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Ideas as Building Blocks of a Path: Islamic Challenge to the pro-Western Turkish Foreign Policy, 1996-1997
Unformatted Document Text:  switching changes, which rarely happen, take place at critical moments (critical junctures), the choice points for actors (Collier and Collier 1991; Mahoney 2001, 113; Ruane and Todd 2007, 454). At these branching points, which are usually caused by some externally driven developments, disturbances or shocks such as war, economic crises, dramatic technological developments or natural disasters (see Krasner 1984; Ikenberry 1989; Avant 2000; Alexander 2001, 254; Schwartz 2005, 11-12), a new path emerges among many choices. 3 Materialist Bias The idea of path dependence is a popular yet highly questioned notion in institutionalist literature (see Schwartz 2005; Peters, Pierre and King 2005; Liebowitz and Margolis 2005; Ross 2007). For instance, as it is indicated above, several studies draw attention to its weaknesses in studying changes (Clemens and Cook 1999; Peters 1999, 68; Stacey and Rittberger 2003, 867; Greener 2007, 103). Rather than repeating the well- established arguments about its bias towards stability and therefore its limitations in terms of theorizing ‘change’, this study focuses on another bias in PDA, which remains under-investigated: the materialist tendency in prevailing models of path dependence (Blyth 2001). The materialist bias is rather obvious in its applications in institutional economics (see Arthur 1989 and 1994; David 1985). As Greener rightly observes, the application of path dependence in economics is “almost inextricably about increasing returns” (2007, 101). It is important to repeat that PDA acknowledges that actors do not always follow the most efficient or beneficial path. As Liebowitz and Margolis suggest “the allegation 3 Such discontinuous change is also known as punctuated equilibrium, which originated from debates in biology (Campbell 2004, 24). 7

Authors: Sarigil, Zeki.
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switching changes, which rarely happen, take place at critical moments (critical
junctures), the choice points for actors (Collier and Collier 1991; Mahoney 2001, 113;
Ruane and Todd 2007, 454). At these branching points, which are usually caused by
some externally driven developments, disturbances or shocks such as war, economic
crises, dramatic technological developments or natural disasters (see Krasner 1984;
Ikenberry 1989; Avant 2000; Alexander 2001, 254; Schwartz 2005, 11-12), a new path
emerges among many choices.
Materialist Bias
The idea of path dependence is a popular yet highly questioned notion in
institutionalist literature (see Schwartz 2005; Peters, Pierre and King 2005; Liebowitz and
Margolis 2005; Ross 2007). For instance, as it is indicated above, several studies draw
attention to its weaknesses in studying changes (Clemens and Cook 1999; Peters 1999,
68; Stacey and Rittberger 2003, 867; Greener 2007, 103). Rather than repeating the well-
established arguments about its bias towards stability and therefore its limitations in
terms of theorizing ‘change’, this study focuses on another bias in PDA, which remains
under-investigated: the materialist tendency in prevailing models of path dependence
(Blyth 2001).
The materialist bias is rather obvious in its applications in institutional economics
(see Arthur 1989 and 1994; David 1985). As Greener rightly observes, the application of
path dependence in economics is “almost inextricably about increasing returns” (2007,
101). It is important to repeat that PDA acknowledges that actors do not always follow
the most efficient or beneficial path. As Liebowitz and Margolis suggest “the allegation
3
Such discontinuous change is also known as punctuated equilibrium, which originated from debates in
biology (Campbell 2004, 24).
7


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