From Corporatism to Governance: Dimensions of a Theory of Intermediary Institutions
Eva Hartmann and Poul F. Kjaer (eds.): The Evolution of Intermediary Institutions in Europe: From Corporatism to Governance (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 11 - 28.
23 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2016
Date Written: December 31, 2015
Intermediary institutions are difficult to grasp because they are always “in-between” something else. It is therefore hardly surprising that they are typically regarded as mere reflections of structures or interests located outside the institutions themselves. The objective of this chapter is, however, to advance an understanding of intermediary institutions as autonomous social phenomena which produce their own sources of social meaning, and thus their own forms of power and norms, thereby enabling an understanding of them as independent objects of study. This, of course, does not mean that the wider context within which intermediary institutions operate is of no relevance. As we will see and subsequently explore, the contrary is, in fact, the case, as “context construction” is one of the central contributions of intermediary institutions to society as such. This again gives intermediary institutions a strategic location in society, as they are one of the central sites where the integration of society unfolds. The reason for this is the intermediate function that they fulfill as channels of transfer between different societal spheres, and the kind of context construction which is both the result of and the condition for successful transfers.
Five central dimensions of intermediary institutions are outlined under the headings: Context, Function, Evolution, Order, and Compatibility. To be sure, this is not an exhaustive list but merely a starting-point for the endeavor of establishing a theoretical framework capable of grasping the phenomenon of intermediary institutions.
Keywords: Governance, corporatism, neo-corporatism, intermediary institutions, capitalism, modernity, Western Europe, Europe, political economy, social theory, social evolution, institutionalism, markets, state theory, state-building, Polanyi, systems theory, Bob Jessop, Niklas Luhmann, Law, labour markets,
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation