Comparative Politics is a field in Political Science. As its name suggests, comparative politics is all about comparing politics. In comparative politics, we study about the comparison between different political practices in different states. In easier words, we can say that comparative politics is a study about the different politics in different countries and compare them with each other.
Comparative politics is the study of domestic politics, political institutions, and conflicts between the two countries. Comparative politics combines the study of comparison of political experience, institutions, behavior, and processes of government systems in two or more different countries. Comparative politics also includes the study of extra-constitutional agencies and their immediate connection.
Brisbane had defined Comparative Politics as Comparative politics is the identification and interpretation of factors in the whole social order which appears to affect whatever political functions and their institutions which have been identified and listed for comparison.
Comparative politics is not only about comparing the political structure of different countries, but it is also about the comparison of political activity, political process, and political power. The study of features and legal power also comes under comparative politics. The main motive of comparative politics is to improve the ongoing condition of any state or country. The improvement can be implemented on the present system of an ant state or country by adopting other countries’ already successful and proven systems.
Although it’s not easy as when we compare one state with others in terms of politics than many more things like culture, the literacy rate of citizens plays an important role in it. Comparative politics is also used to reduce tensions or resolve conflicts between the two countries.
Characteristics of Comparative Politics
Here we will discuss the top 5 characteristics of Comparative Politics.
- Essentially Descriptive Studies: To compare the politics of different countries, it’s essential to have a descriptive study of them. Until you know in-depth about the politics of different countries, you will not be able to compare them and produce a productive result. We can take the reference of the famous book “Governments of Continental Europe” edited by James T. Shot. Here he mentioned the similarities and differences between Switzerland, Germany, and the U.S.S.R. this comparison would not be possible without the descriptive studies of mentioned countries.
- Historical-Legalistic-Institutional Approach: Two typical approaches are available for the descriptive study of political institutions; the first is historical, and the second is legalistic. Through Historical approaches, we can compare the evolution of the French Parliament or the German Representative Assemblies. And through a legalistic approach, we can study the legal power of various branches of government and their relationships with reference to the existing constitutional and legal prescriptions.
- Essentially Parochial: Most of the studies on comparative politics have been done on Western European institutions. So it is essentially parochial.
- Essential Static: Dynamic factors like growth and change are ignored in comparative politics studies. That makes comparative politics more static.
- Essentially Monographic: The most important studies of foreign political systems have taken the form of monographs that have concentrated on the study of political institutions of one system or the discussion of a particular institution in different systems.
Scope & Significance of Comparative Politics
The scope of comparative politics includes the subject of political power. Here, different writers and political experts can define the term political power. Carl J. Friedrich describes it as a ‘certain kind of human relationship.’ Lasswell says, “The making of the decision is an interpersonal process: the policies which other persons are to pursue are what is decided upon. Power as participation in the making of decisions is an interpersonal relation. Politics thus connotes a special case in the exercise of power an exercise of power – an exercise in the attempt to change the conduct of others in one’s own direction”. The study of comparative Politics has the following scopes;
- All Political Structures: A complete knowledge of political structure is essential for comparative politics. This study includes the study of all the formal and informal, governmental, and extra-governmental institutions and their structure.
- Functional Studies: The knowledge of how all the formal and informal institutes work within the country includes comparative politics.
- Study of Political Behaviour: Another important part of the scope of Comparative Politics is the study of voting behavior, political participation, leadership recruitment, elite behavior, mass politics, etc.
- Study of Similarities and Differences: The main topic of study on comparative politics is how two countries are similar and how they are different from each other.
- Study of all Political Systems: Any country’s political system defines its nature and voting culture. There is a huge difference in thinking between a democratic country’s citizens and a nondemocratic country’s citizens. The scopes mentioned above are just a few. In comparative politics, everything includes some relevance with the country or countries.
Comparative Politics is an old concept, and since ancient times, its scope has become wider. To summaries comparative politics, we can say that this study compares different countries without being biased or having some philosophical axes. A clear-thinking process is an essential factor that a comparative politics researcher must-have. Already many things have been written related to this topic, but frequent changes in a change in the political economy, culture, conflict, government, rights, and public policy create more opportunities for new researchers in the field of comparative studies.