What are the advantages and disadvantages in using a comparative approach to politics?
Contemporary politics is being shaped and transformed right before our eyes. The way citizens interact with the state, its very definition, the source of its power and scope of its authority is being constantly challenged (Gieben, Lewis, 2005, p. 65). The growing influence of the media, changing social values, unbelievable technological advancements and far-reaching impacts of globalisation are but a few factors political writers cite as the driving force behind this transformation. But different countries react to change differently. Not in the least because no two are ruled in exactly the same way. Comparative politics seeks to understand the origins of the changes and compare the range of political responses in order to begin to offer explanations for why certain developments took place and to make a prediction of the future development trajectory. In this essay I will assess the merits and problems of the comparative study of politics to help me illustrate my argument that comparative approach can be a very helpful tool as long as it used to address the right question and the writer realises its limitations and potential pitfalls.