Against the Marxian stress on the economy and class struggle, the defining feature of modern western societies for Weber is the ineluctable advance of rationality. Thus, the bases of political authority shift from traditional or charismatic claims toward legal rational forms of legitimation and administration.
For example, the whim of a king or lord who asserts the right to rule based on dynastic precedent traditional authority or heroic acts and personal qualities charismatic authority is replaced by state control of the populace according to normalized standards and codified laws legal rational authority. For Weber, the modern state also extends and entrenches its domination of society by expanding its coercive apparatus, chiefly in the form of bureaucratization.
The central function of modern mass citizenship is to legitimize this iron cage; even in a democracy, real power would reside in the hands of a few.
That power in society is always concentrated in the hands of a few is the basic assumption of the elite theory of society Bottomore The elite theorists drew heavily on Weber, but placed greater emphasis than Weber on power rather than authority as the key to political dominance. Whereas Weber agreed that the power to make major political decisions always concentrates in a small group, he viewed the authority that stems from popular support as the foundation for all institutions that provide this power.
For the elite theorists, it was the reverse: Schumpeter agreed with elite theorists, including Pareto and Mosca, that mass participation in politics is very limited.
With The Power Elite , C. Wright Mills produced a radical version of elite theory. Radical elite theory was largely a response to pluralism, which was particularly influential in US social science in the two decades following World War II. Pluralism has its roots in Montesquieu , an advocate of the separation of powers and of popular participation in lawmaking, and Tocqueville , who famously observed decentralization of power, active political participation by citizens, and a proliferation of associations in the early nineteenth century US.
In addition to these earlier theorists, pluralists also drew inspiration from Weber, particularly in his view of the political sphere as a realm of constant contention. The basic assumption of pluralism is that in modern democracies power is dispersed among many groups and no single group dominates.
Power is dispersed in part because it has many sources, including wealth, political office, social status and connections, and popular legitimacy. Pluralists also note that individuals often subscribe to multiple groups and interests, making pluralist systems more stable in their opinion.
In this model, the state is largely an arbiter facilitating compromise between competing interests. The s and early s were the heyday of pluralist theory, coinciding with the apparent stability of liberal democracy in the US, which most pluralists viewed as an exemplar.
The Cold War directed attention to democratization in the face of rapid industrialization, transition from colonial rule, and other conditions that prevailed in the third world: Modernization theory posits that societies follow a stage by stage process of political, economic, and social development. Professor Barbara Wejnert Subject: Author guidelines Publication ethics Other: Recommend this book series Also available in our: Since its inception, Research in Political Sociology RPS has had the primary objective of publishing original, high quality manuscripts to increase our understanding of political structures and processes.
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This volume of Research in Political Sociology addresses a broad range of gender equality issues from women's status and opportunities at work, education, health, political participation, community involvement and global migration; from a vast domain of countries in Europe, America, Australia, Asia and Africa.
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One stream of research in political sociology at Ohio State is comparative, examining a range of topics that includes the determinants of civil unrest and terrorism, the development of international criminal law in post-conflict nations, and technology diffusion. The most cited papers from this title published in the last 3 years. Statistics are updated weekly using participating publisher data sourced exclusively from Crossref.
Political sociology analyzes the operation of power in social life, examining the distribution and machination of power at all levels: individual, organizational, communal, national, and . Research papers on political sociology are custom written by the writers at Paper Masters. Political sociology seeks to understand the relationship between the state, the larger society, and the individual.