postwar period? The most basic have been four. First, the empirical range of the field has been greatly enlarged, primarily through the intensive study of non-Western systems, but also through research into aspects of politics previously little studied. Second, concerted attempts have been made to overcome the lack of rigor and system that characterized the field in the prewar period to make it more "scientific," if the use of unconventional technical concepts, systematic analytic approaches, and rigorous testing procedures may be called scientific, Third, there has been much greater emphasis upon the political role of social groups (whether explicitly organized for politics or not) and upon social institutions that play a special role in molding political values and cognitions, loyalties and identifications-agencies of political "socialization." Finally, political sys tems have been analytically dissected and questions raised about them in terms of conceptual schemes largely imported from other social sciences, above all in terms of structural-functional analysis. 

The influences leading to the gradual extension of subject matter to non-Western systems are fairly plain. The most obvious of them is the fact that societies and areas that political scientists interested in current events could once safely ignore became important and obtrusive in the post-war periodfor a great many reasons: the emergence of many new states in non-Western areas, the impact of the Pacific and North African wars (which certainly made many Westerners intimately acquainted with areas previously regarded as merely exotic), and the fact that only the non-Western areas were uncommitted, or open to a revision of commitment, in the power conflicts of the cold war. There was, consequently, and still is, a considerable demand in the non-academic world for specialized knowledge of these areas, and such a demand for expertise necessarily acts as an impetus toward its acquisition, most of all in a policy-oriented and training-oriented discipline like political science. Yet it would be much too one-sided to regard the intense post-war interest in the developing areas merely as a response to post-war politics, even conceding that the most obvious academic influence that might have made for this interest, political evolutionism, had played itself out by this time. Why had not this great interest arisen much sooner? Perhaps because financial support for studies of premodern systems was harder to come by in the prewar period-and such systems are expensive to study-but financial support was scant at the time for almost all projects in the social sciences. Perhaps because international power relations centered heavily upon the European countries; but there was Japan to contend with in the East no less than Germany and Italy in the West, there were riots, demonstrations, and mass arrests in India, there were important upheavals in China and Turkey.There was much to study outside of the West.


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