AREA STUDIES—AN EXAMPLE OF THE CONFIGURATIVE APPROACH

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IT was in the United States that the term ‘area studies’ first became popular. Originally, they appeared as a teaching programme, taking the form of a group of courses given in a university and devoted to various aspects of a given country or group of countries. The meaning was at first not very clear: it seemed that nothing beyond geographical contiguity was involved. And indeed, the idea of ‘area’ institutions is still only a very provisional concept. A number of problems remain unsolved with regard to the choice and delimitation of areas to be studied—but, more important, also in the actual ...

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