chapter  1
The Phenomenology of Institutional Innovation
ByRaul Lejano, Jia Guo, Hongping Lian, Bo Yin
Pages 12

The main problem introduced in this chapter is the inadequacy of institutional typologies and modes of description for capturing the nuance of institutional designs emerging from ongoing experiments in governance. China is a prime example of this, as scholars outside China automatically presume that institutional modernization means emulating institutional design in the US and Western Europe. But China’s practice of governance by “wading the river by feeling the stones” is producing new modes of governance that the literature finds difficult to describe. This book takes a phenomenological approach, drawing concepts from Husserl and other thinkers such as bracketing, epoche, and intentionality to construct new modes of description. At times, a “transductive” method of dialectically contrasting concepts can be useful, as well. The need for new typologies is underscored in a short discussion of Weberian versus Confucian traditions.