Political Sociology: A Reader

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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.

There is a certain element of generality in physical force as a negative sanction, which gives it a special place in power systems....
There are complications here deriving from the fact that power is associated with negative sanctions and hence that, in the face of severe resistance, their effectiveness is confined to deterrence.
I owe the insight into this parallel to Professor Karl W. Deutsch of Yale University (personal discussion).
"Sadistic" infliction of injury without instrumental significance to ego does not belong in this context.
I have attempted to develop this line of analysis of the significance of force somewhat more fully in "Some Reflections of the Role of Force in Social Relations," in Harry Eckstein, ed., The Problem of Internal War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963).
Thus, if control of productivity operates through monetary funds, their possessor cannot "force" e.g. prospective employees to accept employment.
This, of course, is a relative difference. Some hazards increase the moment one steps outside his own home, police protection may be better in one local community than the next, and crossing a state boundary may mean a considerable difference in legal or actual rights.
Cf. my paper "The Principal Structures of Community," Nomos 2 and Structure and Process in Modern Societies (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1959), Ch. 8. See also W. L. Hurst, Law and Social Process in the United States (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Law School, 1960).
As already noted, in this area, I think the analysis of Chester I. Barnard, in The Function of the Executive (Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1938), is so outstandingly clear and cogent that it deserves the status of a classic of political theory in my specific sense. See especially Ch. 10.
I myself once accepted this. Cf. The Social System (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1951), Ch. 5, pp. 161-163.

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.

Representation, Stratification, and Authority

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

From Francis X. Sutton, "Representation and the Nature of Political Systems," Comparative Studies in Society and History, II (1959), 1-10. Reprinted by permission of the author and the Editorial Committee of Comparative Studies in Society and History.


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