The independence won by former colonies in the 1950s and 1960s meant that a large number of new states appeared in the international political arena. It was felt by some political scientists that existing tools of political analysis were inadequate for the task of including these new states within a single comparative framework. Western political science up to this point had been based on the comparison of institutions and, even more restrictedly, institutions found in Western industrialized societies. The need for a theoretical framework that could cope with a variety of exotic political systems led a group of mainly American political scientists to formulate a functionalist theory of political change, drawing on structural-functionalist social anthropology. Structural-functionalism appeared to provide a comparative framework of concepts that could be used to explain how, in non-Western and pre-industrial societies, unfamiliar social structures could perform the functions needed in all political systems (Almond and Coleman, 1960; Almond, 1965).
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- The Developing Political System
B. C. Smith
- Macmillan Education UK
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