chapter  10
Pages 4

The study of comparative politics has come a long way since its inception

more than a century ago. The initial focus on the nature and characteristics

of the state and its constituent institutions remained resilient for a number

of decades and has never been fully cast aside, its latter-day theoretical

refurbishing and resurrection the subject of much scholarly excitement and

debate since the 1980s. The ‘‘behavioralists’’ and other proponents of sys-

tems theory have lost much ground since the 1960s and 1970s, when their

theories of social input and political output closely resembled the revolutionary air of most Western societies at the time. To this day, nevertheless,

such ardent proponents of the functionalist perspective as Gabriel Almond

remain convinced of the paradigm’s superior merits. Drawing on some of

the insights and contributions of each of these differing paradigms, in the

preceding chapters I have sought to bring into sharper focus a recurring

theme in much of the recent literature in the discipline, namely attention to

the separate phenomena of state and society as well as their interactions.