Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam

in A Theory of Fields

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199859948
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199951178 | DOI:

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This chapter moves from the micro to the macro. In doing so it seeks to put the single field that is almost always the focus of scholarly attention into a broader field systemic context. It begins with a general discussion of the various ways that strategic action fields can be embedded in the broader system of fields and how these forms of embedding powerfully shape the prospects for stability and change in all fields. The second section offers a brief “excursus on formal organization” designed to render the concepts of formal organization and bureaucracy in terms of this book's perspective. Section three is devoted to an extended discussion of the modern state—conceived here as a dense and interconnected set of fields—and its role in helping to found, stabilize/certify, reproduce, and undermine/transform the great majority of nonstate fields. It then takes up the issue of “internal governance units” (IGUs). The chapter concludes by briefly discussing the proliferation of fields, the expansion of higher education, and the rise and spread of professions as three related and interdependent processes characteristic of modernity.

Keywords: strategic action fields; formal organization; bureaucracy; modern state; internal governance units; higher education

Chapter.  12276 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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