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How should scholars construct knowledge about politics, economics, and international relations in major world regions? Growing tension between regional specialists and discipline-oriented social scientists has emerged as a major issue in the fields of international, comparative, and area studies. On the one hand, discipline-oriented scholars contend that the work of area specialists lacks rigor, favours description over analysis, and does not encourage the development of general theoretical insights into pressing problems. On the other hand, area specialists charge that analytically oriented social scientists construct abstract models that provide little real insight into the complex behaviour patterns they purport to explain. "Area Studies and Social Science" demonstrates that the two approaches must be combined to provide a firm foundation for studying the contemporary politics of the Middle East. The contributors to this lively volume address democratisation and political development, state-society relations, political economy and public policy, politically salient dimensions of culture, including gender and religion, and both international relations in general and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular. Besides providing a valuable overview of politics and international relations in the Middle East, the volume offers strategies for students and specialists undertaking research on the Middle East and other world regions. Contributors are Lisa Anderson, Anne Banda, Laurie Brand, Laura Zittrain Eisenberg, John P. Entelis, Clement Henry, Magda Kandil, Bahgat Korany, Jodi Nachtwey, Augustus Richard Norton, and Mark Tessler.
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Mark Tessler is Professor of Political Science, Director of the Centerfor Middle Eastern Studies, and Head of the Department of Near EasternStudies. He is author of A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and co-editor (with David Garnham) of Democracy, War, and Peace in the Middle East.Jodi Nachtwey is a doctoral student in political science and Research Fellow for the Center of International Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.Anne Banda is a doctoral student in urban studies and Assistant Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.
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