The Pure Theory of Politics

By Bertrand Jouvenel De | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
INSTIGATION

I propose to consider the simple case of two men, one of whom prompts the other to perform a certain action. Throughout this discussion, A will stand for the speaker, B for the man spoken to, and H for the action suggested. First, A suggests to B the action H, and we call this an instigation; secondly, B performs H and we call it a compliance, or he does not and we call it a non-compliance. An instigation followed by compliance is called efficient, and inefficient if not so followed. That is all I want to deal with at present; but I hope to deal with it exhaustively, thereby laying the foundation for the analysis of complex situations.

This formulation brings the situation within the general class of the stimulus-and-response relationships. The statement made by A is a stimulus applied to the subject B, and to which the latter responds or fails to respond. It is assumed that the response is all or nothing.

It is important that nothing should be read into the foregoing exposition beyond what has been explicitly stated. It comes naturally to clothe in flesh the relation enunciated in abstract terms and to picture A as in some way 'entitled' to obtain H, or as in some way enjoying some initial superiority over B. These are possible specifications of the situation studied; but the specifications may be quite opposite: the action called for by A may be a sheer favour which A craves from the superior power of B. Specifications will in time claim our attention, but they should be regarded as circumstantial additions to the formal relation.

For the sake of convenience we shall use the expression: 'A tells B to do H': 'telling', however, should be thought of as embracing all possible varieties of address from the bluntest bidding to the most humble entreaty. Indeed, the imperative 'Come!' can just as well be aimed upwards, by a sinner imploring God, as downwards by a warder ordering a convict. 'Give me' may refer to a pure grace as well as to an unquestionable claim. In order to clear the relation of any psychological associations, we would have to say: 'That B

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The Pure Theory of Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I- Approach- Politics as History 1
  • Chapter 1- Configuration and Dynamics 3
  • Chapter 3- On the Nature of Political Science 29
  • Part II- Setting- Ego in Otherdom 41
  • Chapter 1- Of Man 43
  • Chapter 2- Home 48
  • Chapter 3- Otherdom 55
  • Part III- Action- Instigation and Response 67
  • Chapter 1- Instigation 69
  • Chapter 2- Response 83
  • Part IV- Authority- ''Potestas'' and ''Potentia'' 97
  • Chapter 1- On Being Heard 99
  • Chapter 2- The Law of Conservative Exclusion 109
  • Chapter 3- Place and Face 118
  • Part V- Decision 129
  • Chapter 1- The People 131
  • Chapter 2- The Committee, I (judicial or Political) 146
  • Chapter 3- The Committee, II (foresight, Values and Pressures) 157
  • Part VI- Attitudes 167
  • Chapter 1- Attention and Intention 169
  • Chapter 2- The Team against the Committee 176
  • Chapter 3- The Manners of Politics 187
  • Addendum the Myth of the Solution 204
  • Conclusion 213
  • Index 215
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