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Regions of Exception

  • Thomas B. Pepinsky

Regions of exception play a critical role in contemporary world politics: they are sites of civil conflict, economic backwardness, secessionist movements, opposition party support, and challenges to contemporary national projects. I argue in this article that the mainstream methodological language for understanding subnational politics renders such important cases illegible precisely because of these regions’ distinct histories and social structures. Using case materials drawn from contemporary Southeast Asia, I illustrate how to conceptualize regions of exception as representing particular tensions between the insights from comparative politics and area studies, with challenges for a purist view of causal inference in political science. Recognizing the challenges presented by regions of exception will help political scientists to better grasp key issues in contemporary world politics.

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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
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