of theory. This body of theory must ultimately be judged by its outcomes both in theoretical generality and consistency, over the whole range of social system theory, and by its empirical validity, again on levels which include not only conventionally "political" references, but their empirical interrelations with all other aspects of the modern complex society looked at as a whole.
Representation and the Nature of Political Systems
Francis X. Sutton
The study of comparative politics is currently invigorated by a world-wide perspective. There is now a lively concern with the politics of societies hitherto little regarded or left comfortably to specialists, and these societies often challenge familiar assumptions based on Western experience. Efforts to understand unfamiliar institutions or why formally similar political institutions perform differently in different societies inevitably force attention outward from the political focus into wider reaches of each society.
The present paper is sociological and it attempts to show how the political institutions of a society appear from this viewpoint. The discussion begins in generality, stressing the element of representation in any social system and coming to political science through the notion of representative agencies over territories. This approach displays political institu‐
tions in a matrix of social institutions, particularly social stratification, that may be suggestive for research. The embedding of political institutions in society suggests that a classification of types of societies is a natural basis for a division of labor in comparative politics. In the concluding section of the paper, a scheme of comparative politics for "agricultural" and "industrial" societies is sketched.
Early in the development of modern sociology, Maine and Weber emphasized that social systems may possess structures and symbols that permit the whole system to be represented over against its individual members and sub-groups, or outside groups and individuals. 1 This feature of social systems has an obvious importance for political science.
Obviously, not all social structures are made up of corporate groups. All social structures can be viewed as classifications, reticulations, or collectivities. 2 There are some institutionalized classifications of individuals that carry no direct implications of soli____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Political Sociology:A Reader. Contributors: S. N. Eisenstadt - Editor. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1971. Page number: 51.
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