Institutions and individuals : Interaction and evolution
The conceptualization of the relation between individual and structure is central to social science. After making some key definitions, this paper overviews some recent developments in the social theory of structure and agency, and makes a novel addition, based on a concept of habit derived from pragmatism and Veblenian institutional economics. Processes of habituation provide a mechanism of ‘reconstitutive downward causation’ where institutional circumstances may affect individual preferences. Finally, special characteristics of organizations are discussed, endorsing an evolutionary analytical approach that combines insights from both evolutionary economics and organization science.