Neoinstitutionalism and the appropriation of Bourdieu’s work: a critical assessment

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Luis Claudio Mangi


Despite the still present hegemony of the structural-functionalist orthodoxy, the mid 1980’s witnesses the insurgence of new philosophical approaches. This body of work had become a vital intellectual and ideological resource for those who wanted to confront the functionalist dominance in organization studies, such as structuration theory, labourprocess theory and neoinstitutionalist theory. The purpose of this paper is to review the incorporation of Bourdieu’s work into neoinstitutionalism. I argue that this appropriation has resulted in a significant loss of theoretical strength. By giving place to the cognitivist metaphors of mental models, “scripts” and “schemas”, instead of adopting thenotion of habitus, neoinstitutionalism reinforces some of the ever-present dichotomies in social sciences, especially those of agency/structure and individual/society. While neoinstitutionalism was refining the cognitive approach in the 1990’s, Bourdieu was moving towards psychoanalysis. Some indications for future research are provided in the concluding notes.


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MANGI, L. C. Neoinstitutionalism and the appropriation of Bourdieu’s work: a critical assessment. RAE - Revista de Administracao de Empresas , [S. l.], v. 49, n. 3, p. 323–336, 2009. Disponível em: Acesso em: 22 may. 2024.