The Scope of Comparative Political Theory Academic Article uri icon


  • The article examines the emergence and implications of comparative political theory (CPT). It distinguishes theorizing based on travel and observation from that based on contemplation. Tracing the rise of the term CPT to 1997, it explains the academic, geopolitical, and cultural transformations that gave rise to some of the earlier work in the field. The acceleration of globalization also led to the rapid appearance of new intercultural and transnational approaches to political theory that move beyond the West. The article proceeds to analyze the methodological variety and alternatives within CPT work, arguing that we ought to take a broad, ecumenical approach to non-Western and cross-cultural theorizing rather than posit one single method as best. It presents two broad categories of CPT, one that is normative and another that is interpretive. The article closes by examining regional contributions in CPT, critiques, and supporting stances for CPT.

published proceedings

  • Annual Review of Political Science

altmetric score

  • 10.982

author list (cited authors)

  • von Vacano, D.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • von Vacano, Diego

publication date

  • January 2015