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Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research$
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Daniel Béland and Robert Henry Cox

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736430.001.0001

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Ideas and the Construction of Interests

Ideas and the Construction of Interests

(p.65) 3 Ideas and the Construction of Interests
Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

Colin Hay (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the ontological, analytical, and methodological distinctiveness of constructivist institutionalism, assessing the challenge it poses to those institutionalisms in whose paths it follows. The chapter proceeds in three sections. The first section discusses how constructivist institutionalism arose in response to problems of change in much of the previous institutionalist scholarship. The second section considers the ontological and analytical distinctiveness of constructivist institutionalism's turn to ideas. The third and concluding section cautions those who would adopt a constructivist approach against falling back on an essentially materialist conception of self-interest, documenting the potential pitfalls of such a move. It argues that a genuinely constructivist perspective must see interests as social constructions, rather than as materially given.

Keywords:   constructivist institutionalism, constructivism, institutionalist research, self-interest

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