Abstract

Hillel David Soifer, "The Causal Logic of Critical Junctures", January 2010

Despite frequent use, scholars have failed to develop explicitly the causal logic of the critical juncture framework. This paper proposes that to do so we must distinguish between permissive and productive conditions in historical causation. While permissive conditions mark the loosening of constraints on agency or contingency, productive conditions act within the context of permissive conditions to produce the divergence across cases that (if reinforced after the juncture closes) characterizes a critical juncture. I develop these concepts in detail, trace their presence through several classic critical juncture accounts, and show the implications of the application of this framework for theory development and research design.

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