The Concept of Political Development by Lucian W. Pye

Abstract: Considerable confusion exists over the concept of political development, which is of recent origin in political science. The confusion is compounded because particular trends in the social sciences inhibited explicit concern about political, as distinct from economic, development. Ten definitions of “political development” are analyzed in this article, and a final summary view of the essential dimensions of the concept is presented in which three broadly shared characteristics of political development are outlined: concern with equality, with the capacity of the political system, and with the differentiation or specialization of governmental organizations. These three characteristics are generally related to certain aspects of political development: equality to the political culture, the problems of capacity to authoritative governmental structures, and the question of differentiation to non-authoritative structures. This suggests a final analysis that the problems of political development revolve around the relationship between the political culture, the authoritative structure, and the general political process.