THE LOCUS OF DEVELOPMENT, EXACT SPECIFICATION, AND THE MICRO-MACRO CONNECTION

imagePOLITICAL DEVELOPMENT clearly arises from and affects individuals, cultural-institutional forms, and objective, regularized patterns of social interaction.  This wide domain of interest raises three related problems; 

1. specifying what it is that develops
2. distinguishing political development from its constituents, correlates, causes and consequences

3. establishing what relationship exists in development between the individual and institutionalized behavior?These problems are here termed locus of development, “exact specification”, and “the micro-macro connection, respectively.

To begin with, what is it that develops, exactly-individuals or cultural-institutional forms?  We require a definition of political development that, while allowing for political development’s operation in many areas, nonetheless locates if precisely as the development of some certain thing.  Are we seeking , to locate development in an aggregation of innovators, achievers, or civic-minded actors whose advanced behavior constitutes development?  Are we seeking to locate development in certain cultural-institutional forms, whose structure constitutes development? Or, is political development a “syndrome”, show embracing both individual and institutional behavior?

The choice of any of these basic approaches reveals further complexities.

If we say that development is a matter of individual development, then what is it about individuals that develops?

Their support for democratic norms?  Their reasoning?  Their empathy?  Their need for achievement? Their sense of efficacy?  If we say that development is a matter of institutional development, then what is it about institutions that develops?  Their complexity?  Their respective norms?  Their rationality?

 And in what institutions do we locate development?  The institution of secret, free elections?  Party competition?  Freedom of the press?  Representative democracy?  Economic productivity?  If we say that development is a syndrome, then what coherence does this syndrome have beyond the merely statistical correlation of its elements?  Are all elements equally indicators of development?

The second of the challenges mentioned earlier-the problem of “exact specification”.  Political development must not be confused with its constituents, correlates, causes, or consequences.If political development is ” the institutionalization of political systems must become. If political development”is the process in which major clusters of old social, economic, and psychological concomitants are eroded or broken and people become availabe for new patterns of socialization and behavior.

“Again, this is surely an incomplete definition; a nuclear war would create a similar result without being considered a developmental process.  David Apter defines political development as a “process which affects choice.  The modernization focus helps to make sense of the choices likely to be at our disposal”. Goulet defines it as a “crucial means of obtaining life”.  Even true ,this is not a definition of development.The position that the conception of political development is fairly arbitrary, so that fine distinction in its definition are of little analytically importance, is not correct.  it might be valid if we were concerned only in phenomena, but there are two arguments against it.

1. if the definition of political development is to allow us to study development’s causes and consequences,development must be defined as distinct from them.

2. Imprecise definitions of political development prevent seeing the picture and throw off the analyses by misdirecting the attention to phenomena not properly part of development at all.

3. The definition of political development must be normatively grounded.

Political development cannot be defined solely in terms of either individual or institutional change.  A concept of political development must show how both individuals and institutions change in the process of development. Institutional development clearly cannot take place without some associated change in individuals, nor can a theory of individual development without associated institutional change be regarded as political development.

If there is such a thing as development, then clearly it must consider both individuals and institutions and identify how the two are connected  An institution does not make individuals, nor do individuals make institutions.  Although interdependent, the are in no sense identical to one another. Thus when one conceptualizes development, one must solve the problem of the micro-macro connection.###

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