Political Mobilization: A Sociological Analysis of Methods and Concepts

By J. P. Nettl | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Mobilization Structures in
Different Stages of Development:
Parties and Organized Groups

SUMMARY

We have contrasted mobilization processes in developed and developing societies, and evolved an apparatus of variables that aided the comparative study of structures and processes. An attempt can now be made to integrate the analysis in terms of politcal subsystems viewed as symmetrical or asymmetrical wholes. Using the variable evolved, a functional theory of polities is sketched out, with application to both developed and developing societies. According to this theory political subsystems are classified into either interest-articulation and authority-legitimation systems on one hand, and those asymmetrical ones in which dominant authority legitimizing parties are confronted by a constellation of smaller interest articulating ones. Symmetry and asymmetry are related to various stages of development. Developed societies, especially Britain, the United States and France, are discussed at some length in the context if the functional emphasis of their polities.

Next, the same subsystem classification is applied to developing societies, and a dynamic theory of change is put forward according to which socio-political development may be analysed. This theory consists of the notion of a required level of commitment to maintain societies which are either in the process of development or more or less fully developed. As formal mobilizing processes and structures decline in importance or efficiency their function is increasingly taken over by differentiated, interest- or issue-specific mobilizations. But the sum of mobilized commitment provided by these specificities leaves a shortfall in the required amount of commitment, especially in terms of structured support for the universal referent of nation or society. This, it is suggested, is provided by the concept of bureaucracy.

-317-

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