Interpersonal, Organizational, and Global Dimensions
Wednesday, 19 September 2005
How do power differential arise? From social organization.
born in Cologne – French/German/Belgian background
of our authors who was an actual academic scholar – studied problems of democracies
and revolution, class conflict, trade unionism, mass society (large urban societies of
highly mobilized populations), nationalism, role of intellectuals and elites
his major work:
recognized for his work in formulating
the problem of oligarchy
democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy –
We use these terms, but what do they mean?
denote differences in the
participation in governing
– how many participate and where
do they come from?
de Tocqueville’s dilemma:
even when there is a preference/aspiration/value for
democracy, we may nonetheless get oligarchy, or oligarchy could turn into aristocracy (if
become inherited and assessed as appropriate)
– broad, full participation of the populace (becomes representative when large
numbers, thus representative democracy = republic). populace determines policies
– rule by the few, don’t know whether they are chosen or not (Michels’ point)
– inherited elite = few
There is an important distinction between the
description of observable phenomena vs.
At heart of dilemma is the question,
can we describe phenomena
without evaluating them?
We try, work to make explicit the constraints on description, and role
In many nations in the world, the people have “the right to vote/elect” =
The leaders should be expected to be voted in/voted out.
implies not only that it is a
people in power but that those few are
controlled by the people
between 1/3 and 40% of eligible voters actually vote, more in a presidential, less in local
Why so low?
outcome is predetermined
insufficient choice in candidates/ policies
people don’t think they can make a difference - any particular vote/voter
people don’t think they would ultimately be affected by the choices/policies offered
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