Bounding Institutional Authority in Comparative Politics and International Relations
Clunan, Anne L.
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This paper seeks to draw attention to a neglected but essential element of institutions: their boundaries.1 Boundaries permit actors to organize the world around them into categories and groups and to establish arenas of authority or jurisdiction. Scholars too often assume that boundaries between groups are firm and clear, and assume that these distinctions form the basis for social hierarchies and divisions of labor. However, the nature of boundaries is no less important to institutional operation and social organization than is the fact of their existence. As the first step in a larger research program, we set out to elaborate here not only the importance that the existence of boundaries has in creating and regulating social organization, but also the political significance that the varying nature of boundaries has. We draw on our own work from very different sub-disciplines of political science to highlight what boundaries do and how they vary, as well as to raise a set of theoretical questions to guide further investigation.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.7202/1015015ar
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