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date: 05 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the evolution of the ideational research agenda in historical institutionalism. The relationship between ideas as an analytical concept and historical institutionalism as a body of work has varied over time. While there was an opening to ideas in historical institutionalism in the mid- to late 1990s, less attention was paid to ideas as core analytic variables in the decades that followed. The chapter points to the materialist ontology employed by the majority of historical institutionalist scholars, their engagement with rational choice scholars, and the work of ideational scholars themselves as the major sources behind an ‘unconscious uncoupling’ between ideationalists and materialists within historical institutionalism. Following a network analysis of citation patterns, the chapter suggests that a ‘conscious re-coupling’ of ideational and institutional research agendas holds great promise for future historical institutional work.

Keywords: ideas, materialism, institutions, networks

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