Political Mobilization: A Sociological Analysis of Methods and Concepts

By J. P. Nettl | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR

Political Acculturation and Political
Mobilization: Problems of Scale
and Quality

SUMMARY

Mobilization is introduced as the main focus of our enquiry in this chapter. First some preliminary indications of its importance are given. Reference is made to the significance of the fact that the concept of mobilization has tended to disappear—at any rate that it is absent—from much modern political and sociological analysis. Though claiming to be functional in greater or lesser degree, much of this analysis tends to define system and function in such a way as (1) to substitute input and output analysis instead of mobilization; (2) to use the apparatus of structure-functionalism, with its value-norm‐ collectivity-role hierarchy and its focus on structural differentiation, as a depiction of a defensive social mechanism against 'outside' mobilization. It is suggested that this form of analysis treats mobilization as an outside and 'hostile' onslaught on the social system, and neglects the intrinsic social function of mobilization altogether—an ideological problem once again. This distortion has particularly important consequences in the correlation and analysis of developing and developed societies. A brief attempt is made to demonstrate how the concepts and hierarchies of structure-functionalism can be used just as successfully in terms of intrinsic or internally induced mobilization, especially by using the elitist-constitutional variable of political culture discussed in the last chapter. Finally some general relationships between scale and form of mobilization, and the patterns of culture, is projected.

It seems hard to conceive of any attempt to study political parties comparatively without assigning a central place to mobilization. Yet with very few exceptions this is the present state of the discipline.

-107-

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