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2-Methodology for cross-comparative analysis: defining and operationalizing key variables

Social group identities, the definition and salience of social issues, political systems and issues are context-dependent, and vary according to historical, cultural and institutional differences. This poses a well-known challenge to the task of comparing developments across places and deriving generalisable conclusions.

The project refers to the methodology for studying comparative development politics developed by Kantor and Savitch (2005) which aims at achieving rigour while remaining sensitive to local contexts. The Kantor-Savitch methodology is based upon the definition of concepts and key variables which are operationalised using quantitative and qualitative data sets. It will be defined steering variables (agency) and driving variables (structure) that influence the impact of place-based strategies in terms of achieving balanced and sustainable development. Steering variables are those which reflect how place-based development is shaped on the basis of preferences, options, and values. The steering variables include local culture and public participation. The driving variables reflect what shapes the place-based development as structural forces and framework conditions. The driving variables include multi-scalar policy integration and Territorial and socio-economic position of the locality. Both kinds of variables are interrelated, though they capture different resources available to “successful” place-making, from an agency and structure perspective.

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