Political Mobilization: A Sociological Analysis of Methods and Concepts

By J. P. Nettl | Go to book overview

Acknowledgements

One of the best ways of recognizing that a routine activity is becoming professionalized is the fact that its trivial courtesies turn into ritual symbols. Acknowledgements in the social sciences are a good example. Distinguished names are invoked as having advised or commented—or merely given their general blessing; they are then promptly absolved from any responsibility and dismissed. I have adopted a different method. Since the compressed yet wide-ranging nature of this essay cannot permit full expiation of my total intellectual debt, I shall first thank those who have helped by giving inter vivos, by talking, criticizing and in some cases just being. Then I shall list the main works that have provided guide and anchor in the formulation of ideas about the subject matter of this book. Finally there are some references to my own work, many of which relate to attempts to deal in greater detail with some of the problems encountered while writing this book.

Outstanding among those who have contributed personally is Roland Robertson, whose critical devotion to Parsonian social theory convinced me, after grave initial doubts some years ago, of its enormous heuristic potential. His dogged refusal to be browbeaten in argument has saved me from many errors and misinterpretations. It is no exaggeration to say that without him this book could not have been written, and therefore no pronouncement by me can absolve him from a stake in it. I also asked Eric Hobsbawm to use his wide historical knowledge, compounded by an intellectual suspicion of modern sociological theory, to pronounce upon the validity of the basic argument and some of the historical generalizations; the fact that this little boat survived both sociological Scylla and historical Charybdis deserves the traditional sailors' paean of thanksgiving.

Next in order of indebtedness comes Philip Williams. He too was asked to assess the legitimacy of the argument as a whole in spite of its (to him) repellent sociological appearance and anti-liberal bias. He also

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