Get access

Ideational Theorizing in the Social Sciences since “Policy Paradigms, Social Learning, and the State”



In the years since Peter Hall's seminal 1993 article “Policy Paradigms, Social Learning and the State” appeared, the ideational research agenda has expanded enormously, to the point where it now includes everyone from constructivists to rational choice theorists. This article assesses what we have learned about the role of ideas in political life since “Policy Paradigms” appeared, analyzes how well social scientists have taken up the challenges and questions “Policy Paradigms” put forward, and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of current ideational scholarship. Based on this, the article concludes that the way forward for ideational scholars must include coming up with clearer, more easily agreed upon definitions of ideational variables, more extensive study of the processes through which ideas become institutionalized and thus able to affect political outcomes over time, and more careful investigations of the ways in which ideas shape or form both actors' motivations and contexts.

Get access to the full text of this article