Social policy research deploys a variety of approaches for analysing processes of dynamic change but these face major limitations. This article argues for an institutionally grounded complexity analysis, bringing together the historical institutionalism of Pierson (2004) and Crouch (2005) and the treatment of dynamically coupled adaptive systems by Kauffman (1993; 1995) and Potts (2000). It concludes that, at the very least, social policy researchers will need to make a considered assessment of these complexity-based approaches, as they invade an increasing area of the social sciences.
- path dependency
- historical institutionalism