In the opening chapter, we looked at comparative government and politics in broad terms, and it is probably already clear that it is a field of study that is both deep and complex. This is true enough at the level of the individual state, and the complexities grow when we add multiple political systems to the equation. Theory comes to the rescue by pulling together a cluster of otherwise unstructured observations and facts into a framework that we can use to guide ourselves as we seek to answer political questions such as why some countries are democratic and others are not, or why democracy seems to be backsliding in some countries. Theory is a simplifying device or a conceptual fi lter that can help us sift through a body of facts, decide which are primary and which are secondary, enable us to organize and interpret the information, and develop complete arguments and explanations about the objects of our study.
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