State - Analysis of Political Systems - Easton.docx
State - Analysis of Political Systems - Easton.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Bruce Morrison

AN APPROACH TO THE ANALYSIS OF POLITICAL SYSTEMS – EASTON  The study of politics is concerned with understanding how authoritative decisions are made and executed for a society  The operation of no one part can be fully understood without reference to the way in which the whole itself operates  View political life as a system of interrelated activities  The very idea of a system suggests that we cal separate political life from the rest of social activity, at least for analytical purposes and examine it as though for the moment it were a self contained entity surrounded by but clearly distinguishable from the environment or setting which it operates  This system cannot operate in a vacuum – it is always immersed in a specific setting or environment  In order to understand both the structure and the working of the body, we must also be very sensitive to the inputs from the environment  Structural differentiation sets in motion force that are potentially disintegrative in their results for the system  Inputs: demands and support – what give a political system its dynamic character  Demands for prestige may find satisfaction through the status relations of society; claims for wealth are met in part through the economic system aspirations for power find expression in education, fraternal, labor and similar private organizations  The members of every society act within the framework of an ongoing culture that shapes their general goals, specific objects and the procedures that the members feel ought to be used  Every culture derives part of its unique quality from the fact that it emphasizes one or more special aspects of behavior and this strategic emphasis serves to differentiate it from others cultures with respect to the demands that it generates  An issue being a demand that members of a political system are prepared to deal with as a significant item for discussion through the recognized channels in the system  If we assume that political science is primarily concerned with the way in which authoritative decisions are made for a society, demands require special attention as a major type of input for political systems  Inputs of demands alone are not enough to keep a
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