Theoretical and Methodological Challenges
Edited by Dietmar Braun and Martino Maggetti
Chapter 4: Between parsimony and complexity – system-wide typologies as a challenge in comparative politics
The search for causal inferences while respecting the variety and specifics of the empirical world remains a conundrum in comparative politics. The chapter reveals the problems and solutions that have been discussed by focusing on one of the most important methodological instruments, i.e. classification and more in particular on system-wide typologies. While the first part focuses on analytic differentiation as the ʽtraditionalʼ strategy of tackling the conundrum, the second part treats more recent and somewhat opposed developments, which challenge classification building. The turn to multi-causality in explanatory frameworks raises the complexity of classification building and makes the search for causal inferences more difficult, while the growing influence of rational choice theory in comparative politics aspires to reduce complexity in classification building and raise the capacity to generalize.
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