This article discusses the concept of institution by examining the components of an institution and the way in which institutionalization can increase or decrease. It considers the place to be given to organizations and to procedures based on the definition of institutions. It reveals the major differences across the social sciences and in particular political, social, and economic fields. The article is also concerned with institutionalization, and reveals marked differences among the social sciences.
Steven Rathgeb Smith
Accountability in nonprofits is complicated and multi-faceted. Nonprofits can also be sites of vibrant civic engagement, community governance, and providers of valuable local services. Contemporary accountability regimes emphasize organizational maintenance, competition, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Civic engagement in the governance and operations of local nonprofits can be time-consuming, albeit very valuable. To achieve accountability and citizen engagement, nonprofits need to consult with their key stakeholders and think comprehensively and strategically about their mission. Government and private funders also need to approach accountability broadly and consider the different programmatic and community benefits of nonprofit programs.
This chapter explores the ways in which public standards of accountability are brought to bear on a nominally private institution: the commercial corporation. It considers several classic arguments in favor of widening the set of interests in society that the corporation should serve. These classic positions, it is argued, fail to capture the range of social issues facing the company. A different way of identifying those issues is proposed. This in turn permits one to identify three types of interest that stakeholders have in the company. With these distinctions in place, a map of different types of corporate accountability is drawn, aimed at underpinning policies shaping corporate governance.
Maxwell McCombs and Sebastián Valenzuela
This chapter discusses contemporary directions of agenda-setting research. It reviews the basic concept of agenda setting, the transfer of salience from the media agenda to the public agenda as a key step in the formation of public opinion, the concept of need for orientation as a determinant of issue salience, the ways people learn the media agenda, attribute agenda setting, and the consequences of agenda setting that result from priming and attribute priming. Across the theoretical areas found in the agenda-setting tradition, future studies can contribute to the role of news in media effects by showing how agenda setting evolves in the new and expanding media landscape as well as continuing to refine agenda setting’s core concepts.
Global assessments have become central to international debates on a range of key policy issues. They attempt to combine “expert assessment” with processes of “stakeholder consultation” in what are presented as global, participatory assessments on key issues of major international importance. This chapter focuses on the IAASTD—the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development—through a detailed analysis of the underlying knowledge politics involved, centered particularly on the controversy over genetically modified crops. Global assessments contribute to a new landscape of governance in the international arena, offering the potential for links between the local and the global and new ways of articulating citizen engagement with global processes of decision making and policy. The chapter argues that in global assessments the politics of knowledge need to be made more explicit and that negotiations around politics and values must be put center stage. The black-boxing of uncertainty, or the eclipsing of more fundamental clashes over interpretation and meaning, must be avoided for processes of participation and engagement in global assessments to become more meaningful, democratic, and accountable. A critique is thus offered of simplistic forms of deliberative democratic practice and the need to “bring politics back in” is affirmed.
Richard R. John
This essay traces the long and productive relationship between two genres of historical writing: American political development (or APD) and American political history. It is written primarily for political scientists; a secondary audience is historians who wish to become more familiar with APD. Its focus is on the period before the adoption of the federal Constitution in 1788 and the end of the Second World War in 1945, an epoch that has long been recognized as not only formative, but also distinct from the epoch that it followed and preceded. It is, in addition, an epoch that has spawned a dialogue between APD and political history that had proved to be particularly fruitful.
Joel H. Silbey
This article provides a sweeping analysis of the history of American political parties. It specifically uses the lens of critical election theory to explore the scholarly treatment of the development of parties as institutions, of the relationship between parties and the electorate, of the means that parties have used to communicate with and build relationships with the electorate, and of the existence and definition of party systems. The Democrats' administrative state grew during the Second World War and was reinforced and further expanded during the Cold War that followed. There was increased partisan polarization in the 1990s as the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives and vigorously set themselves against a Democratic president.
Historical institutional scholars can analyze politics as it happens, not just developments long past. A powerful theoretical approach should give clear guidance about questions worth asking and pinpoint factors that need to be taken into account to explain current and possible future developments. Historical institutional analysis stresses timing and sequence, institutional contexts, and policy feedbacks – factors that are crucial for deciphering immediately unfolding political transformations. To illustrate the point, this chapter dissects the early Obama presidency, examining why its reformist goals succeeded in some policy areas but fell short in others. In addition, the chapter explores how and why the Tea Party erupted and pushed the Republican Party further to the extreme right during the Obama presidency
Jeffery A. Jenkins
Rational choice and American political development (APD) both emerged as responses to (perceived) limitations with the dominant behavioral tradition. While their critiques were based on very different research traditions, similarities were also present; in particular, both rational choice and APD approaches focused on the importance of institutions for studying political outcomes. Over time, rational choice and APD research has converged to a significant degree, as scholars in both traditions have increasingly been exposed to different theoretical and methodological perspectives and thus become consumers of each other’s work. This chapter documents how and why rational choice research has moved in an APD direction.
This chapter evaluates the achievements and limitations of the United Nations (including the Conference on Disarmament) in the field of disarmament, emphasizing the UN’s role as part of broader efforts to control arms as a means to achieve international peace and security. It presents an overview of UN disarmament efforts and discusses specific cases where progress was achieved, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Arms Trade Treaty, and efforts to tackle the problems of anti-personnel land mines and small arms and light weapons. Finally, it draws out the implications for international relations of the UN experience with formal multilateral arms control, disarmament and security-building processes by evaluating its role as a negotiating forum, a norm setter, an implementing agency, or an instrument of great power security governance.