NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1142798
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0049-1241
Composite and Loose Concepts, Historical Analogies, and the Logic of Control in Comparative Historical Analysis
Møller, Jørgen
Sociological Methods & Research, v45 n4 p651-677 Nov 2016
The use of controlled comparisons pervades comparative historical analysis. Heated debates have surrounded the methodological purchase of such comparisons. However, the quality and validity of the conceptual building blocks on which the comparisons are based have largely been ignored. This article discusses a particular problem pertaining to these issues, that is, the danger of creating false historical analogies that do not serve to control for relevant explanatory factors. It is argued that this danger increases when we use composite (thick) concepts that are aggregated via a (loose) family resemblance logic. It is demonstrated that this problem seriously affects the way the concept of feudalism has entered comparative historical analysis. On this basis, an alternative conceptual strategy--centered on teasing out the core attributes of thick and loose concepts--is proposed.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Europe; China
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A