CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

During the last decades, “case oriented” studies dealing with labor markets processes and using international comparison as a research strategy have broadened their scope in two directions. First, they took into consideration the growing fuzzyness of the boundaries of some of the concepts commonly used in the field. Second, they brought an extended range of social relations, policies and actors into the picture.
In the light of recent studies revisiting classical “convergence theory”, some authors think it is illusory to look for “consistencies” at the national level and call for a redefinition of the units of analysis used in comparative research. If the category of “nation” has indeed no reason to benefit from the privileged epistemological status it has often received, a framework resting upon societal analysis may nevertheless remain fruitful if a distinction is made between the “societal” and the “national” and if the relevance of the “wholes” generating societal effects is not postulated but demonstrated.

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