This text provides an introduction to politics in the Third World which is thematic and comparative, and places politics in its historical, social and international contexts. Our approach is based upon comparison within and across regions, rather than upon generalisation with relatively little concern for regional specificity and historical background. We believe, as regional specialists ourselves, that the history and politics of different regions are sufficiently distinctive to make such an approach essential. Although useful in other ways, the term ‘Third World’ is somewhat misleading if it suggests a shared and uniform history. The framework we adopt allows us to compare and contrast four major areas of the world outside the core capitalist economies and the former socialist bloc, and it is this exercise which is our primary concern.
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