What is a Critical Juncture? Permissive and Productive Conditions in Historical Causation

28 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 3 Sep 2009

See all articles by Hillel David Soifer

Hillel David Soifer

Temple University Political Science Department

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Despite frequent use, scholars have failed to develop explicitly the causal logic of the critical juncture framework. This paper proposes that to do so we must distinguish between permissive and productive conditions in historical causation. While permissive conditions mark the loosening of constraints on agency or contingency, productive conditions act within the context of permissive conditions to produce the divergence across cases that (if reinforced after the juncture closes) characterizes a critical juncture. I develop these concepts in detail, trace their presence through several classic critical juncture accounts, and show the implications of the application of this framework for theory development and research design.

Suggested Citation

Soifer, Hillel David, What is a Critical Juncture? Permissive and Productive Conditions in Historical Causation (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1451662

Hillel David Soifer (Contact Author)

Temple University Political Science Department ( email )

United States

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