Institutionalism(s): Explanatory Models and Casuality

Institutionalism(s): Explanatory Models and Casuality

Panov P.V.,

Dr. Sci. (Polit. Sci.), Leading Researcher, Perm Federal Research Center, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 77223 | ORCID: 0000-0002-0759-7618 | RESEARCHER_ID: O-2160-2016

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2015.03.09

For citation:

Panov P.V. Institutionalism(s): Explanatory Models and Casuality. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No. 3. P. 39-55. (In Russ.).


The explanation is assumed as an essential feature of political studies as a special genre of political discourse. Two explanatory models, which have been developed in institutional political studies, are discussed in the article. Rational choice institutionalism and sociological institutionalism differ fundamentally in the understanding of social reality and the nature of social institutions. Deductive-nomological model inherent in rational choice institutionalism meets the requirements of logical positivism to a greater extent. Studied phenomenon is explained by applying general laws to it, i.e. by showing what happens in accordance with these laws in certain conditions. At the same time, such an explanatory model reveals some limitations. Firstly, “universalist claims”, which are inherent in rational choice institutionalism, fall under suspicion. Another serious problem is the inability to explain the phenomenon of rationality as such. Finally, the phenomenon of rationality requires taking into account the social context, since the explanation based on rationality is not just a logical abstraction suitable for any empirical material. On the contrary, it is suitable for the specific social context in which people act rationally. Sociological institutionalism uses such explanatory models as categorial schemes that are muchmore flexible in comparison with deductive-nomological logic. They allow us to specify the concepts used, split them, if necessary, into several components as well as to enter new concepts that fix those phenomena of empirical reality that previously were not perceived as significant ones.

explanatory model; rational choice institutionalism; sociological institutionalism; causality; conditions; deductive-nomological model; categorial scheme.

Content No. 3, 2015

See also:

Inoguchi T.,
Political theory. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No3

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The Policy of the European Union in International Conflicts: with the Attempted Settlement of the Relations between Serbia and Montenegro as Example. – Polis. Political Studies. 2007. No4

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The Stanford Model of Development Crisis. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No3

Green D.P., Shapiro Ien,
Rational Choice Explanations of Politics: Why Has So Little Been Learned?. – Polis. Political Studies. 1994. No3

Panov P.V.,
Alteration of Electoral Institutions in Russia (Cross-Regional Analysis). – Polis. Political Studies. 2004. No6

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