The Problem of Comparison in Comparative Regionalism
There is virtually no systematic debate on the fundamentals of comparative research in the study of international regionalism. The field of research is very fragmented and there is a lack of interaction between EU studies and regionalism in the rest of the world. There is also a lack of communication between scholars from various theoretical standpoints and research traditions. Related to these two divides is the tension between idiographic and nomothetic methodologies. The purpose of this article is to contribute to the largely neglected debate on how to conduct and address three interrelated problems: a conceptual, a theoretical and a methodological one. Our claim is that the future of comparative regionalism should be one where old divides are bridged. This requires a combination of conceptual rigor, theoretical eclecticism, and sounder empirical research methods.