Comparative Politics: Nations and Theories in a Changing World (3rd Edition)

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9780130899491: Comparative Politics: Nations and Theories in a Changing World (3rd Edition)

This book combines theoretical and comparative introductions to each of the three major political worlds—Western democracies, modern autocracies, and less developed systems—with descriptions of structures, processes, events, and trends in a diverse array of nations. Industrial Democracies: Ideals and Reality. Government and Politics in Great Britain. Government and Politics in France: The End of French Exceptionalism. Germany: Emerging Superpower with a Troubled Past. Transition to Democracy. Russia and the Former Soviet Union. The Nature of Political Development in the People's Republic of China. The Less Modernized Nations and Political Development. Nigeria: Tribalism and Cultural Diversity. Modernization and Democratization in Latin America. Mexico. Trends and Prospects in a Changing World. For anyone interested in Comparative Politics or European Politics.

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From the Publisher:

This text combines theoretical and comparative introductions to each of the three major political worlds -- Western democracies, modern autocracies, and less developed systems -- with descriptions of structures, processes, events, and trends in a diverse array of nations.

From the Inside Flap:

Preface

The task of framing a new edition of a reasonably successful book requires that a balance be struck between changing and adding sufficient material to justify the expense and effort of supplanting the old edition while retaining the essence, structure, and substance that made the previous edition successful. In the case of the present volume, we generally have preserved the theoretical material that has not been rejected by the dominant scholarship in the field while including events and information that have unfolded since the second edition and omitting factual material rendered obsolete by such unfolding of events.

In that spirit, the present edition adds two completely new chapters: Chapter 6, devoted to the wave of transforming authoritarian regimes into incipient democracies, and Chapter 12, focusing on our neighbor to the south, Mexico. The subject of Chapter 6 constitutes one of the most significant political phenomena of recent decades and, as such, demands serious independent treatment. Chapter 12 was inserted after a number of potential adopters of the book commented that Mexico was an important topic for them and because of the increasingly significant impact of that nation on the United States.

We have also added substantial new sections to existing chapters on the increasingly important European Union. In addition, we have summarized crucial changes in the political arena—including the rise of parties and movements of the populist right and the growing importance of subcultural defense.

In a major subsection in Chapter 2 and throughout the book, we suggest that the new politics of identity, based on patriotism, subcultural defense, or a sense of community, is emerging as a distinct, new political dimension, supplanting the old politics of interests based on class and religious issues.

Readers have been kind and encouraging in their reaction to the first chapter, on the state of the field and the comparative method. Moreover, the method of comparative inquiry is not as time-sensitive as are the political topics in the chapters that follow. Hence, while all the other chapters are extensively revised and updated, if not completely rewritten, Chapter 1 was left largely untouched. The one previously undiscussed methodological topic that called for attention in this volume—the growing impact of rational choice theory—seemed best treated in the conclusion.

The theme of change that defined the first two editions continues to be appropriate, as the impact of the major events just noted in the previous volume—the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the wave of democratization in Eastern Europe and Latin America—continue to unfold. The recrudescence of ethnic conflict, eerily reminiscent of the events leading up to World War II, is seen as part of the process of cultural, social, and political transformation, variously conceptualized by scholars in particular fields, but conceptualized by the present authors as the emerging politics of identity. Thus, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and the suppression of secessionist movements in Chechnya and Québec are viewed as an ongoing part of this process of transforming the political arena, which was in its earlier stages when the previous edition was issued.

We welcome aboard Professor John P. Tuman, who has contributed his vast store of knowledge about Mexico. John H. Burnett and Suzanne Ogden have performed admirably in keeping pace with the massive changes in their respective fields: Russia and Mexico. I am very grateful to Professor Gary Elbow of the Geography Department at Texas Tech for his generous advice on Latin America and to Aie-Rie Lee of the Political Science Department at Texas Tech for sharing her expert knowledge on the field of transitions to democracy. However, the responsibility for the final product, with all its flaws, is mine alone. We are also grateful to Beth Gillett Mejia of Prentice Hall for her patience in waiting out the interminable delays in finishing this manuscript and for her help and encouragement throughout the project.

Lawrence C. Mayer
Lubbock, Texas

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