Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview

PREFACE

In this anthology an attempt has been made to present a comprehensive view of political sociology that emphasizes the combination of the analytical and the comparative approaches. According to this view— more fully exposed in the General Introduction and in the Concluding Remarks—the combination of these approaches constitutes the crux of the development of political sociology.

This combination has been developing through the convergence of various trends: the more speculative classical approaches, the more recent analytical and theoretical ones, and the comparative one. This latter approach by itself developed from diverse disciplines —anthropology, history, sociology—and from sociological, political, or economic analyses of contemporary societies throughout the world. Although each of these disciplines tended to deal with different types of societies—the primitive, the historical, contemporary European and American societies on the one hand, and the so-called New Nations on the other—in their analytical approaches and concepts, more and more of a convergence can be discerned.

This upsurge of comparative studies found one of its major expressions in the publication of special journals, of which Comparative Studies in Society and History, edited by Professor S. Thrupp and from which many articles presented in this book are taken, has perhaps been the most outstanding although certainly not the only one. But this development of comparative approach was not limited to such special journals; it can also be found in the "traditional" media of each of the various disciplines, whether anthropology, sociology, political science, or history.

In this anthology we have attempted to draw on all these as well as a great variety of other sources and to show, with the help of these varied materials as well as in the General Introduction and the introductions to the various sections, how these varied approaches tend now to converge into a comprehensive and systematic view of political sociology as well as how they indicate possible new lines of inquiry which the field now faces.

From the point of view of my own interests, this anthology, with its introductions, and other comments, can be seen both as an extension of my earlier work on political sociology—especially The Political Systems of Empires (New York: The Free Press, 1963) and Modernization, Protest and Change (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966)—and also as an attempt to go beyond several of the analytical assumptions of these works.

In the preparation of this reader, undertaken more than five years ago, I have been helped by many people. Several friends have assisted greatly in going over the contents: Professors A. Diamant, W. Delany, Edward Shils, and especially S. M. Lipset. Professor A. Fuks and Professor Ch. Wirschubski have helped in the selections on city-states. Mrs. Y. Atzmon has commented in great detail on the introductions.

Most of the introductions to the selections were prepared during my stay in 1967 at the Villa Serbelloni as a guest of the Rockefeller Foundation, whose support of my research has also greatly facilitated other parts of this work. I would like to express my gratitude to the foundation for its support and to Mr. and Mrs. John Marshall for their wonderful hospitality at the Villa.

Mrs. R. Chaco has aided in the preparation of

-vii-

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