Comparative mainstreaming? Mapping the uses of the comparative method in social policy, sociology and political science since the 1970s - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of European Social Policy Year : 2022

Comparative mainstreaming? Mapping the uses of the comparative method in social policy, sociology and political science since the 1970s

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Abstract

This article maps the development and uses of the comparative method in academic research since the 1970s. It is based on an original database that we constructed for our review of 12,483 articles extracted from leading journals representing the disciplines of Social Policy, Political Science and Sociology. We proceed to a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the reported comparative research effort. We find that the comparative method became mainstream in the 1990s – following the publication of the Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism and that JESP is the most comparative journal of all. In 2020, 66% of articles published in JESP are comparative. The comparative turn has been stronger in Social Policy than Sociology and Political Science over the last three decades. We witness a rise in the use of formal techniques (case studies and comparative historical analysis, SEM/factorial techniques, cluster analysis, QCA/Fuzzy-set) and mixed-methods in comparison to descriptive analysis, and this is particularly pronounced in Sociology. Regression analysis is dominant, however the most cited comparative articles are based on case studies and descriptive statistics. Overall, we argue that the comparative method is, in essence, ‘a way of thinking’ and not simply the application of a set of disparate techniques.
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hal-03832082 , version 1 (27-10-2022)

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Emanuele Ferragina, Christopher Deeming. Comparative mainstreaming? Mapping the uses of the comparative method in social policy, sociology and political science since the 1970s. Journal of European Social Policy, 2022, pp.095892872211284. ⟨10.1177/09589287221128438⟩. ⟨hal-03832082⟩
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