An Introduction to Comparative Politics

Global politics, more commonly known as world politics refers to the field that studies the interaction of global political systems and the economic and social patterns in the world. In the core of this field are the various processes of socio-economic globalization in relation to issues of social hierarchy. This has resulted to political globalization, which is a major feature of modern society. Politics is a branch of knowledge on world affairs that seeks to understand the relationship between the politics and the economy of a country or an area. The politics of a country refers to the political system of a nation, whereas the economy is a field on its own, which seeks to understand how money flows in and out of a nation’s economy and how it affects various aspects of life such as human development, productivity and growth and stability.

Comparative politics is an emerging field that comparing political systems of various countries and areas through a lens of global comparative analysis. Comparative political theory first became prominent in the early 1960s with the start of the International Study of Politics. In this process, comparative research was done on all aspects of world politics and was used to promote a critical understanding of politics and international relations. Today, more colleges and universities offer programs on comparative politics that seeks to build a better understanding on how world politics affect various aspects of society and how politics affects policies and decisions in the domestic as well as the international arena.

The international relations domain is closely related to the study of world politics as it involves the interactions among states. However, unlike the international relations field, which seeks to understand how political systems affect each other and what political influences these systems, comparative politics addresses the relationships between different states. It mainly explores how political economies develop through the means of globalization. By doing this, comparative politics help scholars gain insights on how economic globalization leads to political globalization.

Moving from a global perspective to a national one, comparative politics compares how nations economically develop. Unlike international relations, in which the factors of statehood – population, economy, culture and access to resources – are usually left out, comparative politics makes these factors present. Comparative political science also compares how nations develop through the formation of various political institutions. One aspect of comparative politics that has generated considerable debate is the existence of a global moving wall. While this concept started off as a symbolization of distance between countries, it has since been used to describe the difference between developed and less developed nations in relation to the kind of policies they opt for, the level of corruption they enjoy and the nature of international trade.

The international relations and world politics as a whole have become much more complex due to the emergence of various political entities like supranational organizations, intergovernmental associations, regional organizations and political parties. Furthermore, globalization has resulted in the opening up of trade and markets across the world. While earlier, goods were localized to country boundaries, globalization has facilitated the movement of goods internationally. This has become one of the most important issues in international relations. New trends such as free trade areas and supranational organizations have significantly contributed to the evolution of world politics.

Comparative political science provides the framework for comprehending the intricacies of world politics and world power. One of the most prominent thematic foci is International Political Studies. This area studies how international organizations, such as international trade unions, political parties and even governments come to shape the global political economy. It also looks at how power, norms and interests mix and interact as they relate to international political economy. This area of study enjoys a great success among students in the social sciences because it is very engaging and challenging.

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