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Contending Approaches

Political Science
Course Code
POL 1101
Andre Lecours

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Contending Approaches
Formal-Legal Analysis (Old Institutionalism):
- Politics defined as institutionsand in government documents.
-Deemed obsolete.
Systems Analysis:
-Politics defined as systems (Society inputs ideas into government, which outputs into
policy, with is given feedback by society).
-Politics through the functions it serves (in functionalist terms).
-Each structure has a function.
Political Culture:
-"Culture is a crucial variable in forming sociopolitical outcomes" (such as democracy).
-Can lead to stereotypes and does not provide any possibilities for reform (culture hardly
Political Economy:
-Politics determined by the relationship between the state and the market (economic
-Deemed to be a very narrow perspective on politics.
Rational Choice:
-Politics defined as the aggregate of individuals weighing costs and benefits to make
decisions with rationality (logic and reasoning).
-Deemed too unrealistic (people are not always rational).
-Discounts decisions based upon ideology.
New Institutionalism:
-Institutions are crucial to understanding politics as they shape societies.
-Interested in explaining the impact of institutions on sociopolitical outcomes.
-Approaching politics through gender and how it shapes politics.
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