Political Mobilization: A Sociological Analysis of Methods and Concepts

By J. P. Nettl | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX

The Social Efficiency of Politics
in Developed Societies

SUMMARY

In the previous chapters two dimensions of variables relating to political mobilization were adumbrated and discussed. To facilitate the analysis the political subsystem was treated as a more or less autonomous system of its own; though mention was made of non‐ political factors such as cleavage, issue and interest bases, their translation into politics was not examined specifically as a theoretical problem. We now turn to this. First we shall investigate the relationship of the problem of authority with that of interest articulation in the analyses offered by different political theorists in the last two hundred years. Then we shall discuss authority in the context of greater or lesser autonomy of the political subsystem; how specifically political is the emphasis on authority legitimation as expressed through the process of political mobilization? Secondly, and closely connected with the first, is the social function of politics and particularly political mobilization; how does it relate to other social processes and orientations? In order to answer these questions, we shall return to the cultural variable of elitist and constitutional orientations, and discuss the interaction of this variable with that of interest articulation and authority legitimation as functions of political mobilization. A further assessment of empirical situations and societies in the light of the two variables will be attempted. More particularly we will investigate the extent to which the cultural variable governs the process of political mobilization, whether there is any pattern of correlation between a constitutionally oriented culture and a separation of functions on the one hand, and between an elitist culture and a fusion of functions on the other. Where we find a processual tendency towards functional fusion, which function can be said to predominate? In a brief methodological survey an

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