Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure by Mark Irving Lichbach, Alan S. Zuckerman

By Mark Irving Lichbach, Alan S. Zuckerman

Until you're a master's or PhD pupil specializing exclusively in comparative politics, do not learn this booklet. It used to be assigned to my comparative politics type (master's point) and everybody hated it. I trudged via 50 pages till I simply could not take it anymore. Very poorly written and obscure, yet soaking wet in academic-sounding details.

Lim's "Doing Comparative Politics" and Landman's "Issues and strategies in Comparative Politics" are even more truly written and more straightforward to appreciate.

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Problem-oriented research programs” (116). Shapiro (Shapiro, Smith, and Masoud 2004) is the most determined contemporary spokesperson for the importance of problem-driven research. Thinking and Working in the Midst of Things 31 Today’s comparativists follow this recipe and are very much engaged politically. In order to understand the terrible history of communism in the twentieth century, Tismaneanu (2003) explores Romanian communism. Marx (1998) compares how race has affected citizenship in South Africa, the United States, and Brazil.

They also began to look more closely at the design, content, and implementation of programs – for example, levels and types of coverage and modes of financing. Along the way, the field developed important typologies of systems of social protection: liberal, conservative, and social democratic welfare states/regimes; and coordinated market economies and liberal market economies. Researchers also probed dynamics: the origin or onset of the welfare state, its endurance and persistence, and the state’s adjustment, retrenchment, and reform.

This chapter, which is about alternative ways of thinking and working in comparative politics, evaluates two competing claims about the current state of our field. Claim: Comparative Politics as Chemistry and Physics. Discourse in comparative politics is nowadays postfoundational. Since many comparativists – former rationalists, culturalists, and structuralists – deny that social scientific truths are relative in terms of the history and interests of a theoretical language, they avoid debates over transcendent metaphysical fundamentals.

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