Almond, Almond’s Developmental Approach to Political System

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Information about Almond, Almond’s Developmental Approach to Political System

Published on March 13, 2014

Author: MahrukhCheema



Almond’s Developmental Approach to Political System

 The Structural Functional approach is a product of behavioral revolution in American political studies after 2nd World War. Popularity of Marxist Approach compelled American Social Scientist to study the informal aspects of politics The idea of functional adaptability is old but its application over political life is new. (Montesquieu’s doctrine of Separation of Power, Darwin idea of survival) Historical and Contextual Profile

 Gabriel Almond is accepted as the most representative and systematic exponent of functional approach. He applied this approach in his major works: 1. The Politics of the Developing Areas 2. Comparative Politics – A Developmental Approach 3. Crisis, Choices and Change: historical studies of Political Development Historical and Contextual Profile

 Political System “A system of interaction to be found in all independent societies, which performs the function of integration and adaption (both internally and externally - other societies) by means of the employment or threat of employment of more or less legitimate physical compulsion”. This term is used to replace the concept like government and state.(Universal application of theory) Basic Concepts of Almond’s Approach

 Political Structure A structure is a set of roles – political role. (Judgeship is a role but a court is a structure of roles.) “The observable activities which make up the political system” Political Culture It means the pattern of individual attitudes and orientation towards politics among the members of political system. “Propensities of political system” Basic Concepts of Almond’s Approach

 Functions of Political System A system performs function at three levels. 1. Capability level: how the behavior of political system affects other social system. 2. Conversion Level: the conversion of demands (inputs) into decision (outputs) 3. The System Level: Maintenance and adaption of system ( socialization and recruitment) Basic Concepts of Almond’s Approach

  The idea of political development is central in Almond functional analysis.  Hypothesis of Almond Political development Theory “A structurally differentiated political system with a secularized political culture will have an increased capability to shape its domestic and international environment” Theory of Political Development

 From above hypothesis we can observe Almond’s criterion for political development  Structural Differentiation: role specialization  Secularization: rational, analytical and empirical approach Criterion of Political Development

  Development results when existing structures and culture of the political system is unable to cope with the challenges without structural differentiation and secularization. 1. State Building: war, civil war, change in the goals of elite. 2. Nation Building: association of people with smaller tribes, ethnic identities 3. Participation: demand for share in political power 4. Distribution: distribution of resources without any discrimination Challenges For a Political System

 Strengths 1. Almond formulates a common framework for comparing political system of different sizes, institutions and background. 2. It improves our capacity to predict the trend of political development in modernizing states from selected indicators 3. He has liberated the field of comparative study from parochial influences 4. He has developed extensive political vocabulary to make his approach more universal. Evaluation of Almond’s Approach

 Weaknesses  Terminological Ambiguities: The precise distinction between concepts becomes obscured when they are put in the operational test. For Interest articulation, interest aggregation, boundaries, structure, functions have loose meaning Evaluation of Almond’s Approach

  Ideologically Conservativ+e 1. The concepts of structure and system have not been put in a historical perspective but in a purely existential framework 2. The concept of capability also refers to establish a accommodating relationship between system and environment. It means the maintenance of ruling elite 3. The functional categories have been derived from western system 4. Almond is equating political development with democracy 5. He is less sensitized to the differences between developing countries(Challenges can occur at once) and western societies Evaluation of Almond’s Approach

 End

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