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John Stuart Mill devised five methods for systematically analyzing observations and making more accurate assumptions about causality. Mill's Methods discusses; direct method of agreement, method of difference, joint method of agreement and difference, method of residues and method of concomitant variations. Mill's methods are typically the most useful when the causal relationship is already suspected and can therefore be a tool for eliminating other explanations.

There are several difficulties that historical comparative research faces. James Mahoney, one of the current leading figures in historical comparative research, identifies several of these in his book "Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences. Both Kiser and Hechter employ models within Rational Choice Theory for their general causal principles.

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Historical researchers that oppose them Skocpol, Summers, others argue that Kiser and Hechter do not suggest many other plausible general theories, and thus it seems as though their advocacy for general theories is actually advocacy for their preferred general theory. They also raise other criticisms of using rational choice theory in historical comparative research. In recent decades historical comparative researchers have debated the proper role of general theory. Two of the main players in this debate have been Edgar Kiser and Michael Hechter.

They have argued that it is important to use a general theory in order to be able to test the results of the research that has been conducted. They do not argue that one specific theory is better than the other just that a theory needs to be used. Their chosen theory is rational choice. One of the main problems is that everyone has a different concept of what a theory is and what makes something a theory. Some of their opponents feel that any theory can be tested and they are arguing that some cannot be. Kiser and Hecter do acknowledge that this is a growing field and that their perspective may change in the future.

Researcher Julia Adams draws on both original archival work and secondary sources to analyze how merchant families contested with noble families for influence in the early modern Dutch Republic. Her use of feminist theory to account for elements of the Dutch Republic, such as patriarchal kinship structures in the ruling families, expanded on earlier theories of how modern states came to be. This is an illustration of how comparative-historical analysis uses cases and theories together.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It has been suggested that Comparative research be merged into this article. Discuss Proposed since September History portal Sociology portal. Adams, E.

Comparative/Historical Approaches

Clemens, and A. Remaking Modernity: Politics, History, and Sociology. Duke University Press. George Lawrence. Perennial Classics. International Publishers.

The Free Press. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. University of California Press. Du Bois Writings.

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Library of America. The Rise of Historical Sociology. Temple University Press. Beacon Press.

Cambridge University Press. Blackwell Publishing. Homo Academicus. Peter Collier. Stanford University Press. Camic, P. Gorski, and D. University of Chicago Press. Mahoney and D. Archived from the original on Retrieved Comparative historical analysis of the social sciences. Or, in other cases, a student would specialise within a territorial sphere — for example, mastering Prussian civil law, or Rhenish tort law. By the third or fourth year of studies, increasing specialization often meant travel to other university towns. Since, not every university had a chair in every specialised subject — indeed, the fields were widely dispersed across all the German speaking territories — the student had to move locations to complete his studies.

This transnationalism, especially as students became civil servants, jurists or professors themselves, positioned academics well during the period of political unification. Many took up roles in public and political office, particularly in the more liberalised southwest German states including Baden. According to one historian,. The leadership of professors and students in the drive for closer national unification, more secure political and civic rights, and other public issues helped bring the German universities closer to the realities of German society than they had been [ Professors increasingly embodied the Fichtean ethic as an intellectual and political elite, but this did not mean the universities were wholly subsumed within the state.

Professors were salaried civil servants, the justice ministry controlled examinations, and specialised seminars and laboratories were funded from royal and princely budgets.

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SOCI 602 Comparative-Historical Methods (3 credits)

Still, especially in the period after , during which a consultation with professors resulted in constitutional by-laws protecting Ordinarien though not Extraordinarien and Dozenten , academics were guaranteed the right to nominate new faculty appointments and autonomous discretion with respect to staffing and academic justice. But, the very fact of consultation reflected the dramatic difference before and after in German-speaking Europe. Blackbourn and Eley More importantly, when the Frankfurt Assembly dissolved, most of the legislation proposed was slowly and almost silently enacted by the jurists returning to their respective states.

How did comparative and historical research factor during national unification? Further, the task with which he was charged — the codification of Alsatian law — was of clear importance to imperial authorities in the Reichsland and Berlin. His successful management of the codification project, which gave Germany access to the legal structure of the recently annexed territory, led to his appointment in the Cultural Ministry in Berlin.

He would apply similar codification practices to develop an unprecedented centralisation and modernisation of university administration without sovereign jurisdiction or direct control. Perhaps more than any other, Althoff embodied the value-neutral, atemporal bureaucratic conservatism of the civil servant described by Mannheim This circumstance, perhaps unique in all of German university history Brocke , contributed to a misperception amongst his critics that he was unqualified or somehow honorifically appointed.

It is therefore worth addressing his education in detail: following a typical Gymnasium education, during which he mastered Greek, Latin and handwriting, the seventeen-year-old Althoff enrolled at Bonn to study law. In the following year, he studied German legal history, Roman legal history, including the Corpus Juris Civilis and the Pandects. As his studies progressed, he began specialisation with a favoured lecturer, Georg Fredrich Dahlmann, a hero of the Revolutions, who taught finance and state science, in addition to courses in Russian and English history, until his death in In , Althoff joined the student fraternity, the Corps Saxonia, where he spent much of his time.

By the end of his initial studies at Bonn in , he had become an expert in Rhenish civil process. He married Marie Ingenohl in By , he had passed his assessors exam with excellent marks.


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In , he had nearly completed his doctoral dissertation, approved by Rudolph Gneist as early as , when, on 17 July, Napoleon III declared war on Prussia drawing the nations into the Franco—Prussian war. By 16 August, he was called into military service, where he served as medical orderly until May, when he was rushed from the front to serve in a very special capacity at the Imperial office in Strassburg.

Comparative-Historical Methodology | Annual Review of Sociology

Initially working within the Reichsland Imperial ministry, Althoff was soon dually-appointed as secretary to Baron Franz von Roggenbach, who was charged with organising a model German university at Strassburg as part of a cultural imperial mission. Thus, having submitted neither dissertation nor habilitation, Althoff became professor of French civil law at the Imperial University of Strassburg. His dual appointment took advantage of his practical experience as a civil servant, with which he assisted Roggenbach in resolving the remaining administrative developments and organisational issues surrounding the university.

As law professor, he began his first course of lectures in the winter of , teaching 17 students French Civil Law, a course he would teach every year until All of the researchers would receive a full pension to work on the task. Althoff and his researchers set to work immediately. Once all of the material was gathered, the comparative-historical legal methodology proved incredibly effective.

Across long-ruled ledgers, the jurists would list three columns along a vertical timeline — one Imperial, one French, one German — they would then list each legal act, case or precedent they discovered, slotting these along the timeline. The manuscripts have the appearance of double-entry accounting ledgers, as gaps and spaces are left between Imperial and French law indicating when certain laws were applied vs when alternative sovereignties were in force.

Through this painstaking documentation, the researchers developed a clear sense of not only the substantive differences between French, German and Holy Roman Imperial law, but also a sense of the overall historical development, or evolution, of the law as it specifically emerged within Alsace-Lorraine.

Historical and Comparative Research

The interlocking and shifting sovereignties produced a particular amalgam of legal jurisdictions that was unique to the Rhenish province. Not only did Althoff and his researchers recognise this, their method was designed precisely to determine those specificities. Here, the power and utility of the historical legal scientific method as a form of professional practice is evident. As part of an imperial mission, the jurists did not sit in their armchairs and develop a schema on how best to rule a colonised territory.

They went out into society, and gathered all the legal precedents and textbooks that had ever been produced on the region. The results provided a heuristic window on the territory as it actually existed in all its complexity. Once differentiated, the imperial ministry could isolate which were French laws, which were customary laws, and which were German Imperial laws alien to the territory.

Newer laws could then be redressed and repackaged as legacies of prior, historical traditions. Progressive changes were justified through historical reference. By , the handbooks of Alsatian law were printed and bound. With his work considered among the great achievements of legal science, Althoff was promoted to Ordinarien professor, again unprecedented insofar as he still never formally acquired a doctorate. Legal scientists and civil servants sent letters of congratulation.

In the following year, Althoff was commissioned to reform the Alsatian exam board, which provided qualifications for the civil service and legal profession.