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Illustrates how the idea of comparison has been deployed through the social sciences and humanities

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Copyright © 2006, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted August and September 2006.

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In Modes of Comparison: Theory and Practice, the contributors highlight how theoretical problems have brought forth new ideas on comparison and how comparison has become pivotal in the human sciences. Many of the chapters in this interdisciplinary volume update landmark essays from the journal Comparative Studies in Society and History. Each of the essays questions a number of critical and contemporary issues in history, sociology, and anthropology as they relate to various ideas of comparison. The authors set out comparative projects, discuss the difficulties of identifying baseline processes, and reflect on the contemporary challenges of organizing their analyses in ways that are both methodologically responsible and theoretically compelling.
"As a sign that the Zeitgeist may be changing Yengoyan has brought together a stimulating set of articles that demonstrate the strategic importance of comparison for the humanities and social sciences."
—Melford Spiro, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego
"The best of the best: conceptually inspired and deftly edited comparative studies from the multidisciplinary journal that calls the field."
—Michael Lambek, London School of Economics
"Essays on theory, exemplary applications, fresh discoveries, classic articles—a rich collection on comparative study. Each piece is a gem."
—Thomas R. Trautmann, Professor of History and Anthropology, University of Michigan
"Through rich and provocative explorations integrating anthropology and history, Modes of Comparison challenges localist biases and offers exciting new directions."
—Jane H. Hill, Regents' Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Arizona
"A splendid review of the uses of comparison in history and anthropology. A wide variety of vivid case examples is illuminated by a broad range of general principles."
—Clifford Geertz, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study
Aram A. Yengoyan is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis.