Comparative Law and Society

Comparative Law and Society

Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series

Edited by David S. Clark

Comparative Law and Society, part of the Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series, is a pioneering volume that comprises 19 original essays written by expert authors from across the world. This innovative handbook offers both a history of the field of comparative law and society and a thorough exploration of its methods, disciplines, and major issues, presenting the most comprehensive look into this contemporary field to date.

Chapter 8: Separation of Legislative and Executive Governmental Powers

Howard J. Wiarda and Jonathan T. Polk

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, law and society

Extract

Howard J. Wiarda and Jonathan T. Polk* 1 1 INTRODUCTION Prior to the Second World War, comparative politics largely focused on the formal and legal aspects of government, including diverse configurations of the executive and legislative body. Analyses generally consisted of case studies, drawn almost exclusively from the United States or Europe, with an emphasis on the constitution and other institutional arrangements of various states. This both reflected the legal background of the discipline at the time and stemmed from the legitimate postwar need, well into the 1950s, to build institutions from the ground up. Woodrow Wilson’s Congressional Government (1885), an analysis and comparison of the political system of the United States with that of Great Britain, stands as a fine example of the importance and prominence of investigations detailing various institutional configurations for the nascent field of political science, or what at the time might have more properly been called comparative government. The work of Herman Finer (1949), Karl Loewenstein (1957) and Carl Friedrich (1950) further represent foundational texts of the formal-legal approach common to early comparative analysis. As the war came to a close and a host of new states entered the world political scene, there was a corresponding call for change within comparative politics. Authors such as David Easton (1953) and Roy Macridis (1955) encouraged comparativists to move away from their interest in static institutional analysis, and increasingly focus on the political actors and processes that animated them. Criticized as overly focused on Europe, not genuinely comparative,...

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