chapter  3
Political Institutionalization
WithDaniel K. Berman
Pages 21

Silhouettes reveal their subjects, unlike conventional portraits, through representation of the area that lies outside. Turning from silhouette to portraiture, the picture is less clear. Sociologists and political scientists have used the term institutionalization in different ways. Sociologists have focused on the individual, whereas political scientists have focused on the system. Institutionalization is not only a process. It is also, as Mary Welfling tells, “a state, condition or property of a system at any point in time.” Regularity and predictability are important features of this condition. The integration of new elites where they were formerly restricted is an important contribution of the institutionalization process toward reform. The relationship between institutionalization and political development is fairly clear-cut. Institutionalization, from a liberal perspective, fosters the stability that promotes development. Stability can be an ideal from a perspective that is antithetical to institutionalization. Traditional China personifies this paradox.