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Theoretical approaches to modern polity

There are three main approaches to study modern polity including the complex characteristics:

The trait-list approach-It usually identifies the major structural and cultural features generic to those contemporary politics regarded as modern by the observer.

The reductionist approach-It focuses upon a single antecedent factor, explanatory variable, correlative or determinant as the prime index or most distinguishing feature of modernization and by implication of political modernity.

Single characteristics which have been highlighted include the concept of capacity, differentiation, institutionalization, national integration, participation, populaism, political culture, social mobilization and socio-economic correlates. These reductive efforts do not imply a denial of multivariate causation rather they reflect either the timeless quest for a comprehensive single concept of modernity or simply the desire of illuminate a previously neglected or under emphasized variable.

The ideal-type approach-It is either explicit or implicit in most conceptualizations of both a modern political system and the process of political modernization. Descriptive traits lists of a generically modern polity tend unavoidably to be ideal-typical. The very notion of modern polity implies an ideal-typical traditional polity as a polar opposite as well as transitional polity as an intervening type on a continuum of political modernization.

The orientation governing the traditional polity is predominantly ascriptive, particularistic and diffused where as a modern polity is predominantly achievement –oriented, universalistic and specific. Thus political modernization is viewed as a process of movement from a traditional pole to the modern pole of the continuum.