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J Hist Behav Sci. 2013 Spring;49(2):190-210. doi: 10.1002/jhbs.21593. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

The reconstitution of political theory: David Easton, behavioralism, and the long road to system.

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  • 1Department of Political Science, State University of New York, Albany. jgg@albany.edu

Abstract

During the last half of the twentieth century, the concept of system was arguably the most important concept in the theoretical repertoire of the discipline of American political science. Although systems analysis was broadly employed in the behavioral sciences, David Easton's work was particularly influential in the study of politics. This is in part because he attempted to develop a distinct account of the political system that was not theoretically subservient either to general systems theory or to conceptions of the social system such as that advanced by Talcott Parsons. Although a great deal of attention has been devoted to Easton's theory, the origins and evolution of the system concept in his work have not been carefully reconstructed and analyzed.

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

PMID:
23423865
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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