Rethinking agency and structure in the study of regime change

James Mahoney, Richard Snyder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

The oscillation of the study of political regime change between voluntarist and structural approaches has increasingly led scholars to seek research strategies for synthesizing the two approaches. This article addresses the conceptual and practical difficulties of achieving such a synthesis by evaluating several strategies for integrating voluntarist and structural factors in the analysis of regime change. It examines competing ways of conceptualizing agency and structure and assesses the varied consequences that different conceptualizations have for explaining regime transformation. The article also analyzes three distinct strategies for integrating agency and structure: the funnel, path-dependent, and eclectic strategies. Each integrative strategy is anchored by a different conceptual base and has characteristic strengths and limitations. The conclusion explores future directions for developing integrative strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-32
Number of pages30
JournalStudies in Comparative International Development
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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