Municipalities in a comparative perspective.

In a new publication I discuss theoretical and methodological issues of comparing Municipalities in Germany and Russia (or more in genereal, if you want, in any cross-regional comparison of cases). Drawing on experiences in cross-regional comparisons of Russia and Venezuela (Frankenberger & Graf 2011; Frankenberger & Graf 2013) as well as Russian and German Municipalities (Frankenberger & Kiener 2015), I argue that it is a too narrow analysis, if you only focus on local political order. It might be more useful to widen the perspective in two ways. First, the systemic context has to be taken into account. This is not only true for formal multilevel governance but also for informal institutions and politics.

Informal Politics and relations between actors on the municipal level are often mor important than formal power relations and party affiliations. Especpecially when it comes  to conrete projects. One solution to the problem in comparing municipalities from different regions could then be to use structuralist and functionalist approaches as heuristics: What institution and what actor doe fulfil which functions in the respective context? How do they interfere/interact with political culture, political economy and the broader political system? Even if this heuristics might not lead to a rigorous case design as MDSD or MSSD, the insights of the comparison are far more systematic and generalizeable than they would be by doing single case studies

  • Rolf Frankenberger (2016): Ungleiches im Gleichen. Theoretische und methodische  Herausforderungen des Vergleichs von Kommunen in Deutschland und Russland. Jahrbuch des Föderalismus. Baden-Baden: Nomos, S.137-150.

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