Path Dependencies and State Traditions in Comparative Perspective
This chapter provides a theoretical framework to analyse the ‘cultural embeddedness’ of national research patterns and its implications for the future of employment research. The underlying theoretical assumption is that employment research, as any other social science, is not just determined by its subject matter (e.g., employment institutions and practices) but is socially constructed. The book emphasizes that social science disciplines or fields of study are not universal or determined by an invisible scientific law but shaped by specific socio-historical contexts. Thus, this book perceives social sciences as being continuously re-invented by strategic (academic) actors and structural conditions which are influenced by cultural legacies. In particular, the longitudinal perspective of this book allows us to analyse how preexisting social, political, and intellectual conditions of the 19th century shaped the emergent national traditions of employment research and its academic organization. The trajectories or path dependencies of employment research, which arguably still have an impact on research today, will be discussed on the basis of three different dimensions, substantive, institutional, and ideational: the subject field of academic inquiry (labour movement histories); scientific knowledge institutions (social science traditions); and the underlying intellectual traditions (industrial democracy discourse).
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