Comparative studies pose special problems for historians, given their long tradition of being wed to the political history of individual countries and given the limitations of their methods, which lend themselves to (at most) middlerange generalizations. Sociology and anthropology have always seemed better poised to deal with the big questions across cultures. The rise of social history, however, provides new opportunities for comparative studies, insofar as such social entities and processes as cities, social classes, crowds, and women lend themselves better to comparison than do micropolitics within the framework of a single country's history. Despite these new possibilities, most historians demand intense contextualization and mistrust secondary sources, making it difficult for one scholar to master the relevant languages and archives in more than one culture, or to pose a broad enough question for comparative analysis. Much social history, even by the most sociologically minded historian, is likely to be based on archives and concerned largely with a single country or culture. Social historians can, however, legitimately inject a comparative element into their writing by paying special attention to the international aspects of their subject and by considering their works about particular social groups in individual countries as case studies in related phenomena.