Sequences and timing, institutional complementarities, and hegemonic discourse coalitions: the growth of intergovernmental federalism and unitary federalism in Germany

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In recent political controversies, the federal structure of Germany was increasingly regarded as a serious institutional obstacle to political reform, in particular of the welfare state. Most political actors agreed that the complex structures of the federal system should somehow be disentangled. But consensus was restricted to a rather narrow set of institutional choices. As I will point pout, the limits of this set of choices were defined by path dependence.
As I will show, this path was one of several possible solutions for an institutional dilemma resulting from the discrepancies in timing between two phases of the German state-building process, namely, the formation of the modern bureaucratic state on the one hand, the formation of a German nation-state. Around the mid 19th century, there were two rival discourses for solving this dilemma, “federative nationalism” on the one hand, “federal unitarism” on the other. The establishment of the intellectual hegemony of the unitarist discourse resulted in a “critical juncture“ which determined the further path of institutional development.
The case of German federalism shows that conceptualizations of “path dependence” that either emphasize “stickiness” or “punctuated equilibria” are too simplistic, and that the relationship of institutional stability and change has to be understood with the aid of a more complex analytical framework.

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ISO 690LEHMBRUCH, Gerhard, 2007. Sequences and timing, institutional complementarities, and hegemonic discourse coalitions: the growth of intergovernmental federalism and unitary federalism in Germany
BibTex
@misc{Lehmbruch2007Seque-17645,
  year={2007},
  title={Sequences and timing, institutional complementarities, and hegemonic discourse coalitions: the growth of intergovernmental federalism and unitary federalism in Germany},
  author={Lehmbruch, Gerhard},
  note={Draft paper prepared for presentation at the University of Tokyo, 25 May 2007}
}
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Draft paper prepared for presentation at the University of Tokyo, 25 May 2007
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