Political scientists study governing systems, political development, and political theory. During a political science program, students not only learn about politics and government, they also gain valuable analytical, communication, and research skills. These high-demand skills prepare graduates for careers in government, politics, and other industries.
Indicators Of Political Development
Development implies goals and the positing of goals requires values. Economists have generally agreed that the increase of wealth (or perhaps welfare) is the proper object of economic development. Political scientists, probably happily, have no similar agreement in regard to the appropriate goal for political development. Moreover, it is doubtful that the various aspects of political change are located along a single continuum. This is an empirical question but investigation ought to begin at least with provision for an n‐dimensional space. Finally, political scientists should concentrate on political change that has too often been neglected in favour of economic and purely social change.Indicators Of Political Development
Development Indicators + Development Models
Development implies goals and the positing of goals requires values. Economists have generally agreed that the increase of wealth (or perhaps welfare) is the proper object of economic development. Political scientists, probably happily, have no similar agreement in regard to the appropriate goal for political development. Moreover, it is doubtful that the various aspects of political change are located along a single continuum. This is an empirical question but investigation ought to begin at least with provision for an n‐dimensional space. Finally, political scientists should concentrate on political change that has too often been neglected in favour of economic and purely social change.Development Indicators + Development Models
American Political Development
American political development (often abbreviated as APD) is a subfield of political science that studies the historical development of politics in the United States. In American political science departments, it is considered a subfield within American politics and is closely linked to historical institutionalism.
Scholarship in American political development focuses on “the causes, nature, and consequences of key transformative periods and central patterns in American political history.” Karen Orren and Stephen Skowronek, co-founders of the subfield’s flagship journal, define American political development as the study of “durable shifts in governing authority” in the United States. The subfield emerged within American political science in the 1980s, alongside a general renewal of work in historical institutionalism, as an “insurgent movement” that sought to refocus attention on the study of historical American politics and to use such historical study to recast the study of contemporary political phenomena.
APD shares overlaps with the research agendas of comparative politics (particularly comparative historical analysis), historical sociology, and political history. However, scholarship in APD differs from political history in that the former’s “primary concerns are analytical, conceptual, and theoretical rather than historical.” Methodologically, the subfield tends to use within-case analysis and conduct causes-of-effects research (as opposed to effects-of-causes research).
Major journals in the subfield include the flagship journal Studies in American Political Development, founded in 1986, and The Journal of Political History, founded in 1989. As of 2005, the Politics and History section (founded in 1989) of the American Political Science Associationwas the eighth-largest in membership out of 35 total sections.
3 Important Characteristics of “Political Development”
Various approaches accept that spirit or attitude of equality is an aspect of political development. Equal and popular participation in politics, active citizenship and popular rule constitute the variables of political development.
It also involves the concept of equal and objective application of laws to all citizens i.e. rule of law involving application of all laws to all the citizens rich and poor, and strong and weak. It also includes the concept of political recruitment based on merit and performance, and not on ascriptive consideration.
Capacity of a political system is again a theme held by most of the above approaches and it refers to the capacity of a political system to affect the social and economic life of the society through its outputs.
This aspect of development includes the idea of political development analysed in terms of governmental capacity and the conditions that affect such performance. It also means political development in terms of effectiveness and efficiency in the execution of public policy, rationality in administration and a secular orientation towards policy.
(3) Differentiation and Specialisation:
This theme conceptualises political development in terms of structural differentiation and specialisation. “This aspect of development involves first of all the differentiation and specialisation of structures. Offices and agencies tend to have their distinct and limited functions and there is an equivalent of a division of labour within the realm of government.”
Along with differentiation, there is increased functional specialisation of various roles within the system and it also involves the integration of complex structures and processes. The last aspect is very important because it clarifies that differentiation is not fragmentation, on the other hand, it means specialisation based on an ultimate ense of integration.
Among these three dimensions, there can be present several acute tensions between the demands for equality, the requirements of capacity and the process of greater differentiation and accordingly there are different patterns to political development. However, these three constitute the agreed variables for analysing the nature and level of political development. It also means that “Development is dearly not unilinear nor it is governed by sharp and distinct stages, but rather by a range of problems that they may arise separately or concurrently.”
Study of political development requires, besides these three dimensions of equality, capacity and differentiation, three other related factors. As Pye observes, “the problems of equality are generally related to the political culture and sentiments about legitimacy and commitment to the system; the problems of capacity are generally related to the performance of the authoritative structures of government; and the question of differentiation touches mainly on the performance of non-authoritative structures and the general process in the society at large.”
“All this suggests that in the last analysis, the problems of development revolve around the relationships between the political culture, the authoritative structures of government, and the general political process.”
Leonard Binder suggests the following 5-point list of changes for analyzing the nature of process of political development of a political system:
(1) Change of identity from religious to ethnic and from parochial to societal,
(2) Change of legitimacy from transcendental to immanent sources,
(3) Change in political participation from elite to mass and from family to group,
(4) Change of distribution from status and privilege to achievement, and
(5) Change in the degree of administrative and legal penetration into social structure and to the remote regions of the country.Home ››
10 Important Aspects of “Political Development” as defined by Eminent ScholarsLucian Pye in his work ‘Aspects of Political Development’ has very systematically explained the different ways in which political Development has been defined by various political scientists.
(1) Political Development as the Political Pre-requisite of Economic Development:
This view of political development seeks to conceptualise it in term of economic growth. Political development is regarded as “that state of the polity which might facilitate economic growth”. Paul A. Baran, Norman S. Buchanan, Howard S. Ellis, Benzamin Higgins, Albert Hirschman, Barbaran Ward and several other social scientists have advocated this view of Political Development.
Firstly, it is a negative view, because in practice we can study better the hindrances which a political system can pose to economic growth than the facilities that it can provide.
Secondly, since economic growths in different societies have been registered under different set of public policies, this approach to political development cannot offer an agreed and acceptable theoretical framework.
Thirdly, in several societies, political development has come at a more rapid pace than the pace of economic growth.
Finally, in most underdeveloped countries people clearly are concerned with far more than just material development, they are anxious about political development quite independent of effect on the rate of economic growth. Thus it is not a fully acceptable view of Political Development.
(2) Political Development as the Politics Typical of Industrial Societies:
This view of development is based on the assumption that industrial life produces a more or less common and generic type of political life which any society can seek to approximate whether it is in fact industrialised or not. Industrial societies set certain standards of political behaviour and performance that constitute the state of political development, as social scientists like Walt W. Rustow opine and represent the appropriate goals of development for all other systems.
This, view, as such, holds that political development involves; certain patterns of presumably “rational” and “responsible” governmental behaviour; an avoidance of reckless action; some sense of limitations on politics; an appreciation of the values of orderly administrative and legal procedures, an acknowledgement that politics is rightly a mechanism for solving problems and not an end in itself, a stress on welfare programmes, and finally an acceptance of some form of mass participation.
(3) Political Development as Political Modernisation:
Social scientists like James S. Coleman, Karl Deutsch, S.M. Lipset and some others regard political development as the typical or idealised politics of industrial societies and that political development is synonymous with political modernisation.
Just as advanced nations are pace-setters for others, likewise modernisation is the pace-setter for political development. Political development takes the form of westernisation in politics.
It is again a parochial view of development which cannot be operationalised because almost all political institutions of the world bear the influence of western institutions and consequently, it becomes difficult, on the basis of this view, to classify political system on the basis of the nature and levels of their political development.
(4) Political Development as the Operation of the Nation State:
This approach, as Pye observes, has been followed by K.H. Silver, Edward Shills and William McCord. This view holds that political development consists of the organisation of political life and the performance of political functions in accordance with the standards expected of a modern nation-state.
The emergence of nation-state has brought into existence a specific set of requirements, which together constitute political development. It involves the transformation of nation-state in theory into a nation state in reality-which requires the development of a capacity to maintain a certain level of public order, to mobilise resources for a specific range of collective enterprises and to make and effectively uphold international commitments.
The test of political development is, first, the establishment of a particular set of public institutions that constitute the necessary infrastructure of nation-state, and secondly, the controlled expression in political life of the phenomenon of nationalism. Political Development, in this view is: “The politics of nationalism within the context of state institutions”, or that “political development is nation-building.”
(5) Political Development as Administrative and Legal Development:
The fifth view of political development, as discussed by Lucian Pye, is the view which interprets political development as process of institution-building and citizenship development. This view has amongst its supporters such scholars as Max Weber and Joseph La Palombara.
This view associates political development, with the development of a legal order followed by an administrative order. In this view, administrative development is associated with the spread of rationality, the strengthening of secular, legal concepts and the elevation of technical and specialised knowledge in the direction of human affairs.
No one can deny that political development involves legal and administrative development; however, no one can equate the former with the latter.
(6) Political Development as Mass Mobilisation and Participation:
This view links political development with political awakening of the people. The bigger the mass mobilisation and participation in politics, the greater is the degree of political development of the political system.
This is again a narrow and even dangerous view of political development because it can lead to the acceptance of a political system characterised by many demonstrations, mass responses to elite manipulation, populist movements, etc., as a politically developed system.
(7) Political Development as the Building of Democracy:
This view places political development as synonymous with the establishment of democratic institutions and practices. Building of democracy is the process of political development. According to this view, development has meaning only in terms of the strengthening of some set of values. “It, thus, presents an ideological and value-laden view of political development. Development is fundamentally different from democracy and that the very attempt to introduce democracy can be a positive liability to development”.
(8) Political Development as Stability and Orderly Change:
This view seeks to define political development in terms of the ability of the political system to remain stable and possess the capacity for purposeful and orderly change.
A political system which can refrain from becoming a helpless victim of social and economic forces and which on the other hand regulates the process of social change by making it purposeful and orderly, is a politically developed system.
However, a major weakness of this approach is its failure to define the level of stability and capacity for orderly change that may be regarded as the standard for analysing political development.
(9) Political Development as Mobilisation and Power:
This view links political development with the capabilities of a political system, i.e., the ability of the political system to mobilise the resources, exercise power and to use the resources to the fullest advantage. Coleman, Powell and Talcott Parsons have analysed political development in terms of these variables.
The view involves the concept that political system can be evaluated in terms of the level or degree of absolute power which the system is able to mobilise. “It is a useful premise; however, it cannot be regarded as the standard for measuring political development. It fails to take into account the fact that some political systems deliberately avoid full mobilisation of resources and exercise of power.”
(10) Political Development as one Aspect of a Multi-Dimensional Process of Social Change:
This view of political development holds that all forms of development are related. Development is much the same as modernisation and it takes place within a historical context in which influences from outside the society impinge on the processes of social change just as changes in different aspects of a society-the economy, the polity and the social order-all impinge on one another.
This approach has been advocated by Max F. Millikan and Donald L.M. Blackmer. They advocate that political development is some how intimately associated with other aspects of social and economic change. This view merits attention, but it again fails to identify what really is the nature of political development which comes as part of the all-embracing process of social change.
Besides these ten different approaches to the conceptualisation of political development, there are other possible interpretations. As Lucian Pye holds, it can be taken to mean commonly a sense of national self-respect and dignity in international affairs or the view that political development should refer to a post-nationalism era when nation-state will no longer be the basic unit of political life.
All these views of political development highlight fully the difficulty in offering a definition of this concept. The way out lies in analysing the common characteristics of political development on the basis of all these views. This task has been successfully undertaken by Lucian Pye.
Role of Public Administration in Political Development – Essay
This role varies according to the nature of the state and its politics. However, in the developing world the role of public administration in political development is quite significant because of the prevailing political culture in the developing countries.
Though the concept of political development itself is not clear but attempts have recently been made to critically examine the role of bureaucracy in political development. The word “Political” is generally used to connote both partisan politics and policy making. Political development is interpreted as a process of political institution building and people’s participation on it.
It is now well established and accepted that public administration is an important instrument of policy. Since bureaucracy is the only available instrument to the state in the developing society it becomes a crucial arbiter in deciding who gets what, when, and where.
In the ultimate analysis, this is the most decisive political role of public administration. Further, public administration is called upon to participate in the political socialization, political bargaining and representation and resistance to political pressure.
That is why E. H. Walson opines, “Bureaucracy is to participate in the political education of the masses according to the socialist ideologies or developmental goals set by the nation.
Public speaking is a part of their job in development projects and however, natural they may be in partisan politics, they relate their immediate technical responsibility with the overall ideology of the national leadership”.
Similarly public administration has to play the political game of either resisting or responding favourably to continuous political pressure. The way to react to the politicians in many such situations is by being extremely tactful in tackling the situation. This is perhaps the most difficult “political role” of public administration in the developing society.
However, the extent to which public administration can play a political role depends to a considerable extent on the nature of the policy within which it operates. It could be more effective in dictatorship or in the newly independent nations.
In any case the actual role it can play would depend on the internal strength and character of the concerned administrative system. This can not always be gain said and actual experience round the world both in democratic as well as other forms of politics demonstrates that the role is not entirely autonomic.
In this regard Eisenstadt tells us that all political systems are subjected to a pattern of demands and that all of them have some capacity to deal with increases in demands and organization that may develop.
In reaction to demands, alternatives are also available to the authoritative structures in the sense that the development of demands may be minimized, controlled or observed by responding to them with government policies.
A modern democratic system would be one in which there exists both a high degree of structural differentiation for dealing with demands as well as a reasonable correspondence between the level of demands and their substantive satisfaction.
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