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Martijn Konings

Over the last decades, the social sciences have become increasingly concerned with the role of the state and the politics of institutional restructuring. Within mainstream…

Abstract

Over the last decades, the social sciences have become increasingly concerned with the role of the state and the politics of institutional restructuring. Within mainstream political science this has led to the development of a “state-centered” research program that emphasizes the autonomy of institutions. Marxist theory, however, has continued to adhere to a “society-centered” perspective, seeking to combine an ability to account for institutional change with the analysis of more structural social and economic forces. After some introductory comments that frame the problematic within which the paper is situated (Section 1), I discuss in Section 2 three of the most important recent Marxist attempts to construe the relation between socio-economic imperatives and political institutions. My argument is that Marxists’ attempts to relativize the autonomy of state institutions are too often still based on the postulation of an unexplained structural moment. This leaves them vulnerable to institutionalist claims concerning the autonomous nature of institutions. Section 3 proposes a different way of thinking the role of institutions in capitalist society. This approach breaks with a causalist, structuralist mode of explanation and relies on a more hermeneutic understanding of the role of institutions. I will shift the problematic to the relation between institutions and agency, arguing for a more pragmatist understanding of the role of institutions and an agency-based understanding of the formation of socio-economic imperatives. Section 4 concludes with some thoughts on the prospects held out, as well as the challenges faced, by the approach proposed in this paper.

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The Capitalist State and Its Economy: Democracy in Socialism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-176-7

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Article

Milan Zafirovski

The rediscovery and analytical reconstitution are present tendencies in much of social science, especially economics and sociology. The emergence and expansion of the…

Abstract

The rediscovery and analytical reconstitution are present tendencies in much of social science, especially economics and sociology. The emergence and expansion of the so‐called new institutional economics exemplify these tendencies as do attempts at revival and rehabilitation of the old institutional economics. Analogous tendencies have been manifested in sociology by the further development of economic sociology, especially by various reformulations of its classical premise of institutional structuration and embeddedness of economic behavior. Nevertheless, much of mainstream economics tends to neglect or play down certain salient divergences between the latter's neoclassical or orthodox institutionalism, and heterodox or critical institutionalism advanced by the old institutional economics as well as by economic sociology. Identifies and elaborates such divergences between these seemingly homologous varieties of institutionalism. Since institutionalist varieties and tendencies in both economics and sociology are considered, represents a contribution to an interdisciplinary treatment of social institutions, a treatment originally proposed by the old institutional economics of Veblen et al., the German historical school as well as by Weberian‐Durkheimian classical economic sociology.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 30 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Abstract

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Social Media in Earthquake-Related Communication
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-792-8

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Elizabeth Chiarello

The United States has an uncomfortable relationship with pleasure. Cultural ambivalence is evident in discourses surrounding pleasure and the labeling and treatment of…

Abstract

The United States has an uncomfortable relationship with pleasure. Cultural ambivalence is evident in discourses surrounding pleasure and the labeling and treatment of those who act on their desires. Pleasure seeking, generally understood in moral terms, is often medicalized and criminalized (as in the case of pregnancy prevention and drug use), placing questions of how to manage pleasure under the purview of medical and legal actors. At the macrolevel, institutions police pleasure via rules, patterns of action, and logics, while at the microlevel, frontline workers police pleasure via daily decisions about resource distribution. This chapter develops a sociolegal framework for understanding the social control of pleasure by analyzing how two institutions – medicine and criminal justice – police pleasure institutionally and interactionally. Conceptualizing medicine and criminal justice as paternalistic institutions acting as arbiters of morality, I demonstrate how these institutions address two cases of pleasure seeking – drug use and sex – by drawing examples from contemporary drug and reproductive health policy. Section one highlights shared institutional mechanisms of policing pleasure across medicine and criminal justice such as categorization, allocation of professional power, and the structuring of legitimate consequences for pleasure seeking. Section two demonstrates how frontline workers in each field act as moral gatekeepers as they interpret and construct institutional imperatives while exercising discretion about resource allocation in daily practice. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how understanding institutional and interactional policing of pleasure informs sociolegal scholarship about the relationships between medicine and criminal justice and the mechanisms by which institutions and frontline workers act as agents of social control.

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Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-811-6

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Article

Haifeng Wang, Yapu Zhao, Beilei Dang, Pengfei Han and Xin Shi

The impact of network centrality on innovation performance is inconclusive. The purpose of this paper is to examine how formal and informal institutions affect the…

Abstract

Purpose

The impact of network centrality on innovation performance is inconclusive. The purpose of this paper is to examine how formal and informal institutions affect the influence of network centrality on firms’ innovation performance in emerging economies by integrating social network theory and institutional theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Multisource and lagged data from 234 technology-based entrepreneurial firms listed on the Chinese Growth Enterprise Market were leveraged to test a proposed research model.

Findings

Results suggest that formal institutions (marketization) positively moderate the relationship between network centrality and innovation performance, whereas informal institutions (social cohesion) negatively moderate this relationship. Moreover, formal and informal institutions have a strong joint impact on such relationship, that is, the effect of network centrality on innovation performance is most positive when marketization is high and social cohesion is low.

Originality/value

This empirical research provides new insights into whether and how firms can grasp the innovation benefits of network centrality by exploring institutional contingencies. It further sheds on light the scope of the network centrality–innovation issue by extending its research context to Chinese entrepreneurial firms.

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Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

M. Prisching

It is demonstrated that the Austrian school in economics had verydifferent ideas about the creation and change of social institutions andespecially about the relation of…

Abstract

It is demonstrated that the Austrian school in economics had very different ideas about the creation and change of social institutions and especially about the relation of state and market, which is still one of the fundamental problems of economic theory. Menger′s fundamental distinction of pragmatic and organic institutions and Wieser′s contrary model are discussed, followed by the “impossibility theorem” of Mises and the contrary position of Schumpeter. Hayek′s liberation model of society is presented and criticised, and finally Menger′s position is interpreted as one of moderate liberal interventionism.

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Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3585

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Article

Iris Xie and Jennifer Stevenson

– The purpose of this paper is to investigate the applications of social media in digital libraries and identify related problems.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the applications of social media in digital libraries and identify related problems.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of ten institutions were selected from the following cultural institution types – public libraries, academic libraries, museums, government, and international organisations – to represent a variety of digital libraries developed or sponsored by different types of organisations. The social media applications were examined with regard to the following aspects: types of social media, placement of social media, updating social media, types of interactions, and types of functions.

Findings

This study presents the types of social media applications in the selected digital libraries and further characterises their placements, update frequency, types of interactions between digital librarians and users, as well as various types of roles they played. In the process of analysis the authors also identified problems related to lack of standards, creating two-way communication channels, and the lack of education functions.

Research limitations/implications

Further research needs to expand the selection of institutions and digital libraries to have more representative sampling, in particular institutions that are outside North America and Europe. It is also important to perform in-depth content analysis of social media to identify patterns and functions that social media perform. Moreover the authors will compare specific social media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc., across institutions. In order to explore fully the reason why certain social media tools are implemented in digital libraries, it is important to survey or interview digital librarians of digital libraries in different types of cultural institutions. In addition users can be interviewed to solicit their perspectives about their usage of social media in digital libraries.

Originality/value

This study not only examines the current status and problems of social media application in digital libraries but also offers suggestions on making good use of social media to connect users and digital libraries.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Book part

Andrew J. Lenartz

Social media is increasingly used by institutions of higher education to connect with students, with the goal of establishing a link with students through technology that…

Abstract

Social media is increasingly used by institutions of higher education to connect with students, with the goal of establishing a link with students through technology that they are already using at a significant rate. However, guidelines and policies describing the institutions' strategy and expectations for the use of social media are being utilized at a much lower rate than the use of social media itself. This has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of social media by institutions of higher education, and to create a barrier in the use of social media before the benefits can even be fully realized. This chapter explores current research regarding existence of guidelines for the use of social media in higher education, details a number of current issues, which have resulted from the use of social media, and describes general guidelines, which can be used to help institutions avoid the issues that can result from the use of social media. The chapter describes specific sections that should be part of social media guidelines, defines who in the institution will be impacted by the guidelines, and provides examples of effective social media guidelines. Additionally, the chapter describes research that is needed to help administrators and educators understand the issues that can result from the use of social media by an institution and how to prevent issues from occurring through the use of appropriate guidelines, standards, and policies.

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Misbehavior Online in Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-456-6

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Lowell Turner

In recent years, the long-declining U.S. labor movement has refocused in new and promising ways on rank-and-file mobilization, in organizing drives, collective bargaining…

Abstract

In recent years, the long-declining U.S. labor movement has refocused in new and promising ways on rank-and-file mobilization, in organizing drives, collective bargaining conflicts and political campaigns. Such efforts are widely viewed as the best hope for revitalizing the labor movement: breathing new life into tired old unions, winning organizing drives and raising membership levels, increasing political influence, pushing toward the power necessary to reform labor law and ineffective labor institutions. The stakes are high and the goals ambitious: to close the “representation gap” at the workplace, reverse growing economic and social inequality, and build new coalitions for expanded democratic participation in local, national and global politics.

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Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-153-8

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John Hamilton Bradford

Purpose – This essay attempts to answer the question, “What distinguishes inter-human influence from other forms of influence?”Design/methodology/approach – Specifying the…

Abstract

Purpose – This essay attempts to answer the question, “What distinguishes inter-human influence from other forms of influence?”

Design/methodology/approach – Specifying the micro-foundations of social structures in terms of communicative inferences necessitates a revision of the concept of social structures (and institutions) as distributed, and hence, uncertain, structures of expectation. Institutional realities are generated in linguistic interaction through the indirect communication of generic references. The generalizing function of language – in particular, abstraction and memory – coupled with its reflexive function, to turn references into things, are sufficient to generate both social structures and institutions as collective inferences.

Findings – Social relations are fundamentally communicative relations. The communicative relation is triadic, implying an enunciator, an audience, and some referential content. Through linguistic communication, humans are capable of communicating locally with others about others nonlocally. Institutions exist only as expectations concerning the expectations of others. These expectations, however, are not only in the mind, and they are not exclusively psychological entities. Linguistically, these expectations appear as the reported statement within the reporting statement, that is, they are constituted through indirect discourse.

Research limitations/implications – An important implication for current sociological theory is that, from the point of view of a sociology defined as communication about communication from within communication, institutional realities should not be reified as existing naturalistically or objectively above or behind the communications through which they are instantiated.

Originality value – This approach, then, is decidedly anti-“realist.” The goal of such research is to examine the inadequacy of nonreflexive models of social order. Accounts of how sets of social relationships emerge will remain inadequate if they do not reflect upon the cognitive and communicative processes which make possible the consideration of such structures.

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