Post-Behaviouralism Approach to Study Political Science – Essay

After remaining popular for almost two decades (1940-60), the Behavioural Approach got transformed into Post-Behaviouralism. Twenty years of behavioural research brought to light its limitations and weaknesses.

The failure to make any real progress towards the objective of building a scientific political theory compelled the behaviouralists to admit reforms in the light of their experiences with behavioural research. They accepted several reforms and the exercise got the name Post-Behaviouralism.

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Post-Behaviouralism did not constitute a return to the traditional approach. It accepted the merit of Behaviouralism but at the same time advocated the need to reform it. The Post- Behaviouralists were reformed behaviouralists. Post-Behaviouralism emerged as a reform movement within Behaviouralism.

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Post-Behaviouralism accepted and advocated:

1. The need to study all realities of Politics.

2. The need to study social change.


3. The need to end the obsession with methods and techniques and the need to study the substance of politics.

4. The need to admit the study of values along with facts.

5. The need to help the society to develop by the use of knowledge of politics.

6. The need to put knowledge of politics into action by the political scientists.


7. The need to serve the society by helping it to preserve and develop its values.

Post-Behaviouralists now advocated ‘Relevance’ and ‘Action’ as two guiding goals and accepted the need for the study of values in Politics.

Relevance meant study of all the realities, brute realities of politics. Mere development of techniques and methods was not enough. Political Science must give primary importance to the study of the social realities and social change. It should not be conservative and static in approach and efforts.

Action meant the responsibility of the political scientists to act in the political process. It stood for the use of knowledge and understanding of politics for helping the society to develop by adopting the valued reforms.

The Post-Behaviouralists accepted the responsibility of getting involved in the process of social change through social action. Total concentration on the development of techniques and methods for building a scientific theory of politics was held to be inadequate. It was to be supplemented by willing and purposive involvement in social action for social change.

The transformation of the Behavioural Approach into Post-Behaviouralism increased the acceptability of this approach. The advocates of traditional approach now came forward to accept the importance and need of empirical-scientific methods of study and the behavioural view of politics.

The Behaviouralists turned Post-behaviouralists also came forward to accept the importance of the study of values in politics as well as some merit of the traditional normative approach. Normativism and Empiricism came closer and the subject-matter of Political Science came to include both traditional as well as modern features.

The attempt to develop an integrated theory of politics—an Empirical-Normative theory of politics got initiated. This attempt is still being made by the modern political scientists.

Modern Political scientists have been using both empirical-scientific approaches like, Systems Approached, Structural Functional Approach, Communication Approach, Decision-making Approach, Game Approach as well as Political Economy Approach, Political Sociology Approach.

It also accepted value of Philosophical, Historical and Legal- Institutional Approaches for studying some dimensions of politics. Several of them also depend upon the Marxist Approach which is a sociological approach to the study of politics. Out of all modern approaches, the Systems Approach has been the most popular approach.


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