2001 volume 33(7) pages 1213 – 1235
doi:10.1068/a32183

Cite as:
Jessop B, 2001, "Institutional re(turns) and the strategic - relational approach" Environment and Planning A 33(7) 1213 – 1235

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Institutional re(turns) and the strategic - relational approach

Bob Jessop

Received 22 October 1999; in revised form 25 November 2000

Abstract. The author distinguishes and comments on three different forms of the institutional turn: thematic, methodological, and ontological. He argues that there is a wide range of institutional turns that have been undertaken for quite different theoretical, empirical, and policy-related reasons; and suggests that the returns from any given institutional turn are by no means guaranteed to be positive. The different senses in which 'institutions matter' are explored and the need to contextualize the institutional turn, both at more macro and at more microlevels, is also emphasized. One way of undertaking this contextualization is through the 'strategic - relational approach' with its concern with both the structural and the strategic dimensions of a contextualized institutional analysis. As well as presenting the approach in general terms, the author also illustrates its relevance to the spatiotemporal dimensions of institutional analysis. Eight broad conclusions about the institutional turn are presented.

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