Institutional explanations have been, and continue to be, one of the most important means of understanding the choices made by governments and other actors in society. This four volume set brings together a collection of the key readings in institutional theory and its applications to political phenomena. Although the principal focus of these readings is on institutional theory based in political science, articles from other disciplines that have been central to the development of theory in this discipline, or that have (...) substantial relevance for political phenomena, have also been included. Forming part of the SAGE Library of Political Science, this set contains a substantial overall introduction and conclusion as well as shorter introductions to each Part. It is an essential purchase for social science libraries around the world. (shrink)
Institutionalism has become one of the dominant strands of theory within contemporary political science. Beginning with the challenge to behavioral and rational choice theory issued by March and Olsen, institutional analysis has developed into an important alternative to more individualistic approaches to theory and analysis. This body of theory has developed in a number of ways, and perhaps the most commonly applied version in political science is historical institutionalism that stresses the importance of path dependency in shaping institutional behaviour. The (...) fundamental question addressed in this book is whether institutionalism is useful for the various sub-disciplines within political science to which it has been applied, and to what extent the assumptions inherent to institutional analysis can be useful for understanding the range of behavior of individuals and structures in the public sector. The volume will also examine the relative utility of different forms of institutionalism within the various sub-disciplines. The book consists of a set of strong essays by noted international scholars from a range of sub-disciplines within the field of political science, each analyzing their area of research from an institutionalist perspective and assessing what contributions this form of theorizing has made, and can make, to that research. The result is a balanced and nuanced account of the role of institutions in contemporary political science, and a set of suggestions for the further development of institutional theory. (shrink)
What does political science tell us about important real-world problems and issues? And to what extent does and can political analysis contribute to solutions? This is the challenge addressed by leading political scientists in this original text which will be essential reading for students and scholars alike.