Debating institutionalism

Edited by Jon Pierre, Guy Peters and Gerry Stoker

Debating institutionalism


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9000-4
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: August 2013
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Politics, Politics & government, Political science & theory


Institutionalism has become one of the dominant strands of theory within contemporary political science. Beginning with the challenge to behavioural 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, newly available in paperback, 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 behaviour of individuals and structures in the public sector. 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 analysing their area of research from an institutionalist perspective and assessing what contributions this form of theorising 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.


Jon Pierre is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenberg. Guy Peters is Maurice Falk Professor of Government in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Gerry Stoker is Professor of Politics and Governance at the University of Southampton


1. Institutional theory: problems and prospects - B. Guy Peters
2. Institutional theory and democracy - Peter Bogason
3. Institutional theory and the public policy field: a promising perspective for perennial problems - Arjen Boin and Sanneke Kuipers
4. Formal and informal institutions in public administration - Patricia Ingraham et al
5. Institutional theory in international relations - Christer Jönsson and Jonas Tallberg
6. Institutional theory and legislatures - David Judge
7. Urban politics and institutional theory - Vivien Lowndes
8. Institutional theory and comparative democratisation - Leonardo Morlino
9. Institutional theory and the study of political executives - B. Guy Peters
10. Institutional theory and political economy - Bob Jessop
11. Conclusions - Jon Pierre, B. Guy Peters and Gerry Stoker

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