Contemporary articles citing Clemens E (1997) Peoples Lobby Org in
change, institutional, actors, development, solutions, efforts, field, problems, global, dynamic
- Fligstein, Neil & Doug McAdam. 2011. "Toward a General Theory of Strategic Action Fields." Sociological Theory. 29:1 1-26.
- In recent years there has been an outpouring of work at the intersection of social movement studies and organizational theory. While we are generally in sympathy with this work, we think it implies a far more radical rethinking of structure and agency in modern society than has been realized to date. In this article, we offer a brief sketch of a general theory of strategic action fields (SAFs). We begin with a discussion of the main elements of the theory, describe the broader environment in which any SAF is embedded, consider the dynamics of stability and change in SAFs, and end with a respectful critique of other contemporary perspectives on social structure and agency.
- Armstrong, Elizabeth & Mary Bernstein. 2008. "Culture, Power, and Institutions: a Multi-institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements." Sociological Theory. 26:1 74-99.
- We argue that critiques of political process theory are beginning to coalesce into a new approach to social movements-a ``multi-institutional politics'' approach. While the political process model assumes that domination is organized by and around one source of power, the alternative perspective views domination as organized around multiple sources of power, each of which is simultaneously material and symbolic. We examine the conceptions of social movements, politics, actors, goals, and strategies supported by each model, demonstrating that the view of society and power underlying the political process model is too narrow to encompass the diversity of contemporary change efforts. Through empirical examples, we demonstrate that the alternative approach provides powerful analytical tools for the analysis of a wide variety of contemporary change efforts.
- Schneiberg, Marc & Elisabeth Clemens. 2006. "The Typical Tools for the Job: Research Strategies in Institutional Analysis." Sociological Theory. 24:3 195-227.
- Institutional theory rests on a rejection of reductionism. Instead of reducing higher-order phenomena to aggregates of behavior, institutional theory reverses this causal imagery. It attributes the behavior of organizations and nation-states to contextual factors, notably organizational fields, national institutional systems, or the emerging global polity, Institutionalists, particularly within sociology, also emphasize specifically cultural mechanisms for these higher-order effects. This article develops the methodological foundations for these claims. It surveys and elaborates research designs for documenting higher-order effects and for differentiating the cultural mechanisms of institutional influence. It also presents new strategies for assessing multiple logics and the coherence of institutional orders, moving beyond adoption and diffusion studies to analyze the dynamic and contested processes of institutionalization and institutional change.
- Wells, MJ. 2002. "When Urban Policy Becomes Labor Policy: State Structures, Local Initiatives, and Union Representation at the Turn of the Century." Theory and Society. 31:1 115-146.
- Goldstone, JA. 2004. "More Social Movements or Fewer? Beyond Political Opportunity Structures to Relational Fields." Theory and Society. 33:3-4 333-365.
- If social movements are an attempt by ``outsiders'' to gain leverage within politics, then one might expect the global spread of democracy to reduce social movement activity. This article argues the reverse. Granted, many past social movements, such as women's rights and civil rights, were efforts to empower the disenfranchised. However, this is not typical. Rather, social movements and protest tactics are more often part of a portfolio of efforts by politically active leaders and groups to influence politics. Indeed, as representative governance spreads, with the conviction by all parties that governments should respond to popular choice, then social movements and protest will also spread, as a normal element of democratic politics. Social movements should therefore not be seen as simply a matter of repressed forces fighting states; instead they need to be situated in a dynamic relational field in which the ongoing actions and interests of state actors, allied and counter-movement groups, and the public at large all influence social movement emergence, activity, and outcomes.
- Anderson, Elisabeth. 2008. "Experts, Ideas, and Policy Change: the Russell Sage Foundation and Small Loan Reform, 1909-1941." Theory and Society. 37:3 271-310.
- Between 1909 and 1941, the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) was actively involved in crafting and lobbying for policy solutions to the pervasive problem of predatory lending. Using a rich assortment of archival records, I build upon political learning theory by demonstrating how institutional conditions and political pressures - in addition to new knowledge gained through scientific study and practical experience - all contributed to the emergence and development of RSF experts' policy ideas over the course of this 30-year period. In light of these findings, I suggest that policy ideas and political interests are mutually constitutive, and that the notion that ideas must be shown to operate independent of interests in order to ``prove'' that they matter in policymaking is misguided. Furthermore, I discuss the implications of the remarkable success of RSF's policy proposals for current understandings of institutional change. In particular, I argue that the passage of RSF's controversial Uniform Small Loan Law in 34 states suggests that political actors' collective agency can produce significant policy reforms in a context of normal policymaking without the intervention of major destabilizing events.
- Scott, W.. 2008. "Approaching Adulthood: the Maturing of Institutional Theory." Theory and Society. 37:5 427-442.
- I summarize seven general trends in the institutional analysis of organizations which I view as constructive and provide evidence of progress in the development of this perspective. I emphasize corrections in early theoretical limitations as well as improvements in the use of empirical indicators and an expansion of the types of organizations included and issues addressed by institutional theorists.
- Berk, Gerald & Dennis Galvan. 2009. "How People Experience and Change Institutions: a Field Guide to Creative Syncretism." Theory and Society. 38:6 543-580.
- This article joins the debate over institutional change with two propositions. First, all institutions are syncretic, that is, they are composed of an indeterminate number of features, which are decomposable and recombinable in unpredictable ways. Second, action within institutions is always potentially creative, that is, actors draw on a wide variety of cultural and institutional resources to create novel combinations. We call this approach to institutions creative syncretism. This article is in three parts. The first shows how existing accounts of institutional change, which are rooted in structuralism, produce excess complexity and render the most important sources and results of change invisible. We argue that in order to ground the theory of creative syncretism we need a more phenomenological approach, which explains how people live institutional rules. We find that grounding in John Dewey's pragmatist theory of habit. The second part of the article explains Dewey and shows how the theory of habit can ground an experiential account of institutional rules. The third part presents a field guide to creative syncretism. It uses an experiential approach to provide novel insights on three problems that have occupied institutionalist research: periodization in American political development, convergence among advanced capitalist democracies, and institutional change in developing countries.
- Haydu, Jeffrey. 2010. "Reversals of Fortune: Path Dependency, Problem Solving, and Temporal Cases." Theory and Society. 39:1 25-48.
- Historical reversals highlight a basic methodological problem: is it possible to treat two successive periods both as independent cases to compare for causal analysis and as parts of a single historical sequence? I argue that one strategy for doing so, using models of path dependency, imposes serious limits on explanation. An alternative model which treats successive periods as contrasting solutions for recurrent problems offers two advantages. First, it more effectively combines analytical comparisons of different periods with narratives of causal sequences spanning two or more periods. Second, it better integrates scholarly accounts of historical reversals with actors' own narratives of the past.
- Owen-Smith, Jason. 2011. "The Institutionalization of Expertise in University Licensing." Theory and Society. 40:1 63-94.
- This article draws on ethnographic data from a field leading university licensing office to document and explain a key step in the process of institutionalization, the abstraction of standardized rules and procedures from idiosyncratic efforts to collectively resolve pressing problems. I present and analyze cases where solutions to complicated quandaries become abstract bits of professional knowledge and demonstrate that in some circumstances institutionalized practices can contribute to the flexibility of expert reasoning and decision-making. In this setting, expertise is rationalized in response to institutional tensions between academic and business approaches to deal making and professional tensions between relational and legal approaches to negotiation. Abstraction and formalization contribute both to the convergence and stability of routines and to their improvisational use in professional work. Close attention to these processes in a strategic research setting sheds new light on an interesting tension in sociological theories of the professions while contributing to the development of a micro-level, social constructivist institutional theory.