Imagination may be thought of as a 'work-around.' It is a
resourceful tactic to 'undo' a rule by creating a path around it
without necessarily defying it...Transgression, on the other hand,
is rule breaking. There is no pretense of reinterpretation; it is
defiance pure and simple. Whether imagination or disobedience is
the source, constraints need not constrain, ties need not bind. So
writes Kenneth A. Shepsle in his introduction to Rule Breaking and
Political Imagination. Institutions are thought to channel the
choices of individual actors. But what about when they do not?
Throughout history, leaders and politicians have used imagination
and transgression to break with constraints upon their agency.
Shepsle ranges from ancient Rome to the United States Senate, and
from Lyndon B. Johnson to the British House of Commons. He also
explores rule breaking in less formal contexts, such as vigilantism
in the Old West and the CIA's actions in the wake of 9/11.
Entertaining and thought-provoking, Rule Breaking and Political
Imagination will prompt a reassessment of the nature of
institutions and remind us of the critical role of political
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