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Institutions, Institutional Change, Language, and Searle

Author

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  • Dolfsma, W.A.
  • McMaster, R.
  • Finch, J.

Abstract

This paper endeavours to contribute to the growing institutionalist literature on the conception of the institution. We draw from John Davis’ (2003) analysis of the individual in posing the questions: what differentiates institutions, and how can changing institutions be identified through time and space? Our analysis develops Searle’s (2005) argument that language is the fundamental institution. Searle’s argument is rather functionalist, however, and does not convey the ambiguity of language. Moreover, language and understanding, surely when related to most institutions in real life, delineate and circumscribe a community. A community cannot function without a common language, as Searle argued, but language also constitutes a community’s boundaries, and excludes unsavoury outsiders or alien topics for discussion. This is how institutions both constrain and enable. By drawing upon Luhmann’s (1995) systems analysis and notions of discourse, communication, and text we aim to augment the existing analytical role ascribed to habit in institutional analysis. Thus, we submit, understanding institutional change and thus durability may progress.

Suggested Citation

  • Dolfsma, W.A. & McMaster, R. & Finch, J., 2005. "Institutions, Institutional Change, Language, and Searle," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2005-067-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:7109
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    File URL: https://repub.eur.nl/pub/7109/ERS%202005%20067%20ORG.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Malcolm Rutherford, 2001. "Institutional Economics: Then and Now," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 173-194, Summer.
    2. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2003. "The hidden persuaders: institutions and individuals in economic theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 159-175, March.
    3. Dolfsma, W.A. & Finch, J. & McMaster, R., 2004. "Market and Society: How do they relate, and contribute to welfare?," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2004-105-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    4. Kenneth L. Avio, 2002. "Three problems of social organisation: institutional law and economics meets Habermasian law and democracy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 501-520, July.
    5. Paul Nightingale, 2003. "If Nelson and Winter are only half right about tacit knowledge, which half? A Searlean critique of 'codification'," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 149-183, April.
    6. Wilfred Dolfsma, 2004. "Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2961.
    7. John Davis & Matthias Klaes, 2003. "Reflexivity: curse or cure?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 329-352.
    8. Searle, John R., 2005. "What is an institution?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 1-22, June.
    9. Bob Jessop, 2001. "Institutional re(turns) and the strategic - relational approach," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(7), pages 1213-1235, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discourse Re-Indentification; Institutional Change; Institutions; Language;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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