From pains-taking to pains-giving comparisons

David Nelken distinguishes between three ideal-type contexts in which comparisons are used: comparison as a contribution to disciplinary enquiry, as part of deliberately trying to learn lessons and as an essential element of a new form of governmentality concerned with ranking places in terms of social indicators. David Nelken PHD, LLD (Cambridge) taught at Cambridge, Edinburgh and University College, London before moving to Italy in 1989 as Distinguished Professor of Legal Institutions and Social Change at the University of Macerata. From 1995 to 2013 he was Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Cardiff University, and since 2010 he has been the Visiting Professor of Criminology at Oxford University. His work, covering both theoretical enquiry and empirical investigation, is in the areas of comparative sociology of law, criminology, and legal and social theory.

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