• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Identify the main differences between the systems theory as formulated by David Easton and the functionalist theory as set out by Gabriel Almond. Show how each of these theories promote our understanding of comparative politics.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Identify the main differences between the systems theory as formulated by David Easton and the functionalist theory as set out by Gabriel Almond. Show how each of these theories promote our understanding of comparative politics. Comparative politics is a field of study that enables the systematic study and comparison of the world's political systems. There are various theories associated with the studying and comparing of political systems all which have their strengths and weaknesses. The theories aim at identifying and exploring the various processes, patterns and regularities that are present in and amongst different political systems the world over. The two main theories which will be examined in this essay are the systems theory as proposed by David Easton and the functionalist theory which was developed by Gabriel Almond. The systems theory was devised by David Easton as a response to the much criticized and outdated traditional political approaches of the mid 1950's which mainly revolved around the concepts of 'historicism and empiricism' (Fuchs and Klingemaan, 2003). Easton has been renowned for viewing political processes as being dynamic within which stability is achieved via the establishment of equilibrium between the various inputs and outputs Susser, 1992:181-183). ...read more.

Middle

Almond uses this example: 'interest groups provide the mechanism through which political issues are articulated; political parties then address them in a coherent and meaningful way; government in turn enacts public policies to address them; and bureaucracies finally regulate and adjudicate them' (London, 2008). However, political systems are extremely dynamic and are therefore always undergoing change in order to adapt to the changing conditions in the contemporary political landscape. Almond also underlines the role that political culture plays in shaping political systems (Wiseman, 1971:23). Political socialization, recruitment and communication are all ideas that should be taken into account in order to conduct an accurate comparison between two political systems (Monroe, 1997:227). Almond's theory can be seen as a very important approach to comparing political systems. However, like Easton's theory, it has various weaknesses that affect its credibility. Both theories have played pivotal roles in establishing an understanding of the modern political landscape. However, the creation and introduction of the functionalist approach by Gabriel Almond was a major step up from the slightly out dated theories of David Easton and others which had primarily been derived and based around different concepts. ...read more.

Conclusion

The use of models, paradigms and frameworks in comparative politics are beneficial in simplifying ideas thus allowing for an easier understanding of political phenomena (Wiarda, 2005:24). It has been said that 'Comparison is the engine of knowledge', international comparison is critical in ensuring an accurate explanation of political phenomena (Wierda, 2005:37). It is theories such as Easton's and Almond's that allow us to conduct such comparisons in order to enhance our understanding of political systems. For example, Almond emphasizes the idea that in order to compare two political systems one must look further than just what institutions the two countries have in common and more so as to how the various institutions within the countries function (Johari, 1982:77). This differs from Easton's theory which only takes into consideration political systems structural components. Almond's theory provides the mechanism through which a more accurate comparison of political systems can be made due to the fact that it not only takes a political system's structural components into account but also its institutions and how the institutions function within the system (Munck and Snyder, 2007:63-64). It is through such theories that we are able to more effectively analyse and enhance our understanding of political systems as we can directly compare different political systems and identify strengths and weaknesses. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Political Theories section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Political Theories essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    What are the strengths and weaknesses of a positivist/empiricist approach to political analysis?

    This includes, what question should be asked, how questions are structured and how to interpret the results2. At any one time, social science is dominated by one paradigm, which most political scientists will conform to. Theories that are tested will be governed by this and observations will be subjective to this.

  2. What is politics? Whilst scholars such as Weber and Schwarzmantel largely focus on defining ...

    Crick (1982: 29) instead focuses on the governments within territorial societies as the imperative tools which allow for politics to take place.

  1. Critically assess Machiavellis main arguments in The Prince

    This is when Machiavelli believes the prince should become weary of conspirators. On the other hand if a Prince is not hated but instead "has the goodwill of the people, he should not worry about conspiracies"[10] an example of this is the Canneschi attack on the Bentivolgi family in Florence.

  2. Free essay

    Because of the demise of traditional society, conservatism as a political ideology is irrelevant ...

    It also could potentially mean that unsuccessfully fused together strands of conservatism creates contradictions and highlights the incompatibility in terms of modernity. The free-market and neo-liberal economics, adopted by conservatives such as Thatcherites meant that they 'set themselves apart from classical European conservative philosophy'.2 This may have been because if

  1. What can the study of nationalism contribute to our understanding of international relations?

    The division of territory into the five parts within the borders of the current republics was arbitrary and artificial. The process of post-Soviet national self-determination has taken hold in not only the so-called "titular nations" within each of the Central Asian countries, but also among the so-called national minorities, most of which are the diasporas of neighboring nations.

  2. Realism remains the dominant paradigm in International Relations theory. Discuss

    The realist approach is summed up quite well by one statement in the Melian Dialogue ".......right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

  1. The Advocacy Coalition Framework provides an interesting but incomplete account of the role of ...

    A further critique of ACF is its failure to look at the impact of interests and individual choices in policy making process. There is no advancement of the rational actor model and Sabatier's ideas focus wholly on groups of individuals collectively bargaining for a platform for their shared ideas and belief systems.

  2. Turkish Foreign Policy Last 10 Years

    In Berlin negotiations, two states couldn't reach and agreement and Hitler didn't steer to accept the Soviet's requests. At last, Hitler -who understood that Soviet's cooperation would not be provided- decided to start a war against Soviets in December 1940.Soviet Union, also, understood that alliance with Germany would not live

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work