Revolution and Counterrevolution: Change and Persistence in Social Structures

By Seymour Lipset Martin | Go to book overview

Preface

This book is composed of various essays I have written during the past five years that deal either in a substantive or theoretical way with the problems of analyzing from a historical-structural perspective the character of changing societies and politics. The revolution which is referred to in the title is the American Revolution, and the counterrevolution is the preservation of British rule and monarchical and elitist institutions in Canada. I have attempted to make manifest the extent to which key historical events and factors continue to affect the behavior of nations and institutions for generations and centuries afterward. This book is an effort to show how origins of social structures and intellectual ideas have determined both the content of a number of contemporary societies and the way we look at these societies. In a world that has been changing so rapidly, we are all aware of discontinuities; it is important also to recall persistences.

Although the chapters vary in topics covered, there is, I believe, a certain consistency, first within parts, and then among them. The principal concern in my writings has been to develop the sociological perspective in comparative and historical analysis, particularly with reference to politics, modernization, and stratification. My various books may all be located within these headings, and the essays presented here bear on these themes. As such they represent an effort to elaborate further a conceptual scheme, derived from Marx, Weber, Michels, Durkheim, Merton, and Parsons, which stresses structural factors -- particularly class and organizational imperatives -- and values as key causal elements.

-ix-

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