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Individual action, institutions and social change: an approach in terms of convention

Bernard Enjolras ()
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Bernard Enjolras: Institute for social research et MATISSE

Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques from Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1)

Abstract: This anthology consists of a collection of articles that address two common questions: how institutions emerge from individual actions and how individual actions are shaped by institutions? What unifies these contributions is the search of a theoretical explanation that overcomes the shortcomings of the rational choice explanations of social institutions. The approach developed here deals with two methodological problems that are pervasive in social sciences: that of the relationship between agency and structures and that of role of rationality and norms in explaining individual social behaviour. Individuals are seen to be acting according to «conventions» that structure their interaction and that are cognitive and interpretative schemes that allow them to understand social reality and to give meaning to their actions. In addition individuals do not act either rationally or normatively but are conceived as acting within a «conventional» context that gives meaning to their action but also constrains them. They are supposed to be moved both by normative considerations and by self-interest that can conflict

Keywords: Convention, norm; rationality; collective action; agency; structure; social action; institution; governance; social change; community; nonprofit organizations; institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 D70 H42 L3 L31 L32 L50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 95 pages
Date: 2004-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-hpe, nep-pke and nep-reg
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