The scope of general theory: Methods for linking deductive and inductive comparative history

  • Boswell T
  • Brown C
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Abstract

A "holy war" is being fought within comparative historical sociology between deductivists and inductivists over the scope of general theory. The issues include broad versus narrow scope conditions, explicit versus contingent theorizing, and theory testing versus theory building. The irony of the conflict is that each side makes ample use of the other's product despite condemning its progenitor: The authors offer a hierarchical approach to qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) as a method for linking deductive and inductive approaches, and link SCA to game theory as a way to design more dynamic comparative studies The authors illustrate this method through a split labor market analysis of inter radical conflict and cooperation in nine U.S. labor organizing drives.

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Authors

  • Terry Boswell

  • Cliff Brown

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