This chapter focuses on the debates over presidential versus parliamentary government, federal and unitary frameworks, consensual versus majoritarian styles, and constitutional engineering. The mixed presidential-parliamentary system has worked well in France in overcoming more than a century of unstable parliamentary government. In many countries, the most obvious signs of political life are the formal institutions of government: legislatures, prime ministers and presidents, national courts, ministerial or government officers, and senior administrators or civil servants. The prevailing paradigms, such as pluralism, corporatism, or Marxism, accorded little autonomy to the state and even less importance to its formal institutions. The study of political institutions was pushed off the cutting edge of comparative politics and replaced with searches for general theories of politics, the study of political behavior, and efforts to quantify the study of politics. In the late 1970s and 1980s, some comparative politics scholars reacted against the neglect of political institutions and sought "to bring the state back in."