Comparative Politics: An Institutional and Cross-National Approach

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Overview

For freshman/sophomore-level courses in Comparative Politics, World Politics, as well as Introduction to Politics with a comparative focus.

Written in aclear, jargon-free style, Comparative Politics emphasizes political institutions and behavior—rather than on abstract conceptual frameworks. This approach makes the text more accessible to introductory students than most other texts on comparative politics. It features both a cross-national approach which focuses helping students develop develop a comparative understanding of the types of institutions (e.g., constitutions, executives, legislatures, political parties, etc.)—as well as a country-by-country approach that examines those institutions within the contexts of eight different countries. This approach allows students to develop the ability to look how all the “pieces” fit together in various countries.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The new edition of a text which primarily explores the political institutions of industrialized liberal democracies. Including case studies of the political systems of Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia, the author looks at differing constitutions, ideologies, legislative structures, executives, legal orders, and political parties. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870736834
  • Publisher: Schenkman Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1983
  • Pages: 380

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

PREFACE

I am delighted to have been called upon to prepare a third edition of this volume. It is indeed gratifying that so many students have used this book over the last five years, and I am pleased that Prentice Hall has asked for an updating and revision of the manuscript.

As the first edition of this volume was going to press, Germany was evolving from two states to one. While Germany has made remarkable progress over the last several years, many observers note that this conversion process still has much to achieve before Germany can be said to have resolved all of the problems caused by unification.

More dramatic, of course, was the devolution and the ultimate demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The chapter on the USSR that appeared in the first edition, while anticipating substantial changes—because Mikhail Gorbachev had already come to power, and significant changes were appearing in the Soviet Union on a regular basis—was not able to do justice to the extent of change that resulted from Gorbachev's reforms. I do not believe that anyone would have predicted at that time the degree of change that has taken place over the ensuing years. In fact, the chapter on Russia in the second edition bore very little resemblance to the chapter on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the first edition. The last three years have seen equally radical—and not always beneficial—changes in Russia, and this edition's discussion of Russia includes much coverage of the new challenges facing the Russian Federation.

This edition has continued the inclusion of area studies chapters used in thesecond edition, including individual chapters on Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia. While this volume continues to include more discussion of stable, Western, democratic political systems than discussion of newer nations, non-Western nations, and nondemocratic nations, a concerted effort has been made to increase such discussion here. The inclusion of area studies chapters from the African (Nigeria) and Latin American (Mexico) contexts is a demonstration of a commitment to include substantial discussion of all types of political systems; however, space limits the number of individual political systems that can receive detailed description. As was indicated in the second edition, a good deal of what has happened in Nigeria and Mexico in recent years is characteristic of other African (and Asian, and Latin American) nations, so these case studies are of some value to us and to our students in our comparative undertaking.

Once again, this volume places an emphasis on political institutions—as indicated by the title—for the same reasons as in the first and second editions: their ease of comparison, their facility of identification and classification, and the extent to which they lend themselves to analysis. This emphasis on political institutions, combined with the cross-national perspective of this volume, gives students both the tools and the perspective to undertake a meaningful cross-national introduction to the political world in which they must operate.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Once again I would like to acknowledge the assistance and encouragement of the outstanding professionals at Prentice Hall who have been associated with this undertaking. Beth Gillett began thinking about a third edition remarkably soon after the second edition appeared. Joan Stone oversaw the production process at Prentice Hall. Jan McDearmon was also extremely important in the editing process.

I also want to thank the scholars who have been contacted over the years by Prentice Hall to review the several editions of the book. These individuals have made a number of very helpful suggestions. Much of the book's improved comprehensiveness is because of their advice, which was much appreciated.

Finally, I want to once again acknowledge the role of my students in the production of this book. It was my students' comments that initially convinced me to try my hand at writing a better text, and their subsequent comments have helped me a great deal in deciding what should be included in this type of work and the best way of presenting the material.

Gregory S. Mahler

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Table of Contents

I. Comparative Political Analysis: An Introduction

II. Constitutions and Ideologies

III. Political and Economic Development

IV. Legislatures and Legislative Structures

V. The Executive

VI. Judiciaries and the Legal Order

VII. Interest Groups, Political Parties

VIII. The Individual and the Political Environment

Part II: Area Studies

IX. The British Political System

X. The French Political System

XI. The German Political System

XII. The Japanese Political System

XIII. The Mexican Political System

XIV. The Nigerian Political System

XV. The Russian Political System

XVI. The Indian Political System

XVII. Comparative Political Analysis: A Concluding Perspective

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Preface

PREFACE:

PREFACE

I am delighted to have been called upon to prepare a third edition of this volume. It is indeed gratifying that so many students have used this book over the last five years, and I am pleased that Prentice Hall has asked for an updating and revision of the manuscript.

As the first edition of this volume was going to press, Germany was evolving from two states to one. While Germany has made remarkable progress over the last several years, many observers note that this conversion process still has much to achieve before Germany can be said to have resolved all of the problems caused by unification.

More dramatic, of course, was the devolution and the ultimate demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The chapter on the USSR that appeared in the first edition, while anticipating substantial changes—because Mikhail Gorbachev had already come to power, and significant changes were appearing in the Soviet Union on a regular basis—was not able to do justice to the extent of change that resulted from Gorbachev's reforms. I do not believe that anyone would have predicted at that time the degree of change that has taken place over the ensuing years. In fact, the chapter on Russia in the second edition bore very little resemblance to the chapter on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the first edition. The last three years have seen equally radical—and not always beneficial—changes in Russia, and this edition's discussion of Russia includes much coverage of the new challenges facing the Russian Federation.

This edition has continued the inclusion of area studies chapters used inthesecond edition, including individual chapters on Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia. While this volume continues to include more discussion of stable, Western, democratic political systems than discussion of newer nations, non-Western nations, and nondemocratic nations, a concerted effort has been made to increase such discussion here. The inclusion of area studies chapters from the African (Nigeria) and Latin American (Mexico) contexts is a demonstration of a commitment to include substantial discussion of all types of political systems; however, space limits the number of individual political systems that can receive detailed description. As was indicated in the second edition, a good deal of what has happened in Nigeria and Mexico in recent years is characteristic of other African (and Asian, and Latin American) nations, so these case studies are of some value to us and to our students in our comparative undertaking.

Once again, this volume places an emphasis on political institutions—as indicated by the title—for the same reasons as in the first and second editions: their ease of comparison, their facility of identification and classification, and the extent to which they lend themselves to analysis. This emphasis on political institutions, combined with the cross-national perspective of this volume, gives students both the tools and the perspective to undertake a meaningful cross-national introduction to the political world in which they must operate.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Once again I would like to acknowledge the assistance and encouragement of the outstanding professionals at Prentice Hall who have been associated with this undertaking. Beth Gillett began thinking about a third edition remarkably soon after the second edition appeared. Joan Stone oversaw the production process at Prentice Hall. Jan McDearmon was also extremely important in the editing process.

I also want to thank the scholars who have been contacted over the years by Prentice Hall to review the several editions of the book. These individuals have made a number of very helpful suggestions. Much of the book's improved comprehensiveness is because of their advice, which was much appreciated.

Finally, I want to once again acknowledge the role of my students in the production of this book. It was my students' comments that initially convinced me to try my hand at writing a better text, and their subsequent comments have helped me a great deal in deciding what should be included in this type of work and the best way of presenting the material.

Gregory S. Mahler

Read More Show Less

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