Contemporary articles citing Stark D (1996) Am J Sociol

provide, institutional, economic, dynamic, presents, change, suggests, organizations, action, beyond

Chang, Kuang-chi. 2011. "A Path to Understanding Guanxi in China's Transitional Economy: Variations on Network Behavior*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 315-339. Link
Current research on guanxi (Chinese social connections) suffers from conceptual confusion. This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding guanxi in the face of China's economic and social transformations. Guanxi is viewed as a purposive network behavior that can take different strategic forms, such as accessing, bridging, and embedding. Pairing this conceptualization with a social-evolutionary framework, I argue that the emergence and increasing or decreasing prevalence of each form over time result from (1) a combination of factors at three analytical levelsmicroagency, mesonetwork, and macroinstitutionaland (2) endogenous processes of selection. By focusing on behavioral forms and their evolution, this framework is able to bridge divides in the guanxi literature, provide a foundation for comparative studies of network behavior across societies, and connect the study of guanxi with economic sociology more broadly.

Schrank, Andrew & Josh Whitford. 2011. "The Anatomy of Network Failure." Sociological Theory. 29:3 151-177. Link
This article develops and defends a theory of ``network failure'' analogous to more familiar theories of organizational and market failure already prevalent in the literature on economic governance. It theorizes those failures not as the simple absence of network governance, but rather as a situation in which transactional conditions for network desirability obtain but network governance is impeded either by ignorance or opportunism, or by a combination of the two. It depicts network failures as continuous rather than discrete outcomes, shows that they have more than one cause, and pays particular attention to two undertheorized-if not undiscovered-types of network failure (i.e., involution and contested collaboration). It thereby contributes to the development of sociology's toolkit for theorizing networks that are ``neither market nor hierarchy.''

Paretskaya, Anna. 2010. "The Soviet Communist Party and the Other Spirit of Capitalism." Sociological Theory. 28:4 377-401. Link
Based on qualitative analysis of the Soviet press and official state documents, this article argues that the Communist Party was, counterintuitively, an agent of capitalist dispositions in the Soviet Union during 1970s-1980s. Understanding the spirit of capitalism not simply as an ascetic ethos but in broader terms of the cult of individualism, I demonstrate that the Soviet party-state promoted ideas and values of individuality, self-expression, and pleasure seeking in the areas of work and consumption. By broadening our conception of the spirit of capitalism, tracing the formation of capitalist dispositions as well as institutions, and showing that the culture of capitalism can come from within the old regime, I further the agenda of neoclassical sociology of studying varieties of origins, paths, and destinations of modern capitalisms.

Schneiberg, Marc & Elisabeth Clemens. 2006. "The Typical Tools for the Job: Research Strategies in Institutional Analysis." Sociological Theory. 24:3 195-227. Link
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.

Borocz, J. 1997. "Stand Reconstructed: Contingent Closure and Institutional Change." Sociological Theory. 15:3 215-248. Link
The process is traced whereby crucially important, multiple denotations of classical sociology's key notion referring to social position-the Weberian German concept of Stand-have been stripped to create a simplified and inaccurate representation of social inequalities. Some historical material from central Europe is surveyed, with a brief look at Japan, to demonstrate validity problems created by blanket application of the culturally specific, streamlined notions of status/class. As an alternative, a notion of contingent social closure argues that relaxing the modernizationist assumptions of a single transition from estate to status/class increases the comparative-historical sensitivity of research on social structure, inequality, and stratification. A dynamic reading of Polanyi suggests a reconceptualization of institutions as the ``raw material'' of social change. This might help to avoid the outdated contrast of the ``West'' vs. its ``Others''.

Nee, V & Y Cao. 1999. "Path Dependent Societal Transformation: Stratification in Hybrid Mixed Economies." Theory and Society. 28:6 799-834. Link

Stamatov, P. 2000. "The Making of a ``bad'' Public: Ethnonational Mobilization in Post-communist Bulgaria." Theory and Society. 29:4 549-572. Link

Kleinman, DL & SP Vallas. 2001. "Science, Capitalism, and the Rise of the ``knowledge Worker'': the Changing Structure of Knowledge Production in the United States." Theory and Society. 30:4 451-492. Link

Swedberg, R. 2003. "The Case for an Economic Sociology of Law." Theory and Society. 32:1 1-37. Link

Light, DW. 2004. "From Migrant Enclaves to Mainstream: Reconceptualizing Informal Economic Behavior." Theory and Society. 33:6 705-737. Link
The ``informal economy'' has developed in sociological theory to refer to clusters of illegal or quasi-illegal activities, usually unreported, by which people in some immigrant or ethnic communities earn income outside regular businesses and jobs. This article first extrapolates a set of characteristics beyond the legal status of such activities that define the ``informal economy.'' These provide a richer framework for future research and the basis for identifying informal economic activity in other sectors of the legitimate mainstream economy. In fact, informalization seems to have gone from marginal activities to a mainstream movement to make large sectors more fluid, network-based, and less regulated - the informalized economy. Its characteristics are identified. They overlap with the first set but differ principally in terms of extending Merton's proposition that different social structures exert different pressures to engage in non-conforming behavior. The article concludes with policy implications for fostering greater entrepreneurship in marginal migrant communities, and it suggests new ways for economic sociologists to study network transactions in modern corporations of informal economic activity through generative sociology.

Stark, David, Balazs Vedres & Laszlo Bruszt. 2006. "Rooted Transnational Publics: Integrating Foreign Ties and Civic Activism." Theory and Society. 35:3 323-349. Link
Can civic organizations be both locally rooted and globally connected? Based on a survey of 1,002 of the largest civic organizations in Hungary, we conclude that there is not a forced choice between foreign ties and domestic integration. By studying variation in types of foreign interactions and variation in types of domestic integration, our analysis goes beyond notions of footloose experts versus rooted cosmopolitans. Organizations differ in their rootedness according to whether they have ties to their members and constituents, whether they have ties to other organizations in the civic sector, and whether they associate with actors from outside the civic sector. Similarly, we specify different types of foreign ties. In both domains our emphasis is on the type of action involved in the tie-especially relations of accountability and partnership. By demonstrating a systematic relationship between the patterns of foreign ties and the patterns of domestic integration, we chart three emerging forms of transnational publics.

Scott, W.. 2008. "Approaching Adulthood: the Maturing of Institutional Theory." Theory and Society. 37:5 427-442. Link
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. Link
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.

Vargha, Zsuzsanna. 2010. "Educate or Serve: the Paradox of ``professional Service'' and the Image of the West in Legitimacy Battles of Post-socialist Advertising." Theory and Society. 39:2 203-243. Link
This article investigates a puzzle in the rapidly evolving profession of advertising in post-socialist Hungary: young professionals who came of age during the shift to market-driven practices want to produce advertising that is uncompromised by clients and consumers, and to educate others about western modernity. It is their older colleagues-trained during customer-hostile socialism-who emphasize that good professionals serve their clients' needs. These unexpected generational positions show that 1) professions are more than groups expanding their jurisdiction. They are fields structured by two conflicting demands: autonomy of expertise and dependence on clients. We can explain the puzzle by noting that actors are positioning themselves on one or the other side based on their trajectory or movement in the field relative to other actors. Old and new groups vie for power in the transforming post-socialist professional field, responding to each other's claims and vulnerabilities, exploiting the professional field's contradictory demands on its actors. 2) The struggle is not between those who are oriented to the west and those that are not. Rather, the west is both the means and the stake of the struggle over historical continuity and professional power. Imposing a definition of the west is almost the same as imposing a definition of the profession on the field. In this historical case, ``field'' appears less as a stable structure based on actors' equipment with capital, than as dynamic relations moved forward by contestation of the field's relevant capital.

Sgourev, Stoyan. 2011. "``wall Street'' Meets Wagner: Harnessing Institutional Heterogeneity." Theory and Society. 40:4 385-416. Link
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.