Approaches to the Study of Political Science
The Art to run a State is known as Politics. (Leoconk)
The systematic way to study State and Power is called Political science.
Branches of Political Science:
Following are the main branches of Political Science;
These sub-branches are related with the behavior of a person towards ethics, his vision and the culture of his region.
Approaches to the Study of Political Science:
Following are the two basic approaches to the study of Political Science:
• Traditional Approaches
• Modern Approaches
Traditional Approaches to Political Science:
The Traditional Approaches to Political Science were widely prevalent till the outbreak of Second World War. These approaches were mainly related to the traditional view of Political which emphasized the study of the state and government. Therefore, traditional approaches are primarily concerned with the study of Organization and activities of the State.
Characteristics of Traditional Approaches:
• They are largely normative.
• Emphasize on the study of different Political Structures.
• Made little attempt to relate Theory and Research.
• These approaches believe that studies in Political Science can never be Scientific.
• Sub-Approaches of Traditional Approaches:
Following are the sub-approaches of Traditional Approaches:
• Philosophical Approach
• Historical Approach
• Institutional Approach
• Legal Approach
The word “philosophy” comes from the Ancient Greek Philosophia.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, Knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. This approach is concerned with the established of an ideal society with norms and values.
The historical approach believes political theory emerged as a result of socio economic crisis and the impact they had on great thinkers. For instance, the socio economic condition if Greece produced Aristotle and Plato while the condition of England in the 17th century resulted in theories by Locke and Hobbes. As the name suggest it is based on the development and evolution in history. It uses Knowledge of history and applies it to the understanding of political life.
This Kind of approach came into being in the 19th century due to the reaction to the historical and legalistic approaches. It is also important to concentrate on the executive, the legislature and judiciary too. This approach mainly deals with the formal aspect of government and politics emphasizes the study of the political institutions and structures.
The origin legalistic approach can be traced back to the 19th century when the study of politics also included topics like law and systems. This approach idealistic at their concern went beyond how and why political events happen to what ought to happen.
Similarities between Traditional Approaches:
1 These all are traditional approaches and they adopt a normative approach.
2 These approaches are old approaches to the study of Political Science.
3 These are also called empirical approaches.
4 These are ideally descriptive modes because they do not elaborate or lay emphasis on the functions of the political system.
5 These approaches analyze the descriptions of political concepts and the logical relationships.
6 These are very useful particularly in the examination of major political institution like the legislatures, executives, civil-service the judiciary.
7 These approaches believe that studies in Political Science can never be Scientific.
Philosophical Historical Institutional Legal
1 This approach came into being in the 18th century This approach came into being in the 17th century This approach came into being in the 19th century. This approach
also came into being in the 19th century.
2 Not Concerned with History This approach is concerned with the history of a state, nation or country. Not Concerned with History Not concerned with History
3 It is not usually formal It involves both formal and informal history. It is concerned with the formal institutions of a state. It is concerned with the formal laws of a society.
4 This approach is concerned with the establishment of an ideal society Not concerned with norms and values. Not concerned with norms and values Not concerned with norms and values.
Modern Approaches to Political Science:
To minimize the deficiencies of the traditional approaches, various new approaches have been advocated by the new political thinkers. These approaches are regarded as the “modern approaches” to the study of Political Science. Many thinkers regard these approaches as reaction against the traditional approaches. These approaches are mainly concerned with scientific study of politics
Characteristics of Modern Approaches:
• These approaches try to draw conclusion from empirical data.
• These approaches go beyond the study of political structures and its historical analysis.
• Modern Approaches believe in inter-disciplinary study.
• They emphasize scientific methods of study and attempt to draw scientific conclusions in Political Science.
• Sub-Approaches of Modern Approaches:
• Following are the sub-approaches of Modern Approaches:
• Behaviouralism Approach
• Post-Behaviouralism Approach
David Easton first pointed out the intellectual foundations of behaviouralism. This approach believes that there are certain uniformities in political behaviour which can be expressed in generalization or theories in order to explain and predict political phenomena. In a particular situation the political behaviour of individuals may be more or less similar. Such regularities of behaviour may help the researcher to analyze a political situation as well as to predict the future political phenomena. Study of such regularities makes Political Science more scientific with some predictive value.
Post-behaviouralism believed that the use of scientific tools is beneficial if it can solve the various problems of the society. Behaviouralists gave too much emphasis on methods and techniques and believed that it was better to be wrong than vague. Post-behaviouralists on the other hand, believed that it is better to be vague than non-relevantly precise. The post-behaviouralists criticized behaviouralism on the ground that the latter had lost touch with the realities of the society because of over emphasis on techbiques. Thus, post-behaviouralists may be regarded as the reform movement within behaviouralism. This new approach emphasizes identifying and solving the major issues of political and social life. According to post-behaviouralism, the political scientists should find out different alternative and means to solve the social problems. However, it must be remembered that it is only a continuation of behaviouralism. It does not altogether reject the ideas of behaviouralism and appreciates its effort to do objective research in Political Science.
Similarities between Modern Approaches:
1 Both of these are Modern Approaches.
2 These approaches go beyond the study of political structure and its historical analysis.
3 Modern Approaches believe in inter-disciplinary study.
4 They emphasize scientific methods of study and attempt to draw scientific conclusion in Political Science.
5 These approaches try to draw conclusion from empirical data.
1 This approach believes that there are certain uniformities in political behavior which can be expressed in generalization or theories. Post-behaviouralism believed that the use of scientific tools is beneficial if it can solve the various problems of the society.
2 In a particular situation the political behavior of individuals may be more or less similar. In a particular situation the political behaviour of individuals is not always similar.
3 Behaviouralists gave too much emphasis on methods and technique and believed that it was better to be wrong than vague Post-behaviouralists on the other hand, believe that it is better to be vague than non-relevantly precise.