The Uses of Comparative Sociology

The Uses of Comparative Sociology

The Uses of Comparative Sociology

The Uses of Comparative Sociology

Excerpt

The present book grew out of my long-standing concern about the neglect of comparative method in contemporary sociology which I first voiced in the foreword to my Military Organization and Society published by Routledge & Kegan Paul in 1954 under my original surname of Andrzejewski. I am glad to be able to say that my strictures have lost some of their applicability owing to the appearance in the meantime of a few important works based on comparative study. Although some points of my criticisms expressed in that foreword seem to me now to have been overemphasized, I have the satisfaction that I have succeeded in helping to revive interest in comparative studies.

A book which would attempt to cover the field of comparative sociology would amount to a comprehensive treatise on all the aspects of social life in their manifold variety. The mere size of the present book proves that its purpose is more restricted. What I tried to do here is to show the fruitfulness of comparative analysis, illustrate its difficulties and pitfalls, and clear certain misunderstandings surrounding its methodology.

The text is divided into three parts: Book I is focused on methodology, Book II deals with substantive general problems, and Book III contains case studies. The division is by no means water-tight because a discussion of methodology without reference to concrete applications must remain on the level of unrealistic pontification; and one of the chief contentions of the present work is that the difference between a case study and a comparative analysis should be a matter of emphasis and focus rather than of exclusive divergence.

Book II is divided into parts dealing with a few out of many aspects of social life which could be illuminated with the aid of comparative analysis. They were chosen not because I regard them . . .

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