A Theory of Exit Options, Boundary Building, and Political Structuring

Stefano Bartolini

in Restructuring Europe

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780199286430
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603242 | DOI:
A Theory of Exit Options, Boundary Building, and Political Structuring

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This first chapter sketches the elements of a theory of voice structuring under different conditions of territorial confinement of actors and resources. Using Hirschman and Rokkan’s work, the chapter formulates theoretical propositions about how processes of internal conflict generation and opposition development (political structuring) relate to the processes of boundary demarcation in a large-scale territorial polity, and how the two relate to the internal institutional hierarchy of the same territory. A correspondence is established between micro-individual choices of exit and the corresponding systemic processes of boundary building and control; the micro-individual loyalty and the systemic structures and processes of system maintenance; and the micro-individual propensity to voice and the systemic structuring of channels and organizations for representation. It is argued that the framework is general enough to be applied to different territorial political formations, to characterize pre-nation-state polities, as well as to understand post-nation-state polities.

Keywords: voice structuring; boundary; closure; centre formation; system building; hierarchy; natural arena; governmental arena; political exchanges; resource convertibility

Chapter.  22591 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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