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Institutions and Rules.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2003
<mark>Journal</mark>Research Papers Network Institutional Theory
Issue number11
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)1-11
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This short statement has three aims. First, it suggests that rules and institutionsare a convenient and productive entrypoint for analysing capitalism and mainstream proposals for its reform. But it also suggests that analyses cannot stop there if adequate critiques and alternative strategies are to be developed. Above all we need to move beyond rules and institutions to examine the microfoundations of institutions in particular subjectivities, cognitive frames, modes of calculation, norms of conduct, and forms of embodiment; and to study the macro-contexts that emerge from interaction among institutions and shape this interaction in a complex dialectic of path-shaping and path-dependency. It also suggests how to move beyond rules and institutions. Second, this statement proposes a distinctive theoretical approach based on a combination of trans- and post-disciplinary modes of inquiry. It argues that these can inform both our collective intellectual endeavours and also provide the basis for a critical popular pedagogy. And, third, it identifies some key issues for a research agenda on the political and ethical dimensions of contemporary economic activities. In the spirit of the PEKEA project, our statement is not concerned to provide yet another critique of orthodox economics (for which, see Hodgson 1989; North 1990; Rutherford 1994). Instead we emphasize the socially embedded, socially regularized nature of market economies and address changing economic norms and modes of calculation. This leads us to approach capitalism very broadly in terms of the overall ensemble of socially embedded, socially regularized and strategically selective institutions, organizations, social forces and actions that are involved in sustaining the wage-relation, a labour process and more general system of production organized in terms of profitand- loss, and a complex balance between competition and cooperation among different capitals. Seen in these terms capitalist relations of production are not just economic but is also (always, necessarily) extra-economic. In pursuing these ideas should help to provide a clearer account of the inherently political aspects of contemporary capitalism.