The Quest to Understand Human Affairs

The Quest to Understand Human Affairs : Essays on Collective, Constitutional, and Epistemic Choice

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The second volume of The Quest to Understand Human Affairs presents thirty-six previously unpublished manuscripts written by Vincent Ostrom, cofounder of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. The essays are divided among three parts: Constitutional Choice, Epistemic Choice, and The Quest for Understanding and the Future of Democratic Self-Governance. Part I, Constitutional Choice, includes studies on public sector performance and the constitutional dilemmas facing the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the North American "New World" of US constitutionalism, and the United States of Mexico. In the essays of Part II, Ostrom turns to the foundational ideas on which the institutions of a particular culture rest. He raises questions about the methodologies of the social sciences and insists that we return to "basic questions" in our search for institutional forms that will liberate human communities. Part III offers the reader a colloquy on self-governance in which Ostrom's speeches and presentations on a variety of twenty-first-century issues are supplemented with letters and memos between Ostrom and visiting scholars and students. These remarkable works not only offer specialists insight into developments in the fields of institutional analysis, resource governance, policy and administration-during the second half of the twentieth century and first decade of the new millennium-but also speak to general readers about worldwide transformations in democracies and human and environment relations as well as the enduring challenge of sustaining just, productive political orders. The Quest to Understand Human Affairs is introduced with a foreword by Nobel Laureate and co-founder of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Elinor Ostrom, with a preface by the editor of the volume, political theorist Barbara Allen.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 676 pages
  • 157.48 x 228.6 x 45.72mm | 1,179.33g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0739168053
  • 9780739168059

About Vincent Ostrom

Vincent Ostrom is the founding director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and Arthur F. Bentley Professor Emeritus of political science at Indiana University in Bloomington. Barbara Allen is professor of political science at Carleton College.show more

Review quote

Volume II builds magnificently on the themes of the first volume. Once again Barbara Allen has expertly edited Vincent Ostrom's writings. In this collection readers will find a reflective Ostrom applying his keen understanding of decentralized systems to problems philosophical, practical, and pedagogical. It is impossible to read these essays and not be inspired to think differently about one's own research. -- Jenna Bednar, University of Michigan Vincent Ostrom made many significant and profound contributions to political theory and public policy. The Quest to Understand Human Affairs presents Ostrom's work in collective, constitutional, and epistemic choice. His project is a radical one exploring the foundation of self-governance, and the self-governing capacity of the citizenry. And, nobody has done more than Vincent Ostrom in understanding the burdens of the democratic way of life, and the political structures consistent with that way of life. -- Peter Boettke, George Mason University Thirty-six previously unpublished papers explore Vincent Ostrom's work in the fields of institutional analysis, resource governance, public policy, and public administration. Journal of Economic Literatureshow more

Table of contents

Foreword by Elinor Ostrom Preface PART I: CONSTITUTIONAL CHOICE David Hume as a Political Analyst The Individual and the Constitutional Order in the American Federal Republic Constitutional Choice in Postcolonial Polities: The Federal Republic of Nigeria The Challenge of Federalism Guidance, Control, and Performance in the Public Sector Some Conjectures about the Shape of the Political Science to Come Buchanan's Opening to Constitutional Choice and Meta Levels of Analysis Constitutional Choice in the Spanish New World Federalism in the Affairs of Everyday Life The Challenge Facing the Mexican Revolution in Its Third Century PART II: EPISTEMIC CHOICE Political Characteristics of the Pacific Northwest: A Challenge to Research-The Problem of Method Freedom and Organization Implications of Epistemic Choice for Political Science Methodologies Federalism and Consociationalism: Competing or Complementary Approaches? Comments Conceptualizing the Nature and Magnitude of the Task of Institutional Analysis and Development Culture, Liberation Movements, and Human Development Some Ontological and Epistemological Puzzles in Policy Analysis Interpreting Social Experiments: An Agenda for Critical Reflections and Inquiry about a Research Program in Comparative Institutional Analysis and Development Great Experiments and the Welfare State: Basic Paradigmatic Challenges To the Readers of the Chinese Translation [of The Meaning of American Federalism] PART III THE QUEST FOR UNDERSTANDING AND THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRATIC SELF-GOVERNANCE A Continuing Colloquy on Self-Governance Democracy and Self-Governance The Inevitability of Democracy Some Requisites for Understanding Viable Constitutional Designs Memos to Colleagues and Students Workshop Analytics and Tocquevillian Analytics Experiments in Constitutional Choice The Use of Theory to Study Problems of Institutional Analysis and Design Studying Democracy in America: Learning to be Self-Governing by Vincent Ostrom and Barbara Allen Democratic Transformations: From the Struggle for Democracy to Self-Governance? by Michael McGinnis and Vincent Ostrom Federalism and the Exercise of Self-Governing Capabilities Rethinking Federalism The Spirit of Federalism What is Federalism? A Search for Meaning Self-Government and Federalism Revisiting Public Administration and Democratic Governance Political Theory and Public Administration Syracuse Notes: How Do We Conceptualize the Meaning of the American Experiment? Some Developments in the Study of Market Choice, Public Choice, and Institutional Choice The Continuing Challenge of Constitutional Choice Why Were There So Many Constitutional Failures in the Twentieth Century? An Assessment of Failure and the Challenge Ahead Citizen-Sovereigns: The Implications of Hamilton's Query and Tocqueville's Conjecture about the Democratic Revolution Indexshow more

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