Institutions and Individuals: Interaction and Evolution
The author claims that the conceptualization of the relation between individual and structure is central to social science. This paper overviews some recent developments in the social theory of structure and agency, and makes a novel addition, based on a concept of habit derived from pragmatist philosophy and sociology and from Veblenian institutional economics. The author shows how processes of habituation provide a mechanism of ‘reconstitutive downward causation’ where institutional circumstances may affect individual preferences. Finally, special characteristics of organizations are discussed, endorsing an evolutionary analytical approach that combines insights from both evolutionary economics and organization science.
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