The Problem of Comparison in Comparative Regionalism
There is virtually no systematic debate regarding the fundamentals of comparative research in the field of international regionalism. The research field is very fragmented and the lack of interaction between EU studies and regionalism in the rest of the world is stark. There is also a lack of communication between scholars from various theoretical stand-points and research traditions. Related to these two divides is the tension between idiographic and nomothetic analysis. The purpose of this article is to contribute to this 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 jointly old divides are closed and new frontiers are crossed. This requires a combination of more conceptual rigor, theoretical eclecticism, and sounder empirical research methods.