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1 Positive Political Theory Alan Hamlin School of Social Sciences University of Manchester 1. Introduction The purposes of this chapter are to introduce positive political theory and to offer a guide to its use. To these ends, the chapter is organized around two basic questions: what is positive political theory? How can positive political theory be used effectively to address specific research questions? While positive political theory may be developed and employed in any substantive area of politics, in order to focus the discussion, these questions will be addressed in the context of the analysis of democratic institutions and democratic political behaviour and, more specifically, the study of referendums, elections and voting, so that the examples of positive political theory and the research questions discussed will reflect this subject matter. The next section offers an account of positive political theory that both positions positive political theory relative to its normative co...