Charles Horton-Hears-a-Who Cooley
Primary groups are characterized by intimate face-to-face associations and cooperation. Examples: family, play-group of childhood, community group of elders (practically universal). They are primary in several senses, but most importantly in that they play a big part in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual. They give the individual his earliest and most complete sense of social unity, and form a comparatively permanent source out of which more elaborate relations spring. Intimate association leads to the fusions of individualities in a common whole, so that one's self for many purposes becomes the common life and purposes of the group. This wholeness is a 'we' in that it involves the sort of sympathy and identification for which we is that natural expression. One lives in the feeling of the whole and finds the chief aims of his/her will in that feeling.
This unity is not usually harmony and love: it is always differentiated and usually competitive, admitting of self-assertion and appropriate passions, which are socialized by sympathy to the discipline of the common spirit. Individuals are ambitions, but the chief object of his ambition is some desired place in the thought of the others, and he feels allegiance to common standards of service and fair play.
Besides the universal kinds of primary groups, there are many others whose form depends upon the particular state of the civilization. In our own society, people being mobile, form clubs, fraternal societies, etc. based on congeniality which may give rise to real intimacy. Primary groups reflect the spirit of their larger family -- eg, the German family reflects German militarism (where does he get this stuff?).
Primary groups are the springs of life not only for individuals, but also for social institutions. For instance, peasants may form self-governing communes, which a continuations of clans.
Human nature. Human nature are sentiments and impulses both characteristic of humans (rather than, say, iguanas) and common to people at large and not particular to any race or time. Particularly, it is characterized by sympathy, and things into which it enters such as love, resentment, and the feelings of social right and wrong. CHC's racist comment: There are racial differences, so that some large part of humankind is incapable of high social organization. But, the general impulses are common between us and even these lower peoples. 'Their faces shown in photographs are wholly human and many of them [even] attractive [imagine!]' We can also compare different stages in the development of one race (eg, Teutons to Germans). The fact that we can read literature from other epochs and still have sympathy with it shows the generic likeness of human nature.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, human nature does not exist in individuals, it exists in groups or primary phases of societies, as relative general and simple conditions of the social mind. It is developed and expressed in simple, face-to-face groups that are somewhat alike in all societies. This is the basis, in experience, for similar ideas and sentiments in the human mind in all societies. MAN DOES NOT HAVE IT AT BIRTH; HE CANNOT ACQUIRE IT EXCEPT THROUGH FELLOWSHIP, AND IT DECAYS IN ISOLATION.
We must see and feel the communal life of family and local groups as immediate facts, not as combinations of something else (for instance, individuals). For every individual fact, we may look for a social fact to go with it. If there is a universal nature in persons there must be something universal in association to correspond to it.
Of the natural Condition of Mankind.
Hobbes begins his essay by illustrating how war comes about. There is really no difference so great between men that one man could claim a 'benefit' which another man would not also have equal ability to claim. But each men believes himself to be more deserving than any other. If two men desire a thing which they both cannot have, they become enemies (99).
The principal causes of 'quarrel' between men are Competition (for gain), Diffidence (for safety), and Glory (for reputation). When men live in a state which lacks a common regulating power, they automatically live in a condition of 'war.' War is not only actual fighting, but also the potential to fight. This second condition exists whenever there is no regulator to prevent fighting (eg: American Indians). During War, there is no place for cooperation between men because they live with no security other than their own strength (100).
During war, where every man is against every other man, the notions of right, wrong, and justice have no place. These are qualities that relate to men 'in society' and not 'in solitude' (ie: war). Law can only exist in 'society.' Thus, the passions of man and the actions which stem from them are not sins until a society exists to develop laws which forbid them (101).
The fear of death motivates men to create the conditions for a peaceful society. Thus, pure reason suggests 'the Articles of Peace' and the 'Laws of Nature' which draw men into common agreement (101).
Status and Role
A status is the position an individual has in a particular pattern of reciprocal behavior between individuals or groups of individuals. As distinct from the individual who occupies it, a status is simply a collection of rights and duties (driver versus driver's seat). Generally, the status of an individual means the sum total of all the statuses he occupies. It is his position with relation to the total society.
A role is the dynamic aspect of a status. When an individual puts the rights and duties which constitute his status into effect, he is performing a role. Status and role serve to reduce the ideal patterns of social life to individual terms. They become models for organizing the attitudes and behavior of the individual so that these will be congruous with those of the other individuals participating in the expression of the pattern.
Ascribed statuses are those which are assigned to individuals without reference to their actual abilities, and can be predicted and trained for from the moment of birth, for example, sex, age, family relationship, class, caste, etc. But even with respect to ascriptive statuses, culture determines the status rather than biology. Achieved statuses are statuses, not assigned to individuals by virtue of birth, but left open to be filled through competition and individual effort.
The majority of statuses in all social systems are of the ascribed type, which Linton considers necessary for the ordinary business of living. The social ascription of a particular status, with the intensive training that such ascription makes possible, is a guarantee that the role will be performed adequately, if not brilliantly. If a society waited to have its statuses filled by achievement, certain statuses might not be filled at all. Individual talent is too sporadic and too unpredictable to be allowed any important part in the organization of society. The ascription of status sacrifices the possibility of having certain roles performed superlatively well to the certainty of having them performed passably well. Achieved statuses get prominence in changing societies where development of new social patterns call for the individual qualities of thought and initiative.
HENRY SUMNER MAINE
(TS, pp. 429-436)
Maine traces the roots of the contract to ancient law through the history of jurisprudence. First, he argues, certain ceremonial aspects of ancient law are dispensed with or simplified. Then, the 'mental engagement' of the law isolates itself among technicalities. This mental engagement was called 'convention' by the Romans and it is the nucleus of a contract. A contract is convention plus obligation. Obligation is the 'bond' with which the law joins together persons in consequence of certain voluntary acts.
The intermediary stages between convention and contract are shown by the different types of contracts in Roman law: Verbal, Literal, Real, and Consensual. The first two are self-explanatory. The Real contract, based on the delivery of an object of some sort, is significantly different from the previous two contracts because it is based on moral considerations rather than technical forms or customary habits. The Consensual contract consists of an obligation that is based on consensus, the mutual assent of the parties involved. The collective existence of every community is consumed in transactions based on consensual contracts since they are the most efficient.
GEORGE H. MEAD
Selections from TS
The I and the Me (pp.163-68), Internalized Others and the Self (pp.829-30)
(Both are about the play and the game)
Mead is concerned with the process by which individuals construct the concept of self. The organized community or social group which gives to the individual his/her unity of self may be called the 'generalized other.' The attitude of the generalized other is the attitude of the whole community. It is in the form of the generalized other that the community exercises control over the conduct of its individual members: for it is in this form that the social process or community enters as a determining factor into the individual's thinking.
Two important concepts of development of self are the play and the game. In play, the individual (Mead uses the examples of children or primitive people, gack!) takes on different roles and acts them out. The individual stimulates him/herself to the response which he is calling out in the other person, and then acts in some degree in response to that situation. He is calling out the generalized other. Play is very free-flowing and precedes the game. In the game, individuals enter into social activities and take on the attitudes of all other people involved towards him/herself and others. The game is more structured and is governed by rules, as is social behavior in general . The child must know what everyone is going to do in order to carry out his/her own actions. What goes on to make up the organized self is the organization of attitudes which are common to the group. Personality is possible only through community, and selves can only exist in definite relationships to other selves.
Taking the Role of the Other (pp, 739-740)
In the same way in which the individual is conscious of him/herself, he/she is also aware of the other. It is only through juxtaposition of self and other that an individual becomes self-aware. Consciousness of both the self and the other are equally important for the individual's own self-development and for the development of the organized society or social group to which he/she belongs. The individual reads the situation as both him/herself, and as the other, and responds, in action, words, gestures and behavior after placing him/herself in both roles. The immediate effect of such role-taking lies in the control which the individual is able to exercise over his/her own response. And thus it is that social control, as operating in terms of self-criticism, exerts itself so intimately and extensively over individual behavior or conduct, serving to integrate the individual and his/her actions into the social process. Self-criticism is then essentially social criticism.
From Gesture to Symbol (pp. 999-1004)
The vocal gesture has an importance which no other gesture has, but it still yet another way in which the individual calls out the other. Through the use of vocal gestures we arouse in ourselves those responses which we call out in other persons. While lower animals merely imitate each other in call and response, human beings do more with the exchange of voice and language, we do the generalized other thing. Thought is the difference between the intelligent conduct of animals and a reflective individual. Thought hinges on the internal exchange between self and the generalized other. For that thought to exist, there must be symbols- language. The vocal gesture is thus also a significant symbol. Response to a gesture confers meaning.
The meaning of an object is the common response in one's self as well as in the other person. Meaning arises within the relation between the gesture and the subsequent behavior that is indicated by the gesture. Meaning therefore exists objectively (against the notion of an 'idea' or a state of consciousness). Meaning emerges from social acts and actions, and it develops in terms of symbolization. Symbolization constitutes objects which would not exist except for the context of social relationships wherein symbolization occurs. Social process relates the responses of one individual as meanings, to the gestures of another.
On the Ruling Class (TS 598-602)
Mosca begins by citing several examples of ruling classes:
Priestly aristocracies: develop in societies with strong religious beliefs and come to possess an important share of the wealth and political power. These groups tend to monopolize learning and try to control access to and dissemination of knowledge - as is seen in the frequent use of dead languages. Aristocracies of functionaries: develop where long-standing practice in directing the military or civil organization of a community creates and develops a class that is specialized in the art of governing. Heredity castes: governing class is specifically restricted to a given number of families and birth is the one criterion that determines entry into or exclusion from class membership.
What ever the nature of the ruling class, however, Gaetano (gotta love that name) observed that:
1) All ruling classes tend to become heredity - in fact if not in law. In situations where entrance into positions of authority are determined by qualification theoretically open to all, it is often the case that only those with the proper kinship ties, wealth, influence, and resources (eg. 'connections' or a high-quality education) are able to gain entrance into such fields.
2) The de jure status of an established politically-dominant hereditary caste in a society was preceded by a similar status de facto. Groups in power will tend to attempt to establish a a formal hereditary basis of power through appeal to such authorities as supernatural origins which in later times takes scientific trappings (such as appeals to superior status with respect to social evolution).
Any truly special qualities possesses by the aristocracy in question are most strongly dependent upon their particular upbringing, which cultivates certain intellectual and moral tendencies in them in preference to others. This helps to explain why aristocracies do not defend their rule on the basis of intellectual superiority along, but rather on the basis of their superiorities in character (such components of a moral order as will power, courage, pride, energy) and wealth.
Mosca strongly opposes the validity of a truly heredity (ie genetic) basis for maintenance of power along family lines. If the evolutionary principle is valid (he asks) how does one explain the decline and loss of power of a ruling class/race (which in frequently observed) on the basis of organic heredity? Descendants of rulers should become increasingly better rulers - but this is not the case. Shifts in power actually are the result of an alteration in the constitution of power from such developments as a new source of wealth, changes in the practical importance of knowledge, or the rise of a new influential religion. Ruling classes decline inevitably when they cease to find scope for the capacities through which they rose to power, or when the talents and services they render loose their importance in the social environment. Whether by means of commerce and exchange of ideas with foreign peoples, a slow process of internal growth, or conquest by foreign invasions ruling classes are eventually overcome by the advent of new social elements that are strong in fresh political forces. Following a period of rejuvenation/revolution this new social group will work its way to the top of the social ladder and gradually acquire group solidarity and a monopoly on power - a monopoly they will seek to maintain by attempts to establish a heredity basis of rule.
WILLIAM F. OGBURN
The Hypothesis of Cultural Lag
The rapidity of change in modern life raises two important questions of social adjustment. 1) the adaptation of man to culture, or of culture to man; and, 2) adjustments between parts of culture.
The various parts of modern culture are not changing at the same rate. Since there is independence and correlation between different parts of culture, a rapid change in one part requires readjustments in the related parts. For instance, industry and education are related. Each is a variable; if it is changes in industry that cause changes in education, industry in the independent variable and education the dependent. Unequal rates of change in interdependent parts of culture leads to what is called a 'maladjustment.'
There is material culture (eg, food, houses), the rules for use of which are subject to laws, customs, beliefs, philosophies, mores, folkways, social institutions (non-material culture). Those parts of the non-material culture which are adapted or adjusted to the material conditions we will call adaptive culture. Something like the family, which makes some adjustments to fit material culture, while some of its functions remain constant is partly adaptive.
Changes in material culture lead to changes in adaptive culture, but sometimes there is a LAG. Sometimes old, hung-over customs are not only not satisfactorily adapted, but may also be actually social harmful. Adjustment in relative. A new non-material culture may be better adjusted to a new material culture, even though the old non-m culture was never perfectly adapted to the old material culture. There is seldom perfect adjustment or complete lack of adjustment.
It is difficult to locate the period of maladjustment, when material conditions have changed but non-material culture has not yet adapted. It is hard to know when a piece of non- material culture, for instance a value, has changed (sometimes it has changed in some places and not others, etc.). It is also difficult to locate the point at which the maladjustment began, or, in other words, the point at which we should have had the new non-material culture (the new value, the new forest management policy, etc.).
Now, for particular cultural forms, only parts of their functions are adaptive to material culture. Relationship to a particular material culture is only part of their purposes or functions (eg, the family's affectional function).
Also, conceivably, changes in non-material culture could precede changes in material culture. The only example WFG gives is that we might institute a change in non-m culture as a form of adaptation to a foreseen change in material culture, if we had a very high degree of planning, prediction, and control. Never does he explicitly entertain the idea that changes in non-m culture could induce changes in m. culture. Non-m culture may change without being caused by changes in material culture.
Cultural Conflict and the Marginal Man
Drawing from the work of Sumner, primitive societies can be though of as small ethnocentric groups scattered across a territory. Their size depends on the physical struggle for existence. The internal organization of the group is partly dependent on its size as well as its relation to all other groups. The loyalties which bind together the primitive society are in direct proportion to the intensity of the fears and hatreds with which they view their enemies/rivals in the larger intertribal or international world outside.
With the expansion of the market came the transformation of primitive societies in to a wider and more rational social order - civilization. The movements and migrations that accompany this process bring about an interpenetration of peoples and fusion of cultures - with the result that there may be some people who stand in an ambiguous position to these different cultures.
The Marginal Man: is such a person condemned to live at once within two different and antagonistic cultures. Among several examples of such a personality type, Park cites Simmel's Stranger 'who lives in intimate association with the world about him but never so completely identifies with it that he is unable to look at it with a certain critical detachment.'
Park states that the notion of the marginal man is also based on the conviction that an individual's personality, while based on instinct, temperament and the like, achieves its final form under that individual's conception of him/herself. The individual's self-conception to the extent that is shaped by that person's particular social status/role, is not so much an individual as a social product.
As the personality type of the marginal arises at a time and place there where is a significant merging of cultures and people, this person is often compelled to assume the role of stranger or cosmopolitan (see Ulf Hannerz's Cultural Complexity for a more detailed account of the cosmopolitan). Park noted, along these lines, that the marginal man is always the relatively more civilized human being.
JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU
On the Social Contract (TS pp 119-125)
In this piece, Rousseau deals with the origin of society. I supposes that society originally came about when the primitive state of the human race was no longer adequate to provide for the subsistence and preservation of the human species. Some form of collective organization of individuals was necessary, but there arises the problem of how to get self-interested persons to act on the behalf of the common good without neglecting their obligations to provide for their own survival and needs.
The answer is the Social Compact: a form of association that protects and defends with the whole force of the community, the personal and property of each individual. Although uniting with the rest each individual will still remain obedient to him/herself and remain as fully at liberty as before. This act of association converts the individual contracting parties into one moral collective body, subject to the direction of the general will.
Rousseau believes that a person engaged in such an association can be viewed at the same time as: 1) a member of the sovereignty toward particular persons, and 2) a member of the state toward the sovereignty. It is in the interest of such a body politic that the supreme power (sovereign) should stand in the same position under the law as other members of society - ie the sovereign cannot impose laws which s/he cannot also break.
The sovereign, in fact, is composed of the individuals of which the state is composed and can therefore not have interests contrary to theirs. An individual's particular will, however, may be contradictory or dissimilar to the general will, in which case it is the function of the social compact to compel this person's continued membership in the body politic. In this form of association, it is the case that an attack against one of the members is likewise an attack against the whole - and conversely an attack against the whole body injures the members.
The transition of humankind from a state of nature to a state of society involves a very important change: the substitution of justice instead of instinct as the rule of conduct, and the attachment of morality to actions of which they were formerly destitute. By entering into the social compact, the individual gives up his/her natural liberty (ie. the unlimited right to do everything s/he is desirous of and can attain) in return for social liberty and an exclusive property in all those things of which s/he is possessed - as well as moral liberty. Natural liberty is limited by the inabilities of the individual, while social liberty is limited by the general will of the community.
Under this form of community, property rights are determined not by might, but above all the right of prior occupancy which has the following conditions: 1) the property (Rousseau uses the example of land) must be unoccupied, 2) no greater quantity should be occupied than necessary for subsistence, and 3) possession should involve cultivation and not be merely a ceremony of taking possession. The right of the individual to her/his property, however, must be subordinate to the community's right over all.
The social compact, rather than annihilating the natural equality among persons, substitutes a moral and legal equality to make up for that natural and physical difference which prevails among individuals, who although unequal in personal strength and mental abilities become equal by convention and right.
Although an individual (the ruler or chief) may represent the sovereign, this person can not be the sovereign, which is composes of the individuals who make up the community. Along these lines, the general will can never guide the state in a direction disagreeable to the common good. Aside from being unalienable, the sovereignty is also indivisible - although politicians may at times try to give the illusion that it is not by dividing it in its objects (ie. into a collection particular departments and jurisdictions).
It follows from the above discussion that the general will is always in the right and constantly tends toward the public good. It does not follow, however, that the interests of all individuals are equally attended by the public good. Disparity in information and communication, as well as partial associations tend to undermine the spirit of the general will.
Of the Principle Which Gives Occasion to the Division of Labor
The DOL is not the product of any foresight on the part of humans who recognize its many benefits. It is, rather, the gradual, necessary consequence of human nature's propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another. This propensity is common to all men, and found in no other animals. Though they may seem to bargain, they do not make fair and deliberate exchanges or negotiate terms.
People depend on exchange relations, rather than affective relations to get the things they need to survive because they always need the help of many other people and life is too short to make that many friends. It is vain to expect other people to give you what you need out of benevolence: you must appeal to their self-love. You must show them that it is to their advantage and in their interest for them to do what you want them to do or give you what you need.
Since it is by treaty, barter and purchase that we get from others most of the things we need, this 'trucking disposition' gives rise to the DOL. People have skills or propensities which make them better at some things than others (for whatever reason -- enjoyment, skill, etc.). People specialize in these things, and others want them, and are willing to trade the things they specialize in. 'Thus, the certainty of being able to exchange all that surplus part of the produce of his own labor... for such parts of the produce of other men's labor he may have occasion for... encourages every man to apply himself to a particular occupation.'
However, the differences in skills we perceive are much less innate than they are products of habit, custom and education. The skill differences we see are often more a CONSEQUENCE than a cause of the DOL.
If there were no 'trucking disposition,' everyone would have to do all the things necessary to survive, would have performed the same tasks, and so no division of labor would have given rise to differences of talents.
Of Wages and Profit in the Different Employments of Labor and Stock
There is a natural tendency to equilibrium in the employments of labor and stock in the same neighborhood, as long as people have perfect liberty oft chose their occupations and to change as often as they like. People seek advantageous situations and avoid disadvantageous employments. If one occupation were viewed as very desirable, lots of people would take it up and so wages would fall, so that it would be less advantageous and desirable.
Now, wages and profit differ, according to different employments of labor and stock. But this arises partly because there are real or perceived differences in occupations and because economic policies do not 'leave things at perfect liberty.'
Inequalities Arising from the Nature of the Employments Themselves.
There are 5.
1) Agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employment (this may arise from difficulty, dirtiness, dishonorableness, etc.). Eg, miners get paid a lot because their jobs suck due to dirtiness and danger. Eg, People who work at jobs others pursue for pleasure (say, fishing) are less well paid because 'the natural taste for these employments makes more people follow them than can live comfortably by them' and since they produce so much, the profit that is collected by any one of them is small.
2) Easiness and cheapness or difficulty and expense of learning them. People have to be compensated for long, arduous and expensive educations (like grad school at U of C), and they must be compensated in a reasonable time. So, skilled labor is paid better than unskilled labor. The profits of stock seem to be little affected by the easiness or difficulty of learning the trade in which it's employed.
3) Constancy and inconstancy of employment in them. While some occupations may be easy to learn and not very dirty, if they are subject to inconstancy, they need higher compensation (eg, bricklaying). Someone with a hard to dirty, disagreeable and inconstant job that is low skill will sometimes make more than a skilled worker. The constancy or inconstancy of employment do not affect the profits of stock in any particular trade. Whether or not stock is constantly employed depends not on the trade, but on the trader.
4) Small or great trust which must be reposed in those who experience them. Eg, jewelers make a lot of money. As regards stock, trust is not a factor in profits.
5) Probability or improbability of success in them. 'The probability that any particular person shall ever be qualified for the employment to which he is educated is very different for different occupations.' Some occupations may have many entrants, because they are for other reasons very desirable: they maintain their high compensation rates because the failure rate is so high. People generally over-estimate their changes of success, since they are subject to 'over-weaning conceit.' Risk or security also effects the profits of stock -- profits should rise with risk, though not necessarily in proportion to risk.
Now, in order for this equilibrium thing to work, there need to be three other factors in
1) the employments must be well-known and long-established in the neighborhood. Wages are high in newer trades, because people have to be enticed into them and profit levels are high to the first people who do them. As they become established, competition reduces profits.
2) They must be in their ordinary or natural state. Demand for labor can be seasonal, or related to other changing conditions (eg, we need more soldiers during wars). These quirky demand fluctuations will effect wages. With regards to stock profits, variations in the market prices of some commodities arise from accidental variation in the demand (public mournings raise the price of black cloth, so profits temporarily increase). Other commodities cannot be produced in known, fixed quantities (since they rely on weather rather than machines: eg, wheat), price and profit fluctuations here happen more often.
3) They must be the sole or principal employment of those who hold them. If a person is able to subsist in an employment that doesn't take most of his time, he will work at another job at wages lower than that job would normally command.
Inequalities Occasioned by the Policy of Europe
Policies set things at inequality, in Europe during old Adam's time in the following three
1) restraining competition to a smaller number than would ordinarily enter. Eg, exclusive privileges of corporations which restrict entrance to apprenticeships. Long term apprenticeships do this indirectly by increasing expense of education. Long apprenticeships are also bad because they make people lazy: people achieve an aversion to labor if for a long time they receive no benefit from it. Also, people of the same trade should not be encouraged by the government to meet together, because then they collude to screw us all over; thus, public registers of trade members are bad. Corporations (in this usage, guilds type things) do not better discipline trade. Workmen are disciplined by their customers, corps weaken the force of this discipline, since they require some workers to be hired whether they're good or not.
2) increasing competition beyond what it would naturally be. Pensions and scholarships and such things encourage more people to enter training for some occupations than would otherwise try to. All these people reduce wages because people, in exchange for employment, are willing to accept wages lower than those deserved due to their training.
3) obstructing free circulation of labor and stock, both from employment to employment and place to place. Apprenticeship does this, by preventing movement from place to place. Corporations' exclusive privileges do it, but obstructing movement of workers between different employments (occupations).
Of the Sense of Propriety (47-49 and 54-57)
How ever selfish people may be supposed to be, there are some principles in human nature which lead people to be interested in the fortunes of other and make others' happiness necessary to them, even though they receive nothing from it but the pleasure of seeing it.
Pity and compassion are sentiments like that. Though we have no direct experience of how another feels, we conceive how we ourselves should feel in their situation. By imagination, we represent to ourselves what would be our own feelings if we were undergoing the same things. This imagining of being in the same situation, depending on the vivacity or dullness of the imagining, brings forth in us some degree of the same emotion as the person who is actually experiencing the pain or distress.
This springing up of analogous emotions happens for all passions, not just pain and suffering. In every passion of which the mind of man is susceptible, the emotions of a bystander always correspond to what, by bringing the case home to himself, he imagines should be the sentiments of the person actually in the situation.
Of the Pleasure of Mutual Sympathy
Again, our feelings of pleasure and pain are not always derived from self-interested considerations. The correspondence of people's sentiments with our own is a cause of pleasure, and their lack of correspondence can be a cause of pain. The correspondence of others feeling to our own does not have this effect only because it enlivens our own feelings. For instance, sympathy enlivens joy and alleviates grief.
We are more anxious to communicate to our friends our disagreeable than our agreeable passions. Because agreeable passions can satisfy and support the heart without any auxiliary pleasure. However, the bitter and painful emotions of grief and resentment more strongly require the healing consolation of sympathy. When we do tell someone our sorrows, it enlivens our own sorrow; however, the sweetness of the other's sympathy compensates for the bitterness of our sorrow, and so makes us feel better. Conversely, the cruelest insult that can be offered to the unfortunate is to make light of their calamities.
Also, it is always disagreeable to us when we feel we cannot sympathize with someone else's sorrows; so, since we cannot enter into his or her grief, we are shocked by it and call it weakness. If we cannot go along with someone's joy, we call it folly or silliness.
'The Nature of Society' TS
Spencer argues that society is an entity which exists beyond the individuals which comprise it. It has a permanence to it which transcends the individual members. It also has a permanence. Spencer also sees society as organic in the sense that it resembles an organism. The three factors which society shares with an organism are:
1. continuous growth ( also called integration)
2. differentiation ( from homogeniety to heterogeneity)
3. division of labor (increased coherence, mutual dependence)
As societies grow, they become fixed and gain in definiteness. Spencer describes the process of growth as a series of successively larger social groupings which come about from the aggregation and re-aggregation of smaller socities. Under-developed societies are characterized by a low Div. of labor, while developed societies have a higher div. of labor and a higher integration of functions. Development of div of labor is able to take place only after society develops an advanced communication system and a distributive goods system.
Lastly, societis can be classified as either militant or industrial. Militant societies are based on compulsory co-operation. Industrial socities are based on voluntary co-operation.
W.I. THOMAS AND FLORIAN ZNANIECKI
'On Disorganization and Reorganization' (TS, pp. 1292-1297)
Thomas and Znaniecki address the problem of how to reconcile the stability of social systems with the efficiency of individual activities. In early societies, individual efficiency was completely subordinated to the demand for social stability. Under these conditions, spontaneous social evolution was possible only by a series of small changes taking place from one generation to the next. However, when the primary group was brought rapidly into contact with the outside world with its new and rival schemes, the entire old organization was apt to break down (e.g. European immigrant).
With the growing social differentiation and the increasing wealth and rationality of social values, the complex of traditional schemes (such as religion, state, industry, science, etc.) constituting the civilization of a group becomes subdivided into several independent complexes. No social complex, though, can regulate all the activities of that group, so each complex contends with others for supremacy within a group. The individual can no longer to be expected to make all these complexes his/her own; s/he much specialize. Thus, the antagonism between social stability and individual efficiency is further complicated as each complex tends to organize personal life exclusively in view of its own purposes.
A traditional fixation of special complexes which requires efficiency does not solve this problem because it does not correspond to the spontaneous tendencies of individuals for two reasons. First, the individual may completely accept the social complex and drift toward routine and hypocrisy, which are unproductive. Or, second, the individual may reject certain schemes in the complex. This happens because many complexes are not chosen by the individual but ascribed according to position at birth (e.g., gender, race, etc.) or a role he takes later in life (e.g., marriage, profession). When this happens, the person must reject the entire complex, thus becoming a rebel. The individual then ends up passing form one system to another, again leading to unproductivity.
Though these conditions are still predominant in civilized society, they cannot last long in modern times because of the development of a different type of social organization that puts higher demands on individual efficiency rather than individual conformity. On the one hand, increasing specialization can no longer constitute a sufficient basis for individual life organization in any field. On the other hand, there is a continually growing field of common values and common interests that is wide enough to make every specialized individual realize the narrowness of his/her specialty and to open before him/her wide horizons of possible new experiences. Thus there is an increasing tendency for 'vagabondage' (e.g., change of residence, profession, religion, etc.) or 'escapism' (e.g., novels, movies, alcohol, etc.).
Given these changes, the individual must be trained not for conformity or stability, but for efficiency and creative evolution. The task of future society is to teach every individual how to become a dynamic, continually growing and creative personality. Such methods can only be found in socio-psychological studies of people.
Democracy in America
A note (or disclaimer) on this text: as far as academic works go, Democracy in America is fairly readable and chock-full of interesting observations and insights on the state of American society as seen through the eyes of a visiting Frenchman over 150 years ago. Tocqueville addresses a number of intriguing issues - some are still relevant today, while others no longer pertain to the state of the nation as it has developed since the writing of this text. One important thing to keep in mind about this this text is that it is not a grand theoretical tome in the sense that we might think of Economy and Society or Kapital. There is no coherent unifying theoretical perspecitive to thread Tocqueville's observations together, although he does return to several themes repeatedly throughout - one important one being the sovereignty of the people. With chapters in Democracy in America ranging anywhere between two paragraphs and over one-hundred pages, it does pose some difficulties for summarizing. What I have tried to do below is capture the main points and important observations from the selections assigned. Without having to read more of the book, I think this is probably the most sensible way to approach Tocqueville - at least for the prelims.
The Principle of Sovereignty of the people in America (Part I: Chapter 4)
Tocqueville identifies the 'dogma of the sovereignty of the people' as one of the most important components underlying the nature of the American people. Unlike other nation, the sovereignty of the people is not hidden nor sterile, but recognized by the mores and laws of the nation alike. It spreads with freedom and attains unimpeded its ultimate consequences. This principle was one of the creative principles of most of the English colonies, although it can to dominate the governments of society much more strongly as time passed. In their early years, colonies were under the influence of the motherland, so that rather than being proclaimed ostensibly in the laws, this principle was hidden in provincial assemblies - particularly the township.
Certain pseudo-aristocratic influences (education in New England and wealth in the South), however, acted to keep the exercise of social power concentrated in a few hands. But the American Revolution brought the principle of sovereignty out of the township and with victory this ideal became the law of the land. The impulse toward democracy was irresistible - even those of the upper class (whose interests were most impaired by the equalitarian principle) lent support to the movement in order to gain the goodwill of the new democratic order. Tocqueville cites as an example of this democratic spirit the expansion of the franchise - which he believes will inevitably reach universal suffrage once concessions begin to be made. Tocqueville is greatly enchanted by the degree to which the people act in governing society: in the United States 'society acts by and for itself. There are no authorities except within itself.' He further comments on the dependence on the political administration to the people as the source of its custodial sovereign power (almost a stewardship): 'The people reign over the American political world as God rules over the universe.'
The Need to Study what happens in the States Before Discussing the Government of the Union (Part I: Chapter 5)
The federal government was the last to take shape in the US; the political principles on which it was based were already spread throughout society before its time, existed independently of it, and only had to be modified to form the republic. The great political principles which rule American society grew up in the states.
Political and administrative life grew up in three active centers: township, county, and state.
The independence of the township is the most difficult to establish, as the township is most susceptible to the encroachments of authority. Local institutions, however, put liberty within the people's reach and teach them to appreciate and to make use of it. Tocqueville says that 'local institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to science.'
Tocqueville takes the New England township as a model. The people exercise their authority as the supreme source of power most directly at the level of township. Here, where both law and administration are closest to the governed, the representative system has not been adopted (as it has at the state level). The public duties of the township are extremely numerous and minutely divided, but carried out only under the minimal administration of a few 'selectmen' elected yearly. It is the responsibility of these officials to call meetings and generally administer the will of the people.
Q: In American society where all individuals are assumed to be as educated, virtuous, and powerful as their fellows, what is the basis of obedience to society?
A: The individual obeys society because union with his/her fellows seems useful and such a union is impossible without a regulating authority
So in the United States municipal liberty derives straight from the dogma of the sovereignty of the people. The township is subordinate to the state in much the same way as the individual to larger society. The township is generally autonomous, subordinate only in respect to larger interests that are the specific concern of that state. In essence, townships (like individuals) surrender a portion of their powers to the state for the benefit of the state (society) which will further serve its interests on a broader scale.
A municipal spirit exists in the townships, as individuals' interests are excited by the sources of independence and power they recognize there. Attachment to the township does not derive so much from the township as place of birth as it does from the view of the township as a free, strong corporation of which an individual is part and which is worth the trouble of trying to direct. This municipal spirit is, further, a force of social cohesion that promotes attachment to place, order, and public tranquillity. A major characteristic of the American system of government is the wide distribution of power at the local level - shared among numerous people across many municipal duties. Tocqueville likens patriotism to a sort of religion strengthened by practical (civil) service.
The county is not a 'natural' community in the sense of the township - there is no necessary relationship between its constituent townships, nor a common history, tradition, or communal life that holds it together. The county is, however, the primary judicial center - the township being too small for the administration of justice to be included among its functions.
Tocqueville notes the apparent lack of administrative hierarchy in America - which he finds strongly contrasts a more European (ie French) model of government. In America, along with the high degree of freedom comes a more varied and diffuse social obligation than exists in other societies. The right to exercise social power has been divided up so that although the authority is great the officials are small (so to speak). Tocqueville, in fact, comments on the relative absence of a central authority above the township level. It is the legislative power based on popular sovereignty that coordinates the administration - by setting forth a detailed set of strictly defined obligations of the administrative officials. Society has only two ways of making officials obey its laws: 1) entrust them with discretionary power to control all the others and dismiss them if they disobey, or 2) give the courts power to inflict judicial penalties on offenders.
The courts are the only possible intermediary between the central power and an elective administrative body. They alone can force the elected official to obey the law without infringing on the voter's rights. Therefore the extension of judicial power should be correlative to the extension of elected power to insure the stability of the state.
All possible offenses that a public official can commit must fall into one of the following headings:
- failure to perform what the law commands without zeal or eagerness
- failure to do what the law commands
- doing what the law forbids
There must be some positive recognizable fact to serve as the basis of judicial action.
Some regional variations in administration:
- the further south: the less active is municipal life, the less direct the influence of the population on public affairs; town meetings are less frequent and deal with fewer matters; the power of the elected official is relatively greater and that of the voter less
- farther away from New England - the more the county tends to take the place of the township as the as the center of communal life; the county becomes the administrative center and intermediary between the government and the common citizen Generally speaking, Tocqueville finds that perhaps 'the most striking feature of American public administration is its extraordinary decentralization.
The Legislative Power of the State is entrusted to two bodies:
1) the Senate: generally a legislative body, but which may at times become an administrative or judicial one.
2) the House of Representatives: has no share in administrative power and its only judicial function is to prosecute public officers before the Senate.
The purpose of the bicameral system was not to set up one house as an aristocratic body and the other as the representative of democracy, but rather to slow down the movement of the political assemblies and create an appeal tribunal for the revision of laws.
The Executive Power of the State is represented by the governor who stands beside the legislature as moderator and advisor, armed with a suspensive veto. Further roles of the governor include commander of the militia, head of the armed forces and appointing justices of the peace.
Tocqueville states that in America there is no administrative centralization, but very great centralization of government. Government centralization involved the concentration in one place or under one directing power of those interests that are common to all parts of the nation (such as enactment of general laws, national relations with foreigners). Administrative centralization, however, deals with those interests of special concern to certain parts of the nation (such as local enterprise). The former (broadly speaking) is good, and necessary for national viability. the latter in itself is bad and although it may be effective in mobilizing resources, ultimately diminishes civic spirit.
Tocqueville believes that the in the case of an enlightened population aware of their own interests the collective force of the citizens will always be better able to achieve social prosperity than the authority of the government (he believed this was the case in America). However enlightened and wise a central power might be, it is never adequately equipped to alone oversee all the details of the life of a great nation. Tocqueville credits the accomplishments of the US not to an enlightened government apparatus, but rather to strong, zealous, robust, and ambitious democratic people.
What Tocqueville most admires about America is not the administrative, but the political effects of decentralization. Each citizen takes pride in the nation and its successes, feels genuinely connected to it, and is more likely to become involved in and take a personal stake in issues commonly thought of as social (as opposed to individual). Further, while a European official stands for force, to an American the official stands for right.
As is clear in other sections of this text, Tocqueville is concerned with the potential for development of despotism within contemporary nations. He believes that democratic nations are particularly susceptible to fall prey to the despot. But among possible safeguards, he views provincial institutions and liberties as among the most effective - characteristics which he counts among America's most important features.
Why People Govern in the United States (Part II: Chapter 1)
In America the people appoint both those who make the laws and those who execute them; the people form the jury which punishes breaches of the law. The majority rules in the name of the people.
Parties in the United States (Part II: Chapter 2)
Parties take shape when there are differences between the citizens concerning matters of equal importance to all parts of the country, as is the case with the general principles of government. Tocqueville views parties as an evil inherent in free governments - which may under certain circumstances be the cause of considerable social disorder and conflict. Great parties are those more attached to principles than to consequences, to generalities rather than to particular cases, to ideas rather than personalities. Small parties are generally without political faith; neither elevated nor sustained by lofty purposes; the selfishness of their character is openly displayed in their actions. America once had great parties, but they no longer exist. After the Revolution two great parties - the Federalists and the Republicans - entered into conflict over very general significant and consequential debates over how the government of the United States should be organized. This period was characterized by the virtue and talent of leaders on both sides who were genuinely concerned with matters of principle. In Tocqueville's time, however, he believed that the parties that threatened the Union relied not on principles but material interests (especially as divided along North/South lines on matters of tariffs and slavery).
Political Association in the United States (Part II: Chapter 4)
Tocqueville believes that America has made better use of association as a powerful form of political action applied to a variety of aims than any other nation. This lies in the fact that in the US there are numerous permanent associations formed by the sheer initiative of individuals above and beyond those instituted by law. The spontaneous association of individuals arises from specific needs, whether that need be traffic control, organization of festivities, or combating moral troubles.
There are, broadly speaking, three stages of association:
1) Association simply as public and formal support of specific doctrines by a certain number of individuals who have undertaken to cooperate in a stated way to make these doctrines prevail.
2) Freedom of assembly: a political association is allowed to form centers of action at certain important places in the country and eventually its activity becomes greater and its influence more widespread.
3) Use of associations in the sphere of politics; an application of the representative system to one party
Freedom of the Press is both the principle and constitutive element of freedom in the modern world. The unlimited freedom of association, however, must not be entirely identifies with the freedom to write - for the former is both less necessary and more dangerous than the latter. In countries where associations are free, secret societies are unknown. Therefore, there are factions in America, but no conspirators (but don't ask Oliver Stone about that).
Aside from individual freedom of action, Tocqueville considers the right of association the most inalienable of rights. Unlike associations in other countries, those in America are characterized by action as well as discussion. Citizens in America who form minority associations do so in order to: 1) show their numbers and lessen the moral authority of the majority; and 2) stimulate competition, to discover the arguments most likely to make an impression on the majority. Generally speaking, political associations in the US are peaceful in their objectives and legal in their means.
'Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft' TS 191-201
Toennies classifies all human relationships in two types: living organisms and mechanical constructions. Those he sees as living organisms are the relations of Gemeinschaft, characterized by real, organic life and representing community, family, and private relations. Mechanical constructions are the relations of Gesellschaft, which are imaginary and constructed. They represent public life and society, characterized by the coexistence of independent people.
Gemeinschaft exists wherever humans are related organically through their wills. In Gemeinschaft, the perfect unity of human wills as a natural condition exists despite actual separation between people. there are three types of Gemeinschaft relationships: Kinship, Friendship, and Neighborhood.
Kinship Gemeinschaft is based on Family; the strongest relationship being between mother and child, then husband and wife, and then siblings. Gemeinschaft also exists between father and child, but this relationship is less instinctual than that of mother and child. However, the father-child relationship is the original manifestation of authority within Gemeinschaft.
Kinship develops and differentiates into the Gemeinschaft of Locality, which is based on a common habitat. there is also Friendship, or Gemeinschaft of the mind, which requires a common mental community (eg: religion).
In Gemeinschaft, authority arises from the common will and typically represents service to the people. Nonetheless, through increased or diminished duties and rights of authority, real inequalities can develop. However, they can only be increased to a certain limit until the unity of Gemeinschaft is dissolved.
Understanding in Gemeinschaft is a reciprocal sentiment, representative of people's particular will. it binds humans to a totality. From it comes natural law, which is an order of group life which assigns a function to every individual's will and incorporates his duties and privileges. language is the real instrument of understanding; it is a system of agreed upon symbols which stems from affectionate relations between people. The three foundations of Gemeinschaft -- Kinship, Locality, and Friendship, are also the three sources of understanding.
Gesellschaft, 'deals with the artificial construction of an aggregate of human beings which superficially resembles the Gemeinschaft in so far as the individuals peacefully live together' (197). yet whereas in Gemeinschaft people are united in spite of all separating factors, in Gesellschaft people are separated in in spite of all uniting factors. like Hobbes' vision of a society without authority, people live in constant tension against all others. Although the wills and spheres of individuals are in many relations with each other, they remain independent and devoid of familiar relationships. Toennies uses the concept of commercial exchange to illustrate this type of social order.
In order for an object (commodity) to have value in Gesellschaft, it must be possessed by one party to the exclusion of another and be desired by that other. The cost of an object is represented by labor, wherein each individual chooses to produce the commodity which is easiest for him to make. Thus in Gesellschaft, individuals seem to be working for the totality but are also pursuing their own interests.
Gesellschaft consists of a group of people who are capable of promising or delivering something (an activity or object). All relations are based on the comparison of possible offered services. Like objects, activities can also have value and be exchanged. Convention emerges from the exchange of activities under Gesellschaft -- it is the simple form of the general will and it is a sort of contract. For order to exist in society, freedom must be limited or altered. Outside convention, relationships among people may be conceived of as latent war (eg: unregulated commercial competition could be considered a mild degree of this).