ASN 513

Conceptual work in most social research has the tendency to be unapologetically intuitive and piecemeal.  This is especially the case in comparative analyses.  The suspect appreances of conceptual material are not only likely to raise a certain sense of hostility among the students at the beginning of their training in social theory but also at times may even give the impression that although different theoretical views are basically different on account of their distinct analytical assumptions and the conclusions drawn, these are not meant to be restrictive with regards to the more practical implications of singular attempts at research.  This seminar will look at this problem of methodological regression characteristic of comparative studies and try to show that both particular conceptual layouts and particular research practices may attain some meaning and purpose only within the confines of some theoretical elaboration of the cohesiveness of the two.  An initial discussion of methodological controversies, followed by explorations into classical and positivist political economy, will help us decide the issues across and the shape of social inquiry so far attempted, and see the ways of the comparativist.