Contemporary articles citing Skocpol T (1979) States Social Revolu
political, recent, concept, dynamics, cases, states, economic, power, politics, models
- Manza, Jeff & Clem Brooks. 2012. "How Sociology Lost Public Opinion: a Genealogy of a Missing Concept in the Study of the Political." Sociological Theory. 30:2 89-113.
- In contemporary sociology the once prominent study of public opinion has virtually disappeared. None of the leading theoretical models in the closest disciplinary subfield (political sociology) currently provide ample or sufficiently clear space for consideration of public opinion as a possible factor in shaping or interacting with key policy or political outcomes in democratic polities. In this article, we unearth and document the sources of this curious development and raise questions about its implications for how political sociologists have come to understand policy making, state formation, and political conflict. We begin by reconstructing the dismissal of public opinion in the intellectual reorientation of political sociology from the late 1970s onward. We argue that the most influential scholarly works of this period (including those of Tilly, Skocpol, Mann, Esping-Andersen, and Domhoff) face an underlying paradox: While often rejecting public opinion, their theoretical logics ultimately presuppose its operation. These now classical writings did not move toward research programs seeking engagement with the operation and formation of public opinion, even though our immanent critique suggests they in fact require precisely this turn. We address the challenge of reconceptualizing how public opinion might be productively integrated into the sociological study of politics by demonstrating that the major arguments in the subfield can be fruitfully extended by grappling with public opinion. We conclude by considering several recent, interdisciplinary examples of scholarship that, we argue, point the way toward a fruitful revitalization.
- Goldstone, Jack & Bert Useem. 2012. "Putting Values and Institutions Back Into the Theory of Strategic Action Fields." Sociological Theory. 30:1 37-47.
- Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam have presented a new theory of how collective action creates the structure and dynamics of societies. At issue is the behavior of social movements, organizations, states, political parties, and interest groups. They argue that all of these phenomena are produced by social actors (which may be individuals or groups) involved in strategic action. This allows Fligstein and McAdam to advance a unified theory of ``strategic action fields.'' This article takes issue with aspects of Fligstein and McAdam's important contribution. We argue that that all organizations are not essentially the same; in addition to the location and interactions of their strategic actors, their dynamics are shaped and distinguished by differing values and norms, by the autonomy of institutions embedded in strategic action fields, and by the fractal relationships that nested fields have to broader principles of justice and social organization that span societies. We also criticize the view that social change can be conceptualized solely in terms of shifting configurations of actors in strategic action fields. Rather, any theory of social action must distinguish between periods of routine contention under the current institutions and norms and exceptional challenges to the social order that aim to transform those institutions and norms.
- Jansen, Robert. 2011. "Populist Mobilization: a New Theoretical Approach to Populism." Sociological Theory. 29:2 75-96.
- Sociology has long shied away from the problem of populism. This may be due to suspicion about the concept or uncertainty about how to fit populist cases into broader comparative matrices. Such caution is warranted: the existing interdisciplinary literature has been plagued by conceptual confusion and disagreement. But given the recent resurgence of populist politics in Latin America and elsewhere, sociology can no longer afford to sidestep such analytical challenges. This article moves toward a political sociology of populism by identifying past theoretical deficiencies and proposing a new, practice-based approach that is not beholden to pejorative common sense understandings. This approach conceptualizes populism as a mode of political practice-as populist mobilization. Its utility is demonstrated through an application to mid-twentieth-century Latin American politics. The article concludes by sketching an agenda for future research on populist mobilization in Latin America and beyond.
- De, Cedric, Manali Desai & Cihan Tugal. 2009. "Political Articulation: Parties and the Constitution of Cleavages in the United States, India, and Turkeys." Sociological Theory. 27:3 193-219.
- Political parties do not merely reflect social divisions, they actively construct them. While this point has been alluded to in the literature, surprisingly little attempt has been made to systematically elaborate the relationship between parties and the social, which tend to be treated as separate domains contained by the disciplinary division of labor between political science and sociology. This article demonstrates the constructive role of parties in forging critical social blocs in three separate cases, India, Turkey, and the United States, offering a critique of the dominant approach to party politics that tends to underplay the autonomous role of parties in explaining the preferences, social cleavages, or epochal socioeconomic transformations of a given community. Our thesis, drawing on the work of Gramsci, Althusser, and Laclau, is that parties perform crucial articulating functions in the creation and reproduction of social cleavages. Our comparative analysis of the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States, Islamic and secularist parties in Turkey, and the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress parties in India will demonstrate how ``political articulation'' has naturalized class, ethnic, religious, and racial formations as a basis of social division and hegemony. Our conclusion is that the process of articulation must be brought to the center of political sociology, simultaneously encompassing the study of social movements and structural change, which have constituted the orienting poles of the discipline.
- Reed, Isaac. 2008. "Justifying Sociological Knowledge: From Realism to Interpretation." Sociological Theory. 26:2 101-129.
- In the context of calls for ``postpositivist'' sociology, realism has emerged as a powerful and compelling epistemology for social science. In transferring and transforming scientific realism-a philosophy of natural science-into a justificatory discourse for social science, realism splits into two parts: a strict, highly naturalistic realism and a reflexive, more mediated, and critical realism. Both forms of realism, however, suffer from conceptual ambiguities, omissions, and elisions that make them an inappropriate epistemology for social science. Examination of these problems in detail reveals how a different perspective-centered on the interpretation of meaning-could provide a better justification for social inquiry, and in particular a better understanding of sociological theory and the construction of sociological explanations.
- Garcelon, Marc. 2006. "Trajectories of Institutional Disintegration in Late-soviet Russia and Contemporary Iraq." Sociological Theory. 24:3 255-283.
- How might revolutions and other processes of institutional disintegration inform political processes preceding them ? By mapping paths of agency through processes of institutional disintegration, the trajectory improvisation model of institutional breakdown overcomes ``action-structure'' binaries by framing political revolutions as possible outcomes of such disintegrative processes. The trajectory improvisation approach expands the trajectory adjustment model of social change developed by Gil Eyal, Ivan Szelenyi, and Eleanor Townsley. An overview of political revolution in Soviet Russia between 1989 and 1991 illustrates trajectory improvisation. The recent American invasion and occupation of Iraq shows alternative routes to institutional disintegration, indicating the independence of models of institutional breakdown from those of social movements. These cases illustrate both the diversity of situations the trajectory improvisation model speaks to, and the limitation of models of trajectory adjustment, improvisation, social movements, and invasions, illustrating why such models at best enable what are called ``explanatory narratives'' of actual historical processes.
- Collins, R. 2004. "Lenski's Power Theory of Economic Inequality: a Central Neglected Question in Stratification Research." Sociological Theory. 22:2 219-228.
- Turner, JH. 2004. "Toward a General Sociological Theory of the Economy." Sociological Theory. 22:2 229-246.
- In the spirit of Gerhard Lenski's macro-level analysis of stratification and societal evolution, a theory of the economy is presented. Like Lenski's work, this theory emphasizes population and power as they interact with production and distribution dynamics. Macro-level social organization in general, and economic processes in particular, are viewed as driven by the forces of population, power, production, and distribution. For each force, a theoretical proposition is presented. Forces are all implicated in each other; the resulting set of principles provides a view of how production and distribution, as the core of an economy, are embedded in population and power processes, and vice versa. The end result is a more general macro-level theory that captures the spirit and substance of Lenski's models of societal organization.
- Li, JL. 2002. "State Fragmentation: Toward a Theoretical Understanding of the Territorial Power of the State." Sociological Theory. 20:2 139-156.
- In existing theories of revolution, the state is narrowly defined as an administrative entity, and state breakdown simply refers to the disintegration of a given political regime. But this narrow definition cannot deal with this question: Why, in a revolutionary situation, do some states become fragmented and others remain unified? I would therefore argue for the broadening of the concept of state breakdown to include the territorial power of the state and to treat the latter as a key analytical dimension in the study of state fragmentation. The dynamics of territorial state power involve the control of critical territories and valuable resources associated with the spatial position of a given state in the interstate system. A strong territorial state is able to maintain its organizational coerciveness and territorial integrity, whereas a weak territorial state is vulnerable to fragmentation. The overall state crisis derives from the accumulated effects of geopolitical strain by which territorial fragmentation unfolds.
- Li, RSK. 2002. "Alternative Routes to State Breakdown: Toward an Integrated Model of Territorial Disintegration." Sociological Theory. 20:1 1-23.
- A theoretical strategy is proposed to integrate competing models of state breakdown by conceptualizing key concepts in these models at a more abstract level. The demographic model, which asserts that rapid population growth can bring about state breakdown when economic and political institutions are too rigid, is extracted from Goldstone's work. The geopolitical model, which argues that deteriorating geopolitical condition can bring about state breakdown if the state is too weak and the economy too unproductive, is extracted from Skoepols and Collins's works. The competing models are conceptualized as alternative and interacting routes to state breakdown where changing population pressure and geopolitical condition may generate integrative or disintegrative tendency depending on state power and productivity. A model describing four dimensions of state power-economic, military, political, and administrative-is constructed to incorporate various conceptualizations of the state in the state breakdown literature. Also integrated in the model is a third alternative route suggesting that rapid market development can generate disintegrative tendency if state power is too low. The synthesized model allows us to see that disintegrative/integrative tendency produced by one route mail intensify or alleviate that generated by another route.
- Brint, S. 2001. "Gemeinschaft Revisited: a Critique and Reconstruction of the Community Concept." Sociological Theory. 19:1 1-23.
- Community remains a potent symbol and aspiration in political and intellectual life. However, it has largely passed out of sociological analysis. The paper shows why this has occurred, and it develops a new typology that can make the concept useful again in sociology: The neu typology is based on identifying structurally distinct subtypes of community using a small number of partitioning variables. The first partition is defined by the ultimate context of interaction; the second by the primary motivation for interaction; the third by rates of interaction and location of members; and the fourth by the amount of face-to-face as opposed ro computer-mediated interaction. This small number of partitioning variables yields eight major subtypes of community. The paper shows how and why these major subtypes are related to important variations in the behavioral and organizational outcomes of community. The paper also seeks to resolve some disagreements between classical liberalism and communitarians. It shows that only a few of the major subtypes of community are likely to be as illiberal and intolerant as the selective imagery of classical liberals asserts, while at the same time only a few are prone to generate as much fraternalism and equity as the selective imagery of communitarians suggests. The paper concludes by discussing the forms of community that are best suited to the modern world.
- McLaughlin, N. 1996. "Nazism, Nationalism, and the Sociology of Emotions: Escape From Freedom Revisited." Sociological Theory. 14:3 241-261.
- The recent worldwide resurgence of militant nationalism, fundamentalist intolerance, and right-wing authoritarianism has again put the issues of violence and xenophobia at the center of social science research and theory. German psychoanalyst and sociologist Erich Fromm's work provides a useful theoretical microfoundation for contemporary work on nationalism, the politics of identity, and the roots of war and violence. Fromm's analysis of Nazism in Escape from Freedom (1941), in particular outlines a compelling theory of irrationality, and his later writings on nationalism provide an existential psychoanalysis that can be useful for contemporary social theory and sociology of emotions. Escape from Freedom synthesizes Marxist, Freudian, Weberian,and existentialist insights to offer an original theoretical explanation of Nazism that combines both macrostructural and micropsychological levels of analysis. After forty-five years of research into the social origins of fascism and with recent theorizing in the sociology of nationalism and emotions, Escape from Freedom, its analysis of Nazism, and Fromm's larger theoretical perspective are worth reconsidering.
- Emirbayer, M. 1996. "Useful Durkheim." Sociological Theory. 14:2 109-130.
- From the mid-1960s through much of the 1980s, Durkheim's contributions to historical-comparative sociology were decidedly marginalized; the title of one of Charles Tilly's essays, ``Useless Durkheim,'' conveys this prevailing sensibility with perfect clarity. Here, ky contrast, I draw upon writings from Durkheim's later ``religious'' period to show how Durkheim has special relevance today for debates in the historical-comparative field. I examine how his substantive writings shed light on current discussions regarding civil society; how his analytical insights help to show how action within civil society as well as other historical contexts is channelled by cultural, social-structural, and social-psychological configurations (plus transformative human agency); and how his ontological commitment to a ``relational social realisin'' contributes to ongoing attempts to rethink the foundations of historical-comparative investigation.
- Kalberg, S. 1996. "On the Neglect of Weber's Protestant Ethic as a Theoretical Treatise: Demarcating the Parameters of Postwar American Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 14:1 49-70.
- Although widely recognized as one of sociology's true classics, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has largely failed to influence the development of sociological theory in the United States. Because it has been read almost exclusively as a study of the ``role of ideas'' in economic development, its diverse and multifaceted theoretical contributions generally have been neglected. This study explicitly calls attention to The Protestant Ethic as a theoretical treatise by examining this classic in reference to four major debates in postwar sociological theory in the United States. Moreover, it demarcates an array of major parameters in American theorizing. The conclusion speculates upon the reasons for the strong opposition to The Protestant Ethic's theoretical lessons and argues that a style of theorizing unique to sociology in the United States has erected firm barriers against this classic text.
- SOMERS, MR. 1995. "Whats Political or Cultural About Political-culture and the Public Sphere - Toward an Historical Sociology of Concept-formation." Sociological Theory. 13:2 113-144.
- The English translation of Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere converges with a recent trend toward the revival of the `'political culture concept'' in the social sciences. Surprisingly, Habermas's account of the Western bourgeois public sphere has much in common with the original political culture concept associated with Parsonian modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s. In both cases, the concept of political culture is used in a way that is neither political nor cultural. Explaining this peculiarity is the central problem addressed in this article and one to follow I hypothesize that this is the case because the concept itself is embedded in an historically constituted political culture (here called a conceptual network)-a structured web of conceptual relationships that combine into Anglo-American citizenship theory. The method of an historical sociology of concept formation is introduced to analyze historically and empirically the internal constraints and dynamics of this conceptual network. The method draws from new work in cultural history and sociology, social studies, and network, narrative, and institutional analysis. This research yields three empirical findings: this conceptual network has a narrative structure, here called the Anglo-American citizenship story; this narrative is grafted onto an epistemology of social naturalism; and these elements combine in a metanarrative that continues to constrain empirical research in political sociology.