Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Taking capitalism seriously: Toward an institutionalist approach to contemporary political economy


Author Info

  • Streeck, Wolfgang
Registered author(s):


    This paper outlines an institutionalist political economy approach to capitalism as a specific type of social order. Social science institutionalism considers social systems to be structured by sanctioned rules of obligatory behavior. Its perspective is one of collective ordering, or governance, through regularization and normalization of social action, either by public authority or by private contract. Political economy looks at the interrelations between collective action in general and collective rule-making in particular, and the economy; it extends from economic and social policy-making to the way in which economic interests and constraints influence policy, politics and social life as a whole. The approach proposed in this article looks at society and economy as densely intertwined and closely interdependent, which is what traditional concepts of capitalism stood for. Proceeding from an institutionalist perspective, it elaborates a concept of capitalism not as a self-driven mechanism of surplus extraction and accumulation governed by objective laws, but as a set of interrelated social institutions, and as a historically specific system of structured as well as structuring social interaction within and in relation to an institutionalized social order. -- Das Papier entwickelt den Ansatz einer institutionalistischen politischen Ökonomie des Kapitalismus als einer spezifischen Form sozialer Ordnung. Sozialwissenschaftlicher Institutionalismus betrachtet soziale Systeme als durch sanktionierte Regeln obligatorischen Handelns strukturiert. Seine Perspektive ist die der Produktion kollektiver Ordnung ('governance') durch Regulierung und Normalisierung sozialen Handelns, vermittels öffentlicher Autorität oder durch private Verträge. Politische Ökonomie betrachtet das Wechselspiel zwischen kollektivem Handeln im Allgemeinen und kollektiver Regelsetzung im Besonderen auf der einen Seite und der Wirtschaft auf der anderen; ihr Gebiet schließt wirtschafts- und sozialpolitische Entscheidungen ebenso ein wie die Beeinflussung des politischen und sozialen Leben durch wirtschaftliche Interessen und Zwänge. Der vorgeschlagene Ansatz behandelt Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, in Einklang mit traditionellen Theorien des Kapitalismus, als eng ineinander verschränkt und hoch interdependent. Ausgehend von einer institutionalistischen Perspektive wird ein Konzept des Kapitalismus als System aufeinander bezogener Institutionen entwickelt - als historisch spezifisches System strukturierter und strukturierender sozialer Interaktion innerhalb und gegenüber einer institutionalisierten sozialen Ordnung.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 10/15.

    as in new window
    Date of creation: 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:1015

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Paulstr. 3, 50676 Köln
    Phone: + 49 (0) 221-2767-0
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research


    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Beckert, Jens & Streeck, Wolfgang, 2008. "Economic sociology and political economy: A programmatic perspective," MPIfG Working Paper 08/4, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)



    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:1015. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.