Contemporary articles citing Thelen K (1992) Structuring Politics

institutional, suggests, action, states, order, policy, state, key, development, collective

Manza, Jeff & Clem Brooks. 2012. "How Sociology Lost Public Opinion: a Genealogy of a Missing Concept in the Study of the Political." Sociological Theory. 30:2 89-113. Link
In contemporary sociology the once prominent study of public opinion has virtually disappeared. None of the leading theoretical models in the closest disciplinary subfield (political sociology) currently provide ample or sufficiently clear space for consideration of public opinion as a possible factor in shaping or interacting with key policy or political outcomes in democratic polities. In this article, we unearth and document the sources of this curious development and raise questions about its implications for how political sociologists have come to understand policy making, state formation, and political conflict. We begin by reconstructing the dismissal of public opinion in the intellectual reorientation of political sociology from the late 1970s onward. We argue that the most influential scholarly works of this period (including those of Tilly, Skocpol, Mann, Esping-Andersen, and Domhoff) face an underlying paradox: While often rejecting public opinion, their theoretical logics ultimately presuppose its operation. These now classical writings did not move toward research programs seeking engagement with the operation and formation of public opinion, even though our immanent critique suggests they in fact require precisely this turn. We address the challenge of reconceptualizing how public opinion might be productively integrated into the sociological study of politics by demonstrating that the major arguments in the subfield can be fruitfully extended by grappling with public opinion. We conclude by considering several recent, interdisciplinary examples of scholarship that, we argue, point the way toward a fruitful revitalization.

Campbell, JL. 1996. "An Institutional Analysis of Fiscal Reform in Postcommunist Europe." Theory and Society. 25:1 45-84. Link

Campbell, JL. 1998. "Institutional Analysis and the Role of Ideas in Political Economy." Theory and Society. 27:3 377-409. Link

Houtzager, PP. 2001. "Collective Action and Political Authority: Rural Workers, Church, and State in Brazil." Theory and Society. 30:1 1-45. Link

Goldberg, CA. 2003. "Haunted by the Specter of Communism: Collective Identity and Resource Mobilization in the Demise of the Workers Alliance of America." Theory and Society. 32:5-6 725-773. Link
This article seeks to integrate identity-oriented and strategic models of collective action better by drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's theory of classification struggles. On the one hand, the article extends culture to the realm of interest by highlighting the role collective identity plays in one of the key processes that strategic models of collective action foreground: the mobilization of resources. The article extends culture to the realm of interest in another way as well: by challenging the notion that labor movements are fundamentally different from or antithetical to the identity-oriented new social movements. On the other hand, the article also extends the idea of interest to culture. Rather than viewing collective identity as something formed prior to political struggle and according to a different logic, I show that collective identity is constructed in and through struggles over classificatory schemes. These include struggles between movements and their opponents as well as struggles within movements. The article provides empirical evidence for these theoretical claims with a study of the demise of the Workers Alliance of America, a powerful, nation-wide movement of the unemployed formed in the United States in 1935 and dissolved in 1941.

Chorev, N. 2005. "The Institutional Project of Neo-liberal Globalism: the Case of the Wto." Theory and Society. 34:3 317-355. Link
This article examines the impact of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on domestic trade policies and practices. It shows that protectionist measures, including those practiced by the United States, have been effectively challenged, and consequently restricted, due to the WTO strengthened dispute settlement procedures. I show that the new procedures affected the substantive policy outcomes by changing the political influence of competing actors. Specifically, I identify four transformations affecting the political influence of participants: the re-scaling of political authority, the judicialization of inter-state relations, the institutionalization of the international organization, and the structural internationalization of the state. Based on this case, the article offers a view of globalization as an institutional project. This view emphasizes the political dimension of the process of globalization; it suggests that this project was facilitated by transforming the institutional arrangements in place; and it identifies the contradictions inherent in it both to U.S. hegemony and to the globalization project itself.

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. Link
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.

Chorev, Nitsan & Sarah Babb. 2009. "The Crisis of Neoliberalism and the Future of International Institutions: a Comparison of the Imf and the Wto." Theory and Society. 38:5 459-484. Link
The current crisis of neoliberalism is calling into question the relevance of key international institutions. We analyze the origins, nature, and possible impacts of the crisis through comparing two such institutions: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Both originated in the post-World War II U.S.-led hegemonic order and were transformed as part of the transition to global neoliberalism. We show that while the IMF and the WTO have been part of the same hegemonic project, their distinct institutional features have put them on significantly different trajectories. Historical differences in the two institutions' systems of rules have placed the IMF in a more vulnerable position than the WTO, which provides clues to the future contours of global economic governance.

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.