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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

3 - The Promise of Field Theory for the Study of Political Institutions

from I - Theories of Political Sociology


Field theory is a promising and flexible framework for understanding social order and change with broad applicability to the concerns of political sociologists. While many in the subfield are rightly concerned with the relationship between “the state” and civil society, the implicit definition of political sociology as “the sociology of the state” has foreclosed opportunities for understanding how states, markets, firms, nonprofit organizations, and uninstitutionalized politics that include social movements are connected. This chapter presents field theory as a generative approach to understanding political phenomena that moves beyond the limitations of state-based approaches to political sociology, providing opportunities for sharing theoretical insights across subfield boundaries.

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