Institutional Approach To The Study Of Politics

The institutional approach is another traditional approach in Political Science. It seeks to make political institutions, such as the State, government, parliament, etc., as the subject-matter of study. Indeed, this approach is common in the study of politics. But the meaning of an institutional approach varies with the definition of institution. It can be taken in a general or a narrow sense. In the general sense, Political Science is the study of the State or government.

In the narrow sense, it is the study of organ or office of the government or of a governmental activity. As an organ, we may study a legislature or parliament, or the cabinet system; as an office, we may study the office of a president or prime minister. Similarly, administration, bureaucracy, etc., are the objects of political studies. As a matter of fact, greater portion of Political Science is the result of the institutional approach. This is what we shall be doing in many chapters of this book.

Institutional approach has certain drawbacks. First of all, it neglects the individual, for it concentrates on the group and its activities. Secondly, it does not take into view an important aspect of politics, namely the role which violence and opposition play in politics. It fails to study such matters as disputes, controversies, quarrels, revolts, ^aggressions and war, which are very common features of political life in all countries and in all ages. Instead, institutional approach assumes that there is no violence, no conflict and no confrontation in the political and constitutional institutions. But by neglecting the fact of conflict and violence in politics, the institutional approach has failed to understand a very important aspect and problem of Political Science.