On Studying Governments

Rudy B. Andeweg

in Governing Europe

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780199250158
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599439 | DOI:
 On Studying Governments

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This chapter gives an overview of approaches to the study of governments, building explicitly on the work of A. King (1975) and C. Campbell (1993), who, respectively, offered three research themes (composition, internal dynamics and external relations) and three theoretical perspectives (institutionalism, rational choice and political sociology/psychology). Each of the three research themes is discussed separately, using examples that illustrate the theoretical perspectives: under ‘composition’, the examples are coalition formation (rational choice) and recruitment/motivation (political sociology/psychology); under ‘internal dynamics’, the examples are prime–ministerial v. cabinet government (institutionalism) and political roles/groupthink (political sociology/psychology); and under ‘external relations’, the examples are executive–legislative relations (institutionalism) and control over bureaucracy (rational choice). The last section of the chapter compares the three theoretical approaches.

Keywords: bureaucracy; cabinet government; coalition formation; composition; control over bureaucracy; executive—legislative relations; external relations; governments; groupthink; institutionalism; internal dynamics; motivation; political psychology; political roles; political sociology; prime—ministerial government; rational choice; recruitment; research; theoretical perspectives

Chapter.  11133 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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