Contemporary articles citing Clemens E (1999) Annu Rev Sociol
institutional, change, actors, account, become, organizations, strategies, states, out, ways
- Moore, Adam. 2011. "The Eventfulness of Social Reproduction*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 294-314.
- The work of William Sewell and Marshall Sahlins has led to a growing interest in recent years in events as a category of analysis and their role in the transformation of social structures. I argue that tying events solely to instances of significant structural transformation entails problematic theoretical assumptions about stability and change and produces a circumscribed field of events, undercutting the goal of developing an eventful account of social life. Social continuity is a state that is achieved just as much as are structural transformations, and events may be constitutive of processes of reproduction as well as change.
- 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.
- Korteweg, AC. 2003. "Welfare Reform and the Subject of the Working Mother: ``get a Job, a Better Job, Then a Career''." Theory and Society. 32:4 445-480.
- Until 1996, poor single mothers in the United States could claim welfare benefits for themselves and their children under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program if they had no other source of income. With the 1996 passage of the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), paid work and work-related activities became a mandatory condition for receiving aid. At the same time, the law promotes marriage as a route out of poverty. Using a feminist reinterpretation of Althusser's concept of interpellation, I turn to Job Clubs, mandatory week-long workshops that teach job search skills, to analyze the citizen-subject generated by front-line representatives of the state in the context of this new legislation. Based on participant-observation, I conclude that while PRWORA ostensibly promotes both marriage and paid employment, Job Club trainers enforced a masculine worker-citizen subject through the deployment of three discursive strategies. These discursive strategies 1) promoted paid work over welfare-receipt as both a pragmatic and moral choice, 2) posited an individual-psychological account of women's welfare receipt, and 3) portrayed parenting skills as marketable skills. In the conclusion, I speculate that current welfare reform efforts require the generation of a self-reproducing worker-citizen and that workshops like Job Club become a site in which the existence of this autonomous citizen is affirmed.
- Lichterman, Paul. 2006. "Social Capital or Group Style? Rescuing Tocqueville's Insights on Civic Engagement." Theory and Society. 35:5-6 529-563.
- Social capital has become the preeminent concept for studying civic relationships, yet it will not help us assess their meanings, institution-like qualities, or potential for social capacity. Alexis de Tocqueville's insights on these three features of civic relationships continue to be highly influential, and the popular social capital concept claims a strongly Tocquevillian heritage while systematically missing what a Tocquevillian imagination illuminates. Scenes from volunteer group settings in a midwestern US city show how a concept of group style apprehends the varying meanings, routines, and social capacities of civic ties. Group style also illuminates the process by which civic groups create ``bridging'' ties beyond the group. Without rejecting the social capital concept entirely, I highlight research questions and findings that social capital would ignore or misapprehend. A concluding discussion draws out implications for democratic theory, and sketches an agenda for future research on civic group style that makes good on Tocquevillian insights while moving beyond Tocqueville's own limits.
- Binder, Amy. 2007. "For Love and Money: Organizations' Creative Responses to Multiple Environmental Logics." Theory and Society. 36:6 547-571.
- The recent ``inhabited institutions'' research stream in organizational theory reinvigorates new institutionalism by arguing that organizations are not merely the instantiation of environmental, institutional logics ``out there,'' where organizational actors seamlessly enact preconscious scripts, but are places where people and groups make sense of, and interpret, institutional vocabularies of motive. This article advances the inhabited institutions approach through an inductive case study of a transitional housing organization called Parents Community. This organization, like other supportive direct service organizations, exists in an external environment relying increasingly on federal funding. Most scholars studying this sector argue that as federal monies expand to pay for these organizations' services, non-profit organizations will be forced to become ever more bureaucratic and rationalized. However, I find that three key service departments at Parents Community respond in multiple ways to this external environment, depending on each department members' creative uses of institutional logics and local meanings, which emerge from their professional commitments, personal interests, and interactional, on-the-ground decision making. By looking carefully at these three departments' variable responses to the external environment, we have a better map for seeing how human agency is integrated into organizational dynamics for this and other organizations.
- 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.
- Sgourev, Stoyan. 2011. "``wall Street'' Meets Wagner: Harnessing Institutional Heterogeneity." Theory and Society. 40:4 385-416.
- If institutional heterogeneity tends overall to reduce survival chances, it may also persist and be harnessed to good use. This article investigates this ambivalence by looking at how institutional heterogeneity emerges, develops, and survives. An inductive study of the ``Metropolitan Opera'' archives suggests that what enables heterogeneity to survive and to withstand the pressure for homogenization is its inherent potential for ``multivocality.'' The analysis shows how institutional discrepancies were bridged over through an opportunistic, ``multivocal'' action pattern, whereby the organization maneuvered between conflicting institutional demands, seeking to minimize dependence on any single constituency or evaluation principle. Maintaining discretionary options is essential in multi-dimensional space, where ambiguity makes optimization impractical. The trade-off in this action pattern includes remarkable adaptability and operational inefficiencies.
- Gross, Neil & Ethan Fosse. 2012. "Why Are Professors Liberal?." Theory and Society. 41:2 127-168.
- The political liberalism of professors-an important occupational group and anomaly according to traditional theories of class politics-has long puzzled sociologists. This article sheds new light on the subject by employing a two-step analytic procedure. In the first step, we assess the explanatory power of the main hypotheses proposed over the last half century to account for professors' liberal views. To do so, we examine hypothesized predictors of the political gap between professors and other Americans using General Social Survey data pooled from 1974-2008. Results indicate that professors are more liberal than other Americans because a higher proportion possess advanced educational credentials, exhibit a disparity between their levels of education and income, identify as Jewish, non-religious, or non-theologically conservative Protestant, and express greater tolerance for controversial ideas. In the second step of our article, we develop a new theory of professors' politics on the basis of these findings (though not directly testable with our data) that we think holds more explanatory promise than existing approaches and that sets an agenda for future research.
- Berman, Elizabeth. 2012. "Explaining the Move Toward the Market in Us Academic Science: How Institutional Logics Can Change Without Institutional Entrepreneurs." Theory and Society. 41:3 261-299.
- Organizational institutionalism has shown how institutional entrepreneurs can introduce new logics into fields and push for their broader acceptance. In academic science in the United States, however, market logic gained strength without such an entrepreneurial project. This article proposes an alternative ``practice selection'' model to explain how a new institutional logic can gain strength when local innovations interact with changes outside the field. Actors within a field are always experimenting with practices grounded in a variety of logics. When one logic is dominant, innovations based on alternative logics may have trouble gaining the resources they need to become more broadly institutionalized. But if a changing environment starts systematically to favor practices based on an alternative logic, that logic can become stronger even in the absence of a coherent project to promote it. This is what happened in US academic science, as growing political concern with the economic impact of innovation changed the field's environment in ways that encouraged the spread of local market-logic practices.