Institutions are processes, not the structural contexts where processes unfold. This
is gist of a processual view of institutionalism that integrates legal institutionalism
with actor-network theory. The present article makes the claim that this integration
is conducive to a novel theoretical orientation to political phenomena – one that
accords privilege to how political actors connect to form networks that seek to fend
off contingency. Processual institutionalism is presented as the study of the techniques
whereby social entities provide themselves with varying degrees of stability. Based
on this, processual political institutionalism is advocated as a research method that
requires both the production of theory and the tracing of contacts between actors.
The conclusion is that no general theory of institution can be put forward, but only an
investigation schema that avoids pre-conceptualizing what the actors are that make up
the networks. Finally, the example of the juridification of politics is briefly discussed
to make sense of how processual political institutionalism could and should work.