Russian Studies and Comparative Politics

Russian Studies and Comparative Politics : Views from Metatheory and Middle-Range Theory

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Description

This book brings together several of the author's empirical studies that demonstrate the strength and utility of sociologist Robert Merton's classic middle-range theory for understanding aspects of both Soviet and post-Soviet Russian politics. Some of those studies demonstrate that testing middle-range social science theory could take place even in the Soviet era when there were significant limitations of access to empirical data, and meaningful field research in the USSR was all but impossible. In the introductory chapter, the author explains the need for and advantages of studying Russian and Soviet politics from the perspective of middle-range social science theory. Then follow three chapters analyzing methodological issues in Soviet/post-Soviet studies. The author presents his six empirical studies employing middle-range social science theories to explore in Russia/USSR dimensions of organizations, ideology and decisionmaking, technology transfer and cultural diffusion, political culture, public opinion and democratization, and congruence of authority patterns in state-society relations. The book concludes with a chapter arguing the advantages of thinking theoretically about Russian and Soviet politics with the establishment of a new epistemic community organized around studies employing middle-range theory. This book presents examples of solutions to long-standing debates between area studies and the academic disciplines and between idiographic and nomothetic approaches to knowledge in the social sciences. In contrast to the tradition of Carnivals and Cockfights in Russian/Soviet area studies since the mid-20th Century, the book offers a new way of approaching the study of Russian politics for the 21st Century.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 358 pages
  • 158 x 240 x 31mm | 708g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 2 black & white illustrations, 8 tables
  • 0739129619
  • 9780739129616

Review quote

Nobody has done more over the years than Frederic J. Fleron Jr. to close the methodological gap between information-rich Soviet/Russian Studies and the theory-driven field of comparative politics, and to facilitate learned communication between the study of the Soviet Union and Russia and the mainstream discipline of political science. Many of his key contributions to the discussion are revisited in this latest volume along with new chapters reframing the issues in terms of progress made and the distance yet to be traveled. In this study, Fleron has successfully provided a well-crafted portal into the possibilities and opportunities for the application of middle-range theory in the field of Russian studies. This fine book closes with a tour-de-force conclusion which is at once sophisticated, insightful, historically grounded, and clearly expressed. -- Robert Sharlet, Union College Frederic J. Fleron Jr. has long been at the forefront of efforts to foster methodological rigor in Soviet and post-Soviet studies and to integrate work in this area more fully into the mainstream of the discipline of comparative politics. This book marks a suitable capstone for these missions. It will be of interest to area specialists and comparativists alike. -- Munroe Eagles, State University of New York at Buffaloshow more

About Frederic J. Fleron

Frederic J. Fleron Jr. is university research scholar and professor emeritus of political science at the State University of New York at Buffalo.show more

Table of contents

Part I: Introduction Chapter 1: The View from Middle-Range Part II: Metatheory Chapter 2: The Logic of Inquiry in Sovietology: Soviet Area Studies and the Social Sciences Chapter 3: Silver Anniversary of the Publication of Communist Studies and the Social Sciences Chapter 4: The Logic of Inquiry in Post-Sovietology: Russian Studies and the Social Sciences Part III: Middle-Range Theories Chapter 5: Co-optation as a Mechanism of Adaptation to Change Chapter 6: Motivation, Methodology and Communist Ideology Chapter 7: The Western Connection: Technical Rationality and Soviet Politics Chapter 8: Political Culture in Post-Soviet Russia: Recent Empirical Investigations Chapter 9: Does the Public Matter for Democratization in Russia? Chapter 10: Congruence Theory Applied: Democratization in Russia Part IV: Conclusion Chapter 11: Conclusion: Thinking Theoretically about Russian & Soviet Politics: Carnivals, Cockfights, and Epistemic Communitiesshow more