Niðurhal 01

Porter, John 1955. Elite Groups: A Scheme for the Study of Power in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science 21(4): 498-512.

Is all societies - from societies that are meagerly developed and have barely attained the dawnings of civilization, down to the most advanced and powerful societies - two classes of people - a class that rules and a class that is ruled. The first always the less numerous, performed all political functions, monopolizes power and enjoys the advantages that power brings, whereas the second, the more numerous class is directed and controlled by the first. (Gaetano Mosca in Porter 1955: 498)

In the future, would it not be possible to automatize those political functions? I.e. a direct democracy in the form of civil algorithms.

The ideals which are widespread in the Western democracies are, first, that there is popular participation in decision-making; and, second, that class system is open, that is, that recruitment to positions of power is the result of personal achievement in a competitive society. Undoubtedly most studies in stratification and mobility are motivated by these ideals. (Porter 1955: 498)

That's the ideal, certainly, but the reality is a choice between decision-makers, with no direct involvement in decision-making. And the openness of the system seems very dubious at a time when the 1980s version of the Monopoly Man became the American president.

The term "power" is used here in much the same sense that Max Weber used the concept of authority - the probability that within a social system an individal (or a group) is in a position to carry out his will. This concept of power also requires that other actors in the system will obey the directives of the one who seeks to carry out his will. Power and legitimacy, both preconditions of social organization, are correlative terms, like rights and duties. Weber calls these preconditions "imperative control" and "imperative coordination." (Porter 1955: 498-499)

In mode condensed form, (social) power is a form of co-willing other agents, determining others' actions.

The principle of legitimacy which we take to be correlative with power is a psychological state, a complex of attitudes which people share about being subject to someone else's power. It suggests that the governed do in fact give their consent. (Porter 1955: 499)

This was pointed out to be by Elaine Scarry - consent by participation.

To a great extent consent and the sense of legitimacy spring from distotions of social realities. What Pareto calls "derivations," Mosca "the political formula," Bentham the "legal fiction," Sorel "the myth" are much the same as Plato's noble falsehood, except that many of those which have appeared in history are ignoble in that they would not satisfy ethical criteria. These systems of belief give the sense of rightness to the order of power within which masses of people live, but they need not reflect reality. They can be simply rationalizations. (Porter 1955: 499)

What is ideology?

While it has been suggested that "naked power" does not exist, subtle methods are available to modern holders of power by which they can control some of the psychological factors which constitute legitimacy. The idea of "newspeak" and "double think" through which the mental processes of subjects can be influenced by implanting stereotypes favourable to a particular power-group, is now a popular subject for fiction. There is little doubt that modern media of communication do offer immense opportunities for those in power to create or strengthen the legitimacy on which their power rests. Human beings have always resisted or rationalized the use of force against their bodies, but have not been greatly concerned in the modern period about the integrity of their minds or about protection against the force of ideas. (Porter 1955: 499-500)

Orwell. Did he concretize discourse about ideology?

Power and legitimacy being correlative, holders of power can violate civil, political, and social rights even when they are entrenched in constitutions, as long as it is widely held to be legitimate for them to do so. (Porter 1955: 500)

Donald Trump can pardon as much as his heart contends.

Power is a precondition of social organization because every social system requires individuals to take responsibilities for co-ordinating and directing the activities of the group. (Porter 1955: 500)

This is why it is impossible to "do away" with power. Even my own vision of a future of algorithmic power, coordinating and directing human activities is merely relegated to a nun-human agent, perhaps staving off abuse, bias and corruption.

Ref to R. F. Bales et al. 1951. "Channels of Communication in Small Groups" in American Sociological Review.

Anthropologists have, it is true, reported instances of primitive "democracies" where there seems to be a very minimum of co-ordination by individuals. However, since these are small groups near the subsistence level, it is probable that power lies in the interplay of personalities rather than in institutionalized roles. In such cases it is much more difficult for the field worker to isolate the element of leadership from the interaction. (Porter 1955: 501)

Isn't this the futuristic ideal? I.e. three or four people group acting as a tight-knit collective mind, ideally in supra-interaction with other such groups? Why, indeed, shoud leadership be institutionalized?

It is of of course convenient in the contemporary world to regard nation-states as the widest effective social groupings, but possibly economic systems, since they extend beyond political boundaries, are the widest effective groupings. (Porter 1955: 502)

Not sure if our new internet social groupings transcent economic systems all that much (some countries like China are cut away in a corner of the internet landscap).

If economic systems could be put on a map they would not in their entirety coincide with political systems. (The doctrines of historical materialism and imperialism hold of course that the effective groupings are indeed the economic ones. This materialist view holds that the economic function has a primacy over the others. The view here taken is that not only must all five functions be undertaken, but also that in any given case economic, political, bureaucratic, defensive, or ideological considerations might dominate.) Many ideologies are anti-economic. This is particularly true of prestige economies at the primitive level, and at the complex level, the entire leisure-class culture was considered by Veblen, for example, to be anti-economic. (Porter 1955: 502)

The latter part holds true for modern anarchists in the West whose anti-economic attitude has been well argued by Bookchin and Chomsky.

Power roles, as Parsons has pointed out, have two aspects: one is the control of facilities, the other the rewards which accrue to those in power positions. The term "facilities," which seems to be a useful one, means those objects, physical and non-physical, which the individual must control if he is to perform the task allotted to him in the social system. The rewards are necessary because the task itself does not yield pleasure - a conception which is, of course, the old notion of the disutility of labour. Frequently, however, power brings its own satisfactions apart from any economic advantage. (Porter 1955: 503)

Knowledge is power. - No, power is power.

Elite groups interact also in their clubs, and associations. Sociologists and anthropologists have, for a long time, pointed out the importance of associations in linking various groups together by a web of cross-membership. In the sense that élite associations, particularly clubs, tend to be exclusive, they become a means of consolidating power. As Mr. McWilliams has observed: "Social power is organized by exclusion." A large number of honorific posts, such as governorships of hospitals, universities, and the like constitute the cognate roles for members of élite groups. (Porter 1955: 504-505)

Nagu Tartu reformierakondlik suusaklubi.

In modern industrial systems the power of the individual, the common man, the ordinary employee, the shareholder, consists simply in withdrawing his loyalty, reneging on his fees, switching his support to a contending faction, or bargaining his votes in a proxy battle. As H. G. Wells said of the political function: "In Great Britain we do not have elections any more; we have rejections. What really happens at a general election is that the party organizations - obscure and secretive conclaves with entirely mysterious funds - appoint about twelve hundred men to be our rulers, and all that we, we so called self-governing people are permitted to do, is in a muddled angry way, to strike off the names of about half these selected gentlemen." (Porter 1955: 507)

H.C. vs. D.T. ja vastu-valimine.

The North American ideology strongly favours role allocation on the basis of achievement. The principle that the career should be open to the talented can be upheld on ethical grounds as well as on grounds of efficiency since the recruiting process should place the most able persons in élite roles. When these élite roles have been identified, and their incumbents studied, it should be possible to show to what extent allocation is by ascription or achievement and just what ascriptive criteria are important. (Porter 1955: 512)


Hexter, J. H. 1968. The English Aristocracy, Its Crises, and the English Revolution, 1558-1660. Journal of British Studies 8(1): 22-78.

Stone makes visible a revelatory pattern between a legal instrument or device and the social and cultural context in which it flourished. He is able to make it visible because an enormously wide reading of the records of the period has rendered him aware of what that culture and society were like. [...] He thus gives their intelligible place in the intricate fabric of social relations, in the pattern of culture of the period, to the passion for fancy dress, to pedigree peddling, to gambling and heiress hunting, to the arranged aristocratic marriage. (Hexter 1968: 27)

Abstract, cultural contours.

Stone has succeeded in doing what anthropologists who deal in patterns of culture often fail to do: he examines a society (or a section of a society) in flux, acted on by forces external to it and reacting on them, so that the reader can observe a society not in an artificially frozen posture but in the process of dynamic adjustment (and turmoil); and he renders understandable specific changes by relating them to the social context in which they were generated. (Hexter 1968: 27)

Permanent dynamic synchrony.

[...] he turns to describe the charms for them of that moral or at least quasi-pacific equivalent of private war, litigation. A really protracted lawsuit
would with its complexity and prolixity consume their time, their energies, and their substance for years and years on end. The very deficiencies in the machinery of the law, its great cost, its appalling slowness, its obsession with irrelevant technical details, made it an admirable instrument for the sublimation of the bellicose instincts of a leisured class. Sixteenth-century litigation combined the qualities of tedium, hardship, brutality, and injustice that tested character and endurance, with the element of pure chance that appealed to the gambler, the fear of defeat and ruin, and the hope of victory and the humiliation of the enemy. It had everything that war can offer save the delights of shedding blood. It gave shape and purpose to many otherwise empty lives. Litigation, therefore, remained the most popular of indoor sports, despite unanimous agreement upon the folly of such behaviour and the rapacity of lawyers.
(Hexter 1968: 27-28)

Tõde ja õigus.

In a society like that of Jacobean England, what are the social implications of the inflation of honors? The actual impact of the market in honors between 1603 and 1628 could scarcely have been worse than it was. For English society was status-bound, and powerfully status-conscious, built on "degree, priority and place." The observance of precedence and deference and acceptance of their legitimacy guaranteed social stability. The situation created by James and Buckingham whetted men's appetites for the gratification that any considerable upward shift in their own status would afford them. (Hexter 1968: 31)

It still is, isn't it?

As the Chosen People robbed the Pharaonic kingdom of whatever they deemed good, and as the Fathers themselves took what they found valuable from classical culture and put it to the service of the Lord, so without compunction and in a most eclectic manner, Stone takes from the economists, the sociologists, the social psychologists, or the anthropologists whatever at any particular point in his investigations seems useful and turns it to the purpose of history. On the Marxians, the Freudians, the Weberians, and the Paretans, on Veblen and Malinowski, Schumpeter and C. Wright Mills, on Aron and Titmuss, he levies tribute with fine impartiality. [...] Whenever possible, Stone follows the same sound general recipe for getting the most for his efforts, combining old-fashioned historical methods and newfangled social science notions with an offhand disregard for any sort of orthodoxy. (Hexter 1968: 34-35)

Noble sentiments of openmindedness.

Perhaps it is characteristic of minds fruitful of hypothesis that they do not regard themselves forever bound to ideas, their own or those of others, to which they committed themselves in their youth. There is in truth no reason, besides an unhealth aversion to admitting that one ever made a mistake, why scholars should so entrap themselves. [...] The courage to be found wrong is the precondition of getting anything important right. (Hexter 1968: 37-38)


By the time he finished his great study, Lawrence Stone knew this, but like the fox he knew many things. Like hedgehogs, observant contemporary Englishmen knew scarcely more than this one big thing and often did not precisely formulate what they knew, but nevertheless they knew it very well. (Hexter 1968: 58)

Animal mythologies.

Better to understand what happened and its impact on the aristocracy, one needs to examine a process of change within the social matrix of the early modern English ruling class. (Hexter 1968: 58)

Ruesch-Batesonianism in surprising places.

This social matrix may be thought of not only as a matrix of honors and a matrix of activity and influence but also as a communications network through which circulate and are exchanged the views and outlook of each group. (Hexter 1968: 59)

Inter-group processes.

No analysis of the sort favored by Stone can quite do justice to the circumstances that raised the misunderstanding and cross-purposes between the court on one side and the country gentry on the other to the crisis level, where what one regarded as communication the other deemed irrelevant and intolerable noise. Month by month, year by year, for a quarter of a century, while alienation from the country and contempt for the tastes and modes of both perception and valuation current there increased at court, misgiving, doubt, distrust, and detestation of almost everything that began in and emanated from the court rose among the country gentry. The accentuation of mutual distrust started with the accession of James or perhaps a little before. (Hexter 1968: 63)

A familiar sentiment: what is not understood is declared meaningless noise.

The increase in volume of intercommunication among the country hierarchies was itself a consequence of their better education and better information; men communicate more when they know more to communicate about. Above all, however, the impulse to create means of intercommunication among the country gentry across country lines derived from the common sense of a need for it. The need was the result of the divergence of outlook, opinion, and judgment between the court and the upper country gentry on an ever broader range of issues. (Hexter 1968: 64)

The relationship between (and the need for both) information and communication.

like its antecedent in this matter, Christian humanism, Puritanism slowly re-educated the English landed classes and reoriented and inflated their expectations both of themselves and of others. This reorientation touched many aspects of human existence. It especially touched public life. Puritanism did not create the idea of such a life; some such notion had begun to re-emerge in the Middle Ages and received further specification during the Renaissance. But for many Puritanism gave a new and special poignancy to their conception of the purpose of public life. It set the goal of that life very high, no less than the regnum Christi, the kingdom of God on earth, where His will should be done. (Hexter 1968: 64)

E.g. "Kindgom Come". This lasted probably up to the middle of the 19th century and the profane moral interregnum.

Finally, bonds of friendship, reinforced by a shared religious outlook originating in the several Puritan-dominated colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, carried over among the Puritan gentry after college days. (Hexter 1968: 67)

Finally, a Malinowskianism.

Clark, S. D. 1959. Sociology, History, and the Problem of Social Change. The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science 25(4): 389-400.

But certainly I learnt too much from George Simpson, Hilda Neatby, and the late Arthur S. Morton for it not to influence what I have to say this evening. Indeed, it was a simple saying of Professor Morton's, made here to apply to sociology, which perhaps best expresses the theme of this paper. The eyes of history, it was his saying, are geography and chronology. Tonight I want to argue that geography and chronology are the eyes of sociology as well as of history and that only by the use of both these eyes can an adequate theory of social change be developed. (Clark 1959: 389)

Neat chrono-topical metaphor.

The sociology of Thomas Hobbes was a sociology of social order. In contrast, the sociology of Herbert Spencer was a sociology of social change. (Clark 1959: 389)

Makes all too much sense.

Indeed, in Harvard University, the closeness of the tie found recognition in the establishment of the new Department of Social Relations, linking together sociology, social anthropology, and social psychology [Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown, and George Herbert Mead]. (Clark 1959: 391)

The human relationism of 1950s.

A half-century or more ago anthropology encouraged a sweeping approach to the study of the societies of primitive peoples. It was for long committed to the evolutionary theory, and in seeking support for this theory it had no hesitation in speculating about the origins of primitive forms of social organization or the way in which these forms had evolved or changed over time. (Clark 1959: 391)

This is very familiar from Spencer and his contemporaries.

If the anthropologist, concerned for the welfare of primitive peoples, has reason for viewing with disfavour anything which upsets their society, even more has the psychologist, concerned for the mental health of people generally, for viewing the disfavour anything which upsets individual personality. The psychologist tends to like that which makes for the better adjustment of the individual, for the fuller integration of his personality. A person living in harmony with his environment becomes the end of therapeutic psychology. Conflict is thought of as a destructive force in the development of personality. Organization is set over against disorganization as a measure of psychological well-being. (Clark 1959: 393)

These adjustment and integration are familiar from Ruesch.

Indeed, Talcott Parsons, in urging the importance of the small group approach to the study of social processes, seeks in effect deliberately to impose on his materials the limitations which are inherent in the material of the anthropologist and psychologist. By subjecting the small group, assembled within the laboratory, to investigation, much certainly can be learned about the way people sort themselves out in society, come to accept certain roles, and develop some sort of social hierarchy. But such a microcosmic society is a society without a history, or with a history covering a span of time no greater than the investigation itself. (Clark 1959: 393)

Again very reminiscent of Ruesch's investigation of group processes.

Certain items of culture secured, obviously, the survival of one kind of society: the society which got recorded in the anthropologist's field notes. But by the time the anthropologist was ready to leave the field, a different kind of society, even if so very slightly different, had come into being; and the items of culture which were clearly functional to the society which had been observed were not necessarily functional to this new society. (Clark 1959: 394)

One researcher wrote in the late 1980s about the changed conditions of the very island Malinowski recorded in his field notes.

No man can be certain when he is acting as a member of a family, an ethnic group, a church, or a nation. And affiliations which appear clear today may by tomorrow become confused or radically altered. Every day we awake to participate in what in effect is a different society. (Clark 1959: 395)

Society is a river?

One can read almost everything that has been written by American sociologists on social class without once coming across the nasty word "conflict." Emphasis is placed on social class as a system of order, not as a force of social division, of social change. (Clark 1959: 395)

Anthropologists have a stabilizing view of social class.

When Turner wrote his classic on the frontier in American history he put his finger on what was a very obvious fact about the development of American society: that there was a relationship between the frontier experience of American people and the forms of social organization they developed and the thoughts they came to hold. (Clark 1959: 399)

This must be what Ruesch and Bateson were referring to when discussing the influence of frontier experience.

To the social scientist belongs the much more modest task of trying to discover how one thing is related to another, or formulating principles of economic, political, and social organization from the examination of the way in which people behave, think, and feel. (Clark 1959: 399)

Lay synonyms for the ancient trivium.

MacGaffey, Wyatt 1968. Kongo and the King of the Americans. The Journal of Modern African Studies 6(2): 171-181.

French writers are vulnerable to the criticism that they are too much concerned with the logical perfection of which a given system is capable, and not sufficiently with the actual significance of beliefs and categories in daily life. Of the English it may be said that their empiricist bias disinclines them to give the same serious analytical attention to beliefs and myths as to kinship systems. (MacGaffey 1968: 171)

In curious analogy with semiology and the American pragmaticist tradition of semiotics.

In a particular case, it may well be that the system of thought does not embrace the same phenomena as among the Dogon; but the point at issue is whether beliefs and symbols, whatever their referents, form a systematic whole or merely an incoherent assemblage. (MacGaffey 1968: 171)

A very semiotic question.

Purported resurrections from the dead happen quite often; even those who entirely believe the stories are only mildly impressed by them. The spiritual is therefore not so much 'supernatural' as 'other-natural'. (MacGaffey 1968: 173)

Made me think of Jeshua.

The white inhabitants 'Europe' (Mputu), which, according to traditional belief, is located under this world, where the sun goes at night. It can be reached through the water which surrounds the earth, or by aeroplane; one version I recorded has the aeroplane flying into a hole in the ocean. The MuKongo's understanding of the relationship between these two worlds tends to follow the formula African:European::living:dead. (MacGaffey 1968: 174)

Juri Lotman has written about a similar attitude in how Russians view Europe, namely as a dead or stagnating culture in contrast to their own lively one.

McCormack, Thelma 1961. Social Theory and the Mass Media. The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science 27(4): 470-489.

No generalization is more firmly established or more familiar these days in communications research than that the mass media do not convert people from one opinion to another. They reaffirm, help to crystallize, and intensify the convictions of the believer. Often a predisposition towards one point of view is only latent or incipient, and the mass media are given some of the credit for driving this weak or unacknowledged bias towards a more conscious and more explicit expression. But the mass media cannot be said to persuade those who are genuinely neutral or those for whom non-partisanship is a form of apathy. Indeed, the message does not even reach the latter. Nor can the media persuade those whom life has taught differently. (McCormack 1961: 479-480)

What is cognitive dissonance theory and trivialization?

To read these studies is to relive those early years in American Sociology of Mead and Cooley, when the focus of inquiry was on interpersonal relationships, when communication was seen as role-playing or empathy between persons who confronted each other directly; the days, incidentally, when an anthropologist was invited to write the article on communication for the Encyclopedia of Social Science. (McCormack 1961: 480)

Participation in the other.

Discussions of urban life present a picture of interpersonal relations in marked contrast. Here the focus is on the secular and bureaucratic development of modern life. Attention is drawn to the gradual disappearance of the face-to-face relationship, the decline of those situations where people could communicate on a non-rational and non-verbal level. So inexperienced are we in traditional patterns of communication that they are now thought of as an "art" or a special discipline to be learned. (McCormack 1961: 480)

The progressive verbalization of communication.

Communications studies with their current emphasis on the primary group and urban studies which have left this model of the primary group behind - a survival, perhaps, a very important one in terms of certain of our values, but greatly transformed and in danger always of becoming that disingenuous phenomenon which Merton calls the "pseudo-Gemeinshaft" relationship. (McCormack 1961: 481)

Something akin to pseudo-phatic communion? By the looks of it, it sounds like regular phatic communion.

Marx set the stage for a social theory of the mass media. It was from Marx and later through Mannheim that ideas were examined as reflections of social systems. Knowledge, according to this view, is not autonomous, outside of culture, but socially. To be fully understood it must be examined not in terms of logic, not in terms of linguistic conventions, but as a mirror of the aspirations and anxieties of people living in a given social structure. Later Durkheim was set forth the same general proposition for primitive religions. (McCormack 1961: 481)

Basically La Barre's emotional burdens, which is actually psychoanalytic, not Marxist.

Marx never doubted that the bourgeoisie would attempt to impose its orientation and Weltanschauung on all the rest of society, but he did not expect it to succeed. The expectation was that a folk culture would become transformed into a genuine working-class culture. This, perhaps, explains in part the sentimentalism of middle-class liberals for folk music and folklore much of which patently fails to meet their own aesthetic criteria. (McCormack 1961: 482)

Viljandi Folk yo.

Marx anticipated that the proletariat might succumb to the mythology of the bourgeoisie. The term he used was "false consciousness," a denial of reality in which the ideology of a group runs counter to its economic and social interests. An exception was made for the apostate intellectual who saw the handwriting on the wall, and, having understood it, defected from his own doomed middle class to throw in his lot with the nascent revolutionary proletarian movement. (McCormack 1961: 482)


On a more superficial level, the content of the mass media belongs to the folk tradition in that it projects a Gemeinshaft universe. The "soap opera" is the classic example: a small town which never changes, isolated from events in the larger world; characters whose motivation is over-simplified - they are moral or immoral, strong or weak, good or bad; conflicts that are resolved by accident, sudden unexplained character conversions, or by the intervention of supernatural forces; in short, a closed domestic stereotyped world ruled more by fate and by faith than by cause and effect. (McCormack 1961: 486)

Mass media projects a sit-com universe.

Empirically, there is no doubt that the media meet the minimum requirements of any definition of a social institution. First, some form of media consumption is almost universal in modern societies. Second, the media outlive their audience. Third, the primary functions of the mass media are socialization and social control. (McCormack 1961: 487)

Yeah, by definition, media is an institution. What of it?

In suggesting that the functions of the mass media are socialization and social control, we do not preclude the possibility that the media may also be dysfunctional. The cases which Wertham and others have cited of the mass media contributing to delinquency or mental illness, the succestion by Klapper that the media introduce children too early to complexities in adult life which they are not prepared to comprehend, the view of Maccoby that the media set up expectations of excitement that real life can never satisfy, of Himmelweit that TV creates an image of an affluent middle-class society which most of its audience have no hope of ever realizing - these, and others, are examples of dysfunction. (McCormack 1961: 487)

All of these arguments work equally well, that is, empirically almost not at all, on video games.

One view is that other institutions have failed and that the mass media fill a vacuum created by default. For some, this is the early stages of totalitarianism from which there is no return. But for others, it is just not a very desirable solution to a lamentable situation; a surrogate parent is better than no parent, but one looks forward to the day when the absentee parent will return to resume responsibility. This is the assumption behind various proposed reforms like "group dynamics" to reactivate and reinstate that "comfy" old fashioned face-to-face relationship. It is behind our concern about "feed-back" and the passivity of audiences. It is at the root, too, of the view that artists, intellectuals, and educators can use the mass media to raise the level of public taste and curiosity so that the public will eventually liberate itself from the clutch of the mass media, a day when audience ratings will drop because the audience want authentic art and authentic education. These and similar views are derived from the assumption that the mass media are a temporary substitute for other institutions - institutions which have, for one reason or another, declined but can be made once again to function properly. (McCormack 1961: 487)

The utopian-marxist view of media?

Given this context, the unique function of the mass media is to provide both to the individual and to society a coherence, a synthesis of experienc, an awareness of the whole which does not undermine the specialization which reality requires. The supreme test of the mass media, then, is not whether it meets the criteria of art or the criteria of knowledge, but how well it provides an integration of experience. (McCormack 1961: 488)

Mass media is useful!

Tignor, Robert L. 1966. African History: The Contribution of the Social Sciences. The Journal of Modern African Studies 4(3): 349-357.

Most historians have used sociological theory only to gain insight, not with great rigour. They have learned their sociology by osmosis, so to speak. They have not gone through the social science literature, but rather have soaked it up second-hand from other interpreters. Consequently their works have not had the precision they might. (Tignor 1966: 349)

This is how I've picked up philosophy.

Using Ashanti as his model for Ghana, Apter describes the society as consummatory, that is, dominated by a set of roles and institutions designed to attain goals. This much greater emphasis upon ends rather than means, he maintains, produced a closely integrated society lacking in relatively autonomous institutions. (Tignor 1966: 352)

Leon Festinger's consummatory curiously designates communication as its own goal.

This approach has always been influential in African studies because of the theoretical writings of Bronislaw Malinowski, the famous English anthropologist, many of whose students have worked on African societies. The approach has been carried further mainly by American sociologists, in particular Talcott Parsons and his many students. Indeed, David Apter and Lloyd Fallers were both influenced in Marion Levy, himself a student of Talcott Parsons. (Tignor 1966: 353)

How famous? Find out below.

In his study of social action Parsons came to the conclusion that social action was directed towards one or the other alternative of the following five dichotomies:
Affectivity vs. Affective neutrality
Diffusion vs. Specificity
Particularism vs. Universalism
Quality vs. Performance
Collectivity orientation vs. Self-orientation
These categories are choices which all social actors (individual or collective) must make when they act in a social context. The first two describe the attitudes of the actor: that is, whether he feels considerable emotional involvement (affectivity) with another person or collectivity or very little (affective neutrality), and whether he feels general responsibility towards another person (diffusion) or limited responsibility, on the basis of a limited relationship (specificity). The second pair of dichotomies describe modes of categorising social objects: whether an object is judged because of an actor's relationship to it (particularism) or in terms of some universal or general frame of reference (universalism) and whether an object is judged on the basis of some ascriptive quality of age, sex, and so forth (quality) or on the basis of its performance or achievement (performance). The final dichotomy, much less used, relates to whether the social actor directs his action towards the group (collectivity) to which he belongs or towards himself (self-orientation). (Tignor 1966: 355)

Very reminiscent of notable structural-functionalists but also Ruesch and Morris.

Indeed, the conclusion that emerges from these studies is that modernising societies tend to favour the right-hand column of the dichotomies (affective neutrality, specificity, universalism, and performance) while pre-modern societies favour the opposite attribute. (Tignor 1966: 255)

Pretty general evaluation there.

Bradley, J. F. N. 1968. The Russian Secret Service in the First World War. Soviet Studies 20(2): 242-248.

From the studies it is clear that the Austrians had in vain tried to identify the head of the Russian intelligence service. This was sharply surprising since there was none. [...] It is obvious that the Austrians were confused about Russian intelligence arrangements. But so were the Russians, even Russian generals, themselves. (Bradley 1968: 242-243)

Why is this not surprising?

The intelligence network had to be re-organized and neutral countries became the centres of intelligence activity against Germany and Austria. The most important centres were set up in Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Switzerland. (Bradley 1968: 243)

Something one can learn from the Estonian movie, Minu Leninid ('All my Lenins', 1997).

In Norway (Kristiana) the network was headed by Prohaska(?) who had three other agents at his disposal: Rergholm alias Dahlberg, Schmalzmann and Rein, who was a dynamite specialist. (Bradley 1968: 244)

Piecing together a time-traveller narrative.

The third circuit was headed by Roczinski and was responsible for 'general espionage activity'; the fourth circuit was probably a political one. It was led by Swiatkowski, a friend of Professor T. G. Masaryk, who was also in Switzerland at this time. Swiatkowski maintained regular liaison with the Russian Ambassador, Bibikov. (Bradley 1968: 246)

Wasn't the guy who called Jakobson to Prague to establish a linguistic circle named Masaryk?

Ola, Opeyemi 1968. The Study of West African Local Government. The Journal of Modern African Studies 6(2): 233-248.

The undermentioned points are generally among those counted as the advantages of indirect rule: (i) administrative economy; (ii) psycho-cultural advantages; (iii) efficiency as a tax-collecting system; (iv) provision of some local autonomy; and (v) preservation of African culture. (Ola 1968: 234)

Parallels with current Western cultural hegemony.

Two of the available books on the subject, Stanhope White, Dan Bana (London, 1966), and Ian Brook, The One-eyed Man is King, are written by ex-District Officers with nostalgic reminiscence of Nigeria. The various accounts give a fairly clear picture of the District Officer as a diligent, dedicated, and efficient administrator, who had the closest relationship with the rural people and chiefs, but who, because of a certain amount of ambivalence in his role, suffered from the conflict of conscience which very often accompanies dual (but incompatible) loyalties. (Ola 1968: 235)

Intriguing enough.

What cultural and socio-psychological factors facilitate tax evasion and how was the problem tackled in the colonial era? What has been the pattern of interracial cultural borrowing in West Africa and what has been the impact in terms of political-system change? (Ola 1968: 238)

What is cultural appropriation?

Another interesting and important area not yet seriously studied is decision-making at the local level. This would involve a study of the power configuration within the local government system itself, including an examination of how councillors, cliques, or partisan groups use their influence in the pursuit of their personal or group interests - a sort of Lasswellian reduction of local politics to 'what gets what, when, how?' (Ola 1968: 247)

Communication-theoretical approach to the quid pro quo of power.

In fact, to the vast majority of illiterate Africans, the local government may possess more symbolic and psychological meaning. (Ola 1968: 248)

Isn't this the case nearly everywhere?9

Drake, St. Clair 1957. Some Observations on Interethnic Conflict as One Type of Intergroup Conflict. Conflict Resolution 1(2): 155-178.

Whether referred to as "a people" or a "tribe," however, the group usually isolated for study by anthropologists is, in its simplest form, a collection of families which share a distinctive culture, which had a distinctive ethos reflected in the institutional structure, the rites of passage, song, dance, legend, and myth, as well as in what Cora DuBois calls a "modal personality." Such groups possess a sense of "ethnic consciousness" and are "ethnocentric". (Drake 1957: 155)

This is the cultural personality baseline on which individual variations play.

The American Indians are an enclaved ethnic group, with subethnic groups, within a modern nation-state. In recent years there has been an increasing tendency to extend the term to refer also to groups like The American Negroes which were once truly ethnic groups but which might now be more properly referred to as racial groups under present conditions. (Drake 1957: 156)

The problem of black nationalism - no historical ethnicity to rely upon.

The history of Europe suggests a strong tendency on the part of elite groups to feel that the monoethnic state is the most desirable type of political state. Much of the history of modern Europe revolves around the pressure of ethnic groups toward the achievement of a national state. "Nationalism" has often been ethnic in content. (Drake 1957: 156)

So it is in Estonia.

Cultural anthropologists, unlike the sociologists, have devoted very little attention to the systematic study of conflict per se as a social process or mode of interaction. This differential interest may be noted by examining those familiar distillations of accrued knowledge (and idiosyncratic variations) within subject-matter fields - college textbooks. Most sociology textbooks have a chapter, or at least a long section, labeled "Conflict." Anthropology textbooks never do. (Drake 1957: 159)

The anthropological orientation towards stability and status quo.

It is possible to study the extent to which various forms of opposition (of which conflict is one) operate to break down the social system and to disorient action within the society (i.e., are dysfunctional) or contribute toward increased cultural integration and social solidarity (i.e., are "eufunctional," to use Marion Lovy's terminology). (Drake 1957: 161)

Conflict is functional?

Three propositions might be advanced from our general knowledge of African societies:
  1. For ritualized conflict to shift into violent conflict, the presence of either a unifying ideological system or a charismatic leader is necessary or both.
  2. There must be a set of circumstances which have resulted in enough disillusionment among the populace to make the masses either passive supporters or active participants in violence.
  3. There must be a belief in the high probability of a relatively successful outcome.
In South Africa, for instance, ritualized conflict has gone on for years, but the state of the system is one of suppression, not after, but before, violence. Why have not the Africans offered violent resistance? It would appear, on the surface, that, while condition b is present, neither a nor c is present. (Drake 1957: 165)

Conditions for violent resistance.

If we turn to the non-British cases where violence has been evident since the war, we note a unifying ideology - Islam - in all three territories, which has a strong violent-action potential in it. Encouragement from Egypt and other Arabic nations give some degree of high probability to winning the struggle. In the Kenya case, such as ideology is not present, but another factor common to the French situation is, viz., the presence of terrorist bands. Nowhere else in Africa, except in these four areas, has "terrorism" been highly organized. There does not seem to be any organic connection between Kenya terrorism and that in North Africa. Kenya seems to have some of the elements of a unique case in this respect - a terrorist group arising independently of the patterned terrorism of the Arab world. (Drake 1957: 166)

Not a religion of peace even a half-century ago.

The Kikuyu conceived of themselves as "owners of the land," whether it was occupied or not, since it was given to them by the mythical ancestors, Mumbi and Gikuyu, who received some of it from the high god, Ngai, who dwells on Mount Kenya; other portions were transferred to them in a sacred ritual by former occupants, the Wanderobo. For others to occupy it "defiles" the land. (Drake 1957: 167)

Gods on top of hills.

There is a tendency for some Africans, however, to fantasy sometimes about a great no-issue conflict, an African Götterdämmerung, in which both Africans and Europeans would disappear. In a few very disoriented persons this takes on the quality of what might, for want of a better term, be called a "Samson complex." (Drake 1957: 168)

God damn it.

The British made what the settlers call "a fatal blunder." Jomo Kenyatta, the old KCA leader, was allowed to come hom. During his sixteen years in Britain he had studied anthropology with Malinowski and political science with Laski, as well as Communist organizational tactics and pan-African nationalism informally. He returned as a charismatic, messianic, leadership type around whom legend grew apace. (Drake 1957: 171)

How famous was Malinowski?

What this charismatic leader's conscious role in the outbreak of violence is, is not clear; but his return disturbed the equilibrium of the system. Kenyatta set his goals as follows:
  1. To turn the entire Kikuyu ethnic group into an action group. The means was to try to have every member of the tribe take a solemn binding, self-enforcing oath, in a group situation, to support the Kenya African Union in its total program. The oath did not include a pledge to violence, but was a "blank check" oath.
(Drake 1957: 172)

Reminiscent of 1984, though that one did include pledges to throw bombs into kindergartens and so on.

Anthropologists have described patterns of conflict; but they have also been interested in analyzing conflicts between patterns. Such an analysis is concerned with "culture," an abstraction, rather than with interpersonal and intergroup relations. But conflicts of this sort come within the scope of our discussion, and they also have relevance to human interaction. The problems posed by anthropologists interested in "conflicts within the culture" might be expressed in their most general form as follows:
  1. What are the effects within a single society of conflicts between ideal cultural patterns; between behavioral cultural patterns; and between ideal and behavioral cultural patterns
    1. Upon cultural integration?
    2. Upon social solidarity?
    3. Upon personal integration?
  2. Whan generalizations can be made from a comparative study of the cultural, social, and personal effects of pattern conflicts?
All students of the acculturation process are concerned with pattern conflict and the processes by which integration of borrowed elements into an ongoing system occurs. Some students seem to be interested in this process as a primary focus of research, but more generally anthropologists are interested in the implications of pattern conflict for social solidarity (the ability of the group to act efficiently as a unit) and for personal integration. (Drake 1957: 178)

Lots of good stuff for the systems-oriented culturologist.

Irele, Abiola 1965. Négritude or Black Cultural Nationalism. The Journal of Modern African Studies 3(3): 321-348.

The only really significant expression of cultural nationalism associated with Africa - apart from small-scale local movements - is the concept of négritude, which was developed by French-speaking Negro intellectuals. Because of its extra-African connexions and implications, and because of its vigorous organisation as a movement (especially in literature) it has developed far beyond the concept of the 'African personality', which has remained more or less a catch-word, or a simple ideological slogan; whereas négritude has tendend more towards a philosophy. (Irele 1965: 321)

Something I might have heard from nondescript underground hip-hop (It's way past 2010, when do we kill whitey?).

Colonial rule also substituted new poles of reference for social organisation and individual life, which were often in conflict with the established traditional pattern, and thus created a society which, in Balandier's words, 'appeared to possess an essentially non-authentic character. In other words, colonial rule created in varying measure all over Africa a state of cultural fluctuation, in which tensions were likely to develop. (Irele 1965: 322-323)

By now this cultural flux has permeated the globe (see McJihad).

A particularly dramatic example of this spiritual recrossing of the line was the Mau-Mau revolt. This largely Kikuyu nationalist rebellion was buttressed by a resort to tradition, particularly the oath, designed to counter the influence of European cultural incursion. That this was effective in its psychological purpose can be judged from this testimony of a former Mau-Mau detainee: 'Afterwards in the maize, I felt exalted with a new spirit of power and strength. All my previous life seemed empty and meaningless. Even my education, of which I was so proud, appeared trivial beside this splendid and terrible force that had been given me. I had been born again.' (My italics.) (Irele 1965: 324)

Familiar from both 1984 and Kurbmäng Paabelis (in the latter this oath-like turn is accompanied by other changes in the personality structure of the protagonist as well as the social milieux).

Furthermore, they contain the first form of Negro religious expression; elements taken from the dominating culture of the white master were adapted to the Negro's temperament as well as re-interpreted to apply to his situation. An analogy between the history of the Jews of the Old Testament and that of the Negro slaves was struck in spirituals like 'Go Down, Moses', and thus the Negro slave's sentiment of exile found an appropriate and sociall acceptable expression. This analogy survived slavery and has been developed into the idea of a Black Diaspora, both in the popular imagination and in the intellectual movements among black people in the Americas. (Irele 1965: 326)

This would go to explain the oddly out-of-touch (with basic theology) skit on Kendrick Lamar's DAMN where a black minister says that the black people are the chosen people of Jerusalem.

Herskovits describes how 'the myth of the Negro past' conditioned the life of the Negro in the U.S.A.:
For though it has often been pointed out that the skin colour fo the Negro makes him an all too visible mark for prejudice, it is not so well realised that the accepted opinion of the nature of the Negro's cultural heritage is what makes him the only element in the peopling of the United States that has no operative past except in bondage.
The extension of colonial conquest in Africa all through the nineteenth and the early years of the twentieth century lent weight to the idea of Africa, and by extension, Negro inferiority, and gave rise to the imperialist ideologies embodied in Kipling's well-known slogan, 'the white man's burden'. Greater still was the effect of these events upon the Negro population in the U.S.A., deprived of any worth-while historical tradition. (Irele 1965: 327-328)

More on the lack of black history.

Ethnic feelings were manifested in popular and cultural movements, which were partly dictated by economic and social factors, and partly by the reaction of black people to Brazilian 'aesthetic prejudice', as it has been called, against the black colour, as distinct from racial prejudice against black people. (Irele 1965: 330)

Recall the statistics that black women are the least desired demographic of sexual partners in America.

The outstanding figure in Negro intellectual life in the U.S.A. during this period was W.E.B. Du Bois. He was the first to analyse with clarity the ambiguous social position of the Negro in the U.S.A. In his book, The Souls of Black Folk, which first appeared in 1903, the conflict in the Negro's mind was set out in these pathetic yet vigorous terms:
It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, measuring one's soul by the tape of the world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness - an American, a Negro: two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals, in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
This sentiment of alienation furnished the incentive that led Du Bois to a passionate analysis of the distinctive aspects of Negro life and history in the U.S.A. (Irele 1965: 333)

Cooley's looking-glass-self appeared approximately at the same time.

The writings of American Negroes were known outside the U.S.A. and commented upon by Negro intellectuals in France and the Carribean. Besides, the renaissance not only exported its writings, but also some of its personalities. McKay, Cullen, and Hughes travelled in France, and a flow of Negro expatriates to that country started a Negro renaissance in Paris, with Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet as the leading musical personalities. Richard Wright was later to become a prominent Negro expatriate in France. Negro intellectuals in France thus had opportunities of meeting their American counterparts. (Irele 1965: 335)

Kanye West had a song about something of the sort.

Toussaint Louverture's revolution is San Domingo was founded, by a similar process, on the ideals of the French Revolution. A powerful emotional inspiration of nationalism was thus a disaffection for the white man, judged against his own principles. (Irele 1965: 338)

Words and deeds.

Marxism, on the other hand, presented a comprehensive framework of social and political ideas. In Marxist concepts such as 'the principle of contradiction', 'alienation', and 'the class struggle', black intellectuals found ready instruments of social analysis applicable to the colonial and 'para-colonial' situation. (Irele 1965: 340)

A considerable portion of the black liberation movement is still vehemently cultural-marxist.

Words don't come easy

Still while all this is new and fresh in substance, it is not particularly newfangled or new-fashioned in form or (to submit to current jabberwocky) in methodology. [...] Since like modern paper money the necessary certificates of honor can be inexensively produced at the ruler's command, once honors become venal, the ptemptation and pressures to flood the market with them are very strong. [...] By and large in his dealings with statistics, he is a paragon of openmindedness, ready to use them for about what they are worth in particular cases, uninhibited either by the humanistic snobbishness of those who in the period of their gestation as historians appear to have absorbed a prenatal dread of numbers or by the scientific priggery which conceives that a pure worship of quantities is not only adequate but a necessary surrogate for historical understanding and imagination. [...] If Stone's free and easy way of deploying conceptions from the social sciences in historical analysis induces frissons of horror among the faithful band of "pure" historians for whom social scientists are unclean, his free and easy way of picking up and using these concepts probably inflicts an equivalent dismay on the purer social scientist. [...] The sheer mass of work Stone shouldered in the fourteen years his book was aborning would surely have filled the entire scholarly careers of several reasonably energetic investigators. [...] In chapter iv, "Economic Change," he fires salvo after salvo of these statistics at his enemies of old. [...] The attempt to eke out this information from tax returns which "it is self-evident ... must be treated with extreme caution" does not seem promising enough to provide a very solid base for a broad general argument, although it may cautiously be put to a number of specific uses. [...] This would make possible the computations needed, if for those thirty-three families (still a pretty satisfactory sample) there were a decennial purchase and sale table like that given above for forty-two families. [...] The temptations to sell grew stronger with the rising value of land; and in their absence of strict settlements to protect heirs from the spendthrift fathers, and especially from the spendthrift brothers, uncles, or cousins from whom they inherited, who did not particularly like and sometimes particularly disliked their successors, selling was easy. [...] Their individual responses to their troubles varied - from those of the unreformed wastrels who tried the desperate remedy or rebellion in the Essex conspiracy to that of the remarkable reformed one, the Earl of Northumberland, who improved years of imprisonment by an almost excessive indulgence in estate management so successful that in 1641 his heir was one of the five richest peers in England. [...] Most likely his energy, his integrity to his evidence, and his impatience wearied him of whittling his findings down to fit the exiguous dimensions of his initial hypothesis, "that the difficulties of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century aristocracy were at bottom financial." [...] and finally the growing psychological breach between Court and Country in attitudes, real or supposed, towards constitutional theory, methods and scale of taxation, forms of worship, aesthetic tastes, financial probity, and sexual morality. [...] In James's last days the young lover of the doting, doddering homosexual King took all, and he continued to take all for four years more as favorite of James's son and successor. [...] Under the circumstances of the 1580s religious divergence did not exacerbate the tendency of court and country to polarize into two cultures incompatible and at loggerheads with each other, unable either to communicate effectively across the gulf between them or to unite their energies in a joint enterprise. [...] With so exalted an end, Puritanism made very severe demands of those who took part in ruling the English commonweal [sic], the Elect Nation of God, the cynosure of the faithful everywhere, "as a City on a Hill." [...] Supposing the foregoing description of the transformation of the political scene in about four decades to be reasonably accurate, adequately to document it would require years of work in published sources, national and local archives, and private muniments. [...] A letter from a devout dowager to Sir Simonds D'Ewes about her step-grandson, Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston, the leading gentleman and leading Puritan in Suffolk, further illustrates the transvaluation of values that took place in the days of the early Stuarts. [...] Specifically, it ran athwart the statistics and mathematics of the peerage in Parliament. [...] For them the House of Lords, like a lady of easy virtue, was often in demand, usually available, but never wholly to be trusted. [...] Second, the search coincided with a growing conviction that to count as a "real" revolution, any lapse of a relatively stable human community into long internecine war involving the disruption, displacement, or alteration of the prime center of accepted authority had to be a social revolution. [...] There is after all no evidence whatever that merely by choosing a "big subject," a historian adds a cubit to his stature. (Hexter 1968)
Where in the grand manner of a Harry Elmer Barnes the sociologist has made of the historian a hewer of wood and drawer of water the result has been to produce bad history and bad sociology; few sociologists would subscribe today to such an unprofitable exploitation of the labours of their historical colleagues. (Clark 1959)
Traditional ethnographic phrases such as 'among the BaKongo it is believed that so-and-so' traduce this reality; the individual is not an automaton. [...] In the interim he harrowed America; that is, he crossed to the land of the dead to bring them also the message of salvation. [...] Kitawala was more influential in the Kimbanguism of the western Congo than has generally been recognised, but this influence cannot reasonably expand the generality of the ideas I have described, as found in milieux remote from direct Kitawala contact, nor their congruence in form and substance with representations which clearly antedate Watchtower in Africa. (MacGaffey 1968)
If this was true for formal systems of ideas, philosopies and science, if it was true for systems like religion which have a historical continuity, it would be even more true for informal systems of belief which are spontaneous, transient, pragmatic, and close to the vagaries of experience. (McCormack 1961)
In the Middle East and Asia and Africa, ethnic groups are often found living side by side in symbiotic relationship or as tolerated millets or enclaves in an organized society of dominant ethnics. [...] Where homogeneous monoethnic states have come into being, irredentist movements often appear, or pan-movements arise, cultivating the myth of "One People" who should be organized into one powerful political entitiy. [...] Two European colonies and two Dutch republics were federated shorty before World War I to form a commonwealth nation in which a European minority lived in an uneasy stage of nascent conflict with an African majority and two marginal ethnic groups - Asians and Coloureds. [...] They can secure grist for their own theoretical mills without having first to shuck off the husks of somebody else's terminology. [...] the desire of the Europeans to buy labour cheap and the Africans to sell it dear, or to refrain from entering the labor market at all; [...] Settlers: "defenders of civilization on a far frontier, misunderstood by our kith and kin back home, but prepared to cast off the leading strings if necessary and to set up an ethnic caste state" [...] Two groups of independent African churches, each a split away from European missions because those missions opposed ritual clitoridectomy and polygyny, were organized. [...] But the most significant straw in the wind was the emergence, among other less Westernized groups, of chiliastic utopian organizations parallel to the Kikuyu political organization. [...] At times, the affray seemed like a no-issue conflict. (Drake 1957)
Its visionary nature, springing in part from the historic dimensions of his conception and in part from his remoteness from Africa itself, necessarily informed his movement with a strong millenary strain, and his last directions to his followers from his Atlanta jail were characteristic. [...] The acculturative process was irremediable. [...] Meanwhile, in 1948 Senghor had brought together the first lyrical expression of the movement, with an introduction in which he expatiated on the concept of négritude. (Irele 1965)


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