Constructing Subjects and Comparison in International Relations Studies

  • Thomas Lindemann
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)


The purpose of this contribution is to steer between the idiographic and nomothetic poles, and to present in action the method of structured, focalized and controlled comparisons that are liable to produce “contextualized” “intermediary” theories. I will outline the explanative potential of “chrono-logics” and specific contexts. The emphasis will at first be put on the merits and limits of “particularistic” conceptions of social phenomena, then on underlining the advantages and problems of “covering law,” an ambition of the dominant approaches. Finally, I will demonstrate the focalized and controlled comparison method and will show how it provides a way of analyzing international crises between times of war and peace without misrecognizing the particularity of “cases.”


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Lindemann
    • 1
  1. 1.École Polytechique, University Versailles Saint QuentinVersaillesFrance

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