The methodological opportunities of theory of institutional disintegration developed by the author and the implication of the theory in social studies are analyzed. The problem of institutional transformation is one of the main theoretical problems in new institutionalism. The author believes that social institutions describe acceptable and unacceptable social behavior for social actors, and the institutional disintegration is the result of the gradual evolution of norms and rules of behavior. Institutional disintegration starts as the result of the growth of default rules. Like lawyers who use situational variety, the potential for overestimation, and any ambiguity in unclear formulations, social actors who broaden a set of ‘softening’ reasons of failures to observe norms, choose rules that are regarded as deviations by the majority of the population. In the article, identity is considered to be a product of social institutions and the result of institutional disintegration. The theory explains how “inner” transformation of rules of behavior impacts on identity development and how identity development impacts on institutional processes. Analyzing the methodological advantages and problems of such approach, the author comes to the conclusions that the theory of institutional disintegration has some methodological perspectives in social studies. The author believes that the identity studies can help social researchers to understand not only problems of identity development, but also difficulties attaching to institutional processes in the modern world.

Keywords: ethnicity, new institutionalism, institutions, ethnogenesis, institutional disintegration, institutional exceptions