Edited By Jürgen Schriewer and Jürgen K. Schriewer
I Historicizing Comparative Methodology
Comparative Education Methodology in Transition 3 COMPARATIVE EDUCATION METHODOLOGY IN TRANSITION: TOWARDS A SCIENCE OF COMPLEXITY ? Jürgen Schriewer One of the central claims – if not the central claim – of comparative research in the social sciences has always been its distinctive role in pro- viding explanation of macro-social phenomena. In this paper, I will dis- cuss this claim. In so doing, I will place particular emphasis on the diffi- culties which stand in the way of its realization. These difficulties arise from two kinds of complexity, which have become clear only in consid- eration both of the theoretical insight following from recent comparative social research and of contrary developments taking place at the level of international (or intercultural) relations. They are related, in other words, to the complexity of social causation, and to the complexity of compara- tive research's object domain proper. These issues will be discussed neither from the point of view of epis- temological criticism nor of methodological prescription, as has been customary in Comparative Education methodology. Rather, I shall try to take advantage of the possibilities, provided by the so-called socio- historical shift in the general meta-scientific discourse, to empirically substantiate and thus to objectify methodological arguments. Underlying my reasoning is, then, at least implicitly, a history of science perspective. More precisely, I shall examine comparative methodology and – to some extent – research as they have developed at three successive time levels: (i) at the end of the eighteenth century, when the grand program of the comparative study...
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