Comparative Judicial Politics

The comparative study of courts is a part of political studies as legislative and executive branches cannot function without the judicial system. Comparative judicial research has recently provided the data on how courts work in different political systems. Depending on how the power is distributed in the system, the court has a different extent of decision making and judicial independence. Today comparative judicial politics is concerned about the role of courts and juries in emerging democracies. The role of courts in authoritarian regimes also presents a huge interest to political researchers.

Comparative judicial study defines what is a court and which functions it performs. Basically, the court is expected to work in three directions. They are conflict resolution, social control, and lawmaking. There are three types of legal systems in the world – common law, civil law, and religious law. Judicial role and organization differ in all of them. Common law legal systems are traditional for Anglo-American nations that are guided by the legal principles established in previous court cases. Civil law systems are common for Europe and Latin America. They rely on the written codes in judiciary decision making. Religious law systems found in the Middle East where courts use sacred texts to issue judiciary decision. Due to the differences between the systems, comparative judicial research is usually a single-court study. Cross-national judicial studies are in progress today because they present the biggest interest to researchers.

Comparative judicial politics is a young area of research as its basis was laid in 1970 by Theodore Becker, the professor of political science at Auburn University. Becker’s ideas are still up-to-date, though the research has expanded. The “High Courts Judicial Database” edition (2007) comprises the information provided by courts of 11 countries from different parts of the world. It allows comparing system on the cross-national perspective more faithfully, which is the main future direction of comparative judiciary studies.

Presidentialism vs Parliamentarism

Selecting the governmental regime is a serious choice for a country. There are presidential and parliamentary systems, each of them has its own benefits and drawbacks. Presidential systems are believed to promote open trade and fair representation of the electorate. However, they are more disposed to conflict and democratic collapse. Parliamentary systems look entirely different from the presidential ones. They encourage more social spending and are more durable than presidential regimes. Countries that could not choose between the two regimes, opted for hybrid regimes that comprise benefits from both governmental regimes.

Presidential systems are characteristic for the US and Latin America. Here, a singularly elected politician represents interests of the entire country. Across the globe, presidential regimes differ from each other so that Presidents of the US, India, and Germany have different power at hand. Usually, presidents serve fixed terms irrespective of the support of the legislature. The three key advantages of the presidential states are the efficiency in the political governance, representation of the entire population, and monetary balance of the government. Presidential systems also distribute power between other branches of government. It prevents separate branches from becoming too powerful.

Despite the benefits of presidential regimes, more countries all over the world prefer parliamentary systems. Often called the ‘Westminster model’, parliamentary system of governing combine the responsibilities of both executive and legislative branches. In the elections, voters decide how many seats each party receives. Legislative officials determine the head of the government. If there is no majority winner in the elections, small parties make up a coalition. As for the benefits, parliamentary system has greater accountability than presidential. In parliamentary governments, parties effectively solve collective action problems.

Political Development and Modernization

Modernization theory explains how economic, social, and cultural life transforms with the political change. By modernization theory, present-day politicians imply that economic development facilitates social and cultural change. The change transforms the political behavior of citizens and pushes governments towards democracy. Thus, economic modernization always happens first. Once the agricultural society becomes industrial, people find themselves living in a big city with plenty of development opportunities. Eventually, the middle class grows and starts to actively participate in the political life of the society. All societies are at a different stage of development, but the modernization theory implies that each of them will become democratic sooner or later.

For many people, living in a democracy seems to be essential. Economic, political, and religious freedom is the only factor that gives way to a comprehensive development and opens new economic opportunities. At the same time, we shall be careful not to idealize democracy. Aristotle believed that democracy does not work in the societies where the majority of people are poor. Alexis de Tocqueville, the advocate of American democracy, noted that the system would not function in societies with large economic inequality. Redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor ingrained in Communism that went a long way from democracy.

Modernization is important because it makes the way from education to creating advanced economic and political systems. However, the theory did not escape its criticism. Its provisions imply that less developed countries are more primitive versions of developed countries, and one day, the developing countries will end up like the US or Western Europe. A thorough study of the modernization cases found some of them destabilizing, which contradicted the principles of the theory. A range of alternative theories (dependence theory, survival theory) emerged to fill in the gaps of modernization.

Systems Theory and Structural Functionalism

Since the 20th century, scholars tried to explain political realities in a scientific way. They created the system theory and the structural-functional approach to policy-making. Though both founded in the 1950s, the studies have a different purpose. The systems theory was developed to make political science abstract. It would help to scientifically generalize political processes and turn them into a set of problems that require solutions. Structural functionalism has derived from the systems model but it assumes there is a bounded system that studies structures according to their systemic functions.

As a way of studying politics, the systems theory is very abstract and generalized. The systemic approach was strongly influenced by cybernetics and adapted to the political science by David Easton in the early 1950s. Easton believed that the political system shall have fixed boundaries and flexible decision-making processes. He created a hypothetical circle in which the change in the social environment triggers the demand that stimulates politicians to take steps. After the political decision is made, it interacts with the environment, generating the outcome. The outcome provides the feedback that triggers change again. If the circle never breaks down, such political system can be described as stable.

Structural functionalism appeared as an approach necessary to study a political structure within the specific political system. Structures are always supposed to function in a certain way, but it certainly differs in European politics and that of developing countries. Structural functionalists take a political system as the national-state entity. Political participants influence each other and the system as a whole. As in the systemic approach, political change is pushed by social triggers. Importantly, in the Western world, these challenges happen consecutively and in the Third World – simultaneously.

Political Psychology

As political science advanced over the last centuries, other studies made it clearer. Political psychology combined the elements of sociology and philosophy to explain political behaviors and trends to the mass audience. However, the primary application of political psychology lies within the interest of politicians. Political psychologists study group behavior to define which non-political factors influence the person’s decision to vote and their choices. The study explains how to influence the popular vote and create an appealing political campaign. Political psychologists are always present among advisers, marketing specialists, educators, volunteers, and other political campaign staff.

In fact, political psychology is nothing else than the general human psychology applied to politics. The study takes its roots from the writings of Harold D. Lasswell, the American political scientist of the 20th century. His works highlighted the impact of individual and group psychological processes on the political behavior of people. After the World War II, German refugee Theodor Adorno conducted the study on authoritarian personality type at the University of California. The study remains relevant even now as it reveals the reason behind numerous authoritarian societies that skyrocketed in the 20th century.

After the International Society of Political Psychology was founded in 1978, political psychology turned into the academic discipline. Political leaders now have their psychobiographies that allow psychologists to inquire into their political decisions. The concepts of political leadership, political conflict, international negotiation, political decision-making and others raise a lot of concerns today. Politicians need to meet the expectations of their electorate, and the public needs to understand the games their leaders play. In both cases, political psychology is an effective education tool.

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Social life of Zulu people

 

The Zulu are not simply a huge community which population comprises 9.2 million people. It is also a vast culture which is represented in various traditions and customs. There is a lot to research in case one has decided to learn more about them.

For instance, one will be interested to learn that they are fond of singing and dancing when the issue under consideration is the social life of Zulu people. The reason why they love those things so much is that such activities develop the feeling of unity which is of major importance for every Zulu individual. Probably, you are aware of the fact that proverbs, stories and praise-poems usually represent Zulu folklore. One of their aims is to teach a moral lesson. Lots of people enjoy playing soccer. Boys learn the rules of the game when they watch their older brothers play it. They also have lots of hobbies that include: pottery, weaving, beadwork and craftmaking.

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Serial killers

 

The psyche of a serial killer is complex. You never know what to expect. Surely, their motives are unclear to average people because of the fact that their perception of the world is totally different. Yet, the most common motives include: humiliation, fear of rejection, childhood trauma or abuse, desire to control and dominate perfection, abandonment as well as relationship and family issues. The reason why serial killers enjoying watching their victims suffer is that it gives them the feeling of power and control. They are convinced that it is the best way to dominate. As a result, they continue killing due to the fact that they are simply addicted to this feeling. They can no longer live without it.

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