Cutting-Edge Comparative Area Studies Analyses

New book on Comparative Area Studies co-edited by GIGA vice president Patrick Köllner.

Opened book
© Pixabay
Opened book
© Pixabay

A new book titled Comparative Area Studies: Methodological Rationales and Cross-Regional Applications and co-edited by GIGA vice president Patrick Köllner will be published this month. It is the first publication to provide important insights into the methodology of the young field of Comparative Area Studies (CAS). The authors make concrete reference to regional characteristics and supraregional phenomena such as protests and rebellions, anti-corruption campaigns, resource booms, institutional change, and the organisation of production. Prof. Dr. Köllner edited the book together with Ariel I. Ahram and Rudra Sil. It will be published by Oxford University Press.

Comparative Area Studies has only recently received increased attention. The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) has devoted itself to Comparative Area Studies for several years and is now one of the leading research centres for CAS in Europe. The GIGA views CAS as an especially important research approach because it links context sensitivity and the knowledge of specific cases to general theory. Using a CAS approach, researchers can investigate whether social phenomena and theories are bound by geography and culture or whether they can be applied in a broader cross-regional context. The book by Köllner, Ahram, and Sil is therefore a crucial contribution to the further development of Comparative Area Studies in academia.

The book will be published in late March 2018 and is available for purchase here.

Abstract of the book: In the post-World War II era, the emergence of “area studies” marked a signal development in the social sciences. As the social sciences evolved methodologically, however, many dismissed area studies as favoring narrow description over general theory. Still, area studies continues to play a key, if unacknowledged, role in bringing new data, new theories, and valuable policy-relevant insights to social sciences. In Comparative Area Studies, three leading figures in the field have gathered an international group of scholars in a volume that promises to be a landmark in a resurgent field. The book upholds two basic convictions: that intensive regional research remains indispensable to the social sciences and that this research needs to employ comparative referents from other regions to demonstrate its broader relevance. Comparative Area Studies (CAS) combines the context-specific insights from traditional area studies and the logic of cross- and inter-regional empirical research. This first book devoted to CAS explores methodological rationales and illustrative applications showing how area-based expertise can link into cutting-edge comparative analytical frameworks.


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