Comparative politics is commonly described as the study of the domestic politics of different states. Even when the focus is a single country, work in this subfield is inherently comparative, aiming to situate that state empirically and theoretically among others. Comparative politics seeks to understand and explain similarities and differences among polities, analyzing patterns and processes of state formation, nationalism, economic development, political mobilization, violence, and more.
Scholars approach these questions via a wide variety of methods, from large-N statistical techniques, to small-N qualitative and interpretive approaches, and aim at everything from general theories of political behavior to middle-range theory to theory-building description. The comparative politics subfield at UAlbany is especially strong in areas of political mobilization and violence, nationalism, collective identity, political regimes, civil society, and the politics of Asia and the postcommunist world, using a range of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Several centers at UAlbany offer resources and support to students of comparative politics, such as the Center for International Development, Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, and area studies programs such as the East Asian Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies departments.
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