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Cultural Theory and the New Institutionalism

Gunnar Grendstad and Per Selle

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1995, vol. 7, issue 1, 5-27

Abstract: In addressing concepts like rationality, functionalism and preference formation, various branches of the new institutionalism are `united by little but a common scepticism towards atomistic accounts of social processes and a common conviction that institutional arrangements and social processes matter'. Great bulks of neoinstitutional thinking are also found within cultural theory which as yet have hardly been acknowledged by the neoinstitutionalists. Although these discrete theories to some extent use similar concepts differently, some applications of these concepts by cultural theory seem so similar to mainstream neoinstitutionalism that we may grant cultural theory the initial status of being an institutional theory. Cultural theory partly pre-empts the criticism raised by the new institutionalists by pinning down endogenous preference formation and by contextually repatriating concepts like functionalism and rationality. Moreover, cultural theory's typological approach can be assessed as a very promising version of the new institutionalism.

Keywords: cultural theory; functionalism; new institutionalism; preference formation; rationality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1995
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