Citizenship Rights and Social Movements: A Comparative and Statistical Analysis

By Joe Foweraker; Todd Landman | Go to book overview

3
Methods and Sources

Chapters 1 and 2 outlined the main theoretical debates about citizenship, social movements, and the relationship between them, in the past and in the present. Citizenship is understood to consist primarily of civil and political rights, as expressed in rights-inprinciple, rights-in-practice, and the gap between them. Social movements arise from different forms of popular organization, including labour organization. The task of this chapter is to operationalize these different aspects of citizenship and social movements in order to examine the questions posed in the first two chapters. It is divided into two parts. First, it gives a brief overview of the main issues in comparative methodology and outlines the research strategy used in this study. Second, it proceeds to show how the three aspects of citizenship and the two types of social movement activity are measured.


Comparative Method

The goal of comparative method is to develop general political and sociological rules by comparing across countries. The real world of politics cannot be subjected to experimental control, and comparison acts as a substitute for experimentation. Whether the focus is on political institutions, political culture, political processes, social classes, or the 'functional equivalences' among various countries, two main comparative methods tend to be employed: large crossnational studies with few variables and many cases, or small-N comparisons with many variables and few cases.1 According to J. S. Mill ( 1843/ 1970), these methods rely upon two techniques of comparative analysis: the method of agreement and the method of

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1
For a review of the issues and strategies of comparative politics, see Dogan and Pelassy ( 1990).

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