Institutions in American Society

Essays in Market, Political, and Social Organizations
John E. Jackson, Editor
An interdisciplinary study of the political, economic, and social institutions that give character and direction to our society


To understand the institutions that structure our society requires a genuinely interdisciplinary effort. This book presents the fruits of just such an enterprise: a joint exploration by a group of outstanding social scientists of the origins, functions, and operations of the political, economic, and societal institutions that give character and direction to our society.

Institutions in American Society has three themes. The first of these is the effect of individual action on collective outcomes. The contributors seek to understand how people behaving in similar ways, but acting within different kinds of institutions, can bring about widely different outcomes.

Second, the contributors discuss the design of institutions in order to understand and evaluate the choices that created those institutions and to understand the choices that continue to be made and produce the continual reshaping of institutions.

The third theme is that of the importance of history. The authors emphasize that institutions do change, that such changes are often a consequence of people's choices, and that such choices are functions of a people's theory of institutions at any time.

This volume substantially advances the reader's understanding of institutions, contributing a uniquely interdisciplinary approach to the structure of society.

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Introduction     1

1. Institutions in American Society: An Overview
John E. Jackson     9

2. Sex-Role Socialization and Occupational Segregation: An Exploratory Investigation
Mary E. Corcoran and Paul N. Courant     31

3. American Institutions and the Study of Family Life in the Past
Maris A. Vinovskis     57

4. History, Sociology, and Theories of Organization
Mayer N. Zald     81

5. Industrial Growth and Social Institutions
Frank P. Stafford and Malcolm Robinson     109

6. Relations between Organizations: Institutions, Self-interest, and Congressional Oversight Behavior in the United States
Joel D. Auerbach     135

7. Political Mobilization in America
Jack L. Walker     163

8. Formal Political Theory and the Design and Evaluation of Institutions
John R. Chamberlin     189

9. Building the Impossible State: Toward an Institutional Analysis of Statebuilding in America, 1820-1930
Terrence J. McDonald     217

Contributors     241

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 256pp.
  • tables, figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1990
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10136-8

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  • $84.95 U.S.