Culture In Comparative Analysis: Comparative Politics

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Ross, Marc Howard, “ Culture in Comparative Analysis,” Comparative Politics: Rationality, Cuture and Structure 2nd edition (2009), 134-161. (Seminar paper prepared by RebaJane Stromberg)

Marc Howard Ross’ main objective is to discuss cultural analysis with an intersubjective lens instead of the heavily used subjective and takes the “opportunity (to) articulate and elaborate on what an intersubjective cultural approach can contribute to comparative politics” (135). Ross breaks down the chapter into four parts, the first “discusses the concept of culture as shared meaning and mean-making” (136) he then discusses the five contributions cultural analyses have given comparative politics. Part two of the chapter “explains the importance of narrative and interpretations as a way to link the contextually rich details found in particular political settings”(136). Ross explains that this helps link the details to collective behaviors and national conflict in comparative study (136). The third part, Ross ponders “five critiques of cultural studies of politics”(137) and finally Ross concludes the chapter by “exploring some compatibilities and incompatibilities between cultural analyses and rational choice and institutionalist approaches” (137). He also clarifies that culture is ignored and instead focus is put on “insights derived from other approaches”(137).

Ross begins by laying out three specific warnings about culture; first, culture cannot be used to describe “all behaviors,
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