Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview
of Political and Social Science, entitled Latin America's Nationalist Revolutions, for other pertinent and recent information.
3.
Oscar Lewis, in his "Mexico Since Cardenas," in Lyman Bryson, ed., Social Change in Latin America Today (New York, Harper, 1960), pp. 301-302, writes: "A comparison of the allocations of federal funds to the various departments over the four presidential administrations from Cardenas to Ruiz Cortines reveals [...] some highly significant trends. Especially marked is the sharp decrease in the proportion of funds allocated to national defense, reflecting the demise of caudillísmo as a serious factor in Mexican life. Adolfo Ruiz Cortines was the first president since the 1920's who did not depend heavily on either the national or a private army to maintain his control."

Professor Lewis then points out that between 1935 and 1940 defense expenditures absorbed 17.3 per cent of the national budget, dropping to 8.1 per cent in the period 1953‐ 1956.

4.
The Statistical Abstract of Latin America 1960 (Center of Latin American Studies, University of California in Los Angeles), p. 32, offers some partial and tentative figures on the percentage of Latin American budgets devoted to defense expenditures. The data are incomplete for all countries.
Country
Percentage of
National Budget
Year
Mexico 11.3
1958
Costa Rica 3.8
1958
El Salvador 10.2
1958
Guatemala 8.8
1958
Honduras 11.7
1957
Haiti 19.1
1957
Argentina 21.1
1958
Brazil 27.6
1958
Chile 21.9
1958
Colombia 5.7
1958
Ecuador 21.6
1957
Peru 23.2
1958
Venezuela 9.5
1959

These figures are admittedly tenuous, and probably err on the low side, of course.

5.
A. R. M. Carr, "Spain," in Michael Howard, ed., Soldiers and Governments: Nine Studies in Civil-Military Relations (London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1957), pp. 145‐ 146.

95
Indonesia's Political Symbols and Their Wielders

Herbert Feith


I

The great prominence of political symbolism in Indonesia is sometimes explained in historical and psycho-cultural terms, with references to the religious character of kingship in pre-colonial days, to the country's long history of messianic movements, or to the continuing importance of status and ceremony in Indonesian society generally. 1 Alternatively (or complementarily) it is said that the government's concentration of attention on symbolic activities results directly from the experience of social and political change. Where economic life is rapidly becoming more market-oriented, cities and towns are growing fast, and more and more men are acquiring modern education, and particularly where old patterns of social relations have been destroyed by war or revolution, many individuals are confronted by the challenge of new values and cognitive patterns and consequently thrown into psychological disarray. Such men, it is argued, can often most easily

resolve the conflicts within themselves by accepting a schematic ideology and participating in an expressive (non-instrumental) form of politics, a politics of heroes and villains, of "the movement" and "the enemy," of utopias and betrayals (compromise being a form of betrayal) and of multifarious sacred emblems.

Each of these two types of explanation contains elements of validity, but it would be gross oversimplification to use either of them, or both together, to supply an overall explanation of the prominence of symbolic activity in Indonesian government practice. To do this would be to assume a one-way, "reflective" relationship between government actions and the attitudes and expectations prevailing in society. The Indonesian government is certainly limited in its choices of action by prevailing attitudes, perspectives, and demands in Indonesian society, and by the psychological needs of key groups of that society. But it also plays a major part in creating these attitudes and needs. Hence historical, psycho-cultural, and sociological explanations are of great importance in accounting for the limiting conditions within which the govern

____________________
From Herbert Feith, "Indonesia's Political Symbols and Their Wielders," World Politics, XVI, No. 1 (October 1963), 84‐ 96. This excerpt reprinted by permission of the publisher.

-603-

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