Social Institutions, Norms, and Practices

  • Wolfgang Balzer
  • Raimo Tuomela
Part of the Multiagent Systems, Artificial Societies, and Simulated Organizations book series (MASA, volume 2)


We submit a model of social institutions which binds together the two central components of institutions, a) a “behavioral” system of social practices as repeated patterns of collective intentional actions and b) the normative Üeberbau consisting of a task-right system which on the one hand is influenced and in basic cases even induced by the “underlying” practices and on the other hand serves to stabilize them. An explicit and relatively simple connection in terms of sanctions is drawn between actions which are obligatory or permitted by special positions on the one hand and the “ordinary” course of actions which occurs in social practices within an institution on the other hand. Obligations and rights are not simply bound to actions, but to systems of actions given in the form of systems of social practices. This adds an essential component which has been neglected in formal treatments so far. The inclusion of social practices yields a rich structure in which the emergence and maintenance of of norms can be tackled in a realistic way.


Collective Action Social Practice Action Type Social Institution Normative System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    W.Balzer. (1990). A Basic Model of Social Institutions. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 17, 1–29.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    W.Balzer and R.Tuomela. (1997). A Fixed Point Approach to Collective Attitudes, in (Holmström Hintikka and Tuomela, 1997), pp. 115–42.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    W.Balzer and R.Tuomela. (2000). Collective Attitudes and the Maintenance of Social Practices. % newblock manuscript.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    M.Barbuceanu. (1997). Coordinating Agents by Role Based Social Constraints and Conversation Plans. Proceedings AAAI-97, 16–21.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    J.S.Coleman. (1974). Power and the Structure of Society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    M.Colombetti. (1993). Formal Semantics for Mutual Belief. Artificial Intelligence, 62, 341–53.MathSciNetMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    R.Conte and C.Castelfranchi. (1995). Cognitive and Social Action. London: UCL.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    E.H.Durfee, V.R.Lesser, D.D.Corkill. (1987). Coherent Cooperation Among Communicating Problem Solvers. IEEE Transactions on Computers, 36, 1275–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    D.Harel. (1984). Dynamic Logic. in D. Gabbay and F. Günthner (eds.), Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Vol.II, Dordrecht: Reidel, pp. 497–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    G.Holmström Hintikka and R.Tuomela (eds.). (1997). Contemporary Action Theory. Vol.2, Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    A.J.I.Jones and M.Sergot. (1997). A Formal Characterization of Institutionalized Power. in E.G.Valdéz et al. (eds.). Normative Systems in Legal and Moral Theory, Berlin: Duncker and Humblodt, pp. 349–67.Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    Y.Moses and M.Tennenholtz. (1995). Artificial Social Systems. Computers and Artificial Intelligence, 14, 533–62.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    I. Pörn. (1970). The Logic of Power. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    M.Prietula, K.Carley, L.Gasser, (eds.). (1988). Simulating Organizations: Computational Models of Institutions and Groups. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    G.Sandu and R.Tuomela. (1996). Joint Action and Group Action Made Precise. Synthese, 105, 319–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    A.Schotter. (1981). The Economic Theory of Social Institutions. Cambridge: UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    R.Tuomela. (1995). The Importance of Us. Stanford, Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    R.Tuomela. (2000). Cooperation: A Philosophical Study. Philosophical Studies Series, Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    R.Tuomela and G.Sandu. (1994). Action as Seeing to it that Something is the Case. in P.Humphries (ed.), Patrick Suppes: Scientific Philosopher, Vol.3, Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 193–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    M.Wooldridge and N.R.Jennings. (1997). Formalizing the Cooperative Problem Solving Process, in (Holmström Hintikka and Tuomela, 1997), 143–61.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Balzer
    • 1
  • Raimo Tuomela
    • 2
  1. 1.Seminar PLWUniversität MünchenGermany
  2. 2.Academy of Finland and University of HelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations