Situated political innovation: Political sociology

The article makes the case that changes to political repertoires can be understood as the result of situated political innovation, which is the creative repurposing of time-tested practices by linking political actors for whom previous repertoires proved insufficient to the shifting context of action (Jansen 319). The author is attempting to address the question of how the new modes of practice will emerge given the reproduction of repertoires of political practice over time.
The article’s argument is that transformation in political repertoires could be helpfully comprehended as a product of situated political innovation which is the innovative recombination of widespread practices over time gained through experimentation by connecting political actors for whom past repertoires proved insufficient to the changing context of action (Jansen 319).

The main question the author is trying to answer

The author is attempting to address the question of how the new modes of practice will emerge given the reproduction of repertoires of political practice over time.

The author’s main argument

The explanation of the historical rise of a new political practice mode necessitates putting oneself into the eyes of conscious and innovative historical subjects using a set of analytical apparatuses for assessing the structurally habituated political action contexts as they stretched out with time.

The Important Theories/Concepts presented

The author has introduced the repertoire idea which has been vital for contentious political research and is closely linked to Charles Tilly’s work (Jansen 323). For Tilly, the concept captured a few of the recurrent, historically integrated nature of contentious politics

Relevance of the text to the other readings

The current work problematizes political activity by challenging past social identity, ideological or institutional assumptions. In this text, the idea of political innovation assumes a new importance.


The writer used case selection research methodology to demonstrate the usefulness of the hands-on approach by the application of the Peruvian case to describe the historical rise of a new populist practice mode.

Strengths and Weaknesses


The writer specified a pragmatist model for accounting for rapid repertoire change. In his approach, the writer motivated the systematic assessment of how political actors translate prevailing contexts into new models of political action


The first limitation is that whereas the works provide a high starting point for describing change over the years, they sometimes change more rapidly than it is represented in the literature.

Questions for a class discussion

First, while repertoires may often change gradually, they can also change through dramatic moments of radical innovation.

Secondly, this article suggests that it is possible to take structural conditions seriously and to assess their importance systematically while still beginning from the point of agnosticism as to which will matter the most (and how these will matter) in any given case

Part 2: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America

A favourite reading was chapter one (Political Field Alignments) under the subtopic of describing ethnic-racial guidelines in Latin America (Paschel 9). The excerpt is interesting because it offers a description to the way multicultural reforms occurred because of the undesirable neoliberal reforms which augmented inequality and poverty. From the chapter, I now understand why there was increased poverty that culminated in multicultural reforms in Latin America. As a question, I would love to raise concerns about chapter three, which is about black crusades in colour-blind fields. Here I could not connect the idea of mestizo and its connection to the racial classes of Brazil during the time. The homogeneity myths made it hard to develop a consciousness of the social hierarchy.

Work Cited

Jansen, Robert S. "Situated political innovation: explaining the historical emergence of new modes of political practice." Theory and Society 45.4 (2016): 319-360.

Paschel, Tianna S. Becoming Black Political Subjects: Movements and Ethno-Racial Rights in Colombia and Brazil. Princeton University Press, 2016.

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