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The SAGE Handbook of Political Science
 2019948041, 9781526459558

Table of contents :
The SAGE Handbook of Political Science
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on the Editors and Contributors
PART I: Political Theory
1 Comparative Political Theory
2 Constructivism
3 Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena
4 Economic Analysis in Political Science
5 Functionalism and Its Legacy
6 Feminist Political Science
7 Marx and Marxism in Politics
8 The New Institutionalism in Political Science
9 How to Understand Normative Political Theory
10 Political Anthropology and Its Legacy
11 Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science
12 Postmodernism Past, Present and Future
13 David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis
14 Max Weber and the Weberian Tradition in Political Science
PART II: Methods
15 The Survival and Adaptation of Area Studies
16 Big Data in Social Sciences
17 Case Studies and Process Tracing
18 Causation
19 Concept Regulation in Political Science
20 Configurative Methods
21 Designing a Research Project
22 Experiments
23 Historical and Longitudinal Analyses
24 Interpretative Methods
25 Methodology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
26 Mixed Method and Multimethod Research and Design
27 Ontologies, Epistemologies and the Methodological Awakening
28 Survey Research
PART III: Political Sociology
29 Clientelism
30 Elites
31 Identities
32 Interest Group Systems in the Age of Globalization
33 Parties
34 Pluralism
35 Political Behavior
36 Political Communication
37 Political Cultures
38 Political Socialization
39 Social Movements
40 Social Structure
PART IV: Comparative Politics
41 Political Accountability
42 Authoritarianisms and Authoritarianization
43 Democracies
44 Electoral Systems
45 Executive Power
46 Federalisms
47 Hybrid Regimes
48 Judicial Power
49 Legislative Power
50 Legitimacy and Legitimation
51 Political Competition
52 Regime Change
53 Religion and Politics
54 Responsiveness
55 Political Performance and State Capacity
56 State Formation and Failure
PART V: Public Policies and Administration
57 Bureaucracy and Bureaucratic Effectiveness
58 Corruption
59 Governance
60 Implementation
61 Informal Governance and Participatory Institutions
62 Local Politics
63 Policies beyond the State
64 Politics and Policy
65 Policy Evaluation
66 Policy Instruments
67 Policy Learning
68 Policy Making: Models
69 Regulation
70 Welfare State
Part VI: International Relations
71 Diplomacy
72 Foreign Policy Analysis
73 Globalization
74 International Political Economy
75 International Political Theory
76 International Relations Theory
77 Multilateralism
78 The New Wars
79 In Search of the Non-Western State: Historicising and De-Westphalianising Statehood
80 Regionalism
81 State, Power and Security
82 Transnational Relations as a Field
83 War and Peace
Part VII: Major Challenges for Politics and Political Science in the 21st Century
84 Changes of International Power Relations
85 Environmental Changes
86 Human Rights and Humanitarian Interventions in the International Arena
87 International Migration
88 International Violence
89 Minorities: Empirical and Political-Theoretical Reflections on a Cunning Concept
90 Populism
91 Outcomes after Democratic Transitions in Third-Wave Democracies
92 New Wars in the Global South

Citation preview

The SAGE Handbook of

Political Science

Editorial Board Attila Agh, Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary Arjun Appadurai, New School, NYU, United States Leonardo Avritzer, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil Nathaniel Beck, NYU, United States Walter Carlsnaess, Uppsala University. Sweden Yvonne Galligan, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK Manuel Antonio Garretόn, Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile, Chile John Groom, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana Guy Hermet, Sciences Po, Paris, France Takashi Inoguchi, University of Niigata Prefecture, Japan Robert Jervis, Columbia University, New York, United States Max Kaase, Mannheim University, Germany Bahgat Korany, American University, Cairo, Egypt Richard Ned Lebow, King’s College, London, UK Andrej Melville, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia Helen V. Milner, Princeton University, Princeton, United States Winnie Mitullah, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya Carole Pateman, University of Cardiff, UK Dianne Pinderhughes, University of Notre Dame, United States Surinder Kler Shukla, University of Chandigarh, India Ilter Turan, Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey Laurence Whitehead, Oxford University, UK

The SAGE Handbook of

Political Science

Volume 1

Edited by

Dirk Berg-Schlosser Bertrand Badie and Leonardo Morlino

SAGE Publications Ltd 1 Oliver’s Yard 55 City Road London EC1Y 1SP SAGE Publications Inc. 2455 Teller Road Thousand Oaks, California 91320 SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd B 1/I 1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area Mathura Road New Delhi 110 044 SAGE Publications Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd 3 Church Street #10-04 Samsung Hub Singapore 049483

Editor: Natalie Aguilera Editorial Assistant: Umeeka Raichura Production Editor: Jessica Masih Copyeditor: Sunrise Setting Ltd Proofreader: Sunrise Setting Ltd Indexer: Cathryn Pritchard Marketing Manager: Chazelle Keeton Cover Design: Naomi Robinson Typeset by Cenveo Publisher Services Printed in the UK

Preface, Introduction & Editorial arrangement © Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Bertrand Badie, & Leonardo Morlino, 2020 Chapter 1 © Siddharth Mallavarapu, 2020 Chapter 2 © Jun Ayukawa, 2020 Chapter 3 © Gianfranco Poggi, 2020 Chapter 4 © James F. Hollifield and Hiroki Takeuchi, 2020 Chapter 5 © Timofey Agarin, 2020 Chapter 6 © Marian Sawer, 2020 Chapter 7 © Dingping Guo, 2020 Chapter 8 © B. Guy Peters and Jon Pierre, 2020 Chapter 9 © Furio Cerutti, 2020 Chapter 10 © Yves Schemeil, 2020 Chapter 11 © Jack Paine and Scott A. Tyson, 2020 Chapter 12 © Richard Beardsworth, 2020 Chapter 13 © Henrik P. Bang, 2020 Chapter 14 © Andreas Anter and Hinnerk Bruhns, 2020 Chapter 15 © Rudra Sil, 2020 Chapter 16 © Uwe Wagschal and Felix Ettensperger, 2020 Chapter 17 © Derek Beach, 2020 Chapter 18 © Michael Baumgartner, 2020 Chapter 19 © Zachary Elkins, 2020 Chapter 20 © Claudius Wagemann, 2020 Chapter 21 © Hans Keman, 2020 Chapter 22 © Anna Bassi, 2020 Chapter 23 © Einar Berntzen, 2020 Chapter 24 © Terrell Carver, 2020 Chapter 25 © Nathaniel Beck, 2020 Chapter 26 © Manfred Max Bergman, 2020 Chapter 27 © Jonathon Moses, 2020 Chapter 28 © Bruno Cautrès, 2020 Chapter 29 © Herbert Kitschelt, 2020 Chapter 30 © Ursula Hoffmann-Lange, 2020 Chapter 31 © Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski, 2020 Chapter 32 © Liborio Mattina, 2020 Chapter 33 © Daniel-Louis Seiler, 2020 Chapter 34 © Roland Czada, 2020 Chapter 35 © Oscar Gabriel, 2020 Chapter 36 © Gianpietro Mazzoleni and Cristopher Cepernich, 2020 Chapter 37 © Dirk Berg-Schlosser, 2020 Chapter 38 © Maria Marczewska-Rytko, 2020 Chapter 39 © Donatella della Porta, 2020 Chapter 40 © Manuel Antonio Garretón and Nicolás Selamé, 2020 Chapter 41 © Yannis Papadopoulos, 2020 Chapter 42 © Oliver Schlumberger and Tasha Schedler, 2020 Chapter 43 © Philippe C. Schmitter, 2020 Chapter 44 © Bernard Grofman, 2020 Chapter 45 © Ferdinand Müller-Rommel and Michelangelo Vercesi, 2020 Chapter 46 © Surinder Kler Shukla, 2020 Chapter 47 © Jean-François Gagné and Anne-Laure Mahé, 2020

Chapter 48 © Daniela Piana, 2020 Chapter 49 © Werner J. Patzelt, 2020 Chapter 50 © Hans-Joachim Lauth, 2020 Chapter 51 © Jennifer Cyr and Alexis Work, 2020 Chapter 52 © Laurence Whitehead, 2020 Chapter 53 © Jeffrey Haynes, 2020 Chapter 54 © Jeeyang Rhee Baum, 2020 Chapter 55 © Edeltraud Roller, 2020 Chapter 56 © I. William Zartman, 2020 Chapter 57 © B. Guy Peters, 2020 Chapter 58 © Bo Rothstein, 2020 Chapter 59 © Carlos R. S. Milani, 2020 Chapter 60 © Harald Sætren, 2020 Chapter 61 © Leonardo Avritzer, 2020 Chapter 62 © Hellmut Wollmann, 2020 Chapter 63 © Eva G. Heidbreder and Daniel Schade, 2020 Chapter 64 © Giliberto Capano, 2020 Chapter 65 © Evert Vedung, 2020 Chapter 66 © Michael Howlett, 2020 Chapter 67 © Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli, 2020 Chapter 68 © Rajesh Chakrabarti and Kaushiki Sanyal, 2020 Chapter 69 © David Levi-Faur and Yael Kariv-Teitelbaum, 2020 Chapter 70 © Maurizio Ferrera, 2020 Chapter 71 © Geoffrey Wiseman, 2020 Chapter 72 © Jonathan Paquin, 2020 Chapter 73 © Helen V. Milner, 2020 Chapter 74 © Stéphane Paquin, 2020 Chapter 75 © Richard Ned Lebow, 2020 Chapter 76 © Gunther Hellmann, 2020 Chapter 77 © David M. Malone and Rohinton P. Medhora, 2020 Chapter 78 © Herfried Münkler, 2020 Chapter 79 © Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, 2020 Chapter 80 © Louise Fawcett, 2020 Chapter 81 © Klaus Schlichte and Elizaveta Gaufman, 2020 Chapter 82 © Jeffrey D. Maslanik, 2020 Chapter 83 © Charles-Philippe David and Alexis Rapin, 2020 Chapter 84 © Bertrand Badie, 2020 Chapter 85 © Tancrède Voituriez, 2020 Chapter 86 © Salvador Santino Fulo Regilme Jr., 2020 Chapter 87 © Christoph Rass, 2020 Chapter 88 © Karim Emile Bitar and Charles Thibout, 2020 Chapter 89 © Schirin Amir-Moazami, 2020 Chapter 90 © Hanspeter Kriesi, 2020 Chapter 91 © Scott Mainwaring and Fernando Bizzarro, 2020 Chapter 92 © Atta El-Battahani, 2020

Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers. At SAGE we take sustainability seriously. Most of our products are printed in the UK using responsibly sourced papers and boards. When we print overseas we ensure sustainable papers are used as measured by the PREPS grading system. We undertake an annual audit to monitor our sustainability.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2019948041 British Library Cataloguing in Publication data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 978-1-5264-5955-8

Contents List of Figures and Tables xiii Notes on the Editors and Contributorsxvi Prefacexxxvi Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Leonardo Morlino and Bertrand Badie

Volume 1 Introduction1 Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Leonardo Morlino and Bertrand Badie PART I  POLITICAL THEORY




Comparative Political Theory Siddharth Mallavarapu

2. Constructivism Jun Ayukawa



Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena Gianfranco Poggi



Economic Analysis in Political Science James F. Hollifield and Hiroki Takeuchi



Functionalism and Its Legacy Timofey Agarin



Feminist Political Science Marian Sawer



Marx and Marxism in Politics Dingping Guo



The New Institutionalism in Political Science B. Guy Peters and Jon Pierre



How to Understand Normative Political Theory Furio Cerutti



Political Anthropology and Its Legacy Yves Schemeil



The SAGE Handbook of Political Science


Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science Jack Paine and Scott A. Tyson



Postmodernism Past, Present and Future Richard Beardsworth



David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis Henrik P. Bang



Max Weber and the Weberian Tradition in Political Science Andreas Anter and Hinnerk Bruhns





The Survival and Adaptation of Area Studies Rudra Sil



Big Data in Social Sciences Uwe Wagschal and Felix Ettensperger



Case Studies and Process Tracing Derek Beach


18. Causation Michael Baumgartner



Concept Regulation in Political Science Zachary Elkins



Configurative Methods Claudius Wagemann



Designing a Research Project Hans Keman


22. Experiments Anna Bassi



Historical and Longitudinal Analyses Einar Berntzen



Interpretative Methods Terrell Carver



Methodology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches Nathaniel Beck





Mixed Method and Multimethod Research and Design Manfred Max Bergman



Ontologies, Epistemologies and the Methodological Awakening Jonathon Moses



Survey Research Bruno Cautrès




29. Clientelism Herbert Kitschelt


30. Elites Ursula Hoffmann-Lange


31. Identities Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski




Interest Group Systems in the Age of Globalization Liborio Mattina

33. Parties Daniel-Louis Seiler


34. Pluralism Roland Czada



Political Behavior Oscar Gabriel



Political Communication Gianpietro Mazzoleni and Cristopher Cepernich



Political Cultures Dirk Berg-Schlosser



Political Socialization Maria Marczewska-Rytko



Social Movements Donatella della Porta



Social Structure Manuel Antonio Garretón and Nicolás Selamé



The SAGE Handbook of Political Science




Political Accountability Yannis Papadopoulos



Authoritarianisms and Authoritarianization Oliver Schlumberger and Tasha Schedler


43. Democracies Philippe C. Schmitter



Electoral Systems Bernard Grofman



Executive Power Ferdinand Müller-Rommel and Michelangelo Vercesi


46. Federalisms Surinder Kler Shukla



Hybrid Regimes Jean-François Gagné and Anne-Laure Mahé



Judicial Power Daniela Piana



Legislative Power Werner J. Patzelt



Legitimacy and Legitimation Hans-Joachim Lauth



Political Competition Jennifer Cyr and Alexis Work



Regime Change Laurence Whitehead



Religion and Politics Jeffrey Haynes


54. Responsiveness Jeeyang Rhee Baum



Political Performance and State Capacity Edeltraud Roller



State Formation and Failure I. William Zartman








Bureaucracy and Bureaucratic Effectiveness B. Guy Peters

58. Corruption Bo Rothstein


59. Governance Carlos R. S. Milani


60. Implementation Harald Sætren



Informal Governance and Participatory Institutions Leonardo Avritzer



Local Politics Hellmut Wollmann



Policies beyond the State Eva G. Heidbreder and Daniel Schade



Politics and Policy Giliberto Capano



Policy Evaluation Evert Vedung



Policy Instruments Michael Howlett



Policy Learning Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli



Policy Making: Models Rajesh Chakrabarti and Kaushiki Sanyal


69. Regulation David Levi-Faur and Yael Kariv-Teitelbaum




Welfare State Maurizio Ferrera


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science



71. Diplomacy Geoffrey Wiseman




Foreign Policy Analysis Jonathan Paquin

73. Globalization Helen V. Milner



International Political Economy Stéphane Paquin



International Political Theory Richard Ned Lebow



International Relations Theory Gunther Hellmann


77. Multilateralism David M. Malone and Rohinton P. Medhora



The New Wars Herfried Münkler



In Search of the Non-Western State: Historicising and De-Westphalianising Statehood Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou


80. Regionalism Louise Fawcett



State, Power and Security Klaus Schlichte and Elizaveta Gaufman



Transnational Relations as a Field Jeffrey D. Maslanik



War and Peace Charles-Philippe David and Alexis Rapin



Changes of International Power Relations Bertrand Badie





Environmental Changes Tancrède Voituriez



Human Rights and Humanitarian Interventions in the International Arena Salvador Santino Fulo Regilme Jr



International Migration Christoph Rass



International Violence Karim Emile Bitar and Charles Thibout



Minorities: Empirical and Political-Theoretical Reflections on a Cunning Concept Schirin Amir-Moazami


90. Populism Hanspeter Kriesi



Outcomes after Democratic Transitions in Third-Wave Democracies Scott Mainwaring and Fernando Bizzarro



New Wars in the Global South Atta El-Battahani






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List of Figures and Tables Figures   4.1 Trends in international migration: A ‘Crisis’?   4.2 A typology of international regimes   4.3 The dilemmas of migration governance   4.4 Migration interdependence 13.1 Easton’s four-function model 13.2 Regime structuration 16.1 Different graphical user interfaces of the Debat-O-Meter used in TV debate 17.1 A two-stage evidence-evaluation framework for turning empirical material into evidence of mechanisms in process tracing 17.2 Four types of cases in process tracing 19.1 Results from a Google search: ‘us constitution’ 19.2 A snapshot of Constitute’s topic tree 19.3 Entering ‘women’ in Constitute’s search box triggers topics 27.1 Aggregate Web of Science results 27.2 Regional trends for ‘ontolog*’ search, Web of Science 27.3 Regional trends for ‘epistemolog*’ search, Web of Science 27.4 A methodological mapping 28.1 The different steps of a survey 28.2 The two parallel processes of controlling the ‘total survey error’ 37.1 Components of political culture in a system framework 37.2 Levels of analysis 37.3 Huntington’s ‘The world of civilizations: post-1990’ 37.4 From allegiant to assertive citizens 37.5 From allegiant to assertive citizens (trajectories) 58.1 Corruption as keyword in scientific articles 65.1 The general system model adapted to public intervention 65.2 Goal-attainment evaluation focused on goals-results 65.3 Side effects model with specified pigeonholes for side effects 65.4 Potential stakeholders in local social welfare interventions 65.5 The policy instruments triad with affirmatives and negatives 65.6 Main effects, side effects, perverse effects, and null effects 65.7 Basic elements of New Public Management 66.1 A taxonomy of substantive policy instruments (cells provide examples of instruments in each category) 66.2 A spectrum of substantive policy instruments 66.3 A resource-based taxonomy of procedural policy tools (cells provide examples of instruments in each category) 66.4 A spectrum of procedural policy instruments

72 73 74 77 218 221 279 295 297 335 336 336 454 455 455 458 466 467 622 626 629 635 636 971 1082 1086 1087 1090 1092 1093 1098 1107 1107 1109 1109


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science

68.1 Pictorial representation of the legislative strategy framework 68.2 The Stacey diagram 69.1 Annual creation of regulatory agencies in the sample (left); cumulative annual creation of agencies in the sample (right) (1950–2017) 85.1 Multilateral (MEA) and bilateral (BEA) environmental agreements 1800–2018 85.2 Mapping out international relations theories of international cooperation 91.1 Outcomes and levels of democracy at transition

1146 1148 1154 1441 1449 1552

Tables   8.1 Types of informal institutions 11.1 Key differences between phenomenon and experimental approaches 13.1 Bureaucracy, technocracy and democracy 17.1 Foundational assumptions of case- and variance-based approaches 17.2 ‘Unpacked’ causal mechanism of nuclear taboo 17.3 Template for transparent evaluation of mechanistic evidence in process tracing 17.4 Mapping cases using a similarity graph 17.5 Four variants of process tracing 19.1 Selected datasets in the constitutional domain 43.1 Two realistic and two idealistic models of democracy 43.2 Two perverse models of democracy 45.1 Executive power in 55 authoritarian countries, 2010 (percentage of countries) 45.2 Executive power in 103 democratic countries, 2017 (percentage of countries) 45.3 Women executives in office on December 31, 2017 by country, office and regime 51.1 General trends in electoral volatility in different regions 55.1 Typology of performance criteria 60.1 Type of data in core journal articles by time period published. Percentage base: empirical articles 60.2 Level of empirical analysis in core journal articles by time periods. Percentage base: empirical articles 60.3 Core journal articles by regional focus/origin and time period published. Percentage base: all sample articles 60.4 Core journal articles by most frequent type of policy studied and time period published. Percentage base: articles with a policy focus 60.5 Core journal articles by region of focus/origin and research methodologies. Percentage base: empirical articles 60.6 Core journal articles by regional focus/origin and research methodologies before and after the mid 1990s. Percentage base: empirical articles 60.7 Core journal articles by regional focus/origin and gender profile of authors before and after the mid 1990s. Percentage base: all sampled articles 60.8 Articles by type of core field journal published in and time period. Percentage base: all sample articles 61.1 Models of informal governance 61.2 Expansion of informal governance to semi- or non-democratic contexts 65.1 Eight questions approach to public policy evaluation 65.2 Substance-only and Substance/Cost value criteria

141 190 227 289 293 295 296 301 331 733 734 764 766 769 861 921 1005 1005 1006 1006 1011 1012 1012 1012 1029 1030 1082 1085

List of Figures and Tables

65.3 Positivist ranking list of research designs for causal impact 65.4 Diffusion-oriented strategy for improved use of evaluation processes and products 65.5 Medical bent evidence hierarchy of research designs for causal impact 68.1 Lowi’s policy typologies and resulting politics 68.2 Wilson’s policy typologies 68.3 Timelines of the selected laws and bills 68.4 Proposed legislative strategy framework 69.1 Three theoretical perspectives on regulation: basic premises, actors’ motivations, capture and regulatory expansion 77.1 Key characteristics of regional financial arrangements (relative to the IMF) 77.2 The Fed’s and PBOC’s swap arrangements 80.1 Early, first-wave regionalisms 80.2 New, second-wave regionalisms (post 1980) 91.1 Democratic breakdowns in the third wave 91.2 Democratic erosions without breakdown 91.3 Stagnations after democratic transitions 91.4 Democratic advances in the third wave 91.5 Highly democratic without major advances 91.6 Regression results 92.1 New wars classification


1094 1095 1100 1136 1137 1142 1146 1161 1312 1313 1354 1357 1544 1545 1546 1547 1548 1551 1560

Notes on the Editors and Contributors The Editors Dirk Berg-Schlosser is Professor Emeritus at Philipps-University, Marburg. He has been awarded degrees of Dr oec publ (Munich 1971); Dr phil habil (Augsburg 1978), and PhD (UC Berkeley 1979). He has been Director of the Institute of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Marburg. He has researched and taught at the universities of Munich, Aachen, Augsburg, Eichstaett, Nairobi, Stellenbosch/South Africa and Berkeley. From 2003 to 2006 he was Chair of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and from 2006 to 2009 Vice-President of the International Political Science Association (IPSA). From 2010 to 2016 he was founder and coordinator of the IPSA Summer Schools on Research Methods at the universities of Sao Paulo, Stellenbosch, Singapore, Ankara, Mexico City and St Petersburg. His research interests include political culture, empirical democratic theory, development studies, comparative politics and comparative methodology. He is a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (STIAS) and a member of the Transformation Research Unit (TRU) at Stellenbosch University. Major recent publications in English include: Democratization – the State of the Art (2007, 2nd edition), International Encyclopedia of Political Science (2011, co-edited with Bertrand Badie and Leonardo Morlino 2011), Mixed Methods in Comparative Politics (2012) and Political Science – A Global Perspective (2017, with Bertrand Badie and Leonardo Morlino). Bertrand Badie is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Sciences Po Paris. He has published about 30 books about the state, comparative politics and international relations, including, The Imported State (2000), The Diplomacy of Connivance (2012), Rethinking International Relations (2020, Elgar Pub), Political Science (2017, with Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Leonardo Morlino) Humiliation in International Relations (2017) and New Perspectives on International Order (2018). He ­co-edited the International Encyclopedia of Political Science (2011), with Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Leonardo Morlino. Leonardo Morlino is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and President of the International Research Center on Democracies and Democratizations at LUISS, Rome. He was President of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) (2009–12). He is the author of more than 40 books and more than 200 journal essays and book chapters published in English, French, German, Spanish, Hungarian, Chinese, Mongolian and Japanese. His most recent books include: Equality, Freedom and Democracy. Europe After the Great Recession (forthcoming), The Impact of Economic Crisis on South European Democracies (2017) with F. Raniolo London, Palgrave (Italian transl. 2018), The Quality of Democracy in Latin America (IDEA, 2016) Comparison. An Methodological Introduction for the Social Sciences, Leverkusen and London, Barbara Budrich Publ and Changes for Democracy (2011).

Notes on the Editors and Contributors


The Contributors Timofey Agarin is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, where he is also the Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict. His research interests are ethnic politics and their impact on societal transition, including majority–minority relations, nondiscrimination, migration and civil society, with a particular focus on post-communist states in Central and Eastern Europe. Schirin Amir-Moazami is Professor at the institute of Islamic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin and head of the research and teaching program on Islam in Europe. She is also Principle Investigator in the Excellence Initiative “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) and Principle Investigator at the Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies at FU Berlin. Her research interests include configurations of political secularism in Europe, Islamic practices and politics of academic knowledge production. Andreas Anter is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences at the University of Erfurt. After studying political science and sociology in Münster, Freiburg and Hamburg, and receiving his PhD in Hamburg (1994), he taught political theory and domestic politics at the Universities of Hamburg, Leipzig and Bremen. He is the author of Max Weber’s Theory of the Modern State (2014), Max Weber und die Staatsrechtslehre (2016), and Theorien der Macht zur Einführung (2018, 4th edition). Leonardo Avritzer is a full professor of Political Science at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. He has a Ph.D. in political sociology from the New School for Social Research, where his dissertation received the Albert Salomon Dissertation Award. He was a visiting professor at several universities: University of São Paulo (2004), Tulane University (2008) and recurring visiting professor at the University of Coimbra. Avritzer is also the author of “Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America”, published by Princeton University Press, and “The Two Faces of Institutional Innovation Promises and Limits of Democratic Participation in Latin America”, in 2017, and “Los Desafios de la Participación en América Latina”, 2014. Jun Ayukawa is Professor at the School of Law and Politics, Kwansei Gakuin University. He has published Juvenile Crimes and Social Problems in Japan: A Social Constructionist Perspective (2019) in English, as well as six Japanese books based on social constructivism. The most recent of them is Crime and Criminal Policy Studied from the Viewpoint of International and Cultural Comparison (2017). Henrik P. Bang is professor of governance at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA), the University of Canberra. He is mostly known for his concepts of the Everyday Maker, the Expert Citizen and Culture Governance. He is currently working on a book about Habermas and the New Populisms. Anna Bassi is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Prior to joining UNC, she studied economics at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, where she received a PhD in economics and management in 2006. Furthermore, she studied political science at New York University, where she obtained a PhD in politics in 2010. Her research interests lie at the intersection of economics and political science in the areas of formal theory and experimental methods, with applications to comparative politics, voting and risk attitudes.


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science

Jeeyang Rhee Baum is Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her research and teaching interests include comparative political institutions, administrative law and regulatory reform and political economy of bureaucratic reform, particularly as they relate to the enhancement of accountability, responsiveness and public participation in policy development. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and a Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Michael Baumgartner is a Professor of Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Bergen. His research focuses on questions in the philosophy of science and logic, more specifically on causation and causal explanation, data analysis with configurational comparative methods, regularity theories, interventionism, mechanistic explanation, determinism, logical formalisation, argument reconstruction and modelling in the social sciences. He has developed the method of coincidence analysis (CNA) and is a co-author of the corresponding CNA software package for the R environment. Derek Beach is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, where he teaches case study methodology, international relations and European integration. He has authored articles, chapters and books on research methodology, international negotiations, referendums and European integration, and he co-authored the books Process-tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines and Causal Case Studies. He has taught qualitative case study methods at ECPR and IPSA summer and winter schools, held short courses at the APSA annual meeting on processtracing and case-based research and numerous workshops and seminars on qualitative methods throughout the world. He is also an academic co-convenor of the ECPR Methods Schools. Richard Beardsworth is Professor of International Politics and Head of School, Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds. He is also Research Associate at the Institut des Etudes Politiques (SciPo), Paris. He was previously E.H. Carr chair in International Politics and Head of Department, International Politics, Aberystwyth University. Past interests were in continental political philosophy (Derrida and the Political, 1996; Nietzsche, 1997). His main interests now lie in international normative theory, the global challenges of climate change and planetary sustainability, and state leadership (The State and Cosmopolitan Responsibility, 2019). Recent publications rehearse a Weberian and republican account of ethical responsibility towards global challenges that re-aligns national and global interests and duties. Nathaniel Beck is Professor of Politics at New York University. He is the founding editor of Political Analysis, a winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Political Methodology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Manfred Max Bergman holds the Chair of Social Research and Methodology at the Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel. He is president of the Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology (SAGUF) and member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Uganda National Academy of Sciences, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. His research is focused on sustainability in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Global Compact, specifically how sustainability intersects business and society in a globalised world. His recent publications deal with the business-society nexus in China, India, and the United States. Pursuing alternative forms of policy-relevant and

Notes on the Editors and Contributors


change-oriented research, he is also working on a new research approach, entitled social transitions research (STR). Einar Berntzen is Associate Professor at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen. He has authored numerous book chapters and articles on Latin American and European politics. Among his latest publications are ‘Demokratiseringen av Sør-Europa’ (2015) in Historien og idéene, ‘Rokkan in the Andes. Cleavages, Party Systems and the Emergence of New Leftist Parties’ (2016) in Norwegian Social Thought on Latin America, ‘State- and Nation-Building in the Nordic Region: Particular Characteristics’ (2017) in The Nordic Models in Political Science. Challenged, but Still Viable? and ‘Norsk bistand til LatinAmerika’ (2017) in Norge i Latin-Amerika. Forbindelser og forestillinger. Karim Emile Bitar is Acting Director of the Institute of Political Science at the Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ) and Director of the Arab Master in Democracy and Human Rights (Global Campus of Human Rights). He is Associate Professor of International Relations at USJ, and Lecturer in Middle East Studies at Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS-Lyon). He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations in Paris (IRIS) and the Editor of French monthly public affairs magazine L’ENA hors les murs. He is an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP). He co-edited and co-wrote the collective books Regards sur la France (2007, with Robert Fadel), and Le Cèdre et le Chêne, De Gaulle et le Liban (2015, with Clotilde de Fouchécour). He has also authored numerous book chapters and articles in leading publications including The New York Times, Le Monde, Le Monde diplomatique, Libération, An-Nahar, L’Orient-Le Jour, Informed Comment, Atlantico and La Vanguardia. He frequently testifies before the Foreign Affairs Committees of the French and European Parliaments. Fernando Bizzarro is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at Harvard, and a Research Associate to the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. He studies the nature, causes, and consequences of political institutions, especially political parties and democracy. He has published book chapters and journal articles on the topic. Hinnerk Bruhns is Director of Research Emeritus at CNRS, affiliated to the Centre de recherches historiques (EHESS/CNRS) in Paris. After his PhD in history in Cologne (1973), he taught at the Universities of Aix-en-Provence and Bochum, and at the EHESS in Paris. He is the editor of Trivium. Revue franco-allemande en sciences sociales et humaines. His books include Max Weber und die Stadt im Kulturvergleich (2000, with Wilfried Nippel), Max Webers historische Sozialökonomie/L’économie de Max Weber entre histoire et sociologie (2014) and Max Weber und der Erste Weltkrieg (2017). Giliberto Capano is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Bologna. He is the editor of Policy & Society. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the International Political Science Association (2009–14) and was the cofounder of the International Public Policy Association. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Consortium of Political Research. He specialises in comparative public policy, policy design, policy instruments and change. His latest books are Changing Governance in Universities. Italian Higher Education in Comparative Perspective (2016, with M. Regini and M. Turri), Designing for Policy Effectiveness. Defining and Understanding a Concept (2018, with M. Howlett, I. Mukherjee, M-H. Chou, G. Peters and P. Ravinet).


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Terrell Carver is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bristol. He has published widely on Marx, Engels and Marxisms, and on sex, gender and sexualities. He has also written many reference-book entries and articles on topics in the philosophy of social science, and he teaches discourse and visual analysis at the IPSA Methods School at the National University of Singapore. His research papers incorporate empirical studies of meaning-making within urban spaces and the built environment, and genre analysis of ideology construction through intellectual biography and popular cinema. Bruno Cautrès is a senior CNRS Research Fellow at the Centre de Recherches Politiques (CEVIPOF) at Sciences Po Paris. He is a specialist in voting behaviour, political attitudes and quantitative methods. He has been involved in major cross-national survey projects like the ISSP, the EVS and the ESS and in French national election studies. He teaches quantitative methods at different international summer schools (ECPR and IPSA) and at Sciences Po. Cristopher Cepernich is a sociologist of media and politics at the University of Turin. As Associate Professor, he teaches sociology of communication and media systems and ICT. He is Director of the Observatory on Political and Public Communication of the Department of Culture, Politics and Society. He is Scientific Director of the Master’s in Journalism, ‘Giorgio Bocca’. With Roberta Bracciale, he is scientific coordinator of Policom.Online, a national research and monitoring group on digital political communication. His main research interests are focused on election campaigns and digital communication. Among his recent works are Le campagne elettorali al tempo della networked politics (2017) and ‘Love and Hate in Politics. The Emotionalization of Political Communication’ (Comunicazione Politica, January 2018, edited with Edoardo Novelli). Furio Cerutti is Professor of Political Philosophy emeritus at the Università di Firenze and Affiliate Professor at the Scuola superiore S.Anna, Pisa. He has been a Visiting Scholar or Professor at the J.W. Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Harvard University, the Université de Paris 8, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the London School of Economics and Political Science, 外交学院 (China Foreign Affairs University), Beijing and Stanford University in Florence. He is a Research Alumnus of the Ruprecht-Karl Universität, Heidelberg. Besides the works quoted in his chapter, Cerutti has published The Search for a European Identity: Values, Policies and Legitimacy of the European Union, ed. with S. Lucarelli, Routledge: London 2008; Brauchen die Europäer eine Identität? ed. with E. Rudolph, Zürich: Orell Füssli 2011;全球治理:挑战与趋势 (Global Governance: Challenges and Trends), ed. with Zhu Liqun and Lu Jing, Beijing: 社会科学文献出版社 (Social Science Academic Press), 2014. Rajesh Chakrabarti is the Dean at the Jindal Global Business School, Jindal Global University and co-founder of Sunay Policy Advisory Pvt. Ltd. He was a faculty member at the University of Alberta, Georgia Tech and the Indian School of Business (ISB). At ISB, he became the founding Executive Director of the Bharti Institute of Public Policy. He also led the Research and Policy vertical at the Wadhwani Foundation. Rajesh is an alumnus of Presidency College, Calcutta and IIM Ahmedabad and earned his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. Jennifer Cyr is Associate Professor of Political Science and Latin American Politics at the University of Arizona. She writes on political representation, identity and democracy in Latin America, and on the rigorous integration of qualitative methods, and especially focus groups, into mixed-methods research. She has published two books, The Fates of Political Parties:

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Institutional Crisis, Continuity, and Change in Latin America (2017) and Focus Groups for the Social Science Researcher (2019), and has articles in several journals, including Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, Studies in Comparative International Development, Sociological Methods and Research and Revista de Ciencia Política. Roland Czada is Chair in Government and Public Policy, University of Osnabrück. He received his MA in 1979 (University of Tübingen) and his doctorate in 1986 (University of Constance). He held academic positions at the Free University Berlin, the University of Constance and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, as well as visiting appointments at the Humboldt University Berlin (1993), the University of Cape Town (2001/2), and the University of Tokyo (2003). His current work is on energy policies, welfare-state reform, non-majoritarian politics and negotiation democracy. In English his publications include ‘“Post-Democracy” and the Public Sphere: Informality and Transparency in Negotiated Decision-Making’ (2015). Charles-Philippe David is Full Professor of Political Science, President of the Centre for United States Studies, as well as the Founder of the Raoul Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Québec at Montréal. He has authored and directed many French- and English-edited scholarly publications on American foreign policy and international security, such as La Guerre et la Paix: Approches et enjeux de la sécurité et de la stratégie (2020, 4th edition, with Olivier Schmitt). Donatella della Porta is Professor of Political Science, Dean of the Department of Political and Social Sciences and Director of the PhD programme in Political Science and Sociology at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, where she also leads the Center on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos). The main topics of her research include social movements, political violence, terrorism, corruption, the police and protest policing. Among her very recent publications are Legacies and Memories in Movements (2018), Sessantotto. Passato e presente dell’anno ribelle (2018), Contentious Moves (2017), Global Diffusion of Protest (2017), Late Neoliberalism and its Discontents (2017), Movement Parties in Times of Austerity (2017), Where Did the Revolution Go? (2016); Social Movements in Times of Austerity (2015), Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research (2014), Spreading Protest (2014, with Alice Mattoni), Participatory Democracy in Southern Europe (2014, with Joan Font and Yves Sintomer), Mobilizing for Democracy (2014), Can Democracy Be Saved? (2013), Clandestine Political Violence (2013, with D. Snow, B. Klandermans and D. McAdam) and Blackwell Encyclopedia on Social and Political Movements (2013). Claire A. Dunlop is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Exeter. A public policy and administration scholar, her main fields of interest include the politics of expertise and knowledge utilisation, risk governance, policy learning and analysis, impact assessment and policy narratives. Since 2014, Claire has been an editor of Public Policy and Administration. Atta El-Battahani is Professor of Political Science, Khartoum University (Sudan). He received his PhD from Sussex University. He was the Head of the Department of Political Science, Khartoum University (2003–6), a founding member of Amnesty International Khartoum Group (1987–9), the Sudanese Civil Society Network for Poverty Alleviation (SCSNPA) (2002–5) and Sudan Country Manager of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance


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(2006–10). His areas of research and publication include ethnic and religious conflicts in the Third World, governance and state institutional reform, gender politics and peripheral capitalism and political Islam. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sudan Journal of Economic and Social Studies. Zachary Elkins (Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin) studies issues of democracy, institutional reform, research methods and national identity, with an emphasis on cases in Latin America. His current research centres on the origins and consequences of national constitutions. Elkins earned his BA from Yale University, an MA from the University of Texas at Austin and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Felix Ettensperger is a PhD candidate and Political Science Lecturer at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg. His research focus is the development and improvement of conflict-forecasting models using self-learning algorithms and neural networks. He is currently working on various research projects incorporating advanced data-clustering techniques, text mining and other big-data methods in the field of political science. He currently holds the position of Assistant Managing Editor of the bi-annually published scientific journal Statistics, Politics and Policy. Louise Fawcett is Professor of International Relations and Head of the Department of International Relations at the University of Oxford. She is also the Wilfrid Knapp Fellow and Tutor in Politics at St Catherine’s College. She is the author/editor of many works on regionalism including Regionalism in World Politics (with Andrew Hurrell), published by Oxford University Press. Maurizio Ferrera is Professor of Political Science at the University of Milan, Italy. He is currently one of the PIs of ERC Synergy project SOLID–Policy Crisis and Crisis Politics. Sovereignty, Solidarity and Identity in the Eu post 2008, and in June 2019 he completed his former ERC Advanced project REScEU – Reconciling Economic and Social Europe (www. His main research interests include comparative welfare states, European integration, Italian politics and political theory. He is the author of The Boundaries of Welfare 2005; French translation in 2009) and his most recent articles have recently appeared in the European Journal of Political Research, the European Journal of Public Policy, the Journal of Common Market Studies and the Journal of European Social Policy. His latest book in Italian is Il Quinto Stato (2019). Oscar Gabriel is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Stuttgart. His fields of research are political attitudes and behaviour. During his academic career he held positions at the universities of Mainz, Bamberg and Stuttgart and was Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna and at Sciences Po Bordeaux. From 2001 to 2013 he was a member of the German National Coordinating Team of the European Social Survey. He has published around 300 books and articles. Jean-François Gagné is a Research Fellow at the Center for International Studies (CÉRIUM) and is a Research Fellow at the Center for International Studies (CERIUM) and Adjunct Professor on Political Development and Technology. He holds a PhD in political science from the Université de Montréal. His current research focuses on the impact of artificial intelligence on political regimes. He was a Political Analyst at Export Development Canada and Fellow at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies.

Notes on the Editors and Contributors


Manuel Antonio Garretón, sociologist, graduated from the Universidad Católica de Chile. His PhD is from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He has been director of several academic institutions in Chile and has taught at universities in Chile and other countries. He is an advisor and consultant for several international, public and non-governmental organisations. He has published more than 400 articles in different languages and more than 50 books as author, co-author or editor. His current position is Professor, University of Chile, Department of Sociology. In 2007, he was awarded the Chilean National Prize in Social Sciences and Humanities. In 2015, he was awarded the Kalman Silvert Award, LASA, Among his books The Chilean Polical Process (1989); Incomplete Democracy (2004) . Latin America at the 21st Century, Toward a new sociopolitical matrix? (with M.Cavarozzi, J Hartlyn, P Cleaves, Gary Gereffi) (2003). Elizaveta Gaufman is a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS) at the University of Bremen. She is the author of Security Threats and Public Perception: Digital Russia and the Ukraine Crisis (2017). Her current research project is focused on theorizing and investigating everyday foreign policy practices in Russia and the United States. Bernard Grofman is Jack W. Peltason Chair of Democracy Studies and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. His research deals primarily with issues of representation, including minority voting rights, the comparative study of electoral rules, constitutional design, and party competition; and he is a specialist in behavioral social choice. He is co-author of five books with major university presses, and co-editor of 23 other books, with over 300 research articles and book chapters, including ten in the American Political Science Review. Dingping Guo is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Dr Seaker Chan Center for Comparative Political Studies in Fudan University. He was Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Nottingham (2012–14), Vice-Dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University (2009–12) and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies (2008–12) at Fudan University. He received his first PhD from Fudan University in 1999 and his second from Tokyo University in 2002. His research interests focus on political theory and comparative politics, especially in East Asia. Jeffrey Haynes is Emeritus Professor of Politics at London Metropolitan University. He has research interests in several areas, including religion and international relations, religion and politics, democracy and democratisation, and the politics of development. The more recent of Haynes’s more than 250 publications include From Trump to Huntington: Thirty Years of the Clash of Civilizations (2019) and The United Nations Alliance of Civilisations and the Pursuit of Global Justice: Overcoming Western versus Muslim Conflict and the Creation of a Just World Order (2018). Haynes is Editor of the book series ‘Routledge Studies in Religion & Politics which publishes around four books a year, Co-editor of the journal Democratization and Co-editor of Democratization’s book series, ‘Special Issues and Virtual Special Issues’, which publishes approximately three volumes a year. Eva G. Heidbreder is Professor for Political Science/Multilevel-Governance in Europe at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. In her research, she takes a public-policy and publicadministration view on the EU. Concretely, this includes studies on the multilevel administrative system of the EU and civil-society participation in the EU, as well as the evolution of the


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EU’s institutional competences and negotiation dynamics in the Brexit process. After completing her PhD at the European University Institute in Florence, she has held positions at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, the Hertie School of Governance, the Freie and Humboldt Universities in Berlin and the University Konstanz. Gunther Hellmann is Professor of Political Science at Goethe University Frankfurt/ Main. He specializes in German foreign policy, European and transatlantic security relations, and the theory of international relations. He taught at Freie Universität Berlin and Darmstadt University of Technology and held Visiting Professorships at the SAIS Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University and Dartmouth College. Since 2014 he served as Executive Secretary and, since 2017, as President of the World International Studies Committee. Ursula Hoffmann-Lange is Professor Emerita at the University of Bamberg. Her fields of research are elites, political culture and democratisation. She held Visiting Professorships at the University of Texas at Austin and Vanderbilt University and co-edited several comparative volumes on elites James F. Hollifield is Ora Nixon Arnold Chair in International Political Economy, Professor in the Department of Political Science, and Director of the Tower Center at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, and Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC. His major books include Immigrants, Markets and States (1992), L’Immigration et l’Etat Nation: à la recherche d’un modèle national (1997), Pathways to Democracy: The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (2014, with Calvin Jillson), Migration Theory (2000 with Caroline Brettell, now it its 3rd edition), and Controlling Immigration (1994, with Philip Martin and Pia Orrenius, also in its 3rd edition). He also has published numerous scientific articles and reports on the political economy of international migration and development. Michael Howlett is Burnaby Mountain Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Department of Political Science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He specializes in public policy analysis, political economy, and resource and environmental policy. He is the author of Canadian Public Policy (2013); Designing Public Policies (2011 and 2019), The Policy Design Primer (2019) and co-author of Policy Consultancy in Comparative Perspective; (2019), Designing for Policy Effectiveness: Defining and Understanding a Concept; (2018) Application of Federal Legislation to Alberta’s Mineable Oil Sands (2013), The Public Policy Primer (2010 and 2018), Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development (2009), Studying Public Policy (2019, 2009, 2003 & 1995), In Search of Sustainability (2001), The Political Economy of Canada (1999 and 1992) and Canadian Natural Resource and Environmental Policy (1997 and 2005). Yael Kariv-Teitelbaum is a Doctorate Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her main field of research is public law, focusing on regulation and privatization. After completing an LLB in Law and Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) and serving as the Chief Editor of The Hebrew University Law Review, she was awarded several honourable scholarships, including the President Scholarship for Doctoral Students, the Hoffman Leadership and Responsibility Fellowship Program and the Faye Kaufman Memorial Prize for Doctoral Students.

Notes on the Editors and Contributors


Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski is Professor of Political Theory and Democracy Research at the Leipzig University. Since 2008, he has been Professor of Political Science at the Wroclaw University, Visiting Professor and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Université de Montréal (2013), New York University and the Institut Politiques in Lille. His main areas of research are collective identity and nationalism in Europe. His more recent book publications include European Identity Revisited (2016), Civic Resources and the Future of the European Union (2012), The Nation and Nationalism in Europe (2011) and Citizenship and Collective Identity in Europe (2010). Hans Keman is Professor Emeritus of Political Science. He graduated at the University of Leiden and taught at the University of Amsterdam, Leiden, and as a guest professor abroad. He has published several books, many articles in peer-reviewed journals and regular contributions to research volumes. Most of his research and related publications are in the field of comparative political science, methodology and the relationship between history and social sciences. Among his latest books are Social Democracy: A Comparative Account of the Left-Wing Party Family (2017) and Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Political Science (2016, with Jaap Woldendorp). Herbert Kitschelt is Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He has published on the configuration of party systems in advanced democracies (e.g. The Transformation of European Social Democracy (1994), The Radical Right in Western Europe (1995), The Politics of Advanced Capitalism (2015, co-editor)), post-communism (Post-Communist Party Systems (1999), with co-authors) and Latin America (Latin American Party Systems (2010)). One major concern has been the role of clientelism in party systems (Patrons, Clients, and Policies (2007, co-editor)), also documented in data and publications within the framework of the Democratic Accountability and Linkage Project (DALP). Hanspeter Kriesi holds the Stein Rokkan Chair in Comparative Politics at the European University Institute in Florence. He is also affiliated to the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation. Previously, he taught at the universities of Amsterdam, Geneva and Zurich. His wide-ranging research interests include the study of various aspects of democracy, political communication, political mobilisation and opinion formation. In 2016, he was the holder of the Francqui Chair at the University of Leuven. In 2017, he received the Mattei-Dogan Prize. Hans-Joachim Lauth (Germany) is Professor of Comparative Politics and Systems Studies at the Institute for Political Science and Sociology (IPS) of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. He has published many articles and books on democracies in comparison, rule of law in comparison, civil society, informal rules (such as corruption and clientelism), Governance, and comparative methods. He has been one of the speaker of the DVPW working group ‘Intercultural Democracy Comparison’ (1997–2006), and of the DVPW working group ‘Democracy Research’ (2006–2012). He has been Board Member of the IPSA Committee on Concepts and Methods (2006–2012) and is editor and responsible editor of the journal Comparative Governance and Politics ZfVP (since 2008), member of the Editorial Board of Comparative Sociology and member of the Editorial Board of Politics and Governance. In his current research activities he is investigating the development of the quality of democracy and its causes and he is a member of the DFG research group ‘Local Self-Regulations in Antiquity and Modernity’.


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Richard Ned Lebow is Professor of International Political Theory in the War Studies Department of King’s College London and Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. His most recent books are Reason and Cause (forthcoming), The Rise and Fall of Political Orders (2018), Avoiding War, Making Peace (2017) and Max Weber and International Relations, (2017). He is a Fellow of the British Academy. David Levi-Faur is a Professor for Political Science and Public Policy at the Federmann School of Public Policy and the Department of Political Science of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He specialises in the theory of regulation and comparative public policy. He has held research and teaching positions at the University of Haifa, the University of Oxford, the Freie Universität Berlin, Wissenschaft Centrum Berlin, the Australian National University and the University of Manchester. He has also held visiting positions in the London School of Economics, the University of Amsterdam, University of Utrecht, Center for Advanced Studies LMU (CASLMU) and University of California (Berkeley). Anne-Laure Mahé is the East Africa Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM, Paris). She holds a PhD in political science from the Université de Montréal and specialises in comparative politics and African studies, conducting research on authoritarian regimes, the relationships between their resilience and development policies and, specifically, on the case of Sudan. Scott Mainwaring is the Eugene and Helen Conley Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. His book with Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival, and Fall (Cambridge University Press, 2013) won the best book prizes of the Comparative Politics section of the American Political Science Association and of the Political Institutions section of the Latin American Studies Association. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010. In April 2019, PS listed him as among the 50 most cited political scientists in the world. He served as the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor for Brazil Studies at Harvard University from 2016 to 2019. He previously taught at Notre Dame from 1983 to 2016. Siddharth Mallavarapu currently serves as a Professor at the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies at the Shiv Nadar University. Prior to this, he taught International Relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and at the South Asian University in Delhi. He is Co-series Editor (along with Himadeep Muppidi of Vassar College, NY, and Raymond Duvall of the University of Minnesota) of ‘Critical Global Thought’, published by Oxford University Press. Siddharth is a member of the editorial board of the online journal Global Perspectives, published by the University of California Press. He has been a Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris in March 2016 and earlier this summer has been a Visiting Research Professor at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin. Theory Talks ( and E-International Relations have both interviewed and featured him. His most recent publication is a book co-edited by Kanti Bajpai and himself titled India, the West, and International Order. David M. Malone is a Canadian author on international security and development, as well as a career diplomat. He is a former President of the International Peace Institute, and a frequently quoted expert on international affairs, especially on Indian foreign policy and the work of the UN Security Council. He became President of the International Development Research Centre

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in 2008 and served until 2013. On 1 March 2013, he took up the position of UN UnderSecretary-General, Rector of the United Nations University, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. He holds an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and earned a DPhil in International Relations from Oxford University and has most recently, he co-edited The Oxford Handbook of UN Treaties (OUP, 2019) and Megaregulation Contested: Economic Ordering after TPP (OUP, 2019). Maria Marczewska-Rytko is Professor of Political Science and Religious Studies, Faculty of Political Science and Journalism, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. She is the Chief Editor of Annales Universitatis Mariae Curie-Skłodowska: Sectio K Politologia. Her main research topics are direct democracy, populism, religion and politics, political and social movements and political communication. Her edited volumes include the Handbook of Direct Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 (2018), Democratic Thought in the Age of Globalization (2003), Religion in a Changing Europe: Between Pluralism and Fundamentalism. Selected Problems (2018) and Civic Participation in the Visegrad Group Countries after 1989 (2018). Jeffrey D. Maslanik is an Associate Researcher with Lund University and a Visiting Lecturer of IPE and International Security at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities Department of International Relations in Ho Chi Minh City. He completed his PhD in International Relations from Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs in 2017. Liborio Mattina is a former Professor of Political Science and Comparative Politics at the University of Trieste.His works include ‘International Pressures and Democratisation in Central and Eastern Europe’ (2005) in Europeanisation and Democratisation, ‘Interest Groups’ (2011) in International Encyclopedia of Political Science, ‘Interest Groups and the “Amended” Liberalizations of the Monti Government’ (2013) in Italian Politics, Technocrats in Office and ‘Left-of-centre Parties and Trade Unions in Italy: From Party Dominance to a Dialogue of the Deaf (2017) in Left-of-Centre Parties and Trade Unions in the Twenty-First Century. Gianpietro Mazzoleni has been Professor of Sociology of Mass Communication and of Political Communication in the Universities of Salerno, Genoa and Milan, and invited Visiting Professor at Innsbruck Universität, George Mason University, Freie Universität Berlin and Université de Toulouse. He served as Editor-in Chief of the International Encyclopedia of Political Communication (2016) and is the author of several publications in the field of media and political communication.With Paolo Mancini, he founded in 2000 the peer-reviewed journal Comunicazione Politica, and he is currently President of the Italian Association of Political Communication. In 2018, he was named Fellow of the International Communication Association. Rohinton P. Medhora is President of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), joining in 2012. Previously, he was Vice President of programmes at Canada’s International Development Research Centre. He received his doctorate in economics in 1988 from the University of Toronto, where he subsequently taught. His fields of expertise are monetary and trade policy, international economic relations and development economics. He has published in professional and non-technical journals, and produced several books. He is a member of the Commission on Global Economic Transformation, co-chaired by Nobel


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economics laureates Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz and The Lancet-Financial Times commission on artificial intelligence and global health. Carlos R. S. Milani is Professor of International Relations at the Rio de Janeiro State University’s Institute for Social and Political Studies (IESP-UERJ). He is also a Senior Research Fellow with the Brazilian National Science Council (CNPq). His research agenda includes Brazilian foreign policy, regional powers and comparative foreign policy, international development cooperation, and climate change international politics. His latest articles published inter alia by International Affairs, the Cambridge Review of International Affairs and The South African Journal of International Affairs are available at Helen V. Milner is the B. C. Forbes Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and the director of the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. She has written extensively on issues related to international and comparative political economy, the connections between domestic politics and foreign policy, and the impact of globalisation. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and Visiting Professor at the Doctoral School at Sciences Po Paris. He was previously the Associate Director of the Programme on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University. Jonathon Moses is a Professor of Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), in Trondheim. Along with Torbjørn Knutsen, Moses is the co-author of Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research, which was recently released in a third edition. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel is Professor (Emeritus) of Comparative Politics at Leuphana University Lüneburg. He was Visiting Professor at the University of New South Wales, the University of Miami, the University of California (Irvine), Siena University and the European University Institute. He is a member of the IPSA Executive Committee, former member (Vice-Chair) of the ECPR Executive Committee and President of the German Political Science Association. He has published numerous books and journal articles on political executives, party government and party systems in European democracies. Herfried Münkler is a German political scientist. He is a Professor of Political Theory at Humboldt University in Berlin. Münkler is a regular commentator on global affairs in the German-language media and author of numerous books on the history of political ideas (German: Ideengeschichte), on state-building and on the theory of war, such as “Machiavelli” (1982), “Gewalt und Ordnung” (1992), “The New Wars” (orig. 2002) and “Empires: The Logic of World Domination from Ancient Rome to the United States” (orig. 2005). In 2009 Münkler was awarded the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in the category “Non-fiction” for Die Deutschen und ihre Mythen (engl. “the Germans and their myths”). Jack Paine is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. His two main research projects examine (1) how dictators strategically use repression and powersharing, and their consequences for authoritarian survival and civil war and (2) the origins and consequences of democratic institutions under colonialism.

Notes on the Editors and Contributors


Yannis Papadopoulos is Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) of the University of Lausanne. His research interests focus on democratic transformations, policymaking processes, accountability and multilevel governance. His major publications include (coedited with Deirdre Curtin and Peter Mair) Accountability and European Governance (2013) and Democracy in Crisis? Politics, Governance and Policy (2013). Jonathan Paquin is Professor of Political Science at Université Laval, and the editor of Études internationales. He is Co-editor of America’s Allies and the Decline of US Hegemony (2019), the co-author of Foreign Policy Analysis: A Toolbox (2018), the Co-editor of Game Changer: The Impact of 9/11 on North American Security (2014) and the author of A Stability-Seeking Power: US Foreign Policy and Secessionist Conflicts (2010). He has written numerous articles on foreign policy and international relations in Cooperation and Conflict, Foreign Policy Analysis, Mediterranean Politics, the Canadian Journal of Political Science and International Journal, among others. He received a PhD in political science from McGill University and was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar and Resident Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS, Johns Hopkins) in Washington, DC. Stéphane Paquin is Full Professor at the École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP) in Montréal. He has written, co-writter or edited 33 books and journals including Theories of International Political Economy (2016), and many more articles about international and comparative political economy. He has received numerous awards, including a Canada Research Chair in International and Comparative Political Economy and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the State University of New York. He has taught in many universities, including Northwestern University in Chicago and Sciences Po in Paris. In 2014, he was the President of the local organizing committee of the World Congress of Political Science Montréal 2014 (IPSA). Werner J. Patzelt is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the Technical University of Dresden, having held the chair for comparative analysis from 1992 to 2019. He is a member of the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen and of various advisory committees of public institutions. He is coordinator of the International Political Science Association’s summer schools for social science research methods. B. Guy Peters is Maurice Falk Professor of Government at the University of Pittsburgh, President of the International Public Policy Association and editor of the International Review of Public Policy. His recent publications include Policy Problems and Policy Design and Institutional Theory in Political Science (4th edition). Daniela Piana is Professor of Political Science, University of Bologna, and an International Fellow with the IHEJ and the ISP Ecole Normale Superieure of Paris Saclay. She was a Jean Monnet Fellow in 2003, Fulbright Scholar in 2007 and International Resident at the IAS in 2017. She has worked on democratic quality, rule-of-law promotion and the transformation of justice systems at the crossroads of comparative politics, policy analysis and political sociology. She serves as member of the OECD research committee on justice and as a member of the Research Unit of the Italian Council of the State. She is coordinator of the ICEDD research section Rule of Law and Digital Citizenship. Jon Pierre is Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg and Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. His most recent books in English include Globalization


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science

and Governance (2013), Governing the Embedded State (2015, with Bengt Jacobsson and Göran Sundström), The Oxford Handbook of Swedish Politics (2015) and Comparative Governance (2016, with B. Guy Peters). Gianfranco Poggi was born in Italy in 1934. He holds a Ph. D. from the University of California (Berkeley,1964). Throughout his career, he has held tenured positions at the Universities of Florence (1962–64), Edinburgh (1964–88), Virginia (1988–2995), the European University Institute (1995–2002), and the University of Trento (2002–2008). He has taught at several other Universities, among these Sydney, UC Berkeley, Victoria BC, UCLA, Harvard, Washington, and has held Fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at The Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. His teaching and publishing have been mainly in two fields of scholarship: ‘classical’ social theory – the sociology of political institutions. Claudio M. Radaelli is Professor of Public Policy at University College London, School of Public Policy, Department of Political Science. A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Claudio’s main fields of interest include policy learning, regulation, the role of knowledge in the policy process, EU public policy and policy narratives. He is the chief editor of International Review of Public Policy. Alexis Rapin is Research Fellow at the Raoul Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Québec at Montréal. He has co-authored various French-edited scholarly contributions, as well as non-scholarly publications, on American foreign policy and armed conflict, notably at Presses de Sciences Po. Christoph Rass is Professor of Modern History and Historical Migration Research at Osnabrueck University and a member of the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS). His research in migration studies centers on migration regimes and knowledge processes as well as cultural representations and translations of migration. His current projects focus on policy learning with regard to knowledge transfer and practices as part of the production of migration. For further information, visit Salvador Santino Fulo Regilme Jr is tenured University Lecturer of International Relations at the Institute for History, Leiden University. His research mainly focuses on human rights, transformations in the global order, and US foreign policy. He is the co-editor of American Hegemony and the Rise of Emerging Powers (2017) and the author of peer-reviewed articles in International Political Science Review and International Relations, among others. He has recently completed a book manuscript titled Foreign Aid Imperium: How United States Foreign Policy Impact Human Rights in Southeast Asia. He holds a joint PhD in Political Science and North American Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin and previously studied at Yale, Osnabrück and Göttingen. Edeltraud Roller is Professor of Political Science at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Her research mainly focuses on welfare-state cultures, performance of democracy and authoritarianism, and political support in old and new democracies. Her publications include Einstellungen der Bürger zum Wohlfahrtsstaat der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1992) and The Performance of Democracies (2005).

Notes on the Editors and Contributors


Bo Rothstein holds the August Röhss Chair in Political Science at University of Gothenburg, where he was co-founder and former head of the Quality of Government (QoG) Institute, 2004–15. He served as Professor of Government and Public Policy at the University of Oxford in 2016 and 2017 and has been a Visiting Fellow at Cornell, Harvard and Stanford. Among his recent books in English are Making Sense of Corruption (2017) and The Quality of Government: Corruption, Inequality and Social Trust in International Perspective (2011). Harald Sætren is a Professor Emeritus in Administration and Organization Science at the University of Bergen. He has been co-director of the EGPA Permanent Study Group in Public Policy and Implementation since 2010. He has also been Visiting Professor at Harvard University several times and, more recently, the at University of Arizona and Stanford University. An enduring research interest throughout most of his academic career has been comparative studies of the dynamic relationship between policy formulation/design and implementation. His publications in recent years have been bibliometric-based state-of-the-art assessments of implementation research more generally. Kaushiki Sanyal is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sunay Policy Advisory Pvt. Ltd. Her prior experiences include working with the think tanks PRS Legislative Research, Bharti Institute of Public Policy (ISB) and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy. She also consulted for the World Bank, Kamonohashi Project and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. She has authored two books – Oxford India Short Introductions: Public Policy in India (2016) and Shaping Policy in India: Advocacy, Alliances, Activism (2017) – and several articles. She has an MA in Political Science and a PhD in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Marian Sawer is a former Head of the Political Science Program at the Australian National University and former president of the Australian Political Studies Association. She has served as Vice-President of the International Political Science Association and Editor of the International Political Science Review. She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to women and political science and is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. She has headed large research projects such as the Democratic Audit of Australia and has published 20 books and 140 research articles or book chapters. Daniel Schade is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer at the Chair for Multilevel Governance in Europe at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. His research is concerned primarily with the internal decision-making underpinning the EU’s external policymaking, as well as the role of parliaments in international politics. He has worked at the Vienna School of International Studies and obtained his PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Tasha Schedler is a Research Assistant with the research unit Comparative Politics/Middle East Politics at the Institute of Political Science of Eberhard Karls University Tübingen. Her scholarly interest focuses on varieties of identity politics and on sectarianisation in authoritarian contexts. Yves Schemeil is Emeritus Professor of Global and Comparative Politics at the University of Grenoble (Sciences Po). He has taught political anthropology, political theory and epistemology in American, French, Japanese and Lebanese universities. His publications in the field of


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science

this chapter address topics such as political cultures, intercultural negotiations, clientelism, resistance to anthropology in political science, urban ethnography, archeopolitics and the politics and diplomacy of cooking and hospitality, as well as the works of structuralist and interactionist master thinkers like Lévi-Strauss, Descola, Park, Whyte and E. Anderson. Klaus Schlichte is a Professor of International Relations and World Society at the University of Bremen. He authored In the Shadow of Violence. The Politics of Armed Groups (2009) and articles in International Political Sociology, Armed Forces and Society, Geoforum, Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen and Revue de Synthèse, among others. With an interest in political violence and state formation, he has carried out research in Mali, Senegal, Uganda, Serbia and France. Oliver Schlumberger is Professor of Comparative Politics and heads the research unit on Comparative Politics/Middle East Politics at the Institute of Political Science of Eberhard Karls University Tübingen. His research focuses on authoritarianism, political regime theory and processes of democratic breakdown/authoritarianisation, as well as on Middle East politics and the political economy of development. Apart from his scholarly work, he also has extensive experience in policy advisory work for various governments and institutions. Philippe C. Schmitter is currently Professor Emeritus at the European University Institute (EUI) as a member of its Department of Political and Social Sciences. From 1986 to 1996, he was at Stanford University and, from 1968 to 1981, he was an Assistant, Associate and Full Professor at the University of Chicago. More recently, he has been a recurrent Visiting Professor at the Central European University in Budapest, at the Istituto delle Scienze Humanistiche of the Scuola Normale di Superiore in Florence and Fudan University in Shanghai. He has been the recipient of the Johan Skytte Prize of the University of Uppsala, the Mattei Dogan Prize of the ECPR and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the European Studies Association. Daniel-Louis Seiler is Emeritus Professor at the Institut d’études politiques of Aix-enProvence and Visiting Professor at the European School of Political and Social Sience at the Catholic University of Lille. He was born in Belgium in 1943 and graduated from the Catholic University of Louvain, where he got his PhD. Previously, he was Junior Lecturer at University College Dublin, Professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal and Full Professor at the University of Lausanne. He was then a Chair at the University of Bordeaux and later at Aix-Marseille University. He was also Visiting Scholar at the University of Michigan and at UCLA, and a Visiting Professor at the Autonomus University of Barcelona, Catholic University of Louvain, University of Geneva, Free University of Brussels (ULB), University of Neuchâtel, Sciences Po Paris, University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, University of Silesia (Katowice), University of Marmara, University of Colorado (Boulder) and University of Freiburg (Freiburg in Breisgau). He works in the field of comparative politics, mainly on political parties, and has published ten books in French and many articles and contributions in French, English, Spanish and German. Surinder Kler Shukla Professor Surinder K Shukla began her academic career at Panjab University in 1987 after completing her doctorate with the prestigious UGC Junior Research Fellowship 1979. She is a gold medallist having topped the master’s programme at Panjab

Notes on the Editors and Contributors


University. In addition to directing national and International students and scholars, Professor Shukla has led International Programmes first as Faculty and later as Director ICSSR NWRC (Indian Council of Social Science and Research Northwest Regional Centre) 2012–2014. Under her leadership more than 9000 students have benefitted from several countries including Canada, China, Estonia, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UK and the US. Dr Shukla has been elected member of several International bodies including IPSA (International Political Science Association, Research Committee 13 1994–1997 and 1997–2000 Research Committee 16 2001–2003) and International Commission of Folk Law and Plural Law (2004), thereby providing leverage to students. Publications include: Chapters in Studia Polityczne, Warzawa, Citizen Action and Governance 2007, Prospects of Democratic Survival Under Difficult Conditions – View from India, Columbia University Press 2001. She was Editor of Research Journal of Social Science Panjab University during 2009–2011 Furthermore, a new Intercultural learning initiative was established by her, focused on promoting and assessing intercultural learning that occurs during overseas study experiences. As a member of Placement Committee at Panjab University, Dr Shukla was instrumental in spearheading a unique connect between International scholars and Indian scholars at graduate, undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Her specializations include Comparative Politics, International Relations and Gender Studies. Rudra Sil is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also the SAS Director of the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business. His scholarly interests encompass Russian and East European studies, Asian studies, labour politics, international development, qualitative methods and philosophy of social science. He has authored, co-authored or co-edited seven books, including Comparative Area Studies: Methodological Rationales and Cross-Regional Applications (2018, co-edited with Ariel Ahram and Patrick Köllner). He is also author or co-author of three-dozen chapters and papers. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Hiroki Takeuchi received his B.A. in Economics from Keio University in Japan, his M.A. in Asian Studies from University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is currently associate professor of political science, and Director of the Sun and Star Program on Japan and East Asia in the Tower Center at SMU. Previously, he taught at UCLA as a faculty fellow of the Political Science Department and at Stanford University as a postdoctoral teaching fellow of the Public Policy Program. Professor Takeuchi’s research and teaching interests include Chinese and Japanese politics, comparative political economy of authoritarian regimes, and international relations of East Asia, as well as applying game theory to political science. He is the author of Tax Reform in Rural China: Revenue, Resistance, and Authoritarian Rule (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). Charles Thibout is a Research Fellow and PhD student at the European Centre for Sociology and Political Science (University of Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, CNRS, EHESS), and Research Fellow at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS). His is also Lecturer at Université Paris Diderot and Editor-in-Chief of France Culture’s morning show. His research focuses on transnational digital companies, emerging technologies, and their role in international relations, on which he has published various book chapters and journal articles.


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science

Scott A. Tyson is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester and Research Associate, W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy. His research focuses on formal political theory, political economy, conflict, authoritarian politics and collective action. Evert Vedung is Emeritus Professor of Political Science, especially housing policy, at Uppsala University’s Institute for Housing and Urban Research (IBF) and Department of Government. He has taught and researched in all the Nordic countries, Austria, the United States and Korea. Lately, he has been associated with Aalborg, Linnaeus, Mälardalen and Helsinki U–Soc&Kom as well as Fluminense U in Rio and UnB, ENAP and TCU in Brasília. His most cited publications in English are Public Policy and Program Evaluation (1997/2017), ‘Policy Instruments: Typologies and Theories’ (1998/2017) in Carrots, Sticks and Sermons and ‘Four Waves of Evaluation Diffusion’ (Evaluation, July 2010). Michelangelo Vercesi is Research Associate in Comparative Politics at Leuphana University Lüneburg and an elected member of the executive board of the International Committee on Political Sociology (CPS). He has held teaching and research positions in Austria, Germany, Italy and the UK. His research focuses on comparative government, political elites and leadership and political parties, on which he has published various book chapters and journal articles. Tancrède Voituriez is Economist and Senior Researcher at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD). He is also Lecturer at Sciences Po Paris and Associate Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). His research and teaching focus on the governance of sustainable development, in particular on the processes underpinning the emergence of policy responses to environmental degradation. Claudius Wagemann is a Full Professor of Qualitative-Empirical Political Science Methods at Goethe University Frankfurt. After graduating from the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, he held various temporary positions at the Istituto italiano di scienze umane (SUM, Florence, today Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa) and New York University Florence. He has published extensively on QCA and set theoretic methods, most prominently Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences: A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (2012, with Carsten Q. Schneider). Other research areas include interest groups, the quality of democracy, political extremism and political violence and, most recently, Italian–German bilateral relations. Uwe Wagschal is Professor for Comparative Politics at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg. He is Vice Dean of the philosophical department and author of a multitude of studies and articles regarding political science research methodology, political conflict, party politics, direct democracy, national debt and fiscal consolidation. Currently, he works on several bigdata-related projects in the field of RTS measurement systems and voting advice applications (VAAs). He currently holds the position of Editor-in-Chief of the bi-annually published scientific journal Statistics, Politics and Policy. Laurence Whitehead is a Senior Research Fellow in Politics at Nuffield College, Oxford University. His book publications include Democratization: Theory and Experience (2002, with a Spanish edition in 2011), Let the People Rule? Direct Democracy in the 21st Century

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(edited with Saskia Ruth and Yanina Welp) and Illiberal Practices: Territorial Variance with in Large Federal Democracies (2016, co-edited with Jacqueline Behrend). His articles include ‘International Democracy Promotion as a Political Ideology: Upsurge and Retreat’ (The Journal of Political Ideologies, February 2015), ‘“Enlivening” the Concept of Democratisation: The Biological Metaphor’ (Perspectives on Politics, July 2011) and ‘Losing “the Force”? The Dark Side of Democratization after Iraq’ (Democratization, April 2009). He is the editor of the Oxford University Press series Studies in Democratization. Geoffrey Wiseman is Professor and Director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University. He has worked at the Ford Foundation, the University of Southern California and in the Strategic Planning Unit of the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General. He is a former Australian foreign service officer, serving in three diplomatic postings (Stockholm, Hanoi and Brussels) and as private secretary to the Australian Foreign Minister. With Paul Sharp, he co-edited American Diplomacy (2012). With Pauline Kerr, he co-edited Diplomacy in a Globalizing World: Theories and Practices (2018). His current research interests include diplomatic theory and practice, soft power and public diplomacy, and diplomatic culture. Hellmut Wollmann is Emeritus Professor at the Social Science Institute of Humboldt Universität Berlin. His research and publications have over the years been primarily directed at comparative government and comparative public administration with a focus on local-level politics and administration. Among his many publications (in several languages) are Evaluation in Public Sector Reform (2003), The Comparative Study of Local Government and Politics (2006, with H. Baldersheim), Public and Social Services in Europe (2016, with I. Kopric and G. Marcou), Evaluating Reforms of Local Public and Social Services in Europe (2018, with I. Kopric and G. Marcou) and Introduction to Comparative Public Administration (2019, with S. Kuhlmann, 2nd edition). Alexis Work is a graduate student at the School of Government and Public Policy at University of Arizona. She is broadly interested in women’s rights in democratic settings. In particular, her research is focused on the relationship between political advocacy, public awareness and government accountability as they relate to the issue of gender-based violence. I. William Zartman is the Jacob Blaustein Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Organization and Conflict Resolution at the School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Processes of International Negotiation (PIN) Program at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg. His doctorate is from Yale and doctorates honoris causa from Louvain and Uppsala. Nicolás Selamé is a Sociologist at the University of Chile, with interests in political sociology and labour sociology. He has participated in comparative investigations of the ideological basis of social programmes in Latin America. Currently, his works are more specifically directed at the emergence of new left parties, the ways they can relate with the previous left renovation and the current channels of representation affected by new social movements and the crisis of party systems, Moreover, is projecting to deepen the study of these topics under the prism of populism’s theories. He is now working as an investigator at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).

Preface D i r k B e r g - S c h l o s s e r, L e o n a r d o M o r l i n o and Bertrand Badie

Politics and political science have changed over time and were deeply transformed during the second half of the last century. Empirical research and theoretical reflections on politics and its multiple connections with all other aspects of human life developed enormously during this period and now cover virtually all parts of the world and their growing interdependence. They concern, for example, such basic issues as war and peace, prosperity, welfare and a sustainable environment, but also issues of freedom, justice, gender and democracy under changing cultural perspectives. This three-volume Handbook presents a major retrospective and prospective overview of political science as a benchmark work that frames, assesses and synthesises the discipline. In doing so, it helps to define its current and future developments. It emphasises the global and cross-area perspectives in political science, which have been neglected by dominating AngloAmerican or Eurocentric approaches. After a general introduction, the Handbook covers the most important sub-fields of political science in separate parts, organised in alphabetical order, supplemented by a glossary and a comprehensive index. Where they apply, the chapters also take inter-disciplinarity, gender and the consequences of digitalisation as cross-cutting aspects into account. As a Handbook, it is distinguished from a mere dictionary with short definitions of terms, but also from an encyclopedia with somewhat longer entries in alphabetical order. Rather, each chapter, of about 8–10,000 words, provides a comprehensive overview of each subject. Each chapter has, as far as possible, a similar structure covering the following main items: • • • • • •

a short history of the subject basic theories and concepts global/regional differentiation (where this applies) empirical databases (where this applies) major advances, ongoing debates, critical assessments perspectives.

This Handbook follows in the tradition of the Handbook of Political Science (Greenstein and Polsby, 1975) and A new Handbook of Political Science (Goodin and Klingemann, 1996). The massive 11-volume Oxford Handbook of Political Science (Goodin, 2006) is another predecessor. In contrast with these works, however, which built mostly on the American and European experiences (more than 90% of contributors were Anglo-American), this Handbook is explicitly global, taking the constellation of worldwide politics in the 21st century and its regional variations into account. In this respect, the editors can build on their experience and international networks as editors of the eight-volume International Encyclopedia of Political Science (Badie et al., 2011).They have also co-authored an advanced-level textbook: Political Science – A Global Perspective (Morlino et al., 2017). This Handbook now brings previous assessments



up-to-date in a comprehensive and systematic way, recognizing the theoretical and cultural pluralism of our approaches. The Handbook is organised following the conventional division of the six major sections of the discipline of political science, all quite broadly conceived. It begins with a section on political theory from a variety of classic and contemporary perspectives, including important elements of the history of political ideas but also formal and ‘positive’ theory. This is followed by a section on a broad spectrum of qualitative and quantitative methods employed in what is both a philosophical and an empirical political science, including reflections on common ontological and epistemological foundations. The third section covers the social bases of politics (social structures, political cultures, etc.) and the links between societies and political systems (interest groups, social movements, parties, media and their varieties). The fourth section deals with comparative politics: different types of political systems and some of their specific features, including longer-term perspectives of regime changes, state formations and failures. The fifth section then turns to the output side of politics, public policy and administration, in all its varieties, strengths and problems. The sixth section, finally, covers the broad field of international relations and the global dimensions of politics, which we consider an integral part of political science and not a separate composite discipline as, for example, in distinct university departments in some countries. As a special feature, the Handbook contains an additional section on major challenges for politics and political science in the 21st century, such as changes in international power relations and the political consequences of demographic and environmental developments. In this way, it can serve as a major reference work both for academic and non-academic audiences, including the media, international organisations and practical politics. As editors, our division of labour is in line with our specific experiences and backgrounds. Bertrand Badie was responsible for the parts on political theory and international relations; he also has extensive research experiences in the Middle East and Asia. Leonardo Morlino covered the fields of comparative politics and public policies and administration; his research focuses mainly on Southern Europe and Latin America. Dirk Berg-Schlosser was in charge of the sections on methods and political sociology; he has done extensive work in Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. As with the International Encyclopedia, the editors have maintained close links with the International Political Science Association (IPSA) as former president (Leonardo) and vice-presidents (Bertrand and Dirk). This has helped in the selection of contributors. As in our previous joint publications, we have cooperated very closely over the entire process preparing this Handbook. This began with discussions with the publisher about the project, the organisation of the Handbook and the selection of topics and contributors in several meetings. During all stages of chapter drafts and reviews, we have consistently exchanged our views and agreed upon all major decisions. This was facilitated by electronic communication, without which such a global undertaking would have been impossible, even a few years ago. But our intensive friendship and mutual trust, which has developed over many years (and even decades), was even more important in allowing us to cooperate in this way. Therefore, we bear joint and equal responsibility for the final product. For this Handbook, we have changed the order of names once more (from Badie, Berg-Schlosser, Morlino – in alphabetical order – for the International Encyclopedia, and Morlino, Berg-Schlosser, Badie – in reverse alphabetical order – for the textbook), to Berg-Schlosser, Morlino, Badie, to reflect our equal contributions. We are proud to have been able to assemble scholars from more than 30 countries and all continents, all of them leading experts in their fields. This team provides a wide coverage of key areas both globally and regionally, which has created a lively interaction among us in many ways, assuring the high quality of the final product.


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science

References Badie Bertrand, Berg-Schlosser Dirk and Morlino Leonardo (eds) (2011) International encyclopedia of political science. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Greenstein, Fred L. and Polsby, Nelson W. (eds.) (1975) Handbook of Political Science, 8 vol.s, Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. Goodin Robert E. and Klingemann Hans-Dieter (eds) (1996) A new handbook of political science. New York: Oxford University Press. Goodin, Robert E. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Science, 11 vol.s, (2006ff), Oxford: Oxford University Press. Morlino, Leonardo, Berg-Schlosser, Dirk and Badie, Bertrand (2017), Political Science – A Global Perspective, Los Angeles: SAGE.

Introduction D i r k B e r g - S c h l o s s e r, L e o n a r d o Morlino and Bertrand Badie

Political science from a global perspective The concept of politics is an old one, which is present in all cultures, but for a long time it was not subject to systematic scientific inquiry. Instead, for some it designated an art (scholars ‘studying politics’, in imperial China as well as in Europe), for others an activity (people ‘playing politics’ at all levels of social life) or a profession and function (as ‘politicians’). Political science progressively emerged from this plurality of meanings and was, in the beginning, discussed mainly in philosophy and the history of political thought. Even though it is misleading to think of a unique essence of politics, the discussion has been structured around a prevailing question: how can different people, numerous families and individuals, coexist in the same community? Following this question, we understand that politics can be understood as both polity and policy. The

first refers to an organisation (a state, a regime, a system and its constitution), the second to a series of decisions concerning different sub-fields (the economy, health, education, relationships with other states, etc.). In this sense, politics must be considered as a function as well as an action. Some scholars postulated that these did not exist in early societies, which ignored politics, where order and coexistence were maintained by mere social control (Clastres, 1978). We follow here the majority of anthropologists, who consider politics as a universal function, which can be found in all histories – that is to say, in all sequences of the human adventure and in all cultures, opening the way to a broad comparative approach. Politics attained the status of a scientific discipline in the 20th century, due to the progress and the transformation of law studies and the growing influence of behaviourism in the social sciences. The latter promoted a functional definition of politics, whereas the former led to an


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instrumental one. The functional definition conceives politics as aiming to organise and to assert the coexistence of individuals in the same community. Many philosophers had previously located politics in this art of coexistence. This point was made by Plato, for example, who considered politics as the art of preserving social harmony. But the same approach can be found in many other cultures. Islam was conceived in this way by Prophet Muhammad as preserving unity (tawhid) in a context of high tribal fragmentation. As such, tawhid would be achieved through the absolute unity of God and the indivisible nature of the Umma, the community of believers. In Confucian culture, social harmony and permanent order are considered the ultimate goals of political action. In Hinduism, politics is presented, especially in the Mahabarata (first millennium BC), as an absolute requisite for keeping peace and order. Such a functional vision is also at the basis of Western political modernity through the invention of the key concept of social contract, which organises the will of people to live in the same community (nation) with common political institutions. In a normative way, some philosophers strive to go further, demanding that politics also refers to welfare and virtue – that is to say, to achieve a good community, which would operate according to the law of nature, of reason, the divine law or, in a simpler way, by meeting basic human needs and social expectations. If politics is only the science of the polity, it is first of all a behaviouralist science, as is the case in the major part of contemporary political science. If it becomes the science of constructing the Supreme Good, it moves to the status of a normative science. In order to overcome this dilemma, some social scientists have alternatively promoted an instrumentalist approach, which considers that the distinctive nature of politics has to be found not in the aims but in the instruments used for running the polity.

At the core of this instrumentalist vision of politics, power plays the key role. In Max Weber’s conceptualisation, it is defined as the ability to achieve your aims even against someone else’s will. Political scientists consider that the polity cannot exist without power, no matter how it is structured, and there is a long tradition of connecting power and politics, in which political science studies how power is formed, organised and shared (Lasswell and Kaplan, 1950). This broad concept opened the way to ‘huge comparisons’ (Tilly, 1984) and typologies dealing with the different structures of power. Here, a distinction must be made between some authors who think that any use of power implies politics – politics could then be played in a club, a family or a company – and a larger number who consider that politics is limited to a particular use of power. In fact, if we broadly define power, the very nature of politics becomes blurred. This is why Max Weber claims that a community has a political quality only if its rules are maintained in a given territory. Then, politics does not refer to power as such but only to a kind of power. But even this option can be risky: the addition of this territorial criterion is questionable, as it hardly fits nomadic societies or traditional ones that did not accept the territory (i.e. a strictly delimited space with assertive borderlines) as a universal concept. This debate shows that politics is an evolutionary but also a cultural and historical concept, which is always endangered by the ethnocentric temptation to consider it through one’s own system of meanings. Because political science as an academic discipline was established relatively late, it has also been considered as a crossroads, related to philosophy, law, history, sociology and even anthropology and economics. For this reason, its relationship with the other social sciences is neither clear nor simple. In many European countries, especially in France and Germany, political science was generated by law studies, inside the faculties that were devoted to them. That is why the


first generation of political science in these countries was strongly influenced by an institutional view of politics. Other scholars took a sociological approach, which was strong enough to free itself from this trend. By contrast, the behaviourist and positivist origins of American political science isolated it from the other social sciences, containing the assaults of a ‘political sociology’ which loses a part of its meaning in the American universities, where political science and sociology are clearly separated. The positivist and quantitativist inclinations of this dominant political science encouraged many scholars to borrow their methods and paradigms from economics, opening the way to the rationalchoice school and putting a strong emphasis on political economy and international political economy (IPE). More recently, an anti-positivist reaction encouraged many scholars around the world to go back to history and anthropology to revisit and reduce the ethnocentric orientations of a political science that was mainly, and often exclusively, inspired by the Western model of political development. States, political regimes, revolutions and political mobilisations were now reconsidered in their own historical context (Skocpol, 1984), while political science moved consequently to an ‘historical sociology of politics’. Anthropology helped, on its side, to reintroduce different cultures, which participate in shaping politics in the various world regions (Geertz, 1973). The main epistemological issue now at stake is to find a just balance between an absorption by these older sciences, which would transform political science into a part of sociology, law or history, and a fierce independence ignoring the neighbouring sciences and how they can enrich the study of politics. Clearly, it is impossible, as this Handbook suggests, to study politics without taking into account economic parameters, demographic changes, social transformations or institutional set-ups. Basically, political science has to be considered as a social science, as a political fact is a


social fact, according to the definition given by Durkheim: ‘A social fact is any way of acting, whether fixed or not, capable of exerting over the individual an external constraint’ (Durkheim, 1982: 59). But it differs from sociology, as political scientists generally consider that both the functions and the instruments of politics are distinct enough to imply specific theories, paradigms and methods, as we present them in the first and second parts of this Handbook. We also emphasise that many of these theories and methods contain concepts and orientations that are, for this reason, shared with neighbouring disciplines.

The global organisation of political science As mentioned above, political science, paradoxically, is a very old discipline, going back at least to the Greek classics, but it was only relatively recently established as a separate academic field. The first university chair that resembled those of today’s political science, at least in name, was created at the University of Uppsala in Sweden in 1622 by a generous donation of the then chancellor of the university and a tutor of King Gustav II Adolf, Johan Skytte. It was dedicated to a professorship in ‘eloquence and politics’. The political sciences in Europe – and the plural form of the term is still used quite frequently, as in Sciences Po – have been shaped by a great variety of traditions. They have roots in political philosophy, public and international law, history, economics, etc. Indeed, the first academic institutionalisations of the discipline at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in 1871 in Paris, the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1885 and the Hochschule für Politik in Berlin in 1919 were largely conglomerates of these various disciplines, and they remain so, to a certain extent, today. The first and still the biggest political science association is the American Political


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Science Association (APSA), founded in 1903, with currently about 12,000 members from more than 80 countries (www.apsanet. org/). It is subdivided into 49 organised sections with regular activities of their own covering a wide range of topics. The annual meetings and other events, together with the leading journals (American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics and PS), have set international standards in many ways. Some activities extend to other parts of the world, like workshops and thematic summer schools in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This is also expressed in APSA’s recent slogan ‘Networking a World of Scholars’. Nevertheless, it is estimated that about 75–80% of American political scientists still specialise in domestic affairs or US foreign policy, and for a long time a researcher specializing on a single foreign state counted as a ‘comparativist’, making, at best, some implicit comparisons with the home country. This dominant concern with the American political system also led to a certain myopic bias that some concepts and theories were thought to be applicable in other parts of the world, such as the concept of party identification or the theory of collective action, for example. This was in spite of the fact that the United State’s social composition, institutional set-up, role in world politics and many other aspects are unique and cannot be generalised so easily. Other associations were created in Canada (1913), Finland (1935), India (1938), China (1932) and Japan (1948). However, ‘communication between them was virtually nonexistent … the very definition of ‘political science’ was uncertain and the relevance of any distinction between philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities was the subject of debate’ (Boncourt, 2009). The first international organisation was the International Political Science Association (IPSA), founded in 1949 at a conference in Paris under the auspices of UNESCO, including such well-known scholars as Raymond Aron and Maurice Duverger. Quincy Wright

from the University of Chicago was elected as its first president. In the beginning, it was a relatively loose federation of the (few) national associations, representatives of which came together in the executive committee and during triennial (biennial since 2012) world congresses, the first of which was held in Zurich in 1950. In the course of time, the organisation became stronger and financially independent of UNESCO. The flagship journals Political Science Abstracts and International Political Science Review and the growing collective (national associations), institutional (political science departments and research institutions) and individual membership contributed to this success. Currently, there are about 50 collective, some 60 institutional and roughly 2,000 individual members ( Since 1970, many specialised research committees (corresponding to the APSA sections) have come into being with regular worldwide activities. Today, these number about 50. A permanent secretariat with a growing staff has been established at Montreal since 2000. An IPSA portal covering some 300 websites were created at the University of Naples in the late 1990s, and IPSA massive open online courses (MOOCs) are now available at the same institution. Beginning in 2010, regular annual IPSA summer schools on concepts, methods and techniques in political science at Sao Paulo, Stellenbosch/South Arica, Singapore, Ankara, Mexico City and St. Petersburg, emulating earlier ones at the universities of Ann Arbor and Syracuse in the United States and the University of Essex in the UK, have contributed to create advanced training facilities in areas where these were lacking before. In Europe, the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) was founded in 1970 with Stein Rokkan as first chair and Jean Blondel as executive director of the permanent secretariat at the University of Essex ( It was originally modelled on the Inter-University Consortium for Political Research (ICPR) at the University of Michigan, which


basically was, and still is, a data-collecting and training institution for quantitative methods in the social sciences. Having institutional membership only, it was based on the simple but, as it turned out, very productive idea to let institutions pay and individuals benefit. A major innovation was then brought about in 1973 by Rudolf Wildenmann: the first Joint Sessions of Workshops. These provided a new and, still today, a successful format for bringing together senior and junior scholars in relatively small groups where everyone is obliged to present a paper on ongoing research with sufficient time to discuss it in much greater detail than can be provided at the big national or international conferences (Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 1996). ECPR has now grown to become the second-largest political science association worldwide. It has about 350 institutional members (still no individual membership) in some 50 countries. In addition to the very successful Joint Sessions of Workshops, biennial and now annual general conferences have been held since 2001, occasionally outside Europe. Since 2005, biennial graduate conferences have also taken place. About 50 standing groups (comparable to the APSA sections and IPSA research committees) are now active. There are three flagship journals (European Journal for Political Research, European Political Science and European Political Science Review) and, most recently, an open access journal (Political Research Exchange). In 2005, ECPR also became a publisher, as ECPR Press, launching several book series and now working in partnership with Rowman & Littlefield. From the beginning, a methods summer school was held annually at Essex, following the example of the Inter-University Consortium of Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Since 2005, additional methods summer schools (and now also winter schools) have been held at Ljubljana, Budapest, Vienna and Bamberg,


offering a wide range of qualitative and quantitative courses. In addition, in 2010, the European Political Science Association (EPSA) was founded, based on individual membership. It holds annual conferences and publishes the journal Political Science Research and Methods. There also are some smaller regional organisations, like the Nordic Political Science Association (NOPSA), representing the Scandinavian countries, and the Central European Political Science Association (CEPSA). With regard to other world regions, political science is often represented within broader social science associations, like the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) and the African Studies Association (ASA), which had their origin in North America but now have considerable regional membership as well. In 1973 a separate African Association of Political Science (AAPS) was founded. Since 2002, a specific Latin American political science association (ALACIP, Associação Latinoamericana de Ciencia Política) was created which holds regular regional conferences. More generally speaking, political science, more than any other discipline, requires a certain ‘breathing space’ of a minimum of academic freedom, freedom of information, etc. and a favourable political environment in order to prosper. For this reason, its development has been closely related to broader processes of democratisation in many parts of the world (Easton et al., 1991). Only after the latest ‘wave’ in the 1980s and 1990s could an independent, empirically oriented and internationally linked political science emerge, but its existence is threatened again by renewed authoritarian tendencies, as in Turkey or Russia. Taken altogether, this is certainly a success story. There are now professional political scientists in all major regions and most countries. They have similar training, knowledge and skills. They can see eye to eye and cooperate on a par with their international


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colleagues. The days of ‘safari research’ and mere ‘airport comparatists’ are clearly over. In a globalised world, these developments have been greatly enhanced by new electronic means of communication and cheaper international travel. Nevertheless, the worldwide distribution of the discipline remains uneven (Stein and Trent, 2012). In this way, political science has not only grown as a discipline and achieved high international standards, but it has also widened its perspectives and today looks at our current domestic and international political problems from a variety of epistemological and methodological angles, benefiting from the diversity of rich cultural backgrounds in all parts of the world. This is also evident in the contributions to this Handbook.

Challenges and Innovations in the 21st century Although the actual influence of political science scholars on political decisions by incumbent authorities and, more generally, on politics is often non-existent, usually uncertain and rarely evident, research on the major challenges of politics with possible political innovations is at the core of our work. The last section of this Handbook presents the analyses of some scholars on the most important contemporary challenges, which may or may not be followed by institutional changes. Here, we propose some considerations that can help to frame these phenomena. To begin with, the challenges affecting our lives can come from global phenomena that national governments cannot control. Climate change is out of reach of any government, and only agreements that encompass the whole world may be able to cope with it. Similarly, the changes of international power relations (Badie, Chapter 84, this Handbook) are beyond the control of a specific government, as are immigration, emigration and

international terrorism. These are, however, mostly regional phenomena and can be addressed by a group of countries belonging to a specific area, such as the Mediterranean or Sub-Saharan Africa. There are other widespread phenomena but which specific governments or societies can try to deal with – for example, the diffusion of neo-populism (Kriesi, Chapter 90, this Handbook), the position of minorities (Amir-Moazemi, Chapter 89, this Handbook) and major human rights issues (Regilme, Chapter 86, this Handbook). Briefly, there are several challenges at different levels that have to be coped with and analysed in different ways. Among the different topics that can be addressed, we refer here to a few selected issues. These are international power relations, changes in representative democracies, innovations in authoritarian regimes and the problem of social inequalities. As for the first topic, the chapter by Badie clarifies that power ‘has deeply changed in International Relations, but more in its efficiency and its functions than in its nature and its appearance’. This is to emphasise that the contemporary world is characterised by new conflicts and new uncertainties, where mutual weakness, rather than powerfulness, is the key aspect to look at, with its consequent challenge for the traditional powers. Within this context, Badie recalls the contemporary salience of inter-societal relationships rather than the classic inter-state relationships, the stronger presence of non-state actors in the international arena and the multiplying communications and related information that overcome and reshape borders and sovereignties. In the context of globalisation, this includes the new role of huge supranational companies, such as Microsoft, Apple and a few others, which have become more politically relevant than most of the 195 officially recognised independent states. These and other aspects have also brought about state governments’ reaffirmation of their autonomous powers with regard to domestic issues and related interests. In turn, such reactions


undermine the trend of strengthening integration in the different world regions. This concerns, for example, the weakening of the integration process in the EU and other world regions, such as the Cono Sur in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. In recent years and very likely in years to come, changes in contemporary representative democracies are and will be the centre of attention in politics and political science. These are analysed in several chapters of this Handbook. Here, we only emphasise the most evident ones. First, we consider the changes in the three main actors of representation – that is, in the parties and party systems, in political movements and in interest groups. All over the world at the end of the 20th century and in the first decades of the 21st, these actors’ organisations and activities have been deeply affected by social changes, new forms of industrial organisations and technologies and the digital revolution. Thus, the fading of traditional organisational structures, the newly dominant role of elected politicians, the personalisation of political competition, the reshaping of relevant political cleavages (including the left–right dimension) and new tools influencing the formation of public opinion have all deeply transformed political parties. They ironically disappeared as they traditionally existed, especially in the Western democracies, but reappear like the famous phoenix from the ashes to reclaim centre stage with new leaders, many of them with neo-populist features (Kriesi, Chapter 90, this Handbook). The impact of the information transformation is especially evident in the new social movements (della Porta, Chapter 39, this Handbook). This was the case whether they failed – for example, in the case of the so called Orange Revolution in Ukraine or, more profoundly, in Egypt, with the subsequent restoration of a tough military regime – or when, at least organisationally, they were successfully institutionalised into new parties, as happened to the social movements in Spain and


Greece with the thrust of the economic crisis. This is also the case when they become worldwide actors through popular mobilisation and demonstrations in favour of salient and internationally relevant issues, such as the movement concerning climate change. Interest groups are apparently much less at the centre of popular attention, and there are reasons for this (Mattina, Chapter 32, this Handbook). The weakening of unions and employers’ associations in influencing key economic decisions is the result of globalisation, which in Europe was compounded by the role achieved by the EU in this arena. But, as is well known, very rarely in politics what appears to happen actually mirrors the reality. In fact, the apparent weakening of these organisations is complemented by the actual development of lobbying activities, who have become the only ‘actors in town’ with the fading away of the traditional programmatic parties – that is, of alternative actors who propose contrasting policies. The transformation of representative actors is compounded by popular dissatisfaction with them, and the digital revolution refuelled the criticisms of representative democracy and triggered a new debate to promote and implement direct forms of democracy. This also happened in political philosophy, especially with the debate and publications on deliberative democracy. In political science, the debate was focused on the opportunities provided by the digital revolution to potentially reach each citizen directly and to give her/him the possibility of expressing opinions or casting a vote on any proposal or decision to be made. The actual implementation of experiments in direct democracy, especially carried out by party leaders, show little citizen participation and create new possibilities for manipulation. This notwithstanding, the criticisms of representative actors and mechanisms and the hopes for a future implementation of direct forms of democracy are resilient and continue to be a part of the political debate.


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Technological developments also concern the electoral process in representative democracies and experiments in electronic voting. The only country that has practised national online voting has been Estonia, where the percentage of internet voters increased from 3.4% (2007 general election) to 43.8% (2019 general election). At the local level, experiments in electronic voting have been carried out in a large number of countries. So far, however, given the high level of competition and recurrent mutual distrust among political parties, compounded by citizens’ distrust, online voting, other than in Estonia, has not gone beyond the experimental stage. In the first two decades of this century, there also have been profound innovations in authoritarian regimes. In addition to the spreading of so-called hybrid regimes (Gagné and Mahé, Chapter 47, this Handbook), these basic changes were labelled electoral authoritarianism (Schedler, 2016). Such a nondemocratic regime presents all the formal rules and institutions of a democracy, from the constitutional charter to the electoral system, from the parliament to the supreme court and elected local governments. Civic associations, interest groups and private media are allowed but regulated. The participation of more than one party in elections is permitted, to give the appearance of a democratic regime and to have the opposition parties indirectly legitimise the regime, parties that are often rewarded by the authoritarian ruler. At the same time, elections are systematically manipulated in different ways, such as the alteration of lists, the purchase of votes and the falsification of ballots so that they are neither free and fair nor competitive, but only regular (Schlumberger, Chapter 42, this Handbook). In a nutshell, consistent with a widespread legitimation of democracy, authoritarian leaders are able to maintain their authoritarian rule by keeping up democratic appearances. Again, the discrepancy between these regimes and the reality is evident. In some cases, this can destabilise the regime and open the path towards a hybrid

system, but through informal tools of control and suppression rulers can counteract such tendencies. A final challenge to mention in this Introduction concerns the issue of inequalities. At the end of the last century and the beginning of the new one, a multidisciplinary debate has focused not only on socio-economic inequality but also on justice in political philosophy, on poverty in economics, on fairness in cognitive psychology and on solidarity at the level of international or supranational organisations, such as the EU. In political science, perhaps under the influence of the last book by Robert A. Dahl (2006, especially chapter 2), the prevailing attention has been on political equality, which is a complex notion that refers to effective participation, equality in voting, final control of the agenda, inclusion and fundamental citizen rights. In other words, Dahl includes in that notion the key elements of an ideal democracy. After Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz’s (2012) work on the negative effects of inequality, that of Thomas Piketty (2013) on the bases of inequality, and of Branko Milanovich (2016) on the international dimension of inequality, all of which have clarified the economic mechanism at work, how precisely this impacts on democracy is a key research question that still deserves to be explored in detail in political science. Beyond the challenge to research, on this theme there is an ongoing phenomenon in politics that has been unfolding in contemporary democracies. Although from a mainstream normative perspective, freedom and equality are still considered the two key values of a good democracy, empirical research on the latter is pointing to different developments. First, the attention of governments and governmental majorities is more and more focused on supporting provisions that deal with poverty and avoid its extreme cases rather than looking for redistributive egalitarian policies, which are more and more difficult to carry out with low or no economic growth. Second, as already shown


by Kriesi et al. (2016), the profiles of contemporary democracies in terms of the quest for social justice and equality vis-à-vis freedom are very much differentiated. Whereas the citizens of northern European countries, the UK included, are mainly looking for civil rights, those of southern and eastern European countries are looking for greater equality and social justice. The explanation is not difficult to find. The first group is more egalitarian overall and enjoys stronger social rights than the second group. Consequently, northern European citizens take egalitarianism and social rights for granted and demand greater freedoms, while the citizens of southern and eastern Europe demand the former. There is a third aspect to mention, which Rosanvallon (2011) described when he singled out three factors that are gradually disappearing and that previously created the conditions for redistributive egalitarian policies: the belief in the necessity of democratic reform to avoid social and political turmoil, the practical impact of the two world wars and a decline in the belief of individual responsibility for one’s destiny. On the whole, the third factor deeply affects cultural attitudes and contributes to the undermining and transformation of pursuing equality as a key goal of a democracy. Of course, future political developments will present other challenges for both politics and political research – or even perhaps a return to phenomena previously dealt with, like the revival of the analysis of democratic crises, which reminds us of debates and research from the 1970s.

References Boncourt, Thibaud (2009), A History of the International Political Science Association, Montreal: IPSA. Clastres, Pierre (1978) [1st pub. 1974], Society against the State, London: Blackwell.


Dahl, Robert A. (2006), On Political Equality, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Durkheim, Émile (1982) [1st pub. 1895] (Steven Lukes ed.), The Rules of Sociological Method and Selected Texts on Sociology and Its Method, New York: The Free Press. Easton, David, John G. Gunnell and Luigi Graziano (eds) (1991), The Development of Political Science, London: Routledge. Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (ed.) (1996), La Science Politique en Europe: Formation, Coopération, Perspectives, Paris: Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques. Geertz, Clifford (1973), The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books. Kriesi, Hanspeter, Willem Saris and Paolo Moncagatta (2016), ‘The Structure of Europeans’ Views of Democracy: Citizens’ Models of Democracy’, in Monica Ferrín and Hanspeter Kriesi (eds.), How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 64–89. Lasswell, Harold and Abraham Kaplan (1950), Power and Societies, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Milanovich, Branko (2016), Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Piketty, Thomas (2013), Le Capital au XXIe Siècle, Paris: Editions du Seuil. Rosanvallon, Pierre (2011), La Société des Egaux, Paris: Editons du Seuil. Schedler, Andreas (2016), The Politics of Uncertainty. Sustaining and Subverting Electoral Authoritarianism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Skocpol, Theda (ed.) (1984), Vision and Method in Historical Sociology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stein, Michael and John Trent (eds.) (2012), The World of Political Science: A Critical Overview of the Development of Political Studies around the Globe: 1990–2012, Opladen: Barbara Budrich Publishers. Stiglitz, Joseph E. (2012), The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future, New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Tilly, Charles (1984), Big Structures, Large Processes, and Huge Comparisons, New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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Political Theory

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1 Comparative Political Theory Siddharth Mallavarapu

Introduction Let me begin with two stories. My hope is that they serve as an invitation to start thinking about the place, dilemmas and value of comparative political theory (CPT) as a distinct scholarly enterprise (see Cerutti, Chapter 9, this Handbook). I briefly recount these stories here merely with the intent of gesturing to concerns that are germane to CPT. These stories tell us much if we are willing to listen. They hold a mirror to encounters with texts, ideas and authors from other parts of the world. They hint at how these encounters touch us in more ways than we can imagine. They goad us to step out of familiarity and stumble, initially clumsily, in uncharted territories of mind and place. They compel us to discern ideas which may have been encountered in the past but now have a different face, name and affect as they surface from another milieu. Ultimately, these stories make us reflect on an inevitable metamorphosis as we ponder our own complex

relationship with old- and new-world imaginaries over the duration of a lifetime. The first deals with Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish writer who, in his Nobel lecture titled ‘My Father’s Suitcase’, talks about several intellectual debts he notches up prior to arriving at Stockholm to be feted as a Nobel laureate in literature. The lecture is a tribute principally to his father who had initially introduced him to the republic of letters and left him with an insatiable appetite for more. There are many remarkable moments in this story. The early introduction to ‘world writers’, the significance of dreaming, the acknowledgment of other worlds, a latent ambivalence towards the ‘West’ and the process of centring, de-centring and re-centring are all integral to the narrative. The young Pamuk is curious about the world outside and is perplexed by its richness and diversity. Such wonder co-exists with more than a hint of melancholia. Pamuk set out believing that the scene of action in world literature was several removes away from Istanbul where


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he was growing up. What is intriguing about the journey is not this lament, but a complete reversal in the manner in which the world is approached by the end of the rendition. Pamuk observes that [w]hat I feel now is the opposite of what I felt as a child and a young man: For me the center of the world is Istanbul. This is not just because I have lived there all my life, but because for the last thirty-three years I have been narrating its streets, its bridges, its people, its dogs, its houses, its  mosques, its fountains, its strange heroes, its shops, its famous characters, its dark spots, its days, and its nights, making them part of me, embracing them all (Pamuk, 2006).

A parallel story is the account of an anthropologist turned novelist, Amitav Ghosh, who tells the story of his intellectual inheritances in another intervention titled ‘The Testimony of my Grandfather’s Bookcase’. Growing up in Calcutta, Ghosh recounts the curious life of a bookcase which has assumed the status of a sacred family heirloom. What Ghosh attempts to do in the piece is to tease out a particular ‘vision of literature’ that emerged from an eclectic choice of ‘books from a wide array of countries’. The bookcase has a haunting presence in Ghosh’s intellectual make-up. Every other experience, including overseas study in England, pales in comparison to the warmth and affection with which Ghosh recalls the original bookcase, which was a formative influence on him. Ghosh, like Pamuk growing up, partakes of world literature from a different corner of the world and acknowledges elements which travel from his immediate cultural ecology to become part of a global inheritance. He follows with particular interest for instance, the trajectory of stories that went popularly by the name of Panchatantra. Ghosh argues that the Panchatantra is reckoned by some to be second only to the Bible in the extent of global diffusion. Compiled in India early in the first millennium, it passed into Arabic through a sixth century Persian translation, engendering some of the best known of middle eastern fables, including parts of

The Thousand and One Nights. The stories were handed on to the Slavic languages through Greek, then from Hebrew to Latin, a version in the latter appearing in 1270. Through Latin they passed into German and Italian. From the Italian version came the famous Elizabethan rendition of Sir Henry North, The Moral Philosophy of Doni (1570). These stories left their mark on collections as different as those of La Fontaine and the Grimm brothers, and today they are inseparably part of a global heritage (Ghosh, 1998).

What I intend doing in the course of this chapter is to consciously reside in these spaces to excavate the lineages, tensions and possibilities surrounding the intellectual project that goes by the nomenclature of CPT today. In terms of a roadmap, I begin by mapping competing intellectual rationales, claims and counter-claims for pursuing CPT. Subsequently, I examine threadbare two facets that lie at heart of these tensions – the nature of the ‘canon’ and ‘otherness’. Without conceding defeat to these genuine concerns, I go on to probe alternative perspectives from within the global south when it comes to constructively engaging these dimensions. Finally, the chapter concludes by engaging normative commitments and curiosities that might be worth taking on board for a new generation of fine minds that are intellectually invested in enriching CPT.

Contextualizing CPT: Competing Rationales For anyone located in the global south, an inevitable question which is likely to emerge while thinking about an intellectual project like CPT would be to speculate about its relationship with decolonization. Decolonization and CPT at one plane appear to be natural allies. If you are persuaded that the colonizer fashioned specific ontologies and epistemologies that rendered the colonized inconsequential, an immediate question follows. What does epistemic decolonization entail when it comes to the study of

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political theory? While CPT may be a more recent intellectual endeavour, postcolonial political theory has been around for some time, mounting a set of responses to the challenge of decolonizing knowledge systems. There are some figures who are particularly critical to this intellectual history. Frantz Omar Fanon (1925–61) has a special place here. Fanon is best known for his classic interventions. These include Black Skin, White Masks which was published in 1952 and The Wretched of the Earth, published close to a decade later in 1961. While working as a psychiatrist at Bilda-Joinville Hospital in Algeria in 1953, Fanon acquired a close view of the pathologies of colonialism reflected in the mental illnesses of his patients (Drabinski, 2019). Colonialism impacted both sides, the colonizer and the colonized, as Ashis Nandy demonstrates with great finesse in his classic, The Intimate Enemy (2009, 2nd edition). Fanon drew on an eclectic set of methods (phenomenology, existentialism, poetry, psychology and political theory) which were then harnessed with great erudition to plumb the depths of both black and white consciousness under conditions of colonialism (Drabinski, 2019). The question of ‘racial embodiment’ was central to Fanon’s quest to understand the deeper impact of colonialism at so many levels of our being, most significantly the body and the psyche (Drabinski, 2019). The more controversial part of Fanon’s legacy deals with his position on violence. Achille Mbembe in his conversation with David Theo Goldberg argues that Fanon worked with two notions of violence. The first was ‘a kind of violence that precedes the awakening of the subaltern to consciousness’ and the second was violence intended ‘to disrupt and eventually to interrupt the colonial order of things’. While Fanon rejected the ‘liberatory potential’ of the first kind of violence described here, he was intrigued by the promise ‘to make it possible to reinvent the human’ in its second incarnation. Mbembe clarifies that Fanon was aware of


the excesses of violence and to him it was ‘both a weapon and a medicine’. In 2015 another set of unpublished writings of Fanon were made available and scholars are poring over these writings for a more complete picture of a remarkable mind (Mbembe and Goldberg, 2018). John Drabinski, in his 2019 Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy entry on Fanon, confirms why Fanon may be such a good candidate for CPT scholars. His legacy points to ‘the fecundity of Fanon’s ideas, their elasticity and capacity for extending across historically and culturally diverse geographies’ (Drabinski, 2019). Another scholar of particular note is Edward Wadie Said (1935–2003) who is best known for his classic work on Orientalism (1978). His other well-known books include, The Question of Palestine (1979), Covering Islam (1981), The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983) and Culture and Imperialism (1993). Said was a great exponent of the Palestinian cause and was particularly critical of the Oriental lens through which the West often constructed the East. His work served as most instructive when it came to thinking about ‘anti-imperialism’, and here, akin to Fanon, the question of ‘revolutionary struggle’ was integral to Said’s set of intellectual and deeply political concerns. Both Said and Fanon were not without their critics but it would be hard to deny the enormous influence they have both had in shaping generations of postcolonial scholarship. Coming back to postcolonialism and its critics, two recent books merit special mention here. Vivek Chibber’s Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (2013:291) set the cat among the pigeons considering his claim that postcolonial exceptionalism was a chimera, and there is no reason to deny ‘that there is a universal history, in which East and West are both full-time participants’ and ‘the reality of capital’s universalization is perfectly consistent with an appreciation of the persistence of difference’. Rosie Warren brought a set of responses to Chibber’s critique of postcolonial theory in her edited


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book titled The Debate on Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (2017) with contributions from well-known postcolonial theorists like Partha Chatterjee, George Steinmetz and Gayatri Spivak among a galaxy of many notable others. While I shall not delve into the details of these responses here, students of CPT will stand to gain from partaking of these animated debates, which shall provide useful insights into thinking, especially about the tensions of universal versus exceptionalist claims when it comes to theorizing the world(s) we inhabit. There are many reasons why CPT might be worth pursuing. But, first a word about its genesis. Does CPT have anything to do with the end of the Cold War? Diego von Vocano, in an engaging overview of this terrain, suggests that the growing discontent with Orientalism, staid comparative politics accounts and most critically, the suspect claims of Francis Fukuyama about the ‘end of history’ and Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ provided the goad for a much more rigorous engagement with a nascent field of study, CPT. Thus for Vacano, ‘CPT’s emergence is marked by the ashes of the Cold War’ (2015: 468). He is not alone in tracing the genesis of CPT to this period of time. Sara R. Jordan and Cary J. Nederman also argue that the 1990s were formative for CPT and suggest that it is still only in its ‘adolescent’ form (2012: 627). Now, let us consider arguments about why CPT might be a worthwhile endeavour. There are at least six claims I distil here from the burgeoning literature on CPT.

Argument 1: ‘Genuine Universalism’ The first argument relates to a case for ‘genuine universalism’ and is associated with Fred Dallmayr, one of the pioneers of CPT as an independent field of inquiry. In 1997, Dallmayr’s contribution to The Review of Politics journal advanced a case for CPT. He

focused particularly on the many weaknesses of comparative politics (see Part IV, this Handbook) and exhorted his colleagues to recognize that ‘the Western practitioner of political theory/philosophy must relinquish the role of universal teacher (buttressed by Western hegemony) and be content with that of fellow student in a cross-cultural learning experience’ (Dallmayr, 1997: 422). He further made an emphatic plea for ‘comparative political theorizing [that] would be genuinely global in character, by ranging from Europe and the Americas to Africa, Asia and Australasia’ (1997: 422). Dallmayr also claimed that ‘the ideology of sameness flies in the face of diverse historico-cultural trajectories and also of profound asymmetries in the distribution of global wealth and power’ (1997: 423). In 2004, he renewed his commitment to CPT arguing that ‘we surely need to take others and their aspirations seriously, which requires dialogue and empathetic awareness’ (Dallmayr, 2004: 253). None of these claims appear unreasonable. Coming to terms with Western hegemony, greater inclusivity while thinking about global political theory, demythologizing the flatness of the world and calling for more honest conversations among unequals are all par for the course in a quest for ‘genuine universalism’ which is the signature motif of Dallmayr’s approach (2004: 253).

Argument 2: ‘Principled Value-Conflicts’ A detailed programme for CPT was fleshed out by Andrew March in 2009. March began by endorsing the notion that ‘comparative work is not a zoological cataloguing of diversity’ and must instead focus on ‘a specific problem or question that is illuminated through multiple examples’ (2009: 537). There are several vantage points from which the case for CPT has been advanced. March suggests that there have been ‘­epistemic, global democratic, critical-transformative,

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explanatory-interpretive and the rehabilitative’ claims surrounding CPT (2009: 538). However, March is sceptical of CPT being merely an apologia for non-western political theory. He is of the view that there must be room in CPT ‘for political theorists to critique and even reject some of the nonWestern views and theories that we are trying to bring in without fear of necessarily reinforcing hegemony’ (March, 2009: 563). The animating spirit of CPT, as far as March is concerned, relates to its ability to delve into ‘principled value-conflicts’ in the light of a specific ‘moral tradition’ (2009: 560). Critical of intellectual projects aimed at dislodging a canon through processes of ‘expansion’ and ‘de-centring’, March suggests that the motivations here are far from ‘comparative’ and therefore should not then be accorded the status of CPT. Ultimately, the real test for CPT scholars is to be able to see how they can ‘reconcile’ traditions of engagement surrounding some common questions that animate political theory (2009: 531–65).

Argument 3: Embracing ‘Cosmopolitan Political Thought’ Farah Godrej finds March’s criteria too puritanical for an evolving CPT. She suggests that one of the unintended consequences of March’s claims about CPT is that it might end up reproducing a familiar ‘Eurocentrism’ (Godrej 2009a: 567–582; Ilieva, 2019). She finds particularly troublesome March’s stance ‘that Gandhi can simply be studied and taught alongside Plato and Machiavelli without any rethinking of the very categories of inquiry that structure our treatment of these texts’ (Godrej, 2009a: 575). On a more positive note, Godrej suggests that ‘[t]he comparative political theorist needs to take seriously the other of a text as well as of the tradition in which it is embedded’ (2009b: 142). To illustrate her stance, she points out for instance, that reading dharma through the lens “...of Acquinas’


natural law” would result in distortions while seeking to understand the concept (Godrej, 2009b:143; quoted in Ilieva, 2019). Godrej seeks to de-naturalize an innocent reading of political theory. She is keen to emphasize that ‘[e]xistential engagement alone cannot complete the task of a comparative political theorist: it must be followed by the project to disturb, provoke, and dislocate familiar modes of knowledge through speech and discourse’ (Godrej 2009b:159; Ilieva 2019). The fundamental point that Godrej seeks to drive home is that there is scope for mutual learning in CPT. It is time that we recognized that the cultural and intellectual traffic is not one way, but must draw on a much more multi-plural and genuinely cosmopolitan engagement. The non-west becomes a crucial interlocutor in this conversation considering that it has hitherto played a somewhat insignificant role in this conversation.

Argument 4: The Democratic Impulse in CPT Contesting the Western ethnocentrism that characterizes political theory as a field, Melissa S. Williams and Mark E. Warren welcome a ‘much deeper engagement with non-Western ideas about politics’ (2014: 27). Williams and Warren gesture to a whole range of methodological possibilities which could potentially democratize CPT knowledge. They observe in this connection that we should conceive of comparative political theory as engaging a wide range of ideational resources; formal scholarly work by non-Western scholars writing or academic audiences in their own language, political ideas of public intellectuals, principles of law and formal institutional structures, normalized practices and rituals of politics, the ideas of leading political actors and opposition figures, and everyday languages and practices of politics (Williams and Warren, 2014: 37).

This is a tall wish-list but it is useful to give a flavour of the many genres of CPT scholarship that are possible. Advancing a plea to uncover ‘political imaginaries’ from diverse


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settings, Williams and Warren note that the real challenge is ‘to render them intelligible to others’ (2014: 37). Two other skill sets might be invaluable to the comparative political theorist. First, translation and second, the ability to enter into a productive ‘dialogue’ with eclectic audiences. The task of probing ‘political imaginaries’ also calls for both ‘linguistic’ and ‘empirical’ investments. The ultimate value of the democratic quest in CPT is to consider ‘often forgotten resources and influences that make us who  we are and what we might become’ (2014: 48).

Argument 5: Evolving a Shared CPT Grammar Another point of entry to think of CPT is to ask what the term ‘comparative’ means in this context. Jordan and Nederman argue that it is important to think about ‘the constraints and procedures endemic to the cross-cultural comparison of political ideas and languages’ (2012: 640–1). They go on to argue that an interest in an individual thinker or text from outside the Western canon does not intrinsically qualify as CPT. What is perhaps more significant is ‘to offer a defensible comparison of meanings or individual viewpoints on topics related to understanding politics theoretically’ (Jordan and Nederman, 2012: 630–1). CPT at its best must engage the global. Jordan and Nederman also point out that ‘[t]o understand politics theoretically in a comparative way means that we examine the beliefs expressed by authors of two or more writings of culturally disparate origin, with the intent of making generalizations about the similarities and differences that says something about the task of global political theorizing’ (2012: 631). All of this opens up exciting intellectual possibilities in the field of CPT. The inclusion of perspectives from outside the mainstream is not merely an issue of introducing novelty but also raising fresh

and original questions from a different cultural vantage point.

Argument 6: Reconfiguring Political Theory Erecting a distinction between two modes of approaching CPT, the ‘normative’ and the ‘interpretive’, Diego von Vacano argues that ‘[n]ormative accounts aim to achieve some moral end, although the specific content of that aim varies widely’ (2015: 468). This is in some contrast to ‘[i]nterpretive research [which] intends primarily to broaden knowledge of political questions or issues, without an underlying prescriptive objective’ (2015: 468). Making the case for CPT, Vacano makes a plea for ‘expanding the archive of political theory in ways that permit comparative readings’ (2015: 470). A cautionary note here is worth reiterating. The suspicion of the Western canon, Vacano suggests, must not result in the baby being thrown out with the bathwater. What this translates into is the view that ‘when some insights or Western thinkers do provide indispensable resources for specific theoretical problems, we ought to retain their centrality in the context’ (2015: 471). Further, Vacano also endorses a view of ‘cultural fluidity’ as opposed to a view of monolithic ‘cultural blocs’ with some essentialist traits. He also makes two further claims on CPT. The first is that there is considerable diversity in terms of methodological stance when one does CPT. Both in terms of the ‘normative’ as well as the ‘interpretive’ modes of inquiry, Vacano recognizes ‘the scholarly, the phenomenological, the immanent-reconstructive, and the conceptual-metanarratives’ (2015: 471). Second, he insists that political theory must not operate in a vacuum. It must engage the real world and ‘as politics change, political theory must adapt to new global circumstances’ (2015: 478). This appears to be a reasonable demand and CPT, in his assessment, must step up to the plate in this regard.

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Contending with a Canon How has political theory conventionally understood shaped what we treat as knowledge in this domain? Whom and what does it include and exclude? Do some voices count for more and some for less? How are these decisions made and who arbitrates these claims? With these questions in the arsenal it is imperative for any student of CPT to revisit the ‘canon’ of political theory as well. The Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o raises a relevant question about ‘the organization of literary space and its impact on the politics of knowing’ (2012: 7). It is worthwhile asking the same question in the context of political theory. A constant lament about much of the political theory that preceded CPT is that it was not sufficiently ‘comparative’. Reading through six broadly representative arguments I sampled earlier that mapped an intellectual agenda for CPT, it is not hard to identify some core anxieties relating to the canon in political theory. Very often, what passes as political theory is Western political theory. Most courses on political theory tend to introduce students to an array of thinkers drawn largely, if not solely, from the Western pantheon and treat them as sacrosanct. While there is much that is rich and worth engaging in Western political theory, there is quite evidently sophisticated political thinking in other parts of the world as well. If one were to choose the civilizational tack, you could add a whole range of potential candidates – Sinic, Indic, Ottoman, Egyptian and Aztec, among others. Surely questions like the nature of political rule, the means of securing political order, the quest for legitimacy, and notions of what counts as just, war and peace were germane to all these political entities. The concern here is ‘what we can do to de-parochialize political theory – that is, to shift the field in the direction of much deeper engagement with non-Western ideas about politics’ (Williams and Warren 2014: 27).


There are many possible illustrations of efforts in this direction. Suren Pillay, in his 2018 piece ‘Thinking the State from Africa: Political Theory, Eurocentrism and Concrete Politics’, seeks to re-think the category of the state from an African standpoint. He engages the still pertinent question of what decolonization of political theory might mean to a scholar from Africa today. This also ties up well with an earlier emphasis about CPT engaging the real world. Pillay believes ‘that thinking the state from a geo-political location like Africa requires a more sceptical view of political theory as an activity for normative theorisation of abstract values’ (2018: 32). The converse that he argues is true. It is worthwhile ‘to think of political theory as embedded in concrete politics and political actions’ (2018: 32). What Pillay views as essential is to enter into a larger debate on political theory by thinking with the grain of a political theory of realism. It is encouraging reflections on the relationship between normative abstractions of thought offered by thinkers to uplift, civilise, make modern, give rights to, and make citizens on the one hand, and the concrete political world that shapes what becomes of these abstractions and how they emerge in daily life (Pillay, 2018: 43).

Diego von Vacano similarly excavates Latin American political thought (2014). These examples can be multiplied. Many of these arguments are comparative to the extent that they participate in a global conversation around political theory. Sungmoon Kim critically engages the claims of Fred Dallmayr on Confucianism. He concludes by suggesting that ‘Dallmayr applies the generic concept of democracy, rooted in Western experiences, directly to East Asia where democracy is either non-existent, or relatively new’ (Kim, 2018: 46). Kim argues that we can anticipate ethical Confucian democracy only after the introduction and further entrenchment of institutional democracy, which is justified on moderately consequentialist grounds and thus independent of Confucian virtue ethics, although I


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admit the Confucian virtue ethics can help integrate democracy’s institutional and instrumental value into the end of equal citizenship in which democracy’s intrinsic value lies (Kim, 2018: 50–1).

In a somewhat different vein, Yan Xuetong speculates about how traditional Confucian values might be synthesized with some liberal values to shape the world order of the 21st century. While clearly recognizing the decline of liberalism both in the West and outside (though for different reasons), Xuetong examines three claimants to a special status within the Chinese value system (2018: 1–22). The first relates to official ‘Marxism’, the second to a philosophy of ‘economic pragmatism’ and the third most influential set of values relate to Chinese ‘traditionalism’ which includes Confucianism in conjunction with other elements. It is the latter element which should particularly pique the interest of comparative politically theorists. Xuetong notes in this regard that [d]espite their differences, each of these schools emphasises the significance of political leadership, as well as the role of strategic capability, in constituting a base for the solidarity and durability of that leadership. In this regard, they argue that a superpower’s foreign policies should prioritise strategic reputation. To achieve this end, the ancient idea of ‘humane authority’ (wang) promotes the value of benevolence (ren) and justice (yi) in guiding decision-making (2018: 8).

Further, what makes attention to these values important is the fact that they appear to receive the endorsement of the Chinese state as its footprint grows in the world. It was ‘at the Conference on Diplomatic Work towards Surrounding Countries, explanations of new foreign policies included terminology applicable to Chinese traditional values such as qin (closeness), cheng (credibility), hui (beneficence), and rong (inclusiveness). These four Chinese characters also appeared in the foreign policy section of the 19th Party Congress report’ (Xuetong, 2018: 9). A core Confucian value emphasized in this discourse

is ‘benevolence’. Xuetong also alerts us to other traditional conceptions like ‘badao’ (hegemony) which has a completely different play if it serves as the guiding ethical compass for Chinese foreign policy. He reassures us that it is rather low in the pecking order of values when it comes to statesmanship in China (2018: 1–22). Another continent of knowledge that needs to be explored more thoroughly through the lens of a more inclusive CPT is the many worlds of Islamic thought. Exploring the troubled relationship often posited between liberalism and Islam, Mustapha Kamal Pasha for instance, suggests that [m]isrecognition of ‘political’ Islam as an atavistic throwback or as a reactive social phenomenon merely recycles orientalism or strengthens the liberal conceit of expansiveness and mutual tolerance. The dual uses of Islam, as negation and as tolerance, represents all that liberalism ostensibly negates, Islam’s assumed closure, irrationality, belligerence, and bigotry. In the second instance, liberalism opens its doors to difference, tolerating the otherness of Islam, extending reason to the cultural worlds of Islam (Pasha, 2006: 70).

Pasha is particularly critical of International Relations (IR) as a discipline for its inability to study Islamic thought with an open mind. He argues here that [t]he resistance of Western IR to alternative forms of knowledge is not a question of malice, conspiracy, or ignorance or a sudden reaction to unprecedented events. Rather, the current response to recent developments exposes the limits of the canon drawn principally from durable cultural imaginaries and patterns. The dependence of IR on these imaginaries and patterns directs inquiry away from presentism or primitive functionalism to an appreciation of historical and ideological strands. In the first instance, Western IR congeals to the burden of historical encounters with others. Despite appeals to universalism, the hegemonic proclivity to deny alternatives legitimacy and a simultaneous quest to either annihilate opposition or to assimilate other conditions the historical past of the discipline (Pasha, 2006: 66).

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There is a special role that CPT can play here especially when it comes to avoiding some of these prejudices in terms of how it approaches Islamic political thinking. Similarly, Roxanne Euben engages Sayyid Qutb ‘to recognize an important non-Western perspective on the experience of modernity; to see that the rationalist foundations of modern political and moral life may have failed to sustain us in some crucial ways; and by extension, to gain insight into the contemporary challenges to liberalism, democracy, and rationalism’ (1997: 53). Carlo Bonura adds a cautionary note in this regard when she notes that ‘discussions on the compatibility of Islam and liberalism are never about an essential compatibility. Rather, the discussion always focuses on some configuration, some comparative relation, that affirms the global primacy of liberal ideas as well as the ontological assumptions of liberal politics’ (2013: 45). This must be avoided if CPT is to enrich our understanding of milieus that mainstream scholars are especially less familiar with. A good illustration of bringing a thinker from the non-west in to conversation with global currents surrounding conceptions of world order is evident in a piece titled ‘Retrieving “Other” Visions of the Future: Sri Aurobindo and the Ideal of Human Unity’ by international legal scholar, B. S. Chimni. While there are a number of claims advanced here that are worth pondering over for comparative political theorists, the opening salvo in the piece situates Aurobindo within a larger pantheon of global political thought. Chimni asserts [t]he visions of the future of world order that find a place in contemporary writings and scholarship are essentially those advanced by Western thinkers (from Kant to Held). The work of nonWestern thinkers and visionaries hardly find a mention in them. The writings of Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950) are a good example of an integral vision of the future of global society that has received little attention. Based on a coherent, albeit contestable, theory of the evolution of


human society, Sri Aurobindo argues that the ideal of human unity will inevitably be realized. But if human unity is to contribute to individual and collective growth of nations and peoples, it must have spiritualism at its foundations (Chimni, 2006: 197).

However, Chimni throws an important caveat here when he claims I wish to clarify that my thesis is not about any marriage of materialism with religion but about transcending these binary opposites. The concept of spiritualism as deployed by Sri Aurobindo helps us to do so, as it is rooted in philosophical reflections about the essential unity of all phenomena, both material and spiritual (Chimni, 2006: 199, emphasis in original).

Kanti Bajpai and I have embarked on a project to constructively address the neglect in the IR of non-western political thought. Given our acquaintance with elements of Indian political thinking, we are in the process of bringing together a multi-volume series that introduces a wide gamut of thinkers and practitioners who speak directly to the subject of India’s international and strategic thought. Our intent is to participate in a much wider global conversation around international and strategic thought. The first of our volumes, titled, India, the West, and International Order is an effort to really bring to light how different streams (sometimes antagonistic) of Indian political thought, across the continuum, reflected on fundamental questions relating to both international and strategic thought; dating from the 19th century to more recent times (Bajpai and Mallavarapu, 2019). It would not be surprising to see more of such endeavours from within the global south in the years to come. Serious students of CPT must partake of these efforts to widen the repertoire of what they treat as part of their intellectual palate. Returning to the question of the ‘canon’, it is not hard to see that concerns relating to the canon are not specific only to political theory. Scanning the missing African–American


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presence in the American literary canon, Toni Morrison argues that [c]anon building is empire building. Canon defense is national defense. Canon debate, whether the terrain, nature, and range (of criticism, of history, of the history of knowledge, of the definition of language, the universality of aesthetic principles, the sociology of art, the humanistic imagination), is the clash of cultures. And all of the interests are vested (Morrison, 1988, emphasis in the original).

Morrison ends up reading the American literary canon differently when she looks ‘for the ways in which the presence of AfroAmericans has shaped the choices, the language, the structure – the meaning of so much American literature. A search, in other words, for the ghost in the machine’ (1988). The ‘ghost in the machine’ of political theory leads us to another reason to think about why CPT acquires a certain urgency at this historical moment. This has to do with ‘other’ and how most of our disciplines including political theory often struggle contending with difference. While ‘we generally ought to provincialize the Western canon’ we must also find a language to deal with ‘other’ (Vacano, 2015: 471). The larger point here which must be highlighted is that, as Farah Godrej persuasively observes civilizational representation and transcultural resonance are hardly mutually exclusive. The challenge, then, is to strike a delicate balance between seeking to subsume all other by explaining it in terms of the familiar, suggesting, therefore, that a familiar or transcultural message is implicitly contained within the words of a given thinker, or insisting that other is recognizable only to those embedded in its context and that transcultural knowledge, is, therefore, impossible (Godrej, 2009a: 579–80).

More scathing is her indictment that ‘the problem is that the existing canons, methods, and practices of inquiry within political theory are not structured in any way that makes such a recognition central’ (Godrej, 2009a: 580). Armed with this knowledge, it might be worthwhile thinking about the ways in which we address the dimension of other which

appears, on the face of it, inescapable in our engagement with the world. I take recourse to reflections by the philosopher Bimal Krishna Matilal, followed subsequently with an account of Gayatri Spivak’s reading of Mahasweta Devi, a leading tribal activist in India, as part of an effort to seriously grapple with the dimension of ‘other’. I conclude with some cautionary notes on the dangers of an uncritical CPT succumbing to the temptations of ‘Orientalism’ and how best to steer away from it.

Coming to Terms with OTHERNESS Let us think about the phenomenon of other through a compelling illustration. Pamuk notes ‘[w]hen Proust writes about love, he is seen as someone talking about universal love. Especially at the beginning, when I wrote about love, people would say that I was writing about Turkish love’ (2007: 378). It is fair to ask in what fashion do the politics of appropriation or misappropriation transpires here. Why does one formulation of love qualify as a generic human condition while the ‘other’ formulation remains tethered to a very specific local accent of time and place. Does it have to do merely with spatial location? Or does it have to do with power? Simply put, why does one manifestation of love go uncontested as universal while the other in the same breath is rendered provincial. These questions should bother all comparative political theorists who value diversity and intend drawing in a variety of influences in a CPT conversation. There are several tacks any of us could adopt to address the question. It is closely linked to the thorny question of relativism. An approach which might be worth adopting here is to examine similar debates in the sphere of comparative ethics. I take recourse here to the work of Indian philosopher Bimal Krishna Matilal who authored two seminal

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pieces on the question of ethical relativism and pluralism in the context of cultures. However, before proceeding to some key claims relating to relativism it might be worthwhile examining how Matilal evaluated the concept of ‘others’. In a piece titled, ‘The East, the Other’, Matilal observes unequivocally that there is a persistent image of the East in the Western mind – the East that is exotic, mysterious and mischievous. It is the mystique of the East. To raise the above question is not to endorse this idea of the East. For the East can hardly be a mystery to an Easterner, not at least in the same way as it appears to the Westerner. The mystique of the East is essentially a Western construction (Matilal, 2015a: 265).

Critical of unproblematized notions of cultural exclusivity, Matilal suggests that a dialogue with ‘the other’ is indispensable. He asks how can one understand or become self-consciously aware of one’s own uniqueness without understanding the Other? Uniqueness is, of course, there, but in the context of a living culture interacting with others, no uniqueness is static or immutable. The old uniqueness vanishes to make room for new uniqueness, being enriched by adoption and absorption. (Matilal, 2015a: 271)

An interesting related claim is that ‘[t]he Western thought-world has plundered other cultures and enriched itself with the booty although the booty has been transformed beyond recognition and assimilated totally’ (Matilal, 2015a: 271). However, Matilal conveys a stance which displays no special anxiety about others. By conceding its wide role in the social, the ethical and the political universe, Matilal is asking us to come to terms with it. These views also percolate to his conception of relativism. Matilal’s survey of positions in the field of ethical relativism presents us with five distinct positions. These are worth recounting because they also hold a mirror to scholars of CPT. To ensure that positions are not misrepresented in any sense, I shall let Matilal speak. He writes


There are various strands in the texture of our controversy over moral relativism. I isolate the following positions: 1 Ethical standards found in different cultures are only in apparent conflict with each other. This plurality exists only at the surface. At some deeper level there is only one set of moral standards to which everybody should conform, and it is possible to discover this singular standard of universal morality through rational means. I shall call it moral monism or singularism. 2 Intercultural plurality of moral standards is reflected also in the intracultural plurality of norms (which is witnessed by the pervasive presence of moral conflicts in persons). 3 Genuine plurality exists, and some are more right than others, but there is no way to decide or know which ones are better or worse than others. Despite the air of Orwellian cliché, this can be seriously held position. I shall call it agnosticism. Moral conflicts on this view would be ­ineliminable. 4 Among the many moral norms available across cultures it is impossible to judge objectively some as better or worse than others, for although they may be mutually comprehensible, there is no transcultural standard of evaluation. Culture-bound norms are neither good nor bad. This is what I shall call soft relativism. 5 Culture-bound norms are both incommensurable and mutually incomprehensible, and hence one may say that one norm is just as good or as bad as the other. This I shall call hard relativism. (Matilal, 2015b: 218–9)

Comparative political theorists are also compelled to engage these positions in the light of their own work. It might be worthwhile to come clean on which of these models they find more plausible and why in the field of CPT. They are CPT monists, who are convinced that the questions of political theory are universal, and wherever you find yourself it would be inevitable to contend with a set of core facets relating to conceptions of the good life, notions of political order and legitimacy, or even notions of justice. The inter- and intra-cultural pluralists are not so sure the monists are right. They probe differing conceptions and think of political


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traditions as more complex human endeavours. The agnosts are willing to claim one set of political standards as superior to another but are still are unable to arbitrate claims of one against the other. Agnosts generate indifference at best and nihilism at their worst when it comes to arbitrating conflicting claims about the most desirable way to proceed. The soft relativists sit on the fence and are unable to judge a political framework as superior and another as inferior in any simple terms. They would suggest that there are no widely shared criteria by which one set of ethical standards or in the case of CPT, political precepts, are inherently superior or inferior to another set of similar precepts. Thus, their basic claim is the impossibility of evolving a ‘transcultural standard of evaluation’ (Matilal, 2015b: 219). Hard relativists fully endorse the incommensurability position and leave us with again no choice in arbitrating one claim against the other. Such a position does not augur well for those looking for clear-cut directions in terms of choosing between competing ethical/political models or standards in this regard. In the light of the preceding discussion, where does Matilal himself stand in relation to these positions and does it appear as a reasonable stance to adopt? Matilal introduces the idea of a ‘minimal moral standard’ or alternatively the idea of ‘the basic fabric of the human world’ which are his lodestars when it comes to choosing between competing ethical standards (2015c: 252, 255, 261). He disavows a nihilist position and is willing to argue that some core universal basic is well worth arguing over. He distinguishes this from any simple notion of universalism or any simple form of cultural essentialism. His argument is straightforward and clear as reflected below I submit the following thoughts for consideration: the supposition of context-neutral rules assumes that there is a basic moral fabric in all societies, all communities and cultures, which holds their members, human beings together. This should not be conflated with the old Universalism, nor with some boring commonalities of the species, nor with any objectionable form of essentialism (viz., all humans

have the same essence). Since we talk about minimal agreements in norms, this view concedes relativism up to a limit but rejects it when it militates against the basic fabric of the human world (Matilal, 2015c: 255).

The real issue for Matilal is how to salvage this ‘basic universal moral fabric’ when it is juxtaposed against the backdrop of a ‘mad world of war, bigotry, fundamentalism and power-brokerage’ (2015c: 261). Returning to more fundamental asymmetries of representation and others, Walter Mignolo echoes Pamuk when he observes that, much like Turkish love once upon a time scholars assumed that if you ‘come’ from Latin America you have to ‘talk about’ Latin America; that in such a case you have to be a token of your culture. Such expectation will not arise if the author ‘comes’ from Germany, France, England or the US. In such cases it is assumed that you have to be talking about your culture but can function as a theoretically minded person. As we know: the first world has knowledge; the third world has culture, Native Americans have wisdom, Anglo Americans have science (Mignolo, 2009: 2).

Contesting such a pecking order, Mignolo argues that ‘[g]eo-politics of knowledge goes hand in hand with geo-politics of knowing. Who and when, why and where is knowledge generated … Asking these questions means to shift the attention from the enunciated to the enunciation’ (2009: 2). To decolonize knowledge entails ‘the unveiling of epistemic silences of Western epistemology and affirming the epistemic rights of the racially devalued’ (2009: 4). Closely aligned to this intellectual project of recovery, Gayatri Spivak follows the work of Mahasweta Devi, a leading tribal activist in India, to raise larger questions relating to theory, knowledge formation and the inclusion of indigenous peoples in any such project. The reason why I insert this sensibility here is because CPT in the years ahead will have to increasingly take on board these unrepresented voices, and not merely chronicle their experiences, but build theory on the solid edifice of the lived lives of people from different corners of the globe.

Comparative Political Theory

Referring to these maps as ‘imaginary maps’, Spivak argues that [o]ne of the not inconsiderate elements in the drawing of these maps is the appropriation of the Fourth World’s ecology. Here a kinship can be felt through the land-grabbing and deforestation practiced against the First Nations of the Americas, the destruction of reindeer forests of the Suomis of Scandinavia and Russia, and the tree-felling and eucalyptus plantations of the original nations, indeed of all early civilizations that have been pushed back and away to make way for what we call the geographic lineaments of the map of the world today (Spivak, 2015b: 200–1).

In an interview with Spivak, Mahasweta Devi draws attention to one of her stories Pterodactyl. Devi claims that Pterodactyl is an abstract of my entire tribal experience. Through this Nagesia experience I have explained other tribal experiences as well. I have not kept to the customs of one tribe alone. In the matter of the respect for the dead, for example, I have mixed together the habits of many tribes. If read carefully, Pterodactyl will communicate the agony of the tribals, of marginalized people all over the world (Devi, 2015: xiv).

Spivak concludes that ‘Mahasweta’s fiction resonates with the possibility of constructing a new type of responsibility for the cultural worker in a world that is already under way’ (2015a: xx–xxi). When we think of ‘others’ there is room to enormously challenge our normative assumptions and think of ways of bringing the excluded back into our conversation about theory and different worlds. To the author of ‘My Father’s Suitcase’ to be a writer is to acknowledge the secret wounds that we carry inside us, the wounds so secret that we ourselves are barely aware of them, and to patiently explore them, know them, illuminate them, to own these pains and wounds, and to make them a conscious part of our spirit and our writing (Pamuk, 2006).

This sensibility might be worth taking on board for comparative political theorists of the 21st century. It brings us back to the idea of ‘empathetic awareness’ which Dallmayr


gestured to in 2004 while fleshing out an intellectual agenda for CPT. Perhaps it is also worth pausing briefly here to reflect on the dangers of Orientalism in CPT scholarship. The work of Megan Thomas seeks to alert us to the ‘family resemblances’ in some variants of CPT with Orientalism. She argues that ‘[c]omparative political theory needs to place less of a premium on distinct “others,” on “civilization” as marking boundaries, and on (textual) “tradition” as marking contexts, if it is to avoid repeating the emphases and exclusions of earlier Orientalism’ (Thomas, 2010: 655). It must eschew exoticization of the non-west; it must engage broader theoretical questions that are of interest to political theorists across the board, and avoid naïve textual exegesis that merely reproduces classical Oriental modes of viewing these sources. It must be also willing to ask original questions, be willing to renounce received wisdom where warranted from a privileged Western lens and challenge itself intellectually to evaluate a wide range of sources with criteria that factor context more critically. Ultimately, Thomas suggests that Orientalism often conceived of itself as bridging the world of contemporary (European) scholarship, on the one hand, and what it saw as unduly marginalized texts, thinkers, traditions, on the other. Comparative political theory need not claim a patrimony in Orientalism, but it might more specifically delineate what distinguishes it from earlier calls to broaden Europe’s narrow and self-centered attention. By more carefully distinguishing itself from earlier Orientalism, comparative political theory might avoid repeating Orientalism’s quiet failure (Thomas, 2010: 677).

This is an intellectual project that if persuasively accomplished is worth its weight in gold.

In Lieu of a Conclusion: Contending with the ‘Ghost in the Machine’ I began this intervention by framing my interest in CPT in the crevices of the autobiographical


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memories of two accomplished storytellers – Pamuk and Ghosh. The negotiations of the corpus of ideas from the world outside and from what we regard as ‘home’ are layered and indeed complex. Novelists are particularly well placed to tap into these dilemmas given their ability to straddle many worlds. Honest accounts speak to moments of self-doubt and the delicate task of contending with the competing realities engulfing both the immediate universe and the external worlds, which are at times, some removes from this immediacy. I believe that CPT scholars have their own share of parallel predicaments, thrown as they are in the maelstrom of the global, having to contend with ideas and practices emanating from diverse political milieus. They are expected to disaggregate their eclectic contexts, comprehend specific inflections and oftentimes complex motivations that underpin political praxis. What I have sought to do in the course of this chapter is to encapsulate the state of play of CPT in terms of its multi-faceted intellectual quest. Like any other field of study, this is a story about it origins, animating debates, the shifting sands of these agreements and disagreements, protagonists and their detractors, trajectories taken and eschewed and its current moment of reckoning. I shall not desist here from flagging two questions and in the course of answering these briefly reiterate some fundamental claims that our journey has revealed. The first question is rather basic. What is the essential nature of the beast that interests us here (namely, CPT) and second, where should it be headed? Let me begin by addressing the first question. CPT to my mind is a vital intellectual project in the world we inhabit. It is not a coincidence that the genesis of the field coincided with the end of the Cold War. There has been for some time now a growing unease with the existing frameworks, making it imperative that we find a new language to pose questions more squarely, and to then go on to address them with a newfound sense of purpose. There are several reasons

why CPT has come to be viewed intellectually as worthwhile pursuing. In the course of the chapter, I identified six arguments supporting CPT. These include a quest for ‘genuine universalism’, navigating a world of ‘principled value-conflicts’, inserting a ‘cosmopolitan’ sensibility, strengthening a democratic impulse when it come to the broader sociology and politics of knowledge, evolving shared standards of political judgment, and contributing to reconfiguring old-style political theory with a deliberate comparative inflection and a global set of preoccupations. When one locks horns with this beast there are two inevitable dimensions that surface. I dealt with these at some length in this chapter because I believe that they are critical for any robust version of CPT. The first of these is the ‘canon’ and the second deals with another human reflex, i.e. relentless ‘others’. On both these questions, I want to come clean on where I stand in relation to them. With regard to the canon, I endorse the view that it needs to be critically approached and examined threadbare in terms of its aetiology, capacity to fundamentally illuminate aspects of our social and political existence and reveal newer sides when read in diverse contexts. Canons must be evaluated in conjunction with an open acknowledgment of their imbrication with power, the social and cultural capital which lend it a special status and the accompanying epistemic violence that was inflicted when it edged out competitors in the process of foisting itself as the commonsense or representative approach to our chosen domain of study. I would like to reiterate here, that while Western political theory has tended to dominate, and at times eviscerate, other forms of political theorizing, there still remains a kernel of political thought from this tradition that is worth preserving and engaging for the questions they continue to pose if not always for the provisional answers they provide to these questions. Blandly stated, we must not disengage but more critically engage with this body of literature. We must

Comparative Political Theory

also guard against the dangers of any form of nativism or unintended ethnocentrism wherever it emerges from. There are also the usual traps to avoid such as any manifestation of Orientalism in CPT scholarship. On the question of others, I find Matilal’s project to salvage a global standard for evaluating the relativist bases of comparative ethics an audacious endeavour. If we are to avoid being nihilistic about relativism, we will have to find a way of arbitrating our collective claims to what might count as a valid comparative political theory set of criteria by which a community of scholars can acknowledge a genuine contribution and reject a spurious one. We must guard against the usual follies involved in such judgments. In other words, we must avoid non-inclusive and partisan judgments, and eliminate the imposition of standards merely by sleight of hand premised on the camouflage of power. The real challenge is how to keep the Nietzschean ‘will to power’ momentarily at bay or quarantined if at all possible (Nietzsche 1978: 215–231). I would like to close by reiterating that CPT is poised at an exciting global conjuncture. There is more than a degree of political urgency to develop a more refined understanding of the many worlds we inhabit. There is a need to widen our palate of ideas, our appreciation of eclectic political traditions and practices and a mechanism by which we can generate a global conversation around themes that animate scholars in this field of scholarship. Political theorists in the 21st century are asking what a political theory of the future might look like. There are several concerns here – decoding empire and imperialism in the 21st century, asking how political theory can contribute to deciphering the Anthropocene, what analytical moves might help us get a handle on political populism, confronting newer scientific and technological advancements and ways in which we re-negotiate the legacies of the classics in a fast-changing world. CPT has a role here too. By insisting on a comparative frame and


by asking probing questions with regard to all these dimensions and many more (too long to list here), it is perhaps best placed to speculate on plausible future utopias to embrace and dystopias to reject. The hope is that CPT might find a new language and sensibility to contend with the ‘ghosts in the machine’, whether these relate to the historical ‘canon’ or ‘others’ and pave the way for a richer and more robust democratic epistemic culture, marking a clear departure from the explicit and implicit silences of the past.

Acknowledgments The author wishes to express his gratitude to Kanti Bajpai, Rustom Bharucha, B.S.Chimni, Peter Katzenstein, Srikanth Mallavarapu, Medha and co-editors of this Handbook for their insightful comments on this chapter. The usual disclaimer applies.

References Bajpai, Kanti & Mallavarapu, Siddharth (2019). Introduction. In: India, The West, and International Order. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, pp. 1–50. Bonura, Carlo (2013). Theorizing Elsewhere: Comparison and Topological Reasoning in Political Theory. Polity, 45 (1), 34–55. Chibber, Vivek (2013). Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital. Delhi: Navayana. Chimni, B. S. (2006). Retrieving ‘Other’ Visions of the Future: Sri Aurobindo and the Ideal of Human Unity. In: Branwen Gruffydd Jones ed. Decolonizing International Relations. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp. 197–217. Dallmayr, Fred (1997). Introduction: Toward a Comparative Political Theory. The Review of Politics, 59 (3), 421–7. Dallmayr, Fred (2004). Beyond Monologue: For a Comparative Political Theory. Perspectives on Politics, 2 (2), 249–57.


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Devi, Mahasweta (2015). Imaginary Maps (3rd impression). Kolkata: Thema. Drabinski, John (2019).Frantz Fanon. In Edward N. Zalta ed. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Forthcoming from: [Accessed 22 December 2019]. Euben, Roxanne L. (1997). Comparative Political Theory: An Islamic Fundamentalist Critique of Rationalism. The Journal of Politics, 59 (1), 28–55. Fanon, Frantz (1952). Black Skin, White Masks (2008: Revised edition). New York: Grove Press. Fanon, Frantz (1961). The Wretched of the Earth (2015: Revised edition). New York: Grove Press. Fukuyama, Francis (1992). The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Avon Books. Ganeri, Jonardon (2015). Ethic and Epics: The Collected Essays of Bimal Krishna Matilal (Vol. 2, paperback edition). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Ghosh, Amitav (1998). The Testimony of My Grandfather’s Bookcase [Online] Available from: bookcase.html [Accessed 2 January, 2019]. Godrej, Farah (2009a). Response to ‘What is Comparative Political Theory?’. The Review of Politics, 71 (4), 567–82. Godrej, Farah (2009b). Towards a Cosmopolitan Thought: The Hermeneutics of Interpreting the Other. Polity, 41 (2), 135–65. Huntington, Samuel (1996). The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Touchstone. Ilieva, Evgenia. (2019). ‘Countering the Dogmatism of Eurocentrism: Comparative Political Theory as Heterology’. Unpublished manuscript. Jordan, Sara R. & Nederman, Cary J. (2012). The Logic of the History of Ideas and the Study of Comparative Political Theory. Journal of the History of Ideas, 73 (4), 627–41. Kim, Sungmoon (2018). Fred Dallmayr’s Postmodern Vision of Confucian Democracy: A Critical Examination. Asian Philosophy, 28 (1), 35–54. March, Andrew F. (2009). What is Comparative Political Theory? The Review of Politics, 71 (4), 531–65. Matilal, Bimal Krishna (2015a). The East, the Other. In: Ganeri, Jonardon ed. Ethic and Epics: The Collected Essays of Bimal Krishna Matilal

(Vol. 2, paperback edition). New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 265–77. Matilal, Bimal Krishna (2015b). Ethical Relativism and the Confrontation of Cultures. In: Ganeri, Jonardon ed. Ethic and Epics: The Collected Essays of Bimal Krishna Matilal (Vol. 2, paperback edition). New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 218–41. Matilal, Bimal Krishna (2015c). Pluralism, Relativism and Interaction Between Cultures. In: Ganeri, Jonardon ed. Ethic and Epics: The Collected Essays of Bimal Krishna Matilal (Vol. 2, paperback edition). New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 242–62. Mbem Society. be, Achille & Goldberg, David Theo (2018). Conversation: Achille Mbeme and David Theo Goldberg on Critique of Black Reason. Theory, Culture & Society [Online] Available from: [Accessed 31 August, 2019]. Mignolo, Walter D. (2009). Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and De-Colonial Freedom. Theory, Culture & Society, 26 (7–8), 1–23. Morrison, Toni (1988). Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature. The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. Delivered at The University of Michigan, October 7. [Online] Available from: a-to-z/m/morrison90.pdf [Accessed 22 December, 2019] Nandy, Ashis (2009). The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism (2nd edition). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1978. A Nietzsche Reader (translator R.J.Hollingdale). London: Penguin. Pamuk, Orhan (2006). My Father’s Suitcase. The Nobel Lecture 2006. [Online] Available from: 2006/12/25/my-fathers-suitcase [Accessed 2 January, 2019]. Pamuk, Orhan (2007). The Paris Review Interview. In: Pamuk, Orhan ed. Other Colours. London: Faber and Faber, pp. 353–78. Pasha, Mustapha Kamal (2006). Liberalism, Islam and International Relations. In: Branwen Gruffydd Jones ed. Decolonizing International Relations. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp. 65–85.

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Pillay, Suren (2018). Thinking the State from Africa: Political Theory, Eurocentrism and Concrete Politics. Politkon, 45 (1), 32–47. Said, Edward W. (1978). Orientalism (1994: Revised edition). New York: Vintage Books. Said, Edward W. (1979). The Question of Palestine (1992: Revised edition). New York: Vintage Books. Said, Edward W. (1981). Covering Islam (1997: Revised edition). New York: Vintage Books. Said, Edward W. (1983). The World, the Text, and the Critic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Said, Edward W. (1993). Culture and Imperialism (1994: Revised edition). New York: Vintage Books. Spivak, Gayatri (2015a). Translator’s Preface. In: Devi, Mahasweta ed. (2015) Imaginary Maps (3rd impression). Kolkata: Thema, pp. i–xvi. Spivak, Gayatri (2015b). Appendix. In: Devi, Mahasweta ed. (2015) Imaginary Maps (3rd impression). Kolkata: Thema, pp. 199–210.


Thiong’o, Ngugi wa (2012). Globalectics: Theory and Politics of Knowing. New York: Columbia University Press. Thomas, Megan C. (2010). Orientalism and Comparative Political Theory. The Review of Politics, 72 (4), 653–77. Vacano, Diego von (2014). Latin American Political Thought. In Gibbons, Michael T., Coole, Diana, Ellis, Elisabeth & Ferguson, Kennan eds. The Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Vol. IV: Gui–Len). Wiley Blackwell, pp. 2051–8. Vacano, Diego von (2015). The Scope of Comparative Political Theory. Annual Review of Political Science, 18: 465–80. Warren, Rosie, ed. (2017). The Debate on Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital. London: Verso. Williams, S. Melissa & Warren, Mark E. (2014). A Democratic Case for Comparative Political Theory. Political Theory, 42 (1), 26–57. Xuetong, Yan (2018). Chinese Values vs Liberalism: What Ideology Will Shape the International Normative Order? The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 11 (1), 1–22.

2 Constructivism Jun Ayukawa

Introduction: What is Constructivism? Constructivism is based on the idea that social phenomena are constructed through human interaction. Usually, people take these social phenomena for granted and regard them as objective facts or occurrences. Constructivism, on the other hand, scrutinizes what people believe to be truths or objective phenomena; it considers accepted facts to be constructed interpretations brought about through human interaction. Because construction is accomplished through interactions, this perspective is called social constructivism. Although constructivism’s roots are in sociology, it has been adopted by political scientists as an approach that examines how political issues and policies are shaped. Social constructivism proposes that humans use language to define situations and then act according to those definitions. It attempts to examine narratives and discourse

in order to comprehend the meanings, interpretations and definitions of political conditions and social circumstances.

Social Constructivism: The Birth of Constructivism and Its Development Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s The Social Construction of Reality (1966) led to the emergence of modern social constructivism. This book coined another term – constructionism. European scholars and scholars interested in science and technology tend to use the term constructivism, while American scholars and scholars in social sciences tend to prefer the word constructionism. However, the terms can be used interchangeably (Holstein and Gubrium, 2008). Berger and Luckmann’s book has become a sociological classic. It offers a synthesis of the works of such leading sociological


figures as Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, George Herbert Mead, Karl Marx and Berger and Luckmann’s mentor, Alfred Schutz. Alfred Schutz was social phenomenologist and sociologist. He moved from Austria to America in 1939, where he worked as a banker and taught at the New School of Social Research. He introduced phenomenological ideas into Weberian action theory, and he proposed the concept of multiple realities, refuting traditional thinking that there exists only one reality. Berger and Luckmann also drew upon works by earlier sociological theorists. Mead’s interest in how the self is constructed through human interaction led him to understand that other new meanings, new definitions of situations and new values emerged through interaction (Mead, 1934). The early writings of Karl Marx note that when an individual joins an organized group and is given status, the role of the individual becomes fixed within the relationships of the group and meaningful action is changed into the routine work of the organization, and this is the process by which individual desires are reified into organizational functions. For modern scholars, the ideas of social constructivism seem unexceptional. However, Berger and Luckmann’s book was welcomed as a counter to the dominant theory of structural functionalism, which evaluated a person from the limited perspective of being simply a function within an organization. The phenomenological and symbolic interactionist points of view were new and a declaration of human creativity. As social constructivism became more popular, its claims became more diversified and radicalized. Over time, it began to emphasize language, discourse, narrative and story. Although placing value on language might seem extreme, it is reasonable from the viewpoint of the theory of emancipation. For a person whose consciousness has been conditioned within a limiting physical environment, there is only one way to trigger the sense of emancipation – through language and narrative – which is able to


cause a change from an sich sein (in itself) to für sich sein (for itself). Words can cause a revolutionary subjectivity and consciousness. Berger and Luckmann also introduced the Marxist concepts of Entfremdung (alienation) and Verdinglichung (reification) into their book (Marx, 1844; Marx and Engels, 1845–1846). The prime difference between Entfremdung and Verdinglichung is that alienation presupposes some essential character of human being, but reification thinks of the human being as an ensemble of social relationships. The concept of reification offers escape from postulating the essence of human being, that is, escape from essentialism. Young sociologists and social scientists who are oriented to emancipation seek to get rid of ‘false consciousness’. From this critical perspective, one theorist who was ignored in The Social Construction of Reality was Antonio Gramsci, but a scholar who had the similar orientation toward the emancipation by breaking through constrained consciousness is George Lukacs, who is referred to in Berger and Luckmann’s book. There is critical constructivism in the study of social problems. This approach proposes to integrate symbolic interactionism and critical theory of those such as Marx and Gramsci (Heiner, 2002). This is just a brief summary of the classic theory of the origin of constructivism, now I would like to consider the developments of constructivism by examining a few themes and topics which are mainly relevant to social problems, politics (including international relations (IR)) and public policy.

Constructivism in the Study of Social Problems The two social science fields which have produced the most important social constructivist work are sociology and political science (Edelman, 1988). In particular, the constructivist study of social problems has flourished, and there are calls to extend this work, which


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would further strengthen the constructivist perspective (Best and Loseke, 2018). The constructivist study of social problems emerged by combining the original constructivist sociology of knowledge and the sociology of deviance. It owes heavily to the ideas about the labeling perspective in the study of deviance, which describes how the labels ‘deviant’, ‘criminal’ or ‘delinquent’ are given to someone whose behavior is recognized as offensive to the established order. Thus, deviance is socially constructed and controlled by laws that are established and enforced by social control agencies. One of the founders of the labeling perspective, Howard S. Becker, wrote about the creation of the marijuana tax law (Becker, 1963). His paper showed that the construction of laws could be applied not only to political science but also to social problems. His labeling perspective could be relevant not only to deviant behavior but to wider social problems. John I. Kitsuse, an influential labeling theorist, played a key role in applying the labeling perspective to social issues by examining the process of claims-making by which phenomena are constructed as social problems (Spector and Kitsuse, 1977). Claimsmaking is ‘the process of making claims, of bringing a troubling condition to the attention of others’ (Best, 2017: 342). When claims demand that something should be done about a phenomenon which has been constructed as a social problem, it requires some public policy or social policy. In this sense, the study of social problems becomes relevant to political science. Social constructivism does not approach problems in society in the same way as the traditional studies of social problems, which assume that objective conditions caused the issues. Social constructivism examines problems not as a condition but as a continuum of human activities, which include claimsmaking, media coverage, public perceptions, public persuasion and local government influence, as well as social problems workers who are responsible for managing the people

involved in the social issue through activities and devising policy outcomes.1 The social constructivist studies these activities, especially focusing on the rhetoric used by the participants. The use of large numbers to influence society of the seriousness of the problem is one common feature. One example of the usage of large numbers to influence society was the case of missing children in the United States. The idea that strangers abduct children is common, including the notion that a child might have been sacrificed by a cult in a secret ceremony. This idea is propagated by the mass media when it postulates that a stranger has abducted a child. In fact, in many cases it was a parent or relative who took the child. Other children ran away and were either found soon after they were declared missing or discovered living with one parent who had been refused custody. Although actual cases of missing children taken by strangers are rare, claimsmakers often estimate that the total is vastly higher (Best, 1990). Joel Best proposed a theoretical model of natural history of social problems in which there are several sequential stages, from claims-making to media coverage, public reaction, policy making, social problem work and policy outcome (Best, 2017). Best suggests that in some cases it is in the interest of people and the mass media to use large numbers in describing a problem to underline its seriousness. Even when it is found out that the large number was incorrect, the smaller number is not always announced in the media. Failure to construct a social problem can be a challenge for people who may not enjoy resources that allow them to get attention from people in general. On the other hand, construction of one problem may make people blind to other, more serious problems. For example, in order to conceal the failure of the president/prime minister in office, and thereby distract people’s attention from the big political problems, the powerful may try to focus on some minor problem or on their own achievements in order to disperse


people’s attention. In this sense, the concept of ‘agenda setting’ proposed by mass media research is relevant to constructivist study of social problems.

Diversities in Constructivism Social constructivism claims that it lets the people who make claims define social problems and avoids presupposing the existence of objective conditions. But, in practice constructivists often find themselves contrasting what they treat as objective conditions and the subjective conditions depicted by claimsmakers. This kind of selective relativism is termed ‘ontological gerrymandering’. Gerrymandering is an American political idiom that refers to drawing boundaries of electoral districts so as to make some outcomes more likely. Ontological gerrymandering, then, argues that some analysts selectively applied theoretical assumptions so as to advance their arguments. A dispute over ontological gerrymandering in the middle of 1980 led to the division of the social constructivism of social problems into two schools. One is strict constructionism,2 which was represented by John I. Kitsuse, and the other is contextual constructionism, led by Joel Best. Strict constructivists accept the criticism of ontological gerrymandering and try to avoid referring to social conditions. The position that claims that we cannot but presuppose something is called contextual constructivism. Contextual constructivism posits that it is possible to assess claims about a condition by analyzing the process by which the condition is claimed to be a social problem. It is very clear that both strict and contextual constructivist studies mainly analyze the process by which some condition is claimed to be a social problem and the process by which that definition is successfully recognized, shared and authorized. Neither focuses on the conditions being defined as social problems. Strict constructivism tries


to maintain theoretical purity by not mentioning those conditions, by being detached to the material world and staying focused on discourse and narratives. But in practice their empirical research cannot obey these principles, unless they limit themselves to theory and forego producing empirical studies (Best, 1993; Holstein and Miller, 1993). One term used by the contextual constructivists is ‘domain expansion’ (Best, 1990, 2017). This refers to the way the definition of a social problem can evolve over time. For example, the problem of domestic violence at one time referred to physical violence; the victim of domestic violence was the wife of a domineering husband who controlled the family’s life. However, claims-makers came to argue that the definition of domestic violence ought to be expanded to include, not only physical violence, but also economic control and verbal or psychological cruelty. Domain expansion is this process of expanding definitions. In fact, domestic violence as a social problem is no longer limited to husband and wife, but can include unmarried partners and elders. A similar example of domain expansion can be seen in the term ‘child abuse’. At one time, physical abuse was considered child abuse, but that problem now includes psychological abuse as well as neglect and sexual abuse. In the realm of political science and political sociology, one of the insightful concepts developed is ‘target population’ in the study of public policies, social policies and social problems. Schneider and Ingram proposed this concept of target population, which refers to the people who are targeted to receive benefits and help from public policy (Schneider and Ingram, 2008). Their theory examines how particular people are chosen to be targeted for help and how the help is constructed, including how to solve the problem or situation. They offer a typology of four types of target populations: ‘Advantaged’, ‘Contenders’, ‘Dependent’ and ‘Deviant’. For example, ‘the advantaged groups have excessive resources for the influence of


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policy such as size, wealth, mobilization potential, and positions of authority, but they also carry very positive social constructions as being deserving of the special benefits received from policy’ (Schneider and Ingram, 2008: 193). On the other hand, in social problems such as drug use, how the drug problem and drug user are constructed is a crucial matter, and policies differ depending on how the target population is constructed. The dependence on drugs of an addict or a patient under medical supervision are constructed differently, the addict, as a ‘Deviant’, who should be punished; the patient, as a ‘Dependent’, who should be treated. Or when juveniles commit crimes, it is not just the nature of the crime that is at issue, but there is a wider examination of other factors, such as family history, intellectual ability and present living conditions, so that youths may be constructed as belonging to the category of ‘Dependent’ children and juvenile, rather than being constructed as belonging to the category of ‘Deviant’. Different assessments will lead to different public policies being chosen and executed. ‘Empirical research has confirmed the importance of social constructions of target populations and has shown how constructions are used, manipulated, reproduced, and changed in the policymaking process’ (ibid., p. 189). And, it has developed into the way that ‘[i]t brought the importance of social construction into the understanding of how power operates in policymaking; it brought the design and content, not just the process, of public policy into the discussion of symbols and values; and it connected policy design elements to messages that affect citizenship and participation’ (ibid., p. 191, emphasis in original).

Crime Problems Many social constructivist analysts studying social problems focus on the construction of crime problems. The number of prisoners in

the United States was relatively stable up until about 1980, but it has since increased. From 1980 to 2000, the number of prisoners (including inmates in prisons and jails) increased roughly fourfold – from approximately 500,000 to more than two million. After 2000, the rate of increase slowed but the number of prisoners continued to increase until 2008 when it peaked at 2,310,300. It has since declined, but at a slower rate than the previous increases. In 2016, the number incarcerated was 2,162,400. Federal, state and local governments decide criminal policy. They are influenced by public opinion. When people listen to or watch crime news, people are liable to believe that crimes happen randomly and they are afraid of being victimized (Best, 1999). ‘Just deserts’, ‘zero tolerance’, ‘broken windows’, ‘war on drugs’, ‘mandatory minimum sentence’ and ‘three strikes and you are out’ were promoted as criminal justice policies. Lots of criminologists have warned about the bad effects of incarcerating large numbers of people, but in vain. Criminologists argued that as well as the huge cost of running prisons, the social effects on the prisoners could be serious; for example, families would lose income, families would be broken, prisons would be overcrowded which could lead to fighting, injuries, accidents and problems with prison guards. In the privately run prisons, many prison guards are paid low wages and are not properly trained, leading to the mistreatment of prisoners and riots. Political scientists also pointed out that incarcerating large numbers of people may damage one of the fundamentals of democracy – the election process. Comparing the rate among general population, minorities, especially black males, are excessively imprisoned. Most prisoners – and often former felons – are deprived of the opportunity to vote, and this may have big influences on the result of elections in constituencies.3 It wasn’t professionals’ cautions or public opinion that stopped the increase of inmates, but the economic crisis and budget problems


caused by the Great Recession beginning in 2008. The term ‘mass incarceration’ only became common after 2008 (Roeder, 2015). In Japan, the government revised the juvenile law in 2004. This was the result of a brutal crime widely publicized by the media, which created a public sensation. Although the number of murder cases committed by juveniles was at the lowest since World War II, the gruesome reportage alarmed the public and gave the impression that such crimes had increased. Politicians responded to the outcry in order to keep their popularity and demanded that the government revise the juvenile law. It was also in the individual interests of governmental agencies and departments, such as the National Police Agency and Ministry of Justice, to promote the revision (Ayukawa, 1995).

Smoking Problems In the last 50 years, one of the most drastic changes in society has been the social definition of smoking. Once considered commonplace and even elegant, smoking is now judged offensive and social policies have been instigated to regulate or suppress it. It is interesting to examine how smoking problems have been constructed in Japan, and how they are relevant to IR. The initial lawsuit against the national railway of Japan to ban smoking in the coaches of the Super Rapid Express in 1979, was the first noticeable event in the history of smoking problems in Japan. Although the lawsuit was rejected, the result was that the majority of coaches were changed into non-smoking. This lawsuit gained the attention of the media with the use of the Japanese term ‘ken en ken’ (‘the rights to dislike smoking’). As the two words ‘ken’ (‘dislike’ and ‘rights’) have strong meanings in the Japanese language, the term had a strong impact. The progression of the anti-smoking movement was difficult and fraught with


problems. In Japan there is no system of class action; lawyers are volunteers and do not gain any rewards for winning a lawsuit. (We can say that these lawyers are pure Good Samaritans.) The other problem facing the non-smoking claims was that the Ministry of Finance had an effective monopoly on tobacco. Although the company was privatized and became Japan Tobacco, a number of bureaucrats formerly of the Ministry of Finance continued to be its CEOs. There was also a law that promoted the development of the tobacco business. Thus, any movement to control smoking or tobacco consumption was made more difficult by the representatives at the National Diet, who wanted to continue a good relationship with the Ministry of Finance, in order to get their own budgets approved. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and various claims-making groups tried to regulate smoking and promote nonsmoking. However, the opposition was difficult. In the end, their tactic was to raise the price of cigarettes and tobacco products and secure the maximum income from tax for the Ministry of Finance (Ayukawa, 2001). There was certain pressure from outside Japan from international organizations, which considered smoking dangerous for health. The World Health Organization (WHO) urged Japanese cooperation and, in 2003, the Japanese government signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It was passed in the National Diet in 2004 and became effective in 2005. The international treaty, which is considered above ordinary law in Japan, was a boon to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the non-­ smoking claims-makers. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as well as claimsmakers for non-smoking, gained a stronger position with arguments about the risks of passive smoking. Victims, including children, are vulnerable when they are forced to be in a smoke-filled environment as they risk cancer and other illness (Ayukawa, 2015). Although the medical profession has established an academic society to research


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the effects of smoking, many of them receive funds from pharmaceutical companies, and doctors are paid to treat cancer patients, so their findings may be influenced by financial gain. In 2018, the National Diet approved the first nationwide legislation, which bans the use of certain types of tobacco at schools, hospitals and government offices. Also, restaurants of a certain size must have a separate well-ventilated smoking area apart from the eating and drinking areas. This amendment revised the Health Promotion Law but it falls short of the original plan offered by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor. In anticipation of the Olympics in 2020, the Tokyo metropolitan municipal council separately passed an ordinance banning smoking in eateries with employees unless the employees are family members. In that municipal ordinance there is another article, which bans smoking in any private living space where a child might be living.4 E-cigarettes are sold in Japan and now about 10% of smokers use this form of smoking. Claims-making groups and some medical doctors are against e-cigarettes, which they claim damage health in the same way as traditional cigarette smoking. Four points can be learned from the problem of smoking in Japan. The first is that rhetoric can be an important factor in changing or influencing both public opinion and governmental policy. Second, certain domestic issues can sometimes be linked to global problems and global pressure can alter a domestic situation. In terms of smoking, there has been a worldwide concern with the problem of cancer caused by tobacco and this has some impact on the process of claims-making and policy execution within the domestic sphere. Third, social structure can prevent or hinder changes demanded by claims-makers, especially if it is not in their interest, as is the case with the Ministry of Finance and tobacco. Finally, certain new situations that can be called an ‘emergency’ or ‘contingency’, like the Tokyo Olympics, can affect policy and change social attitudes.

Constructivism in IR When the US Senate was discussing invading Iraq in response to the aggression against Kuwait, a story was made public which influenced their decision. A young girl said she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers cruelly killing a baby. Her tears and emotional story moved the senators and public against Iraq and the United States’ involvement in the war was approved. However, months later it was revealed that the young girl who had related the story of the baby’s murder was in fact the daughter of the ambassador of Kuwait to the United States, and that she had not been in Kuwait when the Iraqi troops invaded. Another story was about how the Iraqi soldiers had destroyed an oil plant, causing damage and pollution, and photos of oil-­covered birds were shown. This story also justified the decision to attack Iraq. Later, it was revealed that American troops had destroyed the oil plant and caused the pollution. These two cases demonstrate how powerful the media and government can be in persuading people to believe in something. This concern is one of the reasons why social constructivism researches the subjective world of people and the subjective definition of situations, and shows how influential the subjective definitions that constructivists examine and analyze can be in IR. Alexander Wendt has identified three models of culture of anarchy in IR. One of these is Hobbesian, which the realist diplomats and realist scholars of IR believe in; this type presupposes that everyone is fighting against everyone else.5 If all nations define that the Hobbesian situation is a common, universal fact or objective law, and all nations behave believing in it, then this law or belief becomes the reality as the result of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ (Wendt, 1999: 263, 309). Wendt points out that it is important to interpret what people believe as objective, universal law and see


that it is constructed through interactions between people who have similar subjective beliefs. Social constructivism maintains that the main idea in IR is human agency, which is able to interpret, define and explore a situation. To analyze IR as nations pursuing their own interests egotistically from the viewpoint of material forces is realism, which leads us to view human beings as if they don’t have a will, and behave automatically. However, in social constructivism human agency is a crucial concept. When a social scientist emphasizes the concept of norm, it is usually viewed as a structure which controls individuals’ behavior from outside. This resembles structural functionalism which views structural pressures as forcing members or people to obey the established norm or rule. Indeed, one of the prominent constructivists in the study of IR, Wendt, recognizes that constructivism originated in both symbolic interactionism and the structuration theory of Anthony Giddens in sociology. Giddens’ theory of structuration is different from traditional structural functionalism, in that both individuals and structure are adapting each other. Also, the situation of IR is totally different from the single domestic society; it is far more fluid and unsettled than a domestic society. Norms or rules in IR are ones to be created through interaction, negotiation and bargaining. Also, rules work as protection against the large, powerful nations’ abuse of power to dominate small, powerless nations or organizations in IR. International society consists of a large number of international institutions which were established by treaties and rules which nations ratified or agreed upon. These treaties and rules were the result of a great many narratives, rhetoric and discourse. As pointed out above, these rules regulate the behavior of nations, therefore international agencies need to appreciate the rules as well as consider the material power of a nation. In this sense the constructivist study of rules concerning IR


is fundamentally important (Onuf, 1997, 1998). Liberalism in IR views nations as interdependent and recognizes the role of authorized international organizations to regulate nations. But, with the advancement of globalization, it is not only nations and international organizations such as the United Nations that play important roles, but also many different kinds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations (NPOs) are important agents and agencies in the world. Among the authorized international organizations, there are the United Nations, and its commissions, councils and divisions such as the Human Rights Council, Human Rights Committee, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as the European Union, Council of Europe, the European Commission of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which were established by international conventions or treaties among nations, and so on. The emergence of rules is necessary to establish these new organizations. For example, to establish the ICC, the Rome Statute needed to come into effect. Even under the umbrella of the United Nations, these organizations have accumulated vested interests and developed conflicts of interest. This has resulted in requests for new interpretations of rules as well as a crucial need to formulate new rules and carry them out with enforcement by international organizations. For example, this problem became evident with the question of protection of refugees during internal wars in African countries. The definition of refugees was revised and expanded to include not only refugees who fled across a border but also inland domestic refugees. This process of ‘domain expansion’ (Best, 2017) can be analyzed satisfactorily by constructivism. The ICC prosecuted not only war criminals who invaded other countries and committed genocide, but also a president who


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suppressed people inside of his own country. The ICC even successfully prosecuted those guilty of damaging important historical cultural properties. Constructivism contributes to these kinds of studies on the emergence and formation of rules, interpretations of rules, the life cycle, life course and life history of rules. In the age of globalization, there are many NGOs and NPOs, who play an important and influential role in the world. These groups are respected and their claims are often made public. Claims made by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others, are recognized and reported by the mass media. Major television networks and prestigious newspapers communicate their claims which can influence members of the United Nations and other authorized international organizations. For example, one important Japanese group that is internationally active and makes claims that the government cannot ignore is the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. This organization represents lawyers all over Japan. When the Japanese government submitted the reports on ‘Conventions on the Rights of the Child’, ‘International Convention against Torture’ and ‘International Convention on Civil and Political Rights’ to the United Nations, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and some NGOs and NPOs submitted ­counter-reports. They not only sent reports but also invited members of the Human Rights Committee to see the relevant institutions such as prisons and detention centers. The activities of these organizations are important as they point out problems and offer criticism and recommendations that do not necessarily follow the government’s position. Constructivist research contributes pertinent studies on the dynamics of international organizations. Since these are influential agents in the present situations of IR, it is important to know about their interaction and negotiations.

Constructivism in Europe with a Focus on Scandinavian Countries Constructivist ideas have influenced Scandinavian research on a variety of topics such as crime statistics, violence at work, drug policy and ethnic identity, examples of which are given in what follows.

Construction of Crime Statistics Hanns von Hofer, a professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of Stockholm examined and analyzed how statistics were constructed, especially those dealing with crime, in order to interpret them more carefully (von Hofer, 2000). A case in point is the crime of rape. In Sweden, the number of reported rapes is exceedingly high. This is because the definition of rape is broader and more comprehensive than in other countries. Feminism and female rights are strong there, and half the representatives in parliament as well as half the ministers in the cabinet are women. Sweden was the first country to punish the customer who procured a prostitute. In this society, women are treated as equals, and they do not feel inferior to men. They understand their rights and are able to report a rape without fear. The high rape rate might not indicate that Sweden is any more dangerous than other places for women, but that they feel they have the right to report the crime. In some patriarchal societies, women may not report a rape because the police may lack sympathy or the general public may stigmatize the victim. Therefore, in those countries, the statistics for rape might be quite low. Although the statistics might indicate that there were more rape victims in Sweden than in another country, it could be that the rapes there were not reported and did not become a statistic. Thus, a high statistic for sex crimes may not reflect the reality of a


country’s situation. It is difficult to make a comparison between two countries based on statistics, because each country might have different attitudes and beliefs as well as different systems and procedures of criminal justice. We can see that when examining or comparing two or more countries, it is problematic when looking at official statistics that show the increase or decrease of a crime. It is also important to use care when tracking crime statistics across time. Apparent increases or decreases may not reflect a change in criminal behavior, so much as a revision of the law or changes in the definitions of a crime or in the methods of compiling successive statistics. The numbers may also be influenced by the shifting attitudes of police and prosecutors, or by changing court procedures. Cultural changes such as victim recognition and the impact of feminist thought on women can also affect statistics. Another factor to consider when examining statistics based on self-report surveys is the way the data are collected. At one time, research staff or hired personnel spoke to individuals or left the questionnaire at households to be sent in or later picked up. Recently, most surveys are done through the internet and computers analyze the data collected. Data collected through the internet tend to over-represent some segments of the population that are good at handling smartphones or computers. This can be problematic, as is the reliability of answers to questionnaires (Best, 2012).

Violence at Work One of the classics of constructivism on statistics is ‘A Note on the Use of Official Statistics’ by Kitsuse and Cicourel (1963). Getting insight from this paper, four Swedish criminologists examined the statistics on violence at workplaces and concluded that four main factors contributed to the increase


in the number of cases of violence at work (Estrada et  al., 2010): changes in the expanded definition of the crime, the media reports, social intolerance toward violence and the working conditions. Another research article is entitled ‘Violence at Work in Finland’ (Heiskanen, 2007). It points out that the number of women working in health care, social work and education has increased which means they are working in direct contact with students, clients and patients. There has been a problem between the supply and demand for services, which has caused people to complain and act aggressively toward these women. Increasingly, workers will no longer accept violent behavior and are willing to report incidents. This increases the statistics of violence in the workplace in Finland. Research carried out in Denmark focused on violence in four workplace situations: psychiatry, eldercare, prison and probation services and special schools. The workers with the highest level of vulnerability were those working at special schools (Rasmussen et al., 2013). In Norway, research was carried out in all the medical treatment areas. The report pointed out that from 1993 to 2014 the number of female doctors increased, but that there was no increase in violence (Johansen et al., 2017). These statistics and researches show how the constructivist viewpoint can be useful.

Drug Policy How drugs are perceived is an interesting theme from the perspective of constructivism. Among Scandinavian countries, Denmark has a lenient attitude toward marijuana, similar to that of the Netherlands. Other Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden, have a stricter attitude toward all drugs and traditionally have had a zero-­ tolerance policy. Even alcoholic beverages that contain more than 5% alcohol are sold at


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designated shops, which are closed on weekends. This is because it is very cold in winter and the government hopes to prevent the prevalence of alcoholism. Reporting on drugs in mainstream newspapers in Sweden appears to be changing. It has been noted that the drug policy in Sweden may depend on international policies so that if policies internationally are changing, then Swedish policy might follow this trend (Månsson, 2016). For example, medical use of marijuana in some states in the United States has been legalized and recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in Canada.

Ethnic Identity During the 2015 refugee crisis in Europe, Sweden accepted the second largest number of refugees, but because of its modest size, Sweden had the highest rate of refugees per head of population. A lot of immigrants live in Sweden. Researchers have studied the constructions of life plans by girls who come from African countries, including their identities and expectations of themselves when they are adults (Mohme, 2014). Sweden not only has immigrants from Eastern Europe, the Middle East or Africa, but also there are minorities in Sweden such as the Sami in northern regions who are recognized as a minority by the United Nations. The Swedish government must guarantee and assure the opportunities of language, culture transmission through generations and self-decision making on politics. And, recently, it is not easy to find persons with such language abilities. Among some tribes of Sami, the number and the rate of persons who speak their traditional language is estimated to be less than 100 and less than 10%. There is a report that some young Sami girls prefer to express themselves in English rather than either their native language or Swedish (Lindgren et  al., 2017). Looking at these

researches that are relevant to constructivism, there will be expected some development of varieties of constructions of identities, including a change of the notions of national identity and ethnicity in Sweden.

Further Comments Bo Stråth wrote in his ‘Constructionist Themes in the Historiography of the Nation’, ‘the concepts of culture, collective memory and myth are central to historical constructionist approaches’ (2008: 627) and culture is ‘a process of symbolic work that frames interpretation and community. It is emergent and not pregiven in its expressions. Culture is a matter of communication and negotiation’ (Stråth, 2008: 628). As shown above, in Scandinavian countries, there have been insightful studies based on the constructivist perspective, from the articulation on statistics to experimental researches.

Constructivism in Asia Japan Constructivist studies have become popular throughout Asia with the majority of papers written by Japanese. Japanese customs and institutions are different from those in Western countries, but Japan is one of the most democratic countries in Asia. Models or programs of constructivism, which were developed in the United States or in Europe, are easily applied to Japan. One of the pioneers of constructivist studies was John I. Kitsuse, a second-generation Japanese living in America. His connection with Japan made him influential in Japanese sociology. Kitsuse’s approach was based on strict constructionism, which analyzes language in relation to a social phenomenon and does not consider, either, the objective


conditions of the problem. Recently, contextual constructivism has become a popular approach. Some popular themes written by Japanese constructivists concern youth problems. For example, social problems concerning young girls’ sexual behavior (Yamamoto, 2001), youths’ exposure to pornocomics (Suzuki, 2001; Akagawa, 2015) and juveniles’ deviant behavior (Yamazaki, 1994; Ayukawa, 1995). Recently, there have been social constructivist studies regarding human rights policies (Ayukawa, 2015, 2019). There have also been papers written by non-Japanese constructivists about Japan (Nichols, 1995).6

The Interest in Constructivism in China Motorcycles were the symbol of development, modernization and prosperity in the 1990s. This image changed after a newspaper in Guangzhou complained about motorcycle noise, pollution and problems. After this campaign, motorcycles were banned. The constructionist paper by Jianhua Xu (2015) examines how the motorcycle became a target of criticism. Another political issue that became the study of social constructivism was the Hong Kong government’s attempt to standardize the curriculum of primary and secondary education with that of the mainland. Michael Adorjan and Ho Lun Yau wrote ‘Resinicization and Digital Citizenship in Hong Kong Youth: Youth, Cyberspace, and Claims-making’ (2015). The writers look at the claims-making group made up of mainly young people born in the 1990s who opposed this move. The young people claimed that the move would deprive them of basic human rights, including the freedom of expression. They used Facebook and cell phones to protest, and organized mass demonstrations. Reading their explanations, we can estimate that there might be some similarities and common points between


constructivism and the resource mobilization theory of social movements (McCarthy and Zald, 1977; Best, 2017). China consists of multiple ethnicities. Among them, according to an interesting paper, Muslim Uighurs endure marginalization and experience trauma and anger, and these in turn are major factors in violence and terrorist behavior (Li and Niemann, 2016). Han people have immigrated into Xinyang in order to integrate Muslim people into Chinese culture. The Chinese government tries to develop Xingjian economically, and promotes campaigns to condemn violence and prevent rioting or terrorism. But, there have been incidents in Beijing in 2013 and at the railway station in Kunming city. At the end of their paper, Li and Niemann note that Uighur-language education has been marginalized, and wonder what will happen with the Chinese government’s very largescale project for the Silk Road Economic Belt when the railroad of super rapid trains bound for European and Arabic countries will be constructed through Xinyang, which might bring big changes in Xinyang and the Uighur community. There is an interesting aspect to consider when constructivist papers are written by Chinese scholars. The people in power can look at these papers and learn, from the constructivist discourse, how to manipulate people. This would be a reflexive use of constructivism, as governing bodies learn from the conclusions reached about the process of the claims-making and apply this knowledge to their planning, administration and activities. In the paper ‘China and the Remolding of International Human Rights Norms’ by Yuan et  al. (2017), the authors refer to constructivist viewpoints and maintain that the Chinese cooperate with the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. China insists that ‘human rights are essential matters within the domestic jurisdiction of a country. Respect for each country’s sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs are universally recognized


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principles of international law; they are applicable to all fields of international relations and naturally apply to the field of human rights as well’ (Yuan et al., 2017: 38) The authors of this paper refer to constructivism and discuss the life cycle of international norms, and propose, instead of the process of emergence, diffusion and internationalization, another process of origination, diffusion and remolding. They claim that through dialogue on norms, discourse critique, self-remolding and other means, China has enriched the practice of remolding international human rights norms with a human rights theory centered on the right to service and develop, thereby providing a new approach and new angle of vision that allows non-Western countries to break away from the monist approach of norm development (25). The paper also describes ‘following the Constructivist turn in international relations theory, international norms entered the mainstream of international relations research and rapidly become a hot topic’ (ibid., p. 26). They criticize ‘Western bias’ or ‘Euro centrism’ of the uni-directional expansion model, and propose ‘the remolding of norms occurring through the meeting or clashing of norms in a process of growth–diffusion–remolding’ (ibid., p. 28). This paper shows how it is possible to analyze claims and narratives from a constructivist perspective and how that analysis can show the characteristics of reflexivity in constructivism. It is interesting to see how the Chinese government tries to revise and remodel the definition of human rights. It would also be interesting to note how scholars cooperate with the Chinese government and how NGOs and NPOs react, interact and negotiate with China’s remolding activities.

Ethnicity, Gender and Identity Most Asian nations consist of multiple races and ethnicities, and have numerous languages. There are only a few nations that

believe that the country constitutes only one race of people. South Korea is one such nation, with only 2.25% of the population in 2011 being foreign. For two decades there has been a debate about accepting immigrants but recently newspapers have changed the term, ‘foreigners’ to ‘residents’, ‘immigrants’ and ‘multicultural citizens’. Constructivist studies look at how the changing of terms or narratives in the media can influence people’s attitudes (Park, 2014). In most Asian countries, the relationship between race and ethnicity is complex and multilayered. For example, although the majority of Indonesians are Muslim, the Balinese are mostly Hindu; however, in the search for their ethnicity, the majority of Balinese chose to adhere to a minority monotheistic form of Hinduism and not to majority Indian Hinduism (Johnsen, 2007). People may try to construct their identity by looking for their ancestors’ ethnicity, but in the society that is developing rapidly in the age of IT, people may construct their identity not depending on race or ethnicity but by searching for social status in the world of rapidly expanding economics (Ellis et al., 2012). This might be especially the case for women who pursue their careers in the expanding business world, breaking through patriarchal tradition (Fernando and Cohen, 2011). Gender is socially constructed and is acknowledged as one of the central traits of identity. In Malaysia, a predominately Muslim country, homosexuality is forbidden. The number of Malaysian respondents of a survey of gay people is very low because, according to Mark Stephan Felix (2016), the people involved were careful about to whom, where and when they disclosed their sexual identity. This was in order ‘to minimize instances where they would have to compromise either their faith or their identities’ (ibid., p. 115) and ‘to make the best of the duality of their situation to love their lives and to construct an identity that is comfortable and acceptable to themselves’ (ibid., p. 117). In India, the law to ban homosexuality was nullified in 2018.


Tsunami The term ‘tsunami’ originated in Japan. Tsunamis as well as typhoons and earthquakes are natural disasters that often hit many other Asian countries. When an earthquake occurs in the sea, especially at the bottom of narrow gulfs, a tsunami can develop. When the tsunami hit Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand in 2004, hundreds of thousands of people were killed. It was not only the local populations that were affected by the tsunami, many tourists from America and Europe lost their lives. Swedish foreign travelers had the largest number of deaths, and the second largest were German tourists. The 2004 tsunami was so powerful that it reached the shores of Africa and an estimated 300 people in Somalia were killed. The mass media reportage on the tsunami in Sweden was different from that in other countries. The names of the victims were never broadcast nor published in order to protect privacy. It caused great concern for the relatives and friends of those Swedish travelers in Asia (Kivikura and Nord, 2016). A constructivist study researched the newspapers in three countries, India, Indonesia and Thailand, in order to look at the claims-making in the three countries. It studied their reports of damages and claims-making for support and looked at the results (Letukas, 2013). The study noted that Indonesia complained that they had not been provided with long-term recovery plans, while India was not satisfied with the culturally inappropriate donations. The Thai newspapers reported that the help for the fishing business was satisfactory but that the aid they needed to support the tourists was not enough. Letukas concluded that Indonesia didn’t complain enough while India’s complaints were excessive. The author of the article is American and consequently her main interest is the relationship between the United States and these three countries. She noted that ‘[m]edia in the United States


argued that the new Marshall Plan policy was favorable in south Asia, resulting in the construction of an effective policy outcome. In contrast, Western relief was constructed as excessive in India, because massive amounts of unusable aid hindered, rather than helped, the recovery process’ (Letukas, 2013: 280). It could be argued that the damage in Indonesia was so severe that it had to depend on help from developed countries. India, on the other hand, has a culture sensitive to what it might consider an insult and perhaps did not need the help as much as Indonesia. The different attitudes and responses to the aid were the result of the scale of damage. In Indonesia, the number of people killed by the tsunami was approximately 130,000 and 40,000 were missing. It is more than 10 times as many as in India. In India most of the damage occurred on the islands situated near Indonesia. This constructivist study points out that it is a form of reflexivity. The author’s description is also a kind of claimsmaking, referring to the media construction of the situation. Other constructivists who read this study can examine and challenge it as a construct in itself. Constructivist studies not only look at the tsunami’s after-effects in terms of damage and help from developed countries, but also how the local people were victims of not only the disaster but also the reconstruction process. A region in the southern part of India, Tamil Nadu, was seriously affected by the 2014 tsunami. A constructivist study found that the people who lived there were treated differently depending on social characteristics, religion, caste and socioeconomic status as well as by gender (Luke, 2012). The article points out that the gender of the victim influenced their access to rehabilitation resources or toilet facilities for women. Women could not get proper medical treatment, which was especially serious for pregnant women, and the fatality rate of women was higher than men in that region. The author concluded that under normal conditions, women were


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considered less important, but that during the after-effects of the tsunami, the situation escalated and they were even more vulnerable than usual. ‘The origins of such disproportionate effects are not natural: rather, they are socially constructed’ (Luke, 2012: 19). In 2010 another large tsunami hit Indonesia and its neighboring islands and lands. The Mentawai Islands form a chain of islands off the coast of Sumatra which are famous as a surfing destination, where a ‘Nirvanic myth’ was constructed by the surfing tourism. This myth referred to the remote, exotic, beautiful area with the best waves for surfing. The islands were developed by foreign companies that dealt in surfing tourism but did not bother to build a good relationship with the local people. When the tsunami hit the islands it caused the deaths of 400 people, destroyed 4,000 households and displaced more than 20,000 people (Ponting et al., 2005; Ponting and McDonald, 2013).

Collective Identity The construction of identity not only refers to the population of a state-nation, or people or group in a country, but also people both inside and outside a country. Also, the construction of identity matters for international organizations. The Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) has not reacted to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar at the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. It has not tried to solve the situation nor intervene in the conflict. Thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued official reports that Myanmar soldiers have committed genocide even though such crimes are banned by international treaties. ASEAN has not intervened in the Rohingya crisis even though it is a signatory to the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the ASEAN Declaration of Human

Rights. To date, there are few papers that analyze the situation from a constructivist viewpoint, but the ones which do point out similar cases, and posit that this inaction is caused by the norm of non-­interference as well as a collective identity among ASEAN member states. It is ironic then that the homepage of ASEAN shows its motto: One Vision, One Identity, One Community. One constructivist author states that ‘[t]he absence of collective identity led to natural interest-oriented political processes rather than a regional-oriented one’ (Rosyidin, 2017: 53). ASEAN has ‘the unreflexive cognitive and behavioral qualities of regional relations’ (Glas, 2016: 833) which can be named the ‘habit of peace’. These articles demonstrate that both constructivist analysis and the concept of reflexivity are relevant and meaningful.

Conclusion Constructivist studies bring fruitful and original insights into the fields of political science and sociology. As well as astute analysis, the studies can also yield productive results. The constructivist approach is so intellectually appealing that Asian as well as Western scholars have adopted it. As long as human beings interact, interpret and produce meaning, constructivism will continue to contribute to the study of political science and the social sciences.

Notes  1  These activities of social problem workers and policy outcomes may cause new claims-making.  2  In political science the label ‘strict constructionism’ has been applied to jurists who seek to interpret the American Constitution as narrowly as possible. In other words, they refrain from progressive, comprehensive or broad interpretations that seek to adapt the Constitution to fit modern advanced society’s circumstances, or to use the Constitution as a tool to promote social justice. When strict constructionism was named in the






study of social problems, this connection was implicit, but political scientists should not confuse the different ways the same term is used in sociology and in law (Best, 2019). Politicians who have been found guilty and imprisoned usually experience the damage caused by the get-tough-on-crime social policies they promoted when in office; they are astonished to discover huge numbers of non-violent offenders and the disproportionate majority of inmates who belong to racial minorities in prison (Smith, 2015). Here we can see a rule which suggests that a pure innocent such a child should not be victimized, and they should be protected by law or ordinance at any sphere. The other two models of culture of anarchy which Wendt pointed out are Lockean, based on the relationship of rivalry, and Kantian, based on the role of friendship. As this chapter is on social sciences, I have not mentioned psychology. There are several references of constructivism concerning the work of Kenneth J. Gergen, and also in brief therapy in psychology in Japan.

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3 Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena Gianfranco Poggi

As the authoritative biography by Steven Lukes (1985) indicates, Emile Durkheim – one of the founding fathers of modern ­sociology – witnessed and took some part in the complex and often troubling political experiences of the France of his times (1878–1917). He was a committed patriot, proud of his country’s great role as the site and prime promoter of political modernization, beginning of course with the French Revolution itself. He was fully aware of the extent to which that event and many that followed had intensely divided the population and inspired violent political and cultural contrasts. Durkheim had what can be called a passion for unity, which inspired many aspects of his intellectual and scholarly legacy. However, many controversial contemporary political events saw him taking sides. He generally aligned himself – privately but also in his dialogue and correspondence with colleagues and students, and in occasional publications commenting on those events – with

what one may call the progressive side of the on-going debate. Some particularly virulent contemporary contrasts in his time had to do with one particular import of the French Revolution. The monarchical ancien régime had openly favored the Catholic Church, and endowed it with multiple privileges, regarding especially its large wealth and its role in the education of the new generations. The subsequent political order had disestablished the Church; in the eyes of its opponents, it had sinfully turned down the role France had long enjoyed as la fille ainée de l’Eglise (‘the first daughter of the Roman Catholic Church’). This produced a deep-rooted and persistent social and cultural cleavage, which found expression in a phenomenon of great personal significance for Emile Durkheim – anti-semitism. Born to a Jewish family, he had been expected, in due course, to succeed in the position of rabbi his forebears had long held, in the Alsatian town of Epinal, within its Jewish minority. However, as an adolescent

Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena

Emile ceased to be trained for that role, and successfully pursued, instead, a public, secular education. In spite of this, no matter how faint the traces left on Durkheim’s professional production by his early familiarity with the great tradition of Jewish learning, his academic adversaries and their followers persistently and invidiously reminded him – and his associates – that he was indeed a Jew (Moore, ‘David Emile Durkheim and the Jewish Response to Modernity’). This rendered him, for his adversaries, a legitimate target of diffidence and indeed suspicion, regarding not only his commitment to the power and welfare of the French nation, but also the intrinsic significance and validity of his own academic achievements, teachings and publications. In the latter context, his opponents always criticized the success Durkheim enjoyed as an academic politician, in recruiting and training pupils and followers, then promoting their advancement within the highly prestigious and competitive French university system. All this Durkheim did in the untiring pursuit of what he considered his life-task – the promotion of sociology as a significant, autonomous academic discipline. He elaborated a specifically sociological approach to a variety of social and cultural phenomena; but – in my judgment – he did not explore political matters in as original and thorough manner as he did regarding other major social phenomena. The Abstract of an important essay by HansPeter Mueller phrases this point as follows: ‘Emile Durkheim was neither a political scientist nor a political sociologist. His oeuvre though exhibits a political dimension which is not easy to grasp’ (Mueller, 2009: 227). Why so? First of all, his life-work echoes an attitude vis-à-vis politics-as-such which characterizes the diverse intellectual undertakings involved, beginning in the era of the Enlightenment, in the rise and establishment of the modern social sciences. That attitude reversed the privileged position political phenomena had long held in European intellectual discourse on social affairs. Basically, larger social entities had


traditionally been seen as chiefly constituted and managed as the object of rule from above, with underlying populations made to serve the particular interests of variously constituted narrow minorities – typically, princely dynasties – if necessary by threatening or exercising violence on the subjects. The nascent social sciences sought to overcome the intrinsic limitations which such views about the phenomenon of rule placed on the appropriate understanding and critique of broader social events and arrangements. New disciplines undertook to theorize instead major new aspects of European social development, in ways sometimes inspired by recent, massive advances in the knowledge of natural phenomena. In particular, what came to be called ‘political economy’ argued that over recent generations the whole society had benefitted from the extent to which more and more individuals had disregarded or circumvented political constraints on the peaceful pursuit of their private interests. Increasingly, they invested their energies and resources in self-seeking, open-ended activities, and freely exchanged with one another the respective products on the market, whose workings, if left to themselves, would automatically recognize and reward the values embodied in those products. The everyday pursuits of such individuals, if considered and respected as their own private matter, no longer narrowly constrained by traditional normative expectations or by the arbitrium of rulers, would continue to develop material and cognitive resources, and generate products addressing ever new needs. The main political requirement for this to take place could be expressed in a simple, negative recommendation to the political and administrative personnel in charge of the political management of economic affairs: laissez-faire, do not interfere. It was up to individuals to settle with one another, on the market, the terms of their own transactions. A growing body of contemporary experiences suggested that such abstinence of authorities would indirectly foster the general welfare.


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Such a view was voiced in France, among others, by Henri de Saint-Simon (1760–1825), who saluted the advent of the ‘industrial system’. He wrote that if a socially selective epidemic were to suddenly strike dead 3,000 men in possession of political prerogatives, society at large would impassively continue to function; whereas it would be paralyzed by the death of 3,000 engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs. One cannot attribute Durkheim’s relatively low scholarly attention to the political phenomena of his time to a similarly dismissive, indeed contemptuous view of their material import. He was fully aware of the changes in government and public administration instituted in France after the end of the ancien régime, and proud of the role his own country had played in promoting such changes in other ones. Rather, that lower attention expressed his unwavering intent – inspired by the great on-going accomplishments of the natural sciences – to establish an objective, empirically grounded, intrinsically valid understanding and critique of social phenomena, much broader than that represented by the current scope of the burgeoning discipline of political economy. In this perspective, even the impressive body of scholarly thinking devoted to politics since the heyday of classical Greece, which Durkheim knew well and whose intellectual and literary merits he appreciated, appeared to him intrinsically limited in its scientific significance by what one may call its speculative intent. That is: It strove to discover not the nature and origin of social phenomena, not what they actually are, but what they ought to be: its aim was not to offer as valid a description of nature as possible, but to present us with the idea of a perfect society, a model to be imitated. Even Aristotle, who was far more concerned with empirical observation than Plato, aimed at discovering, not the laws of social existence, but the best form of society. Something similar might be said of the more recent tradition of juridical discourse

about political institutions. Durkheim had a keen interest in the contemporary development of French scholarship on constitutional law – indeed, he markedly influenced the significant contribution to that field by a key figure, Léon Duguit. But the content itself of that scholarship did not constitute a proper object for Durkheim’s own overriding pursuit, because it was concerned primarily how public affairs ought to be handled, not how they actually were. A significant essay by Hans-Peter Mueller (2009) characterizes as follows Durkheim’s position, 1. (He) rejected current politics with their conflicts and its intrigues, and the prevalence in political discourse of ‘ideology’, thus as the opposite of science. 2. Sociology as a rational, empirically grounded must inquire into social reality ‘as it is’, not ‘as it ought to be’. 3. Politics understood as party politics pursues particular interests, whereas he wanted to commit his sociology to the service of the common good for the society as a whole. His attention was focused on the ‘polity’, not on ‘politics’. In this capacity, sociology could envisage, design and promote ‘a new morality’ focused on a distinctively modern value: the autonomy of the human person. (Mueller, 2009, 245)

Durkheim was aware that accomplishing this entailed a big challenge, which his first masterpiece, The Division of Labor in Society formulated as follows: ‘How does it come about that the individual, while becoming more autonomous, depends ever more closely upon society? How can he become at the same time more of an individual and yet more linked to society?’ (Durkheim, 2014: 7). Durkheim saw the main methodological model for sociology as he understood it, in the way the natural sciences had been lately spectacularly advancing and promoting intellectual modernization. He expounded that model frequently and emphatically, especially in his second masterpiece, The Rules of Sociological Method (Durkheim, 1982). Such rules presupposed the existence of a distinctive realm of reality, which Durkheim often designated as ‘society’ itself. It was constituted by the totality of

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‘social facts’ – phenomena present in the various environments in which human beings co-exist that were not established by nature (although they were often perceived as grounded on nature itself), but on the one hand were produced by past human conduct, on the other conditioned present and future conduct. ‘Social facts’ both represented those phenomena and prescribed the appropriate forms of individual and group conduct, seeking to enforce them when such conduct did not spontaneously comply with them. Their content varied hugely according to time and place; thus sociology was engaged, on the one hand, in ascertaining the specific social arrangements in operation at a given time and place, on the other in comparing such arrangements across time and space. To be valid, both pursuits were to advance objectively. As Nisbet puts it: ‘Dispassionate study, objective research, were, above all others, Durkheim’s ideals’ (Nisbet, 1975: 17). As Durkheim himself stated, Our main objective is to extend the scope of scientific rationalism to cover human behavior, demonstrating that, in the light of the past, it is capable of being reduced to relationships of cause and effect, which, by an operation no less rational, can then be transformed into rules of action for the future and that an equally rational operation can subsequently transform those relations into rules of action for the future. What has been termed our positivism is merely a consequence of this rationalism (Durkheim, 1982: 4).

In fact, the impact on Durkheim’s sociological project of the example represented by the natural sciences, was not merely methodological. His first major work, The Division of Labor in Society (Durkheim, 2014) transferred to the social realm a huge process which Darwin’s On the Origin of Species had creatively detected in the realm of nature. Darwin had argued that in the course of natural evolution new species progressively differentiated that realm, in two ways: new species displaced previously existent ones by competing successfully with them for existent resources; their own internal


structure was generally more complex than that of previous species, comprising organs specialized in performing particular vital functions. Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) had already transposed Darwin’s core argument to the course of human history, emphasizing the salutary virtues of competition as the main promoter of social advance, triumphant at last in the advance of modernity. However, Durkheim expressly denied validity to Spencer’s utilitarian restatement of Darwin’s argument, contesting the fundamental role Spencer assigned to the human individuals’ egoistic pursuit of their own private interest as the key mechanism of the whole process. They connected with one another on their own initiative by means of contracts of their own making rather than by imposing or obeying authoritative duties. Durkheim had two main objections to this vision. First, individuals as Spencer construed them were themselves produced by that process in its advanced phases. Previous to that, human beings had not perceived themselves as of self-standing, self-­ activating, self-seeking entities. Second, not everything in contracts is contractual. The making by individuals of particular mutual arrangements with the expectation of their being duly executed, presupposes the institution of contract – a pre-existent set of general, binding, enforceable arrangements establishing who could enter contracts with whom, about what, in what forms, to what effects. In the name of such considerations Durkheim contested a recurrent motif in Spencer’s thought, which had attained large resonance within public opinion in England and threatened to do so also in France. Spencer considered state institutions and policies as superannuated arrangements, damaging legacies of the past; for Durkheim, however, the political activities that excited Spencer’s indignation and hostility, continued to play an indispensable role in fostering economic activities by conferring and upholding the rights of individuals. The state


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could indeed turn despotic and oppressive, but ‘the social force it constituted could be neutralized by other social forces counterbalancing it’, especially by collective entities which encompassed significant pluralities of otherwise power-less individuals (Durkheim, 2018: 74). In comparison with the temporal scope of Darwin’s theory – which retrospects on nothing less than the advent of life itself and its course over eons of time – the temporal scope of both Spencer’s and Durkheim’s theories is relatively minimal, addressing exclusively events unfolding since the advent of human beings, and covered by pre-historical and historical scholarship on the basis of a variety of archeological and literary sources. Spencer and Durkheim also share a prevalent interest in the nature and significance of what they consider the major break within the unfolding of human experience. At a high level of abstraction, both of them contrast a before and an after within the apparent continuity of that experience, but differ markedly on how they conceptualize that break. Spencer focuses on what we might call the advent of modernity, a complex of relatively recent historical events which he conceptualizes primarily as the transition from militant to industrial society. Durkheim views this as an episode unfolding relatively late within a story that had begun long before, with the disappearance at various moments and in various locales of societies we might summarily characterize as primitive. According to Spencer, militant society, structured around relationships of hierarchy and obedience, was simple and undifferentiated: industrial society, based on voluntary, contractually assumed social obligations, was complex and differentiated. According to Durkheim, however, the relationships of hierarchy and obedience structuring Spencer’s militant society were themselves the product of a more fundamental evolutionary process, affecting utterly simple societies, with small populations internally differentiated only by gender and generation.

There may be a gradient of superiority/ inferiority to this differentiation, but on the whole relations between individual members of the population are tightly prescribed by universally recognized beliefs and norms. Typically their livelihood is chiefly secured (if at all) by shared access to the products of hunting and gathering, practiced over the territory each population considers its own, on the basis of relatively elementary, traditionally handed-down technology and knowledge. Durkheim characterizes as ‘segmental’ the relation between two or more such populations whose territories lie next to one another. They may know of one another and be similar, but between them there are few exchanges of communications or of products. Each population of this kind reflects one answer to the dominant question in Durkheim’s thinking, which can be phrased as follows: ‘what makes a society hang together?’. He labels this one answer ‘mechanical solidarity’ – the extent to which the individuals composing the whole population, due to the minimal extent to which it is internally differentiated, unproblematically subscribe to and abide by the same beliefs and values. The other answer Durkheim labels ‘organic solidarity’. It applies to societies generated by processes from which primitive societies were typically excluded. Over time some of them, however, had come to terms with one another’s existence; their territories had come to overlap or had become the locus of intensified mutual communication, becoming to that extent larger and no longer related ‘segmentally’. Their respective populations, now aware of different resources and techniques, have been induced to differentiate themselves internally; their parts have engaged in diverse productive pursuits, and undertaken to exchange with one another the respective products. Over time, this same process has extended to the relations between populations previously juxtaposed with one another. These innovations have often been refracted within

Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena

previously separate sections of a society’s population, diversifying their particular needs, practices, expectations. The most visible – and consequence-laden – aspect of such developments has been the distinction between town and country within previously homogenous territories. In turn, the activities carried out within towns may differ from town to town. They are also diverse within each town, and divide the local population into sub-units associated with specialized productive and commercial practices. No sub-unit aims at self-sufficiency, rather it seeks to exchange the products of its own activities with those of others. The territory’s physical structure itself is now marked by an increasingly extensive and complex network of roads or canals which support the traffics in question. The network itself is internally differentiated, with a particular unit playing a central role, mediating the exchanges between different regional clusters. In sum, we are now confronted by societies constituted, not by the replication of similar homogeneous segments, but by a complex system of different organs, each of which has a special role, and which themselves are formed from different parts. The elements in society are not of the same nature nor are they arranged in the same manner. They are neither placed together end-on, as are the rings of an annelida worm, nor embedded in one another, but co-ordinated and subordinated to one another around the same central organ which exerts on the rest of the organism moderating effects (Durkheim, 2014: 143). Increasingly, the state monitors and controls the whole process, and on this account Durkheim denies validity to the disparagement and hostility the state found in Spencer’s views. In particular, it establishes and enforces the institution of contract, allowing a multitude of private arrangements exchanging the products of multiple parties to take place in an orderly fashion. The typical society in question is much larger than those we labeled primitive. It is highly diversified in terms not only of the resources it employs and produces


but also of the needs prevailing within its population and – as we might put it today – in terms of the identities of the population’s components, comprising highly distinctive and mutable sets of beliefs and values. But one may detect some tension between on the one hand Durkheim’s emphasis on the factuality of the social phenomenon and on its thing-like nature, on the other the fact that at bottom, in both primitive and advanced societies the response to the question ‘what makes a society hang together?’ lies – to use a favorite expression of his – in ‘répresentations collectives’, ‘manières d’agir et de penser’ [‘collective representations’, ‘ways of acting and thinking’], thus essentially in ‘things that people carry around in their heads’. Durkheim appealed to this insight also to account for contrasting interests, irreducible animosities, hostilities, divisions, especially in advanced societies – for instance the France of his times – where sometimes such potentially disruptive phenomena found intellectual expression and justification in elaborate ideologies. A great work of Durkheim, Le suicide; étude de sociologie (Durkheim, 1997) explored a further, somewhat paradoxical import of this argument. Those ‘things that people carry around in their heads’ reveal their significance not only in conducts complying with them, but also in those contradicting, deviating from them. All societies present, in different formulations, a strong, generally entertained expectation that their members will not commit suicide even when they undergo at length disappointing, frustrating, painful experiences. This is suggested by two different practices discussed in Suicide. On the one hand, many pre-modern societies handle, and dispose of, the bodily remains of members who have committed suicide in ways which symbolically indicate their strong disdain, spite, abhorrence, condemnation toward those members. On the other hand, many modern communities only reluctantly attribute officially to suicide – over against, say,


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medical conditions or accidents – the demise of particular members, in order to protect the social standing of their survivors. Durkheim, however, gives a somewhat paradoxical twist to his own treatment of the suicide phenomenon. Against the background of the expectation mentioned above, he sees the phenomenon itself as strongly influenced – and in a manner, caused – by the bodies of belief-and-thought prevailing in different societies. He connects with this insight his own, original typology of suicide, based on the cultural makings not so much of individual suicidal acts as of the different suicide rates characterizing particular social locales and historical circumstances. Consider first the type Durkheim labels altruistic suicide. It presents itself in societies (mostly primitive ones) where the suicide rate expresses the prevalence of norms and beliefs which extol the significance of the community’s own interests, and belittle that of the single individual’s private interests. This may go so far as to produce in some individuals a willingness, in certain circumstances, to place their very existence at the disposal of the community; to sacrifice themselves in order to benefit somehow their community. There is much historical and literary evidence for this phenomenon in pre-modern societies, which however do not produce the kind of evidence Durkheim privileges in Suicide; largely derived from police sources, thus carefully collected, quantitatively coded and processed via mathematical analysis (Selvin, 1958). Thus, his discussion of altruistic suicide largely concerns its well-­ documented occurrence in one highly particular section of contemporary societies – the military profession – where self-sacrifice is to an extent positively appraised and symbolically rewarded. In other societies, however, and signally in contemporary ones, the much increased incidence of the suicide phenomenon largely concerns the type Durkheim calls egoistic. Here, the individual’s private interests (not

necessarily economic ones; they may derive as well, say, from their intense commitment to a love relation) have priority, and when they are threatened by a change in the circumstances (say, the partner’s own commitment to the relation is definitively withdrawn) the individual may feel irreparably hurt and damaged, deprived of the main source of meaning in their existence. That may induce them to commit suicide. In altruistic suicide the individual obeys the dutiful expectations issued imperatively by their collective belonging; in egoistic suicide, the individual, so to speak, turns their back on the expectations of associates, even the closest ones. Durkheim connects a third type of suicide, which he calls anomic, to a further, massive aspect of contemporary culture. The term anomic is the adjectival form of ‘anomie’, a noun meaning normless-ness – another phenomenon characteristic of contemporary societies and causally associated (among other things) with the increased incidence of suicide in them. In principle, even under contemporary conditions, individuals generally derive their views about reality, and the binding expectations orienting their conduct, from authoritative complexes of norms and values they share with their fellow beings. However, two overlapping, imperious developments – on the one hand rapid changes in the economic conditions of society and in its cognitive and technical resources, on the other the expectation that individuals will act more and more exclusively on behalf of their own particular interests of whatever nature – render such complexes of norms and values less stable, less generally known and subscribed to, thus less likely to provide individuals with moral guidance. This may happen even when the norms in question have been produced, diffused and sanctioned by public authorities. To contain such phenomena and reduce their problematical effects is a responsibility that falls largely on the state, as we shall see later on. Meanwhile, in any case, a change in the personal circumstances of individuals –

Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena

paradoxically, even a positive change in their economic position – may make it more difficult for individuals to attach an intensely felt meaning to oneself, one’s possessions, associates, prospects. Such meaninglessness in one’s existence may be very hard to bear, and in certain circumstances may induce individuals to do away with themselves on account of a feeling that they no longer have something to live for. One can account in this way, Durkheim suggests, for the fact that – as he claims to find from contemporary data – in contemporary societies. suicides may be rendered more frequent not only by suddenly deteriorating economic conditions but also by suddenly improving ones, which may induce in them that very feeling. However, in contemporary societies the appearance of such a distinctive, unprecedent ‘suicidal current’ – to use an expression of Durkheim’s – is only one, relatively minor, symptom of a general condition of anomy, which in turn is a crucial component of a broad, disturbing situation of crisis, the acute awareness of which plays a major role in Durkheim’s thinking and to an extent motivates it. Indeed, Steven Lukes characterizes Durkheim as being ‘haunted by the idea of man and society in disintegration’ (Lukes, 1985, 218), connecting him to the theme of social dissolution widely present in 19th-century French thought. What motivates such concerns, for Durkheim in particular? Many developments in contemporary industrial society, beginning with France, fail to fulfil or even just to approximate a condition of ‘organic solidarity’. They are beset by tensions, riven by contrasts, by mutually incompatible attempts to impose the priority of the collective interests of one part over those of other parts. Public discourse is largely carried out by the proponents of incompatible ideologies, sometimes masquerading as scientifically grounded understandings of the way in which society should be ordered, or trying to revive over-idealized past conditions or prospecting unattainable future ones.


True, the former tradition-based attachment of individuals to their own ‘segmental’ society has been replaced by new attachments, in particular those related to their occupational roles; but the content of these is constantly altered by new technological developments, and above all they generate vis-à-vis other occupations, antagonisms, the most significant (and disruptive) of which constitute the class conflict emphasized by various forms of socialist doctrine. All this renders problematical the assumption that in industrial societies the process of social and cultural differentiation will be complemented and countered by a process of integration addressing in new ways the question ‘what makes a society hang together?’. This can only take place if such societies operate a political entity authorized and empowered to monitor, orient and control both processes. Again, on this entity – ‘the state’ – falls the responsibility for ensuring that the on-going division of labor is accompanied by appropriate developments of a moral nature – chiefly those promoting moral individualism as the dominant societal value (Mueller, 2009). For this to take place the state must contrast and override the ‘spontaneous development’ of two ‘abnormal’ forms of the division of labor – the enforced and the anomic form (Mueller, 2014: 82). The enforced division of labor takes place when large numbers of individuals are compelled to accept disadvantageous occupational positions largely because they lack economic resources that would allow then for advantageous ones. Durkheim is particularly sensitive to the extent to which the actual workings of the labor markets systematically privilege individuals mobilizing resources handed down to them by their families, rather than drawing primarily on their own natural capacities and their educational experience. This phenomenon appears illegitimate to Durkheim, who occasionally suggests it should be eliminated or moderated by changes in the state’s law of succession. He also shares some arguments (including


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some found in Marx) to the effect that in the relationship between employers and employees is inherent at least the possibility of the former exploiting the latter (Giddens, 1986: 30–1). But there is another critical task for the state: it must not allow changes in the economic sphere and in the occupational structure to take place within an anomic environment, and must orient and control those changes by means of appropriate arrangements in the political sphere – particularly the formation and when necessary the reformation of public, enforceable, legal and administrative rules. Durkheim’s more sustained treatments of such matters are present not so much in his four masterpieces (Division of Labor, Rules of Sociological Method, Suicide, Elementary Forms of Religious Life) or in other writings he himself published, but in a set of manuscripts Durkheim drafted toward the end of the 19th century himself, and subsequently revised on the several occasions in which he taught introductory courses in the discipline of sociology. Their content is known to us chiefly from the notes he wrote to lecture from, edited as late as 1950 by a Turkish scholar and published in Istanbul with the title Leçons de sociologie. They appeared in Paris that same year, and an English version was subsequently published under the title Professional Ethics and Civic Morals (Durkheim, 2018). I derive chiefly from this work what I consider the three most significant aspects of Durkheim’s views concerning the political management of the inherent tendencies to disorder that are inherent in contemporary society. The following statement from an essay by Hans-Peter Mueller prospects the argument that follows, intended to complement what has been said before on the political aspects of Durkheim’s thought, If it is possible through institutional reforms to achieve smooth coordination between professional groups, the democratic state, and the individualistic ideal, then the division of labor will create organic solidarity and ensure social integration. In

Lecons de sociologie, (Durkheim) therefore outlines the nomos of a functionally differentiated society and sketches a normative picture of a dynamic and just social order. (Mueller, 1993: 98)

His views to this effect can be subsumed under three headings: 1) The state as the societal brain. In the context of the prolonged process which has rendered more and more complex the structure of modern society, a properly constructed and managed state must monitor attentively that process itself and as far as possible secure society at large from some of its potentially disruptive effects. On this account, Durkheim proposes a view of the state which we might label cybernetic. That is: the state has primarily the task of constantly obtaining and communicating knowledge as objective and up to date as possible, about what goes on in the society at large whose parts continuously affect one another. On this account the state should also decide what, if anything, can and should be done about such processes by the governmental and administrative components of the political system the state itself lies on top of. It should design appropriate authoritative arrangements but entrust their operation to those components, again monitoring their activities and modifying them if necessary. Thus, Durkheim developed a view of the state as constituting ‘the brain, the cerebralspinal system’ of society. On this account, it is primarily the site of intellectual activities, operating autonomously on behalf of society. ‘When the State takes thought and makes a decision, we must not say that it is society that thinks and decides through the State, but that State thinks and decides for it’ (Durkheim, 2018: 49). Essentially, the state, is a group of officials sui generis, within which representations and volitions involving the collectivity are worked out, although they are not the product of collectivity. It is not accurate to say that the state embodies the collective consciousness … Rather, it is the centre only of a particular kind of consciousness, of one that is limited but higher, clearer, and with a more vivid sense of itself.…We

Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena

can therefore say that the State is a special organ, whose responsibility is to work out certain representations which hold good for the collectivity.… distinguished by their higher degree of consciousness and reflection. (Durkheim, 2018: 50)

2) Democratic processes of society-to-state information and guidance. However, the state does not only transmit to the rest of the political system judgments and decisions elaborated by it on the basis of the information it possesses. It can do this promptly, competently, and efficiently, only if it can avail itself in turn of information generated, and reliably conveyed to itself, from a diffuse set of listening posts, of sites self-consciously reporting the needs, the resources, the successes or failures of an increasingly complex (and increasingly dynamic) society. Within the early history of the modern state, the standard arrangement to this effect was for outlying, largely autonomous components of the political system not only to receive and act upon decisions elaborated on and emitted by the state, but also to provide it with the kind of information we mentioned. In case of war, say, the outposts of the state deployed military resources of their own on terms agreed with the state; during peacetime, they managed some local fiscal arrangements whereby the state extracted and allocated its own economic resources. Further inputs from below regarded the views and preference of local notables about state initiatives concerning the territory. Unavoidably, such information was often, so to speak, biased to favor the interests of the sources which gathered and transmitted it – in particular, the interests of the local members of privileged strata. To counter such an effect, in the course of its development the state relied more and more on personnel which it selected, trained, appointed to special offices, and sent out to the various localities. In many cases it would not leave the members of that personnel in particular localities long enough for them to become excessively sensitive to the particular needs of those localities and/or to those of the privileged strata.


The same effect was pursued (especially in Austria and Prussia) by selecting and training public officials with reference to sophisticated bodies of academic knowledge concerning the proper handling of administrative, economic and financial affairs. The activities of those officials were unavoidably oriented also by their career interests, but these were considered by the state itself as more conducive to its own interests. The communication upwards, to the state itself, of potentially significant information, massively increased its own significance, from the 18th century on, with the advance of two phenomena. One was the increasing reach and effectiveness of various kinds of public education agencies, which markedly increased the literacy of the population, and thereby fostered the formation of bodies of opinion which, via the press, also variously dialogued or contended with one ano­ ther regarding political affairs (Habermas, 1991). The other was the democratization of political systems, thanks to which different judgments and demands concerning state activities came to be legitimately transmitted to the state by its arranging periodic, regular electoral consultations at various levels intended to select the personnel operating key public agencies and to have them issue authoritative directives of public officials (Birnbaum, 1976). In Durkheim’s cybernetic view of democracy, this amounts to complementing the top-to-bottom transmission of information and decisions concerning policy with a bottom-to-top transmission. In a democracy, communications between the state and the other parts of society are many, and both regular and organized. The citizens are kept in touch with what the State is doing and the State is at given periods, or may be continuously, told of what is going on in the deep layers of society. It is informed either through administrative channels or by the voice of the electorate. (Durkheim, 2018: 92)

Only by availing itself of such a two-way process of communication can the state design and manage a project ultimately


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intended to curb the anomic tendencies inherent in an advanced process of division of labor left entirely to itself. 3) Durkheim’s corporatist project. There is something paradoxical about a further component of Durkheim’s thinking about policy and the state. It expressed his intention to reform existent arrangements, enabling them better to deal with contemporary and future conditions; but it was largely inspired by his views about earlier arrangements, established in various parts of Europe in the course of early modernity, with distant precedents in classical antiquity. The key aspect of those arrangements – mostly referred to by such expressions as corporative order, corporativism – was the existence of groupings constituted by the practitioners of diverse ‘arts and trades’ (to begin with, within single towns) in order to further the economic interests (in principle, private interests) those practitioners shared with one another. Typically, such groupings – say, various guilds or cooperatives – would impose on their own members some obligations, for instance, about whether and to what extent they could add new members to their number, how and at what length these should be trained, what techniques and materials members were allowed to use in production, how much they should charge non-members for their products, etc. The main intent of such arrangements was to limit the number of practitioners of a given trade, to prevent them from competing with one another by producing novel objects or services and/or by adopting new tools and practices, or by accepting low bids for their products. If complied with, those arrangements would essentially place each grouping, in its dealings with others or with prospective customers, in the advantageous position of a monopolist. This allowed each grouping to restrict the freedom of its members in order to promote its own collective interest, by exercising powers of public nature, normally vested in offices legitimately managing a larger, more comprehensive collectivity. If this happened across a large number of

diverse groupings in a given locale – a town, a market, a territory – their ensemble constituted an essential component of the overall authoritative ordering of that locale. Often, the leading members of one or more groupings had exclusive access to significant official positions in the overall political structure of the whole locale, often to the disadvantage of those excluded from such groupings. Durkheim objected to some effects of those arrangements, particularly the opportunity they had given in the past to some favored groupings to prevent, retard, bias the content of, the commercialization and industrialization of some European economies. However, he also thought that an advanced economy would benefit from a public recognition of the persistent significance for great numbers of individuals of their occupational identities. Optimally, this would involve the operation, within each major sector of the national economy, of a publicly instituted agency, which Durkheim often called a corporation. Here, one organization representing the sector’s employers and one representing its work force, while continuing to pursue the interests of the respective base, would cooperate with the appropriate governmental agency in designing the policies required by the sector as such. Thus structured, the corporation would constitute for the state as a whole an intermediate layer of authority, which would prevent the state’s dangerous tendency to centralize all public activation and monitoring of activities of an economic (and, increasingly, industrial) nature. In a passage toward the end of Suicide, Durkheim argued his own preference, instead, for ‘the only decentralization which would make possible the multiplication of the centers of communal life without weakening national unity, what might be called occupational decentralization’. But this ‘can fulfil its destined role only if [the corporation], instead of being only a creature of convention, becomes a definite institution, a collective personality, with its own customs and traditions, its rights and duties, its

Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena

unity’. All these aspects of its existence and its autonomy must be expressly established by the state by means of legislation, produced and validated by constitutional legislation (Durkheim, 1997: 360). Once so established, each corporation would perform two tasks. On the one hand, it would make competent inputs into the making of appropriate public policies; of course, this required frequent and orderly consultation between the corporation and of the relevant state organs, and as far as possible the joint formation of policy and monitoring of its execution. On the other hand, each corporation would instruct and discipline its members (both those organized by unions and those belonging to employer’s associations) in order to assist the responsible execution by the state of those policies. Durkheim’s corporatist proposal was controversial. In its revolutionary phase, with the Loi le Chapelier, the French state had expressly abolished all intermediate bodies – most of which constituted by various ‘arts and crafts’ – and had re-engineered its own structure chiefly with reference instead to the geographical components of its territory, with each department been administered chiefly by a prefect appointed from the center. The electoral system in Durkheim’s time also emphasized local constituencies, in spite of the fact – he remarked – that the population had long become more and more mobile, the scope of that mobility often encompassed the whole national territory, and individuals identified with their occupation much more than with their locality. This suggested the constitutional changes he proposed. At bottom, their intent was to generate and manage a new form of public morality – a key concern of his, variously echoed in many of his writings. Relations between individuals and between groups should express not only the parties’ pursuit of their own interests, but also a respect for those of the other parties, and for the constraints imposed on each party by the shared recognition of the legitimacy of those


constraints, of their morally binding nature. Thus, relations should be oriented not only by mere considerations of convenience, or by the awareness that the violation of those constraints would activate sanctions – but also by a recognition of the dutifulness of one’s own compliant conduct, by the activation of what one might call a sense for the ought-ness of some expectations In principle, this should be the case – to a different extent and in different forms – in all social relations, from those between individuals motivated by personal feelings, to those formed on the market resulting from shared occupational memberships, or for that matter, from shared loyalty to one’s country. Durkheim’s last masterpiece, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) argued that there was a religious dimension to all these manifestations of social life. Durkheim defined sociology as ‘the science of institutions’, that is of ‘ways of acting, thinking and feeling … existing outside the consciousness of the individual.… but … endowed with a compelling and coercive power by virtue of which, whether he wishes or not, they impose themselves on him’ (Durkheim, 1982: 51). His work presented and analyzed several institutions, for instance education, the family, contract, science. But religion is the only institution to which he dedicated a whole book, which soon attracted considerable attention (there was an English version as early as 1915) and is still widely recognized as a major contribution to ‘classical’ social theory (Durkheim, 1995). He had expressed previously his professional interest in religious phenomena, but Elementary Forms of Religious Life approached them in a distinctive – and controversial – manner. It focused its discourse on a peculiar set of those phenomena, those embodied in Aboriginal Australian totemism. Here all significant ‘ways of acting, thinking and feeling’ of any given clan, have their source, and derive their unique significance for the clan itself, from the reference to sacred entity. Typically, in the


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clan’s natural environment there is present one animal species, which the whole clan identifies with and worships. That is, it renews its collective awareness of one set of beliefs and its commitment to one set of religious practices, via its members’ universal or near-universal participation in periodic ceremonies. These celebrate the totem’s virtues and evoke their abiding significance for collective life at large, not just its religious aspects. The clan’s totem – whatever its nature – evokes in both the clan as a whole and its individual members, on the one hand a sense of submission and dependence, on the other an exalting, empowering sense of self-identification with it. Over the last few decades of the 19th century, and in first one of the 20th, Western explorers, missionaries, traders, ethnographic scholars, had built up a considerable body of knowledge about totemism, and speculated on its relation with other, more familiar, such phenomena. In the scholarly debate about which of these might represent the most primitive manifestation of religion, Durkheim’s Elementary Forms expressly argues that Aboriginal totemism is uniquely entitled to this position. In the evolutionary framework of analysis put forward in Division, this turned all other religions, starting with totemism itself, into successive products of one all-encompassing process of differentiation. Thus, a close-up analysis of the Aboriginal variety of religion would contain general propositions valid for all religions, concerning among other things their significance for other cultural and social phenomena. As Durkheim puts it in the very first pages of Elementary Forms, Whenever we set out to explain something human at a specific point of time – be it a religious belief, a moral rule, a legal principle, an aesthetic technique, or an economic system – we must begin by going back to its simplest and most primitive form. We must seek to account for the features that define it at that period of its existence and then show how it has gradually developed, gained in complexity, and become what it is at the moment under consideration. (Durkheim, 1995: 3)

Thus, the whole book developed insights it considered valid for religion-as-such, no matter how numerous and diverse its manifestations had been across space and time. At bottom, the religious phenomenon ‘always assumes a bipartite division of the universe, knowing and knowable, into two genera that include all that exists but radically exclude one another’ which Durkheim labels as respectively the profane and the religious realm. ‘Sacred things are things protected and isolated by prohibitions; profane things are to those to which the prohibitions are applied and that must be kept at a distance from what is sacred’ (Durkheim, 1995: 38). On this account the human universe is structured by one critical, sharply asymmetrical relationship. Totemic practices exhibit the typical attitude of individuals and groups regarding the sacred realm – an attitude of respect, a reverence reflecting both the awareness of the realm’s unique, sovereign power and significance, and the individual’s or the group’s aspiration of be affiliated with it and protected by it. On the other hand, the attitudes appropriate to profane things range from indifference to casualness, to an attention focused on such things’ de facto usefulness or lack of it; they encourage or allow individuals and groups, as they seek their own mundane advantage, to deal with such things matter-of-factly. Religion’s job, then, consists in positing and reaffirming that fundamental asymmetry. Against what? Against the threat represented by an equally basic feature of the human being, which Durkheim characterizes as its being homo duplex, two-fold man. What does this mean? I quote at length, below, from my chapter on Durkheim in a book I co-authored with Giuseppe Sciortino, As any other animal species, humans exist only as individuals; but two components operate in the mental life of each one of them. The first is directly grounded in the individual’s bodily, sensorial apparatus, and primarily concerns desires and activities related to the natural needs associated with its path from birth to death. The second component,

Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena

however, is constituted by expectations, beliefs, aspirations, understandings, and values that primarily derive from, and in turn orient, each individual’s relationship to others, and manifest themselves in activities expressing solidarity, indifference, or hostility toward some of them.… It owes its existence to the fact that, more than any other animal, each human being is necessarily engaged in relationships with fellow human beings; thus it is the source of the vast majority of the contents of the individual’s mind.… These contents are not simply juxtaposed with the bodily and sensory human apparatus; it is their task – while registering the passions, instincts, and behavioral modalities that derive spontaneously from that apparatus – to assert their own superiority over the first component, to orient the individual’s sentiments and activities toward needs and preferences beyond its own immediate survival and physical well-being. However, the superiority of the second component over the first, though justified and necessary, is intrinsically problematic. It does not result automatically from merely natural processes; nor does it spontaneously generate congruent behavioral tendencies. Instead, it manifests itself by shaping after its own image, so to speak, the tendencies arising from the first component, or where necessary by denying them expression and repressing them. At the same time, the first component is not docile … it contrasts and resists the disciplines the second seeks to impose on it. Therefore the relationship between the two components is irreducibly contingent; it is never certain which in any specific case will prevail over the other…. If human society is to establish and maintain itself, it is necessary for the second component to prevail over the first, even if not always and everywhere. Such necessity descends from the fact that humans are intrinsically social beings, and their sociality can be affirmed and maintained only if (at the least) the majority of individuals in most circumstances orient their behavior to expectations expressing their awareness of others and their needs, and comply with codes, criteria, and sentiments they share with one another…. Each individual, in considering and addressing the others, abides by salient, long-lasting, demanding constraints on conduct that reflect and affirm the superiority of the second component. Normally, indeed, the interests the individuals share must prevail over those private to each of them. (Poggi and Sciortino, 2011: 28–9)

Typical totemic rituals, according to Durkheim, acknowledge and affirm that superiority in a particularly impressive,


emotion-laden manner. They directly confront each individual member of the clan with its membership as a whole, generating in it a ‘collective effervescence’ which not only reproduces in each individual her/his awareness of the clan’s demands and assurances, but reaffirms their significance for the group as a whole. This effect, Durkheim suggests, finds a more or less distinct echo in all religious practices: they motivate in participants on the one hand a sense of dependency visa-à-vis the group, on the other a pride in membership within it. In 1889, in his Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, Robertson Smith had paid great attention to the rituals of sacrifice (Adam & Charles Black 1889). Typically, such rituals involved killing a particular animal victim, cooking and feeding it to the participants, thereby symbolically affirming the group’s dependency on the benevolence of its gods. ‘One of the most important functions that fall squarely upon the shoulders of the deity is to see that men have the food they need to live.’ But Smith denied that an associated ritual – offering some of the victim’s remains to the gods themselves – credibly expressed the opposite symbolic meaning: that the gods relied on such human offerings for their own subsistence. ‘It seems contradictory for the gods to expect their food from men, when it is by them that man himself is fed.’ But Durkheim sees no contradiction here. As the ritual experience suggests, ‘social life….unfolds as if in a circle. On the one hand man receives from society all that is best in him…. Take away from him language, science, the arts, moral beliefs, and he descends to the level of animals…. On the other hand society does not exist and live except within and by means of the individuals…. it possesses reality only to the extent that it maintains its existence within human consciousness, and it is our task to guarantee such a position to it. Society can no more do without individuals than these can do without society … Allow the idea of society to become extinct within the minds of individuals, allow the beliefs, traditions, aspirations of the collectivity cease to be perceived and shared by individuals, and society will perish.’ (Durkheim, 1995: 351)


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Durkheim’s view of the effects on the minds and actions of participants in ritual celebrations of the fundamental symbol of the clan – the totem itself – leads to a provocative question. If the totem ‘is at the same time the symbol of the god and of the society, is it not because the god and the society are one and the same thing’? His own answer to this question was definitively positive. It provoked much debate, and still does; some of the interventions in the debate object that the answer unduly deifies society, others that it renders the religious phenomenon too mundane. We cannot review the debate here, much less try to settle it. We might just say that in Durkheim’s judgment no society can do without something like a worship of itself. One definition of religion in Elementary Forms complements somewhat the huge significance the whole book attributes to ‘beliefs and practices’, by adding to it what one might call an organizational component: ‘A society whose members are united because they imagine the sacred world and its relations with the profane world in the same way, and because they translate this common representation into identical practices, is called a Church’. (Durkheim, 1995: 41). But in the rest of the work there is little sustained elaboration of this component – except perhaps for its being called upon to separate religion from magic: ‘There is no church in magic … The magician has a clientele, not a Church’ (Durkheim, 1995: 42). Perhaps the main strength of ‘Durkheimon-religion’ remains the central role played in it by the analysis of myths and rituals. It was based on a large body of literature regarding, again, totemism and especially in its manifestations in Aboriginal Australia, some of which he presents diffusely in – one might say – luminous language. But some aspects of its content are rendered controversial, of course, by the fact that Division is not based on data collected by the author in the course of author’s own, original field research – Durkheim never even traveled to Australia. It refers instead to data collected

by other scholars, many of these seriously challenged by successive sources. ‘Durkheim-on-religion’ has a further weakness, suggested by comparing it with ‘Weberon-religion’, which expressly compares and contrasts a number of historically significant religions. Durkheim was interested of course in the variety of manifestations of religion, as one can see, for example, in his comparison between the contemporary suicide rates of respectively Protestant, Catholic and Jewish populations. But Elementary Forms does not discuss that variety; rather, it assumes that the essential properties of totemism characterize sociologically religion-as-such.

References Birnbaum, Pierre, ‘La conception durkheimienne de l’Etat : l’apolitisme des fonctionnaires’, Revue française de sociologie, vol. 17, 2, 1976, 247–258. Durkheim, Emile, The Division of Labor in Society. New York: Free Press, 2014. Durkheim, Emile, The Rules of Sociological Method. New York: Free Press, 1982. Durkheim, Emile, Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. London: Routledge, 2018. Durkheim, Emile, Suicide: A Study in Sociology. New York: Free Press, 1997. Durkheim, Emile, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Free Press, 1995. Giddens, Anthony (ed.), Durkheim on Politics and the State, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1986. Habermas, Juergen, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, Boston: MIT Press, 1991. Lukes, Steven, Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work: A Historical and Critical Study, ­Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985. Moore, Deborah Dash, ‘David Emile Durkheim and the Jewish Response to Modernity’, Modern Judaism, vol. 6, 3, October 1986, 287–300. Mueller, Hans-Peter, ‘Durkheim’s political sociology’, in Turner, Stephen (ed.), Emile Durkheim: Sociologist and Moralist,

Emile Durkhein’s Sociological Insight Into Political Phenomena

London and New York: Routledge, 1993, pp. 95–110. Mueller, Hans-Peter, ‘Emile Durkheims Moralpolitik des Individualismus’, Berliner Journal für Soziologie, vol. 19, 2, 2009, 227–247. Nisbet, Robert A., The Sociology of Emile Durkheim, London: Heinemann, 1975. Pinon, Stéphane, ‘Le positivisme sociologique: l’itinéraire de Léon Duguit’, Revue interdisciplinaire d’études juridiques, vol. 67, 2, 2011, 69–93. Poggi, Gianfranco, ‘The Place of Political Concerns in the Early Social Sciences’, European


Journal of Sociology, vol. 21, 2, 1980, 362–371. Poggi, Gianfranco and Giuseppe Sciortino, Great Minds: Encounters with Social Theory, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites. Fundamental Institutions. First Series London: Adam & Charles Black 1889. Selvin, Hanan C., ‘Durkheim’s Suicide: Further Thoughts on a Methodological Classic’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 63, 6, 1958, 607–619.

4 Economic Analysis in Political Science J a m e s F. H o l l i f i e l d a n d H i r o k i Ta k e u c h i

Rational Choice and Strategic Interaction Most political scientists would agree that politics involves control, influence, power, or authority. If we add Max Weber’s concerns about government, legitimacy, and the state, together with Aristotle’s more normative focus on issues of participation, citizenship, and justice, we have a fairly complete picture of what Robert Dahl (1991) calls the ‘political aspect’. We can see immediately how politics touches every dimension of human activity, including the procedural or distributional dimension – who gets what, when, how, why, and at whose cost; the legal or statist dimension, involving issues of governance and legitimacy; and the ethical or normative dimension, which revolves around questions of citizenship, justice, and participation. The study of politics, like economics, also involves preferences, interests, and trade-offs. But unlike economics, where the emphasis is on scarcity and efficiency, in politics the

primary emphasis is on power, influence, and authority, with strong ethical and normative overtones, concerning justice, membership, and citizenship. In a free market, the allocation of scarce goods and resources takes place according to the logic of the marketplace (the price mechanism), that is, the interaction of supply and demand. The exercise of power, however, takes place in the ideational, legal, and institutional confines of political systems. Then what have economic theories added to the study of politics? We know that politics, unlike economics, is not interested narrowly in the allocation of scarce goods and resources. Although politics affects markets through policies, laws, and rules that regulate competition, in a mixed capitalist system politics is not directly concerned with the individual economic decisions of consumers and producers or the optimal allocation of scarce resources. Nonetheless, politics, like economics, does involve choices and strategic interactions. This is where those who

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advocate a positive approach to the study of politics join forces with economists to lay the micro-foundations of political analysis. So-called rational choice approaches in political science share common assumptions with economists about human rationality and strategic decision-making, and they seek to construct economic theories to explain political behavior (see also Paine and Tyson, Chapter 11, this Handbook). The most common ‘economic theories’ of politics take rational choice approaches. They assume that individuals are rational in the sense that they will make choices to ‘maximize their chances of achieving their goals’ (Geddes, 2003: 177). They give priority to agency (individual rational actors) over structure (institutions and other political constraints). They assume that individuals have goals, and that institutions and other factors affect individual strategies and preferences. In this framework, utility-maximizing individuals will do what they can to achieve their goals, engaging in strategies to anticipate the actions of others (their opponents), who will in turn anticipate the actions of the other side. Strategic interactions therefore refer to the ways in which each individual not only looks out for his or her own interests but also takes into account the interests and strategies of others. In this rational choice framework, conflict and cooperation, and the give and take of political life, are the result of myriad strategic interactions. Rational choice approaches often use game theory to understand the complexity of strategic interactions in situations of conflict. Developed by applied mathematicians in the mid 20th century, game theory is widely used by economists and to an increasing extent, by political scientists. Game theory is not a ‘theory’ in the sense of a set of claims, laws, or propositions about the way the world works. It is rather a method for constructing theories, and it offers the analyst a set of concepts and tools that enable her to formalize her arguments. Game-theoretic analysis requires


careful specification of the beliefs, wants, and needs of individuals, and a clear understanding of what strategies are available to them. The need for specificity makes game theory less useful as a tool for applied political and social science; nonetheless, it helps us to understand the logic and structure of politics, whether we are studying domestic politics, international relations (IR), political economy, or public policy.

Strategic Interactions and Democracy Economic analysis in political science begins with assumptions about individual rationality. Yet the problem remains of how collective decisions relate to individual choices? To answer this question, social choice theory focuses on how individual preferences add up to collective action, and what roles institutions play in ‘engineering’ social choices. The disjuncture between individual and collective preferences is Condorcet’s paradox – the puzzle that calls into question the notion of majority rule, which is incapable of producing a stable relationship between individual preferences and collective decisions. Kenneth Arrow (1963) seeks to address the puzzle of how individual preferences affect collective choices, and he concluded there is no mechanism short of a dictatorship that can achieve collective rationality. This is Arrow’s impossibility theorem. Arrow’s theorem helps us to understand how democracies work. Arrow does not prove that collective rationality would transitively guarantee the aggregation of individual preferences. Rather his theorem requires concentration of power in the hands of a single decision maker or dictator. The main implication of Arrow’s argument is that institutions are the critical link in understanding how radically divergent individual preferences are translated into collective action in rather stable ways.


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Building on Arrow’s social choice theory, William Riker (1980) states, politics is the dismal science because we have learned from it that [unlike economics] there are no fundamental equilibria to predict. In the absence of such equilibria we cannot know much about the future at all, whether it is likely to be palatable or unpalatable, and in that sense our future is subject to the tricks and accidents of the way in which questions are posed and alternatives are offered and eliminated. (Riker, 1980: 443 italics in the original)

While Riker recognized the failure to find equilibria for collective rationality, he stressed the importance of institutions for the smooth functioning of a democracy. He answers the question of how democracies can reach collective decisions despite the lack of equilibria in the following way: ‘[in a democracy] the way … tastes and values are brought forward for consideration, eliminated, and finally selected is controlled by … institutions. And institutions may have systematic biases in them so that they regularly produce one kind of outcome rather than another’ (ibid.: 443). Following Riker’s expansion of Arrow’s theorem, we must ask ourselves how institutions matter in democratic decision-making. Many studies have debated whether and how institutional structures determine the existence and location of equilibria for collective choice. Anthony Downs (1957) argues that governments are not really interested in maximizing individual voters’ preferences, but in maximizing votes tout court. In his analysis, the sole point of politics is to gain and hold power; and in a two-party system, politicians must take positions as close as possible to the median voter. His view explains why candidates tend to become moderate in the general election while they emphasize their party’s ideologies – such as conservatism or ­liberalism – during the party’s primary election, especially in American presidential or congressional elections. Voting has long been a principal subject of political science. Maurice Duverger (1954) pointed out that strategic behavior of

voters and candidates is heavily influenced by electoral institutions. Duverger’s Law holds that plurality voting in single-member districts tends to produce two-party systems, whereas voting based on proportional representation or multi-member districts leads to multi-party systems and coalition governments. In two-party systems, candidates have an incentive to obfuscate and avoid taking strong stands on key issues, as they jockey for position vis-à-vis the median voter; whereas in multi-party systems, candidates have an incentive to take stronger positions to attract a significant minority of voters, but their positions may change once they enter a coalition g­ overnment. Riker (1982) argues that Duverger’s Law is applicable to many countries’ party politics controlling ­regionally – but not nationally – strong third parties. In retrospect, these arguments may seem obvious or almost self-evident; but they are in fact early examples of economic analyses in political science, stressing the role of strategy, procedure, and institutions. Following Duverger and others, we can see that political parties and electoral systems are the most important institutions for the smooth functioning of a democracy. They translate and aggregate individual preferences into policy. John Aldrich (1995: 76) argues that democracies would not work without parties, noting that ‘majority voting was highly unstable, shifting, and chaotic – just what would be expected in multidimensional choices that lack preference-based equilibrium’. He shows how parties regulate the number of people seeking office, and how they mobilize voters to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to implement policy once they have gained power. As a result, ‘institutional arrangements could induce equilibrium where preferences alone would not’ (ibid.: 77). By aggregating individual preferences, parties help to solve Arrow’s impossibility theorem; and they move society toward equilibria that make governing possible. Moreover, party competition enables democracy to lead to political outputs that

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better the interests of its citizenry because of politicians who face the real possibility of losing their next election. John Aldrich and John Griffin (2018) find that even in the American South – where historically political parties were weak and underdeveloped – recently, a two-party system has emerged, and party competition in the South has played the same roles as that of the North for democracy to work. The argument for the importance of parties relies heavily on economic reasoning, and it assumes that voters are able to make informed choices. Studies of democratic elections, by contrast, have found that individuals appear to know very little about politics (e.g., Lupia, 2016; Lupia and McCubbins, 1998; Page and Shapiro, 1992; Popkin, 1994). However, the fact that people lack information about politics does not mean that they make random political choices. Arthur Lupia and Mathew McCubbins (1998: 5) argue that people ‘use a wide range of simple cues as substitutes for complex information’ and choose elite cues among competing messages based on the credibility of the senders of the messages. As a result, voters vote as if they have sufficient information to make reasoned choices. However, nowadays as people get news increasingly from social media, voters rely less on expert opinion that includes multiple competing messages. Rather they are wedded to monolithic perspectives that they want to hear, victims of selection and confirmation bias. Economic analysis in political science can explain why and how social media have made it more difficult for democracy to function and to produce stable governing coalitions.

Strategic Interactions and War Economic analysis in political science abounds in the study of one of the most important issues in IR: war and peace. At first glance, it is not surprising to see that


states are more often than not in conflict, because each state must pursue its own interests, maximizing its power and wealth in order to provide security. States are trapped in a ‘security dilemma’, which arises when efforts that states make to defend themselves lead other states to feel less secure and to fear that they will be attacked. The logic of the security dilemma is often explained in gametheoretic terms, using the so-called ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’, whereby the two actors’ rational strategy to maximize individual payoffs creates a worse outcome than some other possible outcome that would be better for both actors. This interaction captures why international cooperation is difficult under anarchy: in the absence of enforcement mechanisms to punish defections, states can give into a temptation to act unilaterally. The point is that states have an individual incentive to defect, which leads to an outcome of mutual defection even though both would be better off with cooperation. In sum, the Prisoner’s Dilemma provides the micro-foundations for realist theories of IR, which argue that states always will approach IR as a zero-sum (win or lose) game, thus leading to the anarchic nature of the international system (e.g., Mearsheimer, 2001; Waltz, 1979). While it may seem irrational for states to engage in an arms race, thereby increasing the propensity to go to war and making it more difficult to resolve conflict through negotiations, conflict and insecurity, according to realists, are enduring features of world politics (see also David and Rapin, Chapter 83, this Handbook). In the meantime, international cooperation is more likely if interactions occur repeatedly with the same partners (Axelrod, 1984). In this situation – commonly known as the repeated (iterated) Prisoner’s Dilemma – actors find their best interest to be cooperating in every period if future payoffs are valued highly enough – this is the so-called ‘shadow of the future’ and it forms a basis for cooperation in world politics. In this way, the danger of war is lessened or eliminated


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through interdependence and institutions. The repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma lays the micro-foundations for liberal theories of IR (see Hellmann, Chapter 76, this Handbook). Interdependence and constant strategic interaction produce common interests and therefore decrease conflict among states, reducing the role of military power and the insecurity it breeds. Institutions, then, both international and domestic, can mitigate the effects of anarchy and, as a result, there is opportunity for positive-sum, mutually beneficial cooperation (e.g., Ikenberry, 2011; Keohane, 1984; Lake, 2011; McDonald, 2009). Even under anarchy, international institutions help states to overcome the security dilemma and promote cooperation by creating the expectation of repeated interactions across time and with multiple partners, defining norms (standards of acceptable behavior), providing information about activities of other states, and creating linkages across policy dimensions (Jervis, 1976; Martin and Simmons, 2001; Voeten, 2005). This logic of cooperation suggests that alliances would work if states seize opportunities to cooperate over time and across issues, and if each state trusts that the other states see the virtues of cooperation. If a powerful state accuses its allies of defection and free-riding, the shadow-ofthe-future-based cooperation would not work and the chance for peace and stability in IR will diminish. Hence, the iterative Prisoner’s Dilemma suggests that the America First foreign policy of the United States under Donald Trump will undermine international security. War is an extremely costly way for states to settle their disputes (see David and Rapin, Chapter 83, this Handbook). Given the human and material costs of military conflict, why do states sometimes wage war rather than resolving their disputes through negotiations? Motivated by this puzzle, James Fearon (1995) offers ‘rationalist explanations for war’. He postulates three mechanisms of how conflict escalates into war. He sees two ways that miscalculation can lead to war. First, if there is uncertainty about an adversary’s

capabilities – such as the size of the military, the effectiveness of military technology, the quality of leadership, the contribution, if any, of allies; or if there is uncertainty about the adversary’s resolve to fight wars, which raises questions about how much each side values the ‘good’ that is in dispute and what the ultimate cost of war will be in terms of blood (casualties), treasure (wealth), and domestic politics (whether the leader can stay in office) – the international system will be destabilized leading to war. Second, Fearon sees three scenarios where war may occur because of ‘commitment problems’ when states are unwilling to trust their adversaries to honor a negotiated deal. The first scenario is that when the issue in dispute affects future bargaining power (e.g., strategic territory, weapons programs, etc.), the bargaining can fail if a state fears that its adversary will exploit concessions to make further demands – this is the so-called dilemma of coercive disarmament. Moreover, when the relative power of one side is expected to grow rapidly (e.g., rapid economic growth, acquisition of new weapons, etc.), the declining state may have an incentive to fight now to prevent or slow the power shift, and a war fought for this reason is called a preventive war. Furthermore, if the outcome of the war depends on delivering the first blow, a first-strike advantage exists and creates incentives to engage in a preemptive attack to take the first shot before the adversary does – a ‘guns of August’ scenario. In the last scenario, Fearon discusses a problem that can prevent states from reaching settlements because the disputed good is indivisible. Fearon (1995) and Robert Powell (2006) argue that we should be skeptical because claims that goods are indivisible may reflect a bargaining position adopted for strategic reasons rather than a true description of the good. Fearon’s rationalist explanations for war show us that a mutual (and rational) preference for peace is not sufficient for states to overcome the incomplete information problem or the commitment problems. Threats

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may lack credibility, because states generally have incentives to exaggerate and misrepresent their capabilities and their resolve to fight. States have a big incentive to bluff; witness Saddam Hussein in the two Gulf Wars. In July 1990 when Iraq was engaged in coercive diplomacy with Kuwait, both Iraq and Kuwait had the mistaken belief that the other side would cave. In such a situation, even though war is costly and regrettable ex post, actions that entail a risk of war can be sensible ex ante. Meanwhile, in the cases of commitment problems, states face a choice between war today on favorable terms and the threat of war tomorrow on unfavorable terms. The threat of war tomorrow diminishes if states can make credible promises not to use force to revise subsequently the terms of the deal. However, it is difficult for a state to make such a promise in a credible manner in the absence of any enforcement mechanisms, and hence a commitment problem arises in IR where states interact under anarchy. One of the enduring issues in the study of IR is the so-called democratic peace argument, with many competing arguments about why there are few, if any, clear cases of war between mature democratic states. Why is it that democracies do not fight each other? A common theoretical argument is rooted in the idea that democratic states experience a lower probability of war with one another due to domestic political constraints and cooperation flows from a presumption of mutual trust and respect, and shared strategic interests (Doyle, 1986; Gowa, 1999; Russett, 1993). Democracy increases the political costs of war by making elected leaders accountable to people who ultimately must pay the costs of war. The rationalist explanations for war can shed light on this debate, focusing on how democracy influences bargaining interactions between states and increases the chances that a peaceful settlement will be found. For example, Kenneth Schultz (2001) argues that democracy increases transparency, which may help


overcome the incomplete information and commitment problems in strategic interactions between states, thereby reducing uncertainty about the capabilities and resolve of democratic states. In addition, democratic leaders may be able to communicate their resolve in a credible manner, because backing down from a threat creates public disapproval and democracy magnifies the political importance of this effect (e.g., Fearon, 1994; Tomz, 2007). Yet the question remains, why are democratic states unlikely to fight each other but are more warlike in general? Some scholars suggest that while fellow democracies enjoy a presumption of friendship, democratic publics treat autocrats with suspicion and mistrust (e.g., Dixon, 1993; Mousseau, 1998; Tomz and Weeks, 2013). Rationalist explanations of IR interpret this observation by pointing out that democratic states have preferences that favor compromise over the use of force when bargaining with other democratic states. With this logic, in the extreme, autocrats are legitimate targets for regime change, as, for example, when President George W. Bush argued that bringing democracy to Iraq would advance US national security. In sum, economic analysis in political science suggests that the two Gulf Wars occurred because of Iraq’s failure to communicate credibly its capabilities and resolve, as well as US lack of norms that favor compromise over the use of force against autocracies.

Strategic Interactions and Politics of International Trade Economic analysis in political science also helps us to understand the politics of trade. Economic theory tells us that free trade is beneficial (see also Stéphane Paquin, Chapter 74, this Handbook). Why, then, do states not always embrace trade liberalization? Why has the international trading system been open only under particular conditions?


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The core concept of the economics of trade, explaining how trade is beneficial for all trading partners, is comparative advantage. Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (1979 [1776]) suggests that there is a benefit to an international division of labor whereby countries specialize based on skills or endowments. In this way, self-interested economic exchange makes everyone better off through the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. Applying Smith’s theory to international trade, David Ricardo in On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (2015 [1817]) proposes the idea of comparative advantage: a system of free trade in which countries specialize in the areas where they have a comparative advantage, leading to the optimal allocation of scarce goods and resources. ‘Comparative’ means that it is not necessary for a country to have an absolute advantage in the production of a good or service. All countries have a comparative advantage, in that they can produce some goods and services more efficiently than other countries; and trade will lead them to specialize. Thus, it is wrong to say that trade is only beneficial for wealthier developed countries. Explaining why countries trade, the Heckscher-Ohlin theory (H-O) takes the logic of comparative advantage a step further, pointing out that countries will export goods that require large inputs of their more abundant factors, and import goods that require inputs of more scarce factors. H-O theory explains trade based on factor prices and endowments. Developing countries that are abundant in unskilled labor (or land) should export labor-intensive manufactured goods such as textiles and clothing (or agricultural products), whereas developed countries that are rich in (human) capital should specialize in more high-tech products and services. In sum, comparative advantage and H-O theory can explain why developing countries demand access to developed countries’ markets of textiles and apparel (or agriculture) – instead of protecting their own domestic markets – in trade negotiations. Although economists make a strong case that trade is beneficial for global welfare,

political scientists point out that every country currently has at least some restrictions on trade, called protectionism, involving the imposition of barriers to restrict imports. Why do governments restrict trade? Using the simple economic logic of the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, which postulates that protection benefits the scarce factor of production, Ronald Rogowski (1989) explains which interests will support protectionism and which will support trade liberalization. According to H-O theory, countries export goods that are intensive in the factors of production that are relatively abundant, while importing goods that are intensive in the factors of production that are relatively scarce. Therefore, trade liberalization will increase the income of the relatively abundant factor by increasing its exports, while decreasing the income of the relatively scarce factor by increasing import competition. This logic suggests that the demand for protectionism should come from those whose income would suffer because of trade liberalization. Applying this logic to the United States, which is a labor-scarce country compared with developing countries, unskilled labor benefits from protectionism and loses from trade liberalization with developing countries such as China and Mexico (Spence, 2011). In addition, the Ricardo-Viner model suggests that interests in trade may be industry-­specific. Exporting industries want open foreign markets, importcompeting industries want to protect the home market to reduce competition, and industries using imports as inputs want the open home market to be open to reduce production costs. In sum, the Stolper-Samuelson theorem explains why unskilled workers support measures to restrict trade that would benefit their industries. When the United States approved China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1999, labor unions representing autoworkers (the United Auto Workers), lorry drivers (the Teamsters union), and dockworkers (the International Longshore and Warehouse Union) opposed China’s accession to the WTO. This is despite the fact that increasing trade with China

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would benefit their members, by lowering prices for consumer goods, stimulating economic growth, and raising employment (Friedman, 2000). They fear that if worker incomes drop in import-competing sectors, trade would depress labor income in all sectors, because unskilled labor is a substitute for trade, not a complement. Likewise, the Ricardo-Viner model explains how protectionism may hit the firms that use imports as inputs. For example, the US imposition of tariffs on auto parts under the Trump administration hurt domestic auto producers that use imported parts, even though Trump argued that tariffs would protect them. Car tariffs – presumably designed to protect the jobs of US autoworkers – have raised production costs of car manufacturing in the United States, and as a result in 2018 General Motors announced that it would close four plants in the United States and one in Canada, cutting 14,000 jobs (Sandbu, 2018). The Stolper-Samuelson theorem and the Ricardo-Viner model show that even if trade liberalization makes a country as a whole better off, it creates winners and losers within the country, and it is the shifting constellation of interests, according to Rogowski, that will drive openness and closure to trade. Even when there are more winners than losers from free trade, the losers can be compensated with the winners’ gains. National welfare can be improved by compensating with winners’ gains. Economic theory calls such a move Pareto improving, which makes at least somebody (if not everybody) better off without making anyone worse off. What policies mitigate the negative impacts of trade and create Pareto improvement? Economic theory assumes that labor can move between different jobs with no cost. What this theory implies is that policies that lower the cost for labor to move from a declining industry to a growing industry would lead to a Pareto improvement. Social welfare policies such as improving unemployment insurance and enhancing job training are essential to build support for free trade (Scheve and Slaughter,


2007). The cost of moving from one sector to another would be high if a worker loses basic health insurance coverage when changing jobs. Therefore, a national health care system would help to achieve a Pareto improvement. Perhaps most importantly, education reform to improve basic skills in the workforce is key for workers in developed countries to compete with those in developing countries in the global economy (Alden and TaylorKayle, 2018; Scheve and Slaughter, 2019). If the productivity of better-paid developed countries’ workers is the same as that of lesspaid developing countries’ workers, developed countries’ workers will face downward pressure on their wages. While protectionism neither builds the needed safety net nor makes its workers more competitive, it makes domestic producers less competitive in the global market. As a result, economic growth is constrained, making it more difficult to establish a safety net because of declining GDP and lower tax revenue. The H-O theory, together with the StolperSamuelson theorem, explain why trade with developing countries has led to reduced wages for many unskilled workers in developed countries, which has caused a protectionist backlash in the United States and other developed countries. During the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump told workers that he would bring back unskilled jobs by restricting trade, foreign investment, and immigration, campaigning on the nationalist slogan of ‘America First’. In fact, economic research shows that trade with China has been responsible for a significant part of the decline in US manufacturing employment in the last two decades, and there is no evidence that trade with other developing countries is responsible for job or wage losses of US workers – in short, China is different. One study estimates that US trade with China during 1999–2011 led to net job losses of 2.0– 2.4 million in the United States (Acemoglu et al., 2016). Another study finds that people who work in parts of the United States most affected by import competition from China


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tend to have greater unemployment and reduced lifetime income (Autor et al., 2016). Still, other studies argue that enhanced productivity because of automation has had a far bigger effect than import competition with developing countries, pointing to the fact that US manufacturers have increased their productivity and need fewer workers. Although the US steel industry lost 400,000 jobs (75% of its workforce) during 1962–2005, its production did not decline (Collard-Wexler and De Loecker, 2015). Even though technology is a bigger threat to unskilled jobs than trade, foreign countries – China or Mexico – are more convenient scapegoats than machines or robots. Lawrence Katz, quoted in a New York Times article: ‘Just allowing the private market to automate without any support is a recipe for blaming immigrants and trade and other things, even when it’s the long impact of technology’ (Miller, 2016). Edward Alden (2017) argues that the United States has

failed to adjust economic and trade policies to the new reality of an automated and globalized economy. As a result, those who have lost the safety net see immigrants and trade as the cause of their economic difficulties.

Strategic Interactions and International Migration Another field of study where economic theories help explain political outcomes is international migration – the movement of people across national borders – which has been steadily increasing in every region of the globe since the end of World War II (see Badie, Chapter 84, this Handbook). In 2017 approximately 258 million people reside outside of their country of birth and over the past half-century individual mobility has increased at a steady pace (see Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1 Trends in international migration: A ‘Crisis’? Source: UN Population Division.

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Tens of millions of people cross borders on a daily basis, which adds up to roughly two billion annually. International mobility of people is part of a broader trend of globalization, which includes trade in goods and services, investments and capital flows, greater ease of travel, and a veritable explosion of information. While trade and capital flows are the twin pillars of globalization, migration is the third pillar or the third leg of the stool on which the global economy rests. Migration is in many ways connected to trade and investment, yet it is profoundly different. People are not shirts, which is another way of saying that labor is not a pure commodity. Unlike goods and capital, individuals can become actors on the international stage (they have agency) whether through peaceful transnational communities or violent terrorist/criminal networks. In the extremely rare instances when migrants commit terrorist acts, migration and mobility can be a threat to the security of states. However, many economic studies show that the benefits of migration far outweigh the

Figure 4.2 A typology of international regimes


costs (Martin, 2015). Immigrants bring much needed manpower in demographically deficient countries, human capital, and new ideas (entrepreneurial know-how) and cultures (diversity) to their host societies. However, in liberal democracies, they also come with a basic package of (human and civil) rights that enables them to settle and become productive members of society, if not citizens of their adoptive countries. Conversely, they may return to their countries of origin where they can have a dramatic impact on economic and political development (Martin et  al., 2006), with a brain drain turning into a brain gain or brain circulation.

Migration and Governance In strategic interactions over the issue of migration, international cooperation is difficult. Figure 4.2 highlights the inadequacies of global migration governance compared to trade and finance. Why has no international migration regime emerged to complement the Bretton Woods regimes for


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trade (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/WTO) and finance and development (International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank)? The answer lies in collective action problems. To date, unwanted labor migration is more of a nuisance for host countries, especially from a political and security standpoint. Labor migrants are not fundamentally threatening, the building of walls along the US– Mexican border notwithstanding. Migration governance often is unilateral and done on an ad hoc or bilateral basis. The payoff from international cooperation in the area of unwanted labor migration is negative, and opportunities for defection from a global migration regime are numerous, notwithstanding the new UN ‘global compact on migration.’ The possibilities for monitoring, enforcing, or developing some core principle of non-­discrimination (as in the WTO) are minimal at this point, and there is little or no reciprocity. Thus, states have a strong incentive to free-ride other states’ efforts, and international migration of all types poses a challenge for individual states, as well as for regional integration processes like the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and for the international community as a whole (Hollifield et al., 2014). That brings us back to the domestic level in our quest to understand migration governance and to explain why states risk openness, and it requires a political economy approach. Despite its benefits, both economically and culturally, international migration is one of the most politically controversial issues in developed countries. Reactive populism in Europe and the United States is nativist and xenophobic, and immigration is a key issue for many voters, as evidenced by the British vote to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Four factors drive immigration policies: economic interests (markets), cultural and ideational concerns, security, and rights (see Figure 4.3). Opponents claim that immigrants suppress the wages of native workers (markets), impose welfare burdens and diminish citizenship

Figure 4.3 The dilemmas of migration governance

(rights), threaten national identity (culture), and cause crime and terrorism (security). In their research on public opinion, Gary Freeman and Alan Kessler (2008) find that opposition to immigration is related not only to economic factors, such as job market threat from immigrants and higher taxes to support immigrants’ use of welfare programs, but also to non-economic factors, such as the desire for cultural homogeneity and a fear of loss of national identity (see also Huntington, 2004). In ‘normal’ times, the debate about immigration control in liberal democracies revolves around two poles: markets (numbers) and rights (status); or how many immigrants to admit, with what skills, and with what status? Should migrants be temporary (guest) workers, or allowed to settle, bring their families, and get on a ‘path to citizenship’? To explain the push and pull factors of international migration, economic analysis assumes individual migrants as preeminently rational, utility-maximizing agents (Martin, 2015). For example, George Borjas (1990) argues that the welfare state itself is a significant pull factor because low-skilled migrants would choose to migrate expecting that they can benefit from the recipient country’s social welfare services after admission. As a result, Martin Ruhs (2013) argues, there are trade-offs in the policies of developed

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countries between openness to admitting immigrants (numbers) and the rights granted to immigrants (status). Those who argue for the trade-offs between markets and rights assume that migrant and native workers are substitutes, and hence that immigration harms native workers as their wages fall (e.g., Borjas, 2003). However, migrants and native workers can be complements if they belong to different skill groups, so that immigrants may have a positive impact on the wages of native workers (e.g., Peri and Sparber, 2009). Accounting for the complementarity effects, Gianmarco Ottaviano and Giovanni Peri (2012) find that in the United States immigrants during 1990–2006 had a small positive effect on average wages of US-born workers (including unskilled workers) and a substantial negative effect on wages of recent, low-skilled immigrants. This economic analysis draws two important policy implications: the more social mobility the workers – both migrant and native – have, the more beneficial the arrival of migrant workers are for both native workers and employers, and previous immigrants would lose from more immigration if they fail to raise their skill levels after arrival. In other words, policies that increase workers’ social mobility would mitigate the negative impacts of immigration and create a Pareto improvement. Thus, regulatory reform to create more flexible labor markets and education reform to enhance skill levels of both native and migrant workers would be important to mitigate negative public reactions to immigration. The logic of collective action suggests that organized groups would have more impact on policymaking than disorganized public opinion, especially in democratic countries where vote-maximizing politicians find it more important to cater to influential interest groups (Olson, 1965). How do interest groups shape US immigration policy at the sector level? Margaret Peters (2017) argues that firms that lobby for open immigration to lower their labor costs when trade policy is closed will


adapt to import competition by other means – such as increasing labor productivity or closing their businesses – when trade policy is open. She states that trade liberalization and the increased ability of firms to move overseas has reduced the business community’s pressure for open immigration, empowered antiimmigrant groups, and spurred greater limits on immigration. Giovanni Facchini and his coauthors (2011) assume that labor unions want restrictions on immigration – so as to maintain higher wages for native workers – while business groups want greater openness to immigration, and they find that barriers to immigration are lower in sectors where business groups incur larger lobbying expenditures and higher in sectors where labor unions are more powerful. In sum, economic analysis of international migration suggests that business firms seek greater openness to immigration to confront import competition, while workers demand greater controls on immigration when they fail to upgrade their skill levels and hence have to confront the downward pressure of their wages due to automation – not immigration. In times of war and political crises, the dynamic of markets and rights give way to a culture-security dynamic and finding equilibrium (compromise) in the policy game is much harder – this is the policy dilemma facing leaders across the globe in the 21st century. Cultural concerns – where should the immigrants come from, which regions of the globe, with which ethnic characteristics – and issues of integration often ‘trump’ markets and rights, and the trade-offs are more intense in some periods and in some countries than in others. Indeed, studies of public opinion toward immigration show that cultural concerns play a significant role in how willing people in recipient countries are to accept newcomers (e.g., Hainmueller and Hopkins, 2014). For example, in Germany, widely shared but wildly fabricated stories of Arab men raping Western women epitomize the view that the newcomers with particular religious and ethnic backgrounds are defiling the nation (Eddy, 2017). Michael Lusztig


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(2017) takes issue with multiculturalists (Kymlicka, 1995), arguing that multiculturalism and other forms of culturalism pose a threat to liberal democracy. With the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States, and again with attacks in Europe on November 13, 2015, in Paris, immigration and refugee policymaking has been dominated by a national security dynamic (with a deep cultural subtext, fear of Islam) and the concern that liberal immigration and refugee policies pose a threat to the nation and to civil society. In the United States, Donald Trump has stoked fear of immigrants to gain votes, and as a result anti-internationalism has escalated from protectionism into xenophobia, nativism, and racism. Even though immigration is not a cause of job losses, the perception that immigrants are ‘taking our jobs’ has proven to be politically potent (e.g., Scheve and Slaughter, 2001). Those who feel ‘immigrants have stolen our jobs’ are open to Trump’s xenophobic one-way Twitter demagoguery of ‘we are deceived by foreigners’. Protectionism and restricting immigration have become the rallying cry of anti-­globalists. Without a social welfare safety net that would create a Pareto improvement, those in the United States who feel left behind by globalization find immigrants and foreigners to be convenient scapegoats. However, the situation in Europe is different. Despite strong welfare states, the fear of Islam and terrorism overrides the basic political economy dynamic of markets and rights (see Figure 4.3).

Migration Interdependence and International Cooperation If the domestic four-sided game (Figure 4.3) is not complicated enough, it becomes more difficult by virtue of the fact that migration control has important foreign policy implications. The movement of populations affects international security, and in some situations like the partition of India or the breakup of

Yugoslavia, it can change the balance of power. Hence, political leaders are always engaged in a strategic interaction, a two-level game, seeking to build domestic coalitions to maximize support for policy but with an eye on the foreign policy consequences (Putnam, 1988). Migration is an important factor driving economic interdependence and creating an international labor market. The first rule of political economy is that markets beget regulation. Hence, some type of a stronger global or regional migration regime is necessary to sustain open labor markets. What will be the parameters of such a regime, how will it evolve, and how can economic theories of politics help us to understand it? One of the principal effects of economic interdependence is to compel states to cooperate (see the discussion of trade in the previous section). Increasing international migration is one indicator of interdependence, and it shows no signs of abating. From Figure 4.4, we can see levels of migration interdependence, with states in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia relying heavily on migration for national development, whether through labor migration (both high- and lowskilled) or income generators via remittances. As the international market for skilled and unskilled labor grows, pressures to create an international regime will increase. Economic theories help us to identify two ways in which states can overcome coordination problems in the absence of a multilateral process that builds trust and reciprocity and thereby helps to overcome asymmetries: (1) through the centralization of regulatory power and pooling of sovereignty (as in the EU), and (2) suasion and ‘tactical issue linkage’. We already have seen an example of the first strategy at the regional level in Europe (see Fawcett, Chapter 80, this Handbook). The EU and, to a lesser extent, the Schengen and Dublin regimes were built through processes of centralization and pooling of sovereignty. This was easier to do in the European context because of the symmetry of interests and power within the EU

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Figure 4.4 Migration interdependence

and the existence of an institutional framework (the various treaties of the EU). It is much more difficult to centralize control of migration in the Americas or Asia, for example, where the asymmetry of interests and power is much greater, and levels of political and economic development vary tremendously from one state to another. Different from the EU, it is unlikely that regional trade regimes like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (now Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) will lead quickly to cooperation in the area of migration. Nevertheless, the regional option – multilateralism for a relevant group of states where migration governance is a club good  – is one way to overcome collective action problems and to begin a process of centralization of regulatory authority. Most international regimes have had a long gestation period, beginning as bilateral or regional agreements. It is unlikely, however, that an international migration

regime (a Global Compact on Migration and Refugees) could be built following the genesis of international organizations such as the GATT (now the WTO), the IMF, and the World Bank, which provide a certain level of multilateral governance for the other two pillars of globalization. In the area of migration governance, it is difficult to fulfill the prerequisites of multilateralism: indivisibility, generalized principles of conduct, and diffuse reciprocity. The norm of non-­discrimination (equivalent of the most-favored nation status) does not exist, and there are no mechanisms for punishing free-riders and no way of resolving disputes. In short, as depicted in Figure 4.2, the basis for multilateralism is weak, and the institutional framework is not well developed. However, this has not prevented the international community (via the United Nations) from moving forward with a Global Compact for Migration, built around the principle of ‘safe, orderly and regular migration’. The challenge of course will be to convince the most powerful states, especially the United States, to support a multilateral process for global


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migration governance. For the moment, the United States and other powerful countries (like the UK) are moving in exactly the opposite (nationalist and unilateral) direction. With the asymmetry of interests and power between developed (migration receiving) and less-developed (migration sending) countries, suasion, including financial incentives, is the only viable strategy for overcoming collective action problems, whether at the regional or international level. This game follows several steps. The first step is to develop a dominant strategy, which can be accomplished only by the most powerful states, using international organizations (like the UN) to persuade or coerce smaller and weaker states. From the standpoint of recipient countries, the orderly movement of people, defined in terms of rule of law and respect for state sovereignty, should be the principal objective of the powerful liberal states. From the standpoint of the sending countries, migration for development, taking advantage of remittances and returns (brain gain) or circular migration, should be the guiding principle of an international migration regime. Then, the second step is to persuade other states to accept the dominant strategy. This will necessitate tactical issue linkage, which involves identifying issues and interests not necessarily related to migration, and using these to leverage, compel, or coerce states to accept the dominant strategy. This is, in effect, an ‘international logroll’. Such tactics will have only the appearance of multilateralism, at least initially. Tactical issue linkage is central in negotiations between the United States and Mexico over the NAFTA (now United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)) and over refugee flows from Central America. Likewise, migration management figured prominently in negotiations between the EU and neighboring states, especially EU candidate countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The third step for developed countries is to institutionalize this process. The long-term benefits of such a strategy for recipient countries are obvious. It will be less costly to build a multilateral migration

regime than to fight every step of the way with every sending state, relying only on unilateral or bilateral agreements. Multilateral processes may entail some short-term loss of control and sovereignty in exchange for long-term stability and orderly migration based on rule of law. The payoff for sending states is greater freedom of movement for their nationals, greater foreign reserves and a more favorable balance of payments, increased prospects for return migration, and increases in technology transfers. Thus, it is potentially a ‘win-winwin’ for sending and recipient countries and the migrants themselves. Changes in the international system with the end of the Cold War have altered this game in several ways. First, it has made defection easier. Since the 1990s, states have had a more incentive to free-ride by not cooperating with neighboring states in the making of migration and refugee policies. Second, the new configurations of interests and power make it more difficult to pursue a multilateral strategy for managing international migration. In recipient countries, internationalist rights-markets coalitions of the left and the right (for example, civil rights Democrats and business or so-called ‘Wall Street’ Republicans in the United States) have broken apart. Instead, increasing polarization and politicization over immigration and refugee issues have led to nationalist culture-security coalitions of the far left and the far right (for example, job threatened unionized workers and economic nationalists). Yet liberalization and democratization in formerly authoritarian states have dramatically reduced the transaction costs for emigration. Initially this caused panic in Western Europe, where there was a fear of mass migrations from east to west. Headlines screamed, ‘The Russians are coming!’. Even though these massive flows did not materialize, Western states began to hunker down and search for ways to reduce or stop immigration. The time horizons of almost all Western democracies are much shorter because of these changes in domestic and international

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politics since the end of the Cold War. The terrorist attacks of the 2000/10s have exacerbated these fears, and migration and mobility are perceived by many to pose a threat to national security. If, as seems likely, the United States and the EU defect from international cooperation over migration and refugee flows, such defections would alter the equilibrium outcome, making migration more costly in political terms to all states and to the international community, and the economically virtuous process of increased exchange and mobility would be reversed. International cooperation on migration depends on how the more powerful recipient countries manage migration and whether they will pursue an aggressive strategy of multilateralism. To avoid a domestic political backlash against immigration, powerful liberal states must take the short-term political heat for longterm political stability and economic gain, much as Angela Merkel and Germany did in the face of the refugee ‘crisis’ of 2015–16. However, the asymmetry of interests, particularly between developed and developing countries and short-term political considerations (countering the rise of the extreme populist right) are too great to permit states to overcome problems of coordination and cooperation. Economic analysis in political science suggests that even as states become more dependent on trade and migration, they are likely to remain trapped in what James Hollifield (1992) calls a liberal paradox, needing to be economically open and politically closed, for decades to come.

Conclusion The election of Donald Trump to be President of the United States in 2016 poses a great challenge to the economic analysis of politics, specifically rational choice theory. Trump’s unpredictability questions one of the key assumptions of rational choice:


the consistency of each actor’s preference ordering. Is Trump irrational? We suspect that the reason why Trump is unpredictable is that his policy agenda has no basis in strategy but relies instead on social psychology. New York Times columnist David Brooks (2017a) wrote: ‘It’s not clear if Trump is combative because he sees the world as dangerous or if he sees the world as dangerous because it justifies his combativeness. Either way, Trumpism is a posture that leads to the now familiar cycle of threat perception, insult, enemy-making, resentment, self-pity, assault and counterassault’. While many analysts have struggled to identify a strategy behind his erratic pronouncements, it makes more sense to assume that he chooses his policy positions based on preference ordering in a way to maximize his ego satisfaction. Even if some in the Trump administration believe rulemaking through multilateral institutions benefits US strategic interests, President Trump will not listen to their advice because he is impervious to strategic arguments, and only responds to what satisfies his ego. He also attacks political institutions such as the separation of powers and freedom of speech because those institutions hurt his ego. For many of his supporters the less civil he is the more attractive his rhetoric is, as his anti-institutionalist attitude and lack of civility are criticized by those who, he tells his supporters, look down upon them (Brooks, 2017b). To understand the strong backlash against a liberal, rationalist view of politics, may require us to make more room for interpretivist, social psychological, and even Freudian approaches. Perhaps, economic analysis in political science constitutes a ‘scientific revolution’ à la Thomas Kuhn (1962), moving the study of politics away from its formal-legal and sociopsychological roots and in the direction of more systematic and falsifiable propositions. However, the irony is that the study of economics and politics is moving in opposite directions, with a renewed emphasis on socio-­ psychological approaches to the study of markets and economic behavior. As our analysis


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of trade and migration show, Trump’s seemingly irrational behavior can be explained best by incorporating psychological factors into his preference ordering. Perhaps, rationality and psychology will meet halfway and a true political economy will emerge; but this strikes us unlikely because the objects and the subjects of inquiry are quite different. In a single essay, we cannot begin to resolve the dispute between rationalists, social psychologists, and institutionalists. We instead fall back on Max Weber who leaves ample room for rationalist and interpretivist approaches to the study of politics.

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Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 34(4): 655–678. Friedman, Thomas L. 2000. ‘America’s Labor Pains’, New York Times, May 9. (https://­ foreign-affairs-america-s-labor-pains.html, accessed February 2, 2019) Geddes, Barbara. 2003. Paradigms and Sand Castles: Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Politics. Ann Arbor, MI: ­University of Michigan Press. Gowa, Joanne. 1999. Ballots and Bullets: The Elusive Democratic Peace. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Hainmueller, Jens, and Daniel J. Hopkins. 2014. ‘Public Attitudes Towards Immigration’, Annual Review of Political Science 17: 225–249. Hollifield, James F. 1992. Immigrants, Markets, and States: The Political Economy of Postwar Europe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hollifield, James F., Philip L. Martin, and Pia M. Orrenius, eds. 2014. Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective, second edition. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Huntington, Samuel P. 2004. Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. New York: Simon & Schuster. Ikenberry, G. John. 2011. Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Jervis, Robert. 1976. Perception and Misperception in International Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Keohane, Robert O. 1984. After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Kuhn, Thomas S. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Kymlicka, Will. 1995. Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Lake, David A. 2011. Hierarchy in International Relations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Lupia, Arthur. 2016. Uninformed: Why People Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It. New York: Oxford University Press.


Lupia, Arthur, and Mathew D. McCubbins. 1998. The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Need to Know? New York: Cambridge University Press. Lusztig, Michael. 2017. The Culturalist Challenge to Liberal Republicanism. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Martin, Lisa L., and Beth A. Simmons. 2001. International Institutions: An International Organization Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Martin, Philip L. 2015. ‘Economic Aspects of Migration’, in Caroline B. Brettell and James F. Hollifield, eds., Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines (3rd Edition, pp. 90–114). New York, NY: Routledge. Martin, Philip L., Susan F. Martin, and Patrick Weil. 2006. Managing Migration: The Promise of Cooperation. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. McDonald, Patrick J. 2009. The Invisible Hand of Peace: Capitalism, The War Machine, and International Relations Theory. New York: Cambridge University Press. Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Miller, Claire Cain, 2016. ‘The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China: It’s Automation’, New York Times, December 21. (https://www. html, accessed February 3, 2019) Mousseau, Michael. 1998. ‘Democracy and Compromise in Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816–1992’, Journal of Conflict Resolution 42(2): 210–230. Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P., and Giovanni Peri. 2012. ‘Rethinking the Effect of Immigration on Wages’, Journal of the European Economic Association 10(1): 152–197. Page, Benjamin I., and Robert Y. Shapiro. 1992. The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans’ Policy Preferences. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Peri, Giovanni, and Chad Sparber. 2009. ‘Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages’, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 1(3): 135–169.


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5 Functionalism and Its Legacy Timofey Agarin

Introduction Functionalism is a methodological concept explaining social phenomena by specifying an asymmetrical relationship between the two objects under consideration. Func­ tionalism in political science focusses on the process of interaction between political institutions (e.g. parties in electoral competition or during government formation), states (e.g. during regional integration) or international organisations (e.g. when negotiating economic policies), with particular attention to growing integration of the interacting elements into a politically and thus functionally consistent system. Functionalism rests on the assumption that phenomena can best be explained in terms of what they do and what their impact is on other phenomena: it considers systems of interaction among individuals and groups. A functional definition of functionalism can take the following general form:

Given a system S in a certain state s with a structure T there is an activity a from the point of view of the observer, regularly coming from an element E of T, and having an effect upon S or its environment.

The theoretical status of s can be either stationary (the most frequent case) or dynamic. If one can, with response to a certain theoretical point of reference, claim a systematic relationship between a and s then E can be interpreted as a ‘function’. It can also be interpreted as a ‘functional contribution’ to the maintenance of S whether it means stability, identity, equilibrium or changing of S. This explanation of s neither involves an explication of a’s origin nor explains the causal nexus of its effects on s. For example, a political party can be considered as contributing to the working of democracy without constructing this function as the cause of its creation. It is important to note that most functional explanations start off from the empirical evidence at hand: one observes s and a, then


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one establishes the functional relationship between the two via abductive reasoning from the features of T and E. As a projection of a future s, derived from T as a goalorientated agent, under the assumption that a’s effect upon S is a functional prerequisite for the maintenance of it, one can equally engage in predictive reasoning inferring the best possible explanation for potential outcomes. In case of a role-differentiated organisation of parts observed, a prognosis of such a kind will become normative. It will express the expectation that S, as a whole, will function in such a way as prescribed by its blueprint. However, functional explanations only make sense under several conditions. If one states that general and free elections in parliamentary systems have the ‘function’ of maintaining the circulation of political elites, then one assumes a bottom-up nomination of candidates, and other functions of elections, e.g. representatively giving shares to legislation to different groups of the population, are not excluded. Functional analyses are based on assumptions of the already existing mid-range theories about social and, by extension, political systems broadly defined, but they are hardly able to generate midrange theories by themselves. According to the widespread usage of functional explanations, systems can be represented as institutions, religious behaviour patterns, cultures, societies, etc., whereas a functionalist abduction may focus on different kinds of activity, exchange, information, sanction, service, coercion, production and other forms of output from institutions. In political science, functionalism emphasises the functions of political institutions, their interconnectedness and the impact on the political process. This entry outlines the ideas at the origins of functionalism and describes the main stages in its development (structural functionalism, neofunctionalism, equivalence functionalism), before moving to the main criticisms of functionalism and concluding with its legacies found in political studies today.

Origins The origins of functionalism can be found in much earlier works of classic social and political theorists. Montesquieu may pass for such an early proto-functionalist thinker. In his Spirit of the Laws (1748) he classified the comparative studies of political systems, their legal orders as relatives – one may say functions – of their physical, geographic, climatic, mental and cultural ‘nature’, i.e. the structure of their external systems. The respective legal principles activate the natural structures towards an outcome of political order, by which the subjects are reminded of their duties and rights. The privileges of the nobility, for instance, are a function of its freedom, whereas parliamentary power is one of the, as functionalists would relay, functions of constitutional monarchy. At the same time, Montesquieu made it clear that important political functions can often be hidden from the common observer behind ostensibly incidental or useless symbols and ways of acting. As such, Montesquieu drew distinction between effects and functions: the notion that functions are not necessarily the effects of social action later became central to functional analysis. An important predecessor of classical functionalism was Herbert Spencer who was characterised as the leading ‘social Darwinist’ and spelt out his views in Social Statics: or, The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified, and the First of Them Developed (1851). Spencer tried to explain the development of industrial society in an evolutionist way. According to him, the law underlying societal evolution proceeds from the homogeneity of equal and independent parts to the heterogeneity of unequal and dependent ones. These parts – institutions, groups, technologies, ideas, etc. – tend to grow in specification and, as a result, fulfil increasingly specialised functions in society. The starting point of this process is population growth involving functional prerequisites like advances in productivity, distribution or

Functionalism and Its Legacy

regulation. Social differentiation, functional specialisation and interdependence of parts offer the complex mechanics to the same social evolutionary movement by means of feeding back one another. One of the founders of modern sociology, Emile Durkheim, explicitly reflected on the ‘tool’ of ‘functional analyses’ as a methodological programme, distinguishing it from the genetic causal explanation present in social science of the day. In his works, The Division of Labour in Society (1892) and Rules of the Sociological Method (1895), Pace Montesquieu, Durkheim argued that to explain a social phenomenon one has to distinguish its generating cause from the function actually fulfilled by it. It is inadmissible to explain collective phenomena in a utilitarian way because their respective functions can be originated from, or serve, different purposes. At the same time, teleologicalcausal explanations are insufficient because a collective phenomenon such as society does not constitute a consistently acting whole and more than just one purpose might be served by one and the same action. Thereby Durkheim suggested that we ought to understand social phenomena as emergents: these come into being as a result of an accumulation of aggregated individual actions, or of unintended effects of purposeful actions. Thus, any social phenomenon emerges and tends to enhance the importance of its function when individuals recognise the advantage gained from it and develop an interest in optimising outcomes of similar actions in the future. Overall, Durkheim was one of the first to conceptualise function as a self-reinforcing mechanism and a feedback system, suggesting both methodological approaches to untangling the mechanics of action from the context in which it takes place. Durkheim demonstrates this through the division of labour, pace Spencer: the increasing specialisation of occupations and social roles leads towards the growing dependence of actors upon one another. As a result, human


networks become closer knit and make the exchange of specialised goods easier even outside of the tightly knit communities. Consequentially, organic solidarity, a social order of morals sui generis, comes into being, divorcing individual trust in one another from the context of interactions, regulated by socially policed regulations. In the course of the process of social differentiation, people experience the secondary benefits of division of labour, such as the growth of economic productivity or differentiation of the legal system. Finally, the division of labour results in new forms of production emerging at the point in time t0 with an ever increasing specialisation at the subsequent point in time t1, consolidating and feeding back on social progress with a growing functional complexity of societal system. Building in part on Durkheim’s observations on organic solidarity and in part reflecting the need for a detailed understanding of social practices, functionalist thinking dominated ethnographic and ethnological segments of social science that ultimately became known as anthropology. From the Occidental ethnological point of view, there was a strong temptation to interpret ‘unusual’, ‘counterintuitive’ and outright ‘strange’ phenomena by talking up the stability of the social order. Cultural systems played a central point of reference. Bronislaw Malinowski (1944) and Alfred Radcliffe-Brown (1956), for instance, used this lens to explain the performance of magic rites by the islanders of the Pacific. While Malinowski emphasised the physiopsychological functions of need satisfaction and fear reductive function of magic rites, Radcliffe-Brown claimed that magic served to ensure the survival of the group and to preserve the structure of the social system. In Structure and Function in Primitive Society (1956: 394), Radcliffe-Brown maintained that ‘the concept of function applied to human societies is based on an analogy between social life and organic life’. This paved the way for later efforts to clarify the relationship between the elements of social and political


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systems by means of biological analogies. For functionalists, many recurrent social or political activities, e.g. graduation ceremonies or electoral behaviours, function to maintain the stability that is required for the structural integrity of society and/or polity as a system. In his early English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century (1941) and in his classic The Human Group (1950) George Homans presented an interesting proposition for ‘reconciling’ the different approaches by overcoming the one-sidedness of both Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown. In reference to magic rites of extraeuropean societies, Homans opined that magic was initially performed in order to relieve stress and anxiety in dangerous situations for the person performing (such as fishing at sea or child-bearing), to predispose a ghost to the intent of the performer (such as ensuring a plentiful catch and guaranteed successful delivery of the child), and to bring about the sense of normalcy, and hence confidence to the group (provided that the rites are performed in the ‘right’ way by members). As such, magic rites are important group activities which strengthen the bond and solidarity of the group, increasing the chances of group’s, i.e. system’s own survival while overriding the effects of action for individuals. This process instils in its members a fear of punishment for non-compliance through the rites that serve as a means of enforcing acquiescence with the existing norms. Society therefore evolves from and beyond the individual members involved in such an activity that generates and consolidates conforming behaviour towards the norms in place; the violation of these norms would have serious consequences for the group as a whole as well as grave repercussions for its members individually. By combining the psychological and the structural aspects of a functional explanation, Homans follows Durkheim’s proposition that functions are hybrid in nature and ought to be taken into account as such. Thus, the most significant contribution made by the early functionalist approaches

is in their offer of quasi-theoretical conceptual schemata for conducting research. These were following an experimental design that featured both the ‘relatedness’ and ‘connectedness’ of conditions, actors and outcomes of action, presuming these are readily comparable. The two functions feature prominently in diverse social sciences operating the functionalist approach and relate to the ‘system’ where the processes and their outcomes are nested. However, early functionalism fails to convince the academic community as an analytic approach, setting few, if any, independent standards for collection of empirical data, while at the same time making no claims to veracity or offering causal explanations of social phenomena.

Structural Functionalism Talcott Parsons’ The Social System (1951) is widely viewed as the culmination of classical functionalism in the form of structural functionalism. Social systems, the point of reference for Parson’s theory, have to solve a limited number of general problems to stay in balance or indeed to maintain their existence. In the context of modern society, ‘function’ refers to the solutions to such general problems. Some of the functions are externally directed: they provide for the adaptation of the system to its environment. Others are internally directed: they are prerequisites for the integration of parts or for actors’ motivations. In his famous AGIL (adaptation, goal attainment, integration, latency) scheme, Parsons specified the four main systemproblems and related them to the four subsystems, from which proceed the corresponding functions of problem solution. The functions are interrelated by processes of interchanging the special classes of ‘media’ that define their respective outputs, as it were the material, psychic and social goods of energies in the metabolism of society. These functions are geared towards system stability: ‘Since the

Functionalism and Its Legacy

structure of social systems consists in institutionalized normative culture, the “maintenance” of these normative patterns is a basic reference point for analysing the equilibrium of the system. However, whether this maintenance actually occurs or not, and in what measure, is an entirely empirical question’ (Parsons et al., 1961: 37). The conceptually nested series of (in the real world) interpenetrating but (analytically) distinct systems assumes that each constitutes an ordered aggregate of some functionally organised entities. Each has a set of specifiable boundaries such as system prerequisites and requisites and system-endemic mechanisms that ensure either stasis, or dynamism for re-stabilisation of the system that is temporarily out of equilibrium. The four system-­ problems are repeated on every subsystem level: these nest subsystems which are functionally structured in the same way across the board. The social system as a whole is vaulted by the cultural system as a total of legitimate values, norms and symbols; while polity is vaulted by and is a subsystem of the social system. In Parsons’ view, the stability of a system at each level is a sign of its ‘consolidation’, not of its inherent conservatism, or lack of innovation indicating the preference to stability over change. Parsons writes, The most essential condition of successful dynamic analysis is the continual and systematic reference of every problem to the state of the system as a whole … Functional significance in this context is inherently teleological. A process or set of conditions either ‘contributes’ to the maintenance (or development) of the system or it is ‘dysfunctional’ in that it detracts from the integration and effectiveness of the system. It is thus the functional reference of all particular conditions and processes to the state of the total system as a going concern which provides the logical equivalent of simultaneous equations in a fully developed system of analytical theory. (Parsons, 1949: 21)

One of the constituent parts of a system is adaptation (A) – i.e. system maintenance within the environment – which is a function of the economy, including technology, labour and consumption, and the output of it flows in


the general form of (equivalence of) money. The attainment of goals (G) is guaranteed by the function of the subsystem of polity which brings about the effects of control in the general form of power. Societal communities contribute to this process of system integration (I) by providing for an optimal climate of morals, solidarity and socialisation as well as by sanctioning the conformity of subsystems with values and norms (e.g. by awarding prestige). Finally, latency (L), or pattern maintenance, typically arises from the fiduciary system. The actors of this subsystem are sources of influence that ensure common interests, standards of professionalism and other forms of trust. The interchange between A and G, for instance, can be manifested by the way that the law and political sanctions regulate the functioning markets, whereas the economic system enables the functioning of the political system by providing revenues from, for example, taxes. Within the subsystems, social roles – the intersections of structure and actor – are interlinking their components. They represent the institutionalised expectations towards the occupants of social positions which are derived from the given structure of social differentiation. Overall, the overlap of the subsystem-function dimensions across the segments of the AGIL schemata ought to be accepted in order to match a special function with a given part of the system. For several decades, Parsons’ functionalist approach has been applied to various research contexts. However, applying the AGIL model to empirical analyses involved some considerable compromises. Most critiques of Parsons’ approach focussed on the inherent tendency towards an holistic view of society as an ‘actor’ without any specification of the micro-foundations. This assumes the fiction of a system’s tendency towards an equilibrium, as well as the fiction of the common ‘goals’ of society, and their ‘teleological’ character, which is hard to stomach for anyone lacking a belief in predisposed courses of social actions and their potential outcomes. Equally, Parsons was reproached for having


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explained social change too simplistically by referring to the interference from the environment or an internal accident, instead of taking into consideration the dynamic features in the system’s structure. Thus, Parsons’ functionalism is most useful for providing explanations in social and political analysis in terms of ‘system maintenance’, where ‘function’ suggests a programmatic orientation for outstanding empirical research of mostly postfactum character. Parsons, and functionalists following his dictum have not been concerned with the ‘how, on what terms and with what consequences’ for each ‘subsystem’ that the connection of their component parts and functions bring. Rather, these scholars believe that functional analysis offers the context in which the answers to relational questions and the solutions to relational problems become ‘meaningful’. This ‘open-ended approach to post-­ factum analyses’ of social phenomena was robustly criticised by Robert K. Merton in Social Theory and Social Structure (1957). Rather than rejecting structural functionalism in totality, he suggested revising it on many points. According to Merton, in a system, functions have consequences which are intended or recognised; but there are also the ones that are neither intended nor recognised. Therefore if functionalism is ‘expressed in the practice of interpreting data by establishing their consequences for larger structures in which they are implicated’, all consequences of all actions need to be taken into account (Merton, 1957: 56). Merton’s critical innovation lay in the acknowledgement that not only observed consequences explain the adaptation or adjustment (i.e. ‘functions’) of any given system. Equally, he observed, consequences that lessen the adaptation or adjustment of the system (which he referred to as ‘dysfunctions’) play a role for system maintenance. Thus, the ‘manifest’ functions are those objective consequences that are intended to

contribute to the adjustment or adaptation of the system and are recognised as such by participants, while their correlate, ‘latent’ functions are neither intended nor recognised. These manifest functions arise as a result of cumulated effects from individual, intended action, typically a case of individual conformity to collective rationality. On the other hand, latent functions arise from the type of collective effects that emerge beyond the control by an individual, and when there is no matching of goals and consequences. Electoral outcomes offer a useful example in the context: they are an effect of multiple individual intended (casting a ballot for a distinct party) and unintended (abstaining from electoral participation) actions, while their manifest function is a political representation of the diversity of citizens’ opinions, and the latent function could be government – either by a single party, or by a governing coalition. The distinction corresponds to the difference between ‘functional systems’ and ‘systems of interdependence’ suggested by the French sociologist Raymond Boudon in La logique du social (The Logic of Social Action, 1981). The first are goal-oriented systems of interaction that are regulated on the basis of reciprocal, specialised role expectations and are controlled by means of input– outputs assessments. Business organisations, universities, political parties, bureaucracies and so on, are of this kind. On the other hand, systems of interdependence emerge wherever actors are interrelated, thereby losing (parts of) control over their actions, ultimately becoming involved in a complex structure that is non-transparent in its nature and its consequences. If, for instance, at an election with three parties for selection, a clear ranking of votes is the result, one usually would expect that the leader of the most successful party, A, was likely to become the next prime minister. Yet in case of a proportional representation, together with an approved culture of forming a coalition, he could come from the secondary party, B,

Functionalism and Its Legacy

as well, after the end of successful negotiations to come along with party C, which has got the least number of votes – on condition that B’s and C’s votes add up to more than 50%. In Merton’s terms, the ‘manifest functions’ of parties is the selection of candidates and the organisation and running of the elections around them, yet their ‘latent functions’ do not necessarily follow if they are considered outside the ‘system of interdependence’. In electoral systems, the main feature of this ‘system of interdependence’ is that cabinet formation does not derive directly from the ranking of votes. Thus, the ideal ‘function’ of democratic elections to provide for a freely elected government is but a latent function. To understand this structure of emergence, it is necessary to find out the statistical as well as institutional and procedural rules that are interdependently responsible for the composition of collective consequences out of the individual effects of electoral action. Recognising the difficulty to functionally analyse systems of interdependence, including that of ‘society’, Merton has been somewhat sceptical of the fruitfulness a functionalist approach could have for empirical research as long as it did not set mid-range theories to its toe. He turned away from ‘big theory’, instead pleading for progress in developing less abstract, and less general, ‘theories of the middle range’. As a consequence, he proposed to decompose the general concept of function, and to make a distinction between ‘function’ (in a sense of adaptation or adjustment of a system), ‘dysfunction’ (as a consequence of an action destabilising a system) and ‘nonfunctional consequences’ (irrelevant for the state of a system). For respective functional, analysis supplied with higher concreteness and specification, he raised a number of criteria that once met would allow for a more parsimonious approach for empirical studies and easier up-scaling for the purposes of constructing a more encompassing mid-range theory, even if not a general theory per se. These criteria included the following:


• The phenomena under consideration should have an institutional character and be standardised; • Subjective moments of action should be taken into account, as well as the distinction between positive, negative and neutral consequences; • The functional affected units should be specified, as well as the criteria of system maintenance; • Functional alternatives should be specified with respect to their scope of application; • Dysfunctions producing change should be identified; • Comparative studies should be performed to better validate approaches of explanation; • Features of actors, meanings, places and motivational and overt behaviour that are involved in the pattern of action should be specified.

It is difficult to imagine that this demanding programme of assessing society holistically as a system of interrelated parts would have been executed in a more or less coherent way as a whole. The usual restriction on personal, material and temporal resources and on theoretical potentialities allowed only for selective implementation of Merton’s approach in selected studies, which, however, have given inspiration to the segmental approaches in social and political studies on unanticipated consequences of purposeful action. His focus on the organisation of social relationships implicating members of the society differently at various points in time, and not at all times fully knowing what shapes their own thinking, has sustainably impacted the work of his students, such as the American political scientists James S. Coleman and Seymour Martin Lipset. These have become leading figures in political studies and helped legitimate the focus on the relational aspects of individual and collective action in politics. Social sciences, however, should be most indebted to Merton for his functional approach to the science of society overall, aptly summarised as ‘the functionally necessary demand that theories or generalisations be evaluated in [terms of] their logical consistency and consonance with facts’ (Merton, 1938: 326).


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Equivalence Functionalism and Neofunctionalism The work of Robert Merton was influential enough, yet not far enough to shift functionalism towards theories of middle range, with some notable scholars having continued to work on a functionalist grand theory of their own. Jeffrey Alexander (1998) and other scholars made the next step in the further development of functionalism, calling their approach neofunctionalism (1998). In accord with some of Merton’s suggestions, the main aspects of their revision sought to preserve the main building blocks of Parsons’ ‘analytic model’. However, there were no explications given neither on the methodological status of the concept ‘function’, nor of a functional explanation in Parsons’ work. This meant that the assertion about the tendency in the system towards ‘equilibrium’ is hard to ascertain empirically. Alexander particularly sought to offset the inflexibility of the systems theory approach by including ‘contingencies’ into individual action: the interrelations between cultural order, as the frame of action, and the contingency of moments of actions in themselves, require methodological tools from political studies, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism, etc. in order for the empirical analysis of subsystems to be integrated with the functional assessment of the system. In so doing, Alexander critically reviewed Parsons’ ‘idealistic view’, that culture and values are nesting the social order, which in turn vaults the political order opining for an emphasis on the instrumental dimensions of social action, and as such ­following suggestions from the cognate midrange, rational choice theories. Following these criteria, Alexander (1998) analysed change in society rather than societal stability, breaking with Parsons’ structural functionalism. His general contribution was that the established principles of social actions are better able to resolve any acute problem in the process of multistage

iterational interchange between conflictual actors and their practices that leads to the establishment of the new institutional structures. This s­ystem-level, endogenous innovation can be usefully applied to justify the ongoing process of gradual societal change without the fundamental revision of societal norms already in place. As a result of pressure from this process, competing, contrasting interest groups form and stimulate one another, subsystems and the system as a whole into action, i.e. change. Thus, it is functional to optimise as a result of internal differences so the numbers of alternatives are reduced step by step, and a generalisation of public discussion can emerge as a new consensus. If, further on, under the pressure of ‘institutional entrepreneurs’, it happens that an established pattern becomes illegitimate, then an alternative wins out and is accepted as final by the actors. At the same time, the general value system is never questioned as such. Similar concern for system stability in and of itself underpins the theory of autopoetic systems put forward by Niklas Luhmann in Soziale Systeme: Grundriß einer allgemeinen Theorie (1984; Social Systems, 1995). Luhmann claimed to have established a universal theory of social systems as well as proposed a new definition of ‘function’ that allowed for a larger scope of interpretations. In his approach, functions have both multiple meanings for different actors, as already suggested by Durkheim, and also an ‘equivalent’ one: functions serve as criteria for comparison of the actually identified functions with the virtual ones – i.e. some of the theoretically possible relationships in a system under consideration. The openness, indefiniteness and complexity of this concept of function involve a comparative approach to functional explanations, distinguishing particular system levels as well as system–environment differences. They are viewed as an expression of ‘unity and difference’, indicating contingent structures of the system. Underlying this approach sits Luhmann’s general commitment to forego

Functionalism and Its Legacy

the reference to ‘action’ and preference for ‘communication’ in his equivalence functionalism to underline the interrelated and nested nature of system-immanent processes. Luhmann uses the research question on the mechanisms of regulating the shortage of goods to illustrate his approach: at first sight, it is easy to come to understand function as a combination of moral rules and economic mechanisms, in order to compare its particular effects. Yet, the question of why shortages ought to be regulated could only be dealt with in relation to the difference in system and environment (Luhmann, 1995: 404). The interface between the two is therefore what explains the particular function that action plays for specific systems and in specific contexts.

Criticisms of Functionalism Functionalism as a tradition or a real ‘school’ culminated in the 1950s and 1960s and reflected a progressive move from behaviourist explanations of political processes. However, from the beginning, the critics of functionalism often put forward that the model of analysis advanced by its different incarnations suggests something about the societal and political phenomena which they study. Yet, the explanatory value is limited due to the nature of the quasimechanical, if not outright homeostatic analogies that are employed for the explanation of political processes in functionalist approaches. These analogies frequently use terms such as ‘pattern maintenance’, ‘adaptation to the environment’, ‘goal attainment’ and ‘integration’ with little effort made to specify the degree or measure these terms require to keep the system going before it finally fails. It did not help that functionalism’s aspiration for explanation was matched by its commitment to predict systems’ stability without the consequent verification of


the object itself, i.e. defining what stability actually entails in empirical terms. The substantive analogies offered by functional analyses often failed to convince scholars interested in cause-and-effect relationships and served mainly as heuristic devices that were useful for taxonomic purposes, but rarely (if ever) in themselves as explanations. Functionalism delivered many ‘working hypotheses’ with an intention to offer an instrument for explanation, never an explanation by itself. One of the central criticisms the functionalist approach was subject to was its overreliance on analogy with the organic and specifically homeostatic physiology of political systems. More fundamentally, functionalism’s claim to becoming a grand theory without engagement with, or indeed developing any of the supporting mid-range theories of its own, prevented its further development as a theory that was able to tackle increasingly specialist questions and offer parsimonious explications of narrowly defined political problems of the real world. The main criticisms that were launched against the ‘grand theorising’, however, were too serious to further permit its development in academia as a ‘school’ rather than as an ‘approach’. Among the problems that weigh heavily on functionalism are the following: • An inclination to holism, i.e. the view of societies as systems as well as their properties ought to be viewed not as a collection of parts but as wholes, resulted in the neglect of the effects of action at the micro- and meso-levels on the overall instability of systems. This required the focus on broad social and political processes and analytical disregard for the varied effect of individuals, civic groups, parties – in short, subsystems – on the persistence of polities and policies; • An overemphasis on the equilibrium of systems, without explicating potential for change as a feature of the structure itself. This resulted in functionalist studies analysing continuities rather than changes and making them less appealing to the study of dynamics in the political system;


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• A temptation to look at systems by analogy with organisms – i.e. institutions may in principle ‘function’ like organs of a living being, compounded with a tendency for teleological assumptions, even with respect to systems whose structures were not created purposefully. Both these issues came into disrepute with the advance of constructivist methodologies, as well as anti- and post-positivist epistemologies which called for the focus on contingencies in the systems rather than on their immanent certainties; • Functionalism as a methodological approach that could be empirically tested and contribute to the development of more specific, mid-range theories for political analyses has been significantly challenged by the growing need for policy-relevant explanations of social and political processes, rather than systems as a whole. Functionalism’s over-abstractedness was always pointed to lacking specification of origins, places and ranges of manifestation of functions the approach suggested to study; • A lack of comparative studies for better validation of function detected as well as the identification of functional equivalences has been somewhat revised since the scholarship of Gabriel Almond took a foothold in political studies. Yet, rather than generalising the results of these studies into a grand theory in the footsteps of functionalism, many of these have retained their place as theories of middle range that explain some political processes but do not assert to offer comprehensive explanations of political systems, or these being a part of social system.

Functionalism as either an analytic paradigm or a continuously developing research programme has had its day, gradually losing its attractiveness. This was more due to the growing specialisation of social studies, than to functionalism’s own shortcomings. Since political studies from 1960s onwards have become established as a science with a methodological preference for empirically testable, theories of middle range, the view of the political system as a whole, made up of interdependent structures and mutually responsive processes that tend to maintain relative stability and distinctiveness appeared too ‘grand’ to offer a research programme of its own.

Relevance for Political Studies For some time, functionalism played one of the most stimulating roles in the study of society, bridging the disciplinary boundaries of social and political science. Building upon the work by Talcott Parsons, David Easton and Marion Levy particularly, Gabriel Almond contributed significantly to the popularisation of functionalism by using it in political development studies – in The Politics of Developing Areas (Almond and Coleman, 1960), and consolidating the approach in Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach (Almond and Powell, 1966). However, the ‘structural-functional approach’ in comparative political studies per se was relatively short-lived, owing to its limited ability to deliver a rigorous scientific method for an empirical study of some of the pressing problems of contemporary politics. However, variants of (neo)functionalism have exercised impact in parts of comparative politics. Here, the concept of function primarily refers to the instructional task, concern, responsibility or another aspect of purposeful action done by, and respectively expected from actors, systems or strategies. Thus, ‘functions’ are understood as intentional rather than emergent processes of collective effects of action. Furthermore, approaches in political functionalism are often based on generalisations of empirical observations rather than on abduction from explicit theoretical or methodological principles. Common to these approaches is the conception that political systems or processes (e.g. international affairs or European unification), can be better controlled by crosscutting institutions (e.g. NGOs, experts or supra-regional networks of scientists) than by these closed systems themselves (i.e. governments operating within the limits of their territorially defined sovereignty). Processes of political decision chiefly run along the actual activities (‘functions’) of these agents instead of those done by formally legitimated authorities, who only validate the results. Therefore, certain needs

Functionalism and Its Legacy

or interests of groups, who are the truly operating agents, have become the focal point of research, making use of the ground-up, as well as analyses of interrelations. In his 1966 paper, ‘Political Theory and Political Science’, Gabriel Almond provides an example of a kind of functional thinking in the ‘theoretical framework’ for comparative politics. After having subjected a great number of states to comparative analysis, they generate a limited typology of functions, taken as inherent processes of system maintenance in order to apply these to further cases. Then, the same procedure is applied with respect to the system units that are exercising functions, such as parliaments, executives, courts, bureaucracies and so on. Due to their origin and direction, the functions are distinguished in the following way: ‘system functions’ are settled in the domestic environment, including socialisation, recruitment and communication. These are intervening conditions for the ‘process functions’, consisting of interest articulation and aggregation, policy making, policy implementation and adjustment. ‘Policy functions’, as a result, operate as the essential system outputs, subdivided into subsystem-specific ones, such as extraction, regulation and distribution. They react to the process functions, which form an interchangeable set of parameters for analysis of similar dynamic feedback loops to apply to political systems of other states. In order to empirically test their assumptions, functionalists operationalise concepts first to collect empirical evidence; these are then comparatively analysed in relation to the application of their functions in different real polities, i.e. systems; ultimately drawing conclusions about the implications of different functions in respect to policy development (e.g. in comparative politics), as well as to the kind of relationships between the states (e.g. in international studies). Earlier, Almond insisted that to assess the ‘functions’, [w]e mean to include not just the structures based on law, like parliaments, executives, bureaucracies,


and courts, or just the associational or formally organised units, like parties, interest groups, and media of communication, but all of the structures in their political aspects, including undifferentiated structures like kinship and lineage, status and caste groups as well as anomic phenomena like riots, street demonstrations and the like. (Almond and Coleman, 1960: 8, emphasis added)

Beyond the studies on the interface of ‘society’ with ‘polity’, there are two assumptions that underlie this application of functionalism in multiple fields of political science. First, is that all societies share in the performance of a number of crucial political functions and, second, that there exists a core of significant political tasks, analogously interrelated in all societies. The existence of core functions which are political per se allows analyses of their interrelation across systems (i.e. polities that are subsystems of societies). This approach underpins comparative analysis of political systems’ dynamics and stability. Because the input and output sides of functions are interrelated, functionalists can study a significant component of the political process: this component is ‘political culture’ that appears as a function on both sides of the distinct, system-endogenous process as cause and effect of change. For analytical purposes, it can be studied by sampling public opinion for attitudes, beliefs, orientations, cognitions and such like, at two distinct time-points: as aggregated as a part of the function of the political system and superimposed on political institutions ‘political culture’ is located on the ‘input’ side of the political chart; at the same time, ‘political culture’ is a product of these same political institutions (or ‘structures’ in the jargon of structural functionalism) and can be located at the ‘output’ side of the political chart and is co-constituted with all other components of the system. In other words: as a result of this approach, ‘functions’ are not defined as ex post facto interpretations of relations observed. Rather, they are outcomes of institutions and agendas, which are a priori specified as indicators for data collection on the basis of foreknowledge


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that is available to the researcher before sampling begins. Crucially, in response to the group of deterministic theories of politics and structural functionalism, political science has moved to historical institutionalism as one of the most productive approaches to study political phenomena in the long-term perspective. In seeking explanations of distinctly national political outcomes and in the assessment of political inequalities and of the institutional organisation of the polity, historical institutionalism borrowed heavily from functionalism’s view of the polity as a system of interacting parts. Although historical institutionalists accept system complexity and, to a degree, the interdependence of its parts, they do not view the social, psychological or cultural traits of individuals as the parameters centrally determining the political system’s operation. Rather, the institutional organisation of the polity is seen as the principal factor structuring the collective behaviour in society and generating opportunities for distinct outcomes for actors nested in the political system. Therefore, historical institutionalism puts the onus on the ‘structuralism’ of structural functionalism over ‘functionalism’ which described political outcomes in terms of the system’s own response to the system internal adaptation needs. Historical institutionalists grant a great deal of attention to the central concept of the school, ‘path dependency’ and ‘critical junctures’ where social and political systems experience external shocks. This builds directly on the functionalism’s commitment to explaining stability over change in societies and polities. Thus, many suggestions of classical functionalism entered the mainstream of social and political science, such as the basic distinction between genetic-causal and functional actions, focussing ones’ attention on the expected as well as on the unanticipated collective consequences of individual actions. Foremost, the attention to interrelatedness of the political background, be it institutions, actors or norms, and situational

opportunities to pursue or forego action have been extremely inspirational for contemporary political studies. Despite the shortcomings that resulted from commitment to assessing rather than to analysing the relationships in political systems, functionalism has allowed political studies to view political interaction as something more than just simple and situational interpretations of actors’ and systems’ components. Being a ‘grand theory’ it offered a comprehensive set of impulses to think of political system as a whole nested in social environment, without precluding greater attention being paid by others to subsystems of politics, opening space for many mid-range theories with a more specific focus.

References Alexander, Jeffrey C. 1998. Neofunctionalism and After. London: Blackwell. Almond, Gabriel A. 1966. ‘Political Theory and Political Science’. American Political Science Review 60 (4): 869–79. Almond, Gabriel A. and James S. Coleman. 1960. The Politics of the Developing Areas. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Almond, Gabriel, A. and Bingham Powell. 1966. Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach. New York: Little, Brown. Boudon, Raymond. 1981. The Logic of Social Action: An Introduction to Sociological Analysis. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Durkheim, Emile. 1938 (1895). The Rules of Sociological Method. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Durkheim, Emile. 1997 (1892). The Division of Labour in Society. New York: Free Press. Homans, George C. 1941. English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century. New York: W.W. Norton. Homans, George C. 1950. The Human Group. New York: Harcourt College Publishers. Luhmann, Niklas. 1995. Social Systems. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1944. A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

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Merton, Robert K. 1938. ‘Science and the Social Order’. Philosophy of Science 5 (3): 321–37. Merton, Robert K. 1957. Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Simon & Schuster. Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat. 1748. The Spirit of the Laws. Parsons, Talcott. 1949. The Structure of Social Action. Volume 2: Weber. New York: Free Press. Parsons, Talcott. 1951. The Social System. New York: Free Press.


Parsons, Talcott, Edward Shils, Kaspar D. Naegele and Jesse R. Pitts. 1961. Theories of Society: Foundations of Modern Sociological Theory. New York: Free Press. Radcliffe-Brown, Alfred R. 1956. Structure and Function in Primitive Society. Free Press Edition. Spencer, Herbert. 1851. Social Statics: Or, the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified, and the First of Them Developed. J. Chapman.

6 Feminist Political Science Marian Sawer

A Short History The normative underpinnings of feminist political science date back to the French Revolution and Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). This first major challenge to the exclusion of women from political citizenship was followed by William Thompson’s Appeal of One Half of the Human Race (1825), a book he described as the ‘joint property’ of himself and the Owenite feminist Anna Wheeler. By the middle of the 19th century John Stuart Mill, in collaboration with Harriet Taylor, was further developing the argument for why women needed the vote. The Subjection of Women (1869) described the abuse of male power in the family as evidence for the claim that women could not rely on men to represent their interests; for this they needed the vote. Moreover, the law had allowed the family to be a ‘school of despotism’, inculcating habits of mind incompatible with free and equal citizenship.

While the normative arguments for women’s political equality inspired the women’s suffrage movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, feminist political science only dates from the arrival of what is often called the ‘second wave’ of the women’s movement. Before this renewed mobilisation of women in the late 1960s, political science largely assumed that the absence of women from public life was a condition rather than a problem. While women had achieved full political rights in most democracies, it was still expected that their citizenship duties would be fulfilled mainly in the home. When Maurice Duverger undertook the first cross-national survey-based research on women’s political participation, under the auspices of the International Political Science Association, he noted that one of the difficulties was that political scientists asked to provide information often regarded its purpose ‘as a secondary one, of no intrinsic importance’ (1955: 8). From its beginnings in the 1970s, feminist political science introduced into the

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discipline the values, cognitive frames and organisational philosophy being articulated by the women’s movement. It was critical of what was seen as the complicity of political science in keeping politics as a male domain (Bourque and Grossholtz, 1974: 225). Moreover, it challenged the way that political science had restricted the definition of politics to formal political institutions and had taken male politics and male political behaviour as the norm. Because political science had regarded women as a group as politically irrelevant it had not taken interest in the forms taken by women’s political activity, the sources of women’s subordination or the gendered nature of power.

Basic Theories and Concepts One of the distinguishing characteristics of feminist political science has been its normative commitment to producing knowledge that will advance gender equality. In other words, there is a commitment not only to sharpen the focus of the discipline by introducing a gender lens, but also to contribute to the goal of greater social and political equality. This normative commitment is at odds with a behaviouralist emphasis on ‘valuefree’ political science. Feminist political science emerged at a time when behaviouralism was largely determining (at least in its North American hub) what was regarded as authoritative knowledge production in political science. The explicit articulation of standpoint was regarded as exhibiting a lack of objectivity and hence feminist political science was discounted as a contribution to knowledge. In contrast, feminist standpoint theory argued for the epistemological advantages arising from a subordinate if essential position in the social division of labour (Hartsock, 1987). Those engaged in the marginalised work of caring have to negotiate the conflict between their own versions of reality and those of dominant groups, providing


new insights and knowledge. In terms of the research process, feminist political science has emphasised the need for reflexivity about power relations and the values the researcher brings to their research – sometimes referred to as the ‘feminist research ethic’. Reflexivity may entail disclosure of embodiment and standpoint, including lived experience of discrimination and marginalisation but also of relatively advantaged locations. The normative component and emphasis on reflexivity are unifying characteristics of feminist research, which otherwise now varies widely in its research methods, often combining quantitative and qualitative approaches. The one approach that has not been taken up is that of rational choice; the rational choice assumption, borrowed from economics, of autonomous utility-maximising individuals has seemed incompatible with gendered understandings of political life. Moreover, it is important to recognise that not all ‘gender’ research should be characterised as feminist political science: for example, sex-disaggregated research into electoral behaviour may lack any theoretical connection to the ‘collective endeavour of feminist scholarship’ (Ackerly and True, 2013: 137). On the other hand, such research may be theoretically informed and very aware of its ‘usefulness’ – for example the work of Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris (2000) on the development of the ‘modern gender gap’ whereby women were shifting leftwards of men in advanced industrial societies.

The Public/Private Divide From the beginning, feminist political theory has challenged the traditional public/private divide that defined the limits of public realm and the domain of political knowledge. Political science had inherited the public/ private divide of classical liberal theory that separated the realm of politics and public regulation from the private realm of the family and civil society. The feminist


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challenge preceded the arrival of the second wave of the women’s movement, having been central to ‘feminist writing and political struggle’ for some two centuries (Pateman, 1998: 281). Feminist theorists drew attention to the interdependence of the public and private and the political nature of the power relations found in the private sphere. John Stuart Mill, for example, was outspoken in The Subjection of Women about the inequality of the marriage contract upheld by both statutory and common law; its consequences were the abuse of male power in the form of domestic violence and marital rape. Marital inequality was also harmful as a preparation for democratic citizenship; children needed to experience relationships of equality within the family if they were to relate as equals outside. Domestic tyranny could prepare neither men nor women for democracy. This theme, of the need for egalitarian family relationships as the basis of the public virtues of citizenship had also been adumbrated by Mary Wollstonecraft (1792). The arrival of the second wave of the women’s movement saw the sharpening of the challenge to the public/private distinction under the widely used slogan ‘the personal is political’. Originally this was a title given to an essay by Carol Hanisch that was published in Notes from the Second Year: Women’s Liberation (1970). In the essay, Hanisch contested the characterisation of women’s liberation consciousness-raising groups as a form of therapy and argued that on the contrary they were a form of political action. Women’s liberation members had been ‘belittled’ for bringing so-called ‘personal problems’, like body issues or demands that men share the housework and childcare, into the public arena. Rather, she said, ‘One of the first things we discover in these groups is that personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution’ (Hanisch, 1969/2006). Feminist critique of the public/private distinction was associated with a critique of other

gendered dichotomies such as that between reason and emotion. Reason had been associated with the masculine public sphere, while intimacy and emotion were associated with the private sphere in which women were located. Such distinctions obscured the role of emotion in political life while at the same time suggesting that women were not suited for public roles. Moreover, the association of emotion with the private sphere was increasingly displaced by the recognition of how emotional labour was being required in many areas of paid work, particularly in femaledominated occupations such as flight attendants (Hochschild, 1983). Pateman continued to engage with the complexities of the public/private divide in classical liberal theory, where a public/private dichotomy, based on the state and civil society, had concealed the family within the latter. In her powerful revisioning of the story of the social contract and the genesis of the liberal state she argued that hidden in the social contract was a sexual contract. While patriarchal power was overthrown in the public realm and civil society was created, the fraternal contract upheld the power of men over women in the private realm (Pateman, 1988). While critical of the way in which the public/private dichotomy had shielded the structures of women’s oppression from public scrutiny, feminists had differing views concerning values that might be threatened by state interference with the private realm. For example, Jean Bethke Elshtain was wary of the ‘overpoliticization’ of intimate relations and ‘the total collapse of public and private as central categories of explanation’ (Elshtain, 1981: 217). On the other hand, the late Heather Brook examined the many forms of the regulation of intimacy to be found in the ‘conjugal body politic’ and the continuing role of marriage and marriage-like relations in producing political subjects (Brook, 2002). Nonetheless, making the family the object of political analysis was to have a global policy impact as we shall see below in relation to domestic violence policy. Today violence

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against women is the issue most often cited by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries as their top gender equality issue (OECD, 2017: 85).

Feminist Institutionalism Methodologically, extending the scope of political science to include the ‘private’ realm of emotions and intimate relations has meant drawing on different disciplines and research methods. One approach from within the discipline that has proved useful for this purpose is that of new institutionalism. Concepts derived from new institutionalism such as path dependence, critical junctures and the importance of timing and sequence were now given gendered constructions, as was the idea of institutional logics of appropriateness. The emphasis on the significance of informal rules and norms in shaping expectations and practices illuminated the gendered logics at work in different kinds of political, governmental and judicial institutions, as well as the institutions of everyday life (Chappell and Mackay, 2017). Institutional ‘stickiness’ and the resilience of hidden practices helped explain the subversion of institutional change, despite the introduction of new formal rules (Curtin, 2019: 125). This feminist engagement with new institutionalism gave rise to a new theoretical framework known as ‘feminist institutionalism’, which sought to identify how the interplay of formal and informal rules and the embedded nature of gendered codes of behaviour affected the possibilities for institutional change. The concept of ‘nested newness’ helped explain why even where feminists had helped design new political institutions, overarching institutional and cultural legacies could reassert their own logic of appropriateness (Mackay, 2014). Building on the emphasis on informal rules has been rich ethnographic observation of the rituals through which politics is performed. Such observation has illuminated the experience of those who are political outsiders in


terms of gender or other forms of difference and what happens when they enter public spaces such as parliaments (Puwar, 2004). Attention to the rituals and symbols through which politics and political representation is performed also highlights its emotional dimension and its intertwining with other aspects of culture and the social order (Rai and Spary, 2019: 14–15).

Gender-Responsive Budgeting In terms of public policy, the contribution of feminist scholarship has been of two major kinds. First, since the 1970s there has been strong development in the applied analysis of gender impact on policy and budget decisions. This started from the premise that no policy or spending decision is likely to be genderneutral in its effects, given the very different location of women and men in the social division of labour and the skewed distribution of paid and unpaid work. Ester Boserup’s book Woman’s Role in Economic Development (1970) was a foundational work, leading aid agencies to start moving away from the assumption of gender neutrality in development assistance. It compared the differing roles played by women in agriculture in different continents and how women’s work in subsistence agriculture and household production was left out of official statistics, leading it to be overlooked and undervalued. It showed that development policies designed to assist the movement of men into cash crops in Africa could result in increased burdens on the women left behind in the subsistence sector. In many countries, public policy had also been based on untested assumptions of pooling of income in the household. From the 1970s feminist political scientists contributed both basic and applied research on how to embed gender-based analysis into public policy making and to create national accounts that were more inclusive of non-market work and environmental values (Waring, 1988). From the time of the UN’s First World Conference


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on Women in 1975 the World Plan of Action promoted national machinery to ensure the gender impact analysis of policy, and from the 1980s there was the adoption and diffusion of what became known as ‘gender-responsive budgeting’. This involved close analysis of the gender effects of budgetary decisions in order to pre-empt decisions that would increase gender inequality, by overlooking the gender segregation of the labour market or the relationship between paid and unpaid work. From the 1990s the embedding of gender analysis into the machinery of government became known as ‘gender mainstreaming’ and feminist scholars contributed valuable insights into the political opportunity structures, women’s movement strategies and evolving international and regional norms that contributed to successful mainstreaming (for example, Chappell, 2002; Walby, 2005). Research into political opportunity structures included the gendered opportunities and constraints posed by federalism and multilevel governance, meaning that political architecture was now conceived as extending above, beyond and below the analytic frame of the nation state (Haussman et al., 2010). While in the 1970s and early 1980s there had been lively debates over whether it was possible to promote a transformational agenda through patriarchal institutions, by the 1990s there was no longer much support for the view that state institutions were governed by a unitary logic. Instead, there was increasing recognition of the possibilities created by feminist institution-building within national and transnational institutions and the role of ‘inside agitators’ or ‘femocrats’ (Eisenstein, 1996; Banaszak, 2010). The term ‘femocrat’, invented as a term of abuse for feminists who took up women’s policy positions in Australian government, subsequently entered into international usage in a more neutral sense, to refer to feminists in government, whether in women’s policy positions or elsewhere (Sawer, 2016). The rise of feminist international relations contributed, as we shall see, to greater awareness

of the leverage for domestic actors provided by norm building within transnational institutions, while large-scale comparative research on women’s policy agencies highlighted the factors which made such agencies effective or ineffective in transmitting women’s movement policy frames into government. An important aspect of the political opportunity structure was that of discourse, and feminist scholars began paying increased attention to discursive struggles and the effects of policy framing in closing off or opening up policy options (Lombardo et  al., 2009). For example, if domestic violence is framed in terms of family dysfunction or problematic individual behaviour it results in a very different policy response from if it is framed in terms of gender inequality (Johnson, 2019: 199). Similarly, policy responses to breastfeeding are likely to be very different if it is framed as a contribution to the economy and public health, or as a lifestyle choice. Discursive framing has been analysed not only for its effects on policy choices, but also for its strategic role in social movement policy influence. A good example of a successful discursive strategy was the reframing of the absence of women from public decisionmaking as a democratic deficit (Sawer, 2019). A good example of unsuccessful policy framing was the women’s movement demand in the 1970s for ‘free community-controlled 24-hour childcare’. Intended to exhibit sensitivity to the needs of low-paid shift workers who needed childcare outside normal business hours, this slogan instead contributed to perceptions that those involved in women’s liberation were unnatural and wanted to get rid of their children.

Major Advances, Ongoing Debates, Critical Assessments Key concepts that have informed much feminist political science and are the focus of attention here are those of descriptive and

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substantive representation and the relationship between these. In the 1960s Hanna Pitkin had distinguished systematically between forms of representation in terms of ‘standing for’ (descriptive or symbolic representation) or ‘acting for’ (substantive representation’) (Pitkin, 1967). While the justice arguments for women to have equal political rights played an important part in the suffrage movement, they were often coupled with expectations that women would make a difference to the masculine norms of politics. When the demand for equal representation of women in public decision-making began bearing fruit in the 1990s there was sometimes disappointment that it did not bring about more change in political culture. Pioneering work on the barriers to the legislative recruitment (descriptive representation) of women began appearing in the 1970s and a sophisticated supply-anddemand framework was developed by Pippa Norris and Joni Lovenduski (1995). This was applied by Norris and Mona Lena Krook (2014) to the new institutional context introduced by quotas, to examine the effects on both supply (willingness of women to run for office) and demand (constraints and incentives for gatekeepers). Other work adopted a feminist institutionalist framework to emphasise the interaction between formal and informal rules in institutions of recruitment and the gendered mechanisms of continuity and change (Kenny, 2013). The fall in the early 1990s in the average representation of women in national parliaments shook any assumption of an inevitable if gradual increase in the participation of women in public decision-making. The advent of democracy in post-communist states could not be guaranteed to advance the political equality of women or even to maintain existing levels. Thanks to the successful discursive strategy already noted, the absence of women from public decision-making became a major concern for the proliferating democracy assistance programmes designed to assist transitional democracies.


The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) had already institutionalised its continuous monitoring of the representation of women in national parliaments and this became a key indicator in the assessment of the quality of democracy. Its convenience meant it was also seized upon for the gender equality indices developed by international standard-setting institutions such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the OECD. While the representation of women’s interests was sometimes cited as an additional indicator of the quality of democracy (Lijphart, 1999: 314–18) this was conceptually complex and much more difficult to operationalise than counting the number of women in parliament and the Cabinet. Nonetheless, feminist political scientists had begun investigating carefully the relationship between the descriptive presence of women in politics and substantive outcomes including the representation of women’s interests. Women’s interests were initially conceptualised as arising from women’s specific relationship to reproduction and the division of labour in private life. It was forcefully argued that these were political interests despite arising from outside what had been deemed the political sphere (Sapiro, 1981). Some made the rather different case that the presence of women and minorities in legislatures was needed to ensure that a diverse range of life experience, including experience of group-based discrimination, was brought to bear on public issues (for example, Phillips, 1995; Mansbridge, 1999). Iris Marion Young (2000) also stressed the importance of representing perspectives arising from the history of social group relations and structural oppression. She suggested that those belonging to a social group might share a perspective arising from social location while having differing ideas and interests; it was important for democracy to ensure the inclusion of such under-represented perspectives. Earlier, Young had written about how women convert from being a serial collective, defined by structural


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constraints such as enforced heterosexuality or the sexual division of labour, to being a social collective or group, defined by a shared project such as changing those constraints (Young, 1994). Another approach was that of the French concept of parité, which suggested that the representation of women in politics was important not for the representation of different interests or perspectives, but because the abstract individual or republican universalism was universally either male or female. Hence, parity was required to preserve the principle of universalism rather than to represent a multiplicity of interests, as quotas were seen to do (Tremblay, 2018: 146–9).

Critical Mass One explanation for the failure of newly elected women to change the nature of politics centred on the concept of ‘critical mass’. Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1977) had published a very influential work exploring the effects of relative proportions on group behaviour within corporations. She found that where there was only a token presence of a group there was overwhelming pressure to overcome the distrust associated with being visibly ‘different’ and to survive the additional scrutiny involved. Such pressures could lead to over-assimilation to dominant norms and dissociation from other members of the minority group, in the desperate attempt to be accepted. It could also affect both perceived and actual performance. Kanter suggested such pressures diminished as minorities grew larger and that when they reached somewhere between 15 and 40% they were able to exercise greater influence on the organisation. Kanter’s work prompted wide discussion among feminist activists. For example, in debates over why elected women were not ‘making a difference’ a proportion of 30% was suggested, as the minimum required before such impact was likely to occur. This proportion was labelled

‘critical mass’ – a term taken from nuclear physics and indicating the quantity that would trigger a chain reaction. Danish political scientist Drude Dahlerup was the first to explore the relevance of Kanter’s work and the related concept of critical mass to the role of women in parliamentary politics. She concluded by querying the relevance of the critical mass concept to the social sciences and suggesting that the willingness and ability of members of minority groups to engage in critical acts was perhaps more important than the mechanical effect of numbers (Dahlerup, 1988). She was also critical of what she called the ‘difference f­ allacy’ – the assumption that a key measure was whether differences could be identified in the political priorities of women and men. She pointed out that women’s influence might have changed party agendas and hence the priorities expressed by both men and women. Her criticisms have been taken up by others, who have emphasised the significance of critical actors and enabling institutional contexts, regardless of relative numbers. Nonetheless, the idea became popularised that when women move from being a small to a large minority in parliament constraints would be lessened and they would find it easier to engage in acts of substantive representation. This became an important argument for gender electoral quotas and was endorsed in international jurisprudence. For example, in 1997 it was reflected in a General Recommendation on Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Research demonstrates that if women’s participation reaches 30 to 35 percent (generally termed a ‘critical mass’), there is a real impact on political style and the content of decisions, and political life is revitalized. (CEDAW, 1997: para 16)

Gender Electoral Quotas and Policy Diffusion A large quota of literature emerged to evaluate quota strategies and the factors needed to

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make them effective. This included the fit between quotas and electoral systems and the use of appropriate incentives and sanctions (for example, within the public funding framework) to increase the number of women candidates put forward by political parties. Caps on campaign expenditure and political donations could also help level the playing field for women candidates. Another issue that gained increasing attention was whether ‘quota women’ were less qualified or more dependent on male political leaders. The early leaders in the development of this literature were Drude Dahlerup (2006) and Mona Lena Krook (2009) and both were also involved in the setting up of the global database capturing the diffusion of legislative and other forms of quotas around the world (see ‘Empirical Databases’ at the end of this chapter). The rapid diffusion of electoral gender quotas (adopted by some 140 countries by 2018) helped inspire the growing feminist literature on transnational norm diffusion. This had begun with observation of the similarly rapid diffusion of the concept of gender mainstreaming, following the Fourth World Conference on Women at Beijing in 1995 (Keck and Sikkink, 1998; True and Mintrom, 2001). An international movement embodied in feminist officials and networks and drawing on feminist political science had been able to promote gender mainstreaming as an important element in evidencebased policy or of the modernising of public administration. Observation of such diffusion became an important part of feminist innovation in both international relations (IR) and political science. In particular, this new literature emphasised the dynamic nature of norm diffusion and the role of both transnational advocacy networks and local civil society actors in the process of norm evolution. The role of transnational advocacy networks and feminist officials in institutionalising norms at international and regional levels reinforced efforts by local actors. By moving away from


the notion of fixed content of norms, this new scholarship drew attention to how local actors adapted ‘the meaning of a norm to fit with prior norms and identities’ (True, 2019: 138). Feminist studies of policy diffusion threw light not only on the rapid spread of gender mainstreaming agendas around the world, but also the rapid diffusion of other policy agendas including electoral gender quotas, violence against women policy and climate change strategies. Special attention was given by IR scholars to the dissemination of the UN Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security policy agenda, particularly UN Security Council Resolution 1325 with its emphasis on the participation of women in post-conflict peace-building processes. In addition to the burgeoning feminist literature on policy diffusion and strategies to increase the descriptive representation of women in public decision-making, extensive empirical investigations were carried out into whether or not women do make a difference to legislative agendas. There were findings that women parliamentarians brought subjects onto the public agenda previously regarded as belonging to the private realm, such as gender-based violence, and that their policy priorities often reflected the priorities arising out of the everyday life of women, such as health and social policy (Wängnerud, 2009). Unsurprisingly, women parliamentarians have also been found to be more concerned about gender equality issues and representing women than their male colleagues. On the other hand, policy differences among legislators usually owe more to partisan than to gender identity and it is in the shaping of party policy programmes or participation in the core executive that feminist policy interventions may be most important (Annesley and Gains, 2010).

Women’s Interests The issue of whether women legislators made a difference gave rise to a large


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literature on ‘substantive representation’, the type of representation that involves ‘acting for’ rather than just ‘standing for’ (Pitkin, 1967). One difficult concept bound up with the concept of substantive representation was that of women’s interests. Substantive representation was generally viewed in terms of representing women’s interests although differing indicators of substantive representation were employed. Some operationalised it as congruence with gender differences in public opinion (Campbell et al., 2009) while others used indicators such as responsiveness to organised women’s movements and their policy framing. There were long debates over whether women’s interests had been defined too much in essentialist terms, relating to child-bearing and location in the social division of labour. Some saw these socially allocated caring roles as giving rise to a distinctive ethic of care or maternal ethics, to be contrasted with the abstract rights and duties of a justicebased ethics (Gilligan, 1982; Ruddick, 1989). This was part of the emphasis on standpoint in feminist theory and the epistemological advantages stemming from marginalised locations in the social division of labour. Many local women politicians have seen their caring roles as placing them at a disadvantage in political institutions geared to ‘privileged irresponsibility’, but also as a source of desirable skills and values (Mackay, 2001: 202). Caring roles are commonly associated with a less adversarial and more consensus-seeking approach to politics. An ethic of care suggested that these values, usually associated with the private sphere and with women, should be located at the heart of the public world of politics and be central to democratic citizenship. However, while the ethic of care presented the possibility of revaluing women’s work and moral perspectives, it may also reinforce stereotyped gender roles and be a source of burdensome expectations of moral superiority. Rather than conceptualising women’s interests as being pregiven and arising from

distinctive caring roles, some suggested they should be seen in more dynamic terms as constituted in a political process of claimsmaking. As we shall see, Laurel Weldon (2002) argues that it is only when women come together in collectivities that common interests and claims become crystallised. She emphasised that the substantive representation of women needed to stem from group organisation and the development of collective perspectives rather than from the isolated experience of individual legislators. Others were producing evidence of a related point: that it was not the gender of legislators but openness to the women’s movement and feminist consciousness that was of more importance in substantive representation (Tremblay and Pelletier, 2000). Another challenge was whether the concept of women’s interests was able to encompass how such interests intersected with other identities relating to race, class, disability, ethnicity or other attributes. The concept of ‘intersectionality’ was introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989) to bring into focus the distinctive experience of African American women and the intersecting identities and privileges that complicate gendered power relations. This presented an apparent complication for the gender mainstreaming strategies adopted by governments. While attention had been paid to special issues faced by, for example, Indigenous or immigrant women, the primary focus was to track overall gender gaps and direct attention to them. Women with disabilities might well complain that findings of a general upward trend in labour force participation by women overlooked the very different statistics for their own participation. In a slightly different approach, Nancy Fraser highlighted the issue of class in her influential work distinguishing between the politics of recognition and the politics of redistribution. The message was that claims for recognition based on nationality, race, gender, sexuality or ethnicity (‘identity politics’) should not ignore the claims of class

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and the redistributive aspect of justice, particularly in the context of widening inequalities (Fraser, 1995). A concern for the recognition of ‘difference’ was no substitute for a concern with inequality. The concept of intersectionality was quickly adopted by gender experts within national and transnational governance institutions as well as gender scholars. From at least 1997 EU policies were ‘stretching’ the concept of gender equality to include other inequalities. Scholars and gender practitioners started referring to gender mainstreaming as policymaking from a ‘gender+’ perspective, to acknowledge that ‘other axes of inequality always intersect with gender’ (Lombardo et  al., 2017: 2). In Canada the gender-based analysis (GBA) required in the federal bureaucracy was rebranded as ‘GBA+’ in 2011, to highlight the intersection of ‘gender and other diverse identity factors’. While identity groups might be at least coconstituted by such policy recognition, in an era of neoliberalism such recognition was not generally extended to the underclass. A third challenge relating to the concept of women’s interests emerged from a shift to the more flexible concept of gender, encompassing a range of sexual identities as well as the relationship between men and women. Judith Butler (2004) argued strongly for gender to be understood as performance rather than as the stable binary identities required by heteronormativity. If gender and sexuality were understood as performative, then concepts of gender identity and related interests become more complex. The new concept of gender as a spectrum raised questions over the mobilising of a collective identity as women, which had been the basis of women’s movements over time. It also drew attention to the way that strategies to increase the electoral representation of women might not necessarily favour the representation of those with diverse sexual identities. As Manon Tremblay pointed out, while proportional representation was generally viewed as favouring the representation of women, it might be that given their


concentration in inner-urban areas, LGBT people were better served by single-member constituencies (Tremblay, 2019).

The Vectors of Substantive Representation In addition to debates over the concept of women’s interests came new debates over the primary vector for the substantive representation of women. The international Research Network on Gender Politics and the State (RNGS) undertook a large-scale comparative examination of the role of women’s policy agencies in providing women’s movements with access to the policy process (McBride and Mazur, 2010). This research project was conducted over a period of 15 years, combining quantitative and qualitative elements in its research design and giving rise to a comprehensive dataset. The dataset covered the strength of women’s movements, their partnerships with women’s policy agencies, the policy environment, issue frame fit and leftwing party and union support. The role of women’s policy agencies was measured in terms of mediation of the policy frames and policy demands arising from society-based women’s movements. The assumption was that representation of women came about through government responsiveness to policy claims arising from autonomous women’s movements. The RNGS framework did not encompass frames generated by the collective work of ‘feminist insiders’, whether in the bureaucracy, political parties or parliaments. Another important contribution was Laurel Weldon’s ‘Beyond bodies: Institutional sources of representation for women in democratic policymaking’ (2002). Weldon was building on her first large-scale comparative study of violence against women policy which had found that women’s policy agencies in consort with strong women’s movements provided a more effective voice for women in policymaking than did individual women legislators. She sought to turn attention away


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from the role of individual legislators, and towards the role of collectivities such as women’s movement organisations acting in conjunction with women’s policy agencies. In doing this, she was casting a critical eye on the idea that the substantive representation of women primarily came about through the presence of women in parliament. Subsequently, Mala Htun and Laurel Weldon (2012) expanded the initial study of violence against women policy to cover 40 years and 70 countries (including the Global South). They used panel data to show that it was the strength of autonomous women’s movements that led to comprehensive policy responses and to the institutionalising of feminist ideas in global and regional norms. They measured the strength of women’s movements by reference to organisations, protest events and public opinion and also looked at how women’s policy agencies could add to the work of women’s movements. Their dependent variable was the degree of policy scope. They again found factors such as number of women in the legislature to be relatively insignificant compared with the strength of the independent women’s movement and the leverage provided by international and regional norms. Research into the policy impact of autonomous women’s movements and its relationship to women’s agencies in government took the exploration of the substantive representation of women well beyond the role of women legislators. However, its inheritance from the social movement literature often meant an assumed dichotomy between movements and institutions. This gave rise to a new set of questions and some critique of the ontological privileging of autonomous women’s movements over various forms of ‘insider advocacy’ (for example, Banaszak, 2010). Insiders were not necessarily less radical in their thinking than those located in an external social movement, just facing a different set of constraints. Laure Bereni, for example, introduced the concept of ‘institutional sites of advocacy for

women’, arguing that women’s policy agencies, women’s sections in political parties, gender equality bodies in parliaments and gender research centres could all be viewed as fully-fledged components of the women’s movement rather than as its allies (Bereni and Revillard, 2012: 33–4). Another approach to conceptualising the substantive representation of women which does not accord ontological primacy to autonomous women’s movements is that of ‘velvet triangles’. The concept of velvet triangles, deriving from the ‘iron triangle’ literature on the relationship between parliament, bureaucracy and interest groups, gives equal weight to insider and outsider strategies on the part of the women’s movement. It looks at the informal networks linking, for example, ‘femocrats’ in the European Commission, feminists in the European Parliament, women’s NGOs and gender researchers. The research question is whether such informal networks and relationships of mutual support can counterbalance the more exclusive ‘iron triangles’ and corporatism found in many policy sectors (Woodward, 2003).

Parliaments as Representative Institutions The development of feminist institutionalism, described above, also brought renewed attention to the role of parliamentary institutions in promoting substantive representation, as contrasted with either the role of individual legislators or the impact of autonomous women’s movements. Feminist political scientists investigated the gendered nature of institutional norms and expectations, such as those surrounding debate and interruption, as well as the formal rules and conventions of parliaments. This ‘institutional turn’ encompassed both the study of parliament as a workplace and the role of specialised parliamentary bodies for the promotion of gender equality. Because parliaments were historically designed for men able to leave family

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responsibilities behind in the ‘private sphere’, the entry of women has been accompanied by a long struggle to accommodate caring responsibilities. Feminist political scientists such as Lenita Freidenvall (2017) and Sonia Palmieri (2019) have provided new conceptual understandings of parliament as a workplace, as well as undertaking applied work for both national and regional parliaments and international standard-setting bodies such as the IPU. Parliamentary terms are now more likely to be aligned with school terms, childcare is more likely to be provided and babies no longer removed as ‘strangers’ from the part of the chamber reserved for elected members. Nonetheless the complex issues of reconciling parliamentary work and family life are still far from resolved, particularly for those who have traditionally been the primary carers. Moreover, in some ways, parliaments are still less regulated than other workplaces to ensure women have equal opportunity to perform their roles; issues such as sexual harassment, bullying and sexualised hate speech continue to affect even women prime ministers (Summers, 2013). Specialised parliamentary bodies for the promotion of gender equality have generally been established after an influx of women into parliaments. They have received increasing recognition from practitioners as a significant element in national machineries for the promotion of gender equality and from scholars as a vector for the substantive representation of women. The Gender-Focused Parliamentary Institutions Research Network (GenParlNet) was established in 2013 and has promoted cumulative knowledge and comparative analysis of the workings and effectiveness of such bodies. Researchers have developed typologies of such bodies together with indicators of feminist characteristics and of the quality of their contribution to substantive representation (Celis et al., 2016). In general, dedicated parliamentary bodies have been found to provide space and legitimacy for women-centred deliberation, to act as a feminist reference group and a


gateway to the legislative process for women in the community. If they are a parliamentary committee, they may have a formal remit to apply a gender lens to legislative proposals, while a women’s caucus in a parliamentary party may subject front benchers to collective pressure over the gender impact of proposals (Sawer and Turner, 2016). Parliamentary committees on gender equality may perform different roles (executive or legislative scrutiny) in different institutional contexts (Holli and Harder, 2016) while a women’s caucus in a parliamentary party may both support critical actors in promoting substantive representation and be a critical actor themselves (Allen and Childs, 2019).

Regional and Policy Differences While normative commitment and reflexivity are identifying badges of feminist research, there are regional differences in methods similar to those found in other parts of the discipline – for example, more emphasis on political economy in Latin America, more emphasis on quantitative methods in North America, on discourse (‘critical frame analysis’) and meaning-making in Europe or new institutionalism in the ‘Anglosphere’. In addition to differences in methods, there are also regional differences in the focus of feminist political science – for example, histories of state violence in Latin America have influenced feminist theorising of violence against women and policy responses to it. The concept of ‘femicide’ or ‘feminicide’ has become central to regional understandings of the issue, leading femicide to be a legally defined crime in almost 20 Latin American countries (Fregoso and Bejarano, 2010). But, within regions as well, feminists have sometimes adopted very different and competing approaches to specific policy issues. For example, the politics of prostitution law reform is a subject traditionally neglected by political science, but given a new centrality by


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feminist research and activism. Some prominent feminist political scientists have taken up the argument long advanced by women’s movement organisations, that prostitution is of its nature exploitive of women, perpetuating men’s right to access women’s bodies in an inherently unequal power relationship (Pateman, 1988; Raymond, 2004; Sullivan, 2007; Jeffreys, 2009). Today, this argument, that prostitution is incompatible with gender equality, has been strongly promoted by women’s movements and the women’s wings of political parties in the Nordic countries as well as by the European Women’s Lobby and the Women’s Rights (FEMM) Committee of the European Parliament. It has been translated into a distinctive public policy solution intended to avoid the traditional scapegoating of prostitutes themselves. Sweden led the way in 1999 with its legislation criminalising the purchasing of sex by the client rather than its sale by the prostitute. The Swedish policy model was subsequently adopted in Norway and Iceland and then in Canada, France, Ireland and Israel. In contrast to those feminist political scientists arguing that prostitution is in and of itself exploitive of women, other feminist political scientists have argued that prostitution among consenting adults can be seen as a form of work. They have undertaken comparative research suggesting that decriminalisation or legalisation is the way to protect the rights, working conditions and safety of workers in the sex industry or ‘sex workers’ (Outshoorn, 2004). They maintain that sex work can be a free choice made by women and should have the same protection as other forms of employment; only forced prostitution should be illegal. In this policy model, implemented at the national level in the Netherlands in 2000, prostitution is subject to regulation like other forms of work but is not illegal in itself. We shall call this the Dutch model, although different forms of legalisation and decriminalisation have also taken place at the sub-national level in Australia and in New Zealand since the end

of the 1970s. In comparing the effectiveness of different types of prostitution law reform in promoting the safety and rights of sex workers, the Australian evidence suggests that a key factor is the representation of sex-worker advocacy organisations in the policy process, made possible by decriminalisation (Jeffrey and Sullivan, 2009). While both sides of the feminist prostitution debate seek to promote gender equality and to oppose trafficking in women, their policy solutions are very different and their studies of prostitution law reform come to very different conclusions. Either the Swedish or the Dutch models are shown to have ‘failed’; for example, legalisation is alternatively said to have significantly increased the safety of sex workers or to have led to an expansion of the sex industry and of sex trafficking. Feminist frame analysis has been applied to show either the influence of international ‘neo-abolitionist’ networks in framing prostitution as violence against women (Ward and Wylie, 2017) or the influence of sex-worker advocacy organisations and their allies in framing prostitution as a legitimate employment choice. Prostitution and pornography policy are one of the most polarising issues debated within feminist political science today. While concepts of the state no longer divide radical feminists and reformists in the way they did in the 1970s, with both sides wishing to use the state to introduce law reform, there are ongoing debates over the strategy of gender mainstreaming. These debates are not only about the ‘technocratic’ nature of the methodologies adopted but also about the relationship of gender mainstreaming to neoliberal policy agendas. Gender mainstreaming is seen by its critics as promoting women’s labour force participation (and the marketisation of services) at the expense of revaluing and supporting non-market caring work. Hence, gender mainstreaming is seen as complicit in the abandoning of the transformational agenda originally so important to feminist political science. On the other

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hand, gender mainstreaming tools such as gender-responsive budgeting are not necessarily looked on with favour by neoliberal policymakers – they reveal the disproportionate impact of neoliberal policies both on women as a whole and on particular groups of women. Moreover, neoliberal policy agendas also contribute to populist backlash, mobilising discontent with economic and cultural change, including gender equality and diversity projects (Verloo, 2018). While feminist political science has become highly professionalised since it first became a collective presence within the discipline, it is still identifiable by its commitment to producing knowledge that will advance gender equality. It has created an epistemic community around this normative ambition as well as the diverse conceptual tools needed to adequately address the gendered dynamics of political institutions.

Empirical Databases One of the richest sources of data on women’s policy, women’s policy agencies and the participation of women in public decisionmaking is to be found in the country reports and NGO shadow reports by the 189 state parties to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). General Recommendation 23 of the CEDAW Committee on Article 7 of CEDAW encourages the use of temporary special measures such as quotas to realise women’s right to equal participation in political and public life. The IPU has published statistics on women’s representation in national parliaments since 1985, covering the period from 1945 onwards. The IPU has also published statistics on parliamentary bodies specialising in gender equality from 2006. The UN Division for the Advancement of Women (later merged into UN Women) monitored the establishment of national machinery


for the advancement of women that was part of the Plan of Action adopted at the First World Conference on Women, held in Mexico City in 1975. Regular surveys collected data on the nature of such machinery, finding that 127 countries had adopted such machinery by 1985; 165 by 2004. UN Women continues to collect such data, for example, see its 2016 regional consultation with national machineries from across South East Asia. International IDEA (Institute for Demo­ cracy and Electoral Assistance), the IPU and the University of Stockholm jointly sponsor the Gender Quotas Database, which tracks the introduction around the world of legislated candidate quotas, party quotas and reserved seats from 2003. The OECD Gender Equality Data Portal presents much data relevant to feminist political science under the governance heading. This includes comparative data on the percentage of women parliamentarians and ministers, the mandates of parliamentary gender equality committees, legislative or other requirements for gender impact assessment and gender-responsive budgeting at the central/federal level of government. The Standing Group on Gender and Politics of the European Consortium for Political Research maintains a ‘Syllabus Bank’ of university courses on gender and politics to assist in the development of such courses. The dataset from the RNGS project is available on the Harvard Dataverse under the heading: ‘Women’s Movements and Women’s Policy Offices in Western Postindustrial Democracies, 1970–2001’. The Feminism and Institutionalism Inter­ national Network (FIIN) promotes the synthesis of insights from new institutionalist theory and feminist scholarship on institutions. It has a website providing information on publications and events in this area. The Gender-Focused Parliamentary Institutions Research Network (GenParlNet) also has a website with information on publications and events in this emerging research area.


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In addition to the more formal databases, important Facebook groups have been established to facilitate the sharing of news and resources on politics and gender – for example, the Electoral Gender Quotas group managed by Mona Lena Krook since April 2011, and the Violence against Women in Politics group co-created by Krook and Juliana Restrepo Sanín in February 2015.

References Ackerly, Brooke and Jacqui True (2013) ‘Methods and methodologies’ in Georgina Waylen, Karen Celis, Johanna Kantola and S. Laurel Weldon (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 135–59. Allen, Peter and Sarah Childs (2019) ‘The grit in the oyster? Women’s parliamentary organisations and the substantive representation of women’, Political Studies, 67(3): 618–38. Annesley, Claire and Francesca Gains (2010) ‘The core executive: Gender, power and change’, Political Studies, 58(5): 909–29. Banaszak, Lee Ann (2010) The Women’s Movement Inside and Outside the State, New York: Cambridge University Press. Bereni, Laure and Anne Revillard (2012) ‘Un mouvement social paradigmatique? Ce que le mouvement des femmes fait à la sociologie des mouvements sociaux’, Sociétés contemporaines, 85(1): 17–41. Boserup, Ester (1970) Woman’s Role in Economic Development, London: George Allen & Unwin. Bourque, Susan C. and Jean Grossholtz (1974) ‘Politics as an unnatural practice: Political science looks at female participation’, Politics & Society, 4(2): 225–66. Brook, Heather (2002) ‘Stalemate: Rethinking the politics of marriage’, Feminist Theory, 3(1): 45–66. Butler, Judith (2004) Undoing Gender, London and New York: Routledge. Campbell, Rosie, Sarah Childs and Joni Lovenduski (2009) ‘Do women need women representatives?’, British Journal of Political Science, 40(1): 171–94.

CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) (1997) General Recommendation No. 23. womenwatch/daw/cedaw/recommendations Celis, Karen, Sarah Childs and Jennifer Curtin (2016) ‘Specialised parliamentary bodies and the quality of women’s substantive representation: A comparative analysis of Belgium, United Kingdom and New Zealand’, Parliamentary Affairs, 69(4): 812–29. Chappell, Louise A. (2002) Gendering Government: Feminist Engagement with the State in Australia and Canada, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, pp. 23–44. Chappell, Louise and Fiona Mackay (2017) ‘What’s in a name? Mapping the terrain of informal institutions and gender politics’, in Georgina Waylen (ed.) Gender and Informal Institutions, London: Rowman & Littlefield. Crenshaw, Kimberlé (1989) ‘Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum, 140: 139–67. Curtin, Jennifer (2019) ‘Feminist innovations and new institutionalism’, in Marian Sawer and Kerryn Baker (eds) Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, London: Palgrave, pp. 115–33. Dahlerup, Drude (1988) ‘From a small to a large minority: Women in Scandinavian ­politics’, Scandinavian Political Studies, 11(4): 275–98. Dahlerup, Drude (ed.) (2006) Women, Quotas and Politics, London and New York: Routledge. Duverger, Maurice (1955) The Political Role of Women, Paris: UNESCO. Eisenstein, Hester (1996) Inside Agitators: Australian Femocrats and the State, Sydney: Allen & Unwin; Philadephia: Temple University Press. Elshtain, Jean Bethke (1981) Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought, Oxford: Martin Robertson. Fraser, Nancy (1995) ‘From redistribution to recognition? Dilemmas of justice in a postsocialist age’, New Left Review, 212: 68–93.

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Fregoso, Rosa-Linda and Cynthia Bejarano (eds) (2010) Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Americas, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Freidenvall, Lenita (2017) ‘The Swedish Parliament: A Gender-Sensitive Working Place?’, paper presented at the European Conference on Politics and Gender, Lausanne, 8–10 June. Gilligan, Carol (1982) In a Different Voice, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Hanisch, Carol (1969/2006) ‘The Personal is Political: The Women’s Liberation Movement classic with a new explanatory introduction by Carol Hanisch’, available at: http://www. Hartsock, Nancy (1987) ‘The feminist standpoint: Developing the ground for a specifically feminist historical materialism’, in Sandra Harding (ed.) Feminism and Methodology, Milton Keynes: Open University Press, pp. 157–80. Haussman, Melissa, Marian Sawer and Jill Vickers (eds) (2010) Federalism, Feminism and Multilevel Governance, Aldershot: Ashgate. Hochschild, Arlie Russell (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, Berkeley: University of California Press. Holli, Anne Maria and Mette Marie Staehr Harder (2016) ‘Towards a dual approach: Comparing parliamentary committees on gender equality in Denmark and Finland’, Parliamentary Affairs, 69(4): 794–811. Htun, Mala and S. Laurel Weldon (2012) ‘The civic origins of progressive policy change: Combating violence against women in global perspective, 1975–2005’, American Political Science Review, 106(3): 548–69. Inglehart, Ronald and Pippa Norris (2000) ‘The developmental theory of the gender gap: Women’s and men’s voting behavior in global perspective’, International Political Science Review, 21(4): 441–63. Jeffrey, Leslie A. and Barbara Sullivan (2009) ‘Canadian sex work policy for the 21st century: Enhancing rights and safety, lessons from Australia’, Canadian Political Science Review, 3(1): 57–76. Jeffreys, Sheila (2009) The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade, London/New York: Routledge. Johnson, Carol (2019) ‘Gender research and discursive policy framing’, in Marian Sawer


and Baker Kerryn (eds) Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, London: Palgrave, pp. 195–218. Kanter, Rosabeth M. (1977) Men and Women of the Corporation, New York: Basic Books. Keck, Margaret E. and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) Advocacy Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Kenny, Merryl (2013) Gender and Political Recruitment: Theorising Institutional Change, Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Krook, Mona Lena (2009) Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lijphart, Arend (1999) Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Lombardo, Emanuela, Petra Meier and Mieke Verloo (2009) The Discursive Politics of Gender Equality: Stretching, Bending and Policymaking, London: Routledge. Lombardo, Emanuela, Petra Meier and Mieke Verloo (2017) ‘Policymaking from a gender+ equality perspective’, Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 38(1): 1–19. McBride, Dorothy E. and Amy G. Mazur (2010) The Politics of State Feminism: Innovation in Comparative Research, Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Mackay, Fiona (2001) Love and Politics: Women Politicians and the Ethic of Care, London: Continuum. Mackay, Fiona (2014) ‘Nested Newness, institutional innovation, and the gendered limits of change’, Politics & Gender 10(4): 549–71. Mansbridge, Jane (1999) ‘Should blacks represent blacks and women represent women? A contingent “Yes”’, Journal of Politics, 61(3): 628–57. Mill, John Stuart (1869) The Subjection of Women, London: Longmans. Norris, Pippa and Mona Lena Krook (2014) ‘How quotas work: The supply and demand model revisited’, in Rosie Campbell and Sarah Childs (eds) Deeds and Words: Gendering Politics after Joni Lovenduski, Colchester: ECPR Press, pp. 185–205. Norris, Pippa and Joni Lovenduski (1995) Political Recruitment: Gender, Race and Class in


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the British Parliament, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. OECD (2017) The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle, Paris: OECD Publishing. Outshoorn, Joyce (2004) The Politics of Prostitution: Women’s Movements, Democratic States and the Globalisation of Sex Commerce, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Palmieri, Sonia (2019) ‘Feminist institutionalism and gender-sensitive parliaments: Relating theory and practice’, in Marian Sawer and Kerryn Baker (eds) Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, London: Palgrave, pp. 173–94. Pateman, Carole (1983) ‘Feminist critiques of the public/private dichotomy’, in Stanley I. Benn and Gerald F. Gaus (eds) Public and Private in Social Life, London, Croom Helm, pp. 291–303. Pateman, Carole (1988) The Sexual Contract, Cambridge: Polity Press. Phillips, Anne (1995) The Politics of Presence, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pitkin, Hanna Fenichel (1967) The Concept of Representation, Berkeley, University of California Press. Puwar, Nirmal (2004) Space Invaders: Race, Gender and Bodies Out of Place, Oxford: Berg. Rai, Shirin M. and Carole Spary (2019) Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Raymond, Janice G (2004) ‘Prostitution on demand: Legalising the buyers as sexual consumers’, Violence against Women, 10(10): 1156–86. Ruddick, Sara (1989) Maternal Thinking: Towards a Politics of Peace, Boston: Beacon Press. Sapiro, Virgina (1981) ‘When Are Interests Interesting? The Problem of Political Representation of Women’, American Political Science Review, 75(3): 701–16. Sawer, Marian (2016) ‘Femocrat’, in Nancy A. Naples (ed.) The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Vol. II, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, pp 909–11. DOI: 10.1002/9781118663219.wbegss047 Sawer, Marian (2019) ‘How the absence of women became a democratic deficit’, in Marian Sawer and Kerryn Baker (eds) Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, London: Palgrave, pp. 13–40.

Sawer, Marian and Alicia Turner (2016) ‘Specialised parliamentary bodies: Their role and relevance to women’s movement repertoire’, Parliamentary Affairs, 69(4): 763–77. Sullivan, Mary Lucille (2007) Making Sex Work: A Failed Experiment with Legalised Prostitution, Melbourne: Spinifex Press. Summers, Anne (2013) ‘The Prime Minister’s rights at work’ in Anne Summers (ed.) The Misogyny Factor, Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, pp. 104–36. Thompson, William (1825) Appeal of One Half of the Human Race, Women, against the Pretensions of the Other Half, Men, to Retain Them in Political, and thence in Civil and Domestic Slavery, London: Longman. Tremblay, Manon (2018) 100 Questions about Women and Politics, Montreal: McGillQueens University Press. Tremblay, Manon (2019) ‘Uncovering the gendered effects of voting systems: A few thoughts on the representation of women and LGBT people’, in Marian Sawer and Kerryn Baker (eds) Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, London: Palgrave, pp. 91–114. Tremblay, Manon and Réjean Pelletier (2000) ‘More feminists or more women? Descriptive and substantive representations of women in the 1997 Canadian federal elections’, International Political Science Review, 21(4): 381–405. True, Jacqui (2019) ‘Gender research and the study of institutional transfer and norm diffusion’, in Marian Sawer and Kerryn Baker (eds) Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, London: Palgrave, pp. 135–52. True, Jacqui and Michael Mintrom (2001) ‘Transnational networks and policy diffusion: The case of gender mainstreaming’, International Studies Quarterly, 45(1): 27–57. Verloo, Mieke (ed.) (2018) Varieties of Opposition to Gender Equality in Europe, New York: Routledge. Walby, Sylvia (2005) ‘Introduction: Comparative gender mainstreaming in a global era’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 7(4): 453–70. Wängnerud, Lena (2009) ‘Women in parliaments: Descriptive and substantive

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representation’, Annual Review of Political Science, 12: 51–69. Ward, Eilis and Gillian Wylie (eds) (2017) Feminism, Prostitution and the State: The Politics of Neo-Abolitionism, London and New York: Routledge. Waring, Marilyn (1988) Counting for Nothing: What Men Value and What Women are Worth, Wellington: Allen & Unwin. Weldon, S. Laurel (2002) ‘Beyond bodies: Institutional sources of representation for women in democratic policymaking’, The Journal of Politics, 64(4): 1153–74.


Wollstonecraft, Mary (1792/2004) A ­Vindication of the Rights of Woman, London: Penguin. Woodward, Alison E. (2003) ‘Building velvet triangles: Gender and informal governance’, in Thomas Christiansen and Simona Piattoni (eds) Informal Governance in the European Union, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 76–93. Young, Iris Marion (1994) ‘Gender as Seriality: Thinking about Women as a Social Collective’, Signs, 19(3): 713–38. Young, Iris Marion (2000) Inclusion and Democracy, New York: Oxford University Press.

7 Marx and Marxism in Politics Dingping Guo

Introduction Marxism has been defined and studied as a political theory, political ideology and political movement. In political studies, Marxism refers to a specific school of social and political theory about human life, historical development, capitalist crisis and communist revolution, which was developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels during the mid-to-late 19th century, and subsequently elaborated on by their disciples from various backgrounds all over the world. Although there are inconsistencies and contradictions in Marx’s theory during the different periods of its development, and there are considerable debates and disputes over its nature and structure, some basic consensus can be reached based on an analysis of Marx’s works and the studies on the subsequent evolution of Marxist theory. Marxism is not only one of the most important social and political schools of thought, but also the guiding ideology in the communist revolution and the socialist construction of many countries worldwide.

Capitalist Development and the Birth of Marxism Karl Marx, one of the most famous and influential theorists of the modern historical age from whom the socialist or communist movements have derived their ideas, was not only a political thinker but also social philosopher and economist whose research ranged widely over many fields. Marx has had a profound impact on the thoughts and actions of people in many countries since the mid 19th century, and in the 21st century he is still regarded as the greatest instructor by the political left, including the adherents of communist parties, and is derided as a source of political and social chaos by the political right. The ideas and programs developed by Marx and Engels have been generally called Marxism. Born in Trier, German Rhineland, into a Jewish family on May 5, 1818, Karl Marx received a good education and displayed great potential as an outstanding student. During his student days at the universities of Bonn and Berlin, Marx studied law and the

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history of philosophy, took a strong interest in the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and joined a student/professor group called the ‘Young Hegelians’. Marx submitted his doctoral dissertation at the University of Jena in 1840 and received a doctoral degree the following year. This dissertation is entitled ‘The Difference between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature’ and can be regarded as the starting point of his transition from idealism to materialism (Jessop, 1999: 98). After his initial failure to establish an academic career, his liberal political views led him to find employment as an editor of a radical newspaper in Cologne, Rheinische Zeitung. Because of his journalistic abilities and radical views, Marx was well received in liberal circles and quickly promoted to editor of the newspaper. This radical newspaper, under the guidance of Marx, had to face the problem of censorship by the authoritative Prussian government, and was finally suppressed after the printing of Marx’s article on the poverty of farmers in the Mosel Valley. In 1843, Marx married Jenny von Westphalen and emigrated to Paris with her in order to escape political persecution. There he became acquainted with French socialist thinkers and began to witness firsthand the living conditions of people in poverty by socializing himself with working-class people. More importantly, he first encountered, and subsequently established his lifelong friendship with Friedrich Engels, the author of the classic work, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. As a result of his economic and philosophical researches, Marx wrote Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, in which he showed great concern for the dignity and freedom of the individual. In February 1844, together with the philosopher and political writer, Arnold Ruge, Marx published the first, and only issue of a new journal, DeutschFranzösische Jahrbücher [German-French Annals] in which he published articles on a broad range of matters such as philosophy, politics and society. His radical ideas were not tolerated in France. After Marx published


an article on capitalism in German-French Annals, he angered his partner Arnold Ruge and their journal was banned in France and Germany. Based on his experiences of living among the working class and his comprehensive researches on history, economics, politics and philosophy, Marx became an ardent communist. He proposed his ideas about communism by criticizing the alienation of labor in a capitalist society. According to Marx, under capitalism, the working class invests its creative labor, while the capitalist class appropriates the results of this labor in exchange for wages. This means that the human world created by the proletariat does not belong to them, but is owned instead by a class of non-laboring owners. In January 1845, Marx was expelled from Paris by Premier François Guizot at the instance of the Prussian government and moved to Brussels. During his stay in Brussels, Marx exchanged polemics with the Hegelians, Feuerbach, Stirner and the ‘True Socialists’, and finished two important works in collaboration with Engels, The Holy Family and The German Ideology. In the The German Ideology, Marx and Engels provided a historical and material basis for Marx’s radical views and insisted that the nature of individuals depended on the material conditions determining their own productions. In 1847, Marx started another polemical exchange with the French anarchist thinker PierreJoseph Proudhon and wrote The Poverty of Philosophy, in which he developed the fundamental propositions of his economic interpretation of history. By early 1846, Marx established the Communist Correspondence Committee in order to connect all of Europe’s socialist leaders. Next year, the League of the Just held a congress in London where the two groups merged to form the Communist League. Marx and Engels attended the Second Congress of the Communist League at which they were commissioned to write a manifesto for the League, which became Manifesto of the Communist, inspired by Engels’ The Principles of Communism (1847). The


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Communist Manifesto, originally written as the platform of the Communist League, has become one of the most radical and influential books since it was first published in February 1848. It begins with the famous proposition: ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’, and contains a summary of Marxist theory (Carver, 1996: 1–30). For example, one of the major points is to abolish private property and implement public ownership of the economy. The theory of the communists may be summed up in the single phrase: ‘abolition of private property’. The second point is to bring the proletariat to power and annihilate the exploiting class, especially the bourgeoisie, in politics. According to Marx and Engels, the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class in order to win the battle for democracy. (This was why Mao Zedong defined the nature of his new republic as the ‘people’s democratic dictatorship’, a hundred years later.) The Communist Party as the avant-garde of the proletariat then comes to power after winning the struggle against the old classes, the landowners and the bourgeoisie. The third is to envision a classless society in ‘which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all’ (Carver, 1996: 20). Upon publication in 1848, The Communist Manifesto quickly became the credo of the poor and oppressed all over the world and led to the greatest political upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries and the establishment of the communist governments that ruled half the globe for several decades. It is regarded as the most important classic text for Marxist political theory. After the Manifesto came to light, even the relatively tolerant Belgium government served Marx with an expulsion order and he returned to Paris. The revolutionary atmosphere in Germany in 1848 enabled him to return to Cologne where he persuaded some liberal industrialists to back a new version of his old newspaper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. It became extremely radical and

took an anti-government stance under the editorship of Marx and it was again suppressed by the authorities. In protest, Marx printed the last issue of the Zeitung in red ink. He was arrested for press offences and incitement to armed insurrection, but after a long and powerful speech delivered at his trial, Marx was acquitted by a jury in Cologne. Faced with expulsion from Cologne and suppression of his newspaper, Marx visited Paris again as a representative of German democracy before the Paris National Assembly, but similarly was served with an expulsion order from Paris. Following his expulsion, in 1849 Marx moved to London where he lived with his large but devoted family until his death. Although Marx was a correspondent to the New York Tribune from 1852 to 1861, for the most part he was dependent for his livelihood on the generous financial support of Engels. His typical day was spent in the Reading Room of the British Library, where from 10am to 7pm (when opening hours allowed) he wrote a number of volumes on different subjects. Sometimes he lacked money for the postage to send his manuscripts to his publishers. Afflicted with multiple health problems and a contentious and uncompromising temper, Marx was not a prepossessing figure during his final years. Although virtually unknown in England, he enjoyed great popularity on the Continent, especially in liberal circles and among working people, and in 1864 was invited to participate in the formation of the International Working Men’s Association. Also known as the First International, the organization was founded at a meeting in St. Martin’s Hall, London, and Marx was invited to draw up the guiding principles in the ‘Inaugural Address’. In 1867, the first volume of Marx’s greatest work, Das Kapital [Capital], was published. The second, third and incomplete fourth volumes did not appear until after Marx’s death in 1883 (McDonald, 1962: 347). In Capital, Marx analyzed the secret of capitalist production by focusing on the

Marx and Marxism in Politics

concept of surplus value and formulated his revolutionary theory by revealing the injustice of the capitalist system. According to Marx, labor is a commodity like any other commodity; therefore, following the labor theory of value, it must be valued by the man-hours devoted to its ‘production’, that is, to feeding, clothing and sheltering the worker in order to maintain life at subsistence level. In the capitalist system, labor is bought just like any other commodity. But, unlike any other commodity, labor is not consumed in a clearly determined period of time. A laborer is bought for the price of sustaining him physically, prorated in hours or days or weeks. But he may produce the equivalent of the price in economic value in 6 or 8 hours of work, whereas the factories of Marx’s day kept men going for 10, 12 or 14 hours a day. The difference between what the worker does and what he is paid is surplus value, the source of all capitalist profits. In a capitalist society that is divided into the capitalist class with the means of production, and the proletariat without the means of production, the injustice heaped upon the workers is not the result of bad men, but of a particular system. Reform within the system, however well intentioned, is doomed to failure. Only revolutionary overthrow of the whole capitalist system can lead to the liberation of the working class. Marx died and was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London, with a tombstone epitaph reading ‘Workers of all lands, unite’, the final slogan in The Communist Manifesto. In the years following his death, Engels edited and translated his works, and in many ways continued their friendship until his own death in 1895. Since the intellectual activity of Marx and Engels was intertwined based on their close friendship and great collaboration, when most people today speak of Marxism they are speaking of the joint output of Marx and Engels (McDonald, 1962: 345). Although Marx spent most of his life in reading and writing as a student and scholar, he has had a strong influence not only on modern ideas,


but also on political practices and social movements in many countries around the world. Today, his works are reprinted and read widely, and his ideas discussed and debated in the fields of philosophy, sociology and political science.

Marxism as a Political Theory Marxism is the system of social and political theory about human life, historical development, the capitalist crisis and the communist revolution developed by Marx and Engels, and elaborated on by such disciples as Lenin and Mao. Although there are inconsistencies and contradictions in the Marxist development, the basic doctrine of Marxism can be outlined as follows.

Theoretical Sources Marx developed his eponymous theoretical system from many different sources, such as utopian socialist thought in France and England, classic philosophy in Germany, political economics in England and the Greek political and philosophical tradition (Xu, 2005: 277). Among these, three major sources are especially important: German philosophy, French politics and English economics. In his early works, Marx showed great interest in law and philosophy; and his later works were more concerned with political economy and political strategy. The German philosophy on which Marx drew was primarily that of Hegel but included the Young Hegelians and Ludwig Feuerbach’s materialism. During his student days at the universities of Bonn and Berlin, Marx studied history and philosophy, took a strong interest in the works of Hegel and joined a student/professor group called Young Hegelians. Many of Marx’s basic ideas, such as his critique of civil society and private


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property, emerged when he was writing the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. He asserts that religion is the ‘opium of the people’ and calls for an ‘uprising of the proletariat’ to realize the conceptions of philosophy, a point also made in Theses on Feuerbach (1845). Marx had been strongly influenced by Hegel’s Logic and dialectical method, and his great work Capital is imbued with intellectual categories derived from Hegel. As one scholar pointed out, ‘Hegelian dialectic is a permanent tool of Marxist thought’ (Jessop, 1999: 128). French politics and socialist movements played an important role in shaping Marx’s thoughts. Marx’s father-in-law, Baron von Westphalen and his teachers were all strongly influenced by the French Enlightenment. Marx was also strongly influenced by the French Revolution and French thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau. After he emigrated to Paris together with his wife in order to escape political persecution by the German authorities, Marx became acquainted with French socialist thinkers and began to witness the living conditions of people in poverty by socializing himself with workingclass people. French socialism, as expressed and explained in the works of Henri de SaintSimon and Charles Fourier, enabled Marx to break with Hegel’s teleological approach to history, to develop a broad-ranging social economy, to understand the social and personal impact of modern industry and grasp the significance of socialism. After studying the development of Bonapartism and commenting on the nature and significance of the Paris Commune, Marx completed several political works (The Class Struggles in France, 1840– 1850 and The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte), and expounded his major political ideas about the State and revolution. The third major source of Marx’s theory is English (and Scottish) economics exemplified by writers such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus. It was during his years in Paris that Marx began his study of English economics. From the early 1840s,

he made an increasingly detailed study of the works of English economists. After moving to London, Marx undertook deep and systematic research on the development of the capitalist mode of production in England. In writing the 1844 Manuscripts, Marx relied extensively on the work of Adam Smith, especially his views on the division of labor, rent, subsistence wages and the three stages of society. Once he became acquainted with Ricardo’s work, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817), Marx abandoned the economic theory developed in the 1844 Manuscripts. His critique of The Poverty of Philosophy was Ricardian in character. By absorbing the ideas in the works of classic political economists and analyzing the capitalist development in England, Marx established his own status as political economist. Although Marx drew on various sources, he did not merely combine them mechanically. A distinctive feature of Marx’s theory is his creative ability to synthesize. By studying German philosophy, French politics and English economics, Marx was able to develop his own philosophical, economic, social and political theory.

Historical Materialism and Social Development Marx’s unique contribution to historical philosophy is his historical materialism and theory of social development. According to his explanations in The German Ideology (1846) and The Critique of Political Economy (1859), the nature of individuals depends on the material conditions determining their productions. In the social production of their existence, people enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will. According to Marx in The Critique of Political Economy: [These] relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of

Marx and Marxism in Politics

production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic foundation of society on which there arise legal and political superstructures and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. (Preface)

As Marx and Engels put it in The German Ideology: ‘In direct contrast to Germany philosophy, which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven’ (O’Malley, 1994: 125). Returning to The Critique of Political Economy, we learn that: [t]he mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of their development, the material forces of production come eventually into conflict with the existing relations of production. … From forms of development of the forces of production these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. With the change of economic foundation the entire immense superstructure … is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations the distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production … and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic, or philosophical, in short, ideological transformation. (Marx, 1859: Preface)

All ideological transformations ‘must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the existing conflicts between the social forces of production and the relations of productions’ (ibid.). Therefore, the ‘legal relations as well as the forms of state could neither be understood by themselves, nor explained by the so-called general progress of the human mind; they are rooted in the material conditions of life (ibid.). Since every society is divided into various groups, a strong minority tends to use their economic power in order to exploit the mass of the population by appropriating the economic surplus for their own benefit. This inherently conflicting situation gives rise to a class struggle that centers on the ownership


and control of the means of production. The social group that controls the means of production forms the ruling class, and the group without the means of production constitutes the ruled class. All political institutions and cultural beliefs are shaped by the ruling class so as to bolster the unequal distribution of resources: The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. (Marx and Engels, 1848: Section I)

Based on the conflict between the forces of production and the relations of production, the history of mankind progresses through revolutions to the next higher stage. This theory of social development is usually called historical materialism. In the Marxist view of history, the primitive agrarian society was followed by the slave society of the ancient world, the feudal society, the capitalist society and finally by the communist society. The progress is made by inevitable and ultimately uncontrollable material forces, rather than human thought and initiative. This is sometimes summarized as so-called economic determinism or historical determinism. In fact, while Marx emphasized the crucial role of material forces in social development, he also analyzed the important and strong influences of political superstructure and human initiative on history. Political institutions and political leadership play an important role in many cases of historical development. As Wang Huning explains, political superstructure is not completely passive and inert, and contrarily, it may exert some decisive influences on economic foundations in some special cases, especially during the preliminary stage of the socialist states (Wang, 2004: 60–1).


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Capitalist Crisis and Proletarian Revolution In February 1848, Marx and Engels published the Manifesto of the Communist Party, generally regarded as a public statement of the general theory and political ideology of Marxism, and a call for general cooperation among different workers’ organizations. According to their analysis, capitalism as a revolutionary mode of production was fundamentally changing the course of civilization. It introduced market relations into all spheres of society and throughout the world: [T]he markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. … This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land’.… The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. (Marx and Engels, 1848: Section I)

By continually modernizing the forces of production and promoting the division of labor, capitalism prepared the material conditions necessary for social cooperation and planned management in economic life. Despite the ever increasing social character of capitalist production or socialization of the forces of production, the capitalist system was operated for private profit under private ownership. The search for private profit imposed fetters on the further development of production. The capitalist relations of production came finally into conflict with its forces of production. While a huge sum of wealth was accumulated in the hands of capitalists, its direct producers were impoverished. Lack of demand coexisting with unsold goods produced an ever worsening economic crisis of overproduction. This dynamic of capitalism created conditions of its own overthrow. Moreover, capitalism was creating the industrial proletariat as ‘its own gravediggers’ (Carver, 1996: 14) (Manifesto). As capitalism destroyed pre-capitalist modes of

production at home and abroad, other classes were eliminated and the proletariat expanded. As a result, the whole capitalist society was increasingly divided into two major classes: capitalist and proletarian. According to Marx: With the development of industry the proletariat not only increased in number; it became concentrated in greater masses, its strength grew, and it felt that strength more. The various interests and conditions of life within the ranks of the proletariat were more and more equalized, in proportion as machinery obliterated all distinctions of labor, and nearly everywhere reduced wages to the same low level. (Marx and Engels, 1848: Section I)

As individual workers, then groups of workers in a factory or trade, and eventually all workers in a nation-state or even the world economy mobilized to resist capitalist exploitation, the proletariat would grow more conscious of their shared class position and their common interest in the overthrow of capitalism. When their economic struggles encountered the resistance of the State as well as individual capitalists and groups of employers, the working class would develop a revolutionary consciousness and move from trade unionism to political party. With the economic crisis deepening and the proletariat gaining in strength, the revolution would be inevitable. Since the revolution is an inevitable historical product as the result of the conflict between the forces of production and the relations of production, and especially class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in capitalist society, neither Marx nor Engels paid attention to the means of revolution, especially political leadership and political strategy which would be explained and expounded by their followers such as Lenin and Mao Zedong. They also said little about what would happen after the revolution. It was believed that it would be absurd to predict the future society in detail. Nonetheless, some major ideas about socialism and communism can be found in the classic works of Marx and Engels.

Marx and Marxism in Politics

Marx’s Socialism and Communism When the revolution broke out, the proletariat seized the power of the State and transformed the means of production in the first instance into State property. As Marx and Engels suggested, the revolutionary measures in the most advanced countries would include the abolition of private property, a heavy progressive or graduated income tax, the abolition of all rights of inheritance, confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels, centralization of credit in the hands of the State and centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State (Carver, 1996: 19–20). By doing so, it puts an end to itself as the proletariat, it puts an end to all class differences and class antagonisms, and it puts an end to the State as the State. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the process of production. The State is not ‘abolished’, it withers away. But in a few places Marx and Engels referred to the transitional ‘socialist’ stage as ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’. As the avant-garde of the proletariat in the revolution, the Communist Party is established and then lead the struggle against the old classes: the landowner and the bourgeoisie. Therefore, the existence of classes is bound up with particular, historic phases in the development of production; the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat after all other antagonistic classes are annihilated; this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society. With regard to post-revolutionary politics, Marx cited the experience of the Paris Commune and talked about the possibility of bridging the gap between the State and civil society that had been opened up by capitalist democracy. As an instance of the abolition of the division of labor in politics, Marx welcomed the Commune’s proposal to have all officials, including judges, elected by universal suffrage and revocable at any time; to pay officials the same wages as


manual laborers; to replace the standing army by the armed people; and to divest the police and clergy of their political influence. The initiative of the Commune could yield a decentralized, federal political structure and an economy based on cooperatives united by a common plan. According to Marx’s explanation and prediction, the fundamental features of communism include at least the following elements. The first is to eliminate the private property and implement the public ownership in economy. The second is to limit free competition and carry out economic planning. The classic socialist believes that the capitalist market competition may lead to economic disorder and increasing inequality. Only after all economic activities are placed under the comprehensive economic plan can economic development be promoted and economic crisis avoided. The third is to distribute the economic surplus based on labor and need. In contrast with the capitalism in which capital plays the most important role in the process of distribution, the communists insist that labor and need are the most important factor in distributing social wealth. Finally, the State as a tool of rule by the ruling class would wither away and gradually be replaced by the administration of public affairs. As Marx described: In a higher phase of communist society, after the subjection of individuals to the division of labour, and thereby the antithesis between mental and physical labour, has disappeared; after labour has become not merely a means to live but the foremost need in life; after the multifarious development of individuals has grown along with their productive powers, and all the springs of cooperative wealth flow more abundantly – only then can the limited horizon of bourgeois right be wholly transcended, and society can inscribe on its banner: from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs! (Critique of the Gotha Programme, part I, in Carver, 1996: 214–15)

In place of the old bourgeoisie society, with its classes and class antagonisms, there shall be an association, in which the free development


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of each is the condition for the free development of all.

Western Marxism after Marx The classic Marxist theory was expounded and elaborated based on the historical developments in Western industrialized countries such as England, France and Germany. After economic, social and political changes took place, many social theorists and political leaders tried to redefine and develop Marxism based on the new situations. During the period of economic depression and political repression in the 1880s, Marxism became dominant in the German Social Democratic Party. Karl Kautsky ‘explained and defended the theories of surplus value, immiseration, class polarisation and capitalist crisis’ (Geary, 2003: 220). His works ‘defined Marxism for the generation after Marx and constituted the fundament of “orthodox Marxism”’ (Geary, 2003: 220). Another theorist, Eduard Bernstein, ‘launched the revisionist attack on “orthodox Marxism”’, and ‘refuted the theories of surplus value, impoverishment, capital concentration and crisis’ (Geary, 2003: 228). According to Bernstein, ‘[w]orkers were not becoming poorer; the numbers of peasants was not declining; a “new middle class” was growing in size and importance; share ownership refuted the claim of capital concentration; and capitalism was developing mechanisms to reduce competition and remove recurrent economic crisis’ (Geary, 2003: 228). Therefore, these revisionist Marxists such as Bernstein rejected the violent way of revolution against capitalism and proclaimed the possibility of a peaceful, gradual and legal transition to socialism, brought about through the adoption of the parliamentary road. During much of the 20th century, Marxism was thus divided into two different camps. Orthodox Marxism was adopted and developed by Lenin in Russia and Mao Zedong in China, and transformed

into socialism and communism. By contrast, the revisionists and reformists tended to accept the European economic and political system, and practiced parliamentary politics and social democracy. Meanwhile, a more complex and philosophical form of Marxism entitled ‘Western Marxism’ developed in Western Europe from the early 20th century. As McLellan tells us: Unlike the previous generation of Marxist theoreticians, most of the thinkers grouped under the rubric of ‘Western’ Marxist were not important figures in political parties. They tended to be academics rather than activists, writing in a period of declining working-class activity [due to capitalist democratic and economic developments] and therefore in comparative isolation from political practice. … [T]he term ‘Western Marxism’ normally excludes orthodox communists of strict Marxist obedience … and is confined to the … collection of thinkers that centred around the work of Lukács and Korsch in central Europe, that of Gramsci in Italy, and perhaps above all, of the Frankfurt school in Germany. Western Marxism is thus a philosophical meditation on the defeat of Marxism in the West.…While some people might question whether these modes of thought were really compatible with anything recognisable as Marxism, they undoubtedly extended the horizons of Marxist discussion beyond the rather limited perspectives of the Second International and Leninist orthodoxy. Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and its consequences for political culture, the treatment of Freud by Marcuse, the drastic critique of the Enlightenment in Horkheimer and Adorno – all these attempts to remedy weaknesses or gaps in the classical Marxist tradition have produced a compelling, if sometimes rather convoluted, literature on philosophy, politics and society. (McLellan, 2003b: 282–3)

The first important thinker of Western Marxism is the Hungarian philosopher Georg Lukács whose major ideas were expressed in his work, entitled History and Class Consciousness (First published in 1923). Lukács reevaluated the role of Hegel in the formation of Marx’s thought and reinterpreted Marxist dialectics. Unlike Engels who emphasized the dialectics of nature, Lukács focused more on the dialectics of human history. For Lukács, the subject and object have become separated in

Marx and Marxism in Politics

the long history of human development. Only with the rise of the proletariat in capitalist society, would subjective thought and objective action be finally united. ‘This historical interaction of subject and object was for Lukács the basic form of the dialectic’ (McLellan, 2003b: 284). However, the class consciousness of the proletariat, its unification of the roles of subject and object was blocked by the comprehensive process of ‘reification’ in capitalist society. According to Lukács, ‘as the product of capitalism the proletariat must necessarily be subject to the modes of existence of its creator. This mode of existence is inhumanity and reification’ (1971: 76). This process of reification has originated from commodity fetishism in the age of modern capitalism and transformed the social relations between persons both subjectively and objectively into relations between commodities. The reified consciousness is ‘trapped in the two extremes of crude empiricism and abstract utopianism’ (Lukács, 1971: 77) and led to the ideological crisis of the proletariat. The economic crisis will certainly increase the possibility of revolution in capitalist society, but ‘the fate of revolution (and with it the fate of mankind) will depend on the ideological maturity of the proletariat, i.e. on its class consciousness’ (Lukács, 1971: 70). Another influential figure in Western Marxism is Antonio Gramsci. He participated in revolutionary activities, helped to found the Italian Communist Party in 1921 and became its leader for the two years before his arrest and imprisonment in 1926. His basic ideas and theoretical innovations were contained in his Prison Notebooks (1971) which he compiled in prison during 1929–36. First, Gramsci analyzed the role and function of intellectuals in society and made a distinction between the the traditional and the organic. While the traditional intellectuals considered themselves to be autonomous of social class and have no substantial links with the social and economic changes, the organic intellectuals maintained close relations with their social class and considered themselves to be members. Second,


after discussing the organic quality of the intellectuals and their degree of connection with a fundamental social group, Gramsci fixed two major superstructural ‘levels’: ‘civil society’ and ‘political society’ or ‘the State’. According to Gramsci, these two levels correspond on the one hand to the function of ‘hegemony’ which the dominant group exercises throughout society and on the other hand to that of ‘direct domination’ or command exercised through the State and ‘juridical’ government; the intellectuals are the dominant group’s ‘deputies’ exercising the subaltern functions of social hegemony and political government (Gramsci, 1971: 12). Gramsci analyzed the civil society in detail and developed a quite different theory about it from Marx. While, for Marx, the civil society usually meant private spheres and economic relations, Gramsci tended to use it to refer to the superstructure, that is, all the organizations and technical means that the ruling classes used to justify their ideology. Finally, based on the studies of civil society, Gramsci drew a distinction between two different revolutionary strategies in the East and the West. In less-developed societies, such as Russia, where there was no active civil society and the ruling class tended to use State power to suppress public protest; the target of revolution was naturally the State and governmental bureaucracy. Gramsci called this kind of attack ‘a war of movement or manoeuvre’ (Gramsci, 1971: 233). By contrast, in more-developed societies, where there was an advanced civil society and intellectuals played an important role in supporting and legitimizing the ruling class, a ‘war of position’ was more effective because a longer period of cultural assault on the ideological support of the ruling class was needed. According to Gramsci, in the most advanced States, ‘the superstructures of civil society are like the trench-systems of modern warfare. In war it would sometimes happen that a fierce artillery attack seemed to have destroyed the enemy’s entire defensive system, whereas in fact it had only destroyed the outer perimeter; and at the moment of their advance and attack the assailants would find themselves confronted by a line of defence which was still effective’ (Gramsci, 1971: 235).


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This is because the civil society has become a very complex structure. Gramsci’s analysis of cultural hegemony and revolutionary strategy represents a new development of revolutionary theory in the Western advanced societies. Among the varieties of Western Marxism after Karl Marx, the Frankfurt School represented the latest and most philosophical developments. It took its name from the Institute of Social Research founded in Frankfurt in 1923. ‘Originally concentrating on a more orthodox form of Marxism, the Institute changed its orientation with the appointment of Max Horkheimer as its director in 1930’ (McLellan, 2003b: 289). He and his colleagues, Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, together with the most influential figure of the second generation of the School, Jürgen Habermas, contributed greatly to its development from the 1930s to the late 20th century. The results of their research were described as ‘critical theory’, perhaps originating from Horkheimer’s seminal article of 1937 entitled ‘Traditional and Critical Theory’. Critical theory was directed above all against positivism and empiricism, a source of reification and an endorsement of the status quo in Western capitalism. The works of the Frankfurt School were a blend of Marxist political economy, Hegelian philosophy and Freudian psychology, which focused on the comprehensive critique of the Western advanced societies and contributed greatly to the revival of Western Marxism. Moreover, thanks to the wide spread of Marcuse’s works and his ideas about onedimensional man, the Frankfurt School had a considerable impact on the New Left in the 1960s and some substantial influences on political research (Jay, 1996: 9). Perry Anderson is one of the most famous Marxist political scientists and has contributed greatly to the study of Western Marxism. He served as the editor of New Left Review for many years and published several books on Western

Marxism such as Considerations on Western Marxism (1976), In the Tracks of Historical Materialism (1983) and The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci (2017). More importantly, Anderson applied historical materialism to his studies of historical sociology in his brilliant work, Lineages of the Absolutist State (First published in 1974). According to Anderson, there are ‘two different planes of Marxist discourse’: while Marxist historians have paid little attention to theoretical questions about historical materialism, Marxist philosophers have sought to solve the theoretical problems without engaging with the specific empirical issues posed by historians. Anderson designed his work as a Marxist study of Absolutism and tried to explore a mediated ground between the two by combining theoretical analysis and historical studies. Anderson argued that ‘[t]he arrival of Absolutism was never a smooth evolutionary process for the dominant class itself: it was marked by extremely sharp ruptures and conflicts within the feudal aristocracy’ (Anderson, 2013: 20). With the growth of commodity relations, ‘reorganization of the feudal polity as a whole and the dilution of the original fief system, landownership tended to become progressively less “conditional” as sovereignty became correspondingly more “absolute”’ (Anderson, 2013: 20). Many others have conducted their research based on their understanding of Marxism and social development. For example, Barrington Moore Jr. studied the relation between political developments and social classes in Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (1966), and discussed the issues of authority, inequality and justice in Moral Aspects of Economic Growth (First published in 1998). Immanuel Wallerstein, the master of world-systems theory, analyzed the capitalist development and emergence of a world market, and argued that capitalism has brought about immiseration in the Global South in his book, Historical Capitalism, with

Marx and Marxism in Politics

Capitalist Civilization (First published in 1983). Michael Burawoy examined the legitimization mechanism in capitalist societies in Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism (1979), and called for ‘bringing workers back in’ in The Politics of Production: Factory Regimes under Capitalism and Socialism (1985). Burawoy argues that ‘the industrial working class has made significant and self-conscious interventions in history.… [and] these interventions were and continue to be shaped by the process of production’ (Burawoy, 1985: 5).

The October Revolution and Russian Marxism Contrary to Marx’s expectations, the socialist countries were not founded in the Western advanced countries but in some underdeveloped countries such as Russia. After the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, the first socialist country was established in Russia under the strong leadership of V. I. Lenin. To lead the proletarian revolution, Lenin contributed much to Marxist theory with his theory of the Party and his concept of capitalistic imperialism. By musing on the theoretical points in the works of Marxist writers and studying the political and economic realities, Lenin developed his own theory about capitalism and imperialism in Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism in 1916. According to his analysis, imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism in which capitalist free competition is displaced by capitalist monopoly. Specifically, this definition of imperialism includes the following features: (1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this ‘finance capital’, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the


export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed (Lenin, 2008: 239).

At the stage of imperialism, monopolies have stimulated the seizure of the most important sources of raw materials and also produced fierce competition for resources and markets among the biggest capitalist powers. This intense struggle for economic territory, for the division and redivision of the world, will inevitably lead to militarism and imperialist war. This war has not only revealed the nature of parasitic and decaying capitalism, but also created the opportunities for the proletarian revolution in some underdeveloped or colonial/semi-colonial societies. Based on this assessment, the socialist revolution could happen and succeed at the weak point of the global imperialist system. Lenin insisted that the revolutionary a vanguard party play a crucial role in the socialist revolution because he realized that the proletariat, easily deluded by bourgeoisie ideas for improving their working and living conditions, would not overthrow the whole capitalist system. A revolutionary party must be established on a very firm foundation of Marxist theory, comprised of professional and dedicated revolutionaries capable of exercising ideological leadership through political education. Its organization was to be based on the rigorous and truly iron discipline and the principle of democratic centralism combining free discussion and efficient action. The Party was to serve as the vanguard of the working class and act in the interests of the proletariat class with the fullest and unreserved support from the entire mass of the working class. In the process of building the first socialist country, Lenin had been searching for several models of socialism, such as War Communism and the New Economic Policy,


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in the face of foreign invasion and domestic hardship. In comparison with the comprehensive State direction and management of the economy in ‘War Communism’, the ‘New Economic Policy’ was the strategic retreat in which ‘the state withdrew from the ownership and management of small and medium enterprises, retaining only the very large-scale strategically important parts of industry and communications. Freedom for peasants and traders to market their goods was extended as the state withdrew’ (Harding, 2003: 261). However, after Joseph Stalin ascended to the leadership of the Soviet one-party State, he proceeded to announce radical plans for the rapid industrialization of the country and the collectivization of agriculture. When Stalin announced the First Five Year Plan in 1928, it started the ‘second revolution’ of the 1930s, which brought about the swift and total eradication of private enterprises. All resources were brought under the control of the State, and a system of central planning dominated by the State Planning Committee was established. During the 1930s, empowered by his cult of personality, Stalin established an increasingly brutal authoritarian dictatorship through a series of purges that suppressed and destroyed all opposition. This system combining central planning and personal dictatorship has been called Stalinism or Stalin-style socialism. Although some mistakes were corrected and reforms implemented after the death of Stalin in 1953, the core principles of the Leninist Party and Stalin-style socialism stubbornly resisted pressure for reform and has had a huge impact on political and economic developments in many other Communist countries.

The Rise of China and Chinese Marxism The October Revolution in Russia accelerated the spread of Marxism and the development of the Communist Revolution in China.

During the long period of the communist revolution and socialist construction, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its leaders applied Marxism and Leninism to the military struggle, economic development and political construction of China. Communist leaders, with Mao Zedong as their best representative, have developed many new ideas, concepts and theories, all of which embody Chinese Marxism. Mao Zedong is the principal Chinese Marxist theorist, and communist statesman who contributed to the founding of the CCP in 1921, the Communist Army in 1927 and The People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. In contrast with Karl Marx spending his most of life in reading and writing as an editor, reporter and scholar, Mao had taken part in almost all military struggles, political conflicts and social movements during his time. He emerged as a supreme leader in 1935 in the CCP because his smart ideas and correct tactics were adopted by most of the CCP leaders. He was chairman of the PRC from 1949-59 and chairman of the CCP until his death in 1976.

Maoism as Sinicized Marxism Maoism, officially called Mao Zedong Thought in China, is composed of many ideologies, strategies and tactics believed to be the creative result of applying MarxismLeninism to China, a semi-feudal and semicolonial country without modern industrial development. Maoism developed along with the progress of the communist revolution and socialist movement. After a bloody split in April 1927, Chiang Kai-shek of the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, dismantled the united front with the Communist Party against the warlord government in Beijing and broke with his allies in the Communist Party. In the following campaigns, many communist organizations were destroyed, and a large number of communist leaders and members killed. Mao led several peasant uprisings in Hunan and

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Jiangxi provinces and established the communist military bases during the early 1930s. Based on these experiences, Mao realized the importance of the Chinese peasantry in the Chinese communist revolution. In October 1934, Mao and the communists retreated from Jiangxi under strong military attack by Chiang’s Nationalist Army and started their epic Long March to the new base in Shanxi province. By making use of the second united front with the Nationalist Party against the Japanese, Mao and his communist comrades had not only consolidated their base and expanded their sphere of influence, but also formulated an ideology and methodology for Chinese revolution which was officially described as Maoism in 1945. In a new civil war between the communists and nationalists from 1946 to 1949, the nationalist government ruled by Chiang was defeated and retreated to Taiwan. As a result, the Communist Party came to power and Mao declared the founding of the PRC in Beijing on October 1, 1949. During the long period of military struggle against the Nationalist Party and the Japanese, ‘one of the most original contributions to the theory and practice of contemporary Marxism was his conception of guerrilla warfare’ (McLellan, 2003a: 270). According to the logic of Marxist socialism, only after the capitalist commodity economy developed fully would socialism succeed. After the communist revolution succeeded and the CCP came to power in 1949, Mao and the communist leaders – dreaming that their countries would immediately leap forward into communism – decided to implement and promote a socialist transformation of the Chinese economy and society, unfortunately ignoring the basic facts about the country’s underdevelopment. In order to build socialism and realize communism as soon as possible, they conducted radical and drastic reforms in socialist practice in the light of Marxist theory, especially Stalinist theory imported from the Soviet Union. The Party tried to eliminate private ownership and establish public ownership, reduce free


competition and develop a planned economy, limit the role of capital in the distribution of resources and promote egalitarianism in order to eradicate exploitation and suppression. To promote the socialist transformation and build a new socialist country, the Communist Party must always keep power in the hand of the proletarian class, take the class struggle as basic line and consolidate the central leadership. After eight years of the socialist transformation, in 1957, Mao declared confidently: We are now building socialism.… The petty bourgeoisie in agriculture and handicrafts and the bourgeoisie in industry and commerce have both experienced changes.… [the] individual economy has been transformed into collective economy, and the capitalist private ownership is being transformed into socialist public ownership. (Mao, 1977: 403)

In search of its own socialist model, after Stalin was criticized at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1956, China, under Mao, adopted many radical policies and launched mass movements one after another. The most important was the ‘Great Leap Forward’ (GLF, 1958–60) and the ‘Cultural Revolution’ (1966–76). During the period of the GLF, in rural areas of China, 750,000 higher-stage cooperatives were merged into 25,000 people’s multifunction communes in order to bring private farmers into peasant collectives in the pursuit of egalitarian ideals. A huge amount of manpower had been mobilized to build the famous backyard steel furnaces and extensive irrigation works. China’s leaders were eager to catch up with Britain, and eventually with the United States, and at least for a brief moment were willing to believe that utopian methods worked and would produce more tons of steel and food. The GLF caused a great deal of waste by mobilizing great manpower and huge resources to produce low-quality, even useless, steel in an unproductive way in the development of the socialist economy. What is more, owing to this policy placing emphasis on the


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development of heavy industry rather than light industry, the meager development of heavy industry came at a huge cost with little or no improvement in people’s living standards. The GLF caused an immense famine and an unusually high death rate – the consequence not only of declining harvests but of excessive requisitioning of grain, based on false reports that far more grain had been produced than was actually the case. Many years later, official sources admitted that 8 million people had died of causes related to the GLF; unofficial sources estimated the figure at about 30 million (Saich, 2004: 41). During the period of the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution, Mao took the class struggle as fundamental. He believed that the main goal of the Cultural Revolution was to save Chinese socialism from the threat of ‘revisionism’ by purging his lieutenants who, as in case of Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, attached greater importance to economic efficiency than ideological purity. The Cultural Revolution placed emphasis on purifying the superstructure rather than changing the economic conditions, because Maoists believed that purification would give a push to economic development in which the bureaucrats would engage directly, and to which the masses, imbued with revolutionary ideals, would exert themselves on behalf of collective undertakings. Meanwhile, with the ideal of egalitarian, a leftist ‘wind’ swept through the country, resulting in the curtailing of private landholding, a free market and other personal rights. However, the facts show that China ended up in 1976, at the end of the Cultural Revolution, with neither efficiency nor equity. Although Maoism contains many different and sometimes contradictory elements during the different stages of Chinese Revolution and socialist construction, several salient features can be found in his works and experiences. The first important feature is his emphasis on the importance of peasant issues in Chinese revolution and socialist construction. The Marxist-Leninist tradition treated peasants as

incapable of revolutionary initiative and only marginally useful in backing urban proletarian revolution. Based on his life experiences and his analysis of the rural situation in China, Mao came to recognize the potential power of China’s hundreds of millions of peasants and decided to establish his base in rural areas instead of big cities. The peasants constituted the vast majority of China’s population and most of them were hard-pressed and lived in extreme poverty. According to Mao, they were very receptive to revolutionary agitation and could become a revolutionary force if fully mobilized and properly guided. Proceeding from this belief, Mao proposed to instill in them a revolutionary consciousness and make their force alone suffice for the revolution. By so doing, Mao led the Chinese revolution to succeed and gradually formed a special sentiment for the peasants. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao sent many city workers, intellectuals and bureaucrats to rural areas and forced them to receive re-education through agricultural labor, working alongside the peasants, because Mao believed the big cities were a corrupting influence for many. In Mao’s thinking, there were long-standing populist elements and continuous emphasis on the ‘mass line’. The mass line means the emphasis on the interests and preferences of the common people and demands that the government be responsive to them. It was first created in the revolutionary period, based on the idea of class struggle. The idea of the disadvantaged classes overthrowing the privileged classes through interclass struggle naturally entailed the idea of mobilizing the oppressed masses to fight for their own interests against those of the oppressing classes. Thus, the notion of class struggle led to Mao’s stress on the importance of the masses and mass movements and to what Mao explicitly labeled as the ‘mass line’ in the Yan’an period (late 1930s and early 1940s) and thus it is extolled as one of precious traditions in communist history. Therefore, it is common to assert that the mass line is a style of leadership, which is, at its best, a democratic style

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of leadership, just as indicated in the slogans such as ‘Serve the People’ and ‘Everything depends on the Masses, from the Masses, to the Masses’. Mao believed that even the vanguard Party needed to be rectified and reformed through criticism from the people it led and that the masses of China should be encouraged to become involved in even the highest affairs of the State. In the Cultural Revolution of 1966–76, the masses had been mobilized so broadly and deeply that the country verged on the edge of anarchy. In spite of political disorder and economic depression in China, Maoism developed into a worldwide movement in the 1960s and thereafter. All Maoists expressed fidelity to the thought of Mao Zedong. But at a practical level, self-identified Maoist political formations differed considerably. In parts of Asia where conditions were similar to those that prevailed in China before 1949, Maoism was largely a peasant movement, engaging in guerilla warfare and establishing bases in rural areas, and if successful, surrounding the cities and seizing State power. Elsewhere in the Third World, especially in Latin America, facing very different conditions, Maoists had to modify classical Maoist forms of revolutionary struggle. In the developed capitalist countries, Maoism meant something very different. Western Maoism was particularly attractive to young people during the 1960s, if only for its ostensible purity and populist nature. Although Maoism has been upheld as one of the major guiding principles in the CCP and other left-wing parties, it has gradually lost its appeal in China and other parts of the world since China adopted a new ‘reform and opening’ policy in 1978.

Contemporary Chinese Marxism This is socialism with Chinese characteristics; contemporary Chinese Marxism, proposed by the communist leaders with Deng Xiaoping at its core. After the death of Mao and the end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng


Xiaoping emerged as the new supreme leader and began to review and revise the basic line adopted by Mao. He was dissatisfied with the poor performance that had been achieved in the preceding 30 years and made the painful discovery that Chinese socialism had produced only meager results in comparison with the other nations of capitalist East Asia. He believed that these were consequences of a rigid and dogmatic understanding of socialism; that is, taking classic socialist theory as the CCP’s guideline without considering China’s special circumstances and blindly believing that socialism equals public ownership plus planned economy. So Deng Xiaoping thought it imperative to give a new perspective on socialism and make a breakthrough in socialist theory under the banner of ‘emancipating the mind’ and ‘seeking the truth from the facts’ (Deng, 1994: 140). The new theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics has been expounded and enriched by Deng Xiaoping and other communist leaders during recent decades. In 1978, at the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CCP, the Party with Deng Xiaoping as its core leader, restored the principle of ‘seeking the truth from the facts’, stopped using the slogan ‘politics taking command’ and shifted the major goals to socialist construction, focusing on economic development and modernization. This made a good start on ‘reconsidering’ socialism and brought about the historic decision on ‘reform and opening up’ – the Opening of China – which marked the beginning of China’s era of reform. At the time, China had a clear desire to increase productivity and raise living standards by reforming its economic system. However, it didn’t have a clear objective of what the new system would be like and thus proceeded with the reform as though ‘crossing the river by touching the stones’. In 1982, at the 12th National Congress of the CCP, Deng Xiaoping proposed the idea of constructing socialism with Chinese characteristics by combining the basic principles of Marxism


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and China’s special national conditions. By 1987, at the 13th National Congress of the CCP, the Party had a new perspective on the progress of socialist development, proposing that as China was still in the primary stage, the private economy should be encouraged. At the beginning of 1992, Deng Xiaoping made a famous southern tour in which he talked a lot about the nature of socialism, redefining it as ‘liberating productivity, developing productivity, eradicating exploitation, getting rid of the polarization between rich and poor, and finally getting rich together’ (Deng, 1993: 373). He said: ‘The planned economy is not equal to capitalism, and there are plans in the capitalist countries. The market economy is not equal to capitalism, and there are markets in the socialist countries.’ ‘The measure of socialism or capitalism is not that there are more markets or more plans’, ‘but whether it is helpful to develop productivity, enhance the comprehensive national power, and improve the living standard for common people’ (Deng, 1993: 372–3). In October, at the 14th National Congress of the CCP, Jiang Zemin, the new supreme leader as General Secretary of the CCP, attributed the fruits of ‘reform and opening up’ to the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics proposed by Deng Xiaoping, and declared that the goal of economic structural reform would be to establish the socialist market economy (Jiang, 2006a, 210). In 1993, at the Third Plenum of the Fourteenth Central Committee of the CCP, the leaders adopted ‘the Decision on Issues Concerning the Establishing of a Socialist Market Economic System’, which was the turning point on China’s road to marketization. Thus, the Chinese government and Communist Party formally admitted and adopted the market economy, in which the market would play the fundamental role in allocating economic and social resources. In contrast with the traditional socialist theory, which rejected the commodity economy and market mechanism, the new theory insisted on the coexistence of socialism and the market economy because socialism has been

redefined in grand schemes for developing productivity and creating wealth, and the market is regarded as the mere means to organize and regulate economic relations. In 1997, at the Fifteenth National Congress of the CCP, the leaders made an official decision to adopt Deng Xiaoping’s theory as their guiding principle along with Marxist-Leninist and Mao Zedong Thought (Maoism). In the process of developing the socialist market economy, the private economy has been playing a more and more important role and a new stratum of private entrepreneurs has become more powerful and influential. At the Meeting Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the Founding of the CCP, Jiang Zemin said that most of these people, such as private entrepreneurs and technical personnel, have contributed to the development of productive forces and other social undertakings through honest labor or lawful business operations, and they are also working for building socialism with Chinese characteristics (Jiang, 2006b: 286). This officially opened the door for private entrepreneurs to join the CCP. For the Communist Party, which insisted on the eradication of exploitation and the exploiting class for such a long time, this decision to permit private entrepreneurs as ‘new blood’ was revolutionary. In 2002, at the 16th National Congress of the CCP, the CCP leaders endorsed officially the important thought of the ‘Three Represents’ proposed by Jiang Zemin as their guiding principle along with the Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping theory. The ‘Three Represents’ means that the CCP must represent the most advanced productivity, the most advanced culture and the most comprehensive interests of Chinese people (Jiang, 2006b: 2). This marked the fundamental transformation of the CCP from the party of the working class to a catch-all party. Although China has achieved rapid growth and improved living standards for most of its residents, the developments in China are limited, imbalanced and at a low-level in terms of GDP per capita and technological innovation,

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and also at high-cost. There are widening gaps between the urban and rural areas, between the east and west and between the coastal and mountainous areas. Environmental degradation and the low efficiency of resource consumption as a result of fast industrialization and urbanization have all contributed to a bottleneck in sustainable development. After Hu Jintao came to power as supreme leader in 2002, the theory of scientific development and harmonious society was proposed as the new development of Chinese-style socialism. The concept of scientific development was first launched by Hu Jintao at the Third Plenum of the 16th Central Committee in 2003. It emphasized equitable, balanced and sustainable development. The building of harmonious society is aimed to enable all the people to share the social wealth brought by reform and development, forge an ever closer relationship between the people and government and result in lasting stability and unity. Social harmony is an essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Scientific development and social harmony are integral to each other; neither is possible without the other. In 2007, at the 17th National Congress of the CCP, the leaders decided to build the socialist harmonious society according to the notion of scientific development. Since Xi Jinping rose to be the supreme leader as the General Secretary of the CCP in 2012, enormous and massive political changes have taken place in China. In contrast with Deng Xiaoping’s ideas about the limited role of the Communist Party, General Secretary Xi has called for the overall leadership of the CCP in all areas. On February 13, 2017, when delivering a speech at the study session attended by provincial and ministerial leaders, Xi Jinping emphasized that ‘the Party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavor in every party of the country’ (Xi, 2017: 20). In the political report delivered at the 19th National Congress of the CCP, Xi Jinping insisted that ‘the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of


China; the greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China; and the Party is the highest force for political leadership’ (Xi, 2017a: 20). In the revised Constitution of the PRC, endorsed by the National People’s Congress in 2018, the communist leadership has been included and reemphasized in an added article. This new definition of socialism and the CCP’s role represented the latest development in contemporary Chinese Marxism and will contribute to the party-centered governance in China.

Conclusion From the above reflections and discussions, we may conclude that Marxism has been developing along with historical development. During different periods of historical development, Marxism can be understood from very different perspectives. For example, the new perspectives on socialism during the reform era in China represented the theoretical transition from the pure, classic and traditional socialism characterized by public ownership, planned economy and class struggle, to socialism with Chinese characteristics emphasizing the reform and opening up, the development of the market economy and the building of a prosperous and harmonious society under the leadership of the CCP. Taking a long and broad view, global conflict between Marxism and liberalism, communism and capitalism, left and right has dominated world politics during the past two centuries. On the left there have been many controversies and disputes over the interpretation of Marxism and its application. Generally speaking, Marxism has been criticized and rejected when capitalist countries are prosperous and socialist countries decline and collapse; on the contrary, Marxism has been adopted and embraced when capitalist countries face crisis and socialist countries make progress.


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References Anderson, Perry. 1976. Considerations on Western Marxism. London: Verso Edition. Anderson, Perry. 1983. In the Tracks of Historical Materialism. London: Verso Edition. Anderson, Perry. 2013. Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: Verso (New Left Books). Anderson, Perry. 2017. The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci. London: Verso Edition. Ball, Terence and Richard Bellamy, eds. 2003. The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Cambridge University Press. Burawoy, Michael. 1979. Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Burawoy, Michael. 1985. The Politics of Production: Factory Regimes under Capitalism and Socialism. London: Verso (New Left Books). Carver, Terrell, ed. 1996. Marx: Later Political Writings. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Deng Xiaoping. 1993. Deng Xiaoping Wenxuan (Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping), Volume 3, Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe (People’s Press). Deng Xiaoping. 1994. Deng Xiaoping Wenxuan (Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping), Volume 2, Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe (People’s Press). Engels, Friedrich. 1993 (First published). 2009 (Reissued). The Condition of the Working Class in England. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by David McLellan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Geary, Dick. 2003. ‘The Second International: Socialism and Social Democracy’, in T. Ball and R. Bellamy (eds) The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Cambridge University Press, pp. 219–238. Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. New York: International Publishers. Harding, Neil. 2003. ‘The Russian Revolution: An Ideology in Power’, in T. Ball and R. Bellamy (eds) The Cambridge History of TwentiethCentury Political Thought. Cambridge University Press, pp. 239–266. Jay, Martin (Mading Jie). 1996. Falankefu Xuepai Shi (The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, Chinese version). Guangzhou, China: Guangdong People’s Press. Jessop, Bob (with Russell Wheatley), eds. 1999. Karl Marx’s Social and Political Thought (Volume V: Marx’s Life and Theoretical Development). London and New York: Routledge. Jiang, Zemin. 2006a. Jiang Zemin Wenxuan Diyijuan (Selected Works of Jiang Zemin Volume 1). Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe (People’s Press). Jiang Zemin. 2006b. Jiang Zemin Wenxuan Disanjuan (Selected Works of Jiang Zemin), Volume 3, Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe (People’s Press).

Lenin, Vladimir I. 2008. Revolution Democracy Socialism: Lenin’s Selected Writings 1895-1923 (Edited and with an introduction by Paul Le Blanc). London: Pluto Press. Lukács, Georg. 1971. History and Class Consciousness. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Mao Zedong. 1977. Mao Zedong Xuanji (Selected Works of Mao Zedong), Volume 5, Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe (People’s Press). Marx, Karl. 1973. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Edited with an Introduction by Dirk J. Struik. London: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd. Marx, Karl. 1990. Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy. Introduced by Ernest Mandel. Translated by Ben Fowkes. London: Penguin Books in association with New Left Review. McDonald, Lee Cameron. 1962. Western Political Theory: The Modern Age. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. McLellan, David. 2003a. ‘Asian Communism’, in T. Ball and R. Bellamy (eds) The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Cambridge University Press, pp. 267–281. McLellan, David. 2003b. ‘Western Marxism’, in T. Ball and R. Bellamy (eds) The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Cambridge University Press, pp. 282–298. Moore, Barrington, Jr. 1966 (Reprint in 1993). Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press. Moore, Barrington, Jr. 2018. Moral Aspects of Economic Growth and Other Essays. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. O’Malley, Joseph, ed. 1994. Marx: Early Political Writings. Cambridge University Press. Ricardo, David. 2004. On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. London: Dover Publications. Saich, Tony. 2004. Governance and Politics of China. Palgrave MacMillan. Wallerstein, Immanuel. 2011. Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization. London: Verso Edition. Wang, Huning. ed. 2004. Zhengzhi De Luoji: Makesi Zhuyi Zhengzhixue Yuanli (The Logic of Politics: Marxist Principles of Political Science). Shanghai, China: Renmin Chubanshe (Shanghai People’s Press). Xi Jinping. 2017. The Governance of China (II). Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. Xi Jinping. 2017a. Juesheng Quanmian Jiancheng Xiaokang Shehui Duoqu Xinshidai Zhongguo Tese Shehuizhuyi Weida Shengli (Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects and Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era). Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe (People’s Press) Xu Datong, ed., 2005. Xifang Zhengzhi Sixiangshi (A History of Western Political Thought), Volume 4, Tianjin: Renmin Chubanshe (Tianjin People’s Press).

8 The New Institutionalism in Political Science B. Guy Peters and Jon Pierre

Institutionalism has been the foundation of political science. For many ancient political philosophers such as Aristotle, the assumption was that constructing institutions was the way in which to control human behavior and shape the outputs of governance. The same arguments for the importance of institutional structures persisted in political philosophers and analysts such as Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu and numerous others. In the past, to think about politics and government was to think about institutions, often in the context of the institutions of the State. As political science began to differentiate itself from moral philosophy, another version of the ‘old institutionalism’ emerged. It was more empirical in its focus, and attempted to utilize formal institutions as the means for understanding and explaining differences among political systems. This old institutionalism was highly formal and legalistic, assuming that constitutions would be followed and were the primary, if not sole, basis for political action within a country. Further, this

style of institutionalism was holist, assuming that all the institutions within a political system worked together smoothly, and were designed to produce effective governance, albeit governance of different types.1 For some good reasons the old institutionalism lost favor with scholars, especially as the emphasis shifted from structure to agency in political theory. The ‘behavioral revolution’ and later the development of rational choice approaches, shifted attention away from institutions and toward the decisions made by individuals within, and without, those institutions. But that emphasis on the individual also has been contested, and became a principal motivation for developing the New Institutionalism. The argument, in brief, was that the emphasis on the atomistic individual gave insufficient attention to the mechanisms through which structures influenced the behavior of those individuals, both normatively and through incentives and disincentives, for behavior. The New Institutionalism therefore reflects not only some roots in the distant past of


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political science but also some contemporary debates. This approach, or perhaps set of approaches, does not reject many aspects of contemporary political science but, rather, is arguing that the emphasis on individual behavior must be understood in a context that is composed of structures. The New Institutionalism does not look at institutions as formal and immutable, but rather looks at the role of agency in creating and transforming the structures. Although there is certainly a strong emphasis on structure, the strength of contemporary institutional theory is that it emphasizes structure and agency, rather than emphasizing a stark dichotomy. Therefore, a definition of institutions would be ‘structural features which shape social behavior, persist over time and express shared values among members of the institution’ (Peters, 2019). Note, however, that the structures need not be formalized, as in the case of networks and other social institutions. In addition, the extent of the sharing of values need not be complete, and institutions may have some subcultures and internal divisions. The various strands of contemporary institutionalism (see below) all have their own perspectives on institutions, but there is a common thread among them that can be used as a definition of institutions. That is, institutions are structural features that shape social behavior and persist over time. These structures also express the shared values of their members. Some aspects of this definition may be more evident than others, for example, there is not always a tangible structure but more a structure of ideas, but this definition can encompass all the versions.

Varieties of New Institutionalism Although we have been discussing the New Institutionalism as an entity, perhaps the fundamental point about this body of political theory is that it does not appear to be an

integrated approach, but rather a collection of competitive, and complementary, approaches to institutions and their role in politics. As we will point out later in this essay there are many points of commonality among these various versions of New Institutionalism, but the differences often appear to outweigh the similarities. We will now proceed to discuss five versions of New Institutionalism, asking a common set of questions of each, and then later attempting to answer the rather difficult question of whether there really is a New Institutionalism.

Normative Institutionalism James March and Johan Olsen (1984, 1989) issued the first call for the development of a New Institutionalism in political science. They argued that political science at the time they were writing, and still today, was dominated by a ‘logic of consequentiality’, meaning that the assumption was that individuals calculated the consequences for them of any political action, and behaved according to the results of that calculus. Further, they were making those calculations as atomistic individuals, rather than as individuals embedded in a set of institutional structures that provided some guidance about behavior. The guidance given to the individuals by membership in an institution was conceptualized by March and Olsen as the ‘logic of appropriateness’. That is, individuals within institutions learn the myths, symbols, routines and ideas of the institution. Those members of the institution utilize those institutional values for guidance, rather than relying upon their own ideas about the right thing to do or following their own self-interest. Stated differently, the preferences for individuals are endogenous to the institution, rather than coming from outside, and being personal. The principal exception may be that individuals may already be attracted to the values of an institution and that motivates their decision to join the institution.

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Within normative institutionalism an institution is a collection of norms, values, routines and symbols. These may be arranged as a formal structure, or they may not, but the important thing is that the values tend to be relatively consistent and that they are accepted by the members of the institution. Further, a normative institution must invest a good deal of energy in socializing new members and maintaining the commitment of its current members. In this conception of an institution, the sanctions available to the leadership are also largely normative, rather than material. As well as needing to understand what an institution is, we also need to know how they are formed. It is rather easy to identify major existing institutions, but the process of formation may be less identifiable. The sociologist Philip Selznick (1957) argued that the process of creating institutions – institutionalization – was ‘infusing a structure with values greater than those required for the mechanical achievement of its tasks’.2 Any ordinary organization may be able to achieve certain tasks, but an institution will have meaning for its members and thereby tend to generate greater commitment from those members. Change in normative institutionalism therefore must come about through changing the normative structure of the institution. This normative change can happen in several ways. One is through leadership. If the leadership of the institution recognizes that the existing value structure is no longer functional, it may attempt to inculcate a new set of values or goals. This normative change may be significantly more difficult than change within the other forms of institutionalism to be discussed below, especially since a successful institution will have invested in creating the existing set of values. An institution or organization may face the need to introduce value change if they are so successful that they achieve their goals. In that case they must decide whether to set new goals or simply cease to exist. Or conversely, an institution may be forced into change


when it becomes clear that the actions of its members do not conform to the stated values of the institution. The institution would be confronted with the need to either manage behaviors to fit the norms more closely, or to change the norms. Depending upon how well institutionalized those norms have become, producing normative change may be difficult unless they are merely to conform to the informal working norms (see Azari and Smith, 2012). Change in the normative institutionalism can also occur through changing the principal input into the institution – the people who occupy roles within it. When major social and cultural change occurs outside their structures, institutions may have little option but to alter the ways in which they attempt to motivate the individuals within their structures. For example, during the 1960s the US Army had to change the ways in which it dealt with soldiers, being incapable of exercising the same strict discipline with troops who wanted things explained to them rather than following orders without question. In sum, normative institutionalism, as the name implies, assumes that institutions are formed around ideas and values. Given that basic premise, the formation and maintenance of an institution can be seen as inculcating those ideas into the members of the institution, and change involves changing the normative structure that guides the behavior of institutional members. Perhaps most fundamentally, normative institutionalism focuses on the logic of appropriateness within the institution as the guide for action for members, as opposed to their own self-interest.

Rational Choice Institutionalism Although March and Olsen might consider the term to be a misnomer, there is a strong strand of rational choice institutionalism in political science (see Paine and Tyson, Chapter 11, this Handbook). As it is true for all forms of rational choice theory, the


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assumption here is that individuals are utility maximizers and that they will utilize any situation in order to maximize that utility. Participating in an institution will be no different from any other situation. In contrast to the normative institutionalism, preferences in rational choice institutionalism are assumed to be exogenous to the institution, and remain largely unaltered by the individuals participating in an institution. An institution in the rational choice approach is conceptualized as a set of incentives and disincentives for individuals. Assuming that individuals have relatively similar preferences, the designer of the institution can devise a set of incentives to produce the type of behavior desired. Institutions can also be conceptualized as sets of rules (Ostrom, 1990) that mandate that individuals do, or not do, certain things. And institutions have also been described as sets of decision points or veto points, that can delay or facilitate decisions, or that tend to produce certain types of decisions (Tsebelis, 2002). And finally, institutions can be conceptualized as a set of principal-agent relationships with the attendant problem of monitoring the possible shirking or sabotage of the agents (Brehm and Gates, 1997; Pierre and Peters, 2018). The literature on rational choice institutionalism sees institutions being formed in two dominant manners. One is through design. The individual or group responsible for designing an institution, whether they be writing a constitution or merely forming a small group, will attempt to design the incentives within the structure so that certain behaviors and certain outcomes are more probable. These designers are dealing with people so they cannot guarantee a specific outcome, but they often can be very effective. The framers of the constitution of the United States wanted to create a government in which bold action would be difficult, and they succeeded, perhaps too well. The other means through which institutions are formed within rational choice institutionalism is more evolutionary. Rather

than being designed, institutions evolve because individuals involved with the emergent institution negotiate among themselves to produce a set of effective rules, or at least expected patterns of behavior. Elinor Ostrom (1990) demonstrated how even self-interested individuals may be able to overcome collective action problems through devising rules that constrain their own individually rational actions. This insight then can link the study of some of the normative elements usually associated with the normative institutionalism with rational choice institutionalism. The process of institutionalization of the institutional structures vary very much in line with the conception of formation. If the design model of creating the institution is assumed then institutionalization is not much of an issue. The individuals within the institution will make decisions according to their preferences as soon as they understand the consequences of those choices for their utility. For the more evolutionary approach to the formation of institutions, the process of institutionalization is that process of recognizing the need to overcome collective action, or perhaps transaction cost, problems and devising a solution. And for that solution to remain viable over any time some value must be attached to it in order to prevent defections. Ostrom’s work, as well as that of many other rational choice scholars, demonstrates that one of the most important problems that institutions may be designed to overcome is the collective action problem, or the disjuncture between individual and collective rationality (Olson, 1965). In the tragedy of the commons, for example, the pursuit of individual gain leads to collective ruin. The difficulties of social choices with inconsistent preferences is another rational choice problem which can be addressed through the development of institutions (Riker, 1980). And finally, institutions can be very effective at minimizing transaction costs by creating structures that do not require the renegotiation of deals among parties, perhaps an

The New Institutionalism in Political Science

especially important role for international organizations. In the design mode of thinking about rational choice institutionalism change is relatively easy. All the designer must do is to alter the incentives, or rules, and the institution should produce different outcomes. This assumes, of course, that preferences are consistent and that the designer understands those preferences. In the more evolutionary mode of thinking about institutions, change would be substantially more difficult, being a process more like that in normative institutionalism. The incentives and rules would have to change more through negotiation and agreement than through imposition. In summary, it is easy to create a stereotype of rational choice institutionalism. It does make questionable assumptions about the clarity of preferences of individuals and about their presumably rather simplistic responses to incentives and disincentives. Despite that, this version of institutional theory does provide important insights into the possibilities of generating desired outcomes through the manipulation of incentives. Further, as the approach has evolved and integrated some concerns with norms associated with the institutions, it can provide a more complete picture of the ways in which political institutions function.

Historical Institutionalism Historical institutionalism is the third major approach to institutional theory in contemporary political science. In some ways, this approach is almost a stereotype of the usual thinking about public institutions. That is, the historical institutionalism’s fundamental argument is that, once created, institutions persist unless there is a strong force capable of changing them. Phrased somewhat differently, for critics of the public sector, publicsector institutions are hyper-stable and tend to continue doing what they have always done unless forced to do otherwise.


There is, however, more theoretical content to the historical institutionalism than the stereotypical critique of the public sector. First, this approach to institutions is based on ideas, but unlike the normative institutionalism the ideas are focused primarily on specific policies rather than on the general value orientation of the institution (Hall, 1986). The commitment to those policy ideas within the institution creates the path dependency that describes the persistence of policies even after their utility may have passed.3 Second, the historical institutionalism does have a clearly developed notion, or actually several notions, of change, again in contrast to the stereotypical view. The original idea of change was punctuated equilibrium. The idea here is that institutions will indeed continue in their initial paths until they are moved by some major shock and after some time a new equilibrium will be established. That new equilibrium will persist until there is another shock. The difficulty with this idea of change is that there is nothing in the theory that permits prediction of the punctuation. It is easy to argue that the punctuation has occurred after the fact, but little to explain when it will happen. We have argued elsewhere (Peters et al., 2005) that conflict among ideas is crucial for explaining the why of change, but still does not explain the when. The reliance upon radical change in historical institutionalism was also the target of major criticism of the approach. Although major change does occur, most change in public policy and public institutions appears to be incremental. Later conceptualization in historical institutionalism has identified four versions of gradual change. All of these versions of change provide for the continuing adjustment of the pattern of functioning within the institution, while maintaining the key aspects of the existing regimen. The analytic question which remains, however, is how much incremental change would accumulate to a major punctuation in the life of the institution? There is not a strong conception of institutionalization within historical institutionalism.


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The idea of the ‘formative moment’ is not developed much beyond a simple description of the creation of the institution, meaning that if the idea of structure does persist then it has been institutionalized, but if it does not then it has not. The argument then is implicitly tautological. We could, however, link this version of institutionalism with the normative institutionalism to argue that the acceptance of the idea as the basis of the institution is in essence the infusing of values into the structure described by Selznick (1957). What the historical institutionalism has been developing, however, has been a set of ideas explaining the persistence of the institution that goes beyond simple inertia, although inertia can be a powerful explanation in itself (Rose, 1990). Pierson (2000), for example, argues that institutions persist because they create positive feedbacks and reinforcement for the actors involved – whether members of the institution or the clients. Sarigil (2015) has argued that the persistence of institutions can be explained merely by habit; certain ways of doing things become ingrained and are not questioned. In summary, like both the normative institutionalism and discursive institutionalism, the historical institutionalism has a strong connection with ideas, and specifically with policy ideas. The institution can be seen as the creation of some structure – whether programmatic or organizational – around the idea. The assumption is that once that idea has become accepted or institutionalized it will continue to be significant in the life of the structure until some forces produce change, no matter whether that change is gradual or extreme.

Empirical Institutionalism A fourth version of the New Institutionalism has strong links with older ideas about institutions. What we refer to here as empirical institutionalism is based on the rather obvious notion perhaps, that the formal structures

of government have consequences. What is different from the old institutionalism, however, is the more explicit attempts to build theory about the role of structure in shaping behavior. In addition, there has been some attempt to include some of the insights from behavioral political science and even rational choice models to understand the impact of structure on the performance and behavior of institutions. Although it has attempted to include more contemporary theoretical approaches, empirical institutionalism has addressed many of the classic institutional questions in political science. For example, Weaver and Rockman (1993; see also Pal and Weaver, 2003) asked the question of whether institutions matter, referring to the differences between parliamentary and presidential forms of governance. To that familiar dichotomy we can add the emergence of various forms of semi-presidentialism (Elgie et al., 2011). Empirical institutionalism has also addressed the nature of individual institutions within the public sector. For example, beginning with Nelson Polsby’s (1968) study of the US House of Representatives there has been a strand of research that focuses on the institutionalization of legislative bodies (see Palanza et al., 2012). This literature has argued that the extent to which a legislature is institutionalized will affect its capacity to legislate effectively, and to function as an effective foil to the powers of the executive (but see Judge, 2003). Yet another application of empirical institutionalism has addressed autonomous and quasi-autonomous organizations within the public sector. For example, a significant body of literature has addressed the autonomy of central banks and the importance of that autonomy for monetary policy (Fernández-Albertos, 2015). In addition, the administrative reforms associated with the New Public Management have created multiple autonomous and quasi-autonomous agencies within public administration. This body of institutionalist literature also raises

The New Institutionalism in Political Science

important questions about accountability for these autonomous institutions (Vibert, 2007). Finally, empirical institutional analysis has been used to address issues of political development. Beginning with Samuel Huntington (1968), students of development have linked the development of the capacity of political institutions with the overall development of the political system. This research has paid special attention to the development of the public bureaucracy, and its central role in creating more effective governance. Increasingly that work has focused on creating ‘islands of excellence’ (Roll, 2014) in administrative systems that otherwise may be less than excellent, and then building out from those to attempt to improve government performance more generally. We could add studies of other institutions within the public sector to this catalog of the work of empirical institutionalists. The basic point of this approach would, however, remain much the same. The argument is that the formal design of institutions matters for their performance, and for the performance of the public sector more generally (Choudhry, 2008). This approach is more allied with the rational choice perspective than with other contemporary approaches to institutionalism, if for no other reason than it assumes that it is indeed possible to alter the behavior of individuals, and the performance of institutions, simply through designing their formal structures.

Discursive Institutionalism A fifth approach to institutionalism in political science has been described as ‘discursive institutionalism’ (Schmidt, 2010, 2011). Previously scholars such as Colin Hay (1995, 2008) and Nicolas Jabko (2006) had discussed some of the same ideas in terms of constructivism. Vivien Schmidt, however, created a stronger conception of this logic in her discursive model. The basic logic of this approach is that institutions are defined by


ideas and the manner in which these ideas are communicated within the structure (see also Alasuutari, 2015). Unlike some, or indeed most, conceptions of institutionalism this version is not based on hierarchy or formal structures but is based more on shared patterns of communication.4 While explanations based on interest have been dominant in political science, there is also a significant strand of thought emphasizing the role of ideas (Béland, 2009) as independent sources of explanation. These two forms of explanation may be artificially distinct – ideas may be used to justify interests, and interests may grow out of ideas – they do represent alternative avenues for understanding the complexities of public action and of the institutions involved in that action. In discursive institutionalism, ideas dominate the explanation of institutional behavior, and constitute the foundations of institutions. Although elaborated in somewhat different ways the fundamental logic of discursive institutionalism and normative institutionalism are similar in several important ways. In both cases institutions are defined largely by their ideas and norms. Further, creating the institution in both approaches depends heavily on inculcating a set of values among the prospective members. In both cases the actors involved in an institution are members because of the values and ideas that the institution represents. And in both, institutional change comes through changing ideas and the associated norms, although the normative version tends to be somewhat more strongly dependent upon top-down processes for producing the change. Although there is the basic similarity of these two versions of institutionalism, there are also several crucial differences. The most fundamental of these differences is that the normative institutionalism has strong roots in organizational theory and tends to take organizations as the fundamental locus for institutional activity.5 In contrast the discursive approach to institutions does not assume established organizational structures


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but rather that the institutions emerge from the interaction of the members and their discourses (Hope and Raudla, 2015). Following from the interactive nature of institutions in its approach, the norms within the discursive institutionalism are more flexible and tend to be constructed through interactions, while those in the normative approach are more defined by the existing patterns of norms, symbols, routines and myths within an institution.

Informal Institutions The idea of informal institutions may appear to many readers to be an oxymoron. After all, institutions are formal structures that persist over time, and often are too formalized and too rigid. But at the same time informal arrangements develop among political actors – individuals as well as other organizations and institutions – that have characteristics of institutions without the need to become formalized. Especially if one adopts the sociological perspective on institutions as being defined by ‘myths, symbols, routines’, etc. (Meyer and Rowan, 1977) then informal arrangements can easily be conceptualized as institutions. Informal institutions can be as important as formal ones in defining social relationships and making governance function effectively. Many of the ‘rules’ that shape behavior in the public sector are not formal but represent the accretion of understandings among individuals across time. While the study of formal institutions has bridged public administration, comparative politics and political theory, informal institutions have been especially important for comparative politics. Informal institutions such as clans (Murtazashvili, 2016), clientelism (Stokes et  al., 2013), corruption (Rose and Peiffer, 2016), consociationalism (Lijphart, 1985; Jarrett, 2016) and patrimonialism have been very important for understanding and explaining how governments work,

especially in developing and transitional societies. But even in industrial democracies informality can be important, and occurs in seemingly formal aspects of governing such as writing regulations within the public bureaucracy (Azari and Smith, 2012). And the emphasis on network governance in many northern European countries (Keast et  al., 2014) can also be seen as the functioning of informal institutions linking the public and private sectors. The presence of informal institutions – political, economic and social – can be seen as providing alternative means of governing and reaching collective goals when the formal institutions of society are weak. Many of the aspects of informality are condemned by international organizations, by scholars and by many citizens in the countries affected, but they may still be essential for providing governance and supplementing weak formal institutions. These institutions may be described as working in the ‘twilight’ (Lund, 2007) or in the ‘shadows’ (Gore and Pratten, 2003; Peters, 2011) but they do function and they do provide some collective as well as individual benefits (Bratton, 2007).

What is an (Informal) Institution? Potter Stewart, a justice on the US Supreme Court famously said that he could not define pornography but he knew it when he saw it. Much the same appears to have been true in the study of informal institutions. The term is used widely, but often without a clear definition, and often simply to denote something that is not a formal institution. Especially in political science, the contrast is made between the formal institutions such as legislatures and courts and the more amorphous patterns of behavior that complement, or oppose, the behaviors expected from the formal structures. Although more amorphous, these patterns of behavior are institutionalized, with behavioral regularities, expectations and predictability.

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Gretchen Helmke and Steven Levitsky (2004), in perhaps the most cited article on informal institutions and governance, point out that the term has been applied to a ‘dizzying array’ of phenomena in the world of politics. They do go on, however, to attempt to provide a more precise definition of the concept. They define informal institutions as ‘socially shared rules, usually unwritten, that are created, communicated and enforced outside of officially sanctioned channels’ (2004: 727). It is important to note that this definition is not hugely different from the definition of institutions in the normative institutionalism, with its emphasis on the ‘logic of appropriateness’ for defining individual behavior. The major difference from formal institutions, they argue, is the absence of official sanctions present in the formal structures, even though these patterns of behavior are still legitimate for the participants. The importance of interactions and informal modes of decision-making actually appears in Helmke and Levitsky’s own discussion of what they deem ‘complementary’ patterns of interaction between formal and informal institutions (2004: 728). They mention, for example, informal rules within bureaucracies for coordinating among organizations without having to revert to using formal, hierarchical mechanisms (see also Peters, 2015). The failure to achieve coordination may be seen as a sanction for organizations who cannot make these informal mechanisms function, but we would argue that patterns of interaction may be better conceptualized in terms of opportunities rather than as sanctions. We may therefore be able to introduce some of the ideas of the opportunity structures literature (Kitschelt, 1989) to explain

the emergence of informal institutions. While this literature has been concerned primarily with social movements (see Della Porta, 2013) it can also be used to explain the likelihood of other types of organizations and institutions forming. For example, Kitschelt’s discussion of the impact of open and closed input structures and weak and strong output structures could also be seen as making the formation of informal institutions more or less likely in particular settings. Following from the above, we can think of at least two types of informal organizations – those based on sanctions and those based on opportunities. Both of these variations of informal institutions will be able to shape the behavior of individuals and other organizations, although one will be based more on carrots and the other on sticks (BemelmansVidec et al., 1998). And somewhat similarly to Helmke and Levitsky we can ask whether the activities or goals of the informal institution are congruent with those of the formal institutions or not. The interaction of these two variables produces the typology presented in Table 8.1. As with the analysis of Helmke and Levitsky this typology demonstrates that informal institutions need not subvert the public sector, but rather in many instances they support the public sector and enable it to perform better than it could otherwise. Thus, informality in governance is not necessarily either positive or negative. Each circumstance must be judged differently depending on the circumstances. Indeed, some patterns that are positive in some circumstances may be negative in others. For example, civil servants working informally to produce coordination in general would make positive contributions

Table 8.1 Types of informal institutions Basis of institutions

Goals of institutions

Congruent Incongruent




Shared enforcement Alternative governance

Facilitating Competitive


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to governing, but if they collude to pursue goals other than those of their organizations then the interactions must be seen as having negative consequences. The formality or informality of institutions may also vary with context, and over time. Take for example political parties. Parties can have all the trappings of a formal institution in almost any definition. However, within the context of an institution such as a legislature the party may function more as an informal institution. Internal norms such as party unity may contribute to, or reduce, the capacity of the legislature to perform its tasks. Some aspects of clientelism may also move between formality and informality, as when the distributive nature of politics in clientelistic systems becomes more formalized. Informal institutions constitute a very real part of political life. As well as being important on their own, they are perhaps even more important as they interact with formal institutions and contribute to, or detract from, the achievement of collective goals through the processes of governing. In some instances, informal institutions can contribute to the achievement of governance goals, while in other situations they may pursue their own goals that undermine governance. Also, while we tend to think about formal institutions as involved in processes of governing through formal, legal means (Lepsius, 2013), informal institutions are more important for public participation and political democracy (Lauth, 2000).

Is There One Institutionalism? The discussion to this point has been cataloging a variety of approaches to institutions and institutionalism. This catalog of approaches demonstrates the rich variety of ideas present in institutionalism, but it raises another significant question about contemporary institutional theory. If institutionalism is to be an alternative paradigm in political science, then

this variety and the apparent internal contractions must somehow be reconciled and some common understanding of institutions emerge. We will argue that there are some common elements in contemporary institutional theory, although the next section will point to some continuing challenges within this body of theory. The first and most fundamental point is that structure matters. Although contemporary institutional theory is capable of integrating some aspects of agency, the underlying logic of the approach is that the structures within the political system – including informal structures – do matter. Further, individual behavior is not atomistic, but is shaped at least in part by membership in these structures. The shaping may occur because of ideas or because of incentives or through rules, but there is still some reduction on the variability of behavior. Following from the first point, another commonality within these theories is that they are concerned with creating some regularity of behavior for individuals. Left to themselves, individuals can be rather unpredictable, and institutions are designed to reduce that unpredictability. Some level of predictability is necessary for governments to function, whether in democratic or authoritarian regimes, and institutions create some control over individuals. But the level of control that is necessary, and the level that is acceptable, will vary across political systems. And the level of control that is desirable and acceptable will also differ across institutions within the same political system. A third defining feature of institutions is that they replicate behaviors over time, and create more predictability not just for individuals but also across time. Constitutions and law are major institutional constraints on rapid change within a political system, and thus provide some confidence for citizens and for businesses. That said, all institutions do change across time, responding to changing external conditions and the changing leadership within the institution itself. That gradual change, characterized in several ways in

The New Institutionalism in Political Science

historical institutionalism, may be endemic in institutions (Mahoney and Thelen, 2010). Finally, all versions of institutionalism require some means of understanding the interaction between individuals and the institution. There is some tendency in casual discussions of institutionalism to ignore the role of individuals, but that would be to misunderstand the fundamental nature of institutions. They are human creations and can be changed by individuals, but at the same time they shape the behavior of the individuals within them. This interaction between structure and agency is a crucial element in any understanding of the complexity of institutional life and institutional theory. In sum, there are some common elements in all versions of institutionalism in political science. But are these common elements sufficient to define a potential paradigm for the discipline, or even some sub-fields within the discipline? That is to some extent in the eye of the beholder. If that beholder does see that institutions are a pervasive part of political and social life then perhaps there is a sufficient common core to say that an integrated approach exists. But if one focuses only on the disparate approaches then there may well only be a set of partial approaches to the role of structure in politics.

What Does Institutionalism Do for Political Science? The above discussion has mentioned a number of impacts that institutionalism has had on the study of politics, but we should also identify those contributions more systematically, and especially note the ways in which institutional approaches may address issues that approaches based on ‘methodological institutionalism’ (Udehn, 2001) may be less adept at addressing. Indeed, institutionalism can provide some solutions to problems (theoretical as well as actual) that are posed by a focus on individual behavior.


The several discussions below address some of the main contributions of institutionalism to political science, but the contributions are in fact more pervasive. Thinking about institutions, especially the bureaucracy, has been very important in the study of public administration (Thoenig, 2003). In addition, institutional theory has made a significant contribution to the study of international relations, both for formal international institutions and for less formalized institutions such as regimes (Rittberger et al., 2012) (see Malone and Medhora, Chapter 77, this Handbook). At the other end of a scale of extensiveness, institutional theory has also contributed to urban and local governance studies (Papadopoulos, 1996). Only for those areas of the discipline that focus entirely on the micro level of behavior is institutional theory not of great relevance.

Collective Action Problems and Social Choice First, institutional analysis can be a means of addressing the familiar collective action problems arising from the disjuncture of individual and collective rationality (Olson, 1965). This literature, perhaps most famously through Garrett Hardin’s 1968 essay ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, has identified a number of situations in which the pursuit of individual utility can produce outcomes that are socially harmful (R. Hardin, 1985). The problem then becomes finding ways of curtailing the pursuit of individual maximization. This can, of course, be done by law and other authoritative institutions, but the more interesting solutions may arise from the development of institutions that do not depend so strongly on imposition. Elinor Ostrom’s work (1990) on the development of institutional answers to collective action problems is almost certainly the most famous. She demonstrated that individuals do have the capacity to develop rules and norms


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among themselves that can curtail the pursuit of individual self-interest. Although the rules developed to solve these problems are created through interactions among those who are self-interested, they are still enforceable and do still constrain the actions of individuals. These rules operate at the constitutional, policy and operational levels, and through the interactions of the levels, generate effective governance. Individual rationality and preferences create other types of problems for governing as well. For example, different preference ordering of individuals may make reaching collective decisions difficult, as in the famous Arrow impossibility theorem (Arrow, 1951). In these situations, institutional rules can be created to constrain the pursuit of interests in voting and enable otherwise unstable voting patterns to create some stability (Riker, 1980). But we must be cognizant of the possible perverse effects of institutional rules that can contribute to gridlock and indecision, as in the case of American presidentialism. The above discussion of institutions has emphasized formal structures and rules, but informal institutions (see above) can perform some of the same tasks. By generating social norms, and understandings among the members of an institution, the informal institutions can supplement the formal, and produce more effective compliance. That said, however, informal institutions may have values that conflict with the formal and produce internal conflict and undermine the success of the institution. Thus, designing formal institutional structures must be married with an understanding of the norms of the participants, and some effort made to produce consistent values if there is to be consistent behavior.

Policy Choices Institutional theory also provides mechanisms for understanding the policy choices made by governments. Public policy emerges

from processes within institutions, and among institutions, and these structures help to understand better what choices emerge from those processes. While that understanding of the linkage between institutions and policies often has been more implicit than explicit, there is an emerging body of literature linking institutional design issues to policy design (Peters, forthcoming). The simplest version of the linkages between institutions and policy has been provided by the historical institutionalists (see Capano, Chapter 64, this Handbook). The argument is rather simply that institutions lock in the policy designs made at the time of the formation of the institution, and those policies will persist unless acted upon by some significant political force, and perhaps some conflict (Peters et  al., 2005). Leaving aside the path dependency central to this argument, there is an assumption that these policy choices are shaped by the ideas held by the institution and its members, an assumption that is similar to that of the normative institutionalism. The empirical and the rational choice versions of institutionalism both assume greater importance for structures than for ideas in shaping policy. While the other versions of institutionalism may provide better explanations for the content of policy, these two approaches may provide better explanations for the capacity to make policy at all, and the level of innovation contained within the policy. For example, George Tsebelis’s (1990) concept of veto points within institutions provides a useful means of assessing how decisions could be made, as does Fritz Scharpf’s (1997) conceptualization of games within institutions and their impacts on decisions.

Comparative Politics Finally, and perhaps most importantly, institutional theory is essential to the study of comparative politics and governance. As already noted comparative politics had its

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roots in the study of institutions, and despite some movement away from a focus on institutions, understanding how different political systems function requires an understanding of their institutions. That understanding may be more analytic than that of the traditional institutionalists, but it is nonetheless central to any comparative analysis. First, institutions help to explain the stability of political systems, at both a meso and a macro level. As was true for the study of collective action problems mentioned above, institutional rules within legislatures and among the array of institutions help to generate equilibrium (Gualini, 2001) when that might otherwise be difficult to attain. And at a more macro level of comparison, the development of institutional structures such as consociationalism (Lijphart, 1996) and elite pacts (Durant and Weintraub, 2014) can help create greater stability and comity than would be possible otherwise. Institutions also help explain how decisions are made in governments. As mentioned for the study of public policy, the structure of veto points, or clearance points as discussed in the study of implementation, can predict the relative levels of success in decisionmaking. And the literatures on electoral laws (Shugart and Taagepera, 2017) and coalition rules (Martin and Vanberg, 2011) demonstrate how institutions can alter the manner in which governments are formed and function after being formed. And institutions also structure the flow of information within governments, which in turn shapes decisions.

Challenges to Institutionalism To this point, we have been singing hymns of praise to institutionalism but we should also consider some of the challenges that are faced by institutional theory. One of the principal challenges is integrating the various versions of institutional theory, a question discussed above. In addition, some of the


challenges we will discuss are familiar critiques of institutionalism, but others are also possible avenues for advancing the power of the approach as a potential organizing frame for political science. Both of these types of questions about institutionalism, however, should be considered as we assess the capacity of this general approach to function as a potential paradigm for political science.

Change The conventional critique of institutional theory is that it is incapable of dealing adequately with change. The virtue of institutions is in part that they provide stability and predictability, but that virtue is also a vice if we consider the need to respond to changing environmental and political circumstances. This critique is in part valid, but also may be overstated. Each of the approaches to institutions discussed above does contain some idea about how an institution can change. Some of those ideas about change are better developed and more convincing than are others, but institutional theory has not ignored the issue of change. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of change in institutional theory is the capacity to create designed, purposive change. Many of the approaches to change are more descriptive than they are seen as means of producing intentional change. For example, the four versions of institutional change developed within historical institutionalism describe types of change which can be observed in institutions, but much less is said about how the institutional designer might be able to produce those changes. Likewise, change in normative institutionalism tends to occur through the emergence of value differences among members of the institution, or between the institution and the surrounding society. The above having been said, rational choice institutionalism and discursive institutionalism do have some ideas about more


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purposive change. In rational choice institutionalism change occurs rather easily, with the designer being capable of altering rules and other incentives (and disincentives) and thus being able to produce changes in behavior. Change in discursive institutionalism is perhaps less designed, but it is still assumed to be more characteristic of institutions than in other versions of the theory. The continuing discourse among members of the institution is assumed to produce continuing change within that institution. The theoretical conceptions of change in institutions tend to correspond better to observations of the real world than does an insistence that institutions are stable and immutable, or that institutional theory is insensitive to change. Even institutions that persist for long periods of time are not really unchanged but adapt to their environments, or are changed by more formal means. The ‘unwritten’ constitution of the UK may be praised for its adaptability, but other constitutions also change and manage to keep up with changing political demands and values, or they are replaced.

Institutionalization Another challenge to institutional theory is not unrelated to the study of institutional change. Most institutional theory discusses institutions in dichotomous terms – they exist or they do not. In reality, however, institutions may actually be more or less in ­existence.6 The process of institutionalization, and its reverse of deinstitutionalization (Oliver, 1992), represent the movement back and forth between more inchoate, or more mechanical, states into that of being an institution. For example, Max Weber’s work on institutions (see Lepsius, 2017) emphasized the need to think of institutions as emerging and decaying, and Eisenstadt’s (1959) work on bureaucratization and debureaucratization had much the same emphasis. Selznick’s conceptualization of institutionalization, being the infusing of

values into a structure, provides a good starting point for considering the development of institutionalization. This view, shared by the normative institutionalism in political science, emphasizes that an institution must be more than a mere formal structure in which the members simply follow the formal rules. The structure must have some meaning for the participants. This is the difference between working in a university and working in a fast-food restaurant Selznick (1949). When discussing governance problems of developing countries, Samuel Huntington (1968) conceptualized institutionalization more in terms of building capacity within government structures. Thus, in this approach from empirical institutionalism, to the extent that the institutions were adaptable, autonomous, coherent and sufficiently complex they could be said to be institutionalized. The same logic has been applied to examining the development of other organizations and institutions, such as the Executive Office of the President in the United States (Ragsdale and Theis, 1997). Given the importance of institutionalization and deinstitutionalization for understanding the waxing and waning of institutions, the absence of theorizing about the process is significant. One of the few examples of conceptualizing these processes, by Christine Oliver (1992), argues that deinstitutionalization occurs for political, social and functional reasons. Although this conceptual scheme is directed at deinstitutionalization, it can be run backwards to help explain process of institutionalization.

Measurement Thinking about institutionalization and deinstitutionalization does raise another challenge to institutional theory – measurement. If we say that a structure becomes more or less institutionalized over time, how can we measure that? An in-depth analysis by an

The New Institutionalism in Political Science

individual scholar may convince him or her of those changes, but how can the differences be conveyed to others in ways that are replicable? Oliver’s work on deinstitutionalization provides some inklings about measurement, and Ragsdale and Theis (1997) provide measures for the ideas that Huntington advanced about institutionalization, but for the most part we lack the means of assessing the extent to which any structure is really an institution. And other questions raised in institutional theory also may require greater attention to measurement. For example, in the discussions of change in historical institutionalism we discuss changes such as ‘drift’ and ‘conversion’ without any clear mechanisms for measuring those changes. If those categories of change are to be more useful for understanding policy, they will require some means of assessing the extent of the drift, as well as the extent to which the policies and practices that existed previously do still exist. And rational choice versions of institutionalism that focus on compliance with rules may want to have some assessment, quantitative or qualitative, of the degree of compliance. This list could be extended, but the basic point is that advancing institutional theory will require some greater attention to measurement.

Processes within Institutions A fourth challenge to institutional theory comes from the absence of theorizing about processes within institutions, an issue somewhat related to the study of change within institutions. Institutional theory is very good at describing and explaining structures, but contains little to describe or explain what happens within those structures. We know, for example, that rules or values may be important for shaping the behavior of individuals within a structure, but not how those rules or values produce outcomes. Veto points may, for example, make decisions


more difficult within institutions, but there is still relatively little said about the processes that do actually produce decisions. The above said, several of the approaches to institutionalism do have something to say about the policy process. For example, the empirical institutionalism has attempted to understand the consequences of different institutional choices for the policies being produced, especially between parliamentary and presidential systems (Weaver and Rockman, 1993). While not explicitly dealing with internal processes, the argument is based on the consequences of ‘separated’ versus integrated systems, and the consequent differences in the manner in which policy choices are made. In addition, the discursive institutionalism implies a process of dialogue within the institution that produces decisions. The actual content of that process is not clearly articulated, but there is some sense that institutional processes do matter for the choices made by institutions.

Individuals and Institutions Yet another challenge to institutional theory involves the linkage between individuals and the institutional structure. For some versions of institutionalism, notably the normative and the discursive versions, this linkage is crucial. But in all versions there is a question of how do individuals shape the institutions of which they are members, and how do the institutions shape the individuals who function within their confines. Given the argument above about the need to link structure and agency within institutional theory, these linkages will depend on a variety of causal mechanisms embedded in the institutions or in society (Beach, 2013). Robert Grafstein (1992) noted that institutionalism had an important paradox residing at its center. Institutions were assumed to constrain the behavior of individuals, but individuals created those institutions. Of course the institutions in question could


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have been created decades or centuries earlier by different individuals, but they are still human creations that can be changed by other humans. But we do design institutions to place limits on individual behaviors, whether that behavior is of a president or prime minister constrained by a constitution, or a criminal constrained by legal institutions. As well as this paradox of constraint on behavior implied by institutionalism, it is important to examine the capacity of institutions to mold the ideas and values of individuals. In particular, normative institutionalism assumes that an institution will be capable of persuading, or even forcing, individuals to accept a ‘logic of appropriateness’ that will guide their behaviors.7 But these discussions of institutionalism do not provide a clear analysis of the mechanics through which values are inculcated into the members of the institution.

Explanation or Only Context? Finally, we should ask a fundamental question about the utility of institutional theory as a paradigm for political science. Do institutions, and does institutional theory, really provide an explanation for political phenomena, or do they only provide the context for the operation of other mechanisms that are more proximate explanations for behaviors? And if we are not able to explain behavior at an individual level, can we use institutions to explain the outcomes of policymaking or other major events in the public sector or, again, are we only capable of providing context for those outcomes? The discussion above concerning comparative politics and policymaking does appear to argue that institutional rules can produce outcomes. But the outcomes being explained are often in terms of the speed of decision-making or the size of a coalition, rather than the substance of the policies selected or the parties involved in the coalition. Those characteristics of the outcomes are important, but not as important perhaps as the actual substance of the policy and political choices being made.

Again, does institutionalism only explain the context of the actual decisions being made? The normative institutionalism comes the closest to this level of explanation, given that the values contained within the institution should influence policy choices. One can make both positive and negative arguments about the explanatory capacity of institutional theory. On the one hand establishing the link between institutional, contextual factors and outcomes does advance the understanding of causality in itself (see Pollitt, 2013). On the other hand, however, institutions and institutional theory do not provide an explanation of the dynamics involved in making decisions without invoking some other form of explanation. The question then may become what level of explanation is required to say that the requirements for an explanation have been fulfilled?

Summary and Conclusions Institutionalism is one of the oldest approaches to political science. It has, however, changed significantly over the centuries during which scholars and ordinary citizens have discussed the institutions of government and their role in governing. The ‘New Institutionalism’ discussed here contains a number of alternative conceptions of institutions, but all differ from older versions of institutionalism in their explicit concern for building theory about institutions, and in their linkages to other forms of theorizing in the social sciences. Despite the advances made by the New Institutionalism, there are a number of problems remaining within this approach. The most fundamental of which is that rather than being an integrated approach, it remains a collection of alternative visions about the nature of institutionalism. Despite some common elements, the approaches also have fundamentally different perspectives on what an institution is and how it functions.

The New Institutionalism in Political Science

Contemporary institutional theory also faces a number of other challenges. But despite those problems it does manage to provide important insights into the way in which the public sector functions. By attempting to integrate understandings of individual behavior with an understanding of structure, the New Institutionalism does provide a viable bridge across the structure–agency divide in political science theory, and does provide insights into how governments actually function.

Notes  1  This is in contrast to contemporary students of institutions, who argue that institutions often are formed at different times and for different purposes, and do not necessarily work together well. See Skowronek (1982).  2  The normative institutionalism in political science is based heavily on the work of sociologists such as Meyer and Rowan (1977) and Selznick (1957). For other perspectives on institutionalism in sociology see Peters (2019, chapter 7). 3  The idea of path dependency comes from economics, where it was used to describe the lock-in of some products even though technically superior products may exist (Arthur, 1989). The costs of moving away from the sub-optimal solution are too great so the older system persists.  4  There is an obvious connection with the Habermasian ideas of communications and discourse within this approach (Habermas, 1984). 5  The original state of the normative approach by March and Olsen (1984) discussed institutionalism as the ‘organizational basis of political life’.  6  In this sense, institutions may be analogous to variables in fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). They may be in the set of institutions in part, but not entirely. 7  The normative institutionalism tends to focus on softer means of creating commitment to the institution, but the fundamental point is that the logic may be created through more means, for example, creating esprit de corps in military institutions.

References Alasuutari, P. (2015), ‘The Discursive Side of the New Institutionalism’, Cultural Sociology 9(2): 162–84.


Arrow, K. J. (1951), Social Choice and Individual Values (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). Arthur, W. B. (1989), ‘Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-in by Historical Events’, The Economic Journal 99(394): 116–31. Azari, J. R. and J. K. Smith (2012), ‘Unwritten Rules: Informal Institutions in Established Democracies’, Perspectives on Politics 10(1): 37–55. Beach, D. (2013), ‘Taking Mechanisms Seriously?’, European Political Science 12(1): 13–15. Béland, D. (2009), ‘Ideas, Institutions and Policy Change’, Journal of European Public Policy 16(5): 701–18. Bemelmans-Videc, M.-L., R. C. Rist and E. Vedung (1998), Carrots, Sticks and Sermons: Policy Instruments and their Evaluation (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers). Bratton, M. (2007), ‘Formal Versus Informal Institutions in Africa’, Journal of Democracy 18(3): 96–110. Brehm, J. and S. Gates (1997), Working, Shirking and Sabotage: Bureaucratic Response to a Democratic Public (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press). Choudhry, S. (2008), Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation? (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Della Porta, D. (2013), ‘Political Opportunity/ Political Opportunity Structure’, Wiley-­ Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements (Oxford: Blackwell). Durant, T. C. and M. Weintraub (2014), ‘How to Make Democracy Self-enforcing After Civil War: Enabling Credible and Adaptable Elite Pacts’, Conflict Management and Peace Science 10: 1–20. 8894213520372 [Accessed on: 20 December, 2019] Eisenstadt, S. N. (1959), ‘Bureaucracy, Bureaucratization and Debureaucratization’, Administrative Science Quarterly 4(3): 302–20. Elgie, R., S. Moestrup and Y.-S. Wu (2011), Semi-Presidentialism and Democracy (London: Macmillan). Fernández-Albertos, J. (2015), ‘The Politics of Central Bank Independence’, Annual Review of Political Science 18: 217–37. Gore, C. and D. Pratten (2003), ‘The Politics of Plunder: The Rhetorics of Order and Disorder


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in Southern Nigeria’, African Affairs 102(407): 211–40. Grafstein, R. (1992), Institutional Realism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). Gualini, E. (2001), Planning and the Intelligence of Institutions (London: Routledge). Habermas, J. (1984), The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 1: Reason and Rationalization in Society (London: Heinemann). Hall, P. A. (1986), Governing the Economy: The Politics of State Intervention in Britain and France (New York: Oxford University Press). Hardin, R. (1985), Collective Action (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press). Hay, C. (1995), ‘Structure and Agency’, in D. Marsh and G. Stoker, eds, Theory and Methods in Political Science, pp. 132–51. ­ (New York: St. Martins Press). Hay, C. (2008), ‘Constructivist Institutionalism’, in S. A. Binder, R. A. W. Rhodes and B. A, Rockman, eds, Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions, pp. 56–72. (Oxford: Oxford ­University Press). Helmke, G. and S. Levitsky (2004), ‘Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: A Research Agenda’, Perspectives on Politics 2(4): 725–40. Hope M. and R. Raudla (2015), ‘Discursive Institutionalism and Policy Stasis in Simple and Compound Polities: Estonian Fiscal Policy and United States Climate Change Policy’, Journal of Policy Studies 33(5): 399–418. Huntington, S. P. (1968), Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). Jabko, N. (2006), Playing the Market: A Political Strategy for Uniting Europe, 1985–2005 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press). Jarrett, H. (2016), ‘Consociationalism and Identity in Ethnically Divided Societies: Northern Ireland and Malaysia’, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 16(3): 401–15. Judge, D. (2003), ‘Legislative Institutionalization: A Bent Analytic Arrow?’, Government and Opposition 38(4): 497–516. Keast, R., M. Mandell and R. Agranoff (2014), Network Theory in the Public Sector: Building New Theoretical Frameworks (London: Routledge). Kitschelt, H. (1989), The Logics of Party Formation: Ecological Politics in Belgium and West Germany (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).

Lauth, H.-J. (2000), ‘Informal Institutions and Democracy’, Democratization 7(4): 21–50. Lepsius, M. R. (2013), ‘Institutionenalyse und Instituionenpolitik’, in Lepsius, ed. Institutionaliserung politischen Handeln (Wiesbaden: Springer). Lepsius, M. R. (2017), ‘The Institutionalization of Rationality Criteria and the Role of Intellectuals’, in C. Wendt, ed. Max Weber and Institutional Theory, pp. 187–212. (Bern: Springer). Lijphart, A. (1985), Power-Sharing in South Africa (Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California). Lijphart, A. (1996), ‘The Puzzle of Indian Democracy: A Consociational Interpretation’, American Political Science Review 90(2): 258–68. Lund, C. (2007), Twilight Institutions: Public Authority and Local Politics in Africa (Malden, MA: Blackwell). Mahoney, J. and K. Thelen (2010), ‘A Theory of Gradual Institutional Change’, in Mahoney and Thelen, eds, Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency and Power, pp. 3–28. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). March, J. G. and J. P. Olsen (1984), ‘The New Institutionalism: Organizational Factors in Political Life’, American Political Science Review 78(3): 738–49. March, J. G. and J. P. Olsen (1989), Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics (New York: Free Press). Martin, L. W. and G. Vanberg (2011), Parliaments and Coalitions: The Role of Legislative Institutions in Multiparty Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Meyer, J. W. and B. Rowan (1977), ‘Institutionalizing Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony’, American Journal of Sociology 83(2): 340–63. Murtazashvili, J. B. (2016), Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan (New York: Cambridge University Press). Oliver, C. (1992), ‘The Antecedents of Deinstitutionalization’, Organization Studies 13(4): 563–88. Olson, M. (1965), The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). Ostrom, E. (1990), Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective

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Action (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press). Pal, L. A. and R. K. Weaver (2003), The Government Taketh Away: The Politics of Pain in the United States and Canada (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press). Palanza, V., C. Scartascini and M. Tomassi (2012), On the Institutionalization of Congress(es) in Latin America and Beyond (Washington, DC: Inter-American Working Bank). Papadopoulos, A. G. (1996), Urban Regimes and Strategies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). Peters, B. G. (2011), ‘Governing in the Shadows’, Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration 33(1): 1–16. doi: 10.1080/23276665. 2011.10779375. Peters, B. G. (2015), Pursuing Horizontal Management: The Politics of Public Sector Coordination (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas). Peters, B. G. (2019), Institutional Theory in Political Science: The New Institutionalism, 4th ed (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar). Peters, B. G. (forthcoming) Institutional Design and Policy Design: Making the Linkage, Policy & Politics Peters, B. G., J. Pierre and D. S. King (2005), ‘The Politics of Path Dependency: Political Conflict in Historical Institutionalism’, Journal of Politics 67(4): 1275–1300. Pierre, J. and B. G. Peters (2017), ‘The Shirking Bureaucrat: A Theory in Search of Evidence?, Policy and Politics 45(2): 157–72. Pierson, P. (2000), ‘Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics’, American Political Science Review 94(2): 251–67. Pollitt, C., ed. (2013), Context in Public Policy and Management: The Missing Link? (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar). Polsby, N. (1968), ‘The Institutionalization of the U.S. House of Representatives’, American Political Science Review 62(1): 144–68. Ragsdale, L. and J. J. Theis, III (1997), ‘The Institutionalization of the American Presidency 1924–92’, American Journal of Political Science 41(4): 1280–1318. Riker, W. H. (1980), ‘Implications from the Disequilibrium of Majority Rule for the Study of Institutions’, American Political Science Review 74(2): 432–46.


Rittberger, V., B. Zangl and A., Kruck (2012), International Organization, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke: Macmillan). Roll, M. (2014), ‘The State that Works: A “Pockets of Effectiveness” Perspective on Nigeria and Beyond’, in T. Bierschenk and Olivier de Sardan, eds, States at Work: Dynamics of African Bureaucracies, pp. 213–34. (Leiden: Brill). Rose, R. (1990), ‘Inheritance Before Choice in Public Policy’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2(3): 263–91. Rose, R. and C. Peiffer (2016), Bad Governance and Corruption (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Sarigil, Z. (2015), ‘Showing the Path to Path Dependence: The Habitual Path’, European Political Science Review 7(2): 221–42. Scharpf, F. W. (1997), Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research (Boulder, CO: Westview Press). Schmidt, V. A. (2010), ‘Taking Ideas and Discourse Seriously: Explaining Changes Through Discursive Institutionalism as the Fourth “New Institutionalism”’, European Political Science Review 2(1): 1–25. Schmidt, V. A. (2011), ‘Reconciling Ideas and Institutions Through Discursive Institutionalism’, in D. Béland and R. H. Cox, eds, Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Selznick, P. (1949), TVA and the Grass Roots: A Study in the Sociology of Formal Organization (Berkeley: University of California Press). Selznick, P. (1957), Leadership in Administration (New York: Harper and Row). Shugart, M. S. and R. Taagepera (2017), Votes from Seats: Logical Models of Electoral Systems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Skowronek, S. (1982), Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative Capacities, 1877–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Stokes, S. C., T. Dunning, M. Nazareno and V. Brusco (2013), Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press). Thoenig, J.-C. (2003), ‘Institutional Theories and Public Institutions: Traditions and Appropriateness’, in B. G. Peters and J. Pierre, eds, The Sage Handbook of Public ­Administration, pp. 169–78. (London: Sage).


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Tsebelis, G. (1990), Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press). Tsebelis, G. (2002), Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Udehn, L. (2001), Methodological Individualism: Background, History and Meaning (London: Routledge).

Vibert, F. (2007), The Rise of the Unelected: Democracy and the New Separation of Powers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Weaver, R. K. and B. A. Rockman, eds. (1993), Do Institutions Matter?: Government Capabilities in the United States and Abroad (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution Press).

9 How to Understand Normative Political Theory Furio Cerutti

What is this chapter about? The answer might not be as self-evident as many are inclined to think. Also, if we wish to rethink the relevant notions rather than conforming to the mainstream, it is convenient to make clear which language conventions we are going to follow. By norm let us understand a sentence that indicates in an imperative mode (‘ought’) how to behave in certain fields of action and that is linked to a general rule (‘principle’). Normativity is the effective presence of norms in a certain field (e.g. morality, politics, aesthetics) of human activity, accompanied by reasons or justifications for their validity. Normativity (‘ought’) is opposed to facticity (‘is’) and ‘normative’ is different from ‘evaluative’, in the sense that acknowledging a value does not translate immediately into an imperative to realize it. Whether ‘normative’ and ‘prescriptive’ are the same or not shall here remain open.1 We can look at instances of normativity either from a sociologically descriptive (as observers) or properly normative (as participants) vantage point, the latter being prevalent but not exclusive in this chapter. Trickier is lastly to define what

we mean by normativism: in my understanding the belief that an entire sphere of human activity can be and ought to be regulated by a norm system descending from a supreme principle of action such as justice or utility or God’s will. Plato (in Republic and Laws from Book IV on), Kant and Rawls are in various fashions champions of this normativism. Having clarified the key notions of this chapter, let us do the same in the First Section with the very notion of normative political theory, though in a way fairly different from the usual one.

1. A FIELD REDEFINED: WHAT IS NORMATIVE POLITICAL THEORY? In conventional academic language, normative political theory consists of the thoughts an array of important philosophers – from Plato to John Rawls – have formulated with regard to the best possible shape to give to politics and the polity under the dominance of supreme principles; the Romans spoke of a reasoning


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de optima republica (about the best possible commonwealth), in German philosophy it is Sollen vs Sein (which very roughly corresponds to ‘ought’ vs ‘is’). I will not follow this traditional path for the substantial reasons that shall be illustrated, but also because my primary interest goes to the role and the forms of normativity in real politics rather than the development of models, which may be of interest to the philosophers’ guild alone. After clarifying some basic notions in Section one, we remind ourselves that normativity exists in politics and in political thought also outside the majestic and pyramidal architectures of Platonic normativism – a pluralistic, less pretentious normativity that is however leaving its mark. In the second Section, we will look at the maxims, principles and theories or semi-theories that were or are effectively at work in political reality. This is to show how, really, influential norms, along with their conceptual background, are born from political and legal developments rather than from the history of philosophy. In the same spirit, in the third Section we then turn to two substantive issues that have greatly stimulated the production of norms (war) or are now starting to do so (global and lethal challenges) – a bottom-up path, from facts to norms, as it were. In Section four we will address two well-known questions informing meta-normative debates: the relationship between politics and ethics and the much debated role of ‘ideal theory’. Needless to say, in all this we will go back whenever necessary to past thinkers, but by no means identify normative political theory with its own history, which can (and must) be studied by using the appropriate tools.2 Why not? First, the history of a theory is not exhaustive of the substance of what the theory is about; a conceptual exploration of its very substance is needed, though accompanied by the historical awareness of former explorations and vocabularies. Second, one thing is the historical sequence of the normative models philosophers wanted the polity to conform to, quite another one the effective influence of norm systems on the behaviour

of political actors. Plato’s Republic did not shape Greek policy in the 4th century bce, nor Kant’s political writings Prussia’s policies in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Nor can it be said that those works credibly mirrored the beliefs held by relevant political actors. Normative political philosophy can, in a word, have a very thin relationship to real politics as practised by politicians, movements, parties, institutions, alliances – a relationship that can border on irrelevance.3

2. A PARADE OF NORMATIVE FORMULAS AFFECTING POLITICS IN THE HISTORY OF WESTERN POLITICS AND POLITICAL THOUGHT In Western political culture three major sources of normativity can be identified: the JudeoChristian tradition, the Roman heritage, and modernity with its competing (realism-­ idealism) positions. We shall examine a selection of those principles or maxims that arguably had more influence in giving both formulation and justification to the course of action that actors intended to follow. We shall also try to sketch the more general implications, i.e. the implicit normative theories contained in those formulations. We are all aware of the fact that political actors do not usually act merely in application of the principles they claim to respect; nor do they, on the other hand, use lofty principles exclusively in order to surreptitiously justify their own self-interest, although they often do. They mostly act neither as fully principled players nor as cynical manipulators, but out of a mix of those extreme attitudes that cannot be once for all expressed in a formula.

2a. The Judeo-Christian tradition The main Judeo-Christian normative statements are• Let us barely mention the Golden Rule (‘and as you wish that men would do to you, do

How to Understand Normative Political Theory

so to them’, Luke 6:31), which highlights the nature of commutative/retributive justice as the pillar of civil coexistence, as well as the Ten Commandments. • ‘Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’ (Mark 12:17): whatever the interpretation given to this statement made by Jesus, here lies the foundation of the exclusively Western/Christian distinction of civil and religious spheres and the legitimation of the political organization as different from the religious one. • The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, 5–7), with its unprecedented praise for self-restraint (‘turn the other cheek’) and love of the enemies as well as promises of heavenly reward to the meek, the poor in spirit, the pure in heart and the peacemakers. This revolutionary manifesto inspired the normative system of radical Christianity (Bogomils, Cathars, Anabaptists) and remains an important document of Liebesakosmismus (as Max Weber dubbed the estrangement from the world in the name of love). • ‘Remota … iustitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia?’ (‘once justice is removed, what are kingdoms if not large larcenies?’ – City of God, Augustine of Hippo, 426 ce, 4,4). This is the original and powerful formulation of the (not only Christian) challenge to political power, which is asked to prove its legitimacy beyond mere facticity by proving its adherence to justice.

2b. Political Identity and Principles of Law in Greece and Rome 1 In a conversation with the Persian king, Xerxes, the self-image of Greeks – more precisely of Spartans – is defined by Demaratos, the former Spartan king, as relying on liberty and the dependence on a sole ruler, the law or nomos. This centrality of the abstract and impersonal norm is pitched against the personal servitude characterizing barbarian states (Herodotus, 440 bce, VII,104). To a large extent this definition of political identity was absorbed into Roman culture as well. 2 ‘Salus rei publicae suprema lex esto’ (‘the safety/ welfare of the commonwealth should be the supreme law’ – De legibus, Cicero, 43 bce, III,3,VIII): this motto was later endorsed by Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza and Locke as well as a swath of diverse political actors.


(a) ’Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ (‘It is sweet and proper to die for the fatherland’). This verse from Horace’s Odes, III,2,13 (Horace, 23 bce), epitomized apologetically for centuries the existential link between (male) individual life and the state, which can legitimately ask a man to sacrifice his life. This sentence lost eventually any justification on the killing fields of the Great War, where it was dubbed ‘the old lie’ by the fallen English poet Wilfred Owen. 3 During the same long evolution of the Roman polity, an entire set of abstract principles – legal norms along with their justification and ­interpretation – was created with lasting effect. We refer to them in the formulation they found in the compilation made in the 6th century ce in the Corpus juris civilis (body of civil law) at the order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (Justinian Code). Particularly after the rebirth of Romanist legal studies in Bologna (11–12th century), Roman law deeply influenced the legal culture of Europe, the common law countries such as England not excluded (cf. Stein, 1999).   Now, the opening statement of one of the main parts of the Justinian Code reads: ‘iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere’ (‘the precepts of law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, to give to each his own’ – Institutiones 535 ce, 1,1,3). These are social and civil as well as political principles; the second of them represents the core value of civil coexistence, the premise of peace and conflict prevention as pillars of the polity. The third one was seen for two millennia (sporadically even in China) as the overall definition of justice, both distributive and commutative; undetermined and flexible as it is, it has been applied to justify all and everything, inscripted as it was (Jedem das Seine) in the entrance gate to the Nazi extermination camp in Buchenwald. Not even lofty principles are, in their lack of contextualization, sheltered from perversion. Two further principles or rather meta-principles must be at least mentioned: ‘nemo in causa sua iudex’ (‘no-one should be a judge in his own case’ – Codex, 535 ce, 3,5,1) and ‘pacta sunt servanda (‘agreements must be kept’ – attributed to Ulpian d. 228 ce).


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2c. Political Realism and Idealism in Modernity By political modernity in Europe we understand the era marked by the vanishing of the medieval universal powers, the Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire; the rise of absolutist monarchies (later to become nation states); and the establishment of the international Westphalian system. In this era (1648–1914) normativity, once detached from any religious roots, was reshaped in a bipolar – realist as well as idealist – way, both claiming to be inspired by reason or rationality. We look first at a founding topos of realism:4 • ‘If men were entirely good this principle [not to keep faith when this turns to one’s own disadvantage] would not hold, but because they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not bound to observe it with them’. (Machiavelli, 1513: chapter XVIII). In this very ‘Machiavellian’ passage from Machiavelli the legitimacy of a non-moral behaviour in politics finds its foundation in a pessimist anthropology. • Apart from realism, another well-known precept ‘right or wrong, my country (or party)’ represents the essence of the xenophobic nationalism that has wreaked havoc in the entire world in the 20th century and beyond. On the opposite pole, idealism, Kant’s categorical imperative has been the flagship in all (deontological) attempts to bring

politics back again under the sceptre of morality, as he forcefully argued for, especially in the Appendix to Perpetual Peace (Kant, 1795). Also, the specifically political principle of publicity formulated in the same work (‘all actions relating to the right of other human beings are wrong if their maxim is incompatible with publicity’) has also shaped the normative tradition of Kantian liberalism. • Another brand of liberalism, prevailing in countries of Anglo-Saxon culture (remember John Stuart Mill), is connected to the basic principle of utilitarianism, which is also a normative philosophy, though consequentialist rather than deontological in its posture.5 This principle tells actors to seek the greatest good (or pleasure) for the greatest number of human beings. • Marx mocked abstract universal ‘goddesses’ such as justice or liberty, but briefly reflected on the normative principles possibly guiding the time after the abolition of capitalism: ‘to each according to the amount of work he contributes’ was seen as the basis for the initial phase of communist society, which would then, in its full-blown configuration, shift to ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ (Marx, 1875: §1). These two formulas became popular, which shows how mass participation in politics could be motivated by relying on a rational utopia. • Max Weber’s point, made in Politics as a Vocation (1919), that a true vocation to politics can be found only in those politicians whose political ethics includes both intimate conviction in upholding one’s own beliefs (Gesinnungsethik) and a sense of responsibility for the consequences of

Niccolò Machiavelli Of the relevant political theorists, Machiavelli (1469–1527) has been, like Thucydides and Cicero, one of the few who could look back to a career as a high-ranking official and diplomat – for Machiavelli, under the short-lived republican regime that ruled Florence after the Medici’s expulsion in 1494 and their comeback in 1512. Between his demise from government (he was even tortured as a possible conspirator) he wrote The Prince, the Discourses on the First Ten Books of [Roman historian] Titus Livy, The Art of War, the Florentine Histories as well as the comedy Mandragola (Mandrake). Machiavelli conceives of politics as an empirical field, whose rules and patterns can be understood from the study of history. Necessity, fortune and virtue (the ability to master one’s own destiny) are its determinants. As the realm in which human beings pursue their individual and collective self-interest, politics is different from morality, most evidently in the case of a new princedom like the Italy Machiavelli wants to be freed from foreign rule and unified. Under less exceptional conditions domestic political conflicts are conducive to freedom and were wisely mirrored in the institutional structure of ancient Rome. Vilified by many, Machiavelli was of great interest for the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, Hegel and Gramsci.

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Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) never left his native Königsberg in East Prussia (after World War II renamed Kaliningrad, Soviet Union/Russian Federation), where he was a professor at the local university (now Балтийский федеральный университет имени Иммануила Канта/the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University). His fundamental works are Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and Critique of Judgment (1790). Perpetual Peace (1795) and Metaphysics of Morals (1797) are his main contributions to political philosophy; relevant also are On the Old Saw: That May be Right in Theory But It Won’t Work in Practice (1793) and An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment? (1784). Kant explores the principles that Reason dictates independently from any experience (i.e. in a transcendental way) with regard to political life. They take the form of principles of law, which can reshape politics only if morality rules over it instead of being subdued to criteria of expediency. Peace among nations can be achieved as a perpetual, not temporary good, only by eliminating the causes of war in the domestic regime and international relations. This leads to republicanism (freedom and equality of all citizens under the law) and federalism (a league of states rather than a world republic); they are to be complemented by cosmopolitan law, which gives anybody the right to visit foreign territories.

action (Verantwortungsethik) has later become a topos, indicating the necessary balance between the divergent normative approaches emerging in political life – against adventurism and fanaticism on the one hand and mere opportunistic behaviour on the other.

This survey of relevant normative positions could be enriched with other recent examples: from Deng Xiaoping’s dictum (‘It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice’, pronounced in 1962), which was later to legitimize the opening up of Chinese communism against ideological purity, thus redirecting Chinese and world history, to John Rawls’ second principle of justice (‘Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) to the greatest expected benefit of the least advantaged and (b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity’) (Rawls, 1999a: 72), which sociologically can be seen, in the aftermath of the New Deal (it was written in the 1950–60s), as a justification of redistributive policies and the welfare state. Two comments on this parade: First, as mentioned above, it is hardly possible to gauge the operative presence of these prescriptions in the actors’ behaviour across the centuries. There is no scholarly

ascertained methodology that is capable to assess how far the pretence of normative principles to influence the actors’ line of action is successful or vain. Only in the case of principles enshrined in a country’s or empire’s legal order can their effectiveness be assessed by looking at courts’ decisions. Otherwise normative theories, particularly in democratic polities, can at most let their recommendations trickle down into the scholarly conversation, then the public debate in the media and finally some corner of legislation. In a more extended time span, however, normative theories can play a greater role not so much in shaping the actors’ actual behaviour, but rather conferring or denying legitimacy to it. Prussian, German and European leaders in the 19–20th centuries did not act as Kant required them to do, but his ideas had influence on the minds of some elites and citizens, thus setting limits to what they regarded as a legitimate course of action. Second, what strikes our eyes while taking note of the prescriptions for action issued in the history of Western politics is their multiplicity and variety, not to say disparateness, which is not just the consequence of the large number of actors and interests addressed. In the decisions taken and the justifications offered by the very same actor – state or party – in the last two centuries, the principles


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Karl Marx Karl Marx (1818–83) studied law and philosophy in Germany and went into exile to London after the failure of the 1848–49 revolutions. He published the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848, co-authored with Friedrich Engels), A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859) and the first volume of Capital (1867), his economic and philosophical masterwork. After his death the second and third volumes as well as Theories of Surplus Value and Critique of the Gotha Programme were published; in the 20th century the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology (written with Engels in 1845–46) and the Grundrisse, containing the preparatory studies for Capital, also became accessible. Marx explored the whole capitalist mode of production as the most revolutionary in history due to its ability to exploit wage labour (labour theory of value), but saw it undermined by its own dynamics of concentration and competition. Its collapse, accelerated by the struggles of the working class, will free the way to a society without the socially relevant division of labour and, in its final, communist stage, favourable to the full realization of the individual. In his late years Marx mentioned the possibility of a peaceful transition to a classless society by means of democratic elections in countries with stable representative institutions; he did not focus exclusively on the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.

mentioned were present in a mix that has rapidly changed (after elections, wars and revolutions) and often contained conflicting aspects. This reminds us that political life relies on complex patterns of motivations and justifications, in which the lack of systematic consistency between rules does not mean by itself an insurmountable obstacle to effective action. One has to grasp this complexity if one wants to introduce normative viewpoints into policy and have a chance of gaining influence; a one-size-fits-all system of norms may satisfy no other than some philosopher’s taste for perfect architectures.

3. NORMATIVITY AT WORK: TWO CASES Should we make happiness or virtue or the common good or justice the true goal of politics? This is the fundamental question most normative theories have seen as defining their own business. Inspiring though this existential question may be, it is doubtful that the actual behaviour of states, leaders and parties, by which the freedom or happiness of societies and individuals is largely determined, has ever been shaped – at least in a relevant amount – by the answers given by philosophers to that question. Not so with

other, less supreme but still crucial indications regarding two cases that are very much overshadowing our communal life: war, and newly, the endangering of civilized human life on the planet. Two cases in which political life has been confronted with the advice of philosophy and ethics.

First Case: Just War Normative questions arising from war are as old as the answers found in the Iliad or the Bhagavadgita and have transcultural character. The reflection on how to set an end to the ‘scourge of war’ (UN Charter, Preamble) establishing Kant’s perpetual peace or how to restrain it to a less unbearable measure is fundamental for political philosophy, because politics contains violence as one of its constitutive elements, and can even be seen as an activity regulating violence along with its cousin, fear – so did Hobbes, Weber, Franz Neumann and Niklas Luhmann. On the other hand politics is an attempt to regulate human affairs in a peaceful way, be it by argumentative deliberation or negotiating and compromising, and the outbreak of civil or international war is always a defeat of politics, though it remains part of it. The alternative is then between keeping one’s own hands allegedly clean, by refusing any involvement in

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a posture of radical pacifism, or preparing conceptual tools such as the just war doctrine, capable to tell us how to save what can be saved from unlimited violence (the laws of war or ius in bello), and under which restraining conditions the resort to arms can be justified or even necessary (ius ad bellum) for the preservation of basic civilizational values, as in the case of the war of 1939–45 against fascist dictatorships.6 The alternative we have just mentioned can be aptly illustrated by going back to the origin of the just war doctrine in the work of Augustine of Hippo, particularly in his De civitate Dei (The City of God). Previous theologians had focused on the message of unconditional love contained in the Gospels and rejected the legitimacy for a Christian to be a soldier (Dyson, 2006: chapter 4). Augustine reversed this position by referring to other passages in the Gospels and justified war when necessary to re-establish order and stability in the earthly life of human beings – as some of the ‘just’ wars fought by Rome were, he acknowledged. Behind this reversion of Christian pacifism was his negative anthropology: after the original sin humans cannot be saved from vice, especially the libido dominandi (lust of mastery), which is at the origin of war, and only those touched by the grace of God can attain entrance into the City of God. Theological explanations apart, Augustine shares his sober view of man with political realism, in particular with chapter XVIII of Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513). Under these premises just war, waged by a lawful authority (a state based on justice, as seen above), can bring enough peace as necessary to the continuation of human life, but this is nothing more than a remedy to even worse developments of human wickedness, not the true peace enjoyable only in the civitas Dei. The detailed just war doctrine, first sketched by Cicero in On Duties, I,11–13 (Cicero, 44 bce), was then developed by Aquinas and later by Francisco de Vitoria, Alberico Gentili and Hugo Grotius, and came


to be entangled with the fledgling international law (Emmerich de Vattel). In the 19th and 20th centuries, domestic (military) and international (treaties, conventions) legislation gave legal shape and some effectiveness to provisions of ius in bello elaborated across the centuries, such as the protection of noncombatants and prisoners of war and the proportionality in the amount of violence used. The right to go to war (ius ad bellum), once a matter of endless dispute as it was based on specific motivations, was recognized as pertaining to all legitimate states (compétence de guerre) in the framework of the multipolar system established with the Treaties of Westphalia (1648). It has been, since 1945, excluded for all countries by the UN Charter, while military operations are allowed only in self-defence or, if permitted by the Security Council, to help other UN members repel an invader. Outside legal literature the book that shortly after the Vietnam War revived the philosophical discussion on just war (Walzer, 1977) has been in recent years followed by attempts to rethink this notion in the light of novelties such as ethnic, religious, terrorist, drone and cyber wars, most of which escape the interstate scenario that was defining of the just war tradition. Further, the necessity of a ius post bellum, regulating the problems arising at the end of an armed conflict, has been advanced. Let us recapitulate: the normative attitude towards war has been around for more than 2,000 years, adapting to the big changes in warfare as well as in the political ground structure behind it. It has been endeavoured to extend the grasp of this attitude to nuclear war, with little success however, as we will see in the next section. Whatever its foundation (Augustine’s theology, Aquinas’ notion of natural law, the idea of humanity in the European Enlightenment), the just war theory has always sought ways to make war less unbearable, not to eliminate it, in the persuasion that conflict and violence can and ought to be restrained, but for the time being cannot be expelled from the life of communities.


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Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) lived as a tutor in English patrician families and after the Restoration on a royal pension; he went into exile in Paris during the Civil War. While developing a philosophy of materialism and science, in political philosophy he wrote De Cive (1641), Leviathan (1651) and Behemoth or the Long Parliament (1668). Writing in a time of domestic upheaval and European wars, Hobbes looked into the contractarian origin of the state (or commonwealth, in his language) in order to find chances of peace. The polity is not an organic product of human nature, as Aristotle and the Aristotelians wanted to have it; it rather arises from the generalized will – motivated by fear – to get out of the state of nature, which is life-threatening for everybody. This happens by conferring all our rights upon an artificial creation, the sovereign or Leviathan, whose absolute power is the only guarantee against the Behemoth of rebellion and civil war. States, however, are not compelled to follow the same path as individuals are, thus remaining in a potential state of war with each other (a condition later called international anarchy).

This attitude has been classified as rationalist or reformist in the trilogy outlined by the English School of International Relations (Martin Wight and Hedley Bull), its counterparts in the trilogy being Kant’s revolutionary project to eliminate war altogether, as well as the realist acceptance of it, exemplified by Thomas Hobbes, as a ground element of (interstate) politics. Not to be overlooked is the built-in ambivalence of just war theory: it stems primarily from the intention to define and reduce the occasions in which war is justified (this is the true meaning of ‘just’), but it can lose its critical potential and slip into a catalogue of possible justifications for actors willing to wage war. Of the many normative attempts to give politics a different orientation (rather than to allegedly reshape it altogether) the just war doctrine, along with international and more recently humanitarian law, has been one of the most successful in practical terms. ‘War remains hell’, to quote Union General William T. Sherman’s dictum after the American civil war, but it is not misplaced to assume that fewer civilians have been killed, fewer prisoners mistreated and fewer monuments destroyed thanks to the centurylong work of philosophers, theologians and jurists. By no means however can the power of argument and norm-setting be overstated, as the tremendous disproportion between ius in bello precepts and the unlawful killing or hardship inflicted upon soldiers and civilians in the 20th century proves. Lastly, it is

difficult to say how many of the evils that were not committed were so thanks to the respect for the norms (‘for the right reason’, to use the language of the theory of justice) or the fear of reprisal or punishment in case they were not observed. Principled and instrumental (to one’s own self-interest) behaviour may go sometimes hand in hand, indistinguishably, and lead to good though impure ends.

Second Case: Future Generations and a Politics for the Future In the second case we are looking at normative questions and theories arising from a state of the world that is coming up under our watch – often an absent-minded watch – but is far from self-evident, thus making a description necessary – readers may share it or not. Since 1945 or more exactly 1955 (as both East and West acquired the capacity to bring about mutual assured destruction) the worldwide balance of (nuclear) terror constitutes the most inner cell of international relations. All the rest – geopolitical and geoeconomic developments, regime change, international terrorism – is of minor relevance for philosophy and civilization compared with the dormant but very real possibility of the self-destruction of humankind (more exactly, of the civilizational p­ illars – agriculture, trade, communication, basic legal order – of its survival). This possibility is present also in the deterrence regime that some regard as stable enough as to avoid that things

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turn to the worst. Arms control and partial disarmament accords have not changed this regime, though they have contributed to keep in check nuclear proliferation, which is but an epiphenomenon of the existence of nuclear arms. The fact that the Third (nuclear) World War has been to date avoided is no guarantee for future generations to be spared as well. This is not the whole story. Since the 1980s a new universal threat has entered the field of political negotiations: man-made global warming due to the sky-rocketing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities since the Industrial Revolution. This is the main component in a process of climate change whose speed is unprecedented, widely overpassing the chance of our civilization to weather it. If unchecked, climate change is likely to unsettle the life conditions of future generations by multiplying mass migrations and unleashing wars for the control of rapidly diminishing resources such as territory, water and food. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, even before the United States of America’s withdrawal, does not make legally binding emissions cuts capable of keeping the temperature increase under 2°C by the end of the century. Let us call these two threats global and lethal, in the narrow definition of anthropogenic physical threats that put in danger the life conditions of all present and, even more, future generations and that can be seriously addressed only by the joint effort of nearly all economic and political actors. It has turned out that politics as usual or politics #1 (the activity allocating scarce but divisible material or relational resources among conflicting actors by means of legitimate power) is incapable of taking on these threats and transforming them into productive challenges for the political system. This seems rather to be the business of the fledgling politics #2: the activity aimed at saving and managing our global commons, first of all the atmosphere, on behalf of present and primarily future generations. This new type of politics is not a project or a prophecy, but a reality struggling to emerge, and has inspired


documents such as the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Paris Agreement or some disarmament agreements, regardless of their effectiveness in solving those problems; it is destined to coexist in an adversarial tension with politics #1, but by no means to replace it. What is at stake, is the chance to add politics as shaped by the will to protect generations of the far future, to the politics defined by the decisions made by contemporaries on behalf of their present preferences (at best with a thought to their children and grandchildren). The rationale for this shift is not a somersault of generosity, but the debt we have contracted with posterity by spoiling the life conditions they will be born into as well as our now undeniable knowledge of this causal link. Should we repay this debt, or – out of metaphor – act in our institutions with the goal to downsize our spoiling activities (emissions mitigation) and to help those already affected come to terms with the worsened conditions (adaptation)? Do we have obligations towards people who do not yet exist and to whom we have no emotional relationship? Or, using a different moral rather than political vocabulary largely shaped by feminism, do we have motivations for caring for them? This is – in variation – the fundamental normative question arising from the description of the state of the world sketched above. One can falsify and replace the description and/or reject any notion of politics not limited to the present and the self-interest of its dwellers. If these steps are not taken, answering that question appears to be the key task for political philosophy today, especially in its normative side, if philosophy’s ambition to peer in penetrating terms into humankind’s path is to be taken seriously. This view is miles away from mainstream normative theory in as much as it: 1 makes the assessment of the state of the world (a cognitive move) the premise for identifying the normative questions we are confronted with in our life as citizens, instead of seeing the


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context-free and timeless construction of an ideal republic as the proper philosophical mission, and 2 does not deem the development of norms from a supreme principle such as justice to be the essential modus cogitandi of political philosophy, as it rather prefers to extract and reconfigure norms from substantive (rather than formal or procedural) questions such as the survival of human civilization, the defence of fundamental rights and liberal democracy, and the dilemmas raised by technological advances (e.g. biotechnology, Artificial Intelligence) affecting the integrity of human beings.

We do not have room here for arguing a fullblown political answer to lethal challenges, but let us have a sketch of it. The reason for pursuing politics #2 along the inevitable, but now constrained continuation of politics #1 lies primarily in the reconfiguration of the substantial aim of politics – building institutions that prevent disaster, regulate conflict and provide protection – under the new conditions defined by those challenges. Being ready to reform our present economy and way of life in a low-carbon direction or to restructure our (collective) security in a nuclear-free sense are costly undertakings for the present generations, but we have good reasons for taking upon ourselves those costs for the sake of future generations that are both close to and far away from us. These reasons aim at protecting the community of humans that is now endangered to an unheard degree by man-made devices, compensating our posterity for the damages already inflicted upon them, extending into the future the obligations of solidarity, barring which no polity can keep together (this could be called time universalism, a still little-known cousin of the space universalism or cosmopolitanism that is restricted to our fellow humans of the present). By the way, future states of affairs, concerning non-lethal issues and sufficiently known to us from physics or economics, also play into normative debates and decision-making: this is in Western countries the case with the future (reform or collapse?) of pension systems, which are

crucial for keeping liberal democracy accepted by broad masses. In this set of reasons political and civilizational or ethical aspects converge: we should, say, bring down greenhouse-gas emissions not only to enhance the chances of peace and well-being for future polities, but also to allow future parents to raise their children in an environment not unbearably worse than ours (more in Cerutti, 2007: 146–51). At the core of our normative preoccupations for posterity lies the meta-political question: how far are we able and willing to recognize men and women of the future as fellow humans, to respect their interests and rights? Far from being purely ethical, this question contains a set of moral, psychological, political and legal aspects. We can reformulate this question in concrete political terms: why should the basic values of liberal–democratic societies (liberty, equality, justice, solidarity – the latter in a normative rather than Durkheimian sense) be available only to our contemporaries, but not to the people living, say, in three centuries? An important aspect is the evolution of the notion of humankind, which, once only philosophical, theological or literary, has now attained something of a political profile, at least potentially: it means the community of all those who can be hit by nuclear war or disastrous climate change and have a common interest (if not yet a common will) in taking institutional steps against those threats. Being kept together by non-voluntary bonds such as existential threats is indeed an identifier of the political community as different from the social or cultural one – as Hobbes, Rousseau and Weber knew; a community in which norms are not just theorised, but implemented by (not necessarily legal) sanctions and incentives as well. If humankind is now recognized as a quasi-political community, including future beings as far as their life conditions clearly (as in the case of lethal threats) depend on our actions and omissions, then our attitude towards future generations implies political aspects such as the duty to

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protect them and to respect their vital interests by adequate institutional arrangements. On a different path, mention should be made of the attempts to define our obligations towards posterity in terms of justice, as Rawls did with a limited scope (‘just savings’) in §44 of A Theory of Justice (1999a), or to expand them by assuming – differently from Rawls himself – that the people that in the original position decide on the principles of a well-ordered society are not contemporary among themselves (Cerutti, 2007, 141–3). No doubt a wide gap exists between the primarily political path described in this chapter and Rawls’ deontological approach, which frames the problem of future generations in a timeless and context-free theory developing from a supreme principle. Now, the utility of this approach in orienting our actions remains doubtful, even more since its supporters do not raise the preliminary question of understanding: how does politics work; how can we modify in our sense its workings?;7 nonetheless, its contribution to the conceptual clarification of notions and the discussion of alternatives can hardly be renounced. Accepting a plurality of approaches and experimenting with them is instructive, as long as eclecticism is avoided.

4. NORMATIVE POSITIONS IN POLITICS In the preceding sections, we have seen in Section two a variety of normative assertions resulting from the most diverse sources and attitudes, while in Section three we have examined two sets of substantive issues (war and the attitude towards future generations), whose normative aspects we have tried to work out. It is now time to make some conceptual alternative underlying those issues explicit, in particular two that are sometimes overlapping:

α. politics and ethics, or political and moral normativity, and β. the pros and cons of ideal theory.


4α. Politics and Ethics From Niccolò Machiavelli on, modern political theory has been oscillating between recognizing politics’ autonomy from morality (the Florentine Segretario, Hobbes and Hegel, these two in very different versions) and trying to bring the former back under the sceptre of moral law as dictated by reason (Kant). The world however has changed a lot, and so has politics, as exemplified above with the twin notions of politics #1 and #2. This makes the old hard-realist position, for which ethics and more broadly universal norms have nothing to do with politics, look obsolete and obtuse. Even before politics #2 brought the attention to future generations to the fore, developments such as the universal institutionalization of legal human rights (from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the International Criminal Court) or the necessity for politics to legislate in matters of bioethics and biotechnology have made the borders between politics and morality more flexible. Some of these developments were stimulated by the fierce contrast between the dehumanized policies pursued by 20th-century totalitarianisms and the moral and political resistance of their opponents and victims. On a more theoretical level the complexity of politics–morality relations is indicated by their sharing of some essential categories, for example liberty and equality, which require, however, a finegrained differentiation between their political and moral usage. A well-known example is the positive conception of political liberty or ‘liberty to’, to put it with Isaiah Berlin, and its links to the moral notions of autonomy and self-realization. While we cannot enter a detailed examination of this relationship, it may be useful to do away with the widespread prejudices or idola fori that often surround the concepts we are talking about. First comes the conventional view that sees politics as the crude realm of unconstrained self-interest and poorly regulated pursuance of material


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or relational (e.g. prestige) goods; a realm that needs to be complemented or supplanted by ethics in order to give room to human values and dignity. This is not true not even for politics #1, in which the need to regulate conflict and to legitimize power (see below) creates mental and legal institutions of universalistic nature such as the legal system, the Constitution, fundamental rights and the rule of law (not only in modern post-absolutist politics; remember what Demaratos tried to make clear to Xerxes). In politics #2 the reasons for acting against lethal threats on behalf of future generations are political as well as philosophical (the will to preserve civilization from its man-made destruction) and moral (the respect for humankind, the protection of and empathy with future parents and children). Political normativity needs to clarify its relationship to the moral one,8 not to be swept away or disciplined by superior deontological or utilitarian teachings. Another face of the same prejudice sees all emergence of principles or universalistic norms in political life as the intervention of ‘moral standards’ (as argued by Stemplowska and Swift, 2012) superseding the daily and undignified business of politics. Two remarks can be made in this respect. First, unlike in common language, in a scientific discussion the word ‘moral’ cannot be watered down to mean whatever goes just one step beyond the pragmatic wisdom used by actors in their daily affairs. Nor can it easily be transferred from its proper dimension, the individual as a person acting towards other such actors, to the realm of the relations between groups and institutions. Second, it is the very political context that in discrete evolutionary stages distils principles and duties (embodied in the institutions just mentioned), whose observance becomes over time the basic condition for membership in the polity or the international community. These principles, often related to philosophical doctrines, can become as fundamental for individuals as to justify hardships and the loss of one’s own life suffered in their name, far away from the exclusively self-centred

attitude attributed to people acting politically. Also, attributing ‘ethical’ motivations to political goals enhances perhaps the rhetorical effect, but does not bring them any inch closer to realization, as the evolution of climate policy shows. Acting politically remains however, different from acting morally, also because it is dedicated not only to theorizing and proclaiming collective goals, but to their attainment as well. In politics the very definition of goals is subject to something like a cost–­ benefit analysis, in the sense that ideally valuable goals may be dropped because the human and political (in terms of consensus) costs are too high. Besides, in the pursuance of political goals the timing plays a role that is irrelevant to morality, since along with their content goals sought or attained, are valuable or not depending on the time they require till they are attained – the coalitions supporting them may in the meantime dissolve or change preferences. What is more, assuming responsibility for the effects and sub-effects, even if undesired, of our course of action – and factoring them in while choosing goals and strategies – is essential to our acting politically. Transferring into politics the simple imperative ‘obey the law’ (or the principles established by ideal theory, see below) in analogy to what we are doing in normative morality denies Weber’s ethics of responsibility and may result in righteousness or fanaticism. In politics normativity weighs in as a (often hidden) premise, setting goals (e.g. more equality; peace in freedom) and limits (no corruption; no violence); dismissing its authentic role, as Foucauldianism or historicism tend to do, misses the cement of the polity and cannot explain its existence. Another difference is that moral law can define and justify obligations (‘how’ to act), but not design motivations (‘why’ to act in a certain way). It is part of politics as well as political theory to identify the collective actors, the interests, the kind of discourse and the long-term coalitions that can underpin projects and strategies.

How to Understand Normative Political Theory

Lastly, moral normativity addresses individual actors in their interiority, while political normativity deals with collective actors in their behaviour. There is no more irritating sign of the equivocations generated by morality’s pretence to rule over political theory than the examples brought by its followers and mostly featuring the acting of fictional individuals in fictional situations rather than groups and institutions, as these are shaped by history and anthropology. More attention should be given in this context to Jürgen Habermas’ reflection on the relationship between facticity and normativity. For his discourse theory of law, law’s legitimacy in allocating liberties to individuals is not conferred upon it by morality, but results from the normative principle that regards only those norms as valid to which all persons possibly affected could agree as participants in rational discourses (Habermas, 1996). This version of deontological normativity is alternative to Rawls’ (cf. Habermas, 1995 and Rawls, 1995).

4β. Normativity and Ideal Theory The relationship of politics and ethics has many points of contact with the issue of ideal and non-ideal theory, which is in the theory of justice the leading path to normative construction. We will not highlight these points, leaving it to the reader’s perception, but we must point out that thinking in terms of ideal theory is not as such tantamount to thinking politics in terms of morality. Especially in Political Liberalism of 1993, Rawls insists on his ideal theory of a just society being a political theory. Now, what exactly is ideal theory? For Rawls, ideal theory ‘develops the conception of perfectly just basic structure and the corresponding duties and obligations of persons under the fixed constraints of human life and favourable circumstances’ (Rawls, 1999a: 216). Non-ideal theory deals with the principles that are to be adopted ‘under less


happy conditions’ and in the case of non-­ compliance to the norms issued by ideal theory, which assumes instead strict compliance with the principles of justice. This stance seems to be inspired by common sense, but let us heed Hegel’s warning: common sense can be the worst of all metaphysicists (der ärgste Metaphysiker). In this case, it is the assumption that life, political life in a democracy in particular, will be better if we redesign it thinking that people have in mind high values that are rationally established and can build institutions perfectly adequate to them, except that the latter are to be reconciled with people not always compliant with the models, or with circumstances that are not exactly favourable to their implementation. We know, however, that those perfect people never existed in history or were a tiny minority of saints, losers or fanatics, the latter sometimes with blood on their hands. We also know that models of justice or liberty or solidarity are effective only inasmuch as they are born from conflicts and movements in a particular country or area at a particular time, hence they are very much marked by history and anthropology; their importance does not stem from being the specification or re-adaptation of a systematic ideal honed by philosophers. Also, to become politically effective, the values we pursue, the concrete models of better institutions we may have in mind must be to a certain extent able to come to terms with the less ideal and rather self-centered interests of the groups that are to support the realization of the model. Innovative policy shifts can be performed not by a company of the stainless, but rather by coalitions in which angels are ready to walk for a while hand in hand with less noble creatures, if not with devils. The idea that political philosophy deals with perfect institutions that all citizens can be loyal to, while non-compliance with those institutions is a matter for non-ideal theory as a sort of B-theory goes against the modern view that politics is first of all about conflicts, in which by no means the parties


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are a priori on the right or the wrong side, because a perfectly just solution rarely exists, while the first and foremost problem is to develop institutions and policies that prevent conflicts from degenerating into war and disruption. The notion of ideal theory does not lack a certain naïveté paired with the philosopher’s presumption: on the one hand, the belief that possessing the perfect model is prior and conditional to redesigning reality ignores how the reality of political and social life comes about, in a way very distant from conceptual engineering. A suspicion of arrogance is, on the other hand, undeniable in the pretence that, if we want to find criteria capable of reordering to the best problem-laden areas of human life, we have to operate by philosophical deduction from principles – thus ignoring other types of knowledge, such as the reflection on history and human nature. This unhappy complex is what often makes the self-described ‘normative political philosophy’ appear futile and in its runaway fictional speculations intellectually unexciting, especially whenever it does not even attempt at preserving in the theory the fullness of the stuff it pretends to ideally regulate. What is missing in this mental attitude is the sense of the obstacle one should keep alive and bring to bear in the very moment in which one is looking for formulas capable of conceptualizing politics and society, instead of relegating the obstacles in the non-ideal theory closet.9 This is also the problem with the positive attitude of ideal theories towards utopia, which a priori dismisses theory’s chance to cognitively penetrate reality and give policymaking some orientation. Another trouble with ideal theory is that its very idea fails to recognize politics as the sphere in which ideas matter, but only do so if they can find cultural, social and political forces endorsing them and translating them into strategies and decision-making. The great ideas that have moved the world had each a bearer or protagonist, whom theorists identified as the principal agent for their ideas: the monarchy for absolutism, the bourgeoisie for

constitutionalism and liberalism, the working class and sections of the middle class for European socialism and the New Deal, and peasants and intellectuals in the liberation movements of the ‘Third World’. The attempt at locating this agent is lacking in the recent, pale appearances of ideal theory; the need to provide, along with speculative formulas, a Zeitdiagnose (diagnosis of the times) as their complement is disregarded and possibly felt as non-philosophical. Yet all this is not to deny the heuristic value of ideal theory whenever it contributes to define concepts and clarify conceptual alternatives ingrained in social and political life.10 Besides, on reading Rawls in comparison with his followers, a huge difference in the density and the usefulness of the theoretical argument becomes palpable. All of this can also be looked at from an evolutionary point of view. European modernity has already experienced a powerful endeavour to rethink the polity in the light of a morality shaped by the idea of Reason. This happened in the Enlightenment up to its philosophical culmination in Kant’s thought, but had hardly any influence on real politics, which continued to be better understood and managed on a realist path. Even the timid, and for a long while ineffective, efforts to build a collective security system were due to the reaction to the unprecedented bloodletting of 1914–18, rather than to the teachings of the idealist tradition, though the latter helped formulate legal proposals for a new international order (League of Nations). After this evolution, something different from an updated and greatly refined rerunning of Kant’s normativism, such as Rawls’ work in the substance is, was to expect, in the sense of a normative theory capable of integrating into its method the awareness of the real behaviour of actors and the role of the historical context.11 Also, for assessing justice in real politics one needs to compare cases of relative justice rather than to build a whole theory of perfect justice – to put it with Amartya Sen (2009: 16), who jokingly adds that knowing that the Mona Lisa

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(La Gioconda) is the most perfect picture in the world does not help when the choice is between a Dali and a Picasso. Lastly, after the fall of grand narratives such as Marxism or positivistic progressivism, there is little reason for resurrecting grand speculations de optima republica, or to make the achievement of an ‘end state’ (of justice, happiness or what else) the research objective of political philosophy. Philosophy has in our time all reasons to lower its pretensions. A short but overdue clarification: anthropology has been introduced here as philosophical rather than cultural anthropology. This has to do with the scepticism about designing an ideal polity peopled with ‘free and rational persons’ (Rawls, 1999a: 10), while later proceeding to look at the actions of not-so-rational persons (e.g. war) under the lenses of non-ideal theory. Better chances of both understanding and transforming politics belong to the approaches that assume from the very beginning a complex and ambivalent structure of political actors (including the gender differentiation) and take due note of the secular changes that have, for example, marked their cognitive equipment and perception apparatus in the shift towards a globalized and highly interconnected world.

Conclusion At the end of this journey through political normativity and its theoretical underpinnings the reader may ask: what is all this fuss about? Is politics not a power game going on everyday and driven by interest, struggle and compromise, with little need of normative beacons? This is a refreshing down-to-earth view, which however forgets about an essential feature of power, institution and policy: legitimacy. Apart from being ‘immoral’ or sometimes inhuman, power that cannot show its credentials of legitimacy is increasingly unstable and at the end of the day powerless. A polity can prove its legitimacy only as far


as its members deem it to some extent capable to fulfil their notions of good governance as resulting from the normative models they have in mind, but also to provide the essential goods (security, legality, minimal well-being) that citizens expect from institutions.12 In political philosophy the category of legitimacy is the connecting link between the conceptual reconstruction of how polities work and the categories giving them normative guidance (liberty, equality, justice and solidarity, in this author’s account). As is the case with this whole essay, this version of legitimacy has been designed so that its conceptual features remain as close as possible to the workings of real politics and its actors. This has happened in the persuasion that normative political theory is more useful and productive when handled less as an inner-philosophical issue and rather as a necessary piece of any effort to conceptually grasp the core of politics.

Notes  1  On normativity in general, see Robertson (2009).  2  See the relevant entries in Klosko (2011) and Gaus-D’Agostino (2013) as well as in the online Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (https:// 3  Rawls was aware of this gap, see ‘Remarks on Political Philosophy’, which constitute the introduction to Rawls (2007: 1–20). 4  For the present debate on political realism see Rossi and Sleat (2014), including its attention to realism in international relations. 5  In moral philosophy normative theories (determining what is right) are either deontological (actions are good or evil in themselves, depending on a supreme principle and regardless of the consequences) or consequentialist (they are good or evil depending on whether their effects enhance or harm the utility or happiness or pleasure of people). Still different are teleological theories, defining what is good and indicating how to best configure one’s own life in order to achieve this telos or aim. Kant, Jeremy Bentham and Aristotle are representative of the three theory types. Hegel and the communitarians of our time (Charles ­Taylor, Michael Walzer, Michael Sandel and others, all critical of deontological liberalism) can be seen as very specific versions of teleologism.


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  6  This aspect has been particularly discussed by Rawls in his rethinking of the just war notion in the light of the law of peoples, see Rawls (1999b: in particular 99–103), in which the legitimacy of both fire-bombing and nuclear bombing on ­Japanese cities in 1945 is questioned. 7  It is no mere ‘guidance problem’, as Valentini (2009) seems to believe.  8  The distinction of moral and political normativity has been once again formulated by Williams (2005). On ‘institutionalism vs moralism’ see Sangiovanni (2008).  9  ‘Climate ethics’ is an impressive instance of the futility of ideal theory whenever it addresses top-down a concrete political problem, as I have argued in Cerutti (2016). For a productive example of the theory of justice applied to a policy problem see Pogge (2008).  10  This is true also for Nozick (1974), the libertarian answer to Rawls.   11  Idealism and normativism are not exactly the same thing, but reasons of space prevent me from discussing their relationship. 12  More on legitimacy in Cerutti (2017: chapter 2).

REFERENCES Augustine of Hippo. 426 ce. The City of God against the Pagans, available at https:// 45304-h.htm, p. 140. Cerutti, Furio. 2007. Global Challenges for Leviathan, Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield. Cerutti, Furio. 2016. ‘Climate Ethics and the Failures of “Normative Political Philosophy”’, in Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 42, No. 7, 707–726. Cerutti, Furio. 2017. Conceptualizing Politics, London: Routledge. Cicero, Marcus Tullius. 43 bce. On the Laws (De legibus), available at classical/cicero/documents/de-legibus Cicero, Marcus Tullius. 44 bce. On Duties (De officiis), available at Codex. 535 ce, available at http://www. Deng Hsiao Ping. 1962. https://www.chinadaily. 18453523.htm, accessed 24 December 2019.

Dyson, Robert W. 2006. Saint Augustine of Hippo: The Christian Transformation of Political Philosophy, London: Continuum. Gaus, Gerald F. and Fred D’Agostino, eds. 2013. The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy, especially ‘Part III: Normative Foundations’, New York: Routledge. Habermas, Jürgen. 1995. ‘Reconciliation Through the Public use of Reason: Remarks on John Rawls’s Political Liberalism’, in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 92, No. 3, 109–131. Habermas, Jürgen. 1996. Between Facts and Norms, tr. William Rehg, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. Herodotus. 440 bce. Histories, available at html Horace. 23 bce. Odes, available at http://www. [English: tex t?doc = Pers eus %3A tex t%3A 1999. 02.0025%3Abook%3D3%3Apoem%3D2] Institutiones. 535 ce (from Codex Juris Civilis), available at institutes.html Kant, Immanuel. 1795. Perpetual Peace, available at intrel/kant/kant1.htm Klosko, George, ed. 2011. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Machiavelli, Niccolò. 1513. The Prince, available at staff/publications/paul-nation/PrinceAdapted2.pdf Marx, Karl. 1875. Critique of the Gotha Programme, available at https://www.marxists. org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/ch01. htm Nozick, Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State, and Utopia, New York: Basic Books. Plato. 2012. Republic, transl. by Chr. Rowe, New York: Penguin Books. Plato. 2016. The Laws, ed. by M. Schofield and transl. by T. Griffith, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pogge, Thomas. 2008. World Poverty and Human Rights, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Polity Press.

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Rawls, John. 1993. Political Liberalism, New York: Columbia University Press. Rawls, John. 1995. ‘Political Liberalism: Reply to Habermas’, in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 92, No. 3, 132–180. Rawls, John. 1999a. A Theory of Justice (Revised Edition), Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Rawls, John. 1999b. The Law of Peoples, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Rawls, John. 2007. Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, ed. Samuel Freeman, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Robertson, Samuel, ed. 2009. Spheres of Reason: New Essays in the Philosophy of Normativity, Oxford: Oxford Scholarship Online. Rossi, Enzo and Matt Sleat. 2014. ‘Realism in Normative Political Theory’, in Philosophy Compass, Vol. 9, No. 10, 689–701. Sangiovanni, Andrea. 2008. ‘Justice and the Priority of Politics to Morality’, in The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 16, No. 2, 137–164.


Sen, Amartya. 2009. The Idea of Justice. ­Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Stein, Peter. 1999. Roman Law in European History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stemplowska, Zofia and Adam Swift. 2012. ‘Ideal and Nonideal Theory’, in David Estlund, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, available at DOI:10.1093/oxfordhb/ 9780195376692.013.0020, accessed 20 December 2019. Valentini, Laura. 2009. ‘On the Apparent Paradox of Ideal Theory’, in The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 17, No. 3, 332–355. Walzer, Michael. 1977. Just and Unjust Wars, New York: Basic Books. Weber, Max. 1919. Politics as a Vocation, available at max_1864_1920_politics_as_a_vocation/ page/n39, accessed 15 December 2018. Williams, Bernard. 2005. ‘Realism and M ­ oralism in Political Theory’, in Geoffrey ­Hawthorn, ed., In the Beginning was the Deed, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1–18.

10 Political Anthropology and Its Legacy Yv e s S c h e m e i l

The goals, methods, and content of political anthropology (PA) vary across time and place. In some academic traditions it is conceived as ‘cultural anthropology’, which raises concerns about what ‘cultural’ really means. Other streams of research call it ‘ethnology’, to claim that it cannot be reduced to ethnography (the mere collection of data and artifacts). Generalizing from observation is the main ambition of political a­ nthropologists – with a risk: discarding local and historical evidence to opt for a global comparative perspective. PA does not track politics as is usually conceived, i.e. pertaining to the public sphere, but looks for it everywhere else. It focuses on the political underpinnings of social structures such as kinship and the family, a street gang, a banquet, etc. It looks for non-professional politics wherever and whenever it can be observed – be it in the remote past, far away from Europe where it was invented, or in modern structures and institutions driven by politics without politicians.1 This could be done even when institutions remain stealthy,

quasi-invisible to political scientists. It is also useful when more visible objects of political science (PS) (power interactions, social influence, and institutional regulation) are investigated. What does PA bring to PS? First, it embeds the political into a holistic set of social interactions as a ‘total social fact’, instead of studying it in isolation. Second, it focuses on the local language of power and influence (using concepts as expressed in autochthonous idioms). Third, it brings tools like the use of standardized field notebooks, the collection of artifacts, the drafting of sociometric graphs, participatory observation, etc. Fourth, it offers an alternative genealogy of the founding fathers that is not limited to philosophers (like Plato or Rawls), but is extended to famous political anthropologists (from Evans-Pritchard to Geertz). Fifth, it addresses in its own way the two big methodological problems that any social scientist must face: how to generalize from the singular (or abstract and theorize from the

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factual), and how to compare heterogeneous cases to find true universality without losing specificity. Sixth, it has ‘a corrosive power’ (Balandier, 1970: viii) over established theories, which often take for granted the distinction between the West and the Rest (Gledhill, 2009) or ‘complex’ versus ‘simple’ polities. Seventh, it takes attention away from utilitarianism and rational decisions to focus on political will and humanistic vision (Szakolczai, 2018: 20).

A Long Genealogy Visiting ‘strange’ countries (at a time when the notion of ‘foreign’ was still vague) is documented very early in history, and very far away in space. In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, palace walls were painted or engraved with images describing past explorations of unknown territories and peoples. Explorers, such as Ibn Battuta in the Arab world and Zheng He in China, reported faithfully and somewhat neutrally what they saw and heard, to such an extent that they earned the nickname of ‘logographers’. What is nonetheless striking in all these accounts is the attempt to restitute with precision a reality that would otherwise remain non-accessible to contemporaries. And here is the first principle on which PA is grounded: it is a standardized observation of the variety of the political customs and institutions. The second principle matters even more to the building of scientific knowledge of other cultures: systematic comparisons between every peoples must be made. Herodotus did not visit only ‘civilized’ Greeks and their neighbors; 16th-century Japanese writers triangulated analyses of their compatriots, the Chinese, and the Westerners. One thing was still missing, though, until the British foundation of an academic discipline taught in universities: PA should look for the non-visible political institutions in countries without script, history textbooks or constitutions, let alone parliaments, elections,


and parties – and no identified political heads. Hence, PA must look for politics in spaces where it is not recognized as a professionalized activity. The British and the French conquered or traded with a number of non-official polities. Since their administrators had to understand the context in which they lived, seminal works on colonized areas were much needed. Evans-Pritchard and Fortes’ African political systems, Evans-Pritchard’s The Nuer (1948), as well as Leach’s Political systems of Highland Burma (1954) did a lot to excavate power relations from the mud of networks of sociability from which power, influence, and manipulation were apparently absent. The ethnographic records of Malinowski or Boas also contributed to building functionalist and structural theories of politics in societies were power was hidden. Malinowski himself assumed that PA should look for ‘equivalents’, ‘substitutes’, or ‘alternatives’ to our political structures and functions (Malinowski, 1960: 120,123,137; Boas, 2006). The problem faced by the founding fathers was the lack of precedent. How could they make visible a ‘system’ of political relations that was not engraved into the marble of fundamental laws and made manifest in a ‘regime’? One way to proceed was to look for social hierarchies. British political anthropologists simply replaced compliance with deference; they found equivalents of legal punishment in social ostracism; they located real power in ‘big men’, sorcerers, and shamans or distinguished characters – like EvansPritchard’s ‘leopard-skin chief’ of the Nuer (Evans-Pritchard, 1940: 172–73), or Leach’s ‘thigh-eating chief’ of the Kachin (Leach, 1954: 121–22). They established kinship reciprocity and collective responsibility as substitutes for legal enforcement. When siblings must collectively assume guilt there is no need for courts, police forces, and jails. However, ‘segmentarity’ rules out state building (until now) or weakens colonial rule (in the 1930s). Because blood segments aggregate only as lineage branches, no political institution


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can emerge in societies that are nonetheless endowed with a sense of identity. What people get instead is a network of networks – another relevant concern in Internet-governed polities of today. Some anthropologists like Leach and Turner observed spatial and temporal variations of hierarchies.2 The former studied the oscillation of power in highland Burma – an unstable configuration of power called gumsa located between shan feudal relations and the gumlao-organized anarchy of equalitarian factions. The latter showed that ‘liminality’ was at the roots of any organized society in Africa (from East to West) and elsewhere, since transition from adolescence to adulthood as well as the passage from rank and file people to leadership positions required zones of undetermined status in which people could find out that it would be pointless to do to others things they would not like to experience themselves. Leach grounded social relations in space, and Turner anchored them in time. Both scholars insisted on informal relations, invisible structure, and flexible if not unstable behavior. Both noted that political communities existed outside Europe. Leach showed that the Kachin could understand each other’s twisted interpretation of common great narratives (as often stated by respondents, ‘if I were one of them I would think and act as they do’).3 Hence irrationality, inconsistency, instability, interactivity, and informality could well spread further across time and space than assumed in northern universities where the concept of institutionalization prevailed. The ultimate challenge to PA, as conceived, came from the treatment of conflict in informal political systems. Because the form and level of ‘political contention’ vary, social cohesion depends on varieties of feud regulation. However, if this is but a ‘variant’ of any form of peacekeeping, then politics is ‘relegated to accessory status’ as Easton once argued. On the contrary, PS considers regulation as paramount since it works on whole ‘systems’ as the most inclusive set

of interactions in any society. According to Easton the founding fathers of PA could only see politics as the result of the use of force plus a non-centralized organized authority – the only difference between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ political systems being this absence of centralization – whereas political scientists could paradoxically do without force, organization, and centralization. Anthropologists went too far in the other direction and equated the kinship structure with a political regime (Easton, 1959: 211–12, 219–20, 214–16). War was another sort of conflict that mattered to anthropologists in the founding years of the discipline, since it is a rare example of this ‘use of force’ associated with politics (see David and Rapin, Chapter 83, this Handbook). In war, strong fighters and smart strategists are needed, all sorts of weapons are used, and people are killed or enslaved. Even though there are no formalized borders, boundaries do exist between territories, and trespassing them is conducive to conflicts like anywhere else. To address such threat deterrence may sometimes suffice – as among Amazonians whose potential fighters simply extend their web of social relations to show rivals how difficult and illegitimate it would be to attack them (Descola, 1996). In both types of conflicts, some activities are more political than others, those that deal with collaboration and dispute-settlement among groups competing for power, and those which lead to binding decisions allocating or granting things of value to people (Easton, 1959: 226). Another cleavage, consanguinity versus contiguity, is debatable because it is either too evolutionist or excessively focused on kinship (Lewellen, 2003: 3). What is not debatable is the existence of power struggles and coercion everywhere. Only the containment of violence varies (it can be achieved by parliaments, a group of elders, secret societies – as the hundred membered Dogon families called ‘ginna’ – or agegroups and bands of young men). Since there must exist a system of arbitration everywhere,

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which requires in turn deliberation among selected people who make binding decisions, then the major political difference between societies is not the degree of specialization of the arbiters but the permanence or lack of permanence of their political role. This is the end of the typologies duplicating the canonic oppositions between stateless and stately societies, kinship and kingship, etc. Difficulties in finding standards of classification made it worthless. Contrary to most British anthropologists, Their French peers quickly got rid of taxonomies. Due to a durable Durkheimian imprint on ethnology (see Poggi, Chapter 3, this Handbook), they switched from political structures to political processes – how to create a national or communitarian ethics, how to alternate moments of collective enthusiasm or heroism with sheer routine, etc. Temporary coalescence replaces permanent structures. Continuity is striking from Mauss and Griaule to Lévi-Strauss and Godelier, or even Hellenists interpreting the meaning of the ‘beautiful death’ (Vernant, 1991). Despite the absence of central institutions and heads, ‘effervescence’ is nonetheless possible through particular moments of the social cycle (religious festivals, public banquets, coming of age ceremonies, celebrations of past events or heroes, etc.). They bring the necessary social glue to anarchical contexts. In other words, neither kinship nor territory may suffice to give people a political identity. A polity exists when it becomes visible to its members, as in complex societies with independence days, national celebrations, state visits, and even world championships. Also relevant for politics, a new insistence on valuable knowledge outside Western science paved the way for a more balanced vision of the relationships between European thought and local cosmogonies. When it emerged, anthropology was a sort of sociology applied to different objects (illiterate, ahistorical, and stateless societies). The Chicago School and its heritage in current urban ethnography blurred this implicit division of labor, and turned certitudes


upside down. Authors such as Isaac Thomas, Park, and Wirth, not to mention latecomers like Foote Whyte (2004) and Alice Goffman (2009) spotted people who live in towns although not as other urbanites did – immigrants, hobos and other homeless people, bohemian artists, corner boys and members of street gangs, inhabitants of racial ghettos and city districts, etc. Decolonization brought two additional ingredients to the new PA: a necessity to know the authentic other, and the impossibility of carrying on studying groups living in isolation in recently freed societies. These two contradictory goals gave birth, respectively, to comparative politics centered on political cultures; and to the rural ethnography of Western societies with a focus on how village life could survive the nationalization of politics, the centralization of polities, and the urbanization of human settlements. If they did, resilience should be attributed to a specific factor, non-political as well as non-institutionalized: culture, again, was a good candidate for the status of an explanatory variable; and so were interactions and alliances, as in the southern community about which Wylie devoted his PhD thesis, where people used to see their relations with others as being split between those with whom they had good relationships, and those from whom they have been estranged at some point – or, translated into a political idiom, between members of the same party, hence customers of the same café and shops, and all the others (Wylie, 1957). In recent years, the field of PA has expanded dramatically. Corporations, sectarian brotherhoods, safety or security teams, industrial towns, international organizations, etc. are now part of the legitimate perimeter of anthropology because they have to solve the problems of social hierarchy, common rules, and collective action. Likewise, processes and protocols like religious conversions, state visits, or caricatures have entered the field of ethnology. Therefore relations between actors have tended to substitute social and political agents themselves.


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Such versatility shows that politics was about coordination, conflict, and constraints even when political institutions were lacking.4 What eventually maintained the unity of PA was a continuous concern for cultures – i.e. shared values, moral beliefs, religious creeds, acceptable behavior, and confidence in central institutions – plus social networks (of siblings, friends, generations, or allies). But such a selection of concepts certainly evolved along time.

The Classics and Their Critics From structuralism and functionalism, to culturalism, then interactionism, we have four funerals and a wedding. The birth of PA was characterized by a focus on structure as the main explanatory variable of both universality and specificity among human societies. The basic assumption was therefore ‘structuralist’: everything was arranged according to an inner structure because it had to fulfill a much needed function – hence, this approach was also ‘functionalist’. Structures and functions were allegedly visible in complex societies but not so much in isolated ones where they would gain visibility only when anthropologists could observe rules, then link them to a probable underlying organizational chart saying who can marry whom, dine with whom, hunt or till land with whom, build houses with whom, and communicate with ancestors through whom. Reproduction, nutrition, housing, and religion were assumed to be full of rules that reflected structures and responded to a physical and social necessity. Such structural functionalism (see Agarin, Chapter 5, this Handbook) can either derive from law (most founding fathers were trained in legal studies [Thomassen, 2008: 265]); biology (basic needs being allegedly ‘natural’ or material); or linguistics (social relations depend on communication skills and symbolization is language). The British

opted mostly for biology, and the French for linguistics. Both were then superseded by American culturalism and interactionism. Culturalism (i.e. ‘privileging cultural factors over more political variables such as social stratification, ideological and partisan cleavages, political attitudes, institutional constraints, and strategic choice’, Schemeil, 2011: 511) was once a promising avenue towards greater recognition of PA’s achievements, as a way of ‘providing contrary evidence that may test and question the overambitious claims of theories’ (Daloz, 2018: 179). Culturalism now suffers from decreasing legitimacy. On the one hand, political culture is viewed as an outdated way to analyze the political underpinnings of the more global relationships between citizens, either in democratic or illiberal polities. While ideology seems more relevant as a way of studying partisanship and political alignments, culture itself tends to be considered as an ideological construct – not to mention ‘civilizations’ and their alleged ‘clash’. On the other hand, culturalism presupposes the absence of significant change in beliefs and behaviors – societies remaining identical from one century to the next, which would also give them an identity. In short, and for most critics, culturalism relies on essentialism and eternity. However, there is much more to say about the use of culture in explanatory models. Studying cultural aspects of an asocial reality is like drafting the dictionary of a foreign language: not all idioms are in use or even known to the speakers of that language, but they offer a repertory of alternatives and options to make themselves plain with enough nuance to be distinguished from their interlocutors. Picking out this or that idiomatic expression depends on tactical goals – like defending one’s self-interest or hiding it behind a commitment to the general interest. Since culture is mostly made of signs, symbols, and icons, what happens when people meet is a mutual activation of the symbols they have learned to understand in order to communicate peacefully – hence the privilege once given to static

Political Anthropology and Its Legacy

culture should inevitably prefigure a coming attention to symbolic interaction. This is exactly how interactionism became the winner of the contest between all these streams of research. This is because there is a close connection between PA as an approach and interactionism as a method. Since mainstream anthropologists avoid excessive interference with the people they study, they analyze interactions between them – be they material or symbolic. Once displaced from isolated societies to communities living with many neighbors in a modern environment, like a department store or a public transportation terminal, any form of anthropology is even more clearly an example of interactionism. When done with a special focus on politics, the interactionist component is converted into a crystallized set of beliefs and behaviors, like partisanship, electoral campaigns, or fights against foreign enemies in which myriads of social interactions are aggregated and dichotomized (between, pro and con, we and they, etc.). However, frontal oppositions may eventually hide the many different meanings of siding with some people against other people. At that point classical PA must be supplemented with new trends such as socio-anthropology and archeopolitics. Culturalism also declined because it gave way to cognitivism – since people see what they are trained to perceive (i.e. things as they are framed by their culture), their potential knowledge is bounded and limited. Whereas cognitivism anchors PA into culture or nature (the brain), socio-anthropology and archeopolitics anchor it within the other social sciences: sociology and psychology on the one hand, history and PS on the other hand.

Basic Concepts Political Culture In the absence of any boundary, identity document, or military mobilization, two ways


are left to make a society visible to foreigners as a distinct whole: diplomacy to keep others at bay, and political culture, a conception of the self as belonging to a polity (see BergSchlosser, Chapter 37, this Handbook). It is of note that, first, political culture cannot be conflated as ‘civic’ (contra Almond and Verba); second, it is no shortcut for ‘civilization’ (contra Huntington); third, it is not uniform. Uniformity of mores does not guarantee that a ‘culture’ will be recognized by outsiders. People have hyphenated identities. Subcultures can diverge. What insiders expect from a shared culture is not unanimous agreement, only a better understanding of their peers’ arguments and what makes sense, without endorsing the rationale for their decisions. Culture makes interactions easier; it also spares time and effort in anticipating the conduct of others because some things at least can be ‘taken for granted’, and are ‘commonsensical’, hence difficult to deny openly (like laicité in France, parliamentary democracy in Great Britain, Islam in Saudi Arabia, or Marxism in the former Soviet Union). Political culture may also be viewed as a cake of which each piece has a specific flavor. According to PA there is some evidence that the separation of the political from other dimensions of life is a Western phenomenon. But there is also some certitude that even when embedded in the social, most political practices and beliefs differ from the Global North to the Global South, and even from country to country. For instance, to attract supporters, political leaders in Nigeria opt for ‘conspicuous display’ while in Scandinavia ‘conspicuous modesty’ is of the essence (Daloz, 2018: 187; Bayart, 2009). In spite of this, representatives all benefit from a delegation of power, which has the same meaning in both cultures, and is therefore universal.5 Moreover, if there are as many registers of meaning as there are cultures, it is very unlikely that in a globalized world people could ignore what the others mean by ‘representation’. Hence, a 2011 Cairo demonstrator


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would have been perfectly aware of the difference between gurus, patrons, and lobbyists.6 But she could have combined these three registers according to her self-interest, the current context, and her mood.

Myths and Rituals Whereas myths are either written or not, they are much respected ‘texts’ meant to guide people in their daily life, which give some meaning to their deeds and opinions. Rituals are social processes that translate statements into practices, and make ordinary people commit themselves to the collective vision of their identity and ethics. According to LéviStrauss, myths are what unconsciously structure behavior, while rituals are events in which behavior can be observed. Myths point out consistency; rituals express contradictions (Gluckman, 1963). In a way, going to the polls after a highly divisive electoral campaign is also a means of displaying national unity: elections are but civilized substitutes for civil wars. In the absence of texts, anthropologists have focused on indigenous accounts of Creation. Myths are non-written narratives that also tell us where the community comes from, and what prohibitions to respect. They also say what a correct or moral behavior is. Since there is no constitution on which to rely, myths additionally provide a scale of obligations towards the others, and, when it exists, a clear hierarchy of deference to whom and when. In modern PA, mythical narratives can be translated as ‘sacred books’ (Bromberger, 1995), i.e. texts to which members of a community refer on any occasion (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Manifesto of the Communist Party, The Federalist Papers, the Quran, etc.). Such texts help people to memorize a particular mapping of social encounters, with zones of comfort, zones of benign neglect, and zones of conflict.

One of the most analyzed processes of initiation rituals is political socialization, an introduction into a new circle of sociability of people so far kept out of it because of age, sex, race, activity, or genealogy. It aims to put future heads into the shoes of those on whom they will some day impose their decisions, and transfer knowledge about secret societies’ proceedings, male-only meeting rules, magic, therapy, and prophetic skills. Joining gangs or remaining loyal to their leaders, being put on the roll call of voters, mobilized by the army, or invited as a guest of a host in an exclusive banquet, all require special rituals. Narratives are special myths, especially ‘Grand narratives’. They include other materials open to anthropological work such as stump speeches, lullabies, legends, fairy tales, and ‘national novels’ (history textbooks which reconstruct the past in order to make it consistent with an imagined community). Not all communities have a narrative: there is at least one culture in which history is ignored, the Amazonian Jívaro who have nothing to pass on to the next generation in terms of personal, family or collective heritage (Descola, 1996). Moreover, when such narratives exist, they are competing with each other. Members of such communities understand that each of its components has an equal right to stick to its own version of a reconstructed origin (every version is therefore considered as equally valid). Whereas complex, populated, and intermingled societies tend to produce a national history taught at school in accredited textbooks, members of small illiterate communities recognize the right of each person to choose among a plurality of views (this is well established among the Dogon in Africa, and the Kachin in Asia). Within the Classics, some authors used PA to show that tragedy could also be a political narrative which could help an audience to learn what is bygone (e.g. loyalty to kin) and what is a new way to think and act (e.g. loyalty to kings [Meier, 1993]). Drama has always been a convenient channel to tell

Political Anthropology and Its Legacy

people what to do, so PA should include it within its perimeter. From drama to public speech there is some conspicuous continuity. This explains why public speech and specialized idioms that are adopted when negotiating with foes are major sources of identity building – a proxy for ideology in societies with no written language. People who will soon step in as leaders must learn the specific language of public speech, as do the Ashuar in Ecuador and Peru (Descola, 1996) or the Guayakí of Paraguay (Clastres, 1974/1987).

Language Anthropologists have long been divided on the causal relationships between language and society: does language frame social interaction, or does it stem from previous intercourse? This ontological problem is known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The way people build sentences (with a subject, an object, and a verb), their numeration, and their vocabulary may stem from their way of life (urbanites do not need hundreds of quasisynonyms for animals, meteorological conditions, and edible plants). However, it may also be true that once invented, language evolved and made people view the local world accordingly (if you have a lot of words to address ethical issues, then they become more prominent, and the same could be said for politics and war). In PS nowadays the conflict between structuralism and constructivism is still raging, and it lies mostly in the language/society option. Is language a natural source or a mere construct? Whatever the answer given to this question, language and translation issues remain central in PA. The following riddle is an enlightening example of language ambiguity and the necessity of knowing the context to understand it correctly. It is a convincing explanation of the difficulty of being understood plainly when talking (and delivering political speeches, for instance). Imagine a situation where the indigenous


partner of a foreign observer takes him to the outback to teach him the local terminology, when a rabbit suddenly surges from nowhere and starts running, accompanied by the interpreter’s shout (gavagaï!). The ‘derided anthropologist’ is then unable to decide on the exact meaning of the word (‘rabbit’? ‘look’? ‘beware’? ‘hunt’? ‘wonderful’, or just ‘wow’), each saying something about the value of the rabbit and the meaning of the situation to the indigenous interpreter (Quine, 2013). The lesson to be drawn is that context and intention matter even more than facts – a lesson we tend to forget in our world made of objective and precise description that must be deprived of any equivoque.

Kinship: Real and Pseudo Most of the comparative advantages of anthropology over the rest of the social sciences lie in its focus on marriage and filiation. Parenthood trees are even considered as a specific technique without which the social structure could never be understood. Consequently, every scientific study of men and women’s interactions and institutions worldwide should start from the basics – marriage, kinship, and family structures (as Egyptologists do). However, research published about modern polities often skips such fundamental relationships. Hence, there is plenty of pseudo anthropological research borrowing its techniques from anthropological fieldwork without serious consideration of its objects. In PS, research on family links is not as technical and meticulous as in mainstream anthropology. However, personal connections between people in office and their challengers (who lives with whom, who is the godmother or the wedding witness of whom, etc.) are often studied. Of course, building solid knowledge about such webs of pseudo parenthood is an uneasy task – as such relationships may be drowned in an ocean of other connections (professional, educational, or incidental).


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Since PA also targets societies in which marriage and filiation play only a marginal role, continuity between mainstream anthropology and the way political scientists use it presupposes an extension of the perimeter of kinship, to include fake blood ties – i.e. clientelist ties, allegedly similar to those analyzed by anthropologists, although void of any blood relationship (Leca and Schemeil, 1983). Anthropological findings on kinship are a source of inspiration for political scientists. It forces them to take a closer look at: prohibited and preferential marriage or friendship (with whom one must be seen or not when dining out); ‘joking relationships’ among siblings, or just among peers (Radcliffe-Brown); social effervescence (Durkheim); mentorship of junior politicians by seniors, etc.

Leadership To avoid notions that may look Western (like ‘rulers’), anthropologists use indigenous labels like ‘big men’, ‘prophets’, and ‘sorcerers’ (respectively translated into the modern idioms of political regimes as ‘leaders’,7 ‘spin doctors’, and ‘fixers’). PA needs words that neither mean full compliance with their public statements nor imply enforcement of their decisions. This points out the relative impotence of powerful people: to be heard by those over whom they rule they cannot rely on force, or majority in Parliament. PA shows that compliance depends on intangible perceptions, emotions, and symbols as much as they also rely on tangible resources. It also targets the volatility of personal influence, which depends on an endless maintenance of networks of sociability, plus a sincere understanding of reciprocity. Instead of taking for granted that institutions define the amount of power that someone can use when in authority, PA makes manifest the level of rulers’ vulnerability, even in modern political regimes (Abélès, 2002). It sheds light on deterrence and curse

rather than on the actual use of violence authorized by law. The paramount opposition of charismatic leaders to tricksters in most documented societies also underlines the fragility of power. Its double nature (Balandier, 1970: 37) is systematically made manifest through the opposition of two characters. In ancient monarchies, the King faces his substitute, or his jester; in tribal systems, the political chief is confronted by a ritual dignitary, or a ‘master of the land’; in modern regimes the ruler fights against the leader of the opposition. The former is meant to accumulate power in order to protect the people and provide for its needs, as well as limiting entropy, anomy, etc.; the latter is conceived as a means of preventing excessive accumulation of power, unacceptable to the people, through gossip and mockery or checks and balances (Wedeen, 2002). Some leaders are specialized in the secular, others in the sacred. Some inherit their status while feast-givers ‘buy’ it with gifts and free banquets (Abélès, 1980), as in modern electoral campaigns not so long ago in Japan or Italy. These differentiated ways of accessing a position of power guarantee that no influencer can ever become durably hegemonic.

Exchange Since Mauss, then Lévi-Strauss, then Goody the role of mutual exchanges in isolated societies has been carefully theorized. Although deprived of law and constitutions such communities have long ago designed sustainable processes of self-administration. Basic organizational principles are universal: circulation of property is required; some exchanges are prescribed and others prohibited; in the long run a strict equality of advantages must be achieved. With this in mind, the actual specificities of the modern world become obvious. Throughout the history of mankind, property rights have not been the rule but the exception. PA shows that in the long run humans

Political Anthropology and Its Legacy

opt for commons that cannot be owned privately. Contemporary political anthropologists claim that such lineage shows that the economy is always embedded in the cultural and the political (Thomassen, 2008). The implication for contemporary societies is obvious: distributive justice is compelling; self-help is illegitimate. Income and property must pass not only from one generation to the next but from neighbor to neighbor. ‘Waste’ (as in Amerindian potlatch or Ethiopian banquets) may be a functional equivalent for modern rational investment tools such as campaigns expenses, interest rates, transaction costs, or hedge funds. When redistribution or restitution is not possible, excessive wealth must be destroyed, something illustrated by the potlatch and New Guinean Kula ring (Boas 2006/189; Mauss, 1966; Malinowski 1922). Exchange is also a proxy for alliance. Everywhere people are trying to find who is or could become an ally, and who is or could become a foe. Most people living in isolated societies express concerns about latent surrounding hostility. There is a scale of distrust, in which stepbrothers are common targets of defiance (Leach, 1954; Descola, 1996). The lesson to draw in politics is: be aware that most traitors are recent friends who defect when they consider that the structure of bilateral exchange has become imbalanced. Commons and redistribution, plus networks and alliance, are at the core of an anthropological view of exchange because they create and maintain more sociability than political institutions can.

Norms This concept is not specific to PA but most anthropologists trace actual behavior to compelling norms with or without enforcement structures. In isolated societies norms organize every single detail of life. When there is no visible web of institutions, contrary to human groups studied by sociologists, or polities


observed by political scientists, then an exhaustive review of the hidden sources of compliance becomes a priority. Scholars must go beyond the surface and find the causes of deference for others, and respect for the rules. For instance, there is no enduring social organization without prohibitions – such as the prohibition of incest that applies even when shared interest or mutual love would call for exceptions. Likewise, there is no society without prescriptions – like the law of asylum even when fierce enemies or despised guests must be accommodated and protected willy-nilly. These paramount norms are vault keys of the whole social architecture. Beneath these paramount norms, second-tier ones, like loyalty, solidarity, and reciprocity, derive from them. For instance, political scientists know that no state apparatus could resist a sudden mobilization of the masses: the core question is which norm(s) can prevent such an uprising, and this can vary according to time and place. In 2010 in Egypt and Syria (just before the ‘revolutions’ in these two countries) two norms consolidated a tacit social contract for a long time: first, an imaginary ‘red line’ not to be trespassed at the risk of personal and social disorders of a large magnitude; second, contempt with regard to the political sphere, the realm of vice, ruse, corruption, and cheating. When support for these norms weakened, activists began to mobilize a less lethargic population. Although legal and even social rules had not changed at all, the hollowing out of these two political norms made the uprisings possible.

A Global Ambition It is of note that the Global South and the Global North make differentiated use of PA. In the former, political scientists trace anthropological methods and problems to colonization. They rely on classical anthropology or its revival. In the latter, anthropological insights may help authors reveal sorcery,


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prophecy, or magic hidden behind modern procedures of rulers’ endorsement. Additionally, classical anthropology may bring solutions to knowledge traps. When scholars are confronted with hostility, misunderstanding, and distrust towards invasive investigation, then taking stock of the works of past anthropologists is helpful. This can apply to urban gangs (A. Goffman, 2009), religious activists, corporations (Pudal, 2013), state visits (Mariot, 2011), citizens’ committees (Patsias et al., 2017), or war militias (Baczko et al., 2011). In the absence of seminal works in their own discipline that would help political scientists to find causes of the processes they study, they tend to refer to famous anthropologists. In recent years, two ethno-sociologists have emerged from a long list of big names: Erving Goffman, and Nina Eliasoph. Both are celebrated for focusing on the avoidance of conflict in public venues, which in a pun alluding to ‘political science’ the latter labeled ‘political silence’. According to them, human beings live in a Hobbesian world, even after complex institutions have been invented to pacify social interactions. Encounters with strangers are potentially dangerous, worrisome, or embarrassing. Once conflicts break out from uncontrolled interactions, people must openly take sides. However, a dissenting opinion will tear down the group. Cost- and risk-avoiding citizens in densely populated nations are therefore close to indigenous people who minimize conflict because they can neither exit from the small community to which they belong, nor voice their grievances too boldly. Turning to anthropology is also the best option when quantitative methodology is not feasible. But Goffman’s and Eliasoph’s achievements show that causation is not absent from qualitative research. PA can describe, illustrate, understand, without renouncing to theorize and explain. In Turner’s work (1969), ‘liminality’ explains much – as does Godelier’s survey of socialization processes among New Guinean Baruyas (Godelier and

Strathern, 2008). Leach takes for granted that divided selves exist everywhere. People are politically flexible and they can understand deviant and selfish behavior that they may themselves occasionally adopt. Scholars all assume that context and meaning matter. But they are also looking for causes that could apply elsewhere – such as Abélès’s ‘eligibility’ (an implicit status that brings heirs of former leaders to the fore when candidates must be endorsed). It makes sense to look for genealogical credentials in a French town as well as in an Ethiopian village (Abélès, 1980, 1989), but it also shows that ‘selectorates’ exist everywhere (clerks in Iran, the military in Thailand, the Communist Party in China). In the end, most political scientists sincerely believe that in-depth interviews (not iterative conversations), accredited observation (not participant observation), and some attention to context (not field notebooks) are means of obtaining recognition from mainstream anthropologists. They simply skip the very tools that distinguish the latter from other social scientists: family trees, folk culture, and body language, which can be inferred from external signs such as garments, tattoos, and body piercing. Whereas anthropologists meticulously collect artifacts (and make drawings or photographs and even films that focus on objects), amateur ethnologists usually show disdain for ethnographic materials, since their quest for narratives take a heavy toll in terms of time spent on the ground (Schemeil, 2006). To be sure, methodological tools matter much when what is at stake is the establishment or the legitimization of a science. No political scientists could however indulge in a fully inductive method. Living for years among people whose lifestyles are remote from theirs, in search of something that would make sense and consolidate their own explanation of a political process in a non-political society, is beyond reach, and possibly counterproductive. PA is to PS what slow food is to fast food: a humble non-directed quest for those rare

Political Anthropology and Its Legacy

occasions where the deep meaning of rituals and beliefs can be extracted from the relatively large amount of data with which professional and amateur anthropologists are confronted. While politics is quickly changing in political societies, authoritative assessment is required about what is going on there. It must be grounded in solid theory and exemplified by remarkable events. When hectic politics is hidden behind non-political processes and religious narratives whose pace of change is very slow, then patience and caution are of the essence. Because of such a gap between politics in formally politicized and non-politicized societies, selecting moments of exception offers a timely solution to this dilemma. Durkheim’s ‘effervescence’ in ‘primitive societies’ (Durkheim, 1915), Balandier’s ‘theatrocracy’ in Africa (Balandier, 1980), Geertz’s drama in Bali (Geertz, 1973), and Meier’s Greek tragedy (Meier, 1993) help us understand politicians’ performances in the media. This methodological shortcut brings together two assumptions: that visual representation of politics as a drama is enlightening; that big events make political virtues manifest. Here, popular support and participation prevail over what is actually represented – the uses and abuses of political structures. A similar remark could be made about Erving Goffman’s total institutions such as garrisons, hospitals, jails, and even schools, with their extensions in Parliaments and Courts: there are exceptional and reduced models of macro politics, whose social meaning is captured during special events (medical treatments, the hunt for fugitives, verdicts). It’s as if, in order to conciliate PS (which tries to explain events) and ethnology (which unveils their underlying structure), PA should skip the fabric of politics to focus on what comes out of it. Because scholars are increasingly focusing on special events, we may wonder to what extent they can generalize from single case observations. Since events could


be exceptional, inferring kinship rules from one wedding, or political repertoires from one mass demonstration would be spurious. Rather than sound generalization this would be extrapolation, an epistemological sin. Case studies would be worthless if no general rule could be drawn from their particular lessons.

A Disputed Legacy Major advances in PA may be considered as drawbacks in PS. A telling example is Leach’s tripartite distinction between kin, stepfamily, and foe, which diverges from Carl Schmitt’s frontal conflict between friends and enemies: because PA identifies people living in ego’s vicinity rather than foreigners as the main sources of conflict, it focuses on civil wars rather than international confrontations. PA also shows that introducing a third party between ‘us’ and ‘them’ substantially changes the nature of social conflict. It tells the story of humans fighting less fiercely against aliens than against allies, thus putting treason rather than reason at the core of their relationships with others. Another divergence with mainstream PS is about the continuity of nature and culture. Despite variation between scholars over time, nature still matters more in PA than in PS, where it suffers from an early association with the much debatable socio-biology. Political scientists feel estranged from biology; hence animals, bodies, brains, and genes do not easily make their way as legitimate objects of study elsewhere than in ‘biopolitics’, a sidelined stream of research. On the contrary, anthropologists are less and less convinced of the necessity of distinguishing ‘physical’ from ‘cultural’ anthropology. They insist on our animal nature, the environment in which we live, and our relations with non-humans. In doing so, they are allegedly explaining variations between societies much better than they would, were they relying only on cultural differences (Descola, 2013).


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There are methodological caveats, though. For instance, making successful efforts to popularize ‘grounded theory’ and ‘analytic narratives’ is a respectable attempt to combine qualitative and quantitative methods. Both have nonetheless to catch up with the mantra of a less theorized ‘thick description’ (Geertz, 1973), which looks more like a motto than a method: is this 1973 notion ‘thicker’ than observation as usually understood in ethnology (Hastings and Roux, 2018)? Because ‘thick’ description is selective, is it ‘richer’ than a detailed field description? How new is thick description compared to Lévi-Strauss’s (1955: 443) ‘slated structure’, which also focuses on a plurality of meanings for the same narratives or the same acts? According to Lévi-Strauss, multilayered mythical sets are made up of all successive versions, like the Oedipal myth from ancient Greece to Freudian Vienna (‘a myth is made up of all its variants’ and they all belong to a ‘permutation group’ [Lévi-Strauss, 1955: 435, 439, 443]). For Geertz, successive versions of a Balinese wedding from a 19th-century account to participant observation in the 20th century enrich the interpretation of this rite. The two approaches are similar, whatever Geertz could have said: both track the underlying resemblance concealed beneath manifest difference. However, Lévi-Strauss’s slated structure might be quantified whereas Geertz’s ‘thick description’ cannot be measured. General laws are less easily achievable with a methodology attached to idiosyncrasies. Because anthropologists focus on external symbols and artifacts of social life, they mainly work with cultural materials – and this may be of course conducive to culturalism. Geertz himself could step down from his iconic position in PA when we look at the way he addressed cultural issues. To get rid of any essentialism without removing specificity from his analysis he tries to find a global meaning behind the local accounts made of a cultural concept (like ‘person’, or ‘law’). Rather than his treatment of particularities, political scientists drawing inspiration from

his work should take stock of his obsessional generalization: to convey their intentions to others, people freely pick out tools in a constrained cultural repertoire. Lévi-Strauss and Balandier are not very far away, neither is J.-P. Daloz when he compares two strategic options, both culturally acceptable – opting for modest or agonistic behavior (Daloz, 2006). Beyond unequal achievements and doubts about best practices, recent trends in PA are being contested. Take the ‘interpretive turn’. In PA, people perform, they are acting, and they interpret a partition. Therefore, PA is all about interpretation – theatrical interpretation by actors on stage (as in drama), or theoretical assumptions made by interpretive anthropologists. Does this add much to the epistemology of Lévi-Strauss, Balandier, and Geertz? Since Geertz displays a preference for an intuitive, inductive, and impressionist framework, the ‘interpretive turn’ in the social sciences is traced to his Interpretation of Culture (1973). However, the meticulous depiction of Clouet’s portrait of Elisabeth of Austria in The Savage Mind was already an exercise in such kinds of empirical inference (Lévi-Strauss, 1966: 24–5). The description of the lace collar in miniature was an opportunity to infer a global law from a reduced model of reality,8 i.e. art is metaphorical and made up of events, while science is metonymic and made up of structures. But both require the collaboration of the informer/ artist and the spectator/anthropologist – a rather Geertzian conclusion. This goes much beyond the famous ‘tour de force’ through which Geertz tries to draw global information about eye blinking by examining all possible ways to wink, blink, etc. and convey information with one’s body (Geertz, 1973: 6-10). Either interpretation is a synthesis of explanation and understanding which encompasses them both; or, it is simply a literary facility used by scholars who are not novelists to freely depict reality as they see it, with no epistemological constraint to objectify it. And, of course, if the interpretive turn is

Political Anthropology and Its Legacy

only a detour on the road to a fully assumed cognitivism, then PA merely underlines the potential of cognition instead of taking stock with regard to interpretation. Lastly, look at the ‘practice turn’. Although it is too early to say how new this actually is, there are some solid reasons to remain cautious about inferring pecking orders from actual behavior instead of deducting them from structural arrangements (Pouliot, 2016: 15). If, contrary to anthropologists, political scientists and internationalists lose contact with ontological issues (as stated by Joseph and Kurki, 2017), ‘practitionists’ a fortiori would remain on the surface of what they should explain in depth. However, turning to practice makes anthropologists vulnerable to empiricism, inductionism, and excessive empathy for the people observed. Here lies a big contradiction: a better understanding of the meanings of social behavior may be achieved at a high cost – loss of lucidity. Overall, the balance is nonetheless positive: PA brings more novelty than pseudoinnovation, and it opens up many more avenues than dead ends.

A Bright Future Two alternatives are offered to PA. Either it opts for interactionism and cognitivism as the best ways to conciliate anthropology and sociology, theory and practice, interpretation and explanation.9 Or it politicizes methodology and epistemology in an attempt to offer new explanations, different from what mainstream PS takes for granted. PA surfs on the postcolonial wave and contributes to the debate about the colonization/decolonization process, on the ground or in the mind. Gender issues are less prominent, though. Because it reflects a reality to which it tries to be faithful, PA often relays gender imbalances that exist in the real world. PA could benefit from the recent popularization of ‘digital humanities’, hence making


true Lévi-Strauss’s dream of a computational anthropology. This would go much beyond the timid quantification of a qualitative science. For instance, we can imagine all the possible permutations of acts or processes meant in various spaces and times to convey the idea of a limitation of power. Such moves could well bring PA closer to PS – so close that in the end the boundary between the two would collapse. One question would nonetheless remain: to what extent does any ‘anthropology of…’ power, States, revolutions, insurgency, wars, migration, securitization, climate change, class, etc., to cite entries of one of the latest handbooks (Wydra and Thomassen, 2018a), differ from a political sociology or even a political theory of the same issues? Is it not true that power as defined as ‘resistance to intrusion’ (Horvath, 2018), rather than the capability of erecting borders in relation to others, is similar to Philip Pettit’s concept of ‘non-domination’ (1997)? Is it not true that revolutions, as defined as ‘ritual processes, highlighting transformative characteristics that closely resemble liminal in-between periods and spaces known from rites of passage’ (Thomassen, 2018), belong to a broader category – the ‘political socialization’ of amateurs who become activists (Patsias et al., 2017). Contrary to the growing popularity of PA, which is at the root of the so-called ‘anthropological turn’, or may be considered as the rescuing of post-positivism by anthropologists, ‘political anthropology’ cannot be a politicized sort of knowledge; it cannot be conflated with ‘the politics of anthropology’ (Thomassen, 2008: 1); it cannot indulge in tracing ‘the political stakes of practice’ (Rabinow and Stavrianakis, 2018). To remain meaningful and keep their recognized added value, political anthropologists must export their methodological skills and their own objects of observation (like interpersonal networks) rather than just importing political scientists’ concerns. Mimicking or ‘challenging conventional wisdom in PS’ will not suffice. Admittedly, PA


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is currently focusing on ‘process’ (instead of structure or function), ‘identity’ (instead of interest and organization), and ‘otherness’ (instead of a Western-centered view of the rest of the world) (Wydra and Thomassen, 2018b: 1–2). However, becoming post-positivist, post-modern, and postcolonial will not spare theorization about institutions and policy designs, the strategic manipulation of culture, and the intermingling of Western and non-Western powers. Conversely, political scientists cannot be mere amateurs in the realm of PA or, worse, hide their lack of competence in (and appetite for) quantitative methods behind an anthropologist-friendly attitude. To become a true anthropologist one should get enough ethnological training, and become familiar with the genealogy and the debates of the profession from the outset (which goes back to Maine, Morgan, and Taylor). Actually, professional anthropologists and political scientists who use PA may agree on one point: taming violence, inventing forms of self-restraint, and avoiding conflict are documented across time and space. Most people are risk-averse, in particular when they live or act within small groups and isolated societies. Encounters with strangers are possible sources of discomfort (Anderson, 2011; Schemeil, 2017). This may be true when someone tries to express a dissenting opinion, which will inevitably jeopardize the very existence of the group. Hence, nearly everywhere ‘avoiding politics’ is of the essence (Eliasoph, 1998). This may well be the paradoxical lesson that can be gleaned by the sudden popularity of PA outside anthropology: the more you do it, the less its objects remain ‘political’. To conclude, the added value of true PA is multifold. It turns politics upside down, and works bottom-up instead of top-down, horizontally instead of vertically, with networks as substitutes or rivals to governmental institutions. It helps us to see the invisible (unframed institutions, latent norms, and underlying social structures) concealed by

the visible. It combines the universal and the specific. It is conducive to extended comparison across time and space with no regard for disciplinary insistence on ‘historicity’, ‘continuity’, and ‘incomparability’. In other words, it paves the way for a cognitive socio-anthropology of the political in comparative perspective, an interdisciplinary approach that is still to come.

Notes  1  PA ‘shows that all human societies produce politics and that they are all subjects to the vicissitudes of history’ (Balandier, 1970: viii).   2  ‘The very strong stress on social equilibrium, which was so evident in Evans-Pritchard’s approach, was quickly questioned in a series of works that focused more on conflict and change’ (Wydra and Thomassen, 2018b: 4). 3  ‘The Kachins choose, according to their particular situation, the most favourable mythical references for their present interest’ (Balandier, 1970: 72). 4  ‘Anthropology was of course always about politics’ (Thomassen, 2008: 265).  5  Otherwise, how could we explain that listeners from most parts of the world understand the following joke immediately and punctuate its ending by a loud laugh? (‘Paradise is a place where organization is German, police is British, cooking is French, and opera is Italian; now, what’s Hell? A place ruled by German police, British cooking, French opera, and Italian organization’).   6  While disciple-master relationships matter in Islam, clientele are unavoidable in the Middle East, and parliamentary work owes much to pressure groups in the United States.  7  Although Bøås (2018) relevantly points out that in civil wars militias are headed by local ‘big men’, which explains the extent and durability of fragmentation of states like Syria, and the replacement of state institutions by ‘networks’ of insurgents.  8  ‘Science would have worked on the real scale but by means of inventing a loom, while art works on a diminished scale to produce an image homologous with the object. The former approach is of a metonymical order, it replaces one thing by another thing, an effect by its cause, while the latter is of a metaphorical order’. (Lévi-Strauss, 1966: 25)  9  One excerpt from E. Goffman’s work (1983) is enlightening in this regard: ‘Social structures

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don’t “determine” culturally standard displays, merely help select from the available repertoire of them. The expressions themselves, such as priority in being served, precedence through a door, centrality of seating, access to various public spaces, preferential interruption rights in talk, selection as addressed recipient, are interactional in substance and character; at best they are likely to have only loosely coupled relations to anything by way of social structures that might be associated with them’. (Goffman, 1983: 1)

References Abélès, M., 1980. ‘Religion, traditional beliefs, interaction and change in a southern Ethiopian society: Ochollo (Gemu Gofa)’. In D. L. Donham and W. James (eds), Working Papers in Society and History in Imperial Ethiopia. Cambridge: Centre of African Studies, pp. 163–168. Abélès, M., 1989. Jours tranquilles en 89: Ethnologie politique d’un département français. Paris: Editions Odile Jacob. Abélès, M., 2002. ‘Political anthropology of European institutions: Tension and stereotypes. Multiculturalism in everyday life’. In K. Liebhart, E. Menasse, and H. Steinert (eds), Frembilder, Feinbilder, Zerrbilder: zur Wahrnehmung und Diskursiven Konstruktion des Fremden. Klagenfurt: Drava, pp. 241–254. Almond, G. and S. Verba, 1980. The Civic Culture Revisited. Boston (Mass.): Little Brown. Anderson, E., 2011. The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life. New York: W.W. Norton. Baczko, A., G. Dorronsoro and A. Quesnay, 2011. ‘Mobilisations as a result of deliberation and polarising crisis: The peaceful protests in Syria’. Revue française de science politique, 63(5): 1–25. Balandier, G., 1970. Political Anthropology. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Balandier, G., 1980. Le pouvoir sur scènes. Paris: Balland. Bayart, J-F., 2009. The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly, 2nd Edition. Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity. Boas, F., 2006. Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas’ 1895 Edition of


Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Küste-Amerikas. Vancouver, BC: Talonbooks. Bøås, M., 2018. ‘New war zones or evolving modes of insurgency warfare?’. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen (eds), Handbook of Political Anthropology. London: Elgar, pp. 331–343. Bromberger, Christian (ed.), 1995. Le Match de football: Ethnologie d’une passion partisane à Marseille, Naples et Turin. Paris: MSH. Clastres, P., 1974. La Société contre l’Etat. Paris, Éditions de Minuit. (English version: 1987. Society Against the State. Cambridge: MIT Press.) Daloz, J-P., 2006. ‘Sur la modestie ostensible des acteurs politiques au nord du 55e parallèle’. Revue internationale de politique comparée, 13(3): 413–427. Daloz, J-P., 2018. ‘Comparative political analysis and the interpretation of meaning’. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen, (eds), Handbook of Political Anthropology. London: Elgar, pp. 177–190. Descola, Ph., 1996. The Spears of Twilight: Life and Death in the Amazon Jungle. New York: New Press. Descola, Ph., 2013. Beyond Nature and Culture. Tr. Janet Lloyd. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Durkheim, E., 1915. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life: A study in religious sociology. London: G. Allen & Unwin; New York: Macmillan. Easton, D., 1959. ‘Political anthropology’. Biennial Review of Anthropology, 1: 210–262. Eliasoph, N., 1998. Avoiding Politics: How Americans Produce Apathy in Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Evans-Pritchard, E. E., 1940. The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Evans-Pritchard, E. E. and Meyer Fortes, 1961. African Political Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Foote Whyte, W., 2004. Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1955. Fortes, M., and E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1948. African political systems. London: Oxford University Press.


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Geertz, C., 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books. Gledhill, J., 2009. ‘Power in political anthropology’. Journal of Power, 2(1): 9–34. Godelier, M., and M. Strathern, 2008. Big Men and Great Men: Personifications of Power in Melanesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goffman, E., 1983. ‘The Interaction Order: American Sociological Association, 1982 Presidential Address’. American Sociological Review, 48(1): 1–17. Goffman, A., 2009. ‘On the run: Wanted men in a Philadelphia ghetto’. American Sociological Review, 74(3): 339–357. Gluckman, M., 1963. Order and Rebellion in Tribal Societies. London: Cohen & West. Hastings, M., and Ch. Roux, 2018. ‘Que faire de la ‘description dense’ de Clifford Geertz?’. In G. Devin and M. Hastings (eds), 10 concepts d’anthropologie en science politique. Paris: CNRS Editions, pp. 13–36. Horvath, Agnes, 2018, ‘Charisma/trickster: On the twofold nature of power’. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen (eds), Handbook of Political Anthropology. London: Elgar, pp. 51–64. Huntington, S.P., 1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster. Joseph, J., and M. Kurki, 2017. ‘The limits of practice: Why realism can complement IR’s practice turn’. International Theory, 10(1): 71–97. Leach, E. R., 1954. Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study of Kachin Social Structure. London, LSE and Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Leca, J., and Y. Schemeil, 1983. ‘Clientélisme et patrimonialisme dans le monde arabe’. International Political Science Review, 4(4): 455–494. Lévi-Strauss, Cl., 1955. ‘The structural study of myth’. The Journal of American Folklore, 68(270): 428–444. Lévi-Strauss, Cl., 1966. The Savage Mind. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Lewellen, C. T., 2003. Political Anthopology. Westport, CT: Praeger. Malinowski, B., 1960. A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays. New York: Oxford University Press.

Malinowski, B., 1922. Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. London: G. Routledge and Sons. Mariot, N., 2011. ‘Does acclamation equal agreement? Rethinking collective effervescence through the case of the presidential “tour de France” during the twentieth century’. Theory and Society, 40(2): 191–221. Mauss, M., 1966. The Gift: The form and reason for exchange in archaic societies. London: Cohen & West. Meier, Ch., 1993. The Political Art of Greek Tragedy. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Patsias, C., J., Durazo Herrmann, and S. Patsias, 2017. ‘The steep and slippery slope of politics: Civic spirit, empowerment and politicization in citizen committees’. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 6(1): 95–123. doi:10.1080/23254823.2018. 1496844. Pettit, Ph., 1997. Republicanism. A Theory of Freedom and Government. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pouliot, V., 2016. ‘Hierarchy in practice: Multilateral diplomacy and the governance of international security’. European Journal of International Security, 1(1): 5–26. Pudal, R., 2013. ‘Politics in the fire station: An ethnographic approach to relations to politics in the firefighting world’. English version. doi:10.3917/rfsp.615.0917. [French: La politique à la caserne. Revue française de science politique, 61(5), 2011, 917–944]. Quine, W. V. O., 2013. ‘Translation and meaning’. In Quine, W. V. O. (ed.), Word and Object (New ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 23–72. Rabinow, P., and A. Stavrianakis, 2018. ‘Contemporary political stakes: After-lives of the modern’. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen (eds), Handbook of Political Anthropology. London: Elgar, pp. 65–75. Schemeil, Y., 2006. ‘Une anthropologie politiste en France’. Raisons Politiques, 22(2), 49–72. Schemeil, Y., 2011. ‘Culturalism’. In B. Badie, D. Berg-Schlosser, and L. Morlino (eds), The International Encyclopedia of Political Science, vol. 1. London: Sage, pp. 511–514.

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Schemeil, Y., 2017. ‘Le moment noir: pourquoi les études des rapports interethniques en Europe et en Amérique ne convergent pas’/ ‘The “nigger moment”: Why the studies of interethnic relations in Europe and America do not converge’. Revue française de science politique, 67(4): 695–714. (English version forthcoming). Szakolczai, A., 2018. ‘Recovering the classical foundations of political anthropology’. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen (eds), Handbook of Political Anthropology. London: Elgar, pp. 19–36. Thomassen, B., 2008. ‘What kind of political anthropology?’. International Political Anthropology, 1(2): 263–274. Thomassen, B., 2018. ‘The anthropology of political revolutions’. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen (eds), Handbook of Political Anthropology. London: Elgar, pp. 160–176.


Turner, V., 1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago: Aldine Press. Vernant, J.-P., 1991. ‘A “beautiful death” and the disfigured corpse in Homeric epic’. In Froma I. Zeitlin (ed.), Mortals and Immortals: Collected Essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 50–75. Wydra, H., and B. Thomassen (eds), 2018a. Handbook of Political Anthropology. London: Elgar. Wydra, H., and B. Thomassen, 2018b. ‘Introduction: The promise of political anthropology’. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen (eds), Handbook of Political Anthropology. London, Elgar, pp.1–18. Wedeen, L., 2002. ‘Conceptualizing culture: Possibilities for political science’. American Political Science Review, 96(4): 713–728. Wylie, L., 1957. Village in the Vaucluse. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

11 Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science J a c k P a i n e a n d S c o t t A . Ty s o n

The Use of Models Formal political theory is a methodological approach – common in domestic politics, comparative politics, and international ­relations – that is characterized by its strong commitment to logical rigor as well as its conceptual and analytical clarity.1 One of formal political theory’s core strengths is that it confronts foundational questions about politics. For instance, who shapes policy? What strategies do they use? And what informational and incentive constraints affect political interactions? Pioneering insights from formal political theory to each of the subfields go beyond these basic questions to precisely articulate the mechanisms responsible for the political outcomes we observe, often by untangling countervailing effects and isolating clear counterfactual comparisons. A formal political theory is usually comprised of at least two components: first, a logical (often mathematical) structure representing the critical individuals, decisions, constraints,

and information that make up the substantive question, and second, and just as important, an interpretation of that logical structure that gives substantive meaning to the aspects and results of the model. These two components are critical (Rubinstein, 2012), and they also introduce a flexibility in the questions formal political theory can address. The diverse ways in which formal political theory can contribute to understanding politics has also engendered considerable disagreement about how scholars can most productively use formal models as an analytical tool. In fact, there is a great deal of disagreement among formal theorists regarding what qualities make for a good (or insightful) model, the relationship between theory and empirical work, and what kinds of questions formal models are most appropriate for answering. In this chapter, we present a novel distinction between two common approaches to formal models in political science. First is the phenomenon perspective, which seeks to relate a formal model to descriptive empirical

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patterns, and the second is the experimental perspective, which views formal models as an explication of a causal mechanism.2 To illustrate the strengths of each of these perspectives (relative to the other), we consider the typical concerns a theorist confronts when developing a formal model from each perspective. We focus in particular on how each perspective approaches a comparative static comparison, which examines a comparison from changing one factor, while all other factors remain ‘static’. A comparative static analysis focuses on an ‘all else equal’ comparison by changing a single factor, holding all other aspects of the model fixed, and looking at the change in some outcome (perhaps simply equilibrium strategies). An ideal model from the phenomenon perspective addresses three empirical considerations. First, what patterns in the real world motivate the need for a formal model? Second, do real-world actors perceive tradeoffs that correspond with key assumptions in the model setup? Third, do the model’s comparative static predictions match empirical relationships? Although phenomenon-driven models are not realistic in the sense of providing a literal description of the real world, the setup and implications of these models do attempt to match attributes of the real world. Many approaches to model construction in political science draw elements from the phenomenon approach, whether they espouse combining models with quantitative evidence (Morton, 1999; Granato and Scioli, 2004), qualitative evidence (Bates et  al., 1999; Goemans and Spaniel, 2016; Lorentzen et al., 2017), or a combination (Laitin, 2003). Furthermore, in practice, many scholars attempt to provide insight into real-world phenomena when writing models, therefore implicitly adopting at least some elements of the phenomenon approach. Lorentzen et  al. (2017) surveyed every game theory article in six prominent political science journals between 2006 and 2013 that examined topics in international relations or comparative politics. They found that of the 182 articles,


128 (70%) included either a quantitative or a qualitative empirical component. The extent of this evidence differs from article to article, ranging from brief anecdotes in the introduction, to regression analysis of experimental or other originally collected data, and detailed case studies. But even sparse discussions of empirical evidence aim to convince the reader that aspects of the model are ‘realistic’, and descriptively reflect substantive cases. The real world is messy and complicated, and sometimes the best approach to understanding how it works is to analyze things in isolation. But there are always substantive features which, although known to be important real-world considerations, are nevertheless superfluous for explaining the core political mechanism. This observation motivates the experimental approach to writing a formal model, which focuses on isolating and understanding substantive mechanisms. Ideally, an experimental-driven model is intentionally parsimonious because the priority is on viewing a particular causal mechanism in isolation. Consequently, introducing extraneous features into the model, although more descriptively realistic, is counterproductive because either such features add no additional insights, or worse, they create confusion. Instead, the more focused the model, the more focused the comparison, and the more general the insight (Banks, 1990). Comparing the experimental approach to formal political theory to actual experimental design highlights its goals and virtues (Haavelmo, 1944; Ashworth et al., 2015). The classic setup of an experiment considers different levels of a ‘treatment’ and compares average outcomes between a treatment group and control group. Holding all else equal is precisely the goal of models from the experimental perspective, and consequently, there is less concern with accounting for the full panoply of substantive factors because – from the theorist’s perspective – these additional things are not a critical part of the analysis.3 A key strength of this approach is that by focusing on a particular mechanism, the


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analysis can reveal and understand the nuts and bolts of a substantive case, regardless of whether the mechanism of interest actually operates in isolation in the real world. A particularly important component of comparative static analysis from the experimental perspective concerns indirect effects. Often changing a single parameter can affect an outcome of interest through direct and informational channels. For instance, to understand the influence of political mobilization on government policies (through voting, protest, or other means), scholars generally study two effects. The first is a direct effect: mobilized dissent can create various problems that a government is forced to deal with regardless of the reason for the disruption to society. Second, mobilized dissent is generally considered to communicate dissatisfaction among members of the citizenry with the government’s policies. This leads to a conceptually distinct, informational, channel through which mobilized dissent influences government policy. From the phenomenon perspective, indirect effects can be a nuisance because they obstruct clean directional predictions from the model. However, from the experimental perspective, indirect effects are often the most interesting aspect of the model, because they demonstrate the character and importance of strategic considerations. Below we provide numerous examples of the phenomenon and experimental approaches in applied research, distinguished by model motivation, setup, and comparative statics. We then discuss common critiques of

formal models based on empirical applicability or lack thereof, and illustrate the differences in how the two approaches handle critiques. We discuss two influential debates. First, redistributive political transition models posit that economic inequality affects prospects for democratization by affecting demands for redistribution (Acemoglu and Robinson, 2000, 2001, 2006; Boix, 2003). Second, selectorate theory examines how institutional variation in leadership selection affects a range of outcomes, including public good provision and international war (Bueno de Mesquita et  al., 2005). We conclude with implications for research and training. Specifically, we emphasize how graduate game theory courses, by incorporating crucial philosophical and conceptual issues, could demonstrate how models can address substantively interesting questions in addition to teaching the technical structure of models. Table 11.1 summarizes the defining elements of both approaches. Importantly, these approaches are not mutually exclusive, and most published formal modeling articles contain elements of each. However, explicating this distinction is critical for understanding how to use formal models to advance knowledge of political phenomena, and how to avoid common critiques that may be pertinent to one approach but not the other. Our conceptual distinction between different perspectives has largely been overlooked and is useful for all political scientists who might otherwise neglect some contributions of f­ ormal models.

Table 11.1 Key differences between phenomenon and experimental approaches Motivation Model setup Comparative statics



Explain descriptive patterns Assumptions should correspond with tradeoffs perceived by real-world decision-makers Sign of key comparative static predictions (usually the total effect) should match statistical relationship or actions/outcomes in empirical cases

Isolate mechanisms Assumptions should be parsimonious to yield conceptual clarity Comparative statics are used to isolate substantive channels

Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science

The Phenomenon Perspective Motivation The phenomenon perspective is often motivated by empirical patterns or a set of observations, which can be either quantitative or qualitative, that existing research does not convincingly explain. Sometimes, the researcher presents a single pattern that raises strategic questions. For example, Slantchev asks a question about a particular case: During the last days of September 1950, the US administration faced a momentous decision about what to do in Korea: should American forces stop at the 38th parallel, as originally planned, or should they continue into North Korea, and turn the conflict from a war of liberation into a war of unification? (Slantchev, 2010: 357)

He then presents a model in which an optimal response to such dilemmas depends on the opponent’s incentive to ‘feign weakness’. Miller and Schofield (2003) demonstrate that US states won by the Republican presidential candidate William McKinley in the 1896 election nearly perfectly corresponds with states won by the Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election, motivating their model on how party agents can push platforms that over time yield party realignment. Acemoglu and Robinson’s (2006) book begins with narratives from Britain, Argentina, Singapore, and South Africa to highlight four regime trajectories that differ on whether democratization occurs and its stability. Their model explains how economic inequality shapes the equilibrium behavior of elites and the masses, which creates varying regime trajectories. Other articles juxtapose disparate patterns and argue that they share a common strategic logic. For example, Powell (2012: 620) posits ‘three striking features or stylized facts about both interstate and civil war’ based on quantitative and qualitative evidence in existing research: ‘(1) there are often periods of persistent fighting, (2) fighting commonly


ends in negotiated settlements as well as in militarily decisive outcomes, and (3) fighting sometimes recurs’. He argues that shifts in the distribution of power and actors’ strategic fighting decisions (to forestall adverse shifts) yield equilibrium behavior consistent with all three patterns. Paine (2018) contains a section before the model setup that presents regression tables to highlight a mixed empirical pattern: higher country-level oil production covaries with less frequent center-seeking civil wars, whereas higher regional-level oil production covaries with more frequent separatist civil wars. The model highlights two main countervailing effects of oil production on the likelihood of civil war onset, and explains why these mechanisms vary in magnitude depending on the opposition’s optimal civil war aims.

Model Setup To explain empirical phenomena, the model setup should incorporate important tradeoffs that real-world actors perceive when making choices. Although explicitly motivating assumptions using real-world examples is somewhat less common than motivating examples or testing comparative statics predictions, Lorentzen et  al.’s (2017) survey shows that 23% of game theory articles in their sample contained explicit evidence for assumptions. For example, Svolik (2009) studies an interaction between a dictator that seeks to concentrate power and a ruling coalition that attempts to maintain a powersharing arrangement. He assumes that the dictator’s strategic action to concentrate power sends an informative (but imperfect) signal to the ruling coalition, who may react by staging a coup. Svolik demonstrates the empirical relevance of this assumption by providing examples in which leaders’ attempts to consolidate power-generated observable signals to ruling coalition members. In the Soviet Union, Lavrenty Beria merged formal ministries after Joseph


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Stalin’s death to concentrate power in his hands. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein gradually replaced earlier supporters with loyalists from his home town. In these cases, subordinates gained information that was consistent with attempted power concentration, but they were unsure of the true motives of the dictator – which corresponds with the core assumptions of Svolik’s (2009) model. The motivating puzzle in Nalepa (2010) is that in the late 1980s, many communist regimes in Eastern Europe negotiated democratic transitions with the opposition. Gaining assurances that communist agents would not face punishment following a regime transition, they resigned peacefully in cases such as Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. This is puzzling when considering that the communists should seemingly have expected the opposition to break these promises. But, empirically, the new democratic leaders held their promises, which is also puzzling given their widespread desire to punish the communists. Nalepa (2010) studies a signaling model and explains that these promises were credible because of communists’ private information about transgressions committed by the opposition as informants during communism – i.e., their ‘skeletons in the closet’. But this mechanism is only empirically relevant if the real-world actors did indeed perceive this information asymmetry, which she confirms using evidence from interviews. For example: The communists attempted to exploit this informational advantage by trying to convince the opposition that it was highly infiltrated. One of the dissidents representing Solidarity in the roundtable negotiations recalled: ‘When I met Kwasniewski, he said, ‘Do not mess with those files, let them be – the agents were mostly your own people’. (Nalepa, 2010: 349–50)4

Comparative Statics Whatever the initial motivation for presenting and setting up a formal model, the analysis generates comparative static predictions that researchers can evaluate either with

statistical or qualitative evidence. This is a central element of the influential ‘Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM)’ approach to political game theory (Morton, 1999; Signorino, 1999; Signorino and Yilmaz, 2003; Granato and Scioli, 2004) and receives support from methodological research on combining game theory and qualitative methods (Bates et al., 1999; Goemans and Spaniel, 2016; Lorentzen et  al., 2017). Lorentzen et al.’s (2017) aforementioned survey of game theory articles in political science shows that 63% of game theory articles provided either statistical tests, cross-case comparisons, or case studies to evaluate comparative static predictions. For example, Conrad and Ritter (2013) examine the effects of international human rights treaties on incentives for domestic leaders to exercise repression. First, these treaties increase the likelihood of domestic protests in reaction to repression, increasing the need to exercise repression to retain power. Second, international human rights treaties increase the probability that repressive rulers will face litigation, which increases the costs of repression. Their formal analysis shows that the magnitude of the first effect depends on other aspects of the leader’s job security. The first mechanism is relatively small in magnitude for secure leaders because they are unlikely to experience mass unrest regardless of the presence of an international treaty. However, the first mechanism is large in magnitude if the ruler is insecure, and dominates the second mechanism. This analysis yields a clear implication about an empirically observable interaction effect. Conrad and Ritter provide regression evidence that international human rights treaties are uncorrelated with repressive behavior in states with insecure leaders, but covary with lower repression in states governed by secure leaders. As another example, Paine (2016) examines two countervailing implications of oil production: it raises the value of capturing the state for a rebel group, but it also increases government revenues to spend on patronage

Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science

distribution and coercion. Untangling these distinct effects yields an implication about conventional practice in the empirical conflict literature. Standard conflict models include both oil production and income per capita on the right-hand side of the regression, and usually find that more oil production covaries with a higher frequency of civil war. The motivation for controlling for income per capita is that this is a strong predictor of civil war onset. However, the logic of the model highlights the problem with this control variable, which many argue proxies for government revenues. By controlling for income, the regression implicitly answers the largely irrelevant question of what the effect of discovering oil in countries like Saudi Arabia would have been if discovering oil did not increase government revenues. Revised regression specifications that incorporate this consideration demonstrate empirical results inconsistent with conventional wisdom about a conflict resource curse. As an example of using qualitative evidence, Dunning (2008) highlights a set of conditions where resource wealth can promote democratic stability. High rents enable the government to provide public goods to the masses without needing to soak wealthy elites for tax revenues – mitigating class conflicts that would otherwise arise under a democratic regime. Using evidence from Venezuela, he shows that when oil rents were high in the 1970s, elites did not object to the high levels of public benefits provided to the masses because these public goods did not require high taxation (163–6). By contrast, as oil rents fell, Dunning (2008) shows that politics became polarized around classes and redistributive conflicts and ultimately facilitated the rise of the populist Hugo Chavez (166–83). These examples also highlight the valueadded of the formal analysis for deriving empirically testable comparative statics. In all three examples, the model analysis highlights two countervailing effects of a particular stimulus. The formal model facilitated


the rigorous examination of the interaction between the two mechanisms and the conditions in which one should dominate the other. In each case, the analysis yielded novel empirical predictions that the researcher could take to data and check for directional congruence.

The Experimental Perspective Motivation The goal of experimental-driven models is to study specific attributes of strategic tradeoffs, such as individual motivations, information frictions, and other strategic issues that shape politics. For instance, institutional constraints like voting rules, the timing of elections, or the rules determining how legislation must be proposed dramatically influence various aspects of democracy (Diermeier and Krehbiel, 2003; Dewan and Shepsle, 2011). Other examples include how political accountability differs from standard contracting problems (Ashworth, 2012), and the importance of communication in bureaucracy (Gailmard and Patty, 2012). As another example, Di Lonardo and Tyson (2018) study the interaction of domestic political threats and the logic of deterrence, which they approach from an experimental perspective. They first present the baseline crisis bargaining model of Fearon (1994) and Schultz (1998), and use this model to formally articulate the conventional logic of deterrence. Then they introduce domestic political threats into this framework similar to Bueno de Mesquita et  al. (2005) and Baliga et al. (2011): domestic support is necessary for a leader to keep power. To isolate the effect of domestic political threats on the logic of deterrence, it is important when adding domestic politics to hold constant all other aspects from the benchmark model. In addition, although the benchmark crisis bargaining model suffers from some shortcomings, the contribution of Di Lonardo


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and Tyson (2019) would not be clear had they started with a non-standard benchmark model of an international crisis.

Model Setup The goal of experimental-driven models is not to attempt to approximate the real world, but instead to only include in the model elements needed to elucidate the core mechanism. For example, Tyson (2018) studies a central problem with exercising repression in authoritarian regimes: the dictator requires the cooperation of her security apparatus. However, the very need for a security apparatus creates an agency problem: if the leader loses power, then she cannot completely fulfill the promises made to members of the repressive apparatus. Tyson (2018) explicitly removes other agency problems from the model, like moral hazard and adverse selection, even though such features are unarguably present in reality. Tyson (2018) does not include these aspects in his model in order to study implications resulting exclusively from the agency problem that arises from the leader’s tenuous hold on power. As another example, Banks and Duggan (2006) study determinants of public policy in legislatures with majority rules. They adopt a bargaining approach that assumes different members of the legislatures interact over time, and each can be randomly selected to make a policy proposal. If a majority adopts a proposed policy, then it becomes the new policy. By contrast, if a majority rejects a proposal, then the status quo remains in place. The goal of the model is to examine the implications of changing one key assumption from existing models: each legislator prefers any settlement to the status quo policy, i.e., the status quo is necessarily bad. This change implies that legislators may view the status quo policy favorably, making legislators more reluctant to vote for a new policy. Although real-world legislatures contain many additional features that Banks and Duggan (2006)

do not incorporate into their model, making the setup more realistic would distract from their goal of changing a single substantive feature from existing models.

Comparative Statics The purpose of comparative static exercises in experimental-driven models is to highlight the distinct channels through which a single factor causes a change in an outcome of interest, including equilibrium actions or their substantively relevant consequences. In most cases, there are numerous channels that correspond to separate mechanisms. The primary goal of the experimental approach is to elucidate each mechanism. As a canonical example, suppose that different values of a treatment are represented by different values of x that directly influence an outcome, but may also provide information to decision makers, i.e., by changing their beliefs. In this case, the substantive outcome of interest, Y(x,β), depends on x and beliefs, β. Supposing that everything is differentiable, then the total derivative with respect to x equals the sum of the direct and informational effects: dY/dx = ∂Y/∂x + ∂Y/∂β . dβ/dx The first term reflects the direct influence of x on Y. The second term combines the direct effect of beliefs on the outcome and the effect of x on beliefs. These distinct effects may pose a nuisance if the goal is to yield a predicted relationship between x to Y to take to the data. However, from the experimental perspective, the goal of the model is to untangle these distinct mechanisms. Sometimes these results are counterintuitive and ‘surprising’ from the perspective of existing theories, and this is a key strength of models emerging from the experimental perspective. For an experimental-driven formal theorist, perhaps the most interesting aspect of a comparative static relationship is the indirect effects that arise as a result of the strategic

Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science

context. To highlight the importance of informational effects, consider, for example, the classic jury problem, which studies whether jury verdicts reflect people’s sincere opinions gathered from the facts of the case (AustenSmith and Banks, 1996; Feddersen and Pesendorfer, 1998; Persico, 2004). To clarify this point, suppose there are N jurors and two collective outcomes, guilty (G) and innocent (I). Suppose also that convicting (i.e., choosing G) requires unanimity. There are also two equally likely states of the world: the defendant is truly guilty, or she is truly innocent, represented by ω ∈ {G, I}, respectively. Jurors want to convict the guilty and to acquit the innocent, and their payoffs are represented by: u(G,G) = u(I,I) = 1 and u(G,I) = u(I,G) = 0. Each juror attends the trial, but despite their common preferences, each interprets the evidence and arguments slightly differently. To capture this, each juror receives an informative signal, where guilty signals are more likely to be seen when the defendant is guilty, and innocent signals are more likely to be seen when the defendant is innocent. Formally, juror i receives a signal, si that equals either G or I, and Pr(si =ω|ω) = q ∈ (0.5,1). Will all jurors vote sincerely in line with their signal? Consider the problem from the perspective of an individual juror, who truly wants to convict only the guilty and to acquit only the innocent. Imagine this juror has seen a signal suggesting that the defendant is innocent. However, she also knows there is some probability that her signal is wrong and the defendant is guilty, and, moreover, other jurors’ signals may differ from hers. The juror in this example is driven by an informational concern. There is a direct effect that follows from her signal, namely, an innocent signal suggests that the defendant is innocent. However, there is an important indirect effect that follows from the structure of the jury problem, namely, the voting rule. Specifically, a juror considering whether her


vote is pivotal in the ultimate verdict, and who is considering voting to acquit, knows that the only case in which her vote will make a difference is when all other voters have cast guilty votes. But if all these voters have voted sincerely, it means that they have all received guilty signals – an extremely unlikely event when the defendant is in fact innocent. Consequently, it is not a best response for the juror to vote sincerely. More broadly, this example illustrates how indirect informational concerns influence decisions in political contexts.

The Abuse of Models Most formal political theory articles contain elements of both the phenomenon and experimental approaches. A formal political theory formulated from one perspective is motivated by a distinct set of concerns that the other perspective does not necessarily share – nor should it. But because the distinction between phenomenon and experimental kinds of models has not been articulated previously, concerns that are important ingredients from one perspective are often unintentionally used to obstruct the other. For example, an experimental-driven model, on the surface, appears to be far more stylized than one written from the phenomenon perspective. However, it is important to stress that this superficial kind of ‘artificiality’ is intentional, and constitutes one of the key strengths of this theoretical approach. The experimental theorist is driven not by a desire to include as many factors as possible, but instead, needs to ensure that mitigating influences, with respect to the main factor of interest, are suppressed. To accomplish this theoretically, the theorist intentionally omits factors, even though they might be important in the real world. These omitted factors are precisely the things that an empiricist controls for, but for a formal model to keep such things fixed, the theorist must omit them from the model.


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A common critique of game theoretic models is that their implications are unimportant because they rest on unrealistic assumptions (e.g., Green and Shapiro, 1996; Elster, 2000).5 To illustrate the difference between the phenomenon and experimental approaches, consider how a theorist from each perspective might respond to this criticism. A phenomenon-driven theorist should respond by modifying the assumptions to better reflect reality, whereas the experimentaldriven theorist would allege that such a complaint reflects a misunderstanding of the question their model was designed to address. Scholars have also debated the role and importance of empirical evidence in validating a model’s predictions. On the one extreme, the American Journal of Political Science proposed briefly in the early 2000s a submission policy in which the editors would desk-reject any formal modeling manuscript that lacked an accompanying empirical test (Fowler, 2005). On the other extreme, Clarke and Primo (2012) argue that empirically testing models misunderstands their purpose. Instead, they argue that the only purpose of models is what we call the experimental approach. With regard to this controversial debate, the difference between the phenomenon and experimental approaches to formal political theory is crucial for understanding the source and relevance of these different points of view. Confusing philosophical positions with quality judgments tends to obscure the discussion, leading scholars to talk past each other regarding things that are largely orthogonal to substantive issues. To illustrate our point, we present two examples from prominent models that exemplify these distinctions.

Redistributive Political Transitions The idea that inequality and prospects for economic redistribution affect incentives to seek or to resist democratization has a long

pedigree in political science. More recently, Acemoglu and Robinson (2000, 2001, 2006) present a parsimonious formal framework to explain these incentives in which a commitment problem is the key mechanism. Acemoglu and Robinson’s (2006) core model analyzes an interaction between a representative rich elite that sets policy under a dictatorship, and a representative agent of the poor masses that sets policy under democracy. Each actor seeks to maximize its own consumption by affecting the tax rate. Because of the assumed wealth disparity, elites prefer no taxes whereas the masses prefer a positive tax rate. Furthermore, economic inequality determines the extent to which the two actors disagree about taxes, as higher inequality causes the masses to prefer a higher tax rate. Although the elite unilaterally determine the tax rate under dictatorship (de jure power), the masses may be able to force higher tax rates by staging a revolution (de facto power). The elite has three options to stave off revolution: temporary concessions, repression, or democratization. One key mechanism that Acemoglu and Robinson’s (2006) model elucidates is the effect of economic inequality on the likelihood of democratization. They derive a non-monotonic relationship in which democratization only occurs if inequality is intermediate. At low levels of inequality, there is low demand by the masses for democracy because the amount of wealth held by elites that the masses could redistribute to themselves in democracy is low. At high levels of inequality, democratization does not occur because the elites use repression instead. The amount of redistribution under democracy would be so high that elites prefer to use costly repression to retain power. However, if inequality is intermediate, then mass demand for democratization is high enough that negotiated concessions are insufficient to prevent revolution, but the elites’ fate under democracy is not dire enough for them to use repression. Subsequent research criticizes numerous assumptions of the model setup. Some scholars allege that class differences between rich

Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science

and poor is usually not the primary political cleavage that drives political transitions (Epstein et al., 2012; Haggard and Kaufman, 2012; Ansell and Samuels, 2014). Others argue that, at least in the post-colonial world since 1945, economic elites do not usually exercise political control. For example, the military usually does not act as a proxy for the wealthy (Slater et al., 2014). Some posit that revolutionary threats rarely provide a stimulus for democratization and that other factors appear more important for explaining manhood suffrage in most European countries (Collier, 1999; Lizzeri and Persico, 2004; Llavador and Oxoby, 2005), womanhood suffrage (Przeworski, 2009), or internationally driven transitions in recent decades (Levitsky and Way, 2010; Haggard and Kaufman, 2012). Finally, many democracies do not redistribute en masse either because they lack infrastructural capacity (Slater et  al., 2014), or because elites exert considerable influence even under democracy (Albertus and Menaldo, 2018).6 Are these critiques relevant? From the phenomenon perspective, many of these are pertinent critiques that require a sustained theoretical and empirical dialogue. Given Acemoglu and Robinson’s (2006) stated goal to explain empirical instances of democratic transitions, it is important for the model to incorporate key tradeoffs that real-world policy makers faced. Correspondingly, models written in response to these critiques have yielded numerous insights by altering aspects of the original setups to more closely capture particular empirical settings (Dower et al., 2018). From an experimental perspective, these critiques are less relevant because the key contribution of Acemoglu and Robinson (2000, 2001, 2006) was to build on existing non-formal theories of democratization to understand the strategic interaction among social classes.7 Moreover, perhaps the most important contribution of these models is in identifying how democratization can result from a commitment problem that arises when elites lose (even temporarily) de facto


political power. The models of Acemoglu and Robinson (2000, 2001, 2006) also generate several counterintuitive predictions. For example, Acemoglu and Robinson show that if the masses can only mobilize infrequently to stage a revolution, then eventual democratization becomes more likely. This result follows because infrequent mobilization enhances the masses’ bargaining leverage in periods they can organize for revolution, since their future valuation of the status quo regime is low. As another example, Boix (2003) shows that high inequality does not cause elites to resort to repression when asset liquidity is high. If elites can move their assets abroad, then they do not fear high taxes under democracy, hence highlighting a subtle mitigating effect in the inequality–democratization relationship. Furthermore, highlighting the value of mechanism-based contributions to spurring future research and empirical insights, Paine (2019a) extends the asset liquidity mechanism in a dynamic model to help explain the empirical relationship between oil production and separatist civil wars.

Selectorate Theory The experimental perspective to formal political theory asks a different question. Specifically, does the setup of the model, including the underlying assumptions, isolate clear causal mechanisms? Whereas ensuring that all relevant factors are incorporated into the model is a mark of quality from the phenomenon perspective, it is often a sign of conceptual confusion from the experimental perspective. Likewise, having a clean, streamlined, and focused model is ideal for the experimental approach, but a scholar motivated by the phenomenon perspective typically has a skeptical view of such a model’s conclusions. As an illustration, consider the selectorate theory presented in Bueno de Mesquita et al. (1999) and Bueno de Mesquita et  al. (2005). A simple observation motivates selectorate


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theory: every leader relies on the support of some specified set of individuals, called the selectorate, which is designated by a country’s institutions. As a result of this, leaders cannot sustain their hold on power without adequately compensating their winning coalition, the proportion of the selectorate needed to keep them in office. When the selectorate is small, as in autocratic regimes, this is most effectively accomplished through providing private goods. By contrast, when the selectorate is large, as in democracies, this is most effectively accomplished through public goods provision. Numerous implications follow from this core insight, including why democracies do not fight each other, which they confirm with numerous statistical tests. Like redistributive political transition models, selectorate theory has attracted considerable criticism. Gallagher and Hanson (2015) critique three main aspects, all of which reflect a phenomenon perspective. First, in reality, there is no clear distinction among winning coalition members, selectorate members, and non-selectorate members. Second, existing measures of these concepts are flawed, rendering Bueno de Mesquita et al.’s (2005) statistical tests invalid.8 Third, Gallagher and Hanson (2015) criticize selectorate theory’s core assumptions, arguing that the theory treats selectorate members as homogeneous, conflates rulers with regimes, and mischaracterizes the relationship between public goods and political rights. Once again, the response to these critiques depends on one’s philosophical perspective. From the phenomenon perspective, it is important to improve the descriptive accuracy of the assumptions and to incorporate additional elements into the original model. These considerations have motivated several extensions to the original model that include revolutions, purges, and other forms of authoritarian ruler turnover (Bueno de Mesquita and Smith, 2009, 2017), the effects of natural disasters (Flores and Smith, 2013), and leader health shocks (Bueno de Mesquita and Smith, 2018).

However, viewed from the experimental perspective, a deeper concern with the core selectorate theory model is that it may attempt to be too realistic. The baseline selectorate model presented in Bueno de Mesquita et al. (2005: chapters 2 and 3) contains more than ten choice variables, plus a number of exogenous parameters and an infinite horizon. The core mechanism of the model, however, can be expressed more clearly by removing most of these moving pieces. For instance, Bueno de Mesquita (2016: chapter 11) presents a simplified version of selectorate theory that isolates the effects of the core mechanism – winning coalition size – and shows how it affects public goods provision and foreign policy aggression.

Implications for Research and Training Many debates about specific formal models in political science, and the modeling enterprise more generally, draw from what we term the phenomenon and experimental approaches. But because scholars have not previously articulated these distinct perspectives, we often talk past each other – both among those actively engaged in the formal theory enterprise and those who are not. Perhaps the most important takeaway from our discussion is that neither the phenomenon perspective nor the experimental perspective is inherently flawed. Instead, scholars often combine them effectively, if only implicitly, and insights from each has unique strengths that have improved the scholarly understanding of politics. Importantly, the phenomenon and experimental approaches to formal models are not mutually exclusive, and most published models contribute to both approaches. However, most authors typically frame their contribution, as emphasizing one perspective over the other, which generally leads the overall contribution to be overlooked. Compared to the experimental approach, for many, the phenomenon

Uses and Abuses of Formal Models in Political Science

approach is more intuitive when writing and thinking about models in political science because it more closely corresponds to historical and qualitative approaches. However, the experimental perspective has been gaining ground in all the social sciences – and political science is no exception.9 Consequently, the experimental approach to formal political theory will become more useful as it more naturally connects to research designs focusing on causal relationships as well as lends insight into the issues that are at the heart of these empirical studies. In addition to the direct implications for conducting and evaluating formal political theory research, the phenomenon and experimental distinction also carries important implications for future formal political theory training in graduate programs. Formal political theory’s key strengths lie in its ability to bring conceptual clarity to substantive issues by transparently articulating the relationships that drive broader scholarly debates. But introductory courses in formal political theory focus almost exclusively on ‘tools’ or ‘skill-building’, which has the unintended consequence of leaving some important philosophical and conceptual issues unaddressed. Of course, correctly solving a formal model is necessary, but it is not sufficient for making a contribution to political science using formal political theory. Instead, articulating the distinct virtues of the phenomenon and experimental approaches highlights the diverse contributions of formal political theory, and it is our hope that explicitly highlighting distinct philosophical perspectives to formal political theory can clarify the general discussion.

Notes  1  We interchangeably refer to ‘formal political theory’, ‘game theory’, and ‘formal theory’.  2  See Cox (1990) for a similar distinction applied to statistical models.  3  In experiments, all else equal is accomplished by randomization of treatment assignment (Kempthorne, 1977; Rosenbaum, 2017).


4  Less frequently, scholars motivate key model assumptions using statistical evidence (e.g., Paine, 2018).  5  The inherent complexity of the social world requires imposing some simplifying assumptions to construct a model of political behavior, and thus, all models simplify, formal or not (Clarke and Primo, 2012). Friedman (1966) presents an extreme view that models should be assessed solely for their predictive ability, and that the assumptions that generate these predictions are entirely unimportant. On the other end of the spectrum, Bates et al. (1999: 14) argue that ‘the assumptions [should] fit the facts’ for a model to have empirical applicability, which is perhaps also too extreme.  6  Others examine empirical contexts in which the core assumptions of Acemoglu and Robinson’s original redistributive political transition theories exhibit greater empirical plausibility. Paine (2019b) argues that post-1945 European settler colonies in Africa fit the scope conditions because a rich and politically dominant European elite feared the revolutionary potential of the non-European majority. He demonstrates statistical evidence consistent with Acemoglu and Robinson’s and Boix’s prediction that high inequality should yield high repression and revolution.  7  Some responses by the authors adopt a mechanismbased defense. Discussing the original model, Acemoglu et  al. (2013: 2, 16) state that ‘once one relaxed the simple poor versus rich nature of political conflict in their original models as well as the restriction of policy instruments, the nature of the comparative statics with respect to inequality in the basic model changed. Put simply, if the groups in conflict were not rich versus poor, but for example based on ethnic, religious or regional cleavages, it was not necessarily true that increasing inequality, in the sense of a higher Gini coefficient, would exacerbate conflict between groups. It might just result in increased redistribution within groups’. 8  This critique also relates to Clarke and Stone’s (2008) re-analysis of Bueno de Mesquita et  al.’s (2005) data.   9  This movement gained substantial momentum following Leamer (1983).

References Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson. 2000. ‘Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective’. Quarterly Journal of Economics 115(4): 1167–1199.


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Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson. 2001. ‘A Theory of Political Transitions’. American Economic Review 91(4): 938–963. Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson. 2006. Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Acemoglu, Daron, Suresh Naidu, Pascual Restrepo and James A. Robinson. 2013. ‘Democracy, Public Policy, and Inequality’. Newsletter for the Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association 11(3): 2,16–20. Albertus, Michael and Victor Menaldo. 2018. Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Ansell, Ben W. and David J. Samuels. 2014. Inequality and Democratization: An Elite Competition Approach. UK: Cambridge University Press. Ashworth, Scott. 2012. ‘Electoral Accountability: Recent Theoretical and Empirical Work’. Annual Review of Political Science 15: 183–201. Ashworth, Scott, Christopher Berry and Ethan Bueno De Mesquita. 2015. ‘All Else Equal in Theory and Data (Big or Small)’. PS: Political Science and Politics 48(1): 89–94. Austen-Smith, David and Jeffrey S. Banks. 1996. ‘Information Aggregation, Rationality, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem’. American Political Science Review 90(1): 34–45. Baliga, Sandeep, David O. Lucca and Tomas Sjöström. 2011. ‘Domestic Political Survival and International Conflict: Is Democracy Good for Peace?’. The Review of Economic Studies 78(2): 458–486. Banks, Jeffrey S. 1990. ‘Equilibrium Behavior in Crisis Bargaining Games’. American Journal of Political Science 34(3): 599–614. Banks, Jeffrey S. and John Duggan. 2006. ‘A General Bargaining Model of Legislative Policy-Making’. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 1(1): 49–85. Bates, Robert H., Avner Greif, Margaret Levi, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal and Barry Weingast. 1999. Analytic Narratives. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Boix, Carles. 2003. Democracy and Redistribution. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce and Alastair Smith. 2009. ‘Political Survival and Endogenous Institutional Change’. Comparative Political Studies 42(2): 167–197. Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce and Alastair Smith. 2017. ‘Political Succession: A Model of Coups, Revolution, Purges, and Everyday Politics’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 61(4): 707–743. Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Alastair Smith. 2018. ‘Political Loyalty and Leader Health’. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 13(4): 333–361. Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, James D. Morrow, Randolph M. Siverson and Alastair Smith. 1999. ‘An Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace’. American Political Science Review 93(4): 791–807. Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Alastair Smith, Randolph M. Siverson and James D. Morrow. 2005. The Logic of Political Survival. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan. 2016. Political Economy for Public Policy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Clarke, Kevin A. and David M. Primo. 2012. A Model Discipline: Political Science and the Logic of Representations. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Clarke, Kevin A. and Randall W. Stone. 2008. ‘Democracy and the Logic of Political Survival’. American Political Science Review 102(3): 387–392. Collier, Ruth Berins. 1999. Paths Toward Democracy: The Working Class and Elites in Western Europe and South America. UK: Cambridge University Press. Conrad, Courtenay R. and Emily Hencken Ritter. 2013. ‘Treaties, Tenure, and Torture: The Conflicting Domestic Effects of International Law’. Journal of Politics 75(2): 397–409. Cox, David R. 1990. ‘Role of Models in Statistical Analysis’. Statistical Science 5(2): 169–174. Dewan, Torun and Kenneth A. Shepsle. 2011. ‘Political Economy Models of Elections’. Annual Review of Political Science 14: 311–330. Diermeier, Daniel and Keith Krehbiel. 2003. ‘Institutionalism as a Methodology’. Journal of Theoretical Politics 15(2): 123–144. Di Lonardo, Livio and Scott A. Tyson. 2019. ‘Political Instability and the Failure of Deterrence’. Mimeo: University of Rochester.

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Available at ZXSEweCUMVOLQhka5wuiPZa5qnAsumiL/ view. Accessed 12/17/19. Dower, Paul Castañeda, Evgeny Finkel, Scott Gehlbach and Steven Nafziger. 2018. ‘Collective Action and Representation in Autocracies: Evidence from Russia’s Great Reforms’. American Political Science Review 112(1): 125–147. Dunning, Thad. 2008. Crude Democracy: Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes. UK: Cambridge University Press. Elster, Jon. 2000. ‘Rational Choice History: A Case of Excessive Ambition-Analytic Narratives’. American Political Science Review 94(3): 685–695. Epstein, David, Bahar Leventoglu and Sharyn O’Halloran. 2012. ‘Minorities and Democratization’. Economics & Politics 24(3): 259–278. Fearon, James D. 1994. ‘Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes’. American Political Science Review 88(3): 577–592. Feddersen, Timothy and Wolfgang Pesendorfer. 1998. ‘Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts under Strategic Voting’. American Political Science Review 92(1): 23–35. Flores, Alejandro Quiroz and Alastair Smith. 2013. ‘Leader Survival and Natural Disasters’. British Journal of Political Science 43(4): 821–843. Fowler, James H. 2005. ‘AJPS rejection without review for theory papers’. Posted on H-POLMETH24 March 2005. N7rz/5zpnT1STs198A Accessed 12/13/13. Friedman, Milton. 1966. Essays in Positive Economics. Chicago, Il: University of Chicago Press. Gailmard, Sean and John W. Patty. 2012. ‘Formal Models of Bureaucracy’. Annual Review of Political Science 15: 353–377. Gallagher, Mary E. and Jonathan K. Hanson. 2015. ‘Power Tool or Dull Blade? Selectorate Theory for Autocracies’. Annual Review of Political Science 18: 367–385. Goemans, Hein and William Spaniel. 2016. ‘Multimethod Research: A Case for Formal Theory’. Security Studies 25(1): 25–33.


Granato, Jim and Frank Scioli. 2004. ‘Puzzles, Proverbs, and Omega Matrices: The Scientific and Social Significance of Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM)’. Perspectives on Politics 2(2): 313–323. Green, Donald and Ian Shapiro. 1996. Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory: A Critique of Applications in Political Science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Haavelmo, Trygve. 1944. ‘The Probability Approach in Econometrics’. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society 12: iii–vi, 1–115. Haggard, Stephan and Robert R. Kaufman. 2012. ‘Inequality and Regime Change: Democratic Transitions and the Stability of Democratic Rule’. American Political Science Review 106(3): 495–516. Kempthorne, Oscar. 1977. ‘Why Randomize?’ Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 1(1): 1–25. Laitin, David D. 2003. ‘The Perestroikan Challenge to Social Science’. Politics & Society 31(1): 163–184. Leamer, Edward E. 1983. ‘Let’s Take the Con out of Econometrics’. The American Economic Review 73(1): 31–43. Levitsky, Steven and Lucan A. Way. 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Lizzeri, Alessandro and Nicola Persico. 2004. ‘Why Did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, with an Application to Britain’s “Age of Reform”’. Quarterly Journal of Economics 119(2): 707–765. Llavador, Humberto and Robert J. Oxoby. 2005. ‘Partisan Competition, Growth, and the Franchise’. Quarterly Journal of Economics 120(3): 1155–1189. Lorentzen, Peter, M. Taylor Fravel and Jack Paine. 2017. ‘Qualitative Investigation of Theoretical Models: The Value of Process Tracing’. Journal of Theoretical Politics 29(3): 467–491. Miller, Gary and Norman Schofield. 2003. ‘Activists and Partisan Realignment in the United States’. American Political Science Review 97(2): 245–260. Morton, Rebecca B. 1999. Methods and Models: A Guide to the Empirical Analysis of


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Formal Models in Political Science. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Nalepa, Monika. 2010. ‘Captured Commitments: An Analytic Narrative of Transitions with Transitional Justice’. World Politics 62(2): 341–380. Paine, Jack. 2016. ‘Rethinking the Conflict “Resource Curse”: How Oil Wealth Prevents Center-Seeking Civil Wars’. International Organization 70(4): 727–761. Paine, Jack. 2018. ‘A Theory of Strategic Civil War Aims: Explaining the Mixed Oil-Conflict Curse’. Working paper, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester. html Accessed 12/21/18. Paine, Jack. 2019a. ‘Economic Grievances and Civil War: An Application to the Resource Curse’. Inter­national Studies Quarterly 63(2): 244–258. Paine, Jack. 2019b. ‘Redistributive Political Transitions: Minority Rule and Liberation Wars in Colonial Africa’. Journal of Politics 81(2): 505–523. Persico, Nicola. 2004. ‘Committee Design with Endogenous Information’. The Review of Economic Studies 71(1): 165–191. Powell, Robert. 2012. ‘Persistent Fighting and Shifting Power’. American Journal of Political Science 56(3): 620–637. Przeworski, Adam. 2009. ‘Conquered or Granted? A History of Suffrage Extensions’. British Journal of Political Science 39(2): 291–321. Rosenbaum, Paul R. 2017. Observation and Experiment: An Introduction to Causal

Inference. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Rubinstein, Ariel. 2012. Lecture Notes in Microeconomic Theory: The Economic Agent. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Schultz, Kenneth A. 1998. ‘Domestic Opposition and Signaling in International Crises’. American Political Science Review 92(4): 829–844. Signorino, Curtis S. 1999. ‘Strategic Interaction and the Statistical Analysis of International Conflict’. American Political Science Review 93(2): 279–297. Signorino, Curtis S. and Kuzey Yilmaz. 2003. ‘Strategic Misspecification in Regression Models’. American Journal of Political Science 47(3): 551–566. Slantchev, Branislav L. 2010. ‘Feigning Weakness’. International Organization 64(3): 357–388. Slater, Dan, Benjamin Smith and Gautam Nair. 2014. ‘Economic Origins of Democratic Breakdown? The Redistributive Model and the Postcolonial State’. Perspectives on Politics 12(2): 353–374. Svolik, Milan W. 2009. ‘Power Sharing and Leadership Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes’. American Journal of Political Science 53(2): 477–494. Tyson, Scott A. 2018. ‘The Agency Problem Underlying Repression’. The Journal of Politics 80(4): 1297–1310.

12 Postmodernism Past, Present and Future Richard Beardsworth

Postmodernism names an increasingly varied set of intellectual strategies that, in contradistinction to the rational empiricist method of mainstream political thought, in general and international relations in particular, has foregrounded the interpretive and political nature of all international relations scholarship (see Cerutti, Chapter 9, this Handbook). Postmodernism is, that said, not simply an academic exercise of knowledge (although, as I argue later, it can run the risk of theoretical abstraction). Postmodernism’s general aim is to test the limits and assumptions of our forms of knowledge of the political world in order to open up alternative ways of conceiving and practising the political (particularly to one side of the tenets of modernity). With its focus on contingency, plurality and reflexivity, postmodernism is often considered an appropriate form of political thinking for a globalizing world. In comparison to the schools of liberalism, realism and Marxism in both political and international theory, postmodernism does not present a

school of thought but no scholar of a postmodern disposition accepts the term uncritically; indeed, a wide variety of critical practices are covered by it. That said, the above brief description underscores, in Wittgensteinian terms, a basic ‘family resemblance’ between the arguments of these scholars. It is this resemblance that has allowed the concept of ‘postmodernism’ to acquire, in the last 30 years, intellectual consistency, particularly in the disciplinary field of International Relations (IR) and to designate something like a specific approach to international relations: an approach that, for younger scholars especially, may appear justified by recent history – the relative decline of the West, the concomitant changes in international order, global development, the political crisis of climate change, etc. In this light, the following account of postmodernism focuses on: (1) the intellectual origins of the term and its application to the discipline of IR; (2) postmodernism’s major strategies and commitments within the IR field;


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(3) important problems it meets as a specific disposition in IR; and (4) future perspectives. My account of the past, present and future of postmodernism is neither unduly sympathetic nor unduly critical. It seeks rather to situate the postmodern IR disposition in relation both to its historical formation and to the complexity of contemporary and anticipated international politics.

Origins Postmodernism in IR must be traced back to the major moves of French thought in the 1960s and 1970s. Amalgamating a set of arguments from modern linguistics, anthropology (see Schemeil, Chapter 10, this Handbook), psychoanalysis, post-Kantian philosophy and phenomenology, and literary theory, intellectuals like Jacques Derrida (2016), Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (2013), Michel Foucault (1980, 1991, 2008), Jean-Francois Lyotard (1986a), Julia Kristeva (1984) and Roland Barthes (1972) launched from the late 1960s onwards a series of critiques of the major tenets of humanism in the humanities and social sciences. They criticized, in particular, the authority of the modern subject (as the ground of modern knowledge, ethics, politics and aesthetics), representative theories of truth and reality and progressive theories of history. Although these critiques are different in kind and, at times, mutually incompatible, they are all, to a greater or lesser degree, intellectually committed to the following: to look to difference, otherness and the non-human there, where the modern period and/or modernity (within a larger metaphysical movement or not) secures ethical, historical and political identity through reason; to undermine any straightforward correspondence between representation and reality, the knowing subject and the known object; and, by showing the constructed nature of our representations of the world, to prise open the limits of these identities and constructions in order to allow

marginalized and alternative voices to emerge. Postmodern authorships have been concerned, in sum, with transcending modern ontology, epistemology and ethics, with expositing forms of critique that do not rely on a final instance of truth – God, humanity, the modern subject, the proletariat, the West, etc. – and with opening up from within prevalent structures of power, alternative conceptions of ethical and/or political determination. From the 1980s onwards, this thought began to influence the sub-discipline of IR within political science. Richard Ashley (Ashley and Walker, 1990), David Campbell (1998), William Connolly (2002), James Der Derian (2009), Jim George (1994), Michael Shapiro (1999) and Robert Walker (1993) are the foremost figures in this translation. The French critiques of language and representation helped, notably, to offer an alternative to the empirical rationalism of mainstream IR thought: the belief that theory describes the world and is validated through empirical evidence. The above refusal of an ultimate referent in language and of the concomitant ‘performative’ nature of all knowledge has allowed IR scholars, on the one hand, to historicize the dominant ‘objects’ of international relations thought – anarchy and collective action, sovereignty and interdependence, security and conflict resolution – contra the perceived abstractions of ‘rational choice theory’ and the empirical research methods of dominant forms of realism and liberalism. On the other hand, this refusal has also allowed them to reveal relations of interest and power within any theoretical construction of political reality. Here postmodernist critique has dovetailed with those of feminism and post-colonialism: or rather, the origins of IR postmodernism have equally informed the latter critiques as well. Since knowledge cannot be neutral, re-presented its object as such, it always already involves hierarchies of construction and ­interpretation.1 As a result of these two gestures, the field of IR is pulled away from explanatory analysis and related back to both

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theory and power; and the objects of IR are, in principle, opened up to alternative possibilities of political knowledge, agency and organization. This account of the origins of postmodern IR does little justice, within critical IR theory in general, to the important normative differences between ‘modernist’ and ‘postmodernist’ understandings of international politics. I will take these differences up in the next sections.

Commitments Since the establishment of these strategies within IR theory, postmodern IR thought has increasingly weighed theoretical understanding with empirical investigation. Postmodern topics in IR range from genealogies and deconstructions of the IR tradition (see Hellmann, Chapter 76, this Handbook), through focused attention on modern delimitations of sovereignty, to theorizations of contemporary modalities of warfare and security, of ‘liberal’ regimes of governance and surveillance, of American and British foreign policy, humanitarian interventions and migration. As said, since postmodern approaches to these topics simultaneously open up questions of patriarchy and western domination, they have necessarily dovetailed with respective transformations of IR through feminism and post-colonialism. This article will focus on the topic of ‘modernity’ in postmodern IR theory since all the above engagements presuppose a common approach to it. To understand the ‘how’ of postmodern commitments in the IR field entails understanding this presupposition. In its strongest philosophical formulations – one thinks here particularly of the works of Jacques Derrida and of Jean-François Lyotard – the ‘post’ of ‘postmodern’ designates neither an ‘after’ nor an ‘against’ of the modern period, of modernization processes or of the general descriptive ‘modernity’


(see particularly Lyotard, 1986b). It refers, rather, to a critical, ambiguous relation to the general tenets of the modern (see Derrida, 1982, 2004). These tenets consist in a belief in progress, in the emancipating powers of reason, in the political centrality of subjectivity and in ethical and political universalism (for example, and respectively, human rights and international/global institutions). Together with these tenets, commitment to ‘modernity’ affirms the exemplarity of a certain number of modernization processes that accompanied western capitalist development over the last 500 years: most importantly, the distinction between religion and the state; the separation of civil society from the state; the emergence of the individual and the categories of ethical, legal and political personhood; and liberal and social variants of democratization. For postmodern thought – and here the work of Michel Foucault has been by far the most influential in the social sciences in general and IR in particular – these processes dominate and discipline the individual as much as they individualize and empower him or her. Subjectivity implies, also, subjection. In Derrida’s terms, modern law covers over its own violent emergence and is consequently unable to reflect upon its ethical and political limits. Within the parameters of modern subjectivity and law, liberalism affirms, for example, universal tolerance, general assembly and historical progress based on specific understandings of individual and collective freedom. These parameters are, however, considered necessarily exclusive and violent since their core assumption of a unified subject ignores multiple identities and histories (within the modern subject, within western formations and among western, non-western and planetary formations). Finally, for postmodern thought, following the French ethical philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas (1969), the immanent relation between theoretical and practical reason in modernity codifies ethics and turns the Enlightenment principles of freedom into ones of abstract domination


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with little eye to locality and contingency. In these three respects, modernity’s promise of a generalizable axiomatics of freedom hides (ethical and political) practices of discipline and domination. For postmodern thought, modernity can be neither avoided nor transcended. Its inherent limits are, however, to be constantly (re)negotiated in a larger understanding of human and non-human worlds. Within the field of IR this argument has meant the following. For many in IR – ­traditionalist or not – the practice and discipline of international relations turns on the ‘anarchy’ of relations that befall the state outside the parameters of its own sovereignty as well as on the collective action dilemmas that ensue from this structural anarchy. For postmodernists, sovereignty and anarchy are mutually constitutive, violent constructions, the respective delimitations of which suppress the multiple differences and pluralities of the real world. Modern political organization – the state and the state system – does wrong to these differences, and it is only through recognitions of these differences that other ways of thinking and practising political agency in international and global politics are possible. Contra contemporary cosmopolitanisms, however, postmodern IR thought does not affirm either the individual against the modern state or the trans-national human rights regime that underpins supra-national juridical personhood. As said above, the limits of the individual are as constructed as those of the modern state. Modern liberal individualism and its internationalist equivalent, cosmopolitan liberalism, codify subjects in particular ways as bearers of rights, as fully delimited and conscious persons, as beings prior to social interaction and meaning. While, therefore, aware of the freedoms gained through modernity in distinction to the hierarchies of the pre-modern age, postmodern IR thought has considered, until now, the state as an obstacle in the plural fields of global politics, and sees the individual and universalism as the legacies of the particular formation of western Enlightenment. This legacy excludes understanding of non-western

practices of value, social interaction and community. It cannot, consequently, theorize for humanity as a whole. Postmodern thought converges here with neo-Marxist and postcolonial critiques of western imperialism: modernity cannot be a straightforward counter-force to such imperialism since, however much it distinguishes itself from authoritarianism, it is deeply complicit with past and present practices of domination. What emerges from this post-modern analysis of modernity? Any counter-subject to replace western modernity would simply reproduce the tenets of modernity. Postmodernists have consequently not sought (to date at least) a new political subject. They have sought to untie and foreground what is repressed by political subjectivity as such, hence their practical concern with the excluded, the marginal, the dissenting and an often too implicit engagement with political organizations that are more inclusive, and less exclusive. Postmodern thought’s prevalent political concern has been either with non-state agency and/or with a radical ethics. This ethics is not that of rational universalism. Addressing, as reasonably as possible, what political reason and subjectivity will necessarily exclude, it is an ethics of contingency, of uncertainty, of humility in the interstices of political arrangement and institution. Given technological and economic globalization, postmodernism in IR befits, it is argued, a global age. For in this age, plurality and difference are increasingly critical values that require articulation under the homogeneity of capitalist globalization processes and with the pluralization of international power. The postmodern engagement with modernity leads, as a result, to critical, dissenting approaches to international topics.

Problems I have said that postmodern thought considers itself to be a form of thinking that befits a

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globalized age. Its aim to recognize difference and plurality from under the categories of Enlightenment reason, modernity and globalization would indeed seem an appropriate intellectual project in order to transcend the binaries of west/non-west or north/ south and set up a more appropriate ‘global’ discourse and practice of international politics under contemporary processes of globalization (increasing interdependence and fragmentation). The dovetailing of postmodernist, feminist and post-colonialist concerns over the last 20 years in IR appears also to institutionalize this endeavour. There are, that said, a set of problems within postmodernism: ones affecting postmodern intellectual commitments as such; and ones that have emerged as these commitments have come to be rehearsed within the discipline of International Relations. This section considers two overriding problems; the next section considers the futures of IR postmodernism in a globalized, fragmented age in their light. One major problem met by the postmodern intellectual disposition is relativism. If, as postmodernism argues, all knowledge is constructed – and therefore informed by interest and power – it becomes difficult to posit hierarchies of knowledge either in the realms of ontology and epistemology or in the realms of ethics and politics. Without such weighted orders of knowledge, arguing for one set of knowledges and/or values against another becomes inherently tendentious. As a result, postmodernists can end up giving theoretical and/or moral equivalence to very different sets of claims in the name of reflexivity or diversity. The most evident example of this equivalence is in the postmodern argument against theoretical and moral universalism (considered as a basic tenet of modernity). To argue that no theory can make universal claims, or rather that any theory must understand how its claims are located in time and space in order to have theoretical rigour in the first place, ignores the processes by which thought is universalized beyond the bounds of (a particular) time and space. A theory has


universal validity, for example, because the ‘peer review’ process of its particular community underpins the claims of that theory. Without this process of peer review, these claims would remain within the community and not transcend it. The emergence of the truth of climate change over the last 50 years provides, perhaps, the most important recent illustration of this process. As a result of worldwide review among scientists of climate data, the theory of anthropogenic climate change has been established beyond all reasonable doubt. No postmodernist would wish to give intellectual equivalence to climate science and climate denialism; and yet, postmodernism’s suspicion regarding modern rationalism has not helped avoid our ‘post-truth’ era. More importantly, it remains unclear how the commitments of postmodernism can help restore consensus around the priority of truth. The relativist risk of postmodernism is equally evident today in the realm of ethics. In a globalizing and fragmented world one must pay careful attention to pluralism and to the plural ways in which human and non-human worlds deserve recognition and respect. To argue against the modern norms of the European Enlightenment in the name of this pluralism can confuse, however, source and validity. To argue that all humans ‘possess’ individual rights that require institutional framing constitutes a claim that has its overt source in European thought at a particular moment of economic, social and political transformation. The claim is not, however, reducible to this moment, but transcends it (or not) through the way in which it outranks counter-claims (or not). This normative outranking requires, in turn, spaces of discussion and deliberation that are themselves formed by the very values that one seeks to discuss. Within this hermeneutic circle of moral interpretation (played out through institutions and through historical time) it is impossible to reduce to a moment in time or place the processes of universal value-formation. It is accordingly impossible to give – in the name


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of reflexivity, plurality or diversity – moral equivalence as such to a universalist claim, on the one hand, and to a particularist claim, on the other. Both claims must be tested through the processes of value-formation; it is only through this testing that moral argument can advance. The hermeneutic circle is never of course resolved: neither ethics nor politics is a science. There is a difference, however, between rehearsing arguments within the circle and short-circuiting the circle in the name of a flat pluralism: postmodern critiques of the Enlightenment risk the latter step. This risk is unhelpful today in the context of both domestic and international disorder. The second problem that the postmodern intellectual disposition encounters and that I want to address here is the risk of marginalization. At least to date, and as the two earlier sections argued, postmodernism does not seek to posit a counter-subject against the modern subject; rather, it seeks multiple identities and dissenting, critical viewpoints from under the surface of modern subjectivity. For many, as mentioned above, this intellectual move fits a rapidly pluralizing world (and is therefore far from running the risk of marginalization). However, as I have argued elsewhere (Beardsworth, 2011), postmodern commitments confuse here aesthetic and political specificities. The realm of political behaviour and action is a realm of forces in which one force is necessarily counter-posed to another. The nonviolent disposition of ‘turning the other cheek’ constitutes, for example, a force in politics that was most efficient, for Mahatma Gandhi, in the context of the legal and political forces of English Law in early 20th-century South Africa and India. This disposition would, however, have been physical and political suicide against the forces of Nazi Germany. The realm of the political – however ethically mediated, whatever the exact form of the forces at play – is a realm of limits in which agents necessarily brush up against each other. To translate to this realm values that, precisely, blur distinctions and limits (within and among subjects) assumes that this realm is similar to the

aesthetic, where such blurring constitutes the very condition of good art. Postmodern commitments often commit this category error or confusion. As a result, postmodernism makes sophisticated progressive arguments without delimitation of the political limits and agents required to make such progress happen: it remains as a result absent from the political field. Other forces take control of the political realm in their stead – today, new forms of particularist politics. Postmodernism’s selfjustifying argument that it does not seek an alternative to the modern hides, I suggest, its fundamental lack of political realism in this respect. This is not to suggest that postmodernism is the cause of our present political disorders (a nonsensical claim). It is to suggest, as with our post-truth era, that the postmodernist disposition has not helped to arrest the emergence of present political dilemmas. At the very least, one cannot argue that its commitments befit a globalized, fragmented age. The above two problems – relativism and marginalization – come to a head in postmodern approaches within the discipline of IR for obvious reasons. In contrast with the humanities or a social science like sociology, IR is focused on a field of limits, forces and agents. However complex this field is (and at the level of causation, it is obviously highly complex), questions of empirical political reality, questions of order and disorder and questions of value and value accommodation are outstanding. Without consistent traction on these questions, sophisticated arguments for self-reflexivity, plurality and diversity can become, at best, abstract and, at worst, meaningless for the discipline. So, what futures can postmodernism countenance as an intellectual disposition in IR?

Futures As is clear from the above, I consider the tenets of postmodernism to be tested by present political realities, rather than confirmed

Postmodernism Past, Present and Future

by them. The postmodern critique of modernity – of rationalism, progress, the ­ modern subject and its ethical and political correlates – has certainly helped to make contemporary culture more careful of the limits of modern approaches to the world. Moreover, this care, as well as the humility that goes with it, can offer a framework within which to interpret, and help shape, a world undergoing important cultural and political transitions away from western hegemony. To do so, however, those calling upon postmodern argument in the discipline of IR need to make this framework more intellectually rigorous. In line with arguments rehearsed above, I would suggest at least four futures. First, to counter the risk of both relativism and marginalization, postmodern approaches to international relations should rehearse what an ethics and politics of the lesser violence entails. For postmodernism, all acts of theory and all practices of limitation are violent. The criteria by which both are either more or less violent require, however, formalization. From out of this formalization one can then argue what, in the realm of international politics, a politics of the lesser violence might entail and what institutions (or institutional reforms) at the international and global levels would be required to embody this politics of the lesser violence. In doing so, postmodern tenets may find a way not only of transcending our posttruth era and post-truth politics (with which I have argued it is partly complicit), but also of offering theoretical and ethical platforms on which to build a plural international politics. Second, postmodernism needs to look again at the liberal project, born within its articulation of modernity as a whole. Postmodern understanding of the liberal subject as well as of liberal ethics and liberal polity is impoverished (at least in IR) by its decline into anti-universalism and its concomitant refusal to address the formal, institutional conditions of difference. With this refusal, difference inverts into a politics of unarticulated differences without common ground. To revisit critically these conditions


and inversions might allow the postmodern approach to national and international politics to rehearse a new liberalism for our globalized age. Third, where the postmodern critique of modernity is very precisely borne out by present and future realities is of course climate change and imminent climate catastrophes (see Voituriez, Chapter 85, this Handbook). It is here, perhaps, that the ‘post’ of postmodernism will have found its most important place of argument. The last 500 years of modernization processes – from industrialization to the modern subject and its freedoms – are the very years in which the human has had such structural impact on the earth system that these very processes are increasingly in doubt. Contemporary arguments for the Anthropocene pinpoint increasingly accurately how the legacy of modernity is unsustainable for the planet as a whole (see, for example, Hamilton, 2017). Here indeed, the postmodern blurring between the modern subject and its un-freedoms, emancipation and domination, the human and the nonhuman, etc. can find their truth in the modern, enlightened disrespect of the planet and of its inhabitants as a whole. For this critical argument to have rigour within postmodernism, two points must nevertheless be borne in mind: first, it must adopt a new ‘grand narrative’ of the planet; and, second and concomitantly, it must relinquish once and for all an ethics and politics of the marginal in order to develop collective strategies of sustainable life systems. Fourth and finally, these collective strategies could work, for postmodernists, with an overarching agenda of development that seeks greater equality and sustainability among, and within, the richer and poorer countries of the world. It is well known that climate change will reinforce regional inequalities. Adaptation to it will require immense political will and effort so that something like global collective action offsets the new politics of disparity that is already emerging (see Morlino in this Handbook).


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In sum, will postmodernism make these jumps that would, at one and the same time, both confirm and reorganize its critical commitments? Or will it – a child of the 1960s linguistic turn – cede to new intellectual formations that are more ready to respond to the needs of the future? To rehearse the origins, commitments and problems of postmodernism in IR is, perhaps, to suggest the coming fork in the road.

Note  1  I have not spoken of the similarities of commitment between postmodernism and constructivism in IR: suffice it to say here that, while both sets of thought have similar theoretical outlooks on the social construction of reality, IR constructivism is much less critical of the liberal project in general. This is particularly the case in the United States.

References Ashley, R K and Walker, R B J (1990) Reading Dissidence/Writing the Discipline: Crisis and the Question of Sovereignty in International Studies. International Studies Quarterly 34 (3), 367–416. Barthes, R (1972) Mythologies. Trans. Annette Lavers. London: Jonathan Cape. Beardsworth, R (2011) Cosmopolitanism and International Relations Theory. Cambridge, UK: Polity. Campbell, D (1998) National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity, and Justice in Bosnia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Connolly, W E (2002) Identity|Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Deleuze, G and Guattari, F (2013) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. London: Continuum.

Der Derian, J (2009) Critical Practices in International Theory: Selected Essays. London: Routledge. Derrida, J (1982) Margins of Philosophy. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Derrida, J (2004) Rogues: Two Essays on Reason. Trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Derrida, J (2016) Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. Foucault, M (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977. Ed. Colin Gordon. Brighton: Harvester Press. Foucault, M (1991) Discipline and Punish: Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Penguin. Foucault, M (2008) The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures of the College de France, 1978–79. Trans. Graham Burchell. London: Palgrave Macmillan. George, J (1994) Discourses of Global Politics: A Critical Reintroduction to International Relations. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Hamilton, C (2017) Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene. Cambridge, UK: Polity. Kristeva, J (1984) Revolution in Poetic Language. Trans. Margaret Walker. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Lévinas, E (1969) Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Lyotard, J-F (1986a) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Brian Massumi. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Lyotard, J-F (1986b) Answer to the Question: What is the Postmodern? In Lyotard, J-F The Postmodern Condition, pp. 72–84. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. Shapiro, M (1999) Cinematic Political Thought: Narrating Race, Nation and Gender. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Walker, R B J (1993) Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

13 David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis H e n r i k P. B a n g

Introduction David Easton introduced the systems theory in political science. This theory appeared in social sciences during the 1930s and tried to promote a global approach of social facts considered as a whole which strives to maintain a certain order and an identity. As such, Easton (1917–2014) is one of the founding fathers of modern American political science, even though he was born in Canada and retained his Canadian citizenship his entire life. However, it was after first taking up a position in the University of Chicago in 1947 that he began developing his specific approach to studying political systems. He describes his first 10 years in Chicago as: ‘just one great intellectual high’. From the onset, he was completely taken aback by: the intellectual excitement, the natural interdisciplinary exchanges, the value put upon knowing and understanding, the passion for the idea and the systematic subordination of bureaucratic necessities to scholarly needs.

In Chicago, Easton was drawn into a crossdisciplinary group of scientists, discussing the new concept of system in the natural sciences and its application to the study of human and social life. He got acquainted with general systems theory’s ambition to formulate a systems language which was not dependent on any particular science or discipline (Boulding, 1956; von Bertalanffly, 1962; RadcliffeBrown, 1957). He also sensed how members of the group looked to psychology, anthropology and sociology as the core sciences out of which common variables might be identified. Finally, he noted how scholars from these sciences were especially attracted to studying human and social life by analogy with homeostasis (self-regulation) in individual organisms. Thus, the young Easton could conclude that there was a lack in the group of a special interest for understanding and explaining human and social behaviour in their political aspects. He then began his search for such a special political theory in a dialogue with political scientists but from the general vantage point of


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open systems theory, stating that the aim of critical systems inquiry must be (Wilden, 1972: xxvi) ‘to contribute to the long-term well-being of humanity in its historical process and global context (Wilden, 1972: xxvi). The coupling problem between a system and its environment and between the component parts of a system is central to this general approach. Like Karl W. Deutsch, who applied it to study political communication and control (1963), Easton employed it to look for the sources and the conditions common to whole sets of messages as such rather than to individual messages. The difference is that Easton, unlike Deutsch does not focus solely on the ‘nerves of government’ (1963) but on politics and society viewed as an interrelated whole. To him the coupling problem concerns political authority as a communicative and symbolic linking mechanism between a political system and society on the one hand, and between political authorities and ordinary members inside a political system on the other hand. This in turn explains why Easton did not adopt the homeostatic model that Parsons (1951), Almond and Verba (1963) and Rokkan and Lipset (1967) adopted from biologically inspired general systems theory: then he would have had to place social stability and normative integration in the forefront. However, in his endogenous and interrelationist political model, society could not exist without a political system being capable of handling increasing complexity by continuously changing and differentiating itself and its relationship to its relevant environments (Bang, 2011; Crozier, 2010). Thus, Easton’s application of general systems analysis to politics and society contains four claims (1965a: 24–5): 1  System. It is useful to view political life as a system of behaviour. 2  Environment. A system is distinguishable from the environment in which it exists and open to influences from it. 3  Response. Variations in the structure and processes within a system may usefully be interpreted as constructive or positive alternative efforts by members of a system to regulate or

cope with stress flowing from environmental as well as internal sources. 4  Feedback. The capacity of system to persist in the face of stress is a function of the presence and nature of the information and other influences that return to its actors and decisionmakers.

Claims 3 and 4 – response and feedback – point out two fundamental facts of political existence (1965a: 133): a. Members of a system are not passive transmitters of things taken into the system, digesting them in some sluggish way, and sending them along as outputs that influence other social systems or the political system itself. They are able to regulate, control, direct, modify, and innovate with respect to all aspects and parts of the processes involved.

Furthermore, such a transformative political capacity presumes that a political system can learn from its life-experiences (1965b: 369): b. Without being provided with an array of information about the consequences of present outputs, it could not add to its store of knowledge, its memory would forever remain static, and it would have no way of implementing its potentialities for learning and changing.

Hence, the persistence of a political system depends above all on its members’ capacities for learning and changing their system, its environment or both together. Therefore, the critical issue of political existence is how to provide coupling mechanisms between political authorities and ordinary members inside the political system (internal response and feedback), and between the political system and its relevant environments (external response and feedback). Without such coupling mechanisms, a political system could not become better at governing itself in the face of unceasing stress or risk. In this sense, political systems failure can mean one of two things: ‘[i] that [the system] has changed but continues to exist in some form; or [ii] that [it] has disappeared entirely’ (1965a: 82).

David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis

It follows that the basic presumptions presented above in (3) and (4), (a) and (b) and [i] and [ii] concern a political system’s transformative capacity to persist in some form even in the face of the most turbulent crisis situation, like a revolution or a rapidly developing high-consequence risk (like global warming). Considered in this light, is it any wonder that Easton’s critics nearly all begin their interpretations of his system from the conclusion that ‘the primary focus of David Easton’s work is what Talcott Parsons designates as the polity or the goal-attainment subsystem’ (Lewis, 1974: 676). ‘Like Parsons he is concerned with stability and order, with the “persistence” of political systems in a world of change and stress’ (Meehan, 1967: 174). ‘The result of this focus is to set aside the question of how the capacity of the polity is used to meet demands and to deal solely with how this particular subsystem maintains itself or persists’ (Lewis, 1974: 676). However, there is a simple reason why Easton’s political system from the onset was looked at as an offspring of Parsons’ structural, or normative, functionalism. This is how his model was introduced into comparative politics as an exemplar of modern political analysis. As Gabriel A. Almond puts it in his contribution to Easton’s Festschrift: Talcott Parsons’s formulation, coming out of a mix of sociological, psychological, and anthropological theory, stressed culture and personality, psychological orientation, and socialization processes… It was in this setting that Easton perfected his system framework. It was this systems model, much influenced by cybernetics, that I inherited from Easton’s work and that enabled me to codify and systematize the findings and conclusions of the five or six preceding decades of empirical research, primarily on American political processes. (Almond in Monroe, 1997: 224)

To Almond, and most other scholars in the mainstream, Easton was the one who fleshed out the missing diachronic and dynamic aspect of political history in Parsons’ synchronic and static scientific model. Thus, Easton’s political system became Parsons


social system applied as the concrete, historical mechanism for ‘unfolding’ the social structure just as it is ‘in itself’. The irony is that Easton’s systems model constitutes a fundamental break with this modern dichotomization of space and time, the first being available for synchronic analysis in abstraction from the diachronic functioning of the latter. As Parsons argued: [P]olitical science [is] the discipline concerned with political power and its use and control, but because of the diffuseness of political power this makes it a synthetic science in the social system field, not one built about a distinctive analytical conceptual scheme. (Parsons, 1951: 551, emphasis in original)

However, in The Political System, already Easton plainly and directly rebuts Parsons’ claim: If this statement were true, then the development of political science would be so dependent upon the other social sciences that little blame could attach to it for the level of its insights, the nature of its methods, or its neglect of theory…… I shall assume that political science does constitute a distinct field of research, not for problems of application alone, but what is more significant, for analytical and conceptual purposes as well. (Easton, 1953: 60–1)

As I shall show, Easton considers time-space inseparable from one another. To him, stability cannot be contrasted to change, because ‘stability is only a special example of change, not a generically different one’ (1965a: 106). His practical interest in politics is by no means prompted by a ‘technical’ interest in applying political authority to secure and sustain homeostasis in the social organism. To the contrary, it stems from his break with this identification of authorization with legitimate domination. In his doctoral thesis The Theory of the Elite: A Study of the Elitist Trends in English Thought, Easton raises the political claim that: [e]litism, the ideal of the reaction against democracy, yields political and social domination to the rulers. The democratic ideal, wherever it is found,


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encompasses a credible political sociology by recognizing the superior role of the people. Since the elitist myth of the governing class seeks to eliminate the people in connection with the destiny of society, this myth explodes when confronted with the fact that without the people, the rulers are as free spirits wandering lonely, dejected and unemployed in an empty world. But without rulers dominating their existence, the people, on the contrary find that very freedom that calls forth their most creative efforts. Elitism places blind faith in an appropriate governing class. The democratic ideal incorporates a tempered trust in the wisdom and creative genius of the people. (Easton, 1947: 418, emphasis added)

Easton’s practical commitment to, and belief in, ‘the people’s’ creative capacities for governing and taking care of themselves stems from his early experiences in Canada where he was born. He grew up in Toronto in very modest circumstances in a family with no academic background. He was the first in the family to attend college (the University of Toronto) and soon became engaged in leftleaning political activism. He toured back and forth between Canada and the United States as a stowaway on freight trains to participate in various rallies and protests. He met his wife Sylvia in a Trotskian Friendship Association in Chicago; she remained a leftleaning activist her entire life. They discussed the connection between democracy and political science their entire life together, combining her deep sense of human suffering with his natural intellectual curiosity. Thus, the mature Easton’s systematic focus on power-knowledge as the key to understanding and explaining political systems persistence comes from a practical ambition to connect political authorities and laypeople in the political community in terms of reciprocal relations of power, knowledge trust and respect. This is why the coupling problem is at the core of Easton’s political systems analysis: it is not only at the foundation of political existence but also of a democracy in which people accept and recognize their intrinsic differences – not as a barrier to, but as a condition of, identifying and handling their common concerns.

I shall begin by illuminating in a bit more detail how Easton became Parsons, and how this concealed the young Easton’s quest for finding a way to connect ‘fact’ and ‘values’, political science and democracy. Then I shall present Easton’s simple four-function model of the political system and shed light on how it makes the authority relationship between political authorities and laypeople in the political community inside the political system the heart of understanding and explains: (a) how a political system is structured in time-space and (b) how it manages to persist in some form in its relevant environments through time-space. Then I shall show, how Easton became inspired by the Chicago School – especially by Harold D. Lasswell’s technocratic and democratic approach to making and implementing policy – to find a way to overcome the twin dangers of evolutionism and historicism in his specification of the political relationship between democratic political authority and democratic political community. I shall conclude by encouraging young scholars to critically reassess Easton’s uniquely political macro-theoretical approach to the persistence and structuration of a political system in the light of current advances within the study of political institutions, political psychology, governance, governmentality and discursive and participatory democracy.

How Easton Became Parsons Then, how did Easton become famous (not to say notorious) as a founding father of an American political behaviouralism, which has been widely accused of silencing ‘the reflective and critical voice of the discipline’ and of undermining its status ‘as the discursive home of political theory’ (Gunnell, 1993: 269)? How could Easton become an exemplar of Parsons’ non- and apolitical kind of normative functionalism in which a political system is assessed solely by its

David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis

capacity to attain goals that contribute to ‘pattern maintenance’, ‘normative integration’ and ‘economic adaptation’ in the social system (Alexander, 1984: 10)? This social systems approach tends to reduce the practical tasks of political theory and science to a technical issue of how to internalize norms of social stability into the unconscious parts of people’s personality, hereby creating a disposition in them to support ‘the system’ and obey the decisions and actions of their political authorities (Parsons, 1968). This position is flagrantly inconsistent with Easton’s own specification of the relationship between democratic theory and political science presented above. However, Almond adjusted Easton’s model to that of Parsons. Citing a lecture which he once conducted to show the bond between Eastonian and Parsonian systems analysis (1997: 225), Almond critiques Easton of never providing: ‘the full notions of multidirectional interaction and of equilibrium and disequilibrium which are implied in the concept of system’ (ibid: 225). When Easton does not provide any such notion, it is because in his model ‘[a] system may well seek other goals than those of reaching one or another point of equilibrium’ (1965b: 20). This should also be common sense, since many political systems in history have had to hobble along in continuing disequilibrium when seeking new goals to cope with the concrete high-consequence conflicts, risks and challenges that confront it. When Almond does not notice Easton’s distinction between goal-seeking and goal-attainment but instead imposes Parsons’ Freud-inspired notion of order vs. anomie on his political system, it may be because he overlooks two facts about Easton’s systems approach: (1) Easton’s political system has not been modelled after a biologically and structuralistinspired mix of sociology, psychology and anthropology. It is more influenced by the kind of general but open systems thinking represented by scholars like von Bertalanffy (1962) and Vickers (1959), which explicitly


breaks with all equilibrium thinking. For example, as von Bertalanffy puts it: In contrast to equilibrium states in closed systems which are determined by initial conditions, the open system may attain a time independent state independent of initial conditions and determined only by the system’s parameters. (von Bertalanffy, 1962: 18, cf. Wilden 1972: 38)

Of course, in this framework, organisms are considered goal-seeking systems too, but ‘what they seek is stability, not change; what they reproduce is themselves, not novelties’ (Wilden, 1972: 363). This is exactly why it is a mistake to believe that what a political system seeks is ‘best described as a changing equilibrium’ (Almond, 1997: 227). Unlike an individual organism, a political system is not predetermined to seek equilibrium, homeostasis, order or stability, above all else. What it seeks is to exist in, and through, continuous change, whether incremental or revolutionary. Without such chronic changes, a political system simply could not articulate and handle the complex relationship within itself or to its relevant environments. As Easton himself puts it: What political systems as a type of social system possess uniquely, when compared to both biological and mechanical systems, is the capacity to transform themselves, their goals, practices, and the very structure of their internal organization. (Easton, 1965a: 99)

(2) Open systems thinking made Easton realize that (a) a social system is of a higher level of complexity, or order of organization, than are mechanical and biological systems (Buckley, 1968; Luhmann, 1995; Mingers, 1995; Bateson, 2002), and (b) a political system is distinct from all other kinds of social system as a general type of communicative decision and action, which can do something for society substantially different from what could be done without it (Deutsch, 1963). As he opens A Framework for Political Analysis – his first systematic investigation into the problem of political systems persistence:


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[I have] not been able to lean on any readymade model; and no eclectic borrowing from other varying kinds of systems approaches would do. A consistent structure of concepts had to be newly developed that would fit the kind of system that political life constitutes. (Easton, 1965a: xii)

Somewhat ironically, it was Almond’s Parsonian-inspired equilibrium approach to reading Easton which made his political systems model the most influential one in the field of comparative politics (Rokkan and Lipset, 1967; Blondel, 1990). Curiously, this Parsonian reading of a political system is still quite influential in comparative politics although it has since long been abandoned in all the other social sciences. As Mark Blyth notes, mainstream political science still suffers from ‘ELEN’ – a sickness making one study institutional formation in terms of concepts of equilibrium, linearity, exogeneity, and normality (2011: 99). Almond ‘infected’ Easton’s political system with this ELEN sickness to make it more useful to assessing the relationship between ‘rational man’ and ‘irrational society’ that liberal democracy has been designed to handle and mediate (Barry and Hardin: 1982). This relationship has until very recently been claimed to determine the input of specific (‘rational’) and diffuse (‘irrational’) support for a political regime and thereby its homeostasis or selfmaintenance. Thus, the factor of exogeneity in the ELEN model turned Easton’s model into a black box for studying how to stabilize and harmonize the relationship between the democratic regime inside the political system and the civic culture outside. It was claimed to address only: beliefs, feelings, and values [that] significantly influence political behaviour, and that … [they] are the product of socialization experiences. (Almond, 1989: 29)

Thus, Easton became a common professional possession in mainstream political science, who, like Almond, claims that adequate socialization experiences generate the kind of specific and diffuse support for political

authorities and political regime without which no political system could maintain itself. Without such support, conflicting individual preferences and social interests could not be aggregated and integrated into binding decisions in an orderly and consensual manner. Nor would the political system be able to deliver outcomes that are experienced as fair and just by most citizens in society. Very few in the mainstream have challenged this input-driven interpretation of Easton’s political system, according to which the conversion of inputs into outputs inside a political system is determined by the clash between private interests in the market and public interests in civil society and the civic culture outside. American comparative politics has celebrated many successes and has enjoyed hegemony in the political discipline for more than 60 years with this ‘outside-in’ approach to the authoritative articulation and allocation of values for a society. However, in our world where all focus is on how a political system makes and implements binding decisions from the inside-out, it is difficult to see how American comparative politics is to sustain its politics-before-policy model of consensus, order and equilibrium. In our ‘brave new world’ where political elites and laypeople increasingly place policy-beforepolitics, and where conflict, chaos and disequilibrium are becoming the new ‘normality’, questions of power, knowledge and identity are becoming ever more central. As Blyth asked his mainstream colleagues some years ago: [W]hat if we live in a world that is actually disequilibrial and dynamic, where causes are endogenous and nonlinear, and where outcomes of interests are not normally distributed? (Blyth, 2011: 87)

There is no ‘what if’ any longer, since it has become obvious to most that chaos is the rule more than the exception, and that the best one can hope for politically today is to be able to create islands of order in this general maze of disorder. It is in this context that political systems analysis gains

David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis

new and immediate significance and relevance, since chaos is the very idea that enables Easton to argue that ‘a system can be said to persist even if it changes [completely]’ (1965a: 82). As a Canadian, Easton has never had the same relationship to ‘American exceptionalism’ as Almond and many other scholars in the mainstream. His ambition was from the onset to overcome the tendency in the social sciences to put the blind eye to the phenomena of change and power. This compelled him to try to find a way to overcome the order vs. anomie distinction with its commingling of facts and values, science and history, authority and hegemony, a political system and a democratic regime. Easton was seeking a way to avoid making values into facts by identifying the general issue of how a political system manages to persist with the specific issue of how close to, or far away from, different countries are from the democratic equilibrium in terms of which a stable and consensual relationship between a political regime and a civic culture is established, maintained and developed. As he argues in A Systems Analysis of Political Life, his political model: helps us to prevent research from remaining exclusively and narrowly preoccupied, at least implicitly, with one type of system, namely, democracy as it has developed in the West. Even where nondemocratic systems are under scrutiny, it is seldom for the sake of understanding and explaining political systems as such, but through contrast with Western democracies, to shed a stronger light on the conditions surrounding the existence or emergence of democracies. The designation of exotic systems as developing or transitional suggests a norm toward which they are moving, and seldom does this standard represent anything other than Western democracies as we know them today. The prevalence of the concept of ‘modernity’ further reflects this marked cultural limitation. (Easton, 1965b: 15)

In fact, political systems analysis is as relevant to assess the limits of liberal democracy today as to reimagining its future possibilities. In sharp contrast to the ELEN model


outlined by Blyth above, Easton has always insisted that in his model there is: • no specification of stability as normal, and, hence of change as the exceptional phenomenon to be understood and explained: There is never a social situation in which the patterns of interaction are absolutely unchanging (Easton, 1965a: 106, cf. Giddens, 1979);

• no evolutionary traits of rational and normative modernity that unfold themselves ‘behind the backs’ of members of a political system: At times members in a system may wish to take positive actions to destroy a previous equilibrium or even to achieve some new point of continuing disequilibrium (Easton, 1965b: 20, cf. Giddens, 1981);

• no teleology – the attainment of an already existing goal – but instead teleonomy, as manifestations of its members’ ongoing seeking for goals: It would be impossible to understand [systems persistence] if either the objectives or the form of the responses are taken for granted. A system may well seek goals other than those of reaching one or another point of equilibrium (Easton, 1965b: 20, cf. Wilden, 1972);

• no disciplined and obedient cultural ‘dopes’ blindly consenting to orders from above when ‘adapting’ to changing circumstances: Since [a political system] is composed of reflective human beings, it is capable of evaluating what is happening and of taking evasive action (Easton, 1965b: 225, cf. Bang, 2015);

• no ethnocentrism, claiming modern liberal democracy to be a rational Western development to which all modern social systems must adapt to make their members free and equal: Once we affirm that all political life in its varied manifestations may properly become our universe, the substance of theoretical inquiry would have to change radically. It would no longer suffice to assert some central value that is associated with an interest bred by the historical experience of the West (Easton, 1965b: 14).

Almond’s Parsonian reading of the political system made many believe that Easton’s


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systems approach ‘belongs to the category of theories that come into vogue and then just vanish’ (Lane, 1978: 161). This has not been the case: Easton’s model has proved puzzlingly resilient. It has survived all major paradigmatic conflicts, and, unlike structural-functionalism and structural Marxism, it has not yet been put to rest at the ideological and theoretical scrapheap of history. Even today, basic elements of Easton’s systems approach inform much political research in the mainstream into political support, culture, citizenship and political parties (Abramson and Inglehart, 1970; Dalton, 1998, 2002; Klingemann, 1998; Norris, 1999, 2011). Although they only deliver some partial applications of his political theory, they demonstrate how, as Daniele Caramani notes in the introduction to his book on Comparative Politics: Easton’s work has been a victim of its own success. His concepts have impregnated the minds of political scientists, as well as those of the wider public, so deeply that, in a way, it goes ‘beyond citation’. (Caramani, 2008: 12)

Let me therefore instead begin from listening to, and learning from, what Easton himself says his political systems model is all about. This is the first necessary step towards a critical analysis of his original political macro-approach to studying how values of all kinds are authoritatively articulated and

demands support

allocated for a society, in and through a political system of some kind.

Easton’s Political Systems Analysis It is difficult to imagine what political science would have looked like had David Easton not in 1957 introduced ‘An Approach to the Analysis of Political Systems’ in World Politics. His four-function model (see Figure 13.1) with its ‘inputs’ of demand and support and ‘outputs’ of decision and action have reached the stage of something learned at one’s mother’s knee. Critics from all major paradigmatic perspectives in political science have continually been blaming Easton’s four-function model for being inconsistent and inadequate in its view of social structure, class relations, the nation-state, rational actors and political institutions. Although critics from his own behaviouralist tradition do consider his model useful, they also think it is badly flawed. For example, Lane opens his Parsonsinspired critique by stating: ‘THERE MUST BE LIMITS TO CONFUSION’ (1978: 161). Easton, he argues, never even tries to answer Parsons’ crucial question about what homeostasis or social order is about: ‘e.g. that the society persists biologically and socially and that it is not characterized by anarchy

POLITICAL SYSTEM issues • problems

feedback actions

Figure 13.1  Easton’s four-function model


David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis

or anomie’. In contrast, Sorzano, a rational choice critic, argues that this failure stems from the fact that Easton’s model is not structural-functionalist at all. It ‘not only regards the actors as behaving in a maximizing fashion but it also characteristically distinguishes between the actor’s intentions and the objective consequences of his behavior for the system as a whole’ (1975: 98). Thus, Easton was entangled in the heated and ongoing battle between methodological collectivism and methodological individualism (O’Neill, 1973), against which state theory (Badie and Birnbaum, 1983) positioned itself in the 1980s. As a result, another reading of Easton’s political system appeared considering the core issue in his model as being historical and political in nature rather than sociological and economic. As Green argues, structural-functionalism and rational choice theory have got the problem raised by Easton’s political systems analysis all wrong: If politics is indeed the realm of the authoritative allocation of values for a society, then support, stability, and compliance behaviour are much less important in its analysis than many have thought. Rather, the existence of authority in a society depends on there being standards which function in a particular way in the practical reasoning of its members: they guide their subjects’ action without appeal to their view of the merits of the case. But to understand authority in this way, as a feature of practical reasoning, is to embark on a very different kind of political science than the one anticipated by systems theorists or by most of their critics. Where it ultimately leads is in the direction of the traditional theory of the state claims authority over its subjects, and whose claims subjects surrender their judgement. (Green, 1985: 141–2)

Notice that this statist interpretation of Easton’s political system stands in sharp contrast to the young Easton’s practical critique of elitism (Easton, 1949). However, Green’s criticism opens the black box, introducing the mature Easton’s own specification of political authorities, the political regime and lay members in the political community as


the three basic component parts of any going political system. Thus, the question of political authority becomes central to understanding Easton’s systems model as a whole.

Political Authority: The Heart of Political Systems Analysis As Green notes above, political authority serves as the principal coupling mechanism between a political system and its relevant societal and non-societal environments on the one hand, and between political authorities and laypeople inside the political system on the other. Thus, the basic message Easton sends with his almost banal four-function model is very simple: a political system is identified by its general capacity to make and implement authoritative decisions that are accepted and considered binding by most members of society, at least most of the time. Therefore, political authority and people’s practically considered acceptance of it are at the core of any kind of political system from the tribal to the global (Easton, 1955b, 1958, cf. Bang, 2015). It is the political condition of living together as a group of people whose differences about how values are to be distributed that often call for immediate political decision and action amidst, and cutting through, all debacles. When differences cannot be resolved customarily or privately, then someone must step up and say: ‘we must do this now’. If the members then accept this, after having recognized that messages received in this way must be acted on without raising further delaying questions to their validity, they bestow political authority on the sender. Their reasons for doing so may be manifold. Some may feel threatened to accept the message; others may expect to be rewarded after having accepted it; some may consider the sender trustworthy or morally superior; others may consider that their acceptance is in their own best interest or contribute to developing their political identity:


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But regardless of the particular grounds, it is the fact of considering the allocations as binding that distinguishes political from other types of allocations. (Easton, 1965a: 50)

Hence, the ‘test’ for what makes a message political in nature is: (1) that the message is issued clearly and directly by the sender to the receiver without involving any intent to distort communication (through manipulation and deception) or engage in a rational dialogue with the sender about its validity (‘deep’ persuasion oriented towards agreement); and (2) that the receiver accepts the message as binding for his or hers doing or refraining in the concrete situation, carrying it out without undertaking a deeper analysis of its instrumental or moral validity. These, in Easton’s view, are the two political conditions of group life which make political authority distinct from all other types of societal power-knowledge. It follows that political action is modelled after neither instrumental action (rational choice) nor moral-legal action (communicative rationality) but from the practical experiences underlying its considered acceptance. As evidence of a distinctly political relationship, authority is simultaneously cognitive and affective, involving various mixes of emotions and sound practical judgments, depending on the situation – what Aristotle calls phronesis as distinct from techne and episteme (Eikeland, 2008; Flyvbjerg et al., 2012). Political authority ‘as such’ says nothing about the special form in and through which its message is communicated. It simply manifests what makes the political distinct from the economic, the social, the cultural, the religious and other real and significant differences that people living together have sorted out from each other to cope with the existential risks, conflicts, challenges and problems that they confront in time-space. Political authority can lean towards antagonism or consensus; be centred or decentred; based on hierarchy or networking; shaped as a command or a request; reveal the power of the

few over the many, or that the power between the few and the many are equally distributed. It all depends on the political situation. As a politically communicated message, political authority is inherently open to reinterpretation, reconfiguration and transformation. Thus, the crucial existential issue for a political system of any kind does neither concern its stability nor its change. Nor is it about the extent and degree of conflict or consensus associated with its articulation and exercise. The primary existential issue for a political system is that of uncoupling – of its political authorities from laypeople in their political community, or of itself from its relevant environments (Easton and Dennis,1969). Inversely, connectivity is what makes it possible for a political system to go on in multiple, irreducible forms in, and through, history (Bang, 2015). Today, we seem to have forgotten about uncoupling as the core issue of political existence. Liberal democracy was originally founded on this idea that a viable connection between political authorities, political regime and political community must exist to cope with conflicts, risk and problems in a democratic manner (Dahl, 1957; Almond and Verba, 1963; Putnam, 1993). However, party politics (national and transnational) has never been so uncoupled from laypeople inside the political community and from the population outside as today. The situation is not much better in the international political system, which is in great danger of losing the minimal interconnectivity between nationstates required to live together in peaceful coexistence. In fact, the situation resembles the kind of uncoupling in the democratic Weimar Republic that led to Hitler’s gradual seizure of total control from 1933. The response to political uncoupling has so far been dominated by nativist populism with its call for a ‘strongman’ to seize hegemony and form collective identity out of an imaginary ‘pure’ people (Müller, 2016; Mudde and Kaltwasser, 2017; Bang, 2018). The societal cleavage and conflict between globalism and nativism have taken over from established

David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis

party politics along the left–right axis. They have generated a virtual war, online as well as offline, between ‘the elite’ and ‘the people’, or ‘the professionals’ and ‘the amateurs’, propelled by nativist populism’s revolution against ‘the world elite’ and ‘the world elite conspiracy’ which in Hitler’s horrendous terminology became ‘the world Jew’ and ‘the world Jew conspiracy’(Klemperer, 2011: 44). One should think that Easton’s four-function model would gain new importance and significance in a situation where uncoupling is accelerating even in Hitler’s demonizing form. After all, its crucial political message is that uncoupling is the biggest threat to political and societal existence, as stemming from, and leading to, the refusal to accept and recognize that difference is at the heart of the political as well as of democracy.


or a world political system. Political authority is in any case what makes it possible for a political system to convert different, contested and sometimes profoundly opposed demands into collective decisions and actions. It provides the members inside the political system with the capacity to structure the system in multiple irreducible ways to cope with internal as well as external conflicts, risks and problems. Thus, authority does not only place limits and constraints on political decision and action; it also facilitates and enables new forms of political discourse and practice to occur, take root and develop. As such, political authority manifests the basic coupling mechanism between political authorities and lay members in the political community, conditioning their contingent structuration of the political regime as both a medium for, and outcome of, their situated interaction (Figure 13.2).

The Issue of Coupling Inside the Political System Easton claims that authority manifests the transformative capacity of any political system, whether shaped as a tribe, a wandering nomadic band, a city-state, a principality, a nation-state, a transnational political system

The Political Systems Model: Extended Version Political authorities must conform to the following criteria: (1) they must engage in the



Regime Structure= Values Norms Resources


Figure 13.2 Regime structuration



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daily affairs of a political system; (2) they must be recognized by most members of the political system as having the responsibility for day-to-day decisions and actions and (3) their actions must be accepted as authoritative by most members, at least most of the time, as long as they act within the limits of their assigned role (Easton, 1965b: 193). The political regime refers to ‘the general matrix of regularised expectations within the limits of which political actions are usually considered authoritative, regardless of how or where these expectations may be expressed’ (Easton, 1965b: 193–4). It consists of values (goals and principles), norms and structures of authority. The values serve as broad limits concerning what can be taken for granted in the processing of demands into collective decisions and actions without violating deep feelings of important segments of the political community. The norms specify the kinds of procedures that are expected to be recognized as acceptable for making and implementing binding decisions for society. The structures of authority designate the formal and informal patterns in, and through, which resources (material, symbolic, imaginary and virtual) are accumulated, institutionalized, organized and brought into play for authoritatively articulating and allocating society’s scarce values (1965b: 193). The political community concerns that aspect of a political system that consists of its members seen as a group of feeling and sensible people who are drawn together by the fact that they participate in a common political structure and set of processes – however tight, or loose, their ties to these structures and processes may be. From the vantage point of sharing such a political division of labour it does not matter whether people form a community in the sociological sense of a group of members who share a deep feeling of community and a set of common traditions. A political community may well be composed of people with different, even antagonistic, nationalistic and other collective identities. The members may also experience deep

religious cleavages and conceive of their different cultural values and norms as entirely incompatible with one another. However, so long as they, at least implicitly, accept and recognize that they share in a political division of labour, they can be said to constitute a political community in this minimal sense as an action community (Easton, 1965b: 177). Regardless of their internal divisions, their situated interaction will then express Rousseau’s claim (1987: 153) that ‘political authority is one and single and cannot be divided without being destroyed’. Hence, political community is the final test of any political system. Political authorities can be overturned time and again, and the political regime can be in disequilibrium and revolutionary change without threatening systems persistence; but if the members of a given political community refuse to share a political division of labour any longer and give up collaborating even minimally in the situation, then the continued existence of not only the political system but also society is at stake. An illustrative example is what happened in the former Yugoslavia. Easton’s insistence on political authority as a necessary condition of political and societal existence is often seen as a sign of authoritarianism and elitism. As Dag Anckar puts it in his Easton critique: Outputs result in certain outcomes, functioning as stimuli resulting in certain responses from the masses. In other words, we are dealing with a society in which the rulers manipulate the ruled and where the ruled react mechanically to their manipulation. (Anckar, 1973: 82–3, my translation from Swedish)

This conclusion is obviously inspired by Anckar’s a priori conception of Easton’s political system as a small appendix to Parsons’ social system. However, some critics do sense that the young Easton operates from the presumption that political science and ethics must be anchored in people’s reciprocal acceptance and recognition of each other’s differences to be optimally

David Easton’s Political Systems Analysis

useful and valuable to science as well as to democracy and democratization. But again, Parsons stands in the way, making, for instance, Miller conclude that ‘[Easton’s] theoretical position does not favor the revival of serious inquiry about the ends of political life’ (1971: 223). This is despite the fact that Easton’s political systems analysis begins and ends with the member’s acceptance and recognition of political authority inside their political community. Political authority need neither be coercive and commanding, as Anckar seems to believe, nor does its acceptance imply that authorities are the only political actors in town, as Miller tends to suppose. As the mature Easton stresses: Unfortunately, in political research we have no convenient term for distinguishing the authorities from all other members in the system. Marx’s ruling class as against the ruled, Pareto’s elite, Mosca’s political class and Michels’ oligarchy versus masses are transparently not satisfactory for this purpose. They classify members of a system according to the power they hold whereas here we wish to point up the difference between those who are occupants of authority roles as against the occupants of all other roles. But however we might classify members in a systematic structural analysis of political systems, this much can be said here and has also been implied in all of the preceding discussion: the authorities need not be co-extensive with the politically relevant members. (Easton, 1965b: 214–15)

As evidence of a general political transformative capacity, authority is contingent on freedom and domination and presumes power and knowledgeability on the parts of both senders and receivers of its communicated messages. As an ordinary member, one can accept and recognize that political authorities can do something for the political system substantially different from what can be done without them, and yet actively resist those who misuse authority to try to dominate one’s political existence. This is the conclusion that the young Easton arrived at in his doctoral thesis (1947) written directly up against Parsons’ knowledge regime at Harvard. The younger Easton developed his


thesis partly in opposition to Parsons’ social evolutionism, partly in conflict with the historicism that also made its presence felt at Harvard in that period. Easton was intensely dissatisfied with the entire programme as well as with his advisor, which is why he moved on to the University of Chicago in 1947, accepting a joint position where he would be teaching Scope and Method of Social Science in the graduate division of social science and then doing research in the department of political science.

Easton’s Meeting with the Chicago School: Policy Before Politics Chicago gave Easton the perfect start to his career, because it gave him the possibility to combine his interest in facts and quantitative method with his more politically and ethically oriented theoretical and philosophical thinking. He was also greatly attracted to the Chicago School, especially to Harold D. Lasswell and Charles E. Merriam, who became two of his methodical and theoretical exemplars. Especially Lasswell’s democratic policy analysis attracted Easton’s explicit attention, because he could sense how Lasswell struggled with the same issues as himself about global vs. national, science vs. history and elite vs. people. It was also through his critique of how Lasswell tends to oscillate between technocracy and ethics in his policy analysis for a democratic society that Easton found a preliminary road to avoiding the twin pitfalls of evolutionism and relativism (Easton, 1955a). The idea of a political system already appears in embryonic form in Easton’s thesis from Harvard, but it was first with his involvement in a multidisciplinary group of systems scientists in Chicago that his idea of political systems as irreducible to any other types of systems began to take shape. It is intriguing to note how this group already in the early 1950s


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imagined a future based on the internet, robots and artificial intelligence. Easton was taken aback by the profound scientific curiosity driving this group. He developed a deep fascination with technology that he kept his entire life, though without forgetting his classical insights into how technocracy needs be connected to ethics in any democratic society worthy of its name (Baer et  al., 1991: 195–215; Easton, 1969; Easton, 1973). Easton learned from Lasswell, how technocracy comprises a rationality, ideology and culture distinct from that of bureaucracy. Technocracy is oriented towards achieving success by competing and networking in finding ‘best practices’ for doing things efficiently and effectively. In contrast, bureaucracy has its foundation in the ancient King’s hierarchical, disciplinary and coercive power. With the occurrence, consolidation and development of representative democracy, state sovereignty was tied to popular sovereignty, and bureaucracy took on a new role as the rational, loyal and obedient servant of democratic government and ‘we the people’. However, its basic structure was, and still is, that of a centralized system of rank and grade which functions in, and through, a strictly hierarchized and disciplinary chain of commands to sustain political and social order. Thus, bureaucracy and democracy are in constant tension with one another (Habermas, 2015). The young Easton was fascinated by Lasswell’s policy-oriented, managerial and collaborative ethos, committing administration to continuous innovation and change through its knowledgeable employment of technological advances. Technocracy, as distinct from bureaucracy, carries no intention to exercise coercive power over individuals. Rather, it wants to manage or ‘nudge’ them to become more and more autonomous and thereby more and more functional to boosting competition and growth. The younger Easton agreed with Lasswell that both political science and democracy must be more policy oriented to handle the threat of new despotisms like fascism, Nazism and

authoritarian communism. However, already when writing his doctoral thesis, he sensed the new threat to democracy resulting from the new kind of domination intrinsic to technocracy. This was what he called sciencebased factual elitism: Elitism is an attack against democracy but it engages in battle in a subtle and disguised manner. The elitists would disavow any intention of combating democracy as such; they are simply interested in establishing a science of society. But in fact, they do try to undermine an especially strong pillar beneath democratic theory. This is the notion that the people have a vital part to play in creating a prosperous and viable community. (Easton, 1947: 2)

Easton’s overarching ambition was, from his days as a graduate student in Toronto, to find a way to avoid that the crucial political difference, and division of labour, between political authorities and laypeople in polis, turns into a bilateral either/or opposition between the elites and the masses. He critiqued the young Lasswell as adopting the elitist equation: ‘politics=the study of changing value hierarchy=influence and influential=elite or few’ (Easton, 1950: 462). Following Pareto, the young Lasswell considered policy a rational game for elites only. The young Easton sensed that the older Lasswell endeavoured to break away from this elitist equation by trying to get away from identifying authority with ‘power over’, hegemony and legitimate domination. The older Lasswell could see that although political authorities will always consist of the few, this does not in any way imply that the few must possess most power and knowledge. As the young Easton argues: If the same reasoning had been used about stealing, an example which Pareto himself cites, then from the fact that the thieving capacity is distributed in the form of a pyramid, the clearly invalid conclusion would have to be drawn that the greater part of the loot is necessarily obtained by the few best thieves. Of course, in contemporary society the few thieves at the top may quite easily accumulate the greater part of stolen wealth. But in the last analysis it is a question for factual investigation as to how much of the loot they actually do

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get. Similarly, where actual supremacy lies, that is, who has the greatest power at any time, is a matter for empirical research. (Easton, 1950: 466–7)

Thus, the young Easton adopted Lasswell’s claim that ‘the political’ is about outputs before inputs, but he wanted to find a way to render the mature Lasswell’s insight that democratic authority must provide for reciprocal power, knowledge, trust and respect more analytically distinct. The young Lasswell revealed a tendency to consider technocratic expertise more important to handling policy problems and risks than democratic engagement. To the young Easton, making and implementing policy is not only about having expertise, but also about possessing the practical wisdom and intuition required to conduct significant and relevant actions that can do well for people. As Aristotle emphasizes: ‘A city [or system] is good in virtue of the goodness of the citizens who have a share in its constitution’ (1995: 282).

Bringing the Classical Greek Polis Back into Policy Analysis The young Easton embraces Aristotle’s understanding of polis as a praxis involving everybody in its (re)constitution as subjects to a political authority relationship. The difference only is that the mature Easton distinguishes a political community in its general minimalist sense as partaking in a political division of labour from democratic political community as defined by Aristotle’s ethics of the good and happy life (Bang, 2009). Easton developed this distinction between political community as a general political condition of existence, and the special, irreducible forms in which it occurs in time-space to overcome the fact–value divide that he detected in the young Lasswell’s policy analysis. Easton saw Lasswell as a scholar struggling against himself. The technocrat and social scientist in Lasswell pushed him towards abjuring values, treating them either as objects of desire or as


amenable to scientific validation. Thus, the classical dream of self-government of and by the members of polis themselves vanishes in a puff of smoke. However, when the mature Lasswell begins to commit himself more seriously to the linking of collective decisionmaking to political communication in the public realm, he imperceptibly begins to undermine his earlier elitist equation. Instead he tries to complement his rational policy orientation with a more commonsensical everyday approach to democracy as being about the exercise of self-governance in, and through, a political action community: In place of his insistent attention to the arrival, survival, and composition of the elite, his interest now shifts to the parts of the political process that might make it possible for the people to challenge and limit the power of bureaucracy. (Easton, 1950: 468–9)

The mature Lasswell begins to acknowledge that democracy carries an ethical obligation to practising one’s freedom in, and through, joint involvement in identifying, pursuing and resolving one’s common concerns (Habermas, 2015). Democracy, Lasswell could suddenly see, is not only about rational decision and action but also about how laypeople are constantly challenging and problematizing expertise in, and through, their more sensuous and spontaneous everyday practices. Thus, the technocratic elitist in Lasswell begins to waver and revise his rational position. Firstly, he acknowledges that ‘there must be greater awareness of the role that conceptual principles play in research’: The assumptions of a framework, unavowed or explicit, may so compel research in one direction that the theories and facts discovered may not be relevant to the more urgent purposes of society. (Easton, 1950: 476)

Secondly, Lasswell becomes conscious that: If a social discipline is to contribute to the understanding of social policy it is not enough that it confines itself to the search for the ‘pure’ truth. So


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long as the plain truth was the objective, values – could and did creep in through the back door even though they appeared to have been suppressed. (Easton, 1950: 476)

Thirdly, Lasswell begins to recognize that a politics of truth hang together with democratic policy-making and implementation, especially when facing a crisis situation: If the survival of society were guaranteed under any eventualities, then the social sciences could afford to tolerate research that was indifferent to the framework within which it was cast. But when the threat of self-destruction hangs over the world, the urgency of social problems demands a reconsideration of the link between the conceptual framework in each social science and the utility of the results of that science for the attainment, preservation, and extension of the goals upon which men have agreed. (Easton, 1950: 476)

Finally, the young Easton sensed a fourth implicit challenge in the mature Lasswell’s democratic policy analysis: [T]here appears in embryo the further claim that even the goals upon which social policy must be based can be established with the procedures of a fully developed science of man. (Easton, 1950: 476)

Mediating between Facts and Values The young Easton began to ponder Lasswell’s last bold claim noted above in his emerging theoretical approach to political systems persistence. He realized that a political system cannot itself articulate, pursue and reach its goals; only its members can do so. However, because of its intrinsic transformative capacity, a political system can keep its ongoing processes of decision and action inherently open to its members’ new goals and directions. A political system, as the mature Lasswell also argues, does not, like an individual organism, regulate itself according to a biological code or formative principle. It is coded and given its formative principles through the situated and contingent

interventions of its members in its ongoing processes of decision and action. An ethically informed science of the political system is ultimately about demonstrating what makes democracy possible as government of, by, for and with ‘the people’. It follows that empirically oriented general political theory is not principally concerned with what the political is, or ought to be, but rather with what the political is not; what it could be. Only by establishing a creative alliance between facts and values, can the possibility of a democracy as founded on both episteme, techne and phronesis be theorized and applied to practice (Bang, 2015). This merely requires that people, as historically situated political subjects, reciprocally accept and recognize that just as a political system most generally is about handling differences of all kinds, democracy is most specifically about showing mutual trust in and respect of such difference. Hence, the democratic imaginary can be claimed to be the only one which has a potential for including everyone in a political system’s continuous constitution and reconstitution. All other political imaginaries exclude some members from partaking in this constitution, whether by reference to their culture, class, ethnicity, nationality, race, sex, gender or religion. A political system, which is founded on reciprocal acceptance and recognition of difference on the part of both political authorities and laypeople in the political community, would merely exclude those who do not accept and recognize difference.

The Tensions between Bureaucracy, Technocracy and Democracy President Donald J. Trump’s conflict-driven policies for ‘Making America Great Again’ can serve to illustrate the young Easton’s critique of elitism. Trump’s nativist populism is principally targeted towards stopping the cosmopolitan global elite’s undermining of

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Table 13.1  Bureaucracy, technocracy and democracy Bureaucracy






Power Knowledge Domination

Hierarchy Rational Strategic manipulation and deception


Autonomy to pursue own interests

Meritocracy Rational Strategic communication and management Autonomy to achieve success

Politicization/ Problematization Circularity Practical/Prudential Mob rule

the nation as the home of the ‘pure’ people (Bang, 2018). According to ‘Trumpism’, this technocratic and science-based global elitism has, by allowing and facilitating the free movement of ‘professionals’ in the global knowledge economy, opened the sluice gates for uncontrollable immigration and illegal aliens into the homeland of ‘we the people’. Trump is using bureaucracy as well as his people movement as his ‘personal army’ to smoke out ‘the global elite’ from all its ‘policy holes’ within national policy domains like health, environment, education and, of course, immigration. The intention is to stop the undermining of central government and leaderships by the global meritocracy of networking and collaborating policy elites. The young Easton’s critique of Lasswell indicates that this takes us out of the frying pan and right into the fire. Liberal democracy is besieged by these two opposed hegemonic forces, leaning on global, science-based technocracy and national, people-based bureaucracy, respectively. On the one side, Trump seems justified in critiquing the global policy elite of having uncoupled itself completely from laypeople in the political community. It makes only ‘the professionals’ count in the constitution of policy, what in turn has contributed to depoliticizing policy, atomizing the nation, and depriving ‘the people’ of its sovereignty. On the other side, in trying to stop this global elite domination by (re)politicizing major parts of bureaucracy and the citizenry in the pursuit of hegemony, the politics of the strongman that

Emancipation from domination and autonomy to make a difference

haunted democracy in the 1930s is once again attempting to take over from democratic law, morality and ethics. As the young Easton indicates above, a technocracy set free from the ethics of polis is indeed as great a danger to democracy as is a bureaucracy set free from democratic morality and law. In any case, what suffers is democracy as a political relationship between elites and laypeople founded on reciprocal acceptance and recognition of difference (see Table 13.1). The mature Lasswell’s democratic policy analysis is primarily addressed to overcoming the kind of manipulation and deception that derives from a politicizing bureaucracy which is only loyal to itself and which only pursues its own special interests. The younger Easton moves a step further by emphasizing how democratic critique must also be addressed to problematizing the depoliticizing and evidence-based technocracy’s elitist presupposition that the few always knows best. Technocracy does not dominate in, and through, deformations and reifications of democratic discourses and practices; it is much subtler in its exercise of domination, making use of competence development and nudging to get people to do what they otherwise would not have done. Technocracy is global and scientific in nature (Castells et al., 2006); it aims at ‘adjusting’ all individuals and institutions to seek instrumental success above all else. This is also why many technocrats consider bureaucracy as such a threat to improving policy efficiency and policy effectiveness. Bureaucracy is all about state


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sovereignty, order, hierarchy and one-way commands; it is by nature inflexible and rigid in its organization. It must be depoliticized by all available means and subjected to evidencebased administration, technocrats hold, if it is not to become an authoritarian force, undermining global competition and growth. Had Easton been alive, he would surely have warned us against the hollowing out of discursive and practice-oriented democracy by the depoliticizing global technocracy and the politicizing national bureaucracy. Their internal conflict can only extend and deepen the opposition between globalism and nativism, innovation and tradition, achievement and equality, the reasonable and the emotional, and so forth. Following Easton means recognizing how a ‘freestanding’ technocracy or bureaucracy necessarily undermines the transformative capacity of authority in terms of which political authorities and laypeople in the political community are coupled together inside the political system. If laypeople in the political community did not share in this transformative capacity, political authorities and policy elites would be left in the dark as to how best to make use of laypeople to identify and handle the conflicts, risks, challenges and problems that confront them in their everyday practices. Political authority in its democratic sense is not only committed to protect and approximate people’s liberties equally; it is also dedicated to nourishing and expanding people’s capacities to govern and take care of themselves.

Democracy as Equal Freedom and as Self-Governance The depoliticizing technocracy is widely discussed within the new institutionalisms (March and Olsen, 1989, 1995), governance analysis (Bang, 2003) and governmentality studies (Dean, 2007), just as the politicizing bureaucracy has continuously been a concern for advocates of critical theory (Habermas, 1987), deliberative democracy (Dryzek, 2002) and discursive democracy (Laclau,

1990). The young Easton’s double critique of bureaucracy and technocracy indicates how these more institutional steering perspectives should be connected to formulating new, more connective approaches to recoupling political authorities, the political regime and the political community (Bang, 2016). Both politicization and depoliticization should be more explicitly considered from the vantage point of laypeople in their diverse everyday practices in the political community. On this level, the young Easton seems to have much in common with Habermas, who also argues that ethical claims to concrete action by associated individuals go beyond what citizens would be obliged to do by institutionalized law and morality: Moral commands should be obeyed out of respect for the underlying [democratic] norm itself without regard to the future compliance of other persons, whereas the citizen’s obedience to the law is conditional on the fact that the sanctioning power of the state ensures general compliance. Fulfilling an ethical obligation, by contrast, can neither be enforced nor categorically required. (Habermas, 2015: 21)

Easton helps by illuminating how Habermas lacks a distinction between authority as legitimate domination and as facilitating communicative governance to accomplish his mediation between (1) what people in polis must accept to obey to enjoy their abstract liberties, and (2) what they can only voluntary accept and recognize as required to practice their freedoms on their own everyday terms and conditions. People’s obedience to democratic law and morality is required to (re 1) hinder the politicizing bureaucracy from distorting and repressing the struggles for equal freedom. In contrast, (re 2) people’s voluntary acceptance and recognition of the communicated message of political authority is required to expand self-governance and avoid that they are simply nudged by technocrats to do what they would otherwise not have done. Habermas does himself, implicitly make this distinction between equal freedom and self-governance, when arguing that:

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What differentiates both ethical expectations and appeals to solidarity from law and morality is the peculiar reference to a ‘joint involvement’ in a network of social relations. (Habermas, 2015: 23)

To Easton such joint involvement is not peculiar at all but characteristic of how members of a democratic political community are networking based on their mutual acceptance and recognition of their intrinsic differences. Even the vision of such a democratic political community is today dissolving in front of our eyes. Either the members of the political community are subjugated to a global technocracy arguing that ‘the professionals’ know best, or they are haunted by nativist strongmen making use of bureaucracy to impose their false imaginary of a ‘pure’ people on their everyday practices. The young Easton points to a way for democracy out of this morass: With a general empirical theory woven into a moral theory, we would then have completed the new or post-modern image of social science. We would then have returned to the kind of knowledge prevalent in all ages prior to the late nineteenth century, but at a higher level of understanding and empirical confirmation … We would be clearly aware of the responsibilities and potentialities of each kind of knowledge without fearing to utilize each separately or together as the situation seemed to demand. (Easton, 1955a: 18)

The demand for such a postmodern political analysis should be obvious in a political situation where fears of failure and of everything foreign are permeating every pore of society. It is time we begin to reconsider how a systems approach to political life as a whole can help to reinstall the vision of the good and happy life introduced by Aristotle in Classical Greece.

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Bang, Henrik Paul, (2018) ‘The American Dream: Who Else but the Young Can Revive It?’. Policy Studies. 39(3), 274–291. Barry, Brian and Russell Hardin (eds), (1982) Rational Man and Irrational Society? London: Sage. Bateson, Gregory, (2002) Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. Blondel, Jean (1990) Comparative Government. Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire: Simon & Schuster. Blyth, Mark, (2011) ‘Ideas, Uncertainty, and Evolution’ in Béland, Daniel and Robert Henry Cox (eds), Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 83–101. Boulding, Kenneth E., (1956) ‘General Systems Theory – The Skeleton of Science’. Management Science 2(3): 197–208. Bourdieu, Pierre, (1992) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity. Buckley, Walter (ed.), (1968) Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist. London: Aldine Publishing Company. Caramani, Daniele, (2008) Comparative Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Castells, Manuel and Gustavo Cardoso, (2006) The Network Society: From Knowledge to Policy. Baltimore, MD: Center for Transatlantic Relations, John Hopkins University Press. Crozier, Michael P., (2010) ‘Rethinking Systems: Configurations of Politics and Policy in Contemporary Governance’. Administration & Society 42(5): 504–525. Dahl, Robert A. (1956, 2006) A Preface to Democratic Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Dahrendorf, Ralf, (1969) Essays on the Theory of Society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Dalton, Russell J., (1998) ‘Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies’. UC Irvine: CSD Center for the Study of Democracy: 1–24. Dalton, Russell J., (2002) Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies. 3rd edn. New York: Chatham House. Dalton, Russell J., (2008) ‘Citizenship Norms and the Expansion of Political Participation’. Political Studies 56: 76–98.

Dean, Mitchell, (2007) Governing Societies. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Deutsch, Karl W., (1963) The Nerves of Government: Models of Political Communication and Control. New York: The Free Press. Dryzek, John S., (2002) Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Easton, David, (1947) The Theory of the Elite: A Study of the Elitist Trends in English Thought. Harvard University: Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Easton, David, (1949) ‘Walter Bagehot and Liberal Realism’. American Political Science Review 43(1): 17–39. Easton, David, (1950) ‘Harold D. Lasswell: Policy Scientist for a Democratic Society’. Journal of Politics 12(3): 450–477. Easton, David, (1953) The Political System: An Inquiry into the State of Political Science. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Easton, David, (1955a) ‘Shifting Images of Social Science and Values’. Antioch Review 15(1): 3–18. Easton, David, (1955b), ‘A Theoretical Approach to Authority’. Office of Naval Research, Report 17: 1–59. Easton, David, (1957) ‘An Approach to the Analysis of Political Systems’. World Politics 9(3): 383–400. Easton, David, (1958) ‘The Perception of Authority and Political Change’ in Friedrich, Carl J. (ed.) Authority. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: 170–196. Easton, David, (1965a) A Framework for Political Analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Easton, David, (1965b) A Systems Analysis of Political Life. New York: Wiley and Son. Easton, David, (1969) ‘The New Revolution in Political Science’. American Political Science Review 63(4): 1051–1061. Easton, David and Dennis, Jack, (1969) Children in the Political System: Origins of Political Legitimacy. New York: McGraw-Hill. Easton, David, (1973) ‘Systems Analysis and Its Classical Critics’. The Political Science Reviewer 3: 269–301. Easton, David, (1990) The Analysis of Political Structure. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall.

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Eikeland, Olav, (2008) The Ways of Aristotle: Aristotelian Phrónêsis, Aristotelian Philosophy of Dialogue, and Action Research. Bern: Peter Lang. Evans, Michael, (1970) ‘Notes on David Easton’s of the Political System’. Journal of Commonwealth Political Studies 8(2): 117–133. Flyvbjerg, Bent, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram (eds), (2012) Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Giddens, Anthony, (1979) Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure and Contradiction in Social Analysis. London: Macmillan. Giddens, Anthony, (1981) A Contemporary Critique of Historical Materialism: Vol 1, Power, Property and the State. London: Macmillan. Green, Leslie, (1985) ‘Support for the System’. British Journal of Political Science 15(2): 127–142. Gunnell, John G., (1993) The Descent of Political Theory: The Genealogy of an American Vocation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Habermas, Jürgen, (1987) The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Habermas, Jürgen (2015) The Lure of Technocracy. Cambridge: Polity Press. Klemperer, Victor, (2011) Det Tredje Riges sprog (the Language of the Third Reich). Copenhagen: Tekst og Tale. Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, (1998) ‘Mapping Political Support in the 1990s: A Global Analysis’. WZB, Discussion Paper FS III: 98–202. Laclau, Ernesto, (1990) New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time. London: Verso Lane, Jan-Erik, (1978) ‘THERE MUST BE LIMITS TO CONFUSION’. Eripainos Politiikka 3:161–179. Leslie, Peter, (1972) ‘General Theory in Political Science: A Critique of Easton’s Systems Analysis’. British Journal of Political Science 2(2): 155–172. Lewis, Thomas, J., (1974) ‘The Normative Status of Talcott Parsons’ and David Easton’s Analyses of the Support System’. Canadian Journal of Political Science 7(4): 672–686.


Luhmann, Niklas, (1995) Social Systems. Stanford, A: Stanford University Press. March, James G. & Olsen, Johan P., (1989) Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics. New York: The Free Press. March, James G. & Olsen, Johan P., (1995) Democratic Governance. New York: The Free Press. Meehan, Eugene, J., (1967) Contemporary Political Thought. Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press. Miller, Eugene F., (1971) ‘David Easton’s Political Theory’. The Political Science Reviewer 1: 184–235. Mingers, John, (1995) Self-Producing Systems: Implications and Applications of Autopoiesis. New York and London: Plenum Press. Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristobal Rovira, (2017) Populism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. Müller, Jan-Werner, (2016) What is Populism? Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Norris, Pippa (ed.), (1999) Critical Citizens: Global Support for Democratic Government. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Norris, Pippa, (2011) Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited. New York: Cambridge University Press. O’Neill, John (ed.), (1973) Modes of Individualism and Collectivism. London: Heinemann Parsons, Talcott, (1951) The Social System. New York: The Free Press. Parsons, Talcott, (1968) Sociological Theory and Modern Society. London: CollierMacmillan/New York: Free Press. Putnam, Robert D., (1993) NJ: Princeton University Press. Radcliffe-Brown, Alfred R., (1957) A Natural Science of Society. New York: The Free Press. Rokkan, Stein and Lipset, Seymour Martin, (eds) (1967) Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives. New York: The Free Press. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, (1987) The Basic Political Writings. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett.


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Sorzano, J. S., (1975) ‘David Easton and the Invisible Hand’. American Political Science Review, 69(1): 91–106. Vickers, Geoffrey, (1959) The Undirected Society: Essays on the Human Implications of Industrialization in Canada. Toronto: University Press.

von Bertalanffy, Ludvig, (1962) ‘General Systems Theory: A Critical Review’. General Systems, VII: 1–20. Wilden, Anthony, (1972) System and Structure. London: Tavistock Publications.

14 Max Weber and the Weberian Tradition in Political Science Andreas Anter and Hinnerk Bruhns

Introduction As one of the most influential political thinkers of the modern age, Weber offers starting points for the most diverse directions of political science. There’s hardly a textbook that would not refer to him. With his positions on state and legitimacy, power and domination, parliament and government, he shaped the political science debate sustainably. He is one of the classics of the discipline – texts such as Politik als Beruf (Politics as a Profession) (Weber, 1992 [1919]) are among its canonical texts. Weber’s reception is not only limited to positions and concepts, but also extends to theory formation and empirical research. It is therefore no coincidence that a ‘Weberian tradition’ developed in international political science. However, one cannot assume that this would be a homogeneous direction or a ‘school’. On the contrary, the different representatives of this ‘Weberian tradition’ are as disparate as Weber’s work. Given this diversity, the question arises as to which varieties of Weberian analysis can be

distinguished in political science or whether one can speak – as in sociology – of a ‘Weber paradigm’. With Lawrence Scaff, the question is: ‘are there essential characteristics attached to Weberian analysis?’ (Scaff, 2014: 3).

Early Weberians From Weimar to America Weber’s effect during his lifetime, as well as in the first decades after his death, was comparatively small. A greater resonance was only reserved for his writings on Protestant ethics and the question of value judgement, as well as his series of articles such as Parliament and Government in Germany under a New Political Order or the lecture Politics as a Profession. In retrospect, prominent figures such as the two German Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Kurt Georg Kiesinger or a constitutional father such as Carlo Schmid later reported on the lasting effect of reading


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Politics as a Profession during their student days. Theodor Heuss, the first German Federal President, already felt the impact of the lecture as sensational and recommended that professional politicians should read Politics as a Profession. The collected essays edited by Marianne Weber, including the Collected Political Writings (Weber, 1921), did not meet with much response in the Weimar years. Weber was quoted, but hardly received, and if so, then not necessarily positively. An important exception from Weber’s own generation was Otto Hintze (Bruhns, 1996). The generation immediately following Weber was sceptical or hostile towards him. This applies not only to sociology and Weimar state theory, but also to political science, which slowly began to develop in Germany at that time. Among the exceptional figures are Sigmund Neumann with his party analysis (Neumann, 1932); Karl Mannheim, who in his draft of a political science in Ideology and Utopia repeatedly referred to Weber and the ‘truth of Max Weber’s words’ (Mannheim, 1929: 171, 67); and Siegfried Landshut, who meticulously occupied himself with Weber; moreover, he was the first to describe the ‘rationalization’ as ‘Max Weber’s research topic’ (Landshut, 1929: 35ff.; Landshut, 1930). Hermann Heller in particular presented the advanced draft of a political science with his – posthumously published – Staatslehre, in which he assigned Weber a central place (Heller, 1934: 13ff.). Heller can be called the founder of the ‘Weberian tradition’. This orientation can already be seen in his definition of the state as an order, which could only endure if it could enforce its ‘order against other social orders’ (Heller, 1934: 268) and at the same time has the corresponding legitimacy: ‘Where a self-asserting state power is not wanted, there is no state’ (Heller, 1934: 229). With this, he confirmed Weber’s finding that a state exists only as long as ‘people orient their actions on the idea that it exists or should exist in such a way’ (Weber, 2013: 161–2).

The Weberian approach of his state theory is also evident in the historical explanations, when Heller makes it clear that statehood is an achievement of modernity which must not be projected into earlier epochs, but only begins with the monopolization of violence, the streamlining of the bureaucratic apparatus and the unification of the legal order (Heller, 1934: 141ff.). His representation reads over long distances like a paraphrase of Weber’s positions. When he sees the monopolization of legitimate physical violence as the ‘hallmark of the modern state’ (Heller, 1934: 152), he joins Weber’s concept of the state, which marks a turning point in the history of state theory and establishes a historical-sociological viewpoint that has asserted itself internationally over the decades (cf. Anter, 2014: 25ff.). Heller’s orientation is most evident when he defines his approach as ‘reality science’, which aims to understand the peculiarity of the life around us (Heller, 1934: 62). Thus, he also joins Weber in programmatic terms, who understands his approach as a ‘science of reality’ that aims to understand the ‘lived reality within which we are placed’ (Weber, 2004 [1904]: 374). The appeal to ‘reality’ is a permanent feature in Weberian literature. In the post-war period, the German American political scientist and Weber student Karl Loewenstein took up this line when he saw it as the task of political science to make a contribution to the ‘reality of the power process’ (Loewenstein, 1957: 147). He saw political science as a science of reality, with a particular focus on its epistemological foundations. Weber had demanded that every scientist should disclose his own values, since every insight is always subjective (Weber, 2004 [1904]: 366, 383). This is the core of his often distorted value judgement postulate. Weber was therefore not concerned with an ‘objective’ reality, but with the fact that science should not be exhausted in sterile norm analysis. That was entirely in line with Loewenstein’s intentions. He thought that political science should not do ‘mental acrobatics’, but should focus on the ‘reality’ of the political order (Loewenstein, 1952: 433). In

Max Weber and the Weberian Tradition in Political Science

German political science, Weber’s perspective was referred to as ‘constitutional realism’ and represented by leading figures such as Ernst Fraenkel (1961: xv). Loewenstein’s Weberian attitude also led him to his passionate opposition to the thesis that Weber, with his positions on ‘plebiscitary leader democracy’, had been an intellectual precursor of Hitler. This ‘pioneer’ thesis, which the young Wolfgang J. Mommsen had put forward in 1959 in his dissertation (Mommsen, 1984), met with a strong response at that time, all the more so as Weber had until then been regarded as one of the few great thinkers by means of whom the young Federal Republic of Germany could continue a positive German tradition beyond National Socialist Germany and the failed Weimar Republic. In this sense, the first German Federal President, Theodor Heuss, had formulated his foreword to the new edition of Weber’s Political Writings in 1958. The ‘pioneer’ thesis that Karl Löwith had already advocated in 1939–40, however, was able to establish itself in academic discourse.1 The thesis was, of course, untenable, since it turned Weber’s political thinking into its opposite. Beyond the defensive attitude, a typical element of the ‘Weberian tradition’ can be recognized in the debate: that it mostly reacted to ideological distortions of reality. Like Weber, Loewenstein also regarded power as a central category of political science. For Weber it was the central criterion of the political: he generally saw political questions as questions of maintaining and distributing power and therefore defined politics as the striving for power in the state and between states. Loewenstein similarly devoted himself to the problem of power and made it clear that politics is ‘nothing else but the struggle for power’ (Loewenstein, 1957: 3). For him, political reality was decisively shaped by power processes. His conviction that society is ‘a system of power relations’ (Loewenstein, 1955: 247) has meanwhile condensed into certainty in the more recent theory of power.


German-Speaking Emigration In Germany, the various strands of a Weberian tradition in the social sciences were cut off after 1933. The National Socialist policy towards university and science left no room for developing social sciences in the sense of Weber. Numerous scientists who were acquainted with his work emigrated, especially to America. Most of these emigrants did not return to Germany after the end of the war, as, for example, Paul Honigsheim, Hans Gerth, Karl Mannheim, Karl Loewenstein, Alexander von Schelting and Alfred Schütz. Others, such as Ernst Fraenkel, returned and played a major role in the re-establishment of political science in Germany (Söllner, 2006: 160ff.). If it can be said for sociology that Weber returned to Germany via America after the end of the Second World War, this does not apply equally to political science. In the Weimar Republic political science did not yet exist at universities as an institutionalized discipline. Politics was taught at the faculties of Staatswissenschaften, together with economics and law. But German emigrants succeeded in integrating themselves into American political science and to influence it, even if they were actually law graduates, like Arnold Brecht, Ernst Fraenkel, Otto Kirchheimer, Hans J. Morgenthau or Franz Neumann (Söllner, 1996). Franz Neumann emphasized the importance of the United States for the continuity of a Weberian tradition. In his structural analysis of the National Socialist regime published in 1944 (Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933 – 1944) he combined Marxist and Weberian approaches. Neumann commented later: It is characteristic of German social science that it virtually destroyed Weber by an almost exclusive concentration upon the discussion of his methodology. Neither his demand for empirical studies nor his insistence upon the responsibility of the scholar to society were heeded. It is here, in the United States, that Weber really came to life. (Neumann, 1953: 22)

The reception of Weber the ‘political economist’ and the ‘political sociologist’ in parts


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of the emigrant community, especially at the New School for Social Research, was counterbalanced by the ‘non-reception’ in the Critical Theory, transported from Frankfurt to Manhattan (Scaff, 2011: 241–2). Although elements of the political Weber found their way into the American discussion (the theory of bureaucracy, the concept of the ‘rationallegal authority’, the thesis of disenchantment, etc.), it was the sociologist Weber who made his career in America, the Weber of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Weber, 1930 [1904/05, 2nd ed. 1920]). This work, translated by Talcott Parsons in 1930, tapped unintentionally ‘the most fundamental of American narratives; the possibility of emancipation in pursuit of a better life’. In America, it was read as ‘a story about ourselves’ (Scaff, 2011: 198). David Beetham summed up Weber’s paradoxical reception in the Anglo-American world as follows: profound impact on sociology – relative neglect within political science, but with an indirect influence ‘through the dissemination of his theory of competitive leadership democracy via the work of Schumpeter and others’ (Beetham, 1985: 2). In the founding years of the Federal Republic of Germany, German emigrants played an important role in the development of political science, especially in the American Zone of Occupation. The familiarity of emigrants such as Franz Neumann, Ernst Fraenkel, Karl Loewenstein or Hans Gerth, Albert Salomon and Heinrich Blücher with Weber’s work however, had less significance for the revival of Weberian traditions in the new German political science influenced by America than the anti-Weberian influence of others, such as above all, Leo Strauss (Natural Right and History, 1953), who accused Weber of nihilism and indifference to the normative aspect of the political, and Eric Voegelin (The New Science of Politics, 1952). Despite his initial proximity to Weber, Voegelin has conveyed a completely distorted image of Weber as an arch-positivist based solely on a misunderstanding of the concept of value

freedom: ‘The movement of methodology, as far as political science is concerned, ran to the end of its immanent logic in the person and the work of Max Weber’ (Voegelin, 1952: 13). Weber ‘participated in the destruction of science’ (ibid.: 12). Strauss and Voegelin had more influence than others like Brecht, whose Political Theory (1959), though entirely based on a critical assessment of the debate on values in science, radically rejected the Weber interpretation of Strauss and Voegelin.

Non-Weberian Political Science in Post-War Germany: A ‘Science for Democracy’ Weber’s marginal role in German political science in the 1950s and 1960s has various reasons. On the one hand, it can be explained by the fact that as an academic discipline it ‘did not develop in an inner-scientific process of differentiation of subject areas and disciplines’. From 1949 on it was ‘imposed on the universities with a political-pedagogical intent and soft governmental power’ (Behrmann, 1998: 448). The re-establishment of democracy, under the influence of the Western victorious powers, and the re-­ establishment of political science coincided and gave the latter a normative orientation. On the other hand, most of the remigrants who were involved in the establishment of political science in the early Federal Republic now represented less of a German scientific tradition than an American one (cf. Söllner, 2006: 185–6); only a few – Fraenkel is an important example – continued regarding Weber as a ‘spiritual mentor’. However, in the general intellectual spectrum of the new German democracy, Weber was initially considered as one of the very few great personalities who could serve as a bridge, beyond the Nazi regime, to honourable periods and traditions of German history. For the new political science in Germany, however, not only Weber’s distorted image as a methodologist and representative of a

Max Weber and the Weberian Tradition in Political Science

radical pluralism of values posed a problem, but also recent interpretations of Weber’s political positions from his Inaugural Address as professor of economics in Freiburg in 1895 on to the First World War and the Revolution of 1918–19. Criticism of this had been voiced early on. Weber’s intense commitment to the democratization of Germany between 1917 and 1919 was obscured by interpretations of his political thinking that drew a direct line from his ideas about political leadership (plebiscitary leader democracy) to Hitler and National Socialism. However, this criticism, expressed by Karl Löwith as early as 1939– 40 from Japanese exile, did not initially meet with much response. The decisive break came in 1959 with the publication of Mommsen’s book on Max Weber and German Politics 1890–1920 (1984). Mommsen insisted heavily on Weber’s nationalism and his understanding of international relations (IR) in terms of power politics. In a political science that considered itself as a ‘Demokratiewissenschaft’ and as being positively involved in the process of democratization of Germany, a Max Weber who had fought fiercely for the democratization of Germany during the First World War and the Revolution and had made important contributions to shaping the constitution of the Weimar Republic, paradoxically had no place. His relationship to democracy was perceived as ambivalent: Weber’s commitment to parliamentary democracy was not based on normative and philosophical ideas, but on historically founded rational considerations about the form of government that on the one hand provided Germany as a modern industrial nation with the means to assert itself in the competition of the ‘power states’, and on the other hand guaranteed citizens a minimum of political equality and participation. In the 1950s and 1960s, however, Weber’s concept of politics, his (alleged) ‘pluralism of values’ and his (misunderstood) ‘postulate of freedom of value judgement posed a threat to philosophical-normative political science’ (Hübinger et al., 1990: 184).


In the early 1960s in Germany, the actual Weber renaissance took place in sociology and social history. As to politics and the political, the discussion did not focus on his ideas about parliamentary democracy but almost exclusively on Mommsen’s interpretation of Weber’s nationalism, his attitude to imperialism and his alleged theory of plebiscitary leader democracy, which, according to the accusations, had helped to mentally attune the German people to the National Socialist dictatorship. The result of this was that at the Heidelberg Congress of the German Society of Sociology, organized in honour of Weber’s centenary in 1964, the discussion on the political dimension of Weber’s work was tailored entirely to the topic of power politics, for which Raymond Aron had been invited as a keynote speaker. Aron’s Weber interpretation ended in an aporia: ‘Weber after all betrayed himself in his theory of politics for power was never his aim, neither for himself, nor for the nation. […] The man and the philosopher leave us an inheritance undiminished by the mistakes of the theoretician of power politics’ (Aron, 1971: 100). The comments and responses by Carl J. Friedrich, Hans Paul Bahrdt, Wolfgang J. Mommsen, Karl W. Deutsch, Eduard Baumgarten and Adolf Arndt (Stammer, 1971: 101–30) to Aron’s lecture at the 1964 Congress of Sociology raised a series of highly interesting questions with regard to Weber that only later found their way into political science research. An interesting example is the observation made by Arndt: ‘We should not forget that [Weber] put three questions to himself and to us: How can we make the people political? […] How can we instruct parliament? How can we find politicians of the right calibre?’ (Arndt, 1971: 130). These questions were only taken up two decades later by Wilhelm Hennis as central dimensions of Weber’s work for political science (Hennis, 2000a, 2000b), while in the 1960s and 1970s Weber was deliberately received ‘one-sidedly’. Political scientists largely ignored the research on Weber and his work in the


The SAGE Handbook of Political Science

neighbouring disciplines. Also, research controversies about Weber as a political theorist were more likely to be carried out in the leading sociological journal, the Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, which René König had made to a kind of Weber forum, than in the journals of political science (Hübinger et al., 1990, 189ff.). Strauss’ and Voegelin’s far-reaching critique of science at the interfaces of German and American political science, ‘from whose point of view Max Weber in particular had misled modern political science’ (Behrmann, 1998: 474), was reinforced by the effects of partial and biased, often second-hand reading, of Mommsen’s study on Weber and German politics. It was strengthened by the sharp attacks at the Heidelberg Congress in 1964 by Herbert Marcuse: ‘In the development of capitalist rationality, irrationality thus becomes reason’ (Marcuse, 1971 [1965]: 137, emphasis in the original) and by Jürgen Habermas, who turned Carl Schmitt into Weber’s ‘natural son’ and underlined that ‘viewed in the light of the history of influences, the decisionist element in Weber’s sociology did not break the spell of ideology, but strengthened it’ (Habermas, 1971: 66). Parallel to such normative and ideological oppositions to Weber, there was also, in Political Science, a real interest in Weber, especially for the ‘Sociology of rule’ in Economy and Society, and for political writings such as ‘Suffrage and Democracy’, ‘Parliament and Government’, ‘Politics as Vocation and Profession’, ‘Germany’s Future Form of Government’. This interest was reinforced by the fact that Johannes Winckelmann had introduced a ‘Sociology of the State’ as a final chapter in the 4th edition (1956) of Weber’s Economy and Society. Winckelmann had compiled this ‘Staatssoziologie’ from Weber’s political writings of the years 1917– 19 and from his lecture on economic history held in Munich in 1919–20. Weber’s political writings, sometimes devalued as ‘political of the day’, found their way into other languages earlier via this ‘sociology of the state’,

translated as a part of Economy and Society, or through translations of the political writings. Treatises such as ‘Suffrage and Democracy in Germany’ or ‘Parliament and Government in Germany under a New Political Order’ were already put in a row with the Contrat social by Loewenstein in 1920. Nevertheless, in political science and its neighbouring disciplines the separation between Weber’s ‘political’ and ‘scientific’ writings has long been elevated to a principle. Only Hennis, as late as 1987, made it clear that such a divorce of the work is untenable (Hennis, 1987: 224). Since then, the traditional separation has been tacitly abandoned. Similarly hesitant has been the attitude of political scientists to the historical and comparative dimensions in Weber’s sociologies of rule and state.

Weberians in Contemporary Political Science Max Weber’s Central Question It was Hennis, who made a pioneering contribution to Weberian political science by examining Weber’s central question. As a young scholar, he had fought Weber vigorously, blaming him for the positivist departure of political science from the Sinnfrage [question of sense]. Thus, he condemned Weber’s political science as empty and worthless (Hennis, 1959: 20–1). In his criticism, he incomprehensibly followed the distorted Weber image of Strauss, who regarded Weber as a relativist (Strauss, 1953: 44). Hennis later recalled selfcritically that political science at that time ‘under the opinion leadership of its authoritative “founding fathers” refused to accept Weber positively’ (Hennis, 2003: 5). In the 1980s, however, Hennis radically turned his Weber image from head to toe: in his book Max Weber’s Central Question (first 1987), he saw Weber in a completely new light, namely as an ‘authority’ of political science (Hennis, 2000a: 86). With an

Max Weber and the Weberian Tradition in Political Science

unparalleled interpretive power and a refreshing polemic, he shook the prevailing doctrine that the ‘occidental rationalization process’ was Weber’s central theme. In contrast, he disclosed the anthropological question: the question of the fate of mankind [‘Menschentum’] in modernity. In doing so, Hennis opposed the unhistorical approach in the prevailing Weber orthodoxy – and returned the existential dimension of Weber’s work to political science. His gripping reinterpretation caused an international stir and catapulted him into the premier ranks of Weber research. Hennis vigorously protested against a de-historicized Weber reception, presented in diagrams, and demanded, ‘Weber has to be read afresh and “without prejudice”. And that means the entire corpus of his work’ (ibid.: 5). His appeal did not go unheard. It was particularly popular with those Weberians who could not make friends with a de-historicized and colourless Weber à la Habermas. In today’s literature of political theory and international relations, for example, Weber’s explicitly nationalist positions are discussed much more openly than before (cf. Lebow, 2017b).

Legitimacy: A Weberian Category Weber’s interest focuses on the question: Why do people obey other people? His answer is that domination can only assert itself permanently if it is considered legitimate. He thus placed the category of legitimacy at the centre of political science. Today, the discipline is concerned with the question of why claims to political order are followed. In any case, claims for order cannot be based on naked violence, otherwise they would not be permanently observed (Weber, 2013: 449ff.). Weber’s concept of legitimacy was a successful concept, since almost all investigations into the relationship between state and legitimacy have since been based on Weber – whether critical or approving. The debate reached its first peak in 1975, at the Congress of the German Political Science


Association, which was dedicated to the issue of the so-called ‘Legitimation Crisis of the Political System’. The topic of the Congress was inspired by Jürgen Habermas’ book on the ‘Legitimation Crisis of Late Capitalism’ [Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus, 1973], which maintained that the Western political system is short before its decline. His opponent was Wilhelm Hennis, who argued that there is no such thing as ‘legitimation crisis’ (Hennis, 2009: 77). Moreover, he showed that never before in recent German history had the foundations of the state ‘been so little questioned and contested as in the era of the Federal Republic’ (Hennis, 2009: 77). After Congress, Hennis’ lecture was printed in several journals and books and found much discussion, since it was perceived as a document of political realism against political ideology. The Weberian approach of this document becomes clear when Hennis explicitly points out: ‘Wherever the category of legitimacy turns up in modern social sciences it is at root Max Weber’s concept’ (ibid.: 89). Hennis’ lecture was a turning point in the evolution of his political thinking. Moreover, it was a starting point for a new Weberian tradition. In all of his writing before, he has been criticizing him, whereas he was now considering Weber’s state theory as ‘one of the most acute and earliest decodings of the internal law of development of the modern state’ (ibid.: 89). Since that time, political science’s debates on legitimacy have been shaped by Weber’s concepts. In between, this is true to various parts of international political science, such as International Relations theory (IR) theory, political philosophy, Governance studies and European studies. The category of legitimacy is actually the Archimedean point in Weber’s theory of domination. From his point of view, the question of legitimacy is one of when, how and why the political and legal order is recognized and respected. It was Weber, who made legitimacy an elementary analytical category for the comprehension of political and legal order. Legitimacy is the twin of the modern state, which p