Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen
Chapter 11: Comparative political analysis and the interpretation of meaning
This chapter engages the cultural realm of meaning with the study of comparative politics. Taking the departure from a criticism of several schools of thought in comparative politics within both the universalist and relativist paradigms, the chapter introduces an inductive methodology based on the thick description of locally meaningful codes within their historical and socio-cultural context. It argues that the interpretation of meaning constitutes a new form of scientific reasoning likely to offer comparative insights and not, as is frequently believed, simply add contextual knowledge. Drawing on different interpretations of meanings of political representation in Scandinavia, Nigeria and France, this chapter shows how representation is lived, performed, and understood within culturally rich local contexts.
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