Understanding Society Daniel Little
Saturday, November 6, 2021
How are institutions sustained, reproduced, and changed? Institutions are “supra-individual”, in the sense that they establish a context of identity and mental-framework formation for all individuals, and they create the environment of choice for the current actions of individuals. Further, they exercise an influence that is beyond the control of any particular individual or group of individuals. But at the same time, institutions are constituted at a given time by individuals and their mental frameworks, actions, and interactions with other individuals. This is the thrust of the idea of ontological individualism. This raises an important question for sociological theory: what are the chief mechanisms through which institutions preserve their properties over time and personnel change, and what mechanisms lead to change in institutions over time?Understanding Society: How are institutions sustained, reproduced, and changed?