Taking Ideas Seriously within Political Settlements Analysis - Lavers (2018)


This paper considers the role that ideas can play in studying the politics of development and the extent to which an analytical focus on ideas might address some of these gaps. Work on political settlements has, for the most part, emphasised explanations based on material interests, paying little to no attention to the causal role of ideas. This paper first examines the compatibility between Khan’s political settlements framework and theoretical work on ideas, arguing that taking ideas seriously requires questioning some of the core ontological assumptions underpinning the political settlements framework. The paper then proposes an adapted framework that seeks to respond to this challenge and, drawing on three of ESID’s comparative projects, highlights how a focus on ideas can deepen our understanding of the dynamics within particular political settlements and policy domains.