Reconciling Ideas and Institutions through Discursive Institutionalism

Vivien A. Schmidt

in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736430
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866106 | DOI:
Reconciling Ideas and Institutions through Discursive Institutionalism

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During the past three decades, “new institutionalism” has become the main methodological battleground among political scientists. This is because political scientists differ in their preferred “new institutionalist” approach to political science. There are four basic institutionalist approaches: three older new institutionalisms—rational choice, historical, and sociological institutionalism—plus a fourth newer new institutionalism, called discursive institutionalism. This chapter explores the relationship between ideational and discourse analysis, on one hand, and various forms of new institutionalism, on the other hand. It makes the case for a discursive institutionalism, concerned with ideas and discourse, because it has the greatest potential for reconciling existing institutionalist approaches.

Keywords: ideational analysis; discourse analysis; ideas; discursive institutionalism; sociological institutionalism; new institutionalist approaches; rational choice; historical institutionalism

Chapter.  7741 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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