This paper compares the different ways in which comparative analysis is undertaken by political scientists today. The first section explains why concepts are a necessary attribute of comparison; it is followed by a discussion of what comparison is not, i.e. studies that emphasize the incomparability of a country, lack concepts or, as in ‘landless’ theory, ignore real countries. The commonest form of comparative analysis, countries examined as parallel independent cases, is the subject of the third section. The conclusion considers implications of countries no longer being totally autonomous actors but becoming permeable or interacting due to the growth of international interdependence.
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