The Analysis of Social Change Reconsidered: A Sociological Study

By J. A. Ponsioen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THEORIES EXPLAINING DYNAMICS OF INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES AS A RESULT OF AGENTS WHO INSTIGATE THE PROCESS
The theories discussed hitherto tend to focus on the dynamics of society almost as if it were a quasi-automatic process. Other theories, which we shall now discuss, give preference to the causes or the agents of the same process. The relevant questions are: who sets society in movement, who is the driver and how does he steer society?The analogy, applied here, viz. that of the driver and his car, already shows that we may not look upon these two sets of theories as alternatives. Only the study of the motor and of the driver undertaken together, can explain the course, and why and how the car runs as it does.A central question of sociology is indeed the interplay between society as an already existing dynamic field of forces and that special force that is leadership in society. In this setting the type of leadership is most important because it helps us to understand the interplay between the actual leaders and society. This study breaks down into the following points:
1. Concepts: leadership, power, élite,
2. Type of leadership as a variable depending on social change,
3. Relations (hierarchy and isolation) between different leading groups as a variable depending on social change,
4. Social change as a variable of leadership promoting or hampering change,
5. What types of leaders tend to conduct society and in what way.

A. CONCEPTS: LEADERSHIP, POWER, AND ÉLITE

An elaborated frame of concepts for our purpose can be found in Harold D. Lasswell and A. Kaplan Power and Society.1 The broadest concept used in the present context is power. It will not be restricted here to

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1
London, 1952.

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