Subnational research in comparative politics: substantive, theoretical and methodological contributions


A guest lecture by Agustina Giraudy of American University.

Bio:  Agustina Giraudy is an Assistant Professor at the School of International Service at American University. Her research interests include, subnational democracy, subnational institutions, and subnational research in comparative politics. Professor Giraudy's book, Democrats and Autocrats (Oxford University Press, 2015), explores the multiple pathways towards subnational undemocratic regime continuity within democratized countries. A second, co-edited book with E. Moncada and R. Snyder, Inside Countries: Subnational Research in Comparative Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2019) assesses the theoretical and methodological contributions of subnational research to comparative politics. Prof. Giraudy's work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, Journal of Politics in Latin America, Studies in Comparative International Development, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Democracy (en Español), Regional and Federal Studies , Revista de Ciencia Política (Chile), among others. Before joining AU, Professor Giraudy held a postdoctoral position at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, taught at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina) and Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina), and worked as a consultant for the Ford Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank.

Abstract:  Subnational research (SNR) plays an increasingly prominent and important role in Comparative Politics, advancing knowledge about the fundamental themes that define the field, including political regimes, state institutions, and socioeconomic development. In addition to offering a definition of SNR and delimiting the scope conditions of this research program, this chapter assesses the substantive, theoretical, and methodological contributions of SNR to Comparative Politics. SNR provides a powerful way to discover new and humanly important substantive phenomena hidden from view by the dominant national lens. SNR strengthens theory building by mitigating the problem of “theory stretching” and making it easier to craft multilevel theories that provide stronger explanations of outcomes of interest. With regard to methods and research design, the chapter proposes new strategies of SNR and shows how SNR can be combined fruitfully with a diverse set of widely-used methodologies.  In her presentation, Giraudy will address some of these contributions with examples from her most current work, Rethinking Measures of Democracy and Welfare Universalism, co-authored with Jennifer Pribble.

A light lunch will be provided.