The Refiguration of Spaces and Methodological Challenges of Cross-Cultural Comparison
In most reflections on cross-cultural comparison, scholars assume that "cultures" can be relatively clearly demarcated spatially and that "space" itself is a given entity. However, theories such as the theory of refiguration of spaces have stressed both that it is important to deconstruct the category "space" itself and that social processes have been characterized by major spatial transformations since the mid-twentieth century. Based on this idea, in two FQS thematic issues scholars from various disciplines will ask what consequences the refiguration of spaces has for cross-cultural comparison and what one can methodologically learn from research on cross-cultural comparison about the analysis of refiguration of spaces. In the first issue, authors from sociology and historical sciences are focusing mostly on the methodological issues. In this article, we provide a frame for this debate by ordering the earlier discussion on cross-cultural comparison along four questions: Why do we compare? Who or what are we comparing where and when? How can we compare? What methodological conclusions can be drawn from the debate on cross-cultural comparison concerning the analysis of social processes across different spatial scales and time layers in order to assess causality?
Copyright (c) 2021 Nina Baur, Stephen Mennell, Angela Million
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