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Producing Comparability Ethnographically. Reply to Robert Prus. Ethnographic Comparisons, Complexities and Conceptualities: Generic Social Processes and the Pragmatic Accomplishment of Group Life

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

This short contribution is a response to Robert Prus’ commentary paper “Ethnographic Comparisons, Complexities and Conceptualities.” We agree with many of the points raised and merely reiterate three aspects of our position in order to reinforce the unique features of our notion of thick comparison: First, ethnography has an important role to play in social inquiry. Second, ethnographers appropriate fields by getting involved in them. This involvement enables the production of comparability, which we do not understand to be an inherent quality of the world. Third, producing comparability is an ongoing process at the heart of thick comparison. Its failure and limitations are productive.

Affiliations: 1: Social Anthropology & Life Sciences Laboratory and Preventive Self Research Cluster, Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt University Berlin Mohrenstr. 41, 10117 Berlin Germany, Email:; 2: Emmy Noether Group, at Collaborative Research Unit 447, Comparative Micro-Sociology of Criminal Proceedings, Free University Berlin Altensteinstr. 2-4, 14195 Berlin Germany, Email:


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