Towards a Sociology of Intermediary Institutions: The Role of Law in Corporatism, Neo-Corporatism and Governance
117- 141 in Mikael Rask Madsen and Chris Thornhill (eds.): Law and the Formation of Modern Europe: Perspectives from the Historical Sociology of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)
26 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013 Last revised: 21 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 7, 2013
The central ambition of this chapter is to develop dimensions of a theoretical and conceptual framework for the study of intermediary institutions, such as corporatist, neo-corporatist and governance institutions, in the European context. As such, it is designed to create a framework that is capable, not only of delineating intermediary institutions as an independent object of study and of increasing our understanding of their contribution to the integration of society, but also – more specifically – of illuminating the pivotal role of law in their evolution. This ambition is derived from the insight that intermediary institutions are the hinges of modern society in so far as they serve as central sites for the stabilisation of relations between multiple social spheres, most notably between the economic and the non-economic spheres, of society. Intermediary institutions might therefore be considered to be particular dense forms of the structures characterizing society as such just as changes in the setup of intermediary institutions might reflect particular clear illustrations of the transformations which society in its entirety has undergone. Developing a new understanding of the role of intermediary institutions will therefore provide a direct contribution to our understanding of modern European states just as it implicitly contains the promise of increasing our understanding of society as such.
Keywords: governance, corporatism, neo-corporatism, europe, historical sociology, sociology of law, economic sociology, political economy, social regulation, institutions, social evolution, networks, organisation, social roles, Philippe Schmitter, historical institutionalism, welfare regulation, state theory
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