as developed by Parsons and Linton respectively. I shall also
make use of the idea of an "association" as a very general
term for social structures like business firms, hospitals, governmental agencies, etc., which have delimited functions
and are largely ruled by norm of universalism and achievement.
Harvard University Press (for London School of Economics), 1954.
I restrict myself here to gumsa organization. There is a
different form (gumlao).
Leach omits this last point from his list but from
other evidence in his monograph I conclude he did it
M. Fortes and E. E. Evans-Pritchard (eds.), African
Political Systems (New York, 1940), p. 275.
E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer (Oxford, 1954), pp.
The typology of societies was developed at some
length in the SSRC conference presentation from which this
S. F. Nadel's A Black Byzantium (Oxford, 1942) gives
a good picture of this kind of structure in a Nigerian kingdom. I have also found instruction in Funck-Brentano's
account of French villages before 1789, The Old Regime in
France (London, 1929), Ch. VIII, and in Marian W. Smith's
picture of the integration of Indian villages into wider
political structures (American Anthropologist, LIV, 1952),
pp. 41-56. "Federative" is perhaps too loose a term for
what I have in mind; where there is a centralized "capital,"
the solidarity is radial and there is motivated opposition
among the points (village committees) at the periphery.
Cf. the survey of the backgrounds of parliamentary
representatives in various European countries (including
the Soviet Union) by Mattei Dogan, L'origine sociale du
personnel parliamentaire dans l'Est et l'Ouest de l'Europe
(Transactions of 2nd World Congress of Sociology, 1954,
II, pp. 175-179).
On this latter see the paper by Bottomore, pp. 143‐
153 in the Transactions just cited.
A Developmental Approach to Political Systems
Gabriel A. Almond
The Capabilities of Political Systems
More than four decades ago when Max Weber delivered his lecture on "Politics as a Calling," he
discouraged us from thinking of politics in terms of
performance. He told us:
... The state cannot be defined in terms of its ends.
There is scarcely any task that some political association has not taken in hand, and there is no task that
has always been exclusive and peculiar to political
associations.... Ultimately, we can define the modern
state only in terms of the specific means peculiar to
it ... namely, the use of physical force.
Contemporary empirical political theory tends to
follow Weber in its stress on power and process, the
"who" and the "how" of politics. It emphasizes two
questions: (1) Who makes decisions?
(2) How are
decisions made?2 The performance of political systems tends to be inferred from structure and process
or evaluated according to moral and ideological
norms. When we introduce the concept of capabili‐
ties, their development and transformation, we explicitly add two more questions to the "who?" and
the "how?" The first of these is what impact does
the political system have, what does it do, in its
domestic and international environments? And the
second question is, what impact does the society and
the international environment have on the political
Parsons comes closer to meeting the needs of the
contemporary political theorist when he speaks of
the function of the polity as that of the "... mobilization of societal resources and their commitment for the attainment of collective goals, for the
formation and implementation of 'public policy.' "
Francis Sutton similarly emphasizes the importance
of the functions of political systems in their social
and international environments, stressing integration
for the internal environment and representation for
4 The development of the concept
of the capabilities of political systems represents a
pursuit of these leads, but we have had to go farther
in specifying types of relationships between the political system and its environments, for "goal attainment," "integration," and "representation" must be
broken down into their components, and these elements treated as continua, if we are to be able to ____________________
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Political Sociology:A Reader.
Contributors: S. N. Eisenstadt - Editor.
Publisher: Basic Books.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1971.
Page number: 57.
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