Normative approach to the study of Politics is known as traditional approach. The works in Political Science from Plato to Karl Mark can be regarded as Traditional Political Science. These thinkers emphasized the study of state and government. They kept in mind cartain norms and values. The method was to begin with cause and reach to the effect.
The important features of this approach are as follows:
1. Idealistic and Prescriptive
The emphasis in this approach is on norms and ideals. It does not concern itself with things as they are. It does not adopt a realistic view of political actions, and institutions. Through the ages Political thinkers have focused their ideas and theories on what they perceive to be the ideal for the state. They prescribe certain forms of conduct rather than describe events or facts. This approach was inclined to ignore “What is” and gave more importance to “What should be”. Therefore it is prescriptive Plato, Hegel and Green are some of the idealist thinkers.
2. Value Oriented Approach
Normative thinkers emphasized ethical and moral values such as good bad, just, unjust etc. It is a value loaded approach. It was more concerned with setting standards for organizations and governance of society.
3. Optimistic and Utopian
Normative theories are based on the assumptions. It believes that a better system is possible. Accordingly normative thinkers suggest the ways and means to achieve this better system. In that sense this approach is optimistic. Eg. Plato‟s concept of Ideal State.
4. Institutional Formal and Legal Approach
Normative approach suggests that political – Science is the study of State and government. It studies the formal, Legal Structures of Political system. e. g., Study of the origin of the State, functions of the State, Structure of the government, provisions about the rights etc.
5. Dominated by Philosophy and History
From Plato, Aristotle (ancient Greek thinkers) to Rousseau used Philosophical deductive method in adopting the normative approach to make political enquiry.