Reference : Market Rulers: Interpretive institutionalism and market-based sustainability
Scientific Presentations in Universities or Research Centers : Scientific presentation in universities or research centers
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Human geography & demography
Market Rulers: Interpretive institutionalism and market-based sustainability
Carr, Constance mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Gibbs, David []
Krueger, Robert []
American Geographers Association
April 2013
American Geographers Association
Los Angeles
[en] This paper examines market based urban sustainability policy through the lens of interpretive institutionalism. Interpretive institutionalism, an approach that emerged in British political science and has been applied to geographical analyses of governance (c.f. Bevir and Rhodes 2006; Krueger and Gibbs 2010; Krueger and Gibbs 2012), is an analysis of how institution are created, sustained or modified through the ideas and actions of individuals’ (Bevir and Rhodes, 1999: 225). The actions of individuals are therefore not governed by their institutional position or institutional rules; rather, ‘how meanings and actions, are created, recreated and changed in ways that produce and transform institutions’ (Bevir, 2003: 460). Interpretive institutionalism views institutions like economic actors or firms: as creations of broader social processes, as well as the agency of actors working to construct them and act through them. Institutions can be seen not only as administrative and political organizations, but also as ‘the rules, norms and practices, which structure areas of social endeavour’ (Coaffee and Healey, 2003: 1982). Hence, ‘institutional rules may be consciously designed and clearly specified (as in structural plans and operating procedures) or take the form of unwritten customs and conventions’ (Lowndes and Wilson, 2001: 632).

This paper examines how such rules are made under ‘market-based’ conditions to urban sustainable development: so-called ‘New Urbanism’ or ‘Smart Growth’ in the US. Here we examine how actors shape and reshape what the positivist social sciences consider ontologically fixed relationships. We explore these policies in three contexts: the US, England, and Luxembourg. This comparative approach enables us to understand how these policies travel across space and are re-embedded in place, and thus to move beyond the particular case study to understand how actors intervene in markets in new and interesting ways.

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