Mariano Croce

What is political institutionalism? A processual view

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: actor-network theory, anti-essentialism, institution, process, relationism.

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.

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Article first page

Article first page