Making Sense of Institutions
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Making Sense of Institutions

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Understanding Insitutionalism for Comparative Political Studies

Understanding Insitutionalism for Comparative Political Studies

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Making Sense of Institutions Making Sense of Institutions Presentation Transcript

  • Making sense of Institutions
  • How do we make sense out of them?
  • We need to understand how institutions play a role as part of political systems
  • Also how they are affected as part of political systems.
  • They call this approach INSTITUTIONALISM
  • But first.
  • What are institutions? Institutions
  • Are they institutions?
  • Are they institutions?
  • They are institutions.
  • They are institutions.
  • Institutions are Formal and informal structures that can influence social behavior
  • They can: Constrain / Empower Prevent / Enable
  • For Institutionalism Independent Variables – I(d)V Values Ideals Norms Institutions are:
  • Intervening Variables – I(t)V Less visible rules, routines and practices, but important ones .
  • Dependent Variables – DV Characteristics Outcomes
  • Institutionalism sounds easy, right. NOT!
  • Like everything else, it’s a matter of perspective. There are more ways than one at looking at things.
  • RATIONAL CHOICE INSTITUTIONALISM
  • Theoretical Perspective HUMAN ACTION – the cornerstone of any social scientific explanation
  • Human beings are UTILITY MAXIMIZERS
  • Actors are INDEPENDENT OF CONTEXT
  • What are Agents and Institutions?
  • INSTITUTIONS They are mazes and hurdles on the way to a prize.
  • They provide a formal set of rules that structure relationships
  • AGENTS They are actors who negotiate with the rules.
  • They adapt to the rules and use them strategically.
  • How do Institutions change?
  • COST - BENEFIT Do we need to change the system?
  • Can we do it?
  • Can it be done?
  • SOCIOLOGICAL INSTITUTIONALISM
  • Sociological Perspective CULTURE – the driving force of human behavior.
  • Looking at how institutions emerge from social interactions. duties obligations norms
  • CULTURE = INSTITUTIONS
  • What are Agents and Institutions? INSTITUTIONS They are: internal subconscious pre-rational
  • They don’t constrain options THEY MAKE THEM.
  • Agents and Structure can’t be separated.
  • Remember Marx? The world is where you are.
  • How are changes explained? Is change appropriate? Is it legitimate?
  • Inconsistency with change = BREAKDOWN
  • HISTORICAL INSTITUTIONALISM
  • Theoretical Perspective PATH DEPENDENCE
  • Institutions reflect past models.
  • Role of Agents and Institutions: INSTITUTIONS shape the strategies and goals actors pursue.
  • They shape inputs and outputs.
  • When do changes occur? Times of crisis or critical junctures.
  • Institutions create new institutions.
  • Notice something peculiar?
  • Historical analysis and sociological analysis are in many ways related.
  • Institutions are very important. They dictate human choices and options.
  • Institutions are ARENAS THEY DEFINE THE RULES.
  • Common experience lowers the costs towards agreement.
  • When the context changes, preferences also change.
  • Meanwhile, Rational choice analysis differs much from the two.
  • Institutions are still arenas. but, actors are a little more independent from context.
  • Three views, different looks. Which one is right?
  • OR, what’s wrong with each?
  • criticisms
  • Rational Choice Same event, different interpretations NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.
  • Sociological / Historical Rich details Causal variables Generalizations
  • Whew! That’s already a lot of information
  • Why are we doing this again?
  • We do comparative analysis ( or any study of social science ) BECAUSE…
  • We need to: Gain knowledge through empirical research Search for patterns
  • To deal with uncertainty and make descriptive, explanatory, causal inferences.
  • To establish workable models.
  • That’s about it. THANK YOU!