Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview

68
Non-Western Intelligentsias as Political Elites

Harry J. Benda

In the course of the past century, the non-western world has experienced a series of revolutionary changes, most, if not all, of them caused by the impact of western civilization on the traditional societies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East (and to some lesser extent also of Latin America). Since 1914, political evolution has proceeded at an accelerated rate, leading in recent times to the creation of new political, national entities, either by internal revolution or by the voluntary or forced withdrawal of western political control. In these states new political élites have come to power in many parts of the non-western world, and a pattern is emerging which allows some preliminary classifications of the new ruling groups.


I

Non-western societies can broadly be divided into two categories, those that have so far remained outside the orbit of westernization or have, at best, barely or only superficially embarked upon it; and those that have travelled along the road of westernization to a more or less marked and significant degree. The first group is fairly rapidly dwindling; its hallmarks are a continuation of the old socio‐ political moulds and mores, with political authority continuing to be vested in traditional élite groups. Some Arab sheikdoms, including (for the time being at least) Saudi Arabia, and the tribal societies in many parts of Negro Africa are the prototypes of this group.

Within the other category, that of westernizing non-western countries, two main types can be discerned. There are, first, those countries in which westernization—to whatever degree it has been or is being achieved—has actually been accomplished by traditional ruling classes, so that the revolutionary changes that have taken place in the process of

adaptation have left the pre-revolutionary power pattern more or less intact. One of the outstanding examples of this type was, of course, nineteenth century Japan, which achieved the fullest degree of westernization attained anywhere in the non-western world through the guidance of the samurai, a military-feudal class that adapted itself, and directed the adaptation of the rest of the country, to a modern economic and political order without abdicating its intrinsic control, even though in time it came to share power with other classes, notably a new economic middle class. 1

Other examples of this type can be found in more and more isolated instances in the Middle East, as e.g. Iran and (until recently) also Iraq. But the most numerous instances occur in the areas of the erstwhile Spanish and Portuguese empires in Latin America and Asia (mainly the Philippines). Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, an overseas extension of a feudal, pre-industrial west, through Christianization and cultural assimilation, called into existence a distinct social pattern whose main beneficiary was a class of either Spanish or mestizo landowners. It was they who either won independence from the mother countries (as in Latin America), or who at any rate gained social and economic prominence (as the cacique in the Philippines), where they only assumed political control under American aegis, after Spain had forfeited political control. By origin and education westernized, they naturally proceeded to lead in the further—but, compared to Japan, very slow—process of modernization while retaining political power in most parts of the former Spanish and Portuguese realms. The Mexican revolution of 1910 marked the first successful challenge to this socio-political status quo, to be followed by incidental upheavals in other parts of the area, notably Uruguay, Peru, and quite recently, in Cuba. As yet, however, the old pattern predominates. The fact that military dictatorships are such a common political institution in Latin America should not obscure the fact that in most cases (including Juan Perón until 1945) these military juntas are an offshoot of, and

____________________
From Harry J. Benda, "Non-Western Intelligentsias as Political Elites," Australian Journal of Politics and History, VI, No. 2 (November 1960), 205-208. Reprinted by permission of the publisher and the author.

-437-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Political Sociology: A Reader
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 632

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.