Historical institutionalism and international relations : towards explaining change and stability in international institutions
Title: Historical institutionalism and international relations : towards explaining change and stability in international institutions
Citation: Thomas RIXEN, Lora Anne VIOLA and Michael ZÜRN (eds), Historical institutionalism and international relations : explaining institutional development in world politics, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 3-35
This chapter introduces historical institutionalism (HI) to international relations (IR). Historical institutionalism, located outside of IR’s paradigmatic debates, has been given relatively little explicit attention within IR. We argue, however, that scholarship on international institutions is increasingly concerned with issues that HI was developed to address and that this overlap of interests is a compelling reason for IR to explicitly engage with HI. We discuss what is distinctive about HI, especially in relation to rational and sociological institutionalisms. Then, as groundwork for empirical research, we develop a systematic conceptualization of the terms “institutional development,” “stability,” and “change” by distinguishing three dimensions of change: speed, scope and depth. Finally, we provide an overview of the empirical chapters in this volume and reflect on what status HI should have within the existing field of IR theories.
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