|dc.description.abstract||When the present state of affairs in world politics is being reviewed, the single
predominant characteristic that emerges is the fundamental and radical political
changes that occured during recent years. The development from an old world order
to a new one, with by implication, the transformation of political institutions in
countries, is demonstrated, inter alia, both by the collapse of communist
governments in the USSR and in prominent East Bloc countries, and by a worldwide
process of democratization. South Africa, too, is at present caught up in a process of
drastic political change which, particularly since 2 February 1990, has had farreaching
implications for existing structures and political institutions. Indeed, South
Africa, as is the case with numerous other countries worldwide, illustrates the fact that
the transformation of political institutions during transitional periods is a prominent
feature of present times.
A theorist that made an enormous contribution towards understanding the
transformation of political institutions during periods of transition is the controversial
S.P. Huntington. In numerous contributions dating back to the late fifties and
particularly to the 1960's, Huntington succeeded in explaining theoretically the
phenomenon of the transformation of political institutions during periods of transition
and in so doing he clarified a topical and complex phenomenon in world politics.
Huntington's contribution is regarded as being of such importance that he is
considered to be one of the foremost political scientists of the post World War II
The following factors served as motivation for this study which has the following title:
The Transformation of Political Institutions during periods of transition - A reconstruction,
interpretation and evaluation of the theoretical contributions of S.P. Huntington:
1. The topicality of his contributions during a time of sweeping political changes.
2. The status (importance) that his theories attained which resulted in Huntington
emerging as a pioneer in his field of study.
3. The gap that exists within contemporary literature as regards the
reconstruction, interpretation and evaluation of all the Huntington's
contributions with reference to the phenomenon of the transformation of
political institutions during periods of transition.
This study attempts to make a contribution' towards:
* The development of a metatheoretical framework by means of which political
change in general and Huntington's theories in particular may be
reconstructed, interpreted and evaluated.
** Determining Huntington's position within the identified field of study in the light
of the particular contributions made by him.
*** The reconstruction, interpretation and evaluation of Huntington's contributions
by applying the metatheoretical framework as developed for use in this study.||en_ZA