Regions of Exception

Forthcoming 2017, Perspectives on Politics

APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper

62 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2014 Last revised: 24 Feb 2017

See all articles by Thomas B. Pepinsky

Thomas B. Pepinsky

Cornell University - Department of Government

Date Written: February 10, 2017


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 mansuscript that the mainstream methodological language for understanding subnational variation 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 regions of exception will help political scientists to better grasp key issues in contemporary world politics.

Keywords: causal inference, comparative method, peripheries, subnational politics, Southeast Asia

Suggested Citation

Pepinsky, Thomas B., Regions of Exception (February 10, 2017). Forthcoming 2017, Perspectives on Politics, APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Thomas B. Pepinsky (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Government ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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