Journal article Open Access

Problems and possibilities of comparisons across regime types

Read, Benjamin L.

During the Cold War, comparisons between the Soviet-led state-socialist bloc and democracies sparked scholarly controversy. Today, with China assuming the mantle of the most significant nondemocratic regime model, and with scholars pursuing innovative comparisons between China and other political systems (Duara and Perry 2018; Tsai 2016; Zhang 2013), it behooves us to revisit some of the questions that such comparisons pose. Specifically, when is it reasonable to pursue comparisons, what is their purpose, and what do they entail? In this short piece, I will address only some of the issues involved.

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