The time has perhaps come when the mirror which
anthropologists direct at other societies should be
turned back by them on ourselves, when we should
try to formulate our own institutions in comparative language, i.e. in a language modified by what
we have learnt of different societies, however incomplete it still is. About the difficulty of the task
there is no doubt. But this might well be the royal
road for the advancement of sociological understanding.
See mainly J. Muir, Sanskrit Texts, 2d ed., I, pp. 287
sq., and Keith and Macdonell, Vedic Index, II, pp. 249, 255‐
256 ; G. Dumézil, Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus, p. 43; E. W.
Hopkins, "Ruling Caste," Journ. Amer. Or. Soc., 13, 1889,
pp. 57-376; O. C. Cox, Caste, Class and Race, New York,
1948, pp. 102 sq.; also C. Bouglé, Régime des Castes, p. 181.
2. The main point in this hypothesis is to formulate a
relation between two domains or "systems" with which the
anthropologist busies himself. One apparent difficulty, which
has been cursorily mentioned here itself (p. 59) and in
another context (Contrib. V, p. 37, § 3), should perhaps be
more explicitly discussed here. It can be objected that the
very word of polity (politics, political) comes to us from the
Greek polis, and that, even if we lay aside its actual political
constitutions, ancient Greece confronts us, in the thought
of its philosophers, with a political domain which is neither
opposed to religion as a system of ultimate values nor based
on the individual. But precisely Greek speculation is markedly
different from that of Machiavelli and Hobbes, it differs
from it as political philosophy from political science; the one,
essentially normative, starts from the society or state, the
other, in principle at any rate empirical, starts from the individual. In philosophy as in religion, everything is governed
by ultimate values, and this is why Plato's ideal state is a
hierarchical society. In other terms, philosophy is, or at any
rate begins, within the sphere of religion (or more precisely
of ultimate values of the general type), the political domain
as the moderns think of it is not yet there. At the same time,
philosophy differs from religion in that ultimate values are
not given from revelation, tradition or faith, but discovered
or established by the sole use of human reason. (There is
nothing new here regarding the relation between philosophy
and religion, cf. Hegel, Vorlesungen in die Geschichte der
Philosophie, ed. Michelet, Stuttgart, 1940 [Sämtliche Werke,
Band 16], I, p. 92.) As reason argues in fact through particular men, the recourse to reason could not but lead to the
recognition of the individual, as with the Stoics, and with the
Moderns reason was to become the weapon of the individual.
It is not passing a value judgement on ancient philosophy,
nor denying the part it played in the genesis of the individual
in the West, to say that political philosophy, and that of the
Greeks in particular, represents on the whole, between the
two extremes I have been considering, an intermediary stage
in so far as the yardstick it applies to society and state is not
the individual but is derived from all-embracing ultimate
values, as in the religious sphere. It might then be asked
whether it is advisable to define the political sphere as
narrowly as I have done. As this is the (dominant) modern
conception of it, within which we live, and which the sociologist or anthropologist consciously or not carries with him, I
think it is at any rate necessary to distinguish it, under one
name or another, if confusion is to be avoided.
∥ d. THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF
Sung Roots of Chinese Political Conservatism:
The Administrative Problems
James T. C. Liu
The Sung period (960-1279), as is generally
recognized, shaped the pattern of China's develop‐
ment for the last millennium. Carrying forward the
trends originating in late T'ang, it integrated both
the traditional and the new ingredients into a distinctive way of life which gradually permeated the
entire society down to the level of the average villager. The result was a broadly based, deeply rooted,
stable, but conservative culture.1 Remarkable eco____________________
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: 285.
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