The Behavioral Revolution and the Remaking of Comparative Politics

Lucian Pye

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

The Behavioral Revolution and the Remaking of Comparative Politics

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  • Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Behaviour



This article analyses the emergence of the behavioural approach in comparative politics after World War 2. The behavioural approach had four significant dimensions. These are the emphasis on methodology upon quantification and the statistical analysis of data sets, the recognition that all political acts involve choices by specific agents or decision, and the uninhibited exploration of the concepts and findings of the other social sciences. This article describes the factors that triggered the so-called behavioural revolution in comparative politics including the stress between universal and contextualized knowledge, work on political development and modernization theory, and the Social Science Research Council's (SSRC) establishment of the Committee on Comparative Politics.

Keywords: comparative politics; behavioural approach; statistical analysis; social sciences; contextualized knowledge; political development; modernization theory; SSRC

Article.  3550 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Behaviour

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