Institution: The Control of Social Perception—Toward a Theory of Minority-Directed Institutional Change
This dissertation seeks to make progress toward a theory of minority-directed institutional change. It begins with a review of research on urban sociology and how, despite tremendous technological and legal change, the fact of institutional racism remains. It then reviews relevant portions of Original Institutional Economics (OIE) thought describing the relationship between individuals and institutions, ending with an OIE theory of institutional change. It then shows how a theory of human psychology, Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) is largely analogous to OIE while also helping to clarify and update some portions of it. Extending PCT into the social realm and combining it with some insights from both neuroscience and network science enables the development of a more complete understanding of institution formation. This helps explain why institutional change is so difficult, why efforts to change institutions must focus on changing social perceptions, and how a powerless minority might more successfully do just that. Though the case studied here is institutional racism, all purposeful social change inevitably begins with those whose opinion is initially in the minority. Therefore, a successful theory of minority-directed institutional change could be applied to a wide variety of other issues, including global climate change and appropriate policy-setting for modern monetary economies, where those recommending potential solutions are actively opposed by entrenched and powerful interests.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Integrating PCT with OIE -- Toward a control theory of minority-directed institutional change -- Summary, conclusion and future research