Laws, Stories and Beyond: A Comparison of Nine Influential Titles Using a Reconstructed Analytical Space

24 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017

See all articles by Meicen Sun

Meicen Sun

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: March 7, 2017

Abstract

By analyzing nine influential titles in comparative politics, namely Polanyi’s The Great Transformation, Ertman’s Birth of the Leviathan, Gellner’s Nations and Nationalism, Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, Huntington’s Political Order in Changing Societies, Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, King et al.’s Designing Social Inquiry, and Geertz’s The Interpretation of Cultures, this essay proposes a new method of analysis in a reconstructed theoretical space. I first categorize the nine titles into two provisional groups – “law-finders” and “storytellers.” This is done by examining the works along three analytical dimensions – structure-agency, dynamism-stationarity and epistemologically, positivism-interpretivism. Once recast on this new space, the nine titles reveal five subtle, surprising and potentially illuminating patterns that have been missing from the conventional law-story distinction. Some of these patterns have never been explicitly addressed in the relevant comparative politics or political theory literature and therefore deserve further inquiry.

Keywords: Comparative politics; political theory; great books

Suggested Citation

Sun, Meicen, Laws, Stories and Beyond: A Comparison of Nine Influential Titles Using a Reconstructed Analytical Space (March 7, 2017). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2017-7, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928693 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2928693

Meicen Sun (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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