Theories of Comparative Politics on the Question of Change


Although the literature on comparative politics is quite rich in terms of the theoretical debates it entails, such debates are often limited to specific research questions and restrained in narrow empirical scopes. This is the case not only in the Turkish academia but to a lesser extent in the global academia as well. The comparativists from different parts of the world have formulated many theoretical approaches based on varying stresses on institutions, interests and ideas as well as different choices over the preferred level of analysis. Nevertheless, it can be said that comparative political studies are formed around specific questions (democratization, social movements, party and electoral systems, etc.) with specific regions or countries of focus in both the national and worldwide academia. This article discusses theoretical approaches of comparative politics such as institutionalism(s), rational choice, Marxism, modernization theory, culturalism and systems theory around the question of change. It also discusses these approaches independent of their specific responses to empirically oriented questions. The article discusses these approaches with respect to (a) whether they see the change possible or not; (b) if possible, whether the process of change occurs with ruptures or gradual transformation; and (c) whether the direction of change is deterministically progressive or indeterminate.


comparative politics change institutionalism rational choice culturalism systems theory modernization theory Marxism