The Dynamics of Institutional Domains

  • Jonathan H. Turner


The dynamics of institutional domains inhere in the processes of inter- and intra-institutional differentiation and the structural and cultural mechanisms by which these nodes of differentiation are integrated. To phrase the matter in a way that takes us back to older functionalist theories (Spencer ­1874–1896; Durkheim1893[1963]), the evolution of human societies has involved increasing complexity, with much of this complexity the result of institutional differentiation. For all of the problems with these functional theories, they were on the right track in trying to understand how institutions operate. The first human society contained only one institution – kinship – with all other institutional activities folded into the division of labor of nuclear families in hunting and gathering bands. From the initial institutional base, economy, polity, and religion differentiated; and then from this base, additional domains such as law, education, science, medicine, sport, and art began to evolve.


Selection Pressure Entrepreneurial Actor Corporate Actor Institutional Differentiation Moral Code 
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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California at RiversideRiversideUSA

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