Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2022
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Stefano Bartolini argues that, despite the growth of a large theoretical literature about institutions and institutionalism over the last thirty years, the specific nature of political institutions has been relatively neglected. Political institutions have been subsumed into the broader problems of the emergence, persistence, change and functions of all types of institutions. The author defines political institutions strictly as norms and rules of 'conferral', to be distinguished from norms/rules of 'conduct' and of 'recognition'. They are those norms and rules that empower rulers, set limits to the capacity to ensure behavioural compliance, and define the proper means for achieving such compliance. This book draws logical and empirical consequences from this understanding, to distinguish different types of norms/rules, and to specify the peculiarities of those norms/rules that are 'political'. The book will appeal to researchers of political institutions in comparative politics, and in political science and political sociology more broadly.


‘With sweeping historical reference and discerning judgment, Stefano Bartolini takes on one of the central problems of contemporary social science, namely, how we should understand ‘institutions’, with a view to establishing what is distinctive about political institutions. This is a book full of insights from which everyone who wants to understand the role of institutions in political life can learn.’

Peter A. Hall - Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies, Harvard University

‘Rule-Making Rules makes an invaluable contribution to the old European tradition of placing institutions at the core of political life. Bartolini is courageous in terms of his time perspective and the number of disciplines covered, and he presents an analytical framework making a clear distinction between political institutions, and their ordering of human coexistence, and other institutions.’

Johan P. Olsen - Professor emeritus and founding director of Center for European Studies, University of Oslo, Norway

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.