TBM Workshop on Institutions

Funded by the ERC RECOLAND Project

Date : Tuesday, February 16, 2016 ,13:00-18:00

Place: Arts Centre ,  Rotterdamseweg 205, 2629 HD Delft


The proposal to organize a workshop on institutions at TBM was born out of discussions among a small group of enthusiast academics. It was written with an underlying, dual rationale.

First, the term institution is a critical analytical concept with a broad inter-disciplinary application across the social sciences and humanities. At the same time, however, it lacks a commonly accepted definition. As a result, scholarly discussions tend to grow increasingly convoluted because it is unclear from which fundamental premises one starts. Second, TU Delft and particularly TBM, have a substantial concentration of people interested in and working on institutions. Many of these people might not know of each other, or each others’ work. Our workshop aims to provide a platform for such scholarly exchange.

To channel the discussions of the workshop, we would like to invite its participants to think about institutions around the means of production and beyond. Put differently, to assess institutions and institutional change around land, labor, capital and technology. Moreover, the participants will also be asked to reflect on a set of questions that reflect basic axioms of different theories on institutions. To spice up the discussion we would like to posit the following thesis on the nature of institutions:

Institutions result from actors’ aggregate perceptions of a set of endogenously   evolved rules as a common arrangement.”

Whereby an institution is seen as:

  1. Aggregate: Existing at a cumulative rather than an individual level;
  2. Set of rules: Thus, not about a single but a series of rules;
  3. Endogeneity: Emerging in actors’ interaction, not in a unilateral, causal sense;
  4. Common: Being perceived as shared between actors.


We welcome contributions from different perspectives, in terms of the methodological and theoretical approaches followed (Original Institutionalist, Post-Keynesian, Marxist, Neo-Schumpeterian, Austrian, New Institutionalist, etc.), in terms of the type and methodology of inquiry carried out (historical, statistical, game-theoretical, system-dynamic, etc.) and in terms of disciplinary intersections (economics, sociology, political science, philosophy, planning, law, psychology, etc.). We are particularly in favor of contributions that provide insights on the questions outlined above so as to enhance scientific dialogue within different strands of thought.

The workshop initially aims to bring together people from within TBM, and serve as a stepping stone for the organization of a wider, international seminar on the issues above.


Institution Workshop Program

Survey Results_TBM Workshop Institutions


Photo Impression