Nation-Building and the Structuring
of Mass Politics
The extraordinary growth in the number of legally independent units of government during the 1950s and 1960s has prompted a wide variety of scholarly efforts toward description, analysis, and theorizing. The literature generated through these efforts is voluminous and dispersed and has so far never been subject to systematic codification. 1 In this brief treatment there can be no question of doing justice to the entire range of approaches to the comparative study of state formation and national development. Only a few lines of attack will be singled out for discussion, and even these will not be evaluated in any great detail: the purpose is not to review the past literature, but to define priority tasks for future co‐ operative data processing and interpretation.
There are curious discontinuities in the history of the comparative study of national development. Karl Deutsch published his pioneering study of Nationalism and Social Communication in 1953 and focused all but one of his quantitative analyses of rates of assimilation and mobilization on European nations. Two of these were post-World War I nations: Czechoslovakia and Finland. The third was a nation but not a sovereign state: Scotland. And only the fourth was a new nation of the underdeveloped world: India. These analyses appeared just a few
years before the great onrush of new state formations in Africa and Asia: the UN added some fifty new states to its roster of members from 1953 to the end of 1966.
This extraordinarily rapid wave of decolonization and state formation deeply affected the priorities in the social science community from the mid-1950s onward: vast investments were made in research on the political and the economic developments in this "third world," and a great phalanx of scholars were able to familiarize themselves with the intricacies of these many cases of state formation and initial nation-building. These efforts went beyond mere fact‐ finding : the great wave of "third world" studies also triggered impressive efforts of theory construction.
Perhaps the most influential of these efforts of conceptualization and theorizing was the series of studies of political development organized by the Almond-Pye Committee of the American Social Science Research Council: 2 these studies represented a persistent and systematic endeavor to identify crucial variables in a generic process of change from the traditional tribal polity to the modern "bureaucratic‐ participant" state and have exerted a great deal of influence on the structure and the style of current research on the politics of the developing countries.
But the very success of these efforts of research on the developing areas of the world threatened to disrupt the continuity of scholarly concern with processes of state formation and nation-building: the theories of the late 1950s and the early 1960s tended to concentrate exclusively on the experiences and the potentialities of the polities just emerging from colonial status and showed only minimal concern with the early histories of nation-building in Europe____________________