Cultural Approach Comparative Politics Essay

The concept of Political Culture has definitely enhanced the ability of the political scientists to analyse the psychological environment of the political system comprehensively and systematically. It has codified and synthesized into a style, a well-developed concept, all that was studied in an abstract and crude fashion through such traditional concept as National Morale, National Character, National Psychology and the like.

In the words of Davies and Lewis, “The concept of political culture is an attempt to find one rubric to include what, in the past, have been variously described as attitudes to politics, political values, ideologies, national character and cultural ethos, etc. None of these terms is sufficiently broad to provide a basis for classifying political systems, each one of them is separately relevant to the study of politics, but each one is vague and ambiguous and as such, serves only as a source of confusion for those attempting to compare political systems methodically. The concept of political culture is an attempt to gain the rigour and comprehensiveness which these other concepts lack.”‘

The Concept of Political Culture has been instrumental in helping realistic and actual behaviour comparative studies, both micro and macro, in respect of the political systems working in different societies.

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Accepting the value of this concept, Lucian Pye observes, “The concept of political culture can be of great value in helping the political analyst relate the psychological dimensions of cultural change to the larger issues of political development. Political Culture provides a means of linking micro analysis and macro analysis.”

Political Culture Approach to the study of politics has made several important contributions to politics and comparative politics studies, which can be described as under:

1. Political Culture Approach has helped political scientists to systematically and comprehensively analyse the social and psychological and sociological environment of the political system.

2. Political Culture has helped the political scientists to conduct both micro and macro studies of political systems as well as to explain the gap between micro macro politics.

3. With the help of this concept, political scientists can systematically explain the differences in the behaviour of various political systems, particularly the differences in the behaviour of similar political institutions working in different societies.

4. Political Culture Approach has encouraged political scientist to conduct studies in the process through which the political culture of a society passes from one generation to the next generation, i.e., the process of political socialisation.

5. Political Culture Approach can be used for analysing the path of political development of a political system.

6. This concept has been used by several political scientists to analyse the nature of possible political changes, violent changes- revolutions and coups, in various political systems.

7. Political Culture offers a good basis for classifying political systems.

8. Political Culture enables us to study the rational as well as irrational factors of politics.

9. It has helped the conducting of empirical studies into the working of political systems.

As such, we can conclude that the concept of Political Culture has definitely enriched the study of political science. It has enhanced the ability of political scientists to empirically analyse, explain and compare the phenomena of politics. It has helped the attainment of the goals of comprehensiveness and realism in comparative politics. Dr. S.P. Verma has listed the following five major contributions of this concept:

First, it has made Political Science a more complete social science through its insistence on a combined micro-macro approach.

Secondly, it has focused our attention on the study of political community or society as a dynamic collective entity as distinct from the individual and, thus, on the total political system.

Thirdly, it has encouraged political scientists to take up the study of social and cultural factors which are responsible for giving the political culture of a country its broad shape.

Fourthly, it has helped us in combining the study of the rational factors, which shape the actions of individuals, to a large extent with the more talent, the irrational determinates of behaviour that may be subjected to empirical research to a quite considerable extent.

Fifthly and Lastly, it is the Political Culture Approach which can ‘help us to understand why different political societies inevitably moved in different directions of political developments, or may be, find themselves suffering from severe constraints, socio-economic as well as political which force them to move towards political decay.

Almond holds that political culture approach constitutes a distinct improvement over the attempts to compare political systems on the basis of their legal institutional aspects. It can help us to empirically analyse and compare political systems in terms of their actual behaviour in their respective environments.

Despite the above listed merits of the concept of Political Culture, it has to be stated that it is just one concept which can enable us to analyse and explain some aspects of politics and not the whole of it.

Further that this concept has yet to be comprehensively developed and used. It has to be used carefully because it contains the germs of inducing conservatism and reaction. It can be used as one of the tools or approaches and not as the only tool or the approach to the study of politics.

The realisation of the distinction between cultural and political cultural factors of politics is bound to be a problematic exercise. Finally, the collection of objective data regarding orientations towards political actions is bound to be problematic and this imposes a serious limitation upon the utility of this concept as a tool of political analysis.

The Main Models of Comparative Politics Essay

760 Words4 Pages

Currently in the field of comparative politics, there are three main models that researchers tend to adhere to. These three are termed “rationalist”, “structuralist”, and “culturalist.” Each model has a quite distinct approach toward analysis of political phenomena. Simplified, they are as follows: the structuralist model examines the behavior of people based on the groups they belong to; the culturalist model takes careful note of the details surrounding particular events with respect to the distinguishing characteristics of the environment (or culture) that contained them; the rationalist model is based on logical explanations and predictions of behavior from the fundamental assumption of rational, self-interested individuals. Each model…show more content…

Currently in the field of comparative politics, there are three main models that researchers tend to adhere to. These three are termed “rationalist”, “structuralist”, and “culturalist.” Each model has a quite distinct approach toward analysis of political phenomena. Simplified, they are as follows: the structuralist model examines the behavior of people based on the groups they belong to; the culturalist model takes careful note of the details surrounding particular events with respect to the distinguishing characteristics of the environment (or culture) that contained them; the rationalist model is based on logical explanations and predictions of behavior from the fundamental assumption of rational, self-interested individuals. Each model has benefits and drawbacks, however the rationalist model comes closest to what many would term “science” in the field that is somewhat controversially labeled “Political Science”.

The rationalist model is a serious attempt by political scientists to apply a much more logical and mathematical approach to comparative politics than other models can offer. The ultimate goal with a rationalist model is to find laws that can be universally applied to identifiable situations, with a predictable outcome. In order to achieve this lofty goal, concise mathematical formulas are made to represent issues. A fundamental assumption in these formulas is the rational individual who acts to maximize their interests. It is hoped that analyzing the aggregate

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