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On Meaning, Measurement and Institutional Analysis

John Mohr (University of California-Santa Barbara)

What is an institution? How can social scientists measure the structures, properties, dynamics and effects of institutional forms? After a long period of retrenchment during which the concept of institutions was present as a more of a background notion than an object of measurement, beginning some 25 years ago the new institutionalist movement brought the empirical analysis of institutional forms back to the agenda of formal modelers. What have we learned about the modeling of institutions in the meantime? What are the key concepts and problems for formal measurement approaches to institutional forms? In this talk, Professor Mohr will review some of the current issues in the field, focusing in particular on two questions (1) how the formal analysis of discourse and meaning structures figures in the analysis of institutional forms and (2) how the analysis of dialectical and duality relationships is central to advances in this area of research.