By Rod Hague, Martin Harrop
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Additional resources for Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction
Interest articulation Demands for particular policies must be expressed. Interest aggregation Demands must be selected and combined into a manageable number of major alternatives. Policy-making Demands must be converted into authoritative decisions and policies. Policy implementation These decisions must be put into effect. Source: G. Almond and G. Powell, Comparative Politics (Boston: Little, Brown, 1978), pp. 13-16. states, the ruling party was the key vehicle in recruitment. Once the party had approved a nomination for office, election (if indeed there was one) became a mere formality.
To summarise, we have reviewed three approaches to power. These are: 1. Power as the capacity to achieve collective goals; 2. Power as the ability to impose one's will against opposition; 3. Power as affecting people in a way which runs against their own interests. The second view probably comes closest to an ordinary, commonsense interpretation of power. However, the other, less coercive modes are just as important as ways of influencing people. And, in practice, power relationships are usually based on a combination of factors.
So the central task became one of linking political structures (which vary across countries) to political functions (which do not). Functionalism came in for some tough criticism. Can a political institution be explained by identifying its function in a wider system? Is a political system like a car engine, in which each component has a function in a smooth-running whole? Is the emphasis on political stability ultimately a reflection of conservative ideology? Should not political scientists be more concerned with how political systems change than with how they are maintained?