WILLIAM FIELDING OGBURN AND THE INSTITUTIONALISTS. A CASE OF THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONVERGENCE?

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Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between William Ogburn and the Institutionalists. This is done by assessing Ogburn's contribution in the light of the methodological debates that animated academia during the 1920s and the early 1930s - the years that marked the peak of the Institutionalists influence in American economics - and by comparing his work with that of some of the more 'sociologically oriented' figures of the movement. The present paper is organized as follows. The first two sections deal with Ogburn's epistemic commitments with respect to the main methodological debates of the period. The second section reviews Ogburn's 1922 Social Change and his theory of social evolution. The third section is devoted to a scrutiny of the parallels between Veblen and Ogburn. The fourth and fifth section discuss the affinities between Ogburn and the contributions of the Institutionalists, with a focus on the work of Albert B. Wolfe, Rexford G. Tugwell, Lawrence K. Frank, and Clarence E. Ayres. The final section presents some conclusions.The histories of all the social sciences are strewn with wrecks caused by the authors starting with a blue print of human nature or a set of pure principles and attempting to read therefrom our cultural and social institutions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-144
Number of pages44
JournalHistory of Economic Ideas
Volume22
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics

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