AdvisorMuller, Edward N.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractDuring the process of modernization, countries are seeking different goals such as growth, equality, stability, democracy, autonomy, etc. While these goals are not readily compatible nor can be achieved simultaneously, the unavoidable consequences for modernization are inequality, instability, repressiveness, dependency, stagnation or the combination of these. The cross-national variation in the pattern of political violence is the most noticeable one. One of the most ambitious and influential attempts to develop a general theory of why modernizing countries are susceptible to political instability is that proposed by Samuel P. Huntington in the form of three interrelated "Gap" hypotheses. The lack of empirical support for Huntington's Gap hypotheses in explaining general instability calls for further studies. Alternative hypotheses are based on structural and behavioral explanation such as the type of state function and the way governments cooperate/coerce with opposition elites and dissident groups. Rational choice theory and relative deprivation theory are the two most plausible contending theories in developing a middle-range theory. Rational choice theory argues a combination of structural conditions and individual rationality. Relative deprivation asserts a discontent-aggression linkage in terms of the satisfaction of economic well-being. Guided by the modernization gap theory, rational choice theory, and deprivation theory, using six five-year intervals from 1948 to 1977, this study carried out vigorous multiple testings. The results show that rational choice theory is the most powerful theory in explaining political violence, while deprivation theory is secondly important.
Degree ProgramPolitical Sciences