Charles Tilly University of Michigan July 1983

Prepared for Publication by the Russell Sage Foundation

Chapter 1 : Intellectual Equipnent Worrying About Social Change Thinkers Face Change What was Happening? Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge comparisons
: Four Pernicious Postulates Chapter 2

False Principles Society as a Thing Apart Individuals as Basic Social Units "Social Change" as a Coherent Phenomenon Differentiation as a Prqressive Plaster Prccess Chapter 3 : Four More Pernicious Postulates Stage Theories Differentiation vs. Integration Change, Strain, Disorder Legitimate vs. Illegitimate Force Ways of Seeing Looking at Comparisons

: Individualizing Comparisons Chapter 4
The Will to Individualize Kings or People? Cracks in the Foundation

Chapter 5 : Universalizing Comparisons The Decline of Natural History Models of Revolution Theda Skocpol's Revolutions Chapter 6 : Generalizing Comparisons How and When to Generalize No Safety in Numbers Barrington Moore Compares

: Encompassing Comparisons Chapter 7
Encompassing the World Stein Rokkan Encompasses Rokkan's "Conceptual Maps of Europe" What's Wrong? What Should We Do About It? Chapter 8 : Conclusions The Tasks at Hand Bib1iography

Germany.e r i c h sent in remarks on a related worry: "Now &ilo replenish t l e i r rsnks with moderation and are purely conservative. both writers feared the growth of a dissolute proletariat. Weinmann. for example. thereby promoting dissolution. and Big Structures 1 . thoughts with King Maximilian of Bavaria.C W E R 1 : INTELLECTUAL EQUIPMENT Worrying About Social Change "Machines are ruining all classes. if an escape valve is not opened. migration of surplus rural people." declared Johann Weinmann in 1849. rebellion. furthermore. mechanization. will soon demand to divide up the property of the wealthy'' (Shorter 1969: 201). and the consequent rapid growth of cities were creating new dangers for political and moral order. the ruination of youth. master stocking knitter in Erlangen. the inducer of luxury. The middleiclass essayists felt that heedless breeding of the proletariat. Weinmann's reply arrived From Ansbach. and soon the companion of . the lower classes are thriving only too greatly and an enormous proletariat is growing up that. Three themes reverberated through the entries to King Max's contest: overpopulation. Although Seiffert did not share Weinmann's concern about machines. and immorality. They argued. Many of them felt that machines threatened humanity. general upheavaln (Shorter 1969: 206). the populator of the workhouse. that the combination of overpopulation with mechanization dissolved old social controls. the spoiler of the forests. police official Carl Seiffert +. Weinmann was. of all things. King Max had established an essay contest on the topic of long-term remedies for material distress in Bavaria and in Germany as a whole. and warned of its threat to pub1ic order. crime.h. described the machine as "the destroyer of households. sharing his In the shadow of 1848's revolution. with over 600 others.

So they thought. essentials. At the large scale. What was disorder? At the small scale. At either scale. immorality. Their analyses did not differ fundamentally from the position Freiherr vom Stein had taken when addressing the Westphalian Parliament in 1831. insubordination. the mechanization of industry." class. crime. Nor were master stockingers and police officials the only people to see a contest between differentiation and integration. marginals. i s forming in our cities out of a homeless. madness. Traditional ways were disintegrating. They nurture and feed the envy and covetousness bred by various other ranks of civil society. popular violence. and day-laborers. he died later that same year. settlers. or to the extent that integration weakened. the restiveness of the poor. squatters. The present condition of France shows us how seriously property and persons are threatened when all ranks on earth Big Structures 2 . Putting such things together. propertyless rabble and in the countryside from the mass of little cotters. class conflict. that bourgeois analysis posited an unending race between forces of differentiation and forces of integration. a victory of differentiation over integration prod~ceda threat to bourgeois security. To the extent that differentiation proceeded faster than social integration.'I he declared. disorder resulted. Honest nineteenth-century burghers found many things about their century puzzling and distressing: the rapid growth of cities.violence. Stein spoke of the "danger developing with the "This growth in numbers and claims of the lowest class of civil society. they In its created a commonsense analysis of social change and its consequences. The Freiherr was ending decades of public life. popular rebellion.

paternal control within the rural household had dissolved. " (Hamerow 1958: 69) . of industry against agriculture. and the constitutional reforms instituted at the start of the century. love. who go out into the world" (Jantke & Hilger 1965: 136). Suddenly we see the distinction between modulated Big Structures 3 . and disorder flourished. and to find the town with the least discipline. revolution (of 1830) in France made the dire consequences all too plain. At the end of his long public life. young rustics considered themselves anyone' s equal. thought Marwitz. With his ally Hardenberg. Stein's warning has its ironies. the Freiherr himself had initiated Prussia's steps toward the liberation of the peasantry. clash of parties undermines every constitution (Jantke ~ilger1965: 133). Indeed.are made equal. but especially the worst a?d laziest. love.. after all. and therefore increasing the differentiation of classes as it spread the demand for equality. great landlord General von der Marwitz was to complain a few years later that Stein himself had begun "the war of the propertyless against property. religious and intellectual development are Without such a base the & the foundations of public and personal happiness. The mechanisms of integration . Fidelity. Because of the destruction of lordly authority over the rural population. according to this analysis.. was swelling the dangerous classes. Population growth. where the apprentice plays master at the inn. the relaxation of restrictions an the exercise of various trades. Differentiation overwhelmed integration."Fidelity. of the transitory against the stable. Thus it is no longer the best. and youngsters "want nothing more than to leave their home towns as fast as possible. religious The recent and intellectual development' - failed before the onslaught. of crass materialism against the divinely established order .

- so long as it acted in the As a social reformer a?d surveyor. however.threatened to overwhelm the political and The basic analysis. the . identifying the As an rise of the working class with die Sozialbewegunq. one could consider the growth of the proletariat inevitable. could take on tones ranging from radical to reactionary.conservative caution and genuine reactionary hysteria. Marwitz. Stein the reforming conservative and Proudhon the anarchisant socialist actually held similar commonsense analyses of social change and its consequences. Consider Alexis de Tocqueville's famous summary of factors behind the French Revolution of 1848. as he set them down in Big Structures 4 .as creative force. a balance between the forces of differentiation and of integration determines the extent of disorder. they joined many of their nineteenth-century fellows. Yet they have a common theme. and accept misery and disorder as costs of progress. As a conservative or reactionary. laissez-faire As a liberal. one could argue that if the growth of a proletariat caused disorder it was not because of the dissolution of social bonds or the diffusion of envy. one could value the change greatly. costs to be contained but never quite eliminated. and other nine- teenth-century conservatives. b??t kcause sheer misery caused despair. the Social Movement. In those analyses. anarchist. one could value integration so much that any substantial change seemed threatening. - in particular. contemporary social change growth of a masterless proletariat moral bases of public order. and despair caused desperate action. Thinkers Face Change In all these views. To Stein. finally. one could regard the disorder itself right direction -. As a radical.

had fallen . not to mention a multitude of secondary shocks (Tocqueville 1978: 113-114). the contemporary state theories of states. The centralization that reduced the whole revolutionary action to seizing control of Paris and taking hold of the assembled machinery of government. that one could eliminate poverty by changing the system of taxation. For all his deep sophistication. agitated that multitude more and more. ~ocqueville clung interpretation of social'change and its consequences. sociologists theories of those societies that contained national states.The industrial revolution that in thirty years had made Paris the chief manufacturing city of France and had brought within its walls a whole new mass of workers to whom work on fortifications had added another mass of unemployed agricultural workers. Finally. political scientists In his opinion. industrial expansion and population mobility represented social changes that challenged the state's integrative power. Big Structures 5 . The contempt in that the governing class. and the consequences of their growth grew the disciplines of social science as we know them. the mobility of everything -. had failed the test.institutions. and especially those at its head. and fomented in it the democratic illness of envy. with economists obsessed by markets. to the commonsense In his thinking on 1848. The love of material satisfactions that. national states.contempt so deep and general that it paralyzed the resistance of even those who had the greatest reason for maintaining the power that was being overthrown. Economists constructed theories of capitalism. and men in a moving society that had been stirred up by seven great revolutions in less than sixty years. customs. anthropologists theories of stateless societies. Newborn economic and political theories that tended to make people think that human misery was a result of laws and not of providence. with encouragement from the government. Each discipline bore marks of its birthdate. Out of such nineteenth-century reflections on capitalism. ideas.

political scientists concerned by citizen-state interactions. 4 . rather than the social relationship. 6 . primary and secondary groups. explicable en bloc. murder. explanations of social phenomena ultimately depend on explanations of individual mental events. Big Structures 6 . 2 . A wide variety of disapproved behavior - including madness. these principles: 1 . each having its more or less autonomous culture. economy. "Social change" is a coherent general phenomenon. is the elementary social unit. all disciplines dipped into their century's evolutionary thinking to some degree. 3. 5 . increasing The problem differentiation posed a difficult problem of social integration. as individualism. Nevertheless. each more advanced than the previous stage. or as something else . For all of them. mechanistic and organic solidarity. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. sociologists worried by the maintenance of social order. inevitable logic of large-scale change. and solidarity. as interest groups. differentiation leads to advancement. rapid or excessive differentiation produces disorder. F r ~ ma mlstakor! roadifig of nir!etoer!thicefit?1rtf social.took on the air of a general historical law. They include "Society" is a thing apart. changes'energed the eight Pernicious Postulates of twentieth-century social thought. The state of social order depends on the balance between processes of differentiation and processes of integration or control. The individual. The main processes of large-scale social change take distinct societies through a succession of standard stages. 7 . the world as a whole divides into distinct "societies".as specialized production. government. appeared clearly in the great sociological dichotomies: status and contract. increasing differentiation -. For all of them. and anthropologists bemused by cultural evolution toward the fully-developed world of the nineteenth century. Differentation forms the dominant.

the more coercion by officials resembles coercion by criminals. crime. processes of integration and control on . by means of coercion and To the extent that they still promulgate these persuasion. they express the will of powerholders actual or would-be We will - . which in turn creates alternative forms of disorder as a function of the available avenues of escape. It is simply not true that rapid social change produces generalized strain. state violence resembles private violence. and to some of them the question of differentiation is secondary or even irrelevant. The more closely we look. and rebellion produced by excessively rapid social change. suicide. but consist of "Social change" is not a general relationships among individuals and groups. the social sciences of the twentieth century remain the bearers of nine- Big Structures 7 . at a minimum cost. Although differentiation is certainly one important process of change. exist. Social structures do not concatenate individuals. many of the fundamental changes in our era actually entail de-differentiation. return to these difficulties repeatedly later on.drunkenness. "Illegitimate" and "leqitimaten forms of conflict. ideas. authorized expropriation resembles theft. the other. there i s no "society" that somehow exercises social control and embodies shared conceptions of reality. Stage theories of social change assume an internal coherence and a standardization of experiences that disappear at the first observation of real social life. and expropriation result from essentially different processes: processes of change and disorder on one improve the people around them. The difficulties continue. but a catchall name for very different processes varying greatly in their connection to each other. All eight are mistakes. indeed. - result from the strain 8 . coercion. Although national states do. The eight illusions connect neatly. process.

Big Structures 8 . Lhring the nineteenth century. a t a minimum. a s the producers i n households and small shops had In t h a t e r a of p r o l i f e r a t i o n of semi-independent accounted f o r most of the l a r g e increase in manufacturing. What Was Happening? Nineteenth-entury - European observers were n e t kmng. capital concentrated. mercantile capitalism. Although regional labor markets and long-distance c i r c u i t s deposited a residue of migrants i n cities. mortality. but had moved mainly within regional labor markets o r i n g r e a t systems of c i r c u l a r migration. in contrast. Capital therefore accumulated more than it concentrated.teenth-century f o l k wisdom. e s t a b l i s h household censuses. i n d u s t r i a l expansion The rapidly multiplying had occurred mainly i n small towns and r u r a l areas. nevert!!eless. c a p i t a l i s t s had acted mainly a s merchants rather than d i r e c t supervisors of manufacturing. t h e European population had been very mobile. A combination of mutual criticism and accumulated evidence has made it c l e a r t h a t the e i g h t g r e a t nineteenth-century p o s t u l a t e s a r e i l l u s i o n s . and migration combined t o produce no more than modest urban growth. Fortunately. t h e s o c i a l sciences t h a t formed i n the nineteenth century a l s o took observation seriously. many c i t i e s l o s t population when the pace of a c t i v i t y i n t h e i r hinterlands slowed. Much t h e same s p i r i t t h a t brought burghers and bureaucrats t o worry about r i s i n g disorder induced s o c i a l reformers and o f f i c i a l s t o undertake surveys of l i v i n g conditions. a n a l y s t s had t o explain away t h e contrary evidence. t o think t h a t g r e a t changes were happening. and publish documented d e s c r i p t i o n s of s o c i a l l i f e . However faulty. f e r t i l i t y . c o l l e c t s t a t i s t i c s . t h e r e s u l t s of s o c i a l i n q u i r i e s set challenges t o theories of s o c i a l change. For several centuries. Indeed.

and towns toward manufacturing cities and industrial employment.Capitalists took direct hold over the processes of production. villages. and industrial cities. we write t h i s history as the story of technical improvements in production. the process of proletarianization that had Large firms employing increasingly important long been at work in the countryside moved to the city. Workers migrated from industrial hamlets. machines. and differences between country and city accentuated. the technological account postulates an "industrial revolution" depending on a rapid shift to grouped machine production fueled by inanimate sources of energy." however. large areas of the countryside deindustrialized. should fix on the separation of labor from the means of production and the incessant conversion of surplus value into fixed capital as virtual laws of nature. and draws attention away from the great transformation of relations between capital and labor that marked the century. Small wonder that Karl Marx. As results of this urban implosion of capital. became the Accordingly. cities increased rapidly. disciplined wage-workers in urban locations became worksites. net rural-urban migration accelerated. Big Structures 9 . To date industrialization from the developnent of the factory. rather than exchange. Sometimes. and dates "industrialization" from that proliferation of factories. observing these very processes. and located them increasingly near markets and sources of energy or raw materials instead of near supplies of self-sustaining labor. At its extreme. exaggerates the importance of technological changes. in fact. To call these changes an "industrial revolution. furthermore. as displaced agricultural workers moved into urban services and unskilled labor. nexus of capitalism. Mechanization of production facilitated the concentration of capital and the subordination of labor. Production.

wre wney. or in alliance with them. Their preparations for war had become so extensive and costly that military expenditure and payments for war debts occupied the largest shares of most state budgets. It also hides the vast deindustrialization of the European countryside that accompanied the nineteenth-century implosion of manufacturing into cities. Ordinary people carried on an active political When they did get life. however. supplies. involved in national struggles for power. continued to rule indirectly. food. all this changed. it ordinarily happened through the mediation of local notables.relegates to nothingness centuries of expansion in manufacturing via the multiplication of small producing units linked by merchant capitalists. By the second half of the eighteenth century. collection of revenues. much of the business of national authorities consisted of negotiating with local and regional notables. European states were likewise entering a new era. and maintenance of public order. it less often pitted members of the European state system against one another. For routine enforcement of their decisions. They retained plenty of room for maneuver on behalf of their own interests. Big Structures 10 . The strongest states had built great apparatuses for the extraction from their populations of the means of war: conscripts. With the nineteenth century. As a result. they depended mainly on local notables. but almost entirely on a local or regional level. The notables did not derive their power or tenure from the pleasure of superiors in the governmental hierarchy. Those states. I . 'and more often involved conquest outside of Europe. national states had made themselves the dominant organizations in most parts of Europe. As capitalism was undergoing fundamental alterations. Although war kept on getting more costly and destructive. mnneyi = m y i and .

likewise. and huge comparisons among social experiences crystallized.population and vigorous attempts to forestall rebellion and resistance.Revolutionary and reformist governments extended their direct rule to individual communities and even to households. states took on responsibilities for public services. changes. statemakers helped create representative institutions. binding national elections. goods. and household welfare to degrees never previously attained. economic infrastructure. from violent reactions against rebellion and resistance as they occurred toward active surveillance of the . Urge Processes. Understanding those changes and their consequences i s our most pressing reason for undertaking the systematic study of big structures and large Big Structures 11 . The managers of national states shifted from reactive to active repression. notables lost much of their effectiveness and attractiveness as intermediaries in the attempts of ordinary people to realize their interests. they marked critical moments in changes that are continuing on a world scale today. large social processes. Euge Comparisons Those were the nineteenth century's great Nineteenth-century Europe's great shifts in organization set the frame for this book in two complementary ways. to state ends. Big Structures. As a consequence. those shifts formed the context in which our current standard ideas for the analysis of big social structures. and put functionaries in their places. Second. First. Under pressure from their constituents. All these activities supplanted autonomous local or regional notables. and a variety of means by which ordinary people could participate routinely in national politics. In the process of bargaining with ordinary people for their acquiescence and their surrender of resources labor power - - money.

With capitalism and the state in rapid transformation. Big Structures 12 . and people as their referents and in testing the coherence of the postulated structures and processes against the experiences of real times. nineteenth-century European burghers. if we cannot usefully reduce social proceses to the sum of individual experiences. What should we do? We should build concrete and historical analyses of the big structures and large processes that shape our era. where we are going. even desperate. places. if there i consequences we can usefully model. Their bequeathing to us of mistaken ideas about the origins and character of the transformations they were experiencing does not gainsay either the fact of change or the importance of understanding it. If t. They made serious. but also help in the identification of causes and effects.processes. each undergoing similar processes of change in partial independence from the others misleads us. and powerholders had good cause to worry about social change. Systematic comparison of structures and processes will not only place our own situation in perspective. The analyses should be concrete in having real times. much of the intellectual apparatus social scientists have inherited from the nineteenth century will not work. intellectuals. if the picture of the world as an ensemble of coherent societies. and what real alternatives to our present condition exist. efforts to understand what was happening to them. We n~ust look at them comparatively over substantial blocks of space and time.h_e notion of a contest between differentiation and integration fails us. if the analytic distinction between legitimate and illegitimate varieties of coercion blocks our comprehension of political s no general phenomenon of social change whose sequences and processes. in order to see whence we have come.

In the case of western countries over the last few hundred years. and is changing? 2 .places.that when things happen within a sequence affects how they happen. that every structure or process constitutes a series of choice points. it asks: For western 1. It goes on by following the creation and destruction of different sorts of structures by capitalism and statemaking. and people within those two master processes. countries in recent centuries. What fundamental largescale processes must we distinguish in order to understand how that world has changed. migration. urbanization. sciences that prod. but a rewarding one. How do those processes relate to each other? 3 . and people. I reason mainly from a series of outstanding works that have addressed them in recent years. Outcomes at a given point in time constrain possible outcomes at later points in time. connected national states dominated all other social processes and shaped all social structures.uce the largest volume Big Structures 13 - - . then tracing the relationship of other processes - for example. Most of my examples will come Those are the two fields of the social of self-conscious large-scale. and working out the loqics of the processes. - to capitalism and statemaking. the program begins by recognizing that the development of capitalism and the formation of powerful. The program continues by locating times. and in recognizing from the outset that time matters . from sociology and political science. fertility change. places. They should be historical in limiting their scope to an era bounded by the playing out of certain well-defined processes. A This book makes only a small contribution to the program. and household formation demanding program. What social structures experience those processes? In trying to answer these questions.

and huge comparisonsn. a sketch of for comparison of big structures and large processes.comparative research on social structures and processes. of them poses special problems deserving discussion by themselves. For the most part. a discussion of alternative strategies Finally. answers to the three grand questions just posed. for interrogation and shaming. a from review of the eight misleading postulates we have inherited nineteenth-century social science. the bibliography contains enough references on these matters for someone to start a campaign of systematic reading. economics. time. like prisoners from their cells. Big Structures 14 . I regret my relative But each neglect of anthropology. I have veered away from many problems other authors might reasonably take up under the headings "big structures. little treatment of existing models of migration. In the pages to come. Then. population growth. not much on techniques or evidence. I think. but they. especially. In compensation. First. You will find no reviews of previous works on comparative analysis.willstay in the dark. Some other In aiming a small book at large questions. I will resist the temptation to trot out examples of bad comparative analysis. Do those omissions leave anything to talk about? Plenty. many convicts languish deservedly in those cells. you will find little discussion of the logic of comparison as such. history. geography and. large processes. capital accmulationj and other large processes. "strategies for the comparative study of big structures and large processes" comes closer to my intentions.

with social scientists based in the Third World. Let us discard the ideas of society as a thing apart and of societies as overarching entities. the attempt to reconstruct the processes that created our contemporary ways of life. we will want to save the belief in intelligible patterns of social interaction. collective enterprise. conflict. overdecorated. inevitable logic of social change. we will also want tn +_row c??tand strip dow. of a sharp separation between legitimate and illegitimate forms of coercion. cluttered. of disorder itself as a general phenomenon resulting from the strain of rapid social change. of a contest between differentiation and integration as the source of order and disorder.CHAETER 2 : E'OUR PERNICIOUS POSTULATES E'alse Principles The nineteenth century's legacy to twentieth century social scientists resembles an old house inherited from a rich aunt: worn. the eight pernicious postulates have lost some of their hold. the hope that disciplined observation will make those patterns more intelligible. such as Marx's theory of capital accumulation. To reduce the clutter. but probably salvageable. In recent years. We will want to hold on But to a few specific theories. of social change as a single coherent phenomenon. of standard stages through which societies develop. of the individual as the basic social unit. ~ppraisingthe old structure.. the search for fundamental structures and processes. and expropriation. The encounters of European and American social scientists with the Third World. of differentiation as the dominant. and with critics of their Big Structures 15 . false general principles derived from the bourgeois reaction to nineteenth-entury changes should be the first to go. and the organization of these inquiries as a cumulative.

"Maladjustment reveals itself in the three classes. other (Echavarria and Hauser 1961: 5 The language is guarded. in the individual. and their modes of feeling and thought. that the growing slums of Third World cities bred crime and disorder. I can hardly suppress a Big Structures 16 . 3) excessively rapid changes. conforms to the nineteenth century postulates. but the argument's lineaments are clear. as a lack of norms. Chile classified the "problems arising in modern countries as a result of the formation of an industrial society" as 1) dissolution without replacement of traditional structures." concluded the rapporteurs. 2) appearance of contradictory social structures facing individuals with contradictory requirements. the individual may find himself deprived of one or the 4 ) . for example. They may be the stricter norms of the traditional society or the more elastic criteria of choice which are typical of an industrial society. i x ! l ~ + i n g +.own governments' involvements in the Third World have shaken all the postulates to some degree. The summary report of a 1959 international seminar in Santiago. In the 1950s. the individual needs adequate inner resiliency: the application of prescribed solutions or the manoeuvering of different selective criteria. international meetings of experts on Third World urbanization and industrialization almost always concluded that rapid change was increasing the likelihood of rebellion and protest in Third World countries.@so of m s s rural migration. it Turning to the comparable literature of the 1970s. or anomy. In general. however. During a period of transition. that excessive migration to cities by people forced off the land was producing an explosive urban situation. In any event. People's behaviour is always conditioned by a number of frames of reference which guide their actions.

and to the possibility of increased collective action and protest focused on the state by the urban poor who have continually been denied access to adequate housing. .e r ecsnsxy. overurbanization. to ir.creasir. only to wake up twenty years later. What if the participants in the 1959 meeting had all fallen fast asleep (at the plenary session of an international conference. capitalist penetration appears to shape the process of urbanization It leads to the eventual in the Third World in several distinctive. "In . in the midst of another international conference? What a shock for them! Consider the proceedings of a 1978 conclave in Delhi: The reports and general statements bristle with ideas of dependency. whle the autonomy of the state i foreign intervention." comments the volume's editor. of survival strategies for the poor and powerless. where in many areas it is just beginning (Safa 1982: 13) Some of the old problems and words remain.g interiial differentiation within cities. This process has developed much further in Latin America.31 sectors ~f +. debatable terms.ways.fantasy. which has experienced a longer history of capitalist penetration than Africa or Asia. and excessively rapid change have disappeared. Yet the basic orientation has changed. of capitalist penetration. . the discussion still deals with disintegration and differentiation. education and other necessities. not an unthinkable event). Big Structures 17 . to increasing articulation between the formal and Infam. disintegration of the rural subsistence sector and increasing reliance on the urban informal economy. maladjustment. summary. to increasing demands on the state for public services and s simultaneously weakened by infrastructure. The vocabulary still includes plenty of Ideas of anomie. including differentiation within caste or ethnic groups. jobs.

while many participants take for granted that the most pressing theoretical problems are to connect local events to international structures of power and to improve existing models of those international structures. Since the 1950s, in short, the classic themes have almost disappeared from scholarly discussion of changes in the Third World. In the meantime, a

combination of theoretical criticism, political sensitization, and field research had brought the specialists to see structure everywhere: in what had once seemed pell-mell flight from the land, in the shantytowns of Latin America, in the Third World's popular politics. Other fields have not altered their perspectives so

radically. Students of crime, of fertility, of organizational structure, and of religion awakening from the 1950s would still have a good deal to discuss with Nevertheless, cn the wb12 wherever specialists their successors of the 1 9 8 9 ~ ~ deal with big structures, large processes, and huge comparisons the nineteenth century postulates have lost their dominance. Some postulates have lost more ground than others. The ideas of society and

societies have come under strong attack from advocates of world-system analysis, but no theory or practice dispensing with them has really taken hold. Much

social analysis still takes the individual, rather than the social relationship, as the basic unit. Except among Marxist theoreticians, it has become Stage theories

unfashionable to fashion general statements about social change.

have lost much of their glitter, partly as a result of the move away from general theories of social change. Differentiation still captures the imagination of

many social analysts, especially those who worry about fragmentation of everyday existence. The balder theories pitting differentiation against integration have given way to explanations of the same presumably "disorderly" phenomena as

Big Structures 18

organized, interest-oriented behavior. In the same process, scholars have become much more skeptical about the sequence rapid change/strain/disorder


Yet no comparable decline has struck the

notion of two separate processes underlying "illegitimaten and "legitimate" coercion, conflict, and expropriation. pernicious postulates still live. In varying degrees of health, the eight

Let u s take them up in turn, giving more

attention to those that currently play an important part in social scientists' theories of largedscale structure and process.

Society as a Thing Apart
Sociology's greatest victory as an academic discipline brought its greatest defeat as an intellectual enterprise. Persuading others that a distinct realm called "societiesF


" s ~ c i e Q " and

distinct eitities


sociologists to justify their studies.

Those premises justified sociology as at Such

once essential and independent of philosophy, psychology, or biology.

pre-sociological thinkers as Montesquieu had long since established the practices of comparing "societiesn and of distinguishing between formal organizations (especially states) and the social structures, or societies, shaping and sustaining them. Comte, Spencer, Durkheim, and other nineteenth-century greats


consolidated those practices into a discipline called sociology. That discipline promised to explain social variation and to develop means of repairing rents in the social fabric.
(3 the

basis of those promises its promoters built a method,

an organization, a?d

a cluster of concepts: society, norm, role, status,

collective belief, and so on. In the same process, a division of labor emerged. Sociology investigated

the internal structure of rich, powerful societies. Anthropology, for its part,

Big Structures 19

received a double duty: to account for large variations among societies, and to analyze the internal structures of societies outside the charmed circle of power and wealth. That accomplishment, nevertheless, gave sociologists and anthropologists a terrible burden: the task of delineating structures and processes of fictitious entities. As a practical matter, sociologists usually began with existing

national states, and defined society residually. Society was everything else but the state, or everything but the state, the organization of production, and the structure of distribution. As John Meyer and Michael Hannan say, a bit uneasily, in the introduction to their own studies of international inequalities: Almost all these ideas have a common frame: there are entities called

societies ir! which



forces operate.

Societies are

internally interdependent systems, such that the transformation of one subsystem leads to the transformation of all the others. True, external

factors operate at the boundaries of each society, generating market pressures, political threats and opportunities, and social and technical innovations. But once these factors impinge on a society, the main

consequences occur through the internal structural processes that maintain the coherence of the society as a bounded system. Leave for later the

defects of this perspective, which clearly takes too seriously as distinct units the national political states that are created and become dominant as a product of the history of modern developnent (Meyer Later on, as promised, they voice second thoughts.

Hannan 1979: 3 ) .

They wonher about the

legitimacy of models and statistical procedures such as theirs, which treat the hundred-odd countries whose characteristics they correlate as coherent,

Big Structures 20

"kingdomsn. Tylor announced C o q x r a t i v e Xethcc! as anthropleg'y-' s new program at a meeting of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 1889. They. at that very session. Those separate. Many anthropologists who lean toward statistical analysis. All of the standard procedures for delineating societies run into severe trouble when the time comes either to check the clarity and stability of the social boundaries thus produced or to describe the coherent structures and processes presumably contained within those boundaries. for example. "peoplesn. Ethnographers who have observed the coexistence and interpenetration of distinctly different cultural identities. and so forth -. too.B . how to make Big Structures 21 . Galton raised this very objection. Anthropologists have customarily dealt with the problem of delineating societies either a) by starting with a local community and assuming that the definitions of identity with others stated by members of that community delineated a larger "societyn or b) by accepting the political entities - "tribesn. all the troubles return to two fundamental difficulties: first. autonomous entities are fictitious. furthermore. thus the difficulty has dogged the doctrine from its very beginning: Hammel 1980: 146-147). How? In many variants. in comments on Tylor's own paper. despair of bundling the world up neatly into separate societies. (Eugene Hammel recalls a delicious irony: E . worry about "Galton's problem": the likelihood that as a result of diffusion of cultural traits adjacent "societies" fail to qualify as the independent cases one needs for crisp analyses of cultural covariation.independent entities (Meyer & Hannan 1979: 11-13). have run into doubts. They have reason to doubt.encountered by westerners in the course of commercial and imperial expansion.

Westerners' politically derived definitions -. delimit a distinct and coherent social entity. In the first case. encounters changes in the apparently relevant What bounds. the Democratic Republic. Berlin. should we place around "German society" at the moment in which Europe contained dozens of states whose populations were mainly German-speaking. and in which the Habsburg empire included not only a substantial block of Gem. for example.boundaries of the "same" unit consistent in time. Hungary. F'rance. and elsewhere? No consistent set of boundaries will contain all these different entities. produces conflicting delineations of the terrains and populations involved. The searnd problem is to delineate coherent. and the Austrian Republic -. and personnel. how to determine whether the proposed boundaries do. in which the courtiers of those same states affected French. R ~ d n i a n . distinct social entities. in fact.not to mention German-speaking enclaves in Czechoslovakia. space. h t a l m milliens of p e p l e speaking Czech. Italy. and laid down the French state's administrative apparatus in important parts of Central Europe? German society at the moment in which Prussia and a number of other mainly German-speaking states formed a customs union. Turkish. each of the criteria - national state boundaries. Serbian. Switzerland. or even their cores. local-community statements. Without some coherence and distinctiveness. while emigrants from their territories had established numerous German-speaking communities in the Americas? German society in the days of the Federal Republic. and/or boundaries. and twenty other languages? What about German society at the moment in which Napoleon's troops had conquered substantial German-speaking populations.a~-speaking subjects.groups heterogeneous populations. sea&. one cannot reasonably treat a Big Structures 22 .

beliefs. language. and so on. international flows of capital units. or any of the other presumed components of a "society". comprehensive. we have only a few choices: 1) to turn the existence of large. 3) to admit that social relations form continuous fields. coherent social groups -.citizenship.of societies . trips to sell computers. and leave the relationship of that phenomenon to the boundaries of other phenomena open to empirical inquiry.from a general presumption to an empirical question: to what extent. production. even worldwide. national-state Yet we have no a priori guarantee that current local-community statements. and to block out "societies" more or less arbitrarily within those fields. Economic geographers also delight in showing the enormous. shared beliefs. however. conquest-derived delineations - to return to the three standard means of identifying societies in sociology and anthropology interpersonal networks. do such groups ever form? activity or relationship . huge circuits of trade. extension of some sorts of interdependence: intercontinental migration chaifis. 2) to choose a single and under what conditions. values. and mechanisms of control. mutual - mark the limits of systems of obligations. In the face of those two demonstrations. or Westerners' boundaries. Economic geographers enjoy demonstrating how different in scale and contour are the units defined by different activities or social relations: ties of credit vs. Both demonstrations challenge any notion of neatly-packaged social .as the criterion of a society's boundaries. fall into neatly-bounded complexes of Big Structures 23 ."society" as a self-sustaining entity with dominant norms. far-flung professional structures. ties of marriage. trips to buy food vs. market . bounded. Unless the world does.

farms. and other criteria of interaction soon discovers how much social life spans the legal frontier. Although activities and populations have orderly spatial distributions. Such boundaries as exist for one activity or population almost never coincide with the boundaries defined by another activity or population. belief. See Bourne & Simmons 1983: 4 5 . consumption. to be sure. values. hierarchies. production. The point applies as well to regions at the scale of the national state or of the continent as to smaller territories. for example. (Anyone who tries to separate the area called "Canada" from the area called "United States" by means of communications flows. they typically lack sharp boundaries. and Not all self-sustaining activities about that we presume to theorize.friendship. controls. the notion of region: In summary. they are imperfect generalizations of the underlying spatial complex. and language. roles. Rather. markets. interdependent systems. personal acquaintance. which itself can be better described as the connections of countless individuals. and we can delineate them. However. plants and businesses (Morrill 1970: 1 8 6 ) . a geographer's final word on in kkich activities are confined. any of the three procedures compromises the effort to erect within the boundaries of a "society" the norms. regions do exist. beliefs. and much evidence to the contrary. ) If a spatial Big Structures 24 . have sharp boundaries. We have no evidence that the social world clusters so neatly. they do have meaning. kinship. But an interdependent system that i s at once distinct from adjacent systems and organized around enforced rules requires such boundaries. power. regions are useful more as a system of classification. they are ~ot-clear-cut areas Consider.

advocates of world-system analysis have been offering a similar critique of the notion of society. no alternative method is coming clearly into view. world-system analysts have had more success in pursuing the In fact.criterion does not delineate societies. In recent years. a number remedy theoretically and conceptually than methodologically.roi. But a single case has not kept astronomers from extending our firm kiowledge of the solar system. But there we confront the legacy of the nineteenth century: Both existing evidence and ingrained habits of thought Big Structures 25 . and David Snyder have prcrd~c& their evidence e. The most serious difficulty. but concluding that the remedy i s to consider the entire world a single unit of analysis. some quite localized. of the most visible empirical efforts inspired by world-system ideas - for examples those of Richard Rubinson. Having only one case to analyze certainly blocks the application of conventional procedures for the study of variation among independently observed units. We are therefore better off in abandoning the notion of "societyn and "societies" as autO~omous systems. other criteria work even less well. Despite a good deal of earnest talk. and some worldwide in scale. while making timeseries analysis difficult. hard in far. or biologists from building tolerable models of particular ecosystems.cjh ststistical siialysis of data for nationai aggregates. Christopher ChaseDunn. practice. There is no inconsistency between conceiving of the world as a connected whole and examining numerous interactions to see whether they correspond to the expectations we derive from our models of that connected whole. in my opinion. We are better off in adopting the alternative idea of multiple social relationships. So Easy in principle. lies in the shift to observation of interactions rather than the behavior of individual units.k.

in the simplest model. results from imperfect internalization or from a bad fit between what the mind internalizes and the immediate situation of the troubled individual. can readily sirm individuai At the same time. Thus a large social change occurs when many people. Paradoxically. In a classic version. Individuals as Basic Social Units It is easy and convenient to think of individual human beings as the fundamental social units. especially influential people. mind.individual interviews ' and questionnaires provide the great bulk of the hard evidence that social scientists analyze. Social researchers have built a good deal of their twentieth-century technique on the assumption that individuals are the basic social units. our techniques for deriving group structure Standard techniques from individual observations remain feeble and artificial. The analogy with a theoretically perfect market comes quickly to hand. we can continue to multiple: (individual explain social processes as summed outcomes of a intentions) x (individual capacities). Social analysts ordinarily connect the two with a simple hinge: an A individual mind. consciousnesses into a global mentality. internalizes society and directs Undesirable behavior then behavior in conformity with that internalization. the belief in societies as overarching social structures with their own logic dovetails neatly with the belief in the individual as the basic social unit. adopt a new intention and/or acquire a new capacity.depend on the fragmentation of interactions into characteristics of individuals and of societies. modern ideas and modern technologies interact to produce modern social life. By and large. include censuses If we - the largest of all social surveys -. with %at p s t u l a t e . Big Structures 2 6 .

other social structures begin with interactions among persons (see White 1981).. First. to be sure. Social relationships. are merely abstractions from multiple interactions among individual human beings. If the point seems strange. smell. dental structure. but from sets of individual behaviors involving two or more persons at a time. ve can reasonably -in to speak of sscial structure. social ties. Rather than social Individual human beings exist. taste or feel a social relationship in the same sense that he can identify another human being. social networks. and statistical models compare an observed distribution of individuals with the distribution of individuals produced by random processes or by an ideal type such as perfect equality or complete segregation. No one can see. hear. Let me state this delicate point with care. constructed social relations among limited numbers of actors. data analysis routines work best when the evidence comes in uniform. and Big Structures 27 . scars.of computing and statistical analysis in the social sciences assume that the evidence refers to independent individuals. how do we know that an individual encountered at several separate times is the "samen individual? Organisms. But that brings us to the point: We abstract not from individual behaviors. and willfully scientific identifications of individuals depend on lasting features of the organism such as height. fingerprints. separate individual packets. consider two problems. Rather than individual orientations. the practice of social scientists depends on a close analogy between the social behavior under study and the operation of an idealized market. skin color. indeed. When we discover that some of these interactions recur in approximately the same fcm. persist from birth to death. Again. Yet just as real markets consist of shifting. atoms.

supposedly comprehensive classification schemes for relationships and groups. "is the meaningful interaction of two or more human individuals" (Sorokin 1947: 40. the father of Dorothy. Second. Forty years ago.. allows one organism to assume the identity of another. the lover of Cathy. Yet what we normally experience as sameness ultimately depends on the reckoning of relationships.facial configuration. The point is not new. "A very good idea. a patron-client chain." he would rumble in his heavy Russian From that base. A player leaves. But the recognition that relationships are the basic social units did not deserve to die with the classification schemes. Rediscovery of those arguments in my old teacher's writings recalls one of Sorokin's preferred putdowns. "The most generic model of any sociocultural phenomenon. the employer of Ed. better off for having abandoned the effort to construct complex. in fact. "but Plato said it better. Tilly.nitn. social sciences are." wrote Sorokin. a football team. Mr. what do a firm. Pitirim Sorokin was inveighing individuals. the team against the search for the "sirrplest %cia1 . and a community have in common? Surely not that they consist of some precise set of individuals.and especially against the acceptance of the individual as the basic social unit. Al remains Al as the son of Bill. Harrison White has fashioned this insight Big Structures 28 . a household. I think. but that they amount to very different ways of organizing relationships among continues. Sorokin built an elaborate The accent. Following an approach sketched long ago by Georg Sinanel but strangely neglected by subsequent sociologists. a lineage. The ability to simulate or reconstruct such relationships. culminating in cultural "supersystems".") taxonomy of social interaction.

) All Welshmen. and masses. Nuclear families. and parties. A population forms a catnet (category x network). armies. A population forms a category to the extent that its (White restricts members share a characteristic distinguishing them from others. all coal miners. White begins with populations of two or more individuals. A population forms a n e b & to the extent that its members are connected by The tie may be direct -. institutions. in most cases the words do not Big Structures 29 . A catnet. never qualify as catnets. ethnic groups. Societies. among other sets of persons. finally.apply. classes. a c ~ nigiiration f that links Boris and Celeste via Alice. Indeed. Whether those entities we refer to indecisively as communities. thus described. and all viola players are examples of populations qualifying as categories.from Alice to Celeste. to the extent that both conditions - common characteristics and linking ties -. and neighborhoods correspond to genuine catnets remains an empirical question: Some do. . households.from Alice to Boris. and distinguishes a pair of elements: categories and networks. Alice to It can also be indirect the same social tie. states. comes close to the intuitive meaning of the word "groupw.into a simple. The chain of people who pass gossip or rumors defines a network that is often not a category. firms. as analysts ordinarily use thse words. So does the web of debts among people who have borrowed money from one another. but his formulation adapts readily to common characteristics identified by outside observers. his attention to characteristics that the persons themselves recognize as shared with the others. effective instrument of social analysis. voluntary associations. civilizations. commonly meet the criteria for a catnet. cultures. and Boris to Celeste as well. peoples. some don't. Celeste. movements. h t r?et from E m i s tc Celeste. b r i s and Alice t. publics.

or networks. 'relationship. 3 . and collaborate in the maintenance and use of the dwelling and food supply. a hospital. Such a definition imediately brings out similarities and differences between a household and a barracks. or a picnic ground. By specifying the character and intensity of the social characteristics and/or social ties in question. Shifting analysis from the individual to the relationship also transforms an old analytical problem: the problem of the ecological fallacy. but relationships: relationships established by the sharing of social characteristics on the one hand. 2 . by inferring the extent of income inequality among households from variation in the Big Structures 30 . a hotel. and network. a prison. locate observable sequences of human behavior within the taxonomies thereby established. o the exteht that its Thus we may identify a specified pulation as a household t members share a distinct dwelling and food supply.even designate bounded populations. by the presence of social ties on the other. With the elementary apparatus of population. establish workable taxonomies of social structures for particular analytical purposes. It also allows variation as to the degree of distinctiveness in dwelling and food supply or the extent of collaboration among household members. the basic tasks of social description become manageable. networks. An ecological fallacy occurs when we make direct inferences from variations among aggregates of individuals to variation among the individuals themselves for example. we can accomplish three fundamental tasks of social description: 1 . The elementary units of categories. convert absolute distinctions such as community/ noncomrnunity into empirically distinguishable continua. category. and catnets are not individuals. categories.

the main questions rarely concern the determinants of king in a prticldar psition wit!?in a netwccrk. We lack appropriate models and methods because we have lain so long in the thrall of methodological individualism. In the case of relationships. from variation in the overall density of networks to variation in the number of isolated pairs within those networks. Crucial in analyses taking individuals as basic social units. social scientists can only gain by abandoning the individual and clinging to the social relationship. but + . ' S o c i a l Cbangem as a Coherent Phenrmenon It would be astounding to discover that a single recurrent social process Big Structures 31 . segmentation. e deteminants. the two have no determinate relationship.average income of households grouped by census tract. and can easily vary in opposite directions. Those who like challenges have a splendid opportunity to show their skill and daring. There is. statements about the aggregates themselves are usually the focus of theoretical attention.for example. In general. then. however. Although each sets limits on the other. a big difference. and consequences of the overall density. correlates. centrality. or hierarchy of different networks. As a result. the pattern of variation among the aggregates provides no reliable guidance whatsoever to the pattern of variation in the behavior of the individuals composing those aggregates. Logically. the ecological fallacy becomes a secondary problem when social relationships become the object of analysis. That shift of affections requires new models and methods rather than simple adaptation of individualistic models and methods to relationships. the same problem besets any inference from aggregated relationships to individual relationships -.

industrialization. Brooke Jacobsen. Their q ~ e s ti s idle. fruitless efforts at discovering that philosopher's stone. Social change does not. population growth.that of the world or the universe as a . Big Structures 32 . Newton. whose modification then spreads. urbanization.governed all large-scale social change. Among the rare exceptions are Robert Hamblin. Jacobsen. Newton's level of empirical generality whole Social scientists are not so lucky. and many others. the other without it. At . suicide. emotional distress. In recent years. few social scientists have said otherwise.they have no significant and well-established uniformities to explain. bureaucratization all occur in definable. capitalization. Hamblin. proletarianization. They then allow for two processes of diffusion: one with persuasion. theory itself treats all change as innovation and diffusion. Many large-scale processes of change exist. Their social change has two main variants: a) creation of a new social form whose use then spreads. coherent ways. the behavior of celestial objects. however. b) modification of an existing social form. There i s nc such L % i r . had some concrete regularities to explain: the acceleration of falling bodies. and Jerry Miller. and Miller put the theory into mathematical form as a specification of the time-shapes of diffusion under varying conditions. Perhaps the hope of becoming the Newton of social process tempts social scientists into their repeated. A "mathematically The stated theory of social change" would have named their book more accurately. Nor has it kept them from using social change in general as a cause of other phenomena: social movements. divorce. I must admit. crime. g as social change ifi general. Somehow the absence of an explicandum has not kept social scientists from elaborating general models of social change. They have published A Mathematical Theory of Social Change.

Having finished. they suggest that eight of the relationships they have identified amount to scientific Big Structures 33 . . higher degrees granted in the U . Hamblin. k i "level of energy input into the systemn. persuasion is operating. S . reasoning. the relevant equation is: In those circumstances. by their s an empirically derived estimate of the where dU/dt is the rate of adoption. presents the time-shape of diffusion where the adoption is potentially unlimited. Jacobsen and Miller 1973: 200). In similar situations where the potential users are limited. Again. and do their curve-f itting empirically. they focus on the timeshapes of the relationships. and adoption results in differential reinforcement among users. for example. decaying exponential and other curves to series representing behavior they claim to be appropriate to the different variants of their basic models. a is a scaling constant.Their Theorem 1. this portion of the theory says that when an innovation of positive value to all users spreads in an unlimited population via persuasion. and industrial investments. motor vehicle marriages acceleration in air passenger miles traveled on U . gasoline consumption. In further efforts. industrial productivity. S . and divorces. on. and e is the base of Naperian logarithms (Harnblin. They also develop and estimate arguments about the relationships among rates of scientific discovery. production and possession of television sets.In short. registration. investments in education and research. the rate of adoption will increase exponentially. And so They are able to fit exponential curves quite closely to periods of carriers. they expect the rate of adoption to describe a logistic curve. and several other iterns. Jacobsen and Miller fit logistic.

laws (Hamblin, Jacobsen and Miller 1973: 214). Why, then, have these r e s u l t s s t i r r e d so l i t t l e i n t e r e s t among students of s o c i a l change? Perhaps because numerate s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s already knew t h a t a

number of diffusion processes followed l o g i s t i c , exponential, and other regular p a t t e r n s , while the rest knew too l i t t l e of t h e relevant mathematics t o recognize the discovery. The Hamblin+acobsen-Miller theory i t s e l f , however, suggests

another explanation: Specifications of the t i m e s h a p e s of d i f f u s i o n were not what students of s o c i a l change needed; therefore they did not adopt them. The

explicandum needs more than precision t o make it interesting. connect t o the Big Questions: W h y poor

It must a l s o why

regions s t a y r e l a t i v e l y poor,

capitalism radiated from western Europe, under what conditions ordinary people
rebel ; &-at causes prsistent ineqialitjj mong races and sexes, what conditions

promote tyranny, when and why wars occur, and on down the standard checklist. Even i n a day of scientism, the s o c i a l sciences have not t h e i r ultimate concern with the f a t e of mankind. The worst version of the belief in s o c i a l change a s a coherent general phenomenon, from t h e viewpoint of p r a c t i c a l e f f e c t s , is its implicit version, the version b u i l t i n t o standard methods without requiring any r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r user.
I have three v a r i a n t s in mind.



- lost

l a r g e number of u n i t s


The f i r s t is the use of comparison among a

most often national s t a t e s


a t t h e same point in time f o r instance, drawing

: a s the means of drawing conclusions about -

conclusions about " p o l i t i c a l development" by arraying a hundred countries a l l observed i n 1960 o r 1970 along a s c a l e established by means of a multiple regression of numerous variables f o r each of those countries. There is no

l o g i c a l connection between the sequence of change i n those variables followed by

Big Structures 34


individual countries and the differences that show up in a cross-section.


yet, there is no logical justification for the scale itself; although multiple regression and similar techniques will, indeed, show which characteristics covary in linear fashion, that covariation is as likely to result from diffusion or from common structural position in a worldwide system as from any internal logic of developnent

It consists of using factor If we began with

The second variant compounds this difficulty.

analysis or similar techniques to take many, many characteristics of separate "societies" and reduce them to a few "dimensions" of variation.

a theory specifying the power of a limited number of underlying variables, and then selected the characteristics to be analyzed in accordance with their logical

c-rres-nA ,,,~e,,,e mm

tc C,h.e w d e r l y i ~ g variablesi a factnr-analytic approach might

possibly make sense. hopeless.

As a procedure for discovering relationships, it is

The third variant is, alas, the m s t common.

It consists of estimating

relationships among variables all aggregated to a national level, but actually representing observations on a wide variety of social units: presence or absence of a bicameral legislature (observed directly for national state) , urbanization (aggregated from local populations), Gross National Product (aggregated from market transactions), median age (aggregated from individuals), proportion of labor force in agriculture (aggregated in peculiar ways from households and/or firms), and so on. To have any confidence in estimated relationships among such

diverse variables requires tremendous confidence either in the integrity of the national state as a coherent aggregate or in the generality and coherence of social change.

Big Structures 35

In the last analysis, all three variants of methodological naivete result from the same basic problem. The available analytical procedures from simple

cross-tabulation to factor analysis


assume variation a) among well-defined

independent units in b) independently-observed characteristics of those units along c) dimensions that are analogous to those built into the procedures. They

s estimating a well-specified model also typically assume d) that their user i
rather than exploring for statistical relationships. Rare is the study of

largescale structural change that meets even two of these assumptions halfway. The belief in social change as a coherent general phenomenon fudges the four crucial assumptions.
Differentiation as a Progressive Master Process

the mrked snrcesse~ef e\rcl,utior?ary mdels ir. ~ z t u r a lhist~r*.

encouraged nineteenth-century social theorists to adopt differentiation as a master principle of social change. The specialization of work, the subdivision

of governments, the extension of commodity markets, and the proliferation of associations all seemed to exemplify rampant differentiation. The invention of

the simple, undifferentiated, "primitiven society as a model of the small, poor populations Europeans encountered in the course of their mercantile and colonial expansion articulated neatly with the same scheme. All societies fell on the

same continuum from simple to complex, differentiation drove societies toward greater and greater complexity, and complexity created strength, wealth, and suppleness. The fittest -- the most differentiated

- survived.
Auguste Comte placed the

To be sure, differentiation always had rivals.

advance of knowledge at the base of long-term social change; mankind progressed from Theological to Metaphysical to Positive society through the accumulation of

theories of "modernization" and "development" epitomized the social-scientific concern with differentiation as the fundamental largescale social process. considered that differentiation to m -YL.sure. second.&ci. --.ULA n n c tLULit~~tn a significant p r t of '. that over the long run differentiation leads to advancement. These theories connected closely with an improving program. academic specialists in They took on the development shared a certain con£idence in the three tenets. and comprehensive scientific understanding. Nevertheless. involved three central tenets: The ideology.k. . Early United Nations programs of aid to I poor countries embodied the ideology. Big Structures 37 . Sutton has reminded us. two nineteenth-century hypotheses hardened dogmas: first. their turn. rested on an optimistic ideology. beneath the carapace of politics and culture. and promoted the spread of the associated theories. as F "(1) the capacity of governments as agents and guides to development. X . that increasing differentiation was the dominant. for all their cantankerous variation. (2) the I efficacy of education and training. disciplined. broadly defined.~. in program of deliberately inducing development. specialized structures as a major means by which poorer and less powerful countries could come to share the comforts of the rich and powerful. a Both theories and program. and beneficent cooperation between (3) the possibility of mutually countries in an equitable I rich and poor I I I international order" (Sutton 1982: 53).eir i.ntage over a&--LIICL LUUIILLLC. After World War 11. All such theories took the world's rich and powerful countries to be more differentiated than other countries. nearly inexorable logic of largescale change.--'-:-- and held out the creation of new. Karl Marx saw changes in the organization of production. within the disciplines of the social into twentieth-century sciences.

A new vocabulary proliferated: developing countries. anthropologists.mission of building theories that would simultaneously explain and guide the developnent of one country after another. and others took on the job of specifying. sociologists. With that imperfect correlation. the continuous drift of the world's countries in the same Big Structures 38 . however. Those countries which economists generally regarded as most advanced unquestionably stood at the top of the scale. none of them matched national income in simplicity or efficacy: International rankings remained quite arguable. All such theories established a continuum of societies having rich western countries at one end. measuring. and so on. Political development. +_e world e r e mving up the 4 . For political scientists. underdevelopnent. educational development. communications development. it provided a principle on which all countries could be ranked with little ambiguity. obviously. had the easiest time of it. Economists For many of them. odd countries kept showing up near the tops of the relevant scales. Properly measured. 2 . 3 . and a great deal more. as a criterion of developnent national income had splendid virtues: 1 . late developers. "modern" and "developed". Position on the scale clearly (if imperfectly) correlated with international power. and a dozen other forms of development came into being. Cue kkele. or income per capita. the difficulties of measuring national income accurately and in comparable terms. m . explaining. and even promoting the other changes that presumably accompanied rising national income. the troubles began. they were. Whatever other virtues these multifarious criteria of development had. development came to m a n Whatever one could say about increasing national income. material well-being. coutries ir! all pzrts of scale with few important reversals.

uiizations? Or do they form a partly interdependent web of variables. He began the . on the average. Talcott Parsons underwent a curious evolution with regard to the analysis of differentiation. more so on through a durable long institutions of national parliamentary government. 2) a proposal for description and measurement of two or more aspects of that advancement. it became the fundamental process of change. What became of differentiation? On the model of specialization in markets and in the evolution of species. persisted.direction was hard to establish. Yet the nagging correlations It was nevertheless true. and list of characteristics not deducible by definition from national income. such that a change in any of them induces changes in the others? So-called theories of modernization typically combined 1) the assertion that societies fall into a continuous scale of advancement. it became a progressive process: In general and in the long run. smaller completed family sizes. and the correlations among different presumed forms of developnent left something to be desired. What is more. increasing differentiation meant social advance. 3) an argument concerning the nature of the connections among those aspects of advancement. the word came to stand for a question: Why do these many characteristics vary together. such as the emergence of a certain kind of attitude or motivation. that richer countries had higher life expectancy. first page of his vast Structure of Social Action with a quotation from Crane Big Structures 39 . greater literacy. but only imperfectly? Do they all spring from some underlying condition. Why? Although some people confused the idea of "modernization" with an answer. In the course of his forty years as a theorist. larger shares of their population in cities. or a revolutis:: i : : cam. an alteration in the basic £oms of pmduction.

by and large. . thus enabling the basic patterns of the cultural system to become more generalized. "If hi. IXlrkheim. with their unilinear evolution. nevertheless. at least superficially considered. Parsons began to use analogies with organic evolution quite explicitly. arisen through processes of differentiation from what in some sense have been 'more primitive1 forms. Weber. their utilitarianism. Parsons wrote that "a major feature of the evolutionary process is that progressively greater differentiation increasingly frees the cybernetically higher factors from the narrow specifics of the lower-order conditioning factors. and other contributors to the Action Frame of Reference. This is to say that differences among subsystems have." he declared a few years iater. this consideration would indeed virtually eliminate the relevance of 'comparative method. and stabilized (Parsons 1966: 114).Brinton: "Who now reads Spencer? 1937: 1 ) .?iai 'history1 consist&.' as has been alleged. . In 1966. but it is by no means narrowly constricted (Parsons 1971a: 102). history consists rather. like the system of organic species. this simply is not the case. . We have evolved beyond Spencer" (Parsons In 1937. of an immensely ramified 'inverted branching tree' of forms at many levels of system reference. Parsons thought that Spencerian ideas. objectified.' But empirically. executed by crossfire from Pareto. Late in his career.' forms and levels together into a macro-system. of a population of essentially unique 'cultures. were dead. The human socio-cultural universe is by no means so variegated as. the organic seems to be. What ties the 'branches. is in the first instance common genetic origin. and their positivism. Big Structures 40 .

have no warrant for thinking of differentiation in itself as a coherent. in the industrialization of nineteenth-century Europe. the progressive effect of differentiation becomes true by definition. many Not that differentiation i s an unimportant feature of social But Many significant social processes do involve differentiation. In these passages. processes also involve de-differentiation.The argument does not return to Spencer. but it has a much more Spencerian tone than a reader of Parsons' 1937 declaration could have expected. selection of the U . R . S . intermediate. Iceland?) (Why Switzerland? It also appears in Parsons' assignment of particular populations. Suppose we take the case for differentiation as the master process at its strongest. social Furthermore. and modern. and Japan as the most "developed" societies by this criterion (Parsons 1966:3). we differentiation matters little to other important social processes. He offered the United States. not Sweden? the U . processes. Much of this is nineteenth-century evolutionary thinking in a new garb. lawlike social process. general. Parsons tried to escape the tautological trap by treating enhancement of adaptive capacity as the test of evolution. past and contemporary. If we look at Big Structures 41 . and the key to social advancement. Indeed. And it i s wrong. Parsons makes differentiation the fundamental process of change. to be sure. lay out the rules for judging adaptive capacity. . He did not. To the extent that we identify advancement with differentiation. . S . Canada? That criterion hob= ep k h i n d his and Japan as "most developed" in 1966. to his three levels of evolution: primitive. however. His actual choices suggest that international power played the largest part in his own judgments of adaptive capacity. S . the Soviet Union.

the growing nineteenth-century firms actually succeeded. In any case. by concentrating their production on a very limited variety of cheap. on the average. summing up these massive changes in terms of differentiation or de-differentiation distorts their fundamental character.n. For centuries. converted it from variable to fixed by building or buying such expensive items as factories. became almost exclusively agricultural. biases the whole picture. After several centuries in which manufacturing grew Outside those places and in Europe as a whole. domestic service. textiles. gardening. Capitalists accumulated capital as never before. lost population. these changes had the air of differentiation. with the mechanization and concentration of the nineteenth century we do witness subdivision of tasks and specialization of shops in different products and markets. In the places where capital and labor concentrated. migratory labor. differentiation. and other major industries.tainsides C. dispersed units linked by merchant capitalists. That much seems like general To look only at new firms. and home manufacturing. whose households had pieced together incomes from farming. gave up industry and much of their trade. had h i i d w i L l i i i d i i s t ~ .old crafts such as shoe production. They drove out higher-priced producers in small shops and households who had been producing a great variety of goods under widely varying conditions. and Big Structures 42 . Villages and ml. a web of small entrepreneurs had linked those dispersed producers to national and international markets. declined. differentiation - and grew substantially - through the multiplication of small. standardized goods. the nineteenth century brought a great movement of capital concentration. steam engines. those webs contracted and atrophied as the small entrepreneurs moved ifitn ether activities. In leather.

and trade drained from the rest of the continent. specific historical Over processes dominate the changes occurring in a given population or region. the growth of national states and the development of capitalism in property and production have dominated the changes occurring in increasing parts of the world. extended wage labor as the principal condition for involvement of workers in production. of view. or communication. mark out the limits for intelligible analysis of social processes. My point is not that concentration of capital. More generally. rather than abstractly specified processes such as differentiation or concentration. @. saw that employers used differentiation of tasks as one of their techniques for increasing their own control over production and undermining#the power of workers. But he also saw that the fundamental process involved concentration rather than differentiation. abstract sense. Europe felt an enormous implosion of From a geographic point production into a few intensely-industrial regions. or concentration in general. or control of energy. established time. and concentrated their workers at a limited number of production sites. witnessing these changes. is L!e fwdz%ental social process.and work-discipline within spaces they controlled. gained control of the labor process. In other eras. Those historically specific changes in the organization of production and coercion.locomotives.e muld q a l l y =to +he case f ~ r connection. no process is fundamental. Here is the point: In this In a given era. the creation or decline of empires and the establishment or destruction of command economies have dominated all other changes. the last few hundred years. as capital. labor. alterations in the organization of production and of coercion have set the great historical rhythms. Karl Marx. Big Structures 43 .

So did the difficulty of forcing real national states. During the last few decades. with their cantankerous complexity. into a single stage of developnent: What did one do with a Kuwait. riven by division between poor blacks and prosperous whites? With a Turkey. and of the elaboration of counter-theories featuring dependency and/or world-economic processes hastened the discarding of stage theories. indeed. One could even imagine using a valid stage model to guide public policy toward countries at different phases of a common process. and a classification of the world's contemporary states into the postulated stages. understand. a large share of whose workers were off Big Structures 44 . an explanation of the movement of societies from stage to stage. nonetheless. splendid organizing principle for comparative economic or political history. Models of economic or political development normally consisted of a specification of the stages through which every developing society had to pass. they had They provided a continuous multivariate models. in the face of political criticism. Stage theories of economic growth or of political modernization had many attractions. They were easier to construct. oil-rich and dominated by a single lineage? With a South Africa. a concrete realism that abstract -models of change lacked. The general abandonment of optimistic developnent theories An all-purpose hammer. they banged away at almost every object that came into their hands. of empirical disconfirmation.CHAPTER 3 : FOUR MORE PERNICIOUS POSTULATES Swe Theories Social scientists once used stage models of social change as freely as blacksmiths use their hammers. social scientists have packed away that well-worn tool. and apply than were When illustrated with existing states.

compared the United Kingdom. They used different definitions of crises. The concept of "crisesn being "resolved" has faded. Italy. Scandinavia. and more trouble trying to date them. The scheme's authors were no longer confident that the crises fell into a regular sequence.not to each other. Legitimacy. Whatever else they accomplished. the United States. At that point in. however. was using a flexible fivestage scheme.earning money in Germany or Switzerland? For that matter.ought the sequence in & . the historians could barely oblige. the Committee on Political Development. France. Germany. Penetration.its career. i c h a developing country resolved those crises might well stamp its subsequent political life. Participation. the volume's editor. those of Identity. for example. The last volume of the famous Studies in Political Developnent.Theyhad trouble identifying the crises. the Committee on Political Developnent invited a group of specialists in the histories of these various countries to prepare analyses treating the character and sequence of the five crises in each of the countries. but to a well-known stage model. Even in such a soft version of a stage theory. useful essays. and allowed for + . reported. and different criteria for sequences. Portugal. even the effort to fit the historical experiences of the classic European cases into standard stages fell on hard times. and Poland -. As Raymond Grew.they wrote reflective. the essays did not confirm the scheme of five well-defined crises. The scheme called for a developing state to solve five crises. In this last fling. and Distribution. Russia. Spain. sponsor of the volume. . one is merely looking at Big Structures 45 . Belgium. Despite that delinquency - or perhaps because of it -. e ~ s s i b i l i tthat ~ crises overlap in t i m t b ~ t +.

Integration (alias social control. urbanization. display some common properties and problems: the establishment of military control over their territories3 the organization of fiscal systems: the nqotiation of representation for the people who supplied the troops and paid the taxes. in fact. hegemony. For better or worse. and the sequences deduced from them are relative more than absolute. Thus the most attenuated version of the most carefully prepared of all stage schemes for political developed failed to order the historical experience. in this general view. But the lesson of those common properties and problems was not that another version of an abstract stage model would work well. the cooptation or subordination of churches. abstract categories. can take the form of industrialization. and any number of other changes. most of the crises we emphasize have long held their place in historical tradition. Integration The collapse of stage theories and their appurtenances has not shaken a nearby postulate: that the state of social order depends on the balance between processes of differentiation and processes of integration or control. Differentiation. immigration of people from alien cultures. Why? Both histories and historians resisted the forcing of complex events The into simple. scheme wrote its own obituary. It is that making the inquiry genuinely concrete and historical also opens the way to inaking the experience intelligible. with rapid or excessive differentiation producing disorder. and solidarity in different versions of the Big Structures 46 .problems that at a given moment are (or seem) more or less pressing. and so on. The histories did. a chronology of salience more than clear sequence (Grew 1978: 1 4 ) . Differentiation v s .

as rebellion. it remains a standard explanation of urban problems. as alienation. of crime. again disorder results. where disorder continues to prevail because a sufficient level of integration never appears. as emotional disturbance. in most statements of the argument. as family instability.theory) can occur through repression. disorder results. AB represents the first case: When integration declines. Disorder sometimes appears in this formulation as crime. CD describes the case in which differentiation proceeds without a corresponding increase in integration. mutual obligation. amounts simply to the In its classic version. the argument looks like this: absence of disorder. *bU" This reasoning 1-a~ to three s ~ m e ~ h different at explanations of disorder: / diffe r e n t i a t i ' o n . In one version or another. disorder occurs. Order. socialization. as violence. + . as war. Finally EF represents anarchy. This classic line of argument will survive for some time. ' Thus if differentiation exceeds integration. or consensus. of Big Structures 47 . ' l ' integratior differentiation-. because it articulates well with folk wisdom and political rhetoric alike.

rather than insufficient integration. In the study of conflict and collective action. extensive) change in the context of politics. and that collective and individual behavioral pathologies should significantly Big Structures 48 . specialists in many fields have erected alternatives to the differentiation - integration - disorder scheme. likewise. In criminology. of differential association. By and large. correctly. that the cause of violent action must be discontinuous (rapid. By and large. a result of some sort of aberration in the political process. Harry Eckstein has grouped the competing ideas under the headings "contingency" and "inherency". of rebellion. for example. advocates of the differentiation - integration schema consider collective violence to be contingent. and related forms of action result from a rational pursuit of shared interests. as a by-product of routine struggles for power.divorce. rivals to the classic argument have appeared. of collective violence pivot on the notion of systemic breakdown where homeostatic devices normally provide negative entropy. It has been pointed out. b) that rebel1ions. that this implies sharp discontinuities between routine and nonroutine political activity. protests. True. theories of labeling. it no longer enjoys the unquestioned acceptance of a few decades ago. their critics lean toward an interpretation of collective violence as inherent in political life. Writing about collective political violence in particular. collective violence. "Contingency theories. On the whole. and of rational action have all arisen as rivals to the once-xlominant theories of social control. the reformulations emphasize one or both of two ideas: a) that solidarity." remarks Eckstein. provides the necessary conditions of collective action. of class conspiracy.

Anthony Oberschall has another opinion. mental illness. Individuals become Strain decreases. on balance he considers that the evidence reported so far favors contingency rather than inherency. 5--. He describes as pinting ta: the dissolution of traditional social formations and communal solidarities as a result of rapid social change. Big Structures 49 . processes of integration take the upper hand. frustrations. and the resulting pressure cooker has a tendency to explode in collective violence and civil disorders. and ecological imbalance lead to the accumulation of strains. and grievances are pursued through regular institutional channels For breakdown theorists a sharp discontinuity exists between collective violence and more institutionalized forms of political conflict. demographic pressures. After a time. Eckstein considers almost all the contingency theories mrth mentioning to be variants of relative-. in which a discrepancy between people's expectations and their experiences motivates them to strike at others.covary.. and grievances. incorporated into new social formations and associations. Breakdown theorists stress the similarity between the roots of collective violence and other forms of deviant and anomic behavior such as crime. Social disorganization. His division of ideas on social conflict into breakdown-deprivation theories and solidarity-mobilization theories corresponds roughly to Eckstein's contingency vs.1L C O ~ ~ O ~ V Lheories T ~ inherency. The two forms of conflict require different conceptualization and theory. the former being a "version" of the latter (Eckstein 1980: 144).deprivation arguments. insecurity. Although he deplores the recent tendency of theorists on both sides of the line to elaborate their models instead of returning to first principles.

Change. and other forms of disapproved behavior. disorganized rural communities. they see collective violence as irrational tension release rather than as purposeful collective action to defend or obtain collective goods (Oberschall 1978: 298) . The Various disapproved behaviors became equivalent in several senses: a) as direct evidence Big Structures 50 . They emphasize the marginality of participants in collective They expect conflict to locate in growing industrial centers where anomie prevails.and suicide. disorganization. Frequently. But the sophistication involved will further undermine any appeal to the agon of differentiation and integration. rebellion. Disorder Oberschall's inventory likewise calls attention to another false postulate: the equivalence of different forms of disorder. family instability. will turn out 'to explain collective violence and other varieties of conflict better than any argument treating violence and conflict as routine by-products of political life. violence. maladaptation. the debate remains open. no solidarity-mobilization theory offered so far has the empirical backing to sweep the field. Strain.isticated mntingency argument. Generations of social scientists clung to the nineteenth-century equation of crime. equation made them all into disorder. But I must recognize. or else in weakened. It is still possible: in principle. social movements. I have trouble donning the robe of an impartial judge. t h a t a scq!?. involving actors cognizant of their rights and interests but beset by extraordinary circumstances. Although evidence has built up against most of the assertions Oberschall puts into his inventory of breakdown theories.that A s arl active participant on the solidarity-mobilization side of this debate. violence.

c) as alternative expressions of the same tensions. students of development often launched empirical inquiries in presumably disorganized areas. Eisenstadt put it this way: The very fact that modernization entails continual changes in all spheres of a sciety s a n s of necessity that it iwolves processes of disorganization S . Fortunately. evidence began to arrive concerning the various forms of order hidden in all that presumed disorder.of the malfunctioning of individual and society. for example. many theorists considered these various forms of disorder to be unavoidable costs of development. Studies of African and Latin American rural immigrants. sometimes included natives of the areas under analysis. integration argument in which rapid or excessive structural change built up a variety of strains. Disorganization and dislocation thus constitute a basic part of modernization and every modern and modernizing society has to cope with them (Eisenstadt 1966: 20) . and movements of protest. Under these circumstances. cleavages and conflicts between various groups. These equations coincided in an extended version of the differentiation vs. with the continual development of social problems. resistance to change. In the heyday of developmental theories. d) as "social problems" to be solved in collaboration by powerholders and social scientists. and those strains expressed themselves in a range of disorders. and dislocation. It would be hard to find a purer specimen of the standard argument. N . b) as consequences of rapid and/or excessive social change. and now and then came to identify themselves politically and morally with the people whose behavior was being explained. showed repeatedly the creation of rural outposts in cities through chain Big Structures 51 .

some sccial ictqratio:: However. culture shock. and consequent social disorganization the breakdown theories required. general reporter on Asia. Gino Germani. C . Here i s what she found: In sum. Joan Nelson evaluated the "theory of the disruptive migrants" on the basis of the accumulating evidence from throughout the Third World. noted that "A The general reporter on Latin well known aspect of urban marginality i s illustrated by the proliferation of shantytown. sometimes supplemented by ethnic-group or voluntary Big Structures 52 .migration. America. Vakil. in many cases. Problems of social disorganization among the migrants are well-known. rather than the atomization. bidonvilles and the like. the reports on Third World urbanization reaching semi-official congresses on the subject had a schizophrenic air: reporting widespread organization where disorganization was supposed to occur. and added that "Along with this. N . but continuing to use the language of disorganization. the more dramatic and dire predictions about migrants' social assimilation are wide of the mark. By the late 1960s. prostitution. We can see a fine example in the vast report of a meeting on "urban agglomerations in the states of the Third Worldn convened in Aix-en-Provence in 1967. and problems of law and order and so on" (Vakil 1971: 943). evils of urbanisation also show their ugly head - juvenile delinquency. enumerated a series of physical and service deficiencies of Asian cities that were growing rapidly. The social mechanisms of family and home-place circles. the "and so on" hide a growing contradiction between doctrine and evidence. Pis alsa keii caintaiiiled in the city The through the transfer and adaptations of rural patterns (Germani 1971: 748). Ten years later. The ' i s well known".

. include riot. and Latin America are not isolated. and their problems are shaped more by the pressures and the opportunities of the city than by their migrant status. The sequence going from 1) rapid or excessive social change and dissolution of social control or support to 2) generalized distress. disappointed. disappointed. do the same circumstances cause both outcomes? But the rest of the structure lies in ruins. I Much of their lives. Illegitimate conflict. I must admit. although much of what has been interpreted as evidence of "urban rurality" may be the result of superficial observation or misinterpretation. in this mystification. But the bulk of migrants in the cities of Africa. and expropriation. assault. Little of the new evidence. or desperate. coercion. nor are they urban villagers. Legitimate Farce One of the greater mystifications to emerge from the nineteenth century makes a sharp distinction between two uses of force: "illegitimate" and "legitimate". and Big Structures 53 . bears directly on the question of equivalence: when families do break up and youngsters do become thieves. That some are isolated.associations or both. or normlessness to 3) disorganization or disorder in general. Illegitimate v s . rebellion. their aspirations.ease the transition and provide continuing social support for most migrants. Asia. desperate. protection rackets. tension. expressed in a variety of undesirable behaviors that sequence has proved an abysmal predictor of the actual course of Third World social change. villagers" in tight enclaves that turn their backs upon the city is also true. and these pressures and opportunities are shared with urban natives of similar economic 2nd ed~caticnalhckgroixrid (Nelson i979 : Pg8) . robbery. That others live as "urban is undeniable and should not be ignored.

or a private person. it became customary to gauge the intensity of the Big Structures 54 . include war. and seizure of property for debt. It is impractical because nearly identical actions fall on both sides of the line. the distinction between legitimate uses of force i s absolutely crucial. for example. The very same acts. indeed. or the likelihood that I will call the police if someone steals my wallet or assaults ~y child. killing appears in both columns.fraud. obfuscating. switch from illegitimate to legitimate if a constituted authority performs them. NeverLleless the sharp distinction ~ h o u i dnever It is at once impractical and ' have entered the world of systematic explanation. capital crowd punishment. and expropriation. S . b) it separates phenomena that have much in common. they result from processes of change and disorder. over a simple fact: one man's terror i The same difficulty haunts any attempt to make systematic empirical use of the term "corruption". depending on whether the killer is a soldier. a policeman. Legitimate conflict. taxation. The distinction between illegitimate and legitimate force is obfuscating because a) it reinforces the idea of a struggle between differentiation and integration. coercion. illegitimate and I don't deny its political necessity. all of them presumably result from processes of integration and control. but with very different values. an executioner. have foundered repeatedly s another man's resistance movement. Recent attempts to build systematic theories of terrorism. and only a political judgment separates them. in the 1960s. then. In the realm of politics. A small example comes from the study of collective violence: In the examinations of "riots" that proliferated with the great ghetto conflicts of the U . imprisonment. control. and spring from similar conditions.

mob.event. and t uk rn c C nX . people whom others call rioters never use the term for themselves.. participants in social movements. it cuts Big Structures 55 . then. and quite independent of the "legitimate" force deployed to stop it. explicable through the character and circumstances of the people who used it. to focus the analysis on explaining the participation of civilians in those riots.?ding. in the eyes of the authorities. I L I Cab did =f L\~ kilfiR9 and. the events in question typically began with contested actions of police. displays the intention to break the law. by the number of killed and wounded. the term riot has long had legal standing.lrU annaA U aU~U rA tVh er. and the forms of action of the "rioters". observers built their explanations as though the use of "illegitimate" force were a self-contained phenomenon. In short.:1 :-~IIIIIIY and wounding depended at least as much on the tactics of police and troops as it did on the number of people in the streets or the amount of property seized and destroyed. however. It denotes an assembly which frightens the public and. selective participation of certain types of ghetto-dwellers. Part of the confusion resulted from the use of the term riot itself. among other ways. ka3. To declare an assembly after due warning and a decent interval for voluntary As a legal device. Like the words disturbance. and to seek the explanation of variations in "riot intensity" in relationships among local social structure. that no satisfactory explanations emerged: In fact. In Anglo-Saxon law. and rabble. see why authorities find it useful. the UL. one can compliance. riotous justifies. the use of public force to disperse it. As an analytic term. the conflict consisted mainly of interactions between armed authorities and civilians. the word belongs exclusively to authorities and hostile observers. and vigilantes. Unlike demonstrators. Small wonder.LA-& ~ LGIIC QL 1.

A l a r g e example comes from t h e c l o s e analogy. is strong-arm methods t h a t keep competition destroyed o r s c a r e it away.t r u s t and other laws intended t o make monopoly d i f f i c u l t . a n a r c h i s t . it is a pure "racketn (Schelling 1967: 63) . I f the whole b a s i s of success i n business. Big Structures 56 . b) t o exclude other s u p p l i e r s of those goods and s e r v i c e s from the market. I t is a l s o useful t o d i s t i n g u i s h between firms t h a t . and the more s t r i c t l y "racketeering" firms whose p r o f i t a b l e monopoly rests e n t i r e l y on criminal violence. The object of law enforcement i n the former case is not t o destroy the firm but t o c u r t a i l its i l l e g a l practices. between racketeering and routine government.takes up t h e analysis of distinguish altogether k\ree k i a d s of "~~~f-flfy"ulusr achiev& LL--- through l e g a l means. it operates a protection racket. in an excess of z e a l o r deficiency of scruple. they do not depend on any Schelling's d i s t i n c t i o n s strengthen the analogy. r a r e l y noticed. those achieved through means t h a t a r e i l l e g a l only because of a n t i . he ! & c-2 Notice what happens when a sharp-eyed racketeering: economist - no . engage when necessary in r u t h l e s s and i l l e g a l competition. and its use a ) t o coerce people t o pay f o r goods o r s e r v i c e s offered by suppliers a l l i e d with t h e wielders of force. Both depend on t h e establishment of a near-monopoly of force i n a given area. To t h e extent t h a t a government manufactures e x t e r n a l t h r e a t s t o j u s t i f y the m i l i t a r y protection it provides and the taxes it c o l l e c t s f o r t h a t purpose. and monopolies achieved through means t h a t a r e criminal by any standards - means t h a t would be criminal whether o r n o t they were aimed a t monopolizing a business.through the very middle of the s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n t h a t c o n s t i t u t e s the event t o be explained. though.

and certainly don't claim that the monopolization of coercion and the extraction of various forms of tribute exhaust the activities of governments. conscript soldiers.certainty as t~ t. Anyone who has looked closely at the formation of national states in Europe has seen elements of the process over an6 w e r : Lhe e r l y w. but on the response of lawmakers to the mnopolizers. Government is that racket which has managed to establish control over the most concentrated means of coercion in an area.difference in the behavior of the monopolizers. the use of that growing monopoly of force to collect taxes. subject the population at large to registration and surveillance.. the creation of distinct government-controlled police forces. regulate all other organizations. disband the private armies. obscure the understanding. important objects of study. Those distinctions and their origins are But as analytical distinctions. legal and illegal. incorporate all troops into forces under royal control. and to command the acquiescence of most of the population to its use of those means throughout that area. disarm the lords. diminish the private use of armed force in such forms as dueling and banditry. the intense campaigns of kings and ministers to tear down castle walls. ' notice how the analogy with racketeering clarifies the actions of governments we regard as illegitimate. force the sale of salt. that exist today.he location of the government in the midst of great lords and private armies. I don't insist on the strong word racket. seize control of criminal and civilian justice. they do little but Big Structures 57 . Nevertheless. Those processes created the distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate. and turn nobles into royal military officers. define and discourage smuggling. and the process by which new governments or quasi-governments arise.

categories. kin groups. that is present or absent in the same circumstances as U (Zelditch 1971: 267). common to each instance. No second variable U i s definitely the cause or effect of V is there exists a third variable. networks. hhys of Seeing All pernicious postulates discarded. we have our choice of a great variety of populations. or catnets as specimens of the sort of unit about which we are theorizing. international alliances. regions. How can we compare big structures and large processes for these purposes? First. is the cause or effect of V. The trick is to have criteria for identifying real populations. trading nets. if it is not found when V is found. churches. and what alternatives to it might exist. say W. and many. 4 . We must hold on to the nineteenth-century problems. Without exception. call attention to important processes.fcr intelligible coiri~rison: 1 . Two or more instances of a phenomenon may be. but let go of the nineteenth-century intellectual apparatus. processes Without exception. say U. we must be sure of the units we are comparing. No second variable U is the cause or effect of V if it is found when V is not. and catnets: firms. social classes. they that frightened our nineteenth-century forebears and remain influential today. compared if and only if there exists some variable. suppose we still want to understand how our world got into its present sorry state. networks. Suppose we also want to meet the four logical conditions Morris Zelditch hss n~fi-sd rLWr. 2 . they construe those processes in such a way as to hinder their systematic analysis. categories. many others. say V. Big Structures 58 .Let that stand as an epitaph for all eight of the pernicious postulates the social sciences inherited from the nineteenth century. 3 . No second variable. Just so long as we remain clear and consistent.

and so on.If we abandon societies as units of analysis. regional modes of production. a comparison can range from single (only one form of a to multiple (many forms of the phenomenon exist). international r blocs. delimit the analysis. The choice among many possible units of analysis lays the theoretical responsibility directly where it belongs: on the theorist. social classes. linguistic groups. exists) Cross-classifying the two dimensions of variation yields a familiar sort of diagram: Big Structures 59 . In a standard sociological simplification. linguistic groups. =pe. and many other social units. change the boundaries of the observation as the state's own boundaries change. No theorist can responsibly retreat to vague statements about "society" when he has a clear choice among statements a b u t nztional states. let us In distinguish and then combine two dimensions of comparison: scope and nunber. But we have many other choices than states: international power blocs. regions marked out by hierarchies of cities or markets. phenomenon In number. and not some mystical entity existing independently of the state. Let us distinguish among several different ways of comparing big structures and large processes. regions. then. and to determine how well their statements hold up to theoretical scrutiny. Only when theorists of big structures specify to which units their statements apply can we hope to organize the evidence efficiently. a comparison can range from quite particular (getting the characteristics of the case at hand right) to quite general (getting the characteristics of all cases right). regional modes of production. We need only be cautious: remember that the area and population controlled by that state. social classes. recognize the interdependence of adjacent states. we need not abandon national states.

generalizing. . in which the point is to contrast specific instances of a given phenomenon as a means of grasping the peculiarities of each case. . Take. the recurrent effort to construct a natural history of economic growth. . Jeffery Paige's Agrarian Revolution qualifies as generalizing by virtue of its proposal to link different sorts of rural political action to varying combinations of workers' source of income. It aims to establish that every instance of a phenomenon follows essentially the same rule. . .SINGLE PARTICULAR .. .) MULTIPLE SCOPE GENERAL T I individualizing universalizing encompassing generalizing I We have a choice.. . and encompassing comparisons of big structures and large processes. once begun. . On the other side from the individualizing and the universalizing comparison we find the generalizinq comparison. At the general end of the same side we have the universalizinq comparison. among individualizing. Thus Reinhard Bendix contrasts changes in British and German political life with a view to clarifying how ~ritishworkers acquired relatively f u l l p r t i c i p a t i o r ! ir! x i t i o n a l p ~ l i t i z s .wtiile a r r e n workers kept finding themselves excluded. . . for example. It i s supposed to establish a principle of variation in the character or intensity of a phenomenon by examining systematic differences among instances. universalizing. either through the specification of necessary and sufficient conditions for takeoff or through the identification of the stages through which every industrializing country must pass. . . . ruling class's Big Structures 60 . First comes the individualizing comparison. then. .

and the twentieth-century U ." although he counts himself among the breed (Stinchcombe 1983: vii) .s=plat-=fi sf muc. and governmental repressiveness. Surely Stinchcombe is wrong. Starting that book. but encompassing. eighteep+h*r u r ~ S-+I*-. It places different instances at various locations within the same system. deal of Although individualizing and a bit of the Big Structures 61 . Stinchcombe indulges in a good as its three principal instances.erfiAfrica. . How could so shrewd an observer as Stinchcombe relegate all of them to a vanishing breed? The trouble.where they are feasible and appropriate -. nor generalizing. Barrington Moore. Theda Skocpol. S . A .h. Reinhard Bendix. on the way to explaining their characteristics as a function of their varying relationships to the system as a whole.. In recent years.source of income. lies here: Stinchcombe. with its placement of world regions in the core. and many others continue to work with telling comparisons.~. Stinchcombe complains that "comparative sociologists are a vanishing breed. he uses his comparisons mainly for the purpose of generalizing. has provided an influential model of encompassing comparison. The fourth and final use of comparison is neither universalizing. a consumnate generalizer. Gerhard Lenski. i r c u ~F--y ~ai1C2. Although I share his preference for generalizing comparisons -. or periphery of a single capitalist world-system. individualizing. Looking at Cumparistms Arthur Stinchcornbe's daringly comparative Economic Sociology takes the ~~ntp. Michael Hechter.. semi-periphery. Imrnanuel Wallerstein's brand of world-system analysis. In America alone. hesitates to recognize the other forms of comaprison as genuine comparison.prary KariFIc3=n. I think.

significant parts to play in building our understanding of big social structures and large social processes. Let us concentrate on European experience since 1500 or Let us ask what strategies of comparison help make that experience If the inquiry yields interesting answers. so.chapters to come I hope to show that individualizing. especially. those answers will intelligible. universalizing and. Big Structures 62 . naturally lead to their conversion into questions for the next inquiry. ahistorical stake to which social scientists have often chained it. and of attaching it instead to historically specific experiences of change. In the process. encompassing comparisons also have legitimate. I would like to illustrate the value of tearing largescale comparison away from the abstract.

Montesquieu declares that "it is fortunate for men to be in a situation in which. for example. commerce and its corollaries." "Here. and that lack of correspondence among national character. and law tended to undermine governmental authority. Montesquieu follows precisely that principle in Part Four of the Esprit des lois. discussing corruption. L5eor. Montesquieu follows "the logic inherent in a method that refuses to draw conclusions applicable to all distinctive types of states. he sometimes appeared to be seeking principles of variation. but generally ended up with singularities. that each form of government called for its own variety of law.would inhibit the passions and the passion-induced "wicked" actions The irony is that Montesquieu formulates of the powerful" (Hirschman 1977: 73). Rather he deduces his generalizations from the specific structure and 2 ) . He was attempting. Big Structures 63 . they have nevertheless an interest in not being so . There. such as the bill of exchange ." exults Hirschman. to show that environment shaped character. and politics.that is. social life. governmental form. after all.CHAPTER 4 : INDIVIDUALIZING COMPARISONS The Will t o Individualize comparing large social units in order to identify their singularities has been with us a long time. speaking of England without quite saying so. ruling passion of each type" (Richter 1977: 8 To the delight of Albert Hirschman.y of c~rrespndencesleads i-ii turally Such a Pv%efi t~ individiializifig camparisms. When Montesquieu compared different parts of the world with respect to climate. "is a truly magnificent generalization built on the expectation that the interests -. topography. that forms of government corresponded strongly to the character of the people in their social settings. though their passions may prompt them to be wicked (mechants).

he bowed toward generalization. which so easily becomes a generalization in the hands of such a theorist as Hirschman. Yet in another sense all of Weber's essays in the sociology of religion are a mere preface to what he had not yet explained for the West (Bendix 1960: 284-285). Reinhard Bendix has himself been one of the great practitioners of individualizing comparison. and with Arthur Stinchcombe exceptional clarity concerning what has to be explained. His sociology of religion culminates in the attempt to explain the initial d i f ferentiaticn bet-&eenmystic c~nts~plation and ascetic sctivisiii. But his wide comparisons of religious systems sewed mainly to specify the uniqueness of the achieving. When he spoke of rationalization and charisma. In our own day. rationalizing. Weber. Max Weber used comparisons for the purpose of individualizing. Faithful to the examples of m x the search for the secret of The individualizing comparison dominated all Weber and Otto Hintze. He has done so with theoretical parsimony. the rest. When Max Weber started elaborating his great taxonomies. he gestured toward universalizing comparison. accumulating. he has sought the features distinguishing the few relatively successful cases of durable parliamentary government from all other historical experiences.his principle. never abandoned rationalism's triumph in the West. bureaucratizing West. . To a large degree.In one sense the study was complete once he had explained the origin of ethical rationalismby the contribution of ancient Jewish prophecy. not to account for general patterns of variation among states. As Reinhard Bendix says. continues Bendix. Big Structures 64 . but to single out and understand the peculiarities of seafaring commercial states.

tells a pleasant tale: In my first year of graduateschool. I turned in a paper to Reinhard Bendix called "Rhetorical Opportunities in Some Theories of Social Change. and the United States to determine the conditions under which entrepreneurs acquired room for maneuver." After some discussion of the substance of the paper. Russia/England and Germany/U. he made a comment that has shaped my attitude toward "theory." theory goes a long way. come into play. In Work and ~uthorityin Industry. In that work. while his conclusion that confidence in the good faith of subordinates was crucial to entrepreneurial flexibility begins to sound like generalizing. a . Bendix has heeded his own teaching. explanations. for example. East Germany. S . come down to the persistence of old authority patterns into the age of concentrated industry. Bendix's conclusion that industrializing everywhere brings bureaucratization of the workplace has a universalizing air.little bit of He went on to say I ought to decide what phenomena I wanted to explain (Stinchcombe 1968: v) .whichto examine Anglo-American traits more carefully. That is individualizing Big Structures 65 . comparison par excellence. comments Arthur Stinchcombe. Its overall intellectual purpose. he uses a comparison among Russia." He than a 'totalitarian' resl~tionczf We see at once why the the problems of labor relations" (Stinchcombe 1978: 1 0 4 ) . "is to explore the historical sources of a 'p1l?ralist1 ra+. "You know. two pairs of comparisons. the His general conditions affecting confidence in the good faith of subordinates. in the last analysis. England. The same is true of Bendix's Nation-Building and Citizenshie. Bendix makes no effort to discover. . But the bulk of his comparative effort actually treats Russia or Germany as a reversing mirror in.

Kings or People examines two alternative bases Big Structures 66 . On a world scale. Fustel de Coulanges. Russia. empirically how m If the emphasis is to be on men actin2 in societies. and India most often pair by pair.he offered comparisons of Western Europe. is the distinction of one social structure from another. Japan. balanced approach. but does not alter the basic script. Germany. Bendix deliberately cites Max Weber. then. - The book aims to specify the conditions for creation of a national political community: a national state in which citizens have enough confidence in their rulers and* their institutions that the rulers can handle change without utterly destroying their capacity to rule. The business at hand. but also underscore the inescapable artificiality of conceptual distinctions and the consequent need to m v e back and forth between the empirical evidence and the benchmark concepts which Max Weber called "ideal types. To - maintain this. comparative studies should not only highlight the contrasts existing between different human situations and social structures. and Hannah Arendt as predecessors along the same path. Kirrgs or People? Bendix's Kings or People greatly widens the stage. "In these and similar studies." he writes. a recurrent issue of the human condition is identified in order to examine e n in different societies have encountered that issue. emphases in text) ." In this way such studies reveal the network of interrelations which distinguishes one social structure from another (Bendix 1977: 22. these studies will have to give full weight not only to the conditioning of these actions but in principle aim ts L\e fact that ~ w n have acted in the face of the agonizing dilemmas that confront them.

Big Structures 67 . only in the fundamental statement of the problem. To the slim theoretical tool kit of his previous books. that internal differentiation would produce similar changes and outcomes in a wide variety of countries. China. Japan. the internal differentiation associated with industrialization -. warfare. Max Weber casts a long shadow over the book. and in his relatively slight concern about the technical problems of the driving force of change. Buddhism. a little theory still goes a long way.more precisely. in his basing of legitimacy on systems of belief. and thereby contradict the premise from which Bendix began. His comparisons individualize. furthermore. For the Bendix of Kings or People. Bendix adopts the new device in order to escape the effects of seeing internal differentiation -. but also in Bendixls insistence on legitimacy as the basis of rule.of government . and Islam when explaining differences among the political systems of western Europe.hereditary monarchy and popular sovereignty .itted western Europe to host the transition from rule in the name of the king to rule in the name of the people. By itself. Although Bendix does sustain comparisons across the world's empires.and asks how the Weberls influence appears not second succeeded the first in western Europe from the sixteenth century onward. H e couples the demonstration effect to the theory of ideological continuity that he used repeatedly in his earlier works. he crganizes t!?cse cc~?n=-iscns rUL sc as t~ c f ~ s e in =n L!e ijecufiarities t h a t pem. More or less self-consciously. repression. in his recurrence to Christianity. Confucianism. budgets. this Bendix adds only one major device: a demonstration effect in which the people of one state strive to create the political arrangements they see in another state. and the Muslim world. reconciliation of competing interests and other essential activities of governments.

Russia. Following Alex Inkeles. for example. though each country has done so in its own way. Bendix could treat the extent and rapidity of diffusion of political models in one country or another as a function of the involvement of ordinary people in factories. "I ask the same or at least similar questions of very different contexts and thus allow for divergent answers" (Bendix 1978: 15). Japan. markets. sense of historical "In order to particularity while comparing different countries. Today.d f i n d s diversity everywhere. new states looking for analogues or precedents in other countries have more models to choose from than ever before. Germany." he writes. such a theory of diffusion opens the way to a move from individualizing comparison toward generalization. In fact.In principle. My account attempts to show that nationalism has become a universal condition in our world because the sense of backwardness in one's own country has led to ever new encounters with the "advanced model" or development of another country. and China have participated in a worldwide movement of nationalism and of government by popular mandate. 2~". Bendix goes beyond a mere methodological mandate. the quicker the diffusion. Even the countries which had been building their political institutions for centuries had to cope with unprecedented problems in the process of modernization. Here i a crucial summary: England. preserve a But Bendix characteristically clings to individuality. / - I wish to show that the problems faced by each modernizing country were largely unique. and other settings exposing them to those models: the more rapid and massive the creation of those settings. he mistrusts s%ndardizir?g scheses. but their histories and the earlier development of other countries have hardly Big Structures 68 . France.

and lead to a final review of the twentieth-century situation. France. beliefs. and mgland. Japan. Islamic. labor. j*stifi&. Second. that the pivotal events are not alterations in the structure of production or of power. and capital promoted the appearance of educated minorities. Russia. Bendix adopts a problematic. individualization. Germany. the problem i the actions of rulers and of claimants to rule. but changes in prevailing ideas. that . and Russia do the bulk of the work. if conventional. In the book's first half. the three push the whole analysis back toward Bendix builds his analysis as a series of narratives punctuated by kmmaries and comparisons. Bendix traces the emergence of rule in the name of the people. In the second half. Imperial Germany/Prussia. the histories of England. account of European popular mobilization: in that account. Indeed. the growth of cities and the commercialization of land. that within each state previous institutional history and contemporary beliefs place enormous constraints on the possible solutions to recognized problems. Then: "Various groups of educated minorities became alerted to the social and cultural position of their own society in relation to the Big Structures 69 . despite the demonstration effect each state works out its fate in considerable independence of all the rest. he presents the ways that kings estzblished. . Third. throughout the book. In neither half does he worry much about explaining s to explain the actions of ordinary people. and Chinese experiences provide the background for extended treatments of Japan. Combined. and defended *eir rule. and justifications. followed by a general discussion of kingly authority. quick observations en Geimiiic.prepared them for the tasks of statedbuilding (Bendix 1978: 5) Three assumptions suffuse Bendix ' s argument: First.

There he sees a strong parallel between the development of the new religious creed and the rise of parliamentary government. The century's great popular rebellions dissolve into a single sentence: "Great anxiety was caused by the widespread distress due to enclosures. Those are.'demonstration of advances' beyond their frontiers. and proletarians over taxation. except as a breeding ground for new elites. just as the equality of parliamentarians before the king placed a gulf between them and c o m n people. Neither the great European popular rebellions nor the long. Similarly. Ordinary people disappear from Bendix's history. military service. the major changes of his sixteenth century include the price revolution and the Reformation of e n I But they d~ nat incliide Lue proletarianization of the rural population or the proliferation of trading networks tended by small capitalists. artisans. Consistent with his emphasis on beliefs and elites. by vagrancy in the countryside. serious omissions. As Bendix works out this analysis in detail for England. ~endixhas nothing to say of the country's vast seventeenth-century rebellions. rested on the paradox of equality within a well-defined elite: The equality of all believers before God separated them sharply from non-believers. and church control of family life have any place in the argument. a process which acquired momentum in Europe in the sixteenth century and has since spread to most other countries of the world" (Bendix 1978: 258). and by sporadic rebellionsw (Bendix 1978: 282). Both. and as a field in which those new elites sow their implicitly revolutionary ideas. in studying France of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. thinks Bendix. Big Structures 70 . hard bargaining of royal and ecclesiastical officials with peasants. Bendix centers his portrait of the English sixteenth century on the rise of Puritanism. I think. the tithe.

and ending with a constitution of liberal sentiments and authoritarian institutions. civil servants. Bendix finally reasons that the poor fit between his scheme and Germany's experience helps explain Germany's twentieth-century wanderings: Big Structures 71 . and Regel rese::?=?esL!e f ~ r i c a t i o nof an intellectual counter-elite. while the creativity of kssing. Goethe. The Prussian revolution of 1848. parlementary officials. But given that start. Pichte. the later nineteenth century Bendix does not did not produce the appropriate drive for democratization. with the developnent of a critical spirit among writers. with French reactions to England and America. Kant. of the broad resistance to royal taxation and seigneurial aggrandizement. His preferred candidates. the lack of any strong analogy to the Puritans or the Philosophes causes him trouble. of the royal struggle with popular Protestantism. The eighteenth century and the beginning The attention of German princes and courts to French models looks like a demonstration effect. of the nineteenth work well enough. of the capitalization of agriculture. lacking a broad intellectual movement. consider socialists and organized workers to have constituted a serious opposition. and Freemasons. Bendix's account deals with governmental structure.of the energetic growth of small-scale industry. remain loyal longer than the general argument makes convenient: "The question was how long these officials would maintain their liberal outlook in economic affairs without being won over by the agitation for popular representation which spread in part through the public implementation of that liberal outlook" (Bendix 1978: 426) . Cracks i n the Pbundation When Bendix comes to Germany. comes on as an anomaly. Schiller.

and the idealization of Bildung and duty had provided a weak foundation for national citizenship.Nevertheless. and the question was how long the people would remain under the political tutelage of the monarch and his court party. Here. we sense the trouble caused by ignoring ordinary people. Bendix uses his cases and comparisons to argue the importance of variation in the past availability of systems of belief as a cause of present variation in forms of government. What is more. no easy translation of a democratic ideology into popular opposition to hereditary monarchy. a legal order primarily upheld by officials. the idea of a bill of rights and of popular sovereignty had been at least verbally embraced. the very fidelity of his use of individualizing comparison leads him to identify the difficulties in the German case. no new elite converting that demonstration into a usable ideology. We know today that Germany was unprepared for the advent of popular The history of the sovereignty when that tutelage was destroyed in 1918. My complaint comes to this: There is no way to specify the impact of those systems of belief without examining the organization and action of the people who are Big Structures 72 . Weimar Republic demonstrated that the mentality of hometownsmen. Few people had internalized the "rules of the gamen of democratic politics and without that internalization a mandate of the people cannot function (Bendix 1978: 430) . i t s tane reveals aiiie Despite this bold bid tn save +_e argment. Bendix is apparently aware that the German experience shakes his general scheme: no strong demonstration effect. perplexity. more than almost anywhere else in the book. They are aeliberate. Let me be clear about it: These emphases and omissions follow directly from the analytical program Bendix adopts.

supposed to be mobilizing around the beliefs. To believe Bendix's account of Germany. Kings or People reveals the strengths and weaknesses of individualizing comparison. for example. it works very well. Big Structures 73 . theory's validity. in general. Seen from a greater distance. In the In short. we must also believe that class struggles within each monarchy fail to explain Europe's successive revolutions and reforms .a proposition left moot by individualizing comparison. individualizing comparison will do to start social inquiry. As a way of theorizing. to believe that "Once the English king had been overthrown and parliament was supreme. it leaves a great deal to be desired. But that proposition i s exactly ohat remins tz k przven! Again. Once begun. the at by arrived individualizing comparison depends implicitly on the correctness of general propositions embedded in the explanations. the inquiry will begin very well. other monarchies became insecure and the idea of parliamentary government was launched" (Bendix 1978: 250). however. we must also believe that. plausibility of the explanations of particular cases In fact. and of As a way of testing a illustrating the theory as you go. skillful hands of a Bendix. the strength of popular mobilization around a democratic belief varies with the extent of prior articulation of that belief by a strong and unified elite. however. the inquiry that seeks evidence must turn to other sorts of comparison.

break the experience of t h a t instance i n t o a sequence of events or a set of stages. then propose t h e extension of t h e sequence o r s t a g e s t o many instances sometimes even t o every known instance.i+. and breakdown of civilizations. To find n a t u r a l h i s t o r y credible and useful. self-contained c l u s t e r s . family l i v e s . To accept Arnold Toynbee's massive scheme of rise. each c i v i l i z a t i o n organizes around a fundamental set of values. for example.?=se<! s c h ~ c e . e prc. and t h a t the exhaustion of values causes transformations i n a l l aspects of c i v i l i z a t i o n s . maturity. self-contained. s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s often d i d t h e i r theorizing i n t h e form of standardized "natural h i s t o r i e s " of d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l phenomena.ez fit i n k f .CHAPTER 5: UNIVERSALIZING COMPARISONS The W i n e of Natural History For the f i r s t half of the twentieth century. - The demonstration of the theory's v a l i d i t y then consisted of taking up new cases and showing t h a t the course of elvents r. revolutions and c i v i l i z a t i o n s a l l had t h e i r own n a t u r a l histories. communities of a c e r t a i n type. Individual careers. properties. The t h e o r i s t would t y p i c a l l y begin with an instance he knew well. but not f o r the purpose of! ezch ef +. t h a t people within the c i v i l i z a t i o n gradually exhaust t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s within t h a t set of values.h. s o c i a l movements. Toynbee's grand scheme Big Structures 74 . one must believe 1) t h a t the s o c i a l phenomena i n question f a l l i n t o coherent. ?he analyst cempared identifying t h e i r their common t h e new cases with the o l d . and 2) t h a t change within any p a r t i c u l a r instance r e s u l t s l a r g e l y from i n t e r n a l causes. we must that believe that a "civilization" is a coherent entity. On the contrary: history The point was to argue but The n a t u r a l involved a primitive common form of universalizing comparison.h.

and pass through Ideational. and Spencer come instantly to mind history as a theoretical device. Simon. Spengler. and Reinterpreted and placed within the ideational supersystems and less integrated eclectic cultures. scheme of sensate. natural history was no passing fancy. Tylor. integrated systems can change coherently. and Alfred Kroeber all fathered members of the family. he taught.) Although massive schemes in the style of Toynbee or . Comte.for civilizations belongs to a family of natural histories. and Sensate phases. Pitirim Sorokin. Oswald Spengler. on reading these comments on writers with whom Sorokin had many points of agreement. and Toynbee were not integrated systems. idealistic. - often used broad-brush natural If theorists since World War I1 have generally trimmed their aspirations somewhat. Eighteenth. he thought. do form. "cultural supersystemsn. Characteristically.Sorokin have lost favor in the social sciences. they agree essentially with the conclusions of my analysis of these systems and greatly reinforce them (Sorokin 1947: 643. But. Idealistic. St.usiczs from their false frame of reference. Kroeber. and the civilizations identified by Spengler. Buckle. and Danilevsky premise for their Having laid out these are never~elessvalid if divorced thinking. one begins to understand why some of his colleagues in American sociology found him "difficultn. natural history has continued to thrive in Big Structures 75 .and nine- teenth-century founders of our social sciences -. certain of their c~ncl. judgments.Vico. Sorokin criticized his colleagues for treating Only civilizations as coherent wholes with independent but similar lives. integrated by definition. Sorokin summarized in classic self-confidence: Despite the basic misconceptions of the structure and movement of the civilizations which Toynbee.

over. a distinguished historian of the French Revolution. to a crisis. and What is that model? 2~ssianrevcll?ti~ns. This works up. and when we can say the fever of revolution has begun. the rule of the most violent revolutionists. there will be found signs of the coming disturbance. but not yet sufficiently developed to be the disease. it is very likely still the best-known general book on the subject in English. Contemplating the English. in the old regime. Crane Brinton. was pronouncing Scholars still use it. Natural history has also found employment on a smaller scale. these signs are not quite symptoms. They are perhaps better described as prodromal signs. the Reign of Terror. and the patient is himself again. an Iranian~historian its central model the best template for the Iranian Revolution of 1979 (Keddie 1983: 590) . Then comes a time when the full symptoms disclose themselves. not regularly but with advances and retreats. usually marked by a relapse or two. American. Although thousands of books and articles on revolution have appeared since the Anatomy's appearance in 1938. since when the symptoms are fully enough developed the disease is already present. After the crisis comes a period of Finally the fever is convalescence. frequently accompanied by delirium. perhaps in some respects actually Big Structures 76 . once wrote a famous little book called The Anatomy of evolution. as recently as 1983. Rigorously.the form of evolutionary and developmental schemes applied to "societies" rather than civilizations. indications to the very keen diagnostician that a disease is on it way. French. Brinten offered m e metaphor of fever: In the society during the generation or so before the outbreak of revolution.

With his customary touch of ma1ice. Although Brinton himself had no trouble distinguishing the English. attempted use of force by the government. The old ruling classes had lost confidence in themselves and their traditions. but they by no means emerge entirely remade (Brinton 1965: 16-17). for instance. At the end. Significant numbers of intellectuals had transferred their allegiances away from the regime. 3 . 4. Big Structures 77 . with the first phase involving "financial breakdown. The body of his book went through the postulated stages one by one. 'The societies involved were undergoing economic expansion. and participants in their revolutions were not generally miserable. for societies which undergo the full cycle of revolution are perhaps in some respects the stronger for it. The societies were riven by bitter class antagonisms. all four old regimes: 1 .strengthened by the experience. Brinton self-consciously adopted a metaphor from pathology. demands which if granted would mean the virtual abdication of those governing. but certainly not wholly made over into a new man. The parallel goes through to the end. American. Brinton proposed a series of uniformities for each stage of revolution. immunized at least for a while from a similar attack. illustrating from the histories of all four revolutions. organization of the discontented to remedy this breakdown (or threatened breakdown). 5 . He saw these characteristics. and Russiarr mvoluticms. The governmental machinery was inefficient. then warned his readers that they should not read into the metaphor any hostility to revolution. French. 2 . his d i s c s s i o n eiiphasized their similarities. he sketched "some tentative uniformitiesn. revolutionary demands on the part of these organized discontented.

the play of coalitions. As a result. With occasional pauses for description. the book pursued uniformities. and the attainment of power by the revolutionists" (Brinton 1965: 253). but proposals of standard sequences become rarer and rarer. he was able to describe features of each revolution that fit his scheme. confuses +. with its rediscovery of party struggle and popular participation. mdels of Revolution Indeed. His emphasis on the vulnerability of the states involved caught an element that other natural histories. the reaction. the trend in revolutionary historiography seems to have discouraged the construction of natural histories. Increasingly. and relegates ordinary people to a chorus either following the soloists' lead or standing silent. Brinton's natural history mixed sense and nonsense. Models of revolution continue to proliferate. and reflection.its failure. focused too intently on revolutionaries alone. Brintm attached tc! The fever metaphor. The last few decades' historiography of all four revolutions.h. It also locates the revolution in the revolutionary elites. self-consciously constructed models of revolution (as opposed to Big Structures 78 . and subjecting other people to its force.ially the French a society personified. has made Brinton's account obsolete. That suggestion wipes away the struggle of parties. and the restoration. The Anatomy offered similar uniformities for each of the subsequent stages: the movement of power among revolutionaries. He knew the events of the four revolutions (espe. qualification. on which he had earlier written a monograph) well.e subject by suggesting that a revolution happens to something like a single person -. missed. the rule of extremists. for all the qualifications it. reshaping it. the problem of seizing control of a governmental structure.

the implicit schemes people use when interpreting particular revolutions) concern 1) causes and precipitating conditions, 2) alignments of classes and parties, 3) mobilization and demobilization, 4) outcomes. universalizing comparison has disappeared. This does not mean, however, that
On the contrary: It has become

increasingly common to defend models of revolution by lining up several instances in which revolution did occur and stressing their cormn properties. Take James Davies' influential J-curve model as a case in point. (Davies

authorizes our making a connection between him and Crane Brinton by dedicating his reader When Men Revolt and Why to Brinton: "He never fathered a revolution but he articulated its anatomy in our disjointed time".) his argument:
%se f,h.esis is a fundamentally pycholog ical one, referring to individuals

As Davies summarizes

rather than social aggregates: revolution is most likely to occur when a long period of rising expectations and gratifications is followed by a period during which gratifications (socioeconomic and otherwise) suddenly drop off while expectations (socioeconomic or otherwise) continue to rise. The rapidly widening gap between expectations and gratifications portends

- for this widening gap of individual revolution. The most common case [sic]
dissatisfactions i s economic or social dislocation that makes the affected individual generally tense, generally frustrated. That is, the greatest

portion of people who join a revolution are preoccupied with tensions related to the failure to gratify the physical (economic) needs and the needs for stable interpersonal (social) relationships (Davies 1971: 133)


In his original presentation of the model in 1962, Davies proposed it as an alternative to the ideas that revolutions result from misery or progressive

9 Big Structures 7

degradation, Rising expectations, disappointed by a downturn, opened the way to revolution, Davies shared that general view with ~ocqueville,Brinton, and a number of relative-deprivation theorists. In offering Dorr's Rebellion, the

Russian Revolution of 1917, and the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 as confirming examples, he also wrote as if an angry public were the essential ingredient of revolution, Davies compounded that impression by extending the J-curve formulation, with less documentation, to Leisler Is Rebellion of 1689, the Amer ican Revolution, the French Revolution, the New York draft riots of 1863, and the riots of Nyasaland in 1959. (Later, he added the American Civil War, the Nazi seizure of power, and In passing, he

d i s p s e d of +,h.e one negative case on his roster

- the revolution that failed to occur during the American depression of the 1930s - by invoking the rapid,
vigorous intervention of the federal government. Thus Davies made clear that he was trying to state the conditions under which large numbers of people become angry enough to attack their government. In the 1971 reprinting, Davies added a qualification: "But socioeconomically deprived poor people are unlikely to make a successful rebellion, a revolution, by themselves, Their discontent needs the addition of the discontents developing among individuals in the middle class and the ruling class when they are rather suddenly deprived (socioeconomically or otherwise)" (Davies 1971: 133).

the movement of American blacks in the 1960s: Davies 1979.)

Nevertheless, the qualified model continues to treat the amount of discontent in a population as the prime determinant of rebellion en masse, and to propose thata J-curve pattern of expectations and achievements tends to push the amount of discontent above the threshold.

Big Structures 80

Notice what Davies did not do.


He did not compare his supposedly confirming With the

cases with other similar cases in which revolutions failed to occur.

exception of the American Depression, he did not look for instances in which J-curves appeared without revolution. He provided no rule for deciding which

satisfactions are crucial when some are being frustrated and others not. Nor did he specify, much less verify, the presumed links from the J-curve of

satisfactions to the necessary discontent, or from the discontent to the seizure of power, He did not meet the conditions Morris Zelditch has listed for

intelligible comparison: no method of differences, no elimination of third variables, and 50 on. In a universalizing mood, he compared a number of

instances to a model, and claimed to have discovered a correspondence.
Xone ef

Lhose failures disprcves the ;-curve


Short of d ~ i f i gthe

missing work ourselves

a thankless task -- we will be unable to refute i t . My

own sense of the evidence runs strongly against the model, on two grounds: first, that people's rising expectations are being disappointed all the time without revolution, and such time series analyses as we have available for a wide variety of conflicts point away from the expected pattern; second, that whether

widespread discontent actually couples with a revolutionary situation depends on structural circumstances that have little or no connection with the generality of discontent. Those "structural circumstances" include the military vulnerability of the state, the internal organization of its opposition, and the character of coalitions among classes.
Theda SkocpolmsRevolutions

If anyone emphasizes structural circumstances favoring revolutions, Theda Skocpol is the one. Skocpol's States and Social Revolutions sets up a sustained

Big Structures 81

made revolutions. In rrany respects. the Moore of Social Origins finally presented the revolutions as expressions of changes in class structure that were already under way. That conclusion. occur widely in history. the problem. called up a thorny question: Since many. Jr. as well as using the Russian Revolution of 1917 as a foil for the analysis of China. Skocpol "sets herself resolutely against any psychological explanations of revolutinary developments in terms of the frustrations or relative deprivation of the underlying population. versicn of Lhe b = . She contends instead that - only structural explanations allow one to reach an explanation of the causes of revolution" (Coser 1979: 1 3 ) . even intense discontents. k her mntcr. S k ~ c p 1wote her ere.comparison of the French. each having solid material reasons for opposition to the ruling classes and their states. Russian. As Lewis Coser says. Discontents. and Chinese revolutions with the intention of identifying the necessary and sufficient conditions of genuine social revolutions: those that rapidly transform state and class structures. is to identify those rare structural conditions that permit existing discontents to coalesce in revolutionary action. Moore's earlier Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy had included sustained treatments of the French and Chinese revolutions. \ But despite scrutinizing each revolution carefully for evidence of the conflicts and class alignments prevailing in each country. concludes Skocpol. but social revolutions hardly ever happen. and transforming revolutions almost never? Big Structures 82 . satisfactory for most purposes of Social Origins. Barrington Moore. many people have solid material reasons for opposition to ruling classes and their states.. why do major rebellions occur seldom. was writing at the same time. Temporary coalitions of classes.

Although Moore did consider the causes and costs of non-revolution in India later in Social Origins. The problem did wait.popular resentments could Nevertheless. a indiscriminate vengeance. it is necessary to perceive the causes.mainly poor people who . but followed His book Injustice did deal with "suppressed historical alternativesn. severe suffering does not always and necessarily generate revolutionary outbursts. In another there is.Moore first mentioned the question in a commentary on the Terror in France: As the victims of the September massacres show happened to be in jail when the mob burst in erupt in sudden acts of . He feinted in the first direction. and certainly not a revolutionary situation. he could go in either of two directions: toward the general structural conditions under which aggrieved people could actually seize power. dispassionate analysis cannot just draw back in horror at this point. That problem must wait (Moore 1966: 101). In that sense there As we shall see m s t clearly l a t e r . As Moore left the question at the close of Social Origins. But its chief itinerary led through Big Structures 83 . or toward the circumstances in which people who had solid material reasons for grievance actually articulated those grievances and acted on them. is no mystery here. To express outrage at the September massacres and forget the horrors behind them is to indulge in a partisan trick. They are clear enough in the aggravating circumstances of the moment and the history of degradation and oppression to which the mass of people at the very bottom of the social order were subject. the problem of necessary and sufficient causes of popular rebellion appeared in that book only intermittently. and did reason about why they did not develop. through in the second. such as the development of durable socialist power in Germany. !&en we come ?xc~nsiderIndia.

Russia 1985). (China v s . and China with Japan. An "organizational-realist" view of the state. China. Skocpol's comparisons appeared in three different configurations: A . (France + Ihrssia + China) v s . we could reasonably push the book over from universalizing toward generalizing comparison. similar to the featured three. but few revolutions. Japan) France v s . Japan. Prussia. rather than to discover principles of variation.the conditions in which people define the behavior of powerful others as unjust. however. Where Moore treated existing states as relatively direct expressions of the interests of a dominant class or class coalition at the states' formative moments. universalizing air. If States and Social Revolutions assigned equal weight to the three sets of comparisons. which failed to have social revolutions. Two features of the analysis. and Russia 1905 entered the analysis as other countries. That exploration took him through a rich variety of experiences. Skocpol used the comparisons among France. Prussia. movements. self-consciously compared the social structures and the revolutions point by point. and China almost exclusively to identify similarities in their circumstances. Russia 1917. (Japan + Prussia) (France v s . Be C . Theda Skocpol took the other path. infomed her vork ( S k o c p ~ l1379: 3 1 ) . England). collective opposition. independent weight. give it a First. intentionally examined the social structures behind those great revolutions with care. the comparisons of France. she meant to give the structure of the state full. (Russia 1917 vs. Russia vs. Russia. England and Russia 1905 Big Structures 84 . She deliberately focused on indisputably great revolutions. England. Second. and the relationship between the sense of injustice and participation in determined. and political forms. she said.

Skocpol arrived at this sort of comparison because she sought "valid. Big Structures 85 . Russia. In that regard. For they are introduced strictly for the purpose of helping to validate the main argument about the causes of social revolutions in France. or 2 ) reliably identifying the relationships among circumstances before. complete explanations of revolutions" (Skocpol 1979: 5) Furthermore. she had a particular understanding of what it means to explain revolutions. as in few others. and if pssible the sufficient. Skocpol vigorously rejected any attempt to "explain" revolutions by comparing them with other forms of conflict.occupied a distinctly minor position in the analysis as a whole. Skocpol's treatment of revolution resembled those of James navies and Crane Brinton. during. and after different revolutions. basic transformation of a society's state and class structures.including the success or failure of revolutionary movements -. accompanied and in part carried through by class-based revolts from below. Other analysts of revolution have taken explanation to consist of 1) accounting convincingly for the courses of events -. she would have nothing to do with "purposive" accounts It starting from the interests and organization of various revolutionary actors. 'Negative' - or control - cases are discussed much less fully. explanation r~nsists of identifying the necessary. complex event: a rapid. Because she adopted an extremely demanding program of explanation. conditions for a rare. in States and Social Revolutions "only the 'positive' cases of social revolution receive extensive discussion. different revolutionary situations. As Skocpol herself commented in a later essay on comparative history. Neither of these requires a specification of necessary and sufficient conditions for successful social revolutions. and China" (Skocpol & Somers 1980: 185).

importance to village power structure in accounting for agrarian rebellions in France. early-twentieth-century and mid-nineteenth through early-twentieth-century China alike. took her beyond the range of most social research. the .reliable statements of the relationship between the condition of the volcano before the eruption and the character of the eruption itself . and refused to recognize as explanations any of the following: -.correct analyses of the process by which lava as if she were studying volcanic eruptions. a t insistence on politics shows up repeatedly in the detail where Skocpol attributes considerable of States and Social Revolutions. complete" explanation of social revolutions. which makes revolution mainly a function of the inability of threatened national states to act. monarchies of the old Regimes proved unable to implement sufficiently basic reforms or to promote rapid enough economic development to meet and weather the particular intensity of military threats from abroad that each regime had to face. Russia. Romanov. and China. especially in the form of naticnal states. It shows up especially in the general argument. . % . in late-eighteenth-century France. Skocpol's determined explanatory program coupled with a determination to bring politics back into the analysis of largescale social changes. Institutional relationships existed between the Big Structures 86 . By politics she means the organization and use of coercion.validated accounts of the physical sequences by which different sorts of eruptions occur -. then. . And revolutionary crises emerged precisely because of the unsuccessful attempts of the Bourbon. Her search for a "valid. and Manchu regimes to cope with foreign pressures. Here is a compact statement of her thesis: Russia.

a Victoria bnnell could argue the importance of organized urban workers in the making of the Russian revolutionary crisis. Russia) or were deposed at home through the with more developed powers ( reaction of politically powerful landed upper classes against monarchical attempts to mobilize resources or impose reforms ( i . on the other hand. on the one hand. the existing class relations became vulnerable to assa~~lts from below [Skocpl 1979: 5El-S1). a William Doyle could complain that the parallel equates the relatively minor international difficulties of eighteenth-century France with the enormous vulnerability of Russia and China. Russia. becomes the equivalent of resistance by domestic landed classes. e . similar to Robert Hamblin's insertion of empirically-estimated exponents in his general equations for social change: Total war. To be sure. for example. s at least defensible These reservations aside. and slights the importance of divisions within France's ruling elite. No longer reinforced by the prestige and coercive power of autocratic monarchy. France and China). the upshot was the disintegration of centralized administrative machinereies that had theretofore provided the sole unified bulwark of social and political order. Note that the statement includes a certain amount of logical curve-fitting. and "assaults from below" cover a variety of evils. As a result. Either way. autonomous Big Structures 87 . a Ralph Thaxton could maintain that a folk revolutionary tradition played a powerful. is the statement true? It i in the present state of scholarship on France. e . and China. that made it impossible for the imperial states to cope successfully with competition or intrusions from abroad.monarchs and their staffs. the Old Regimes either were dissolved through the impact of defeat in total war i . and the agrarian economies.

Does Skocpol's statement present the necessary and sufficient conditions for social revolution? Aye. Skocpol failed to take advantage of the fact of variation. Likewise. in its own broad terms Skocpol's summary does identify common properties of the three states and their revolutions. such as the organization of local communities and the positions of the various countries' merchants in world markets. Japan. Within her basic design. Where are those new cases? All is not lost. and Russia 1905 do not rule out the importance of many other possibly critical variables. and to convert those differences into tentative generalizations. Even if we grant the validity of her most general summary of the three revolutions. there's the rub: In fitting her summary so tightly to the common circumstances of three countries at critical moments of their histories. England. and China look promising. cases on which she did not build her original formulation. The definition of social revolution constricts the field so greatly that it is hard to see how Skocpol could undertake the obvious verification: showing that her generalization accounts precisely for the presence or absence of social revolutions in new cases. For example. complete" explanations for social revolutions in general. Nevertheless. Skocpol has undermined her own effort to construct "valid. The quick comparisons with Prussia.part in the development of the Chinese revolution. Japan. in that respect. and Russia 1905 have more Big Structures 88 . the extent to which a state's military force remains intact and unified probably affects both the likelihood of revolution and the extent to which those who control the revolutionary state can contain their rivals and opponents. England. Russia. the comparisons with Prussia. we have room to look at systematic differences among them. the differences among France.

on the other.h. and considering the variations of that phenomenon. We might look. for instance. A shift of this kind means a move away from universalizing comparison. on the one hand.* of +. shift from either/or to in-sodfar-as. explaining their characteristics as a fllnctinn --*---. and the inclination toward revolutions from above. In short. It means moving toward either generalizing comparison (establishing a principle of variation in the character or intensity of a phenomenon by examining systematic differences among instances) or encompassing comparison (placing different instances at various locations within the same system. - as a +&=le). next e . g c chapters will give us an opportunity to weigh the costs and benefits of such a give.eir 1~7sryi~g relatienshine r tc khe syste. It means abandoning the idea that only one form of the phenomenon social revolution exists. Big Structures 89 . at the relationship between the extent of articulation among those who control the means of production and of coercion.

and run multiple regressions or factor analyses in order to discern the dimensions of development. of modernity. instances. send out interviewers to ask the questions of presumably comparable samples of individuals or households in each country. There i s the abuse of the Ersatz Laboratory. Those attractiiiiis have. In fact.CHAPTER 6 : GENERALIZING COMPARISONS cza~ a n d t o Generalize If we believed textbooks and learned essays on the subject. or modify on the basis of the new evidence. tempted social scientists iiit~ s o m e of their greatest technical abuses. or of some other equally ill-defined global concept. made comparable by the magic fact of appearing in parallel columns of a statistical handbook. with Z controlled. in which we take numerical observations on a hundred-odd national states. in which survey teams establish themselves in a number of different countries. The advantage of generalizing comparison is parsimony: a successful generalizing comparison produces a principle that extends readily to new cases. perfectly sound varieties of individualizing. falsify. There i s the abuse of the Great Blender. of political instability. yet is relatively easy to verify. translate a common questionnaire into the various local languages. almost all valid comparison would be generalizing comparison: comparison establishing a principle of variation in the character or intensity of a phenomenon having more than one form by examining systematic differences among. -unhappily. and encompassing comparisons exist. then pool the information thus manufactured into an analysis of cross-cultural variation in the relationship between X and Y. universalizing. code up their results into standard categories. Let us not forget the abuse of the Cultural Checkerboard. in which hired graduate Big Structures 90 .

That is an important phenomenon. Despite the misleading narrowness of the activities. that surveys and ethnographers always Big Structures 91 . or which cultural traits vary together. household structure. so that someone else can run statistical analyses to determine either which "societies" resemble each other most. for all their weaknesses. the pooling of administratively-generated statistics. The international standardization of timebudget surveys that began in the 1960s. national income analysis has given us precious insights into worldwide variation in economic activity.ethnographers1 observations provide a sense of systematic variation that tempers the temptation to take the round we live each day as the measure of the entire world. better established by quantitative comparison. We would understand much less of the world's population dynamics if demographers had not invented standard descriptions of vital rates and assembled relatively zmparable series of measurements for many states. early weaning. and age distributions. male puberty rituals. and the coding of . couvade. that international comparisons are bootless. and dozens of other cultural traits. Not that all quantitative comparisons abuse the truth. My claims. are substituting television time for work time. makes it clear how extensively citizens of the rich western countries. then transform their judgments into holes in Hollerith cards. In principle. remain a precious source of evidence concerning international differences in labor force participation. the conduct of comparable surveys (including censuses) in several different countries. and especially the United States. recording for each "society" encountered the presence or absence of patrilocal residence. Censuses. are not that quantification is worthless. living conditions. for example.students read stacks of ethnographic articles and monographs. it quantifies. then.

g . e . e . the argument specifies a developmental arguments being examined. 4 . characteristics being measured is uncertain. proportion of the population voting in national elections is used as a measure of intensity of political participation. The analytical procedures compare the observations for the units in question with models assuming a) well-defined independent units. Measurements of those characteristics rest on the judgments of people who are unfamiliar with the overall structures of those units. 2 . the German Federal Republic. They treat many units whose comparability with respect to the . e sequence.lie. 8 . e the Netherlands. c) 1inear covariation of those characteristics. g . 6 . b ) independently-observed characteristics of those units. Belgium. graduate students sort occupational titles from multiple countries into twelve identical categories. some observations (such as the size of the national army) refer to the state. the study explores for a general relationship between development (loosely specified) and political participation (loosely specified). The arguments being examined are loosely specified or unstated. while others (such as the crime rate) refer to an aggregation from individual events. abstract categories. g . those students must judge whether opposition parties a) exist. ~witzerland. a study of industrialization questions being asked is uncertain. 3 . g . e . e . They treat many units whose independence with respect to the . e . and Liechtenstein appear as separate cases in an analysis of the relationship between television viewing and newspaper readership. The relations among the units differ from those specified by the . They concern the relationships among many measured characteristics whose comparability with respect to the arguments being examined is uncertain. the investigator uses Big Structures 92 . 7 . 5 .France. 9 . concrete observations into simple. e and family structure uses observations on all states appearing in the United Nations Demographic Yearbook. Luxembourg. g . I claim instead that generalizing comparisons become more dangerous and less valuable to the extent that: 1 . without allowance for variations in registration requirements or in the actual significance of elections as a way of gaining or losing power. g . g . Measurements of those characteristics combine different levels of aggregation whose pertinence to the arguments being examined varies. g . while the data concern a sample of national states observed at the same point in time. b) do not exist. g . e . The judgments in question aggregate complex.

Translated into a positive m d . 4) either observe units you can reasonably consider to be independent of each other. 5) make your measures correspond closely to the terms of your argument. if possible. make that reduction part of the analysis itself. or subdivide argument and analysis by levels of aggregation. the student of a structure or process has little choice but Big Structures 93 . Hence my complaints. or make specific allowance for their interdependence in the specification of the argument and the analysis of the evidence. comparative studies of big structures and large processes yield more intellectual return when investigators examine relatively small numbers of instances. No Safety i n rJlrnbers 01 the whole. these principles look a lot like ordinary Yet very few comparative studies meet these researchers' common sense. 7) when a significant element of judgment enters the coding of evidence. and many fall far short. That is not because of the intrinsically greater value of small numbers. 8) minimize and delay the reduction of detail to abstract categories. do the coding yourself or test its reliability with great care. 2) observe units that correspond to the units of your argument. then. these stipulations yield the following rules for effective generalizing comparison: 1) specify your arguments. With small numbers. 3) make sure your units are comparable with respect to the terms of your argument. standards. 6) either have all your measures pertain to the same level of aggregation.multiple regression of untransformed variables measured for states belonging to the United Nations to estimate relationships among characteristics of societies. but because large numbers give an illusory sense of security. Stated positively. 9) adopt or devise models corresponding closely to the logic of your argument.

The chief exceptions have been a) statistical descriptions in the style of Paul Bairoch and b) theoretically-motivated investigations coupled with case studies in the style of Jeffery Paige. Weber and. Perry Anderson's Lineages of the Absolutist State undertakes self-consciously to fill out Marx's account of the state. and how to make the comparisons valid. The lesson reads: Stick with careful comparison of small numbers until you have a very clear idea what you need from large numbers. Immanuel Wallerstein incorporates a controversial version of Marx's account of capitalism into his own model of the capitalist world-system. influential studies of largedscale structural change have been explicitly. Eisenstadt. N . draws heavily on Marxist thought without accepting its full pay attention to the historical circumstances and particular characteristics of the cases at hand. Anyone who surveys recent big studies of large-scale structural change employing small numbers of cases notices the remarkable staying power of the classics. So does shoulder as she herself invokes Marx. In one form or another. And Barrington Moore. and thus to work harder at meeting the commonsense conditions for effective comparison. Tocqueville. With large numbers. while making an occasional bow to Tocqueville and IXlrkheim. Big Structures 94 . critical defenses and Little of long-term value to the social sciences has emerged from the hundreds of studies conducted during the last few decades that have run statistical analyses including most of the world's national states. Marx continue to set the problems leave the grandfathers behind. as we shall see. familiarity with context decline. especially. Durkheim.wen for those investigators who intend to Tocqueville and Weber peep over Theda Skocpol's Reinhard Bendix echoes Weber. Yet during the same period most of the outstanding. self-consciously comparative. . S .

Marx considered capitalism to be unique in its exclusive reliance on economic constraints: The genius of the system. But latter-day students of big structures and large processes generally find that more recent theorizing. on the average. relatively satisfied with their ability Being to analyze the organization of production. call attention to the dependence of that mode of production on non-economic coercion of workers. Marxists have. for in Marxist analyses of structural change.not even the greats . but it has also resulted from a two-step process: First scholars turn away from studies of big structures and large processes that concentrate on the present. All of them realize that no one are addressing. for all its utility in the details. Then they discover the great theoretical resources of Marxist thought for historical research. From Marx onward. Even under capitalism. however.None of these scholars accepts the classic statements supinely. was to make submission to exploitation serve the worker's short-run interest at the expense of long-term loss. Marxists have become concerned about the weakness of their analyses of the organization of coercion. in Marx's account. and decide to take history seriously. changes in the organization of production and increases in the level of exploitation commonly involved coercion. coercion has always figured Marxist treatments of feudalism. does not mtch the forceful setting of problems they find in the classic comparative essays. furthermore. example. have stressed the coercion employers used in Big Structures 95 . .has yet solved the problems they That is why the problems deserve attention. moved to meet the newcomers. Capital dwells on the forcible dispossession of peasants and artisans. Subsequent Marxist analyses. The revival of Marxist thought has grown in part from the critique of theories of modernization and development.

and crypto4arxist writers have worried and fought over that question more than any other. and that the existing record of past structures and Big Structures 96 . or does it ultimately reduce to the logic of production? Nowhere is the uncertainty more troublesome in the analysis of governments. quasi-Marxist. he did so by arguing that. despite appearances. how. and when. speeding up production. that the sequence in which similar events occur has a substantial impact on their outcomes. the Absolutist state grew up as an instrument of the feudal nobility. neo-lrzarxist. do states act independently of the organization of production? Recent Marxist. and that the difference in state structure between the eastern and western halves of Europe resulted from the divergent interests of their landed classes. and especially of states: To what extent. parallel to that of the organization of production. and reducing the autonomy of skilled workers. including the level of the state. Does it have its own logic. Both the turn away from developnental theories and the renaissance of Marxist thought have promoted a revival of genuinely historical work in the social sciences. By "genuinely historical". she saw the organization of coercion as having an independent logic and influence. the organization of coercion in general has had an uncertain place in Marxist analysis. not entirely reducible to the logic of production. Perry Anderson's tour de force was to save most of the determination of state structure by the organization of production. Nevertheless. Theda Skocpol broke with Barrington Moore and with standard Marxist arguments on precisely that question. I mean studies assuming that the time and place in which a structure or process appears make a difference to its character. at all lexrels.tightening work-discipline.

Petersburg and Moscow. ahistorical. Flawed. in order to be able to generalize soundly. because it exaggerated the significance of violence in history. Barriargton Pbore Gumpares Barrington Moore offered a precocious example of the turn to seriously historical studies. anthropologists. At the time of its appearance. plunging deep into Russian sources to emerge with close comparisons between the working classes of St. because the book treated the authoritarianism of Japan and Germany as a long-term characteristic rather than a passing phase. Thus we find Bertrand Badie and Pierre Birnbaurn building a sociology of the state around a careful historical analysis of the development of different forms of state in Europe and America. then moving rapidly to careful long-term comparisons of struggles for control of national income in European countries. Stone thought. on the one hand. Lawrence Stone (not a man given to awarding medals for trivial performances) called Social Origins a "flawed masterpiece" (Stone 1967: 34) . on the other. follow his road. Sociologists. atheoretical. a sociologist. Thus we find Victoria Bonnell. because it Big Structures 97 . requiring systematic investigation in its own right instead of lending itself immediately to social-scientific synthesis. cross-national statistical analysis of the "determinants" of political violence. political scientists.processes is problematic. The success of his historical venture encouraged others to Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy is one of those works that sets the style and object of inquiry for 'a generation of researchers. and between working-class organization in Russia and western Europe. and an occasional economist have begun to work at getting the history right before generalizing. Thus we find Douglas Hibbs beginning his career with a vast.

underestimated the influence of ideology. Few historians treat those with whom they disagree with the Few historians show such respect generosity and honesty displayed by Moore. No one has ever before tried to use the comparative method on such a scale. Moore's strenuous integrity is not debatable. and because of a series of lesser failings. granite slab on which others still build. Stone's major criticisms of Moore are debatable. Nevertheless. because it insisted on the transforming effect of the American Civil War. for instance. what features of a country's past determined where in that range it arrived? 2) What role did the Stone's final tribute to Barrington Moore laid down a landed classes -. but also various kinds of tenants and squatters. Moore made them perfectly interdependent by asking how the fates of Big Structures 98 . and with so careful a study of the professional literature. Moore set down his slab over three main questions: 1) Given a range of contemporary regimes running from democratic to authoritarian.especially if we include not only smallholders. Although the English enclosures took longer than Moore's brief discussion suggests.especially lords aqd peasants in the character and outcomes of the great revolutions? 3) What changes in. because it accepted the old coercive account of English enclosures.the countryside opened The questions obviously the way to the various fonns of mass politics? interlock. Few have ever before defined so clearly the importance of the peasantry in a revolution. they certainly involved widespread coercion -. said Stone. and admiration for humane and liberal values (Stone 1967: 3 4 ) . or the political significance of whether the alliance of landlords and industrialists is formed under the patronage of the state or in opposition to it.

f e i gre? ~ frcm + . he argued that the greater fragility of representation in France corresponded to the incomplete liquidation of the Old Regime's landed classes. especially the peasantry. the systematic comparison actually proceeded on two levels: democracies/Japan/China/India U. France different varieties of fascism: Germany. for example.. capitalist democracy resulted from bourgeois revolutions that transformed or liquidated the old laneed classes. Japan different varieties of socialism: Russia.. according to their twentieth-century destinations: various degrees of capitalist democracy: the U. democratic forms without effective representation: India To put it more schematically than Moore himself ever cared to./England/France Thus. Moore asked what difference the timing of the different forms of transition to modern Big Structures 99 . and stalled democracy appeared through the failure of serious rural transformation.S.S. Moore broke the states he considered seriously into four categories.lords and peasants in the course of a) expansion of capitalist property relations in the countryside and b) great revolutions affected the subsequent politics of the world's major states. Roughly speaking. Since Moore abandoned his original plan for sustained treatments of Germany and Russia.Dgland. e developent of capltalisrr! with 1 relatively weak bourgeoisie and without a liquidation of the old landed classes. A third comparison. hovered behind these two. of a different sort. socialisn developed from the stifling of comercia1 and industrial growth by an agrarian bureaucracy which ultimately succumbed to peasant rebellion. China stalled democracy.

these are mistakes. they need more justification than At times. At a minimum. comparisons in time and space constituted the book's skeleton. each having a h i s t m y that could be explained in its o w terms. the United States. presenting it as a similar experience with very different political consequences. Moore veered in the direction of individualizing comparison. and the two together -. Several features of the comparisons leave something to be desired. In China's pre-modern society and culture there wasas little or no basis out of which a militarist patriotism Big Structures 100 . he argued. Moore discussed Germany. Moore gave the guise of the two sorts of states created by the transitions facilitated the later socialist transitions. England. Japan. Russia. if not of fascism stricto sensu.politics made to the character of the transition. China. - (This timetable requires us to see the lineaments of right authoritarianism. T o my mind.) While Moore treated each of his major cases at length in its own terms. autonomous societies. trying to get the particularities right. He wrote rather freely of the "modernization" of the countryside in most of the countries. In general. India. He bypassed the difficulty of connecting the history of the Prussian state (the center of his treatment of "Germany"). though in the long run it may turn out to have been fatal. the democratic transitions cleared the way to the fascist transitions. A comparison of China and Japan runs: Thus the feudal military tradition in Japan provided at first a congenial basis for a reactionary version of industrialization. and the later Nazi seizure of the German Republic. and France as though they were all well-defined. and using the contrast with a second country mainly for that purpose. in the nineteenth-century German and Japanese regimes.

meant that one source of the impetus behind the Western variety of free institutions was absent. it was Japan's particular variety of feudalism with substantial bureaucratic elemets that made possible the leap. But it is not long until Moore has returned to generalization on a grand scale: Hence not feudalism itself. and Western bourgeois revolutions were feeble to nonexistent. perhaps most important of all. certainly not feudalism as a disembodied general category. Not only was there no bourgeois revolution. the reactionary m l y when China beqan nationalism of Chiang Kai-shek seems thin and watery. holds the key to the way in which Japanese society entered the modern era. In comparison with Japan. The reasons for the absence of a serious intellectual challenge lie deeper in Japanese history but are part of the same phenomenon. Again. To feudalism one must add the distinct factor of timing.of the Japanese type could grow. Here we see Moore in the act of joining his particular historical analysis of Big Structures 101 . The intellectual and social challenges that made the Finally. there was also no peasant revolution (Moore 1966: 253-254). the dominant classes were able to contain and deflect disruptive forces arising out of the peasants. with its much greater emphasis on status and military loyalty than on a freely chosen contractual relationship. throughout the transition and on into the era of industrial society. Secondly. to make over her own institutions in the communist image did a strong sense of mission appear (Moore 1966: 252). The special character of the Japanese feudal bond. the bureaucratic element in the Japanese polity produced its characteristic result of a tame and timid bourgeoisie unable to challenge the old order.

scooping up chunks of experience to deposit them in great bins. but the irregularity of a sustained. Moore 1) held to his image of rational structural limits where he should have human choice within well-defined recognized the influence of accumulated ideology. colleagues. that Moore's deep concern for the moral and political significance of alternative paths of development sometimes led him to ignore or minimize factors whose influence he recognized readily in other contexts. a reader notices Moore still reasoning the problems out. length. clearly experience. Dennis Smith suggests. In particular. and the book still in progress. disappear as influential in the particular shape of Japan's independent causes.Japan to his general scheme. The formulas appear: extent of bourgeois revolution extent of parliamentary democracy. The prose does not display the polish of a completed model. says Smith. and then returning years later to discover new versions of both in circulation.) A good look at the language of Social Oriqins will dispel that illusion. and himself about the significance of his cases. especially such justifications of rule as the northern bourgeoisie brought to power with them at the end of Big Structures 102 . passion. generalizing comparison. Moore has turned - extent of decisively to All this schematizing makes Moore sound like an historical bulldozer. Moore still arguing with students. worrying about inconsistencies and gaps. and uicertainty of the search. taking the reader into the midst of the inquiry. open questions. in fact. Ideology and political organization. At this point. It hides the (I recall leaving graduate school with a fistful of draft chapters and thoughtfully-commented bibliographies from Moore's monumental work in progress. earnest discussion of vital. extent of peasant revolution socialist bureaucracy.

+. Barrington Moore's Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy joins that great tradition. such as Britain's colonial conquests. Yes. Big Structures 103 --- - - - . their concern that people should be oppressed. Smith would not for a moment. which would be hard to reconcile both with the model of choice within structural limits and with the characterization of democratic politics.~rnerica' s Civil War. 2) minimized the importance of international involvements. advise Moore to On the contrary: leave his moral and political concerns at home. empirical investigation and normative assessment. fact and value. Moore's approach to social analysis persistently draws out the implications for each other of theory and practice. Marx and Weber repeatedly displayed their moral indignation. their zeal to discover the alternative paths to human liberation. description and prescription. Those passions did not keep them from wielding comparison with skill and imagination. however. Much of Moore's later work is an attempt to reinstate theory as a rational discussion of moral objectives and to relate this discussion to a reasoned evaluation of possible forms of practice (Smith 1983: 171).st is f_e p i n t i In their great comparative inquiries.

or generalizing comparison. in which a unit behaves in a certain way because of the consequences of its behavior for the system as a whole. E'unctional explanations. so long as the provisional placements of units within the system and the explanations of their characteristics are self-correcting. nevertheless. accounting for the behavior of executives in terms of their positions in the firm's organization chart. encompassing comparisons. people use encompassing comparisons all the time: explaining the difference between two children's behavior by their orders of birth. are notoriously difficult to verify or falsify.CHAPTER 7 : ENCOMPASSING COMPARISONS -ing the Horld Encompassing comparisons begin with a large structure or process. and explain similarities or differences among those locations as a function of their relationships to the whole. map and theory will improve in use. in their turn. neither the map nor the theory need be correct at the start. Encompassing comparison demands a lot of its practitioners: Even to begin. In everyday life. To be sure. universalizing. he undertakes to survey the cultural history of the entire world since Big Structures 104 . Encompassing comparison also contains a great danger: It leads effortlessly to functional explanations. and slip into tautology with great ease. encompassing comparison As self-conscious is rarer than individualizing. In his sweeping Europe and the People without Lovers of risk should try History. They select locations within the structure or process. social science. they must have both a mental map of the whole system and a theory of its operation. Eric Wolf loves risks. attributing the characteristics of communities to their varying connections with a nearby metropolis.

The book's basic design follows decent conventions: conditions before." and Only by "culture" ~ a bits ~ e and threaten to turn names into things. Wolf divides his analysis into three parts: A sketch of alternate modes of production in the world of 1400." "society. and changes linking them. Clearly. can we hope to avoid misleading inferences and increase our share of understanding (Wolf 1982: 3) To follow through from this bold beginning. He surveys with an eye to 1) mapping the connections among apparently distinct peoples in far corners of the earth. understanding these names as bundles of relationships. much depends on the accuracy of the middle section. an analytic narrative of the European search for wealth in the rest of the world. the reconstructions of connections Big Structures 105 . the accounts teem with detail. Concepts like "nation. the fur trade. the slave trade. and the web of European trade and conquest in the orient. conditions after. which treats Iberians in America. and constitutes a manifold. primitive. 2) explaining the descriptions Europeans gave of the supposedly primitive people they encountered in the course of colonial and commercial expansion. and independent those much-connected people who had already undergone extensive transformation in the course of their interactions with Europeans. a totality of inquiries that disassemble this totality into bits and then faail to reassemble it falsify reality. Refreshingly. and a description of the world division of labor under capitalism. and by placing them back into the field from which they were abstracted. Wolf's first page opens the barrage: The central assertion 'of this book is that the world of humankind interconnected processes.1492. and 3) correcting an ethnography that faithfully portrayed as pristine.

rather. Frank. The demand for African slaves reshaped the political economy of the entire continent. to new tributary states and specialized organizations of slave hunters. Nor can one understand Europe without a grasp of the role Africa played in its development and expansion. but then moved to the core in order Big Structures 106 . Wolf underlines the difference between his approach and those of Andre Gunder Frank and Immanuel Wallerstein. Early in his book. "acephalous. therefore.anthropologists as . conclusion of Wolf's analysis of the slave trade conveys the book's tone: The While Africa had long formed an integral part of the political and economic system of the Old World. +_e variable outcomes of a unitary historical process.basedW into the predilect target populations of slavers. There the separation begins. yet the argument as a whole continues to develop. Leading participants in that growth were not only the European merchants and beneficiaries of the slave trade but also its African organizers. agents. Frank and Wallerstein began by observing the influence of the core at the periphery (Frank mainly in Latin America.thout history. and victims (Wolf 1982: 230-231). All three explain the differences in the fates of various parts of the world in terms of their variable relationships to the expansion of capitalism. segmented. It gave rise. For Wolf. in one c o m n process. Wallerstein mainly in Africa). and Wallerstein alike. and it turned societies described by. be understood as typologically separable states or "tribes" of people wi. Rarely has anyone stated the case for encompassing comparison so well. European expansion after 1400 drew the continent into a traffic of global scale. They are. lineage-. the central place in the whole analysis belongs to the expansion of capitalism. These different configurations cannot.and changes ring true.

he turned increasingly to complex historical explanations. not the reduction to a vague but enveloping political understand its actions: "Although they utilized the findings of anthropologists and regional historians. for both the principal aim was to understand how the core subjugated the periphery. but he relied on encompassing comparison as well. Like Imrnanuel Wallerstein. but a genuine division of labor. and not to study the reactions of the micro-populations habitually investigated by anthropologistsn (Wolf 1982: 23) . S t e i n Fbkkan mcmpses The late Stein Rokkan took a different tack from Frank. At both phases of Rokkan's intellectual career. Stein Rokkan never settled for a reductionist explanation: not the reduction of political mans and outcomes to the simple expression of the population's interests. and Wolf. what determines the concrete political means and outcomes that different groups of people actually have available to them? In struggling with that enduring problem. he made a decisive move from generalizing comparison. A s time went on. in which the cases stood as logically independent instances of the same phenomenon. Confronted with a set of Big Structures 107 . No contradiction. and that the political possibilities before them always correspond imperfectly to their interests and aspirations. and then to rewrite the history of the "core" in consonance with that restitution. an enduring problem lay at the center of his effort: Given the facts that people throughout the world vary enormously in their interests and aspirations. Wolf wants to give those people back their history. to the preparation of a complete map of a single interdependent system. not the reduction to variations in political institutions such as voting laws and party systems. Wallerstein.

to ground the major variables in history. abstract schemes such as the "crises of developmentn (penetration. Each of these items. religious. identity. political. lengthened. 2 . then. 5 . The idea. Rokkan worked with this'set of within Europe. the list as a whole conveys a strong series of messages: not to rely on timeless. organization of agricultural production. and In most trials. subjection of the region to major empires.and. contains more than one simple variable. The list of cruxes fluctuated. relationship of the region to the seven major migrations of peoples that left their residues across the European map. Still. the region's response to the Protestant Reformation. religious outcome of the Reformation. distribution) with which Rokkan had been working ten years earlier.points. including the encouragement or discouragement of distinctive written vernaculars. 3. especially the political systems of peripheral Big Structures 108 . is to explain the differences among contemporary political systems -. extent and centrality of the region's urban networks. looking for the crucial choices : rapid or gradual. explicit or implicit - that set presumably different paths of developent. Rokkan was attempting to account for variation In some of his later analyses. and many other features of a region's past became possible determinants of its present politics. obviously. to insist on the interaction of economic. and demographic factors. Thus the precocity or lateness of industrialization. legitimacy. "variables": 1 . in this case. The same creative tension that droge all Rokkan's work informed his investigation of historical choice-. the historical dominance of landed or capitalist classes. participation. he would move back in time. 4 .variations in contemporary political means and outcomes. integration.

differentiation/independence of city networks.areas such as his native Norway or his adopted Wales - as cumulative consequences of their region's connections to the chief differentiating processes which had earlier transformed Europe as a whole. or Europe in the image of the world. is no doubt an idle question. Either way. The "master variables" he singled out were: 1 . Only then. R D k k a n ' s =conceptual Maps of ELnopeW Stein Rokkan was a great inventor of conceptual devices. concentration/dispersion of landholdings (Rokkan 1975: 592-595). for example. We catch Rokkan slipping into encompassing comparison on the pretext of searching for generalizations. Either way. In Rokkan's case. One of his more intriguing inventions took the form of "conceptual maps" summarizing the Big Structures 109 . the actual enterprise consists of placing all of Europe within a consistent conceptual space. Whether Rokkan saw the world in the image of Europe. linguistic unification/distinctness. 4 . 3 . Such a delay of the final score often reveals an author's loss of interest in the game. however. might it be useful to abstract and generalize concerning such questions as the effects of ethnic heterogeneity on party systems. secular/religious differentiation. 2 . Rokkan outlined a worldwide set of variations among the world's geocultural areas. As he reviewed one of his later summaries of the European experience. the hope for an ultimate set of generalizations never seems to have disappeared. the correspondence between this list and his diagramming of European history conveys a clear sense that the exploration of Europe yields information concerning the structure of the world at large. Rokkan suggested.

the model of too atomizing. and became convinced of the decisive importance of interregional relationships. it was Especially. always represented some version of the influence of Mediterranean events and structures -. dimensions. democratization. Rokkan built and modified his conceptual maps in the same dialectical style he applied to his other work: picking up clues from other people's efforts at simplification. line up neatly in rows and columns representing the abstract dimensions of theoretical importance. emphasis in text). and placements within them. Rokkan's intuition fell right on target. the heritage left by the Roman Empire. it treated each case in isolation. Parties (1970).sorts of models of cleavage structure and of democratization he had presented in his Citizens. he said. Elections. of the geopolitical position of the area in question. North/South differentiation. Big Structures 110 . In a semi-autobiographical statement of 1976. I began to study the links in space among the different cases. each one selfcontained. constantly a1tering the categories. The most disconcerting feature of his earlier models is their implicit analogy with the giant cross-tabulations beloved of survey researchers: large samples of ostensibly independent "cases". indeed. Rokkan explained that he turned to the cartographic effort out of dissatisfaction with t ! x . without taking account of its connections with its surroundings.principles of geopolitical differentiation within Europe at various points in time. for example. both in the process of nation-building and in the further structuring of mass mobilization (Rokkan 1976: 9.most comnly. occurred as part of the Rokkanian dialectic. stating bold hypotheses only to qualify them immediately. The very creation of the conceptual maps.

Thus we begin with some Celts (Welsh. or Neapolitans. Vots. Rokkan was working with the two conceptual maps appearing in Figures 1 and 2 . Cornish. Macedonians. some such distribution sewed as the baseline for all of Rokkan's historical analyses. and others (Scots and Irish) outside its limits. Greeks. Ukrainians. Practically none of the Along the eastern frontier. they pointed toward a genuinely interactive. Venetians. European ethnic clusters before the High Middle Ages. Turks. They helped him escape from the pernicious assumption that each of the states existing at the end of the process -. As of 1979. Letts. They did reduce its scope. The conceptual map places the raw materials of European statemaking and political differentiation in a crude spatial grid. Rokkan was able to portray those states as organizations growing up amid populations linked by long-stranded social networks and varying continuously in cultures and modes of production. the states of Europe at the end of World War I1 "societyn that had a long. and Breton) inside the limits of the northern Roman Empire. Wallachians. but does not separate Piedmontese. did not banish this misleading analogy. and looks forward in time. and migration that spread distinctive cultural groups across the European map. Arctic-dwellers appear in it. On the whole.The conceptual maps.say. The scheme distinguishes Lombards from Italians. - corresponded to a distinct Instead. we look in vain for Ruthenians. Kors. he made no effort to explain the Roman Empire's pattern of influence or the processes of division. More so than any of Rokkan's previous models. Figure 1 shows us his summary of the geography of major For practical purposes. historical account of European statemaking. amalgamation. The map selects. an ethnic group has a much Big Structures 111 . as we shall see. continuous history.

Saxons rrisians. ti thuanians Moravlans. ATLANTIC PERIPIIERY . ROKKANtS GEQETHNIC MAP'OF EUROPE BEFORE THE HIGH M'LDDLE AGES : . ~urgundians . West ~ranks/ Saxcns Thutingians Gallo-Rosans Alenannians Bntrar izns Normans iihaetians CI Eungarians . :. Ireland East Norse Danes Swedes Finns Bglts Prussia~s Poles. : .East Franks. . ~ c c tans i Catalans Corsicans Castilians Portuguese .'. .. . Celts: Wales Cornwall Brittany Gem. . Italians Sardinians . Lombards . Czechs TERRITORY 6F T"r SSO. . Icelanders Faeroese.TIiZIL?i E:ZIilE . Bavarian settlers Tiro1iar. . Basques . Jutes. .FIGURE 9. Sicilians ' . . 'COASTAL PLAIlUS -- . Slovenes Croats Serbs . West Norse Celts: scotland.snic Tribes: Angles.s . hEDITE2AWEAN TEXXITCRIES . : .

In the next round. the first steps towards the consolidation of centralized monarchies. Let me be clear and fair. These territorial distributions provided As Rokkan summarized: the ethnic-linguistic infra- structures for the institutional developments of the High Middle Ages. the first consociational structures. . the distribution of ethnic identities and affinities determined the character and the cost of linguistic standardization within each of these 4 vr<trrv< . With that understanding. Rokkan never claimed that the scheme provided more than a crude simplification of a complex process spread over centuries. and helped determine which of Europe's territories and groups would become politically peripheral. Rokkan's second conceptual map (Figure 2 shows its 1979 variant) lays out the distribution of political entities in Europe from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. within Europe. Thus. but were still struggling mightily to increase their power within their own territories. at a point when national states had already become the dominant organizations within the European continent. the names attached to different locations in the map Big Structures 112 . In fact. It therefore stops history after enormous reshaping of the ethnic "raw materialsn. in Rokkan's view. the scheme has its uses. and in the world as a whole. ~ s accelerated by the invention of printing and the religious conflicts of the Reformation and put the peripheries under heavy pressures to accept the norms set by the territorial centres (Rokkan 1979: 1-32). the prior distribution of ethnic groups determined one of the major variations in the costs of subsequent statemaking. the early leagues of cities.greater chance to show up on Rokkan's map if at some time after 1300 someone built a state dominated by people of that cultural structures: L9e devel~~eent ~f scch central standards v .

t :J i i l -. .h'::ionr DI'.E!i~lionr --. b4ixcd .T/rNT ' ?. 'i1ED. f orri~c~rio) . . LAND . . . .Conro=is.X . .LX. . . licnal 'Formation Fri. ... "Lothot in?ia" IRELAND . CAL'I'IC rcr\n~. I.... ROKKAN'S CONCEPTUAL MAP OF EUROPE. 1648-1784. . CLOSE ' Landwvd Ern~ir?. .: 4 Ill (f FRANCE ' . . . 1 ! t c . Sc~werd Pcripllcricr - VtEAC . . .. f0LAh1D !W!t$~l!< i r AUSTRIA E . RHINE. - . . STROXG. .. i FIGURE 2.. . oEA'IAA R K . . OIST/\N.. LAtJO i1 I 1 . . WALES scqrcnyp .. I ! 7 ' . .'. ENGLAND 0 .roi~r~s kOa!ih?!t\ \ 1 I I .~ _CLOSE. SPA Ir'l FOII TUGAL CATALOSIA ITALY . X C E t i C) .? " ' 5 2 % _ $pnwi~rcJ En):tirc. . .\'DS . : . 'J : ' !* . ' ' . ) . ' '.v. 'GER. . . -.. : S':E ' G!!G . . . SVtFDCN Flt<L. . . liAf\'CE .. . DRITTAtdY Bu!?GUNOY Al1ELATUVI . Ccnlury . '"' .\SD Pro\:rtsnt Stale ' ICELAND NOIt'WAY .-' . i s 3 ' ' IJE rUC R.. .lrC. 0 tr r.' Tcrr Cc:nt. .-.-_-. . STRONG V4EAK I' I Cits-Si-at~E~lrcnc. shown tn i t a l t c s . BELGIUht .l~cnt: ctl u~rtil . . 19:h. .z . ! C I II countorHelorrna- - Dk VA RIA ..c. .?'es' ' c i t y :\'ct\~.Inlo Lor~cr System . ' Sf1\0!\10 . . . I ~ t \ ~ g ~ r l e d . tia~ionsl Ca~ttolic " ' 'S//ITZCR. . PnusslA MANY . ----------. . 16th-18th CENTURIES (States recognized as sovereign.>rd ~G:!c:$ \?E!!K \! E 4 X . .

no "~elgiurn"existed before 1830. their surplus On from coerced agricultural labor. in contrast.introduce uncertainty about the reference date and about the units Rokkan had in mind: As states. the weakness of the cities in the territories brought together under the strong military centres on the landward Marchland (Rokkan 1979: 4 2 ) . On the West. reflects the fundamental asymmetry of the geopolitical structure of Europe: the dominant city network of the politically fragmented trade belt from the Mediterranean to the North. no "Italyn before 1870. The North-South dimension. the conceptual map has little value as an index to a precise historical moment or as a catalog of specific political units. according to Rokkan. In the center. receives the name of "state-. the strength of the cities in the territories consolidated to the seaward side of this belt.cultureW axis. Instead. as a function of their relationships to two major "axes" of developnent. There. declared Rokkan. Prussia. it calls attention to systematic differences in the political experiences of people dwelling in various regions of Europe. long stimulated by its involvement in seaborne trade. states that extracted surplus from a highly mr!etized economy. and the successors of the Habsburg empires. the East. Clearly. surrounded by areas of intensive agriculture: city-state Europe. however. And so on through the map. any political unit one might reasonably call "Burgundy" had long since crumbled into morsels gobbled up by France. By that time. The statemaking implications of the "stateeconomy" axis are evident. Rokkan called the East-West line his "state-economy" axis. states that ultimately extracted This axis. a band of tightly-linked trading cities extending from northern Italy up to Flanders. we see the long-run impact of the Roman Big Structures 113 .

To the North. as transmuted into the relative influence of the Roman Catholic church and its Orthodox sister in parallel north-south strips of Europe. ~ u t the notion of an encompassing. some predecessor made each of the major arguments that Rokkan translated into an "axis". we add another . we get a remarkably coherent sense of the major regional variations of state structure. he worked largely by transmogrifying and assimilating other people's monocausal structures. and skew the "seaward" column eastward in that band to represent the commercial significance of the Mediterranean. To be sure. with correspondingly higher barriers to cultural integration. 2nd p l i t i c a 1 units. twdimensional process of differentiation in Europe's human geography that limited the possibilities for statemaking in Big Structures 114 . Rokkan's conceptual m a p identifies some principles of variation within Europe that other treatments of developnent regularly miss. following Rokkan's own method. and ethnic particularists with a strong base for resistance to national integration.Empire. In the Mediterranean band. the strong presence of an international religious structure presented statemakers with a serious rival. As we approach the South. according to the map's implicit argument. with that "supraterritorial" religious structure even more of a barrier to any statemaker's capture of his subject population's exclusive allegiance than in the old Roman Empire's heartland . places. Despite the vagueness in its references to historical times. band of Islamic territory European political If. or "band" of his diagram. "dimension".to the south of Mediterranean Europe. we find a band in which national Protestant churches early marked off religious and linguistic areas within that the barriers to the state's cultural penetration were relatively low. p p l e s . we encounter increasing degrees of religious "supraterritoriality".

Bertrand Badie remarks: All in all. of all the factors that might somehow have influenced the various observable forms of change. Beyond the debate on the autonomy of politics. we begin to witness the confrontation between two different approaches. each one representing an irreducible form of stateA and nation-building. m e conceptual maps have some of the characteristic weaknesses of all ~okkan'smajor models. this method has the advantage of offering a more detailed and complex summary of the differences among European societies. but he cannot gauge their weights or their interrelations (Badie 1980: 114.116). Rokkan uses history to make an empirical review. As compared with the methods of [Perry] Anderson and [Immanuel] Wallerstein. and the universal phenomena that analysis seeks to illuminate. so far as I know. . the variables Rokkan constructs in the course of his analysis are so numerous and defined so independently of one another that the conceptual map that results provides no more than an orderly juxtaposition of individual cases. In a perceptive exegesis of Rokkan's political geography. it abandons any effort at an integrated. two different ways to use history in a developmental perspective. On the other hand. Anderson and Wallerstein turn to an historical method in order to show how differentiation occurs as a result of the operation of a factor they have previously defined as fundamental to national development. and thus moves away from sociological analysis. in contrast.that notion. was Rokkan's own invention.different corners of the continent -. by means of 'retrospective diachronic analysis". hierarchical explanation of political development. Big Structures 115 .

the unexplained variance. the two principles sometimes lead an investigator to spurious and/or superficial explanations. to British parliamentary democracy. Conscientiously followed. it would surely be for excessive zeal: for seeking to eradicate all the unexplained variation. more or less successful. the A - achievement of national integration. A significant part of the literature purporting to deal with "political developnt". The geographical distribution identified by Rokkan cries out for Big Structures 116 . after all. If we were to indict Ftokkan's applications of the principles of variancereduction and parsimony. In these intellectual circumstances. and so on. and for incessantly inserting new variables in the search for the Great Underlying Variable. At a minimum.reduction. consists of sketches of explanations for things that never happened: standard sequences of political institutionalization. and to undertake motivated choices among variables that overlap extensively. But they also urge the investigator to eliminate distinctions that do not make a difference. He preferred variables that reduced For a given amount of variance-. furthermore. to give priority to distinctions that make a difference in a wide range of cases. he preferred a smaller number of variables.Badie's judgment is a bit harsh. interpretive principles: a rule of two variancereduction and a rule of parsimony. misconstrues the European experience: imagining it. Rokkan's procedure has the merit of clarifying what we have to explain. Rokkan implicitly invoked Like a seasoned tabulator of survey responses. w e must welcome an empirically-grounded specification of what the analysts of European political change actually have to explain. to consist of a series of approximations. good deal of the same literature. for example.

why culturally homogeneous and autonomous states concentrated disproportionately along the northwestern frontier. no strictly empirical sorting of the multiple European experiences can come close to identifying the crucial variables. Having clearly started an encompassing comparison. Rokkan's search procedure leads to an endless alternation of thesis and antithesis. eliminating the incidental variables. Even with the wide variety of political units Rokkan takes into consideration. At that point. what does? Isn't it true. By itself. and on down the inventory. In addition. Rokkan repeatedly veered back toward the language and practice of generalizing comparison.explanation: why the central band of commercial cities and their hinterlands long and successfully resisted integration into large national states. "variables" that visibly affected the direction taken by one European state or another is very large. without synthesis. or specifying the relations among the variables. the conceptual maps ultimately fail to accomplish the objective for which they originally seemed well suited: the examination of spatially-ordered links among political histories. that their immediate access to commercial cities made it easier for the statemakers of Europe's western regions to bypass great landlords and raise essential revenues from trade? Stein Rokkan's conceptual maps make such questions clearer and more pressing. Bertrand Badie's complaint begins to gain force. Rokkan's axes themselves pose significant explanatory problems: If the initial sway of the Catholic church over everyday social relations does not explain the marked North/South differences in the creation of national churches strongly controlled by their respective states. as Rokkan suggests. The number of. More important. Despite some intriguing hints of Big Structures 117 . however.

Rokkan's influence endures: the work left unfinished in 1979 invites us to take up the task and continue the search for better formulations. they help us see that there was a spatial order to the development of national states in Big Structures 118 . Livonia. and Livonia . Estonia. the scheme as a whole presents the various national experiences as individual "cases" displaying the results of being subjected to different combinations of "variables". Yet his scheme tends to reduce the known facts of international power to effects of similar positions within an abstract grid. s a The Sweden that appears on Rokkan's conceptual map i shrunken remainder of the expansive power that at one time or another dominated Norway. for that matter. of into account? As a Norwegian. to bemoan the connections it missed.without taking that interaction directly - Can or. First. that's right. the criticism stated and discussed. and replied. But. where did Stein Rokkan leave the task? Let us recognize the value of those maps. Estonia. I suppose Stein Rokkan would have smiled. we reconstruct the political development of Sweden Norway. to look for ways of altering it to deal more adequately with historical realities. simply a "case" But Sweden. W h a t ' s Wrong? hlhat Should We Do About It? Faced with that critique. "Yes. think we should gef those international connections in?" How do you He was the first to discount the current version of his model. Stein Rokkan was acutely aware of Sweden's long hegemony in the North. Finland.interdependence. On the questions addressed by his conceptual maps. run his fingers through his bushy hair. Finland. to take an obvious instance. With such a man. one did not hesitate to criticize. is not located somewhere in the northern reaches of a giant cross-tabulation. one always felt a certain desire to help. and other important parts of the North.

Stein Rokkan's conceptual maps cast new light on an old paradox: the fact that capitalism and national states grew up together. Third. the dense trading networks. and in the sense of relying mainly on local capital for the credit and financial administration required to meet the state's operating expenses.Europe .an order that such classifications as center/semi-periphery/periphery simply do not capture. Rokkan's emphasis on the network of trading cities brings out the probabilities that a) where those networks were dense. both in the sense of insuring that capital accumulating within a state's effective territory was at the disposition of that state and no others. and presumably depended on each other in some way. b) access to the taxable trade organized by those cities. Italy. and incompletely did the masters of European states nationalize the capital on that they drew. gradually. and d) the statemakers of eastern Europe. and the means of defending that interest. unlike their counterparts to Big Structures 119 . or adjacent to. they identify unequivocally the danger in building schemes of political development retrospectively. Finally. and acting as if the explanatory problem were to fit a causal model to the internal transformations of just those states. c) only late. and the other twenty-odd states that now divide up the European continent. they make a case for the independent importance of variations in religious organization (or of other factors strongly correlated with religious organization) as an influence on the builders of states in different parts of Europe. yet capitalists and centers ef czpital accumulation often offered concerted resistance to the extension of state power. local capitalists had an interest in resisting incorporation into strong states. and to the capital accumulated within them. starting with France. Second. Spain. gave crucial advantages to statemakers whose territories lay athwart. Great Britain.

Were they simply attempting t o build up t h e i r personal power by whatever Did they have a vision. and w i l l be more inclined t o a t t r i b u t e systematic g e o p o l i t i c a l v a r i a t i o n t o the geography of dominant classes and their interests. The hypothesis is important precisely because it is not self-evident. 3. but both the means t o accomplish those ends and t h e s t r a t e g i c problems posed by t h r e a t s and opportunities in adjacent a r e a s varied systematically by l o c a t i o n within the continent. w e w i l l doubt t h a t statemakers i n d i f f e r e n t p a r t s of Europe were. M o r e generally. the g r e a t e s t flaw in t h e argument embedded . extent t h a t we consider the s t r u c t u r e of a s t a t e t o r e s u l t d i r e c t l y from the i n t e r e s t s of its dominant c l a s s e s . I n a broad sense. had compelling reasons f o r relying heavily on their region's landlords. however dim and f a u l t y . and f o r clamping both t h e peasantry and t h e urban c l a s s e s under t i g h t controls. s e t of c o n s t r a i n t s on a s p i r i n g statemakers rather than a s the prime determinant of t h e i r interests. pursuing s i m i l a r ends. f o r example.the west. Rokkan's but scheme treats recognizes it a s a the significance of t h a t geography of interests. statemakers and would-be statemakers in a l l p a r t s of Europe were aiming a t s i m i l a r ends. Rokkan's conceptual maps embody an important hypothesis. indeed. To the 2 . of the Did s t a t e s take shape a s I am not s u r e whether means were available? sort of s t r u c t u r e they were struggling t o create? unintended by-products of e f f o r t s directed t o o t h e r ends? Big Structures 120 . The argument does not say why the people who b u i l t d i f f e r e n t kinds of s t a t e s undertook t h e e f f o r t in the f i r s t place. and t h e d i f f e r e n t approaches t o statemaking taken a s a consequence of those v a r i a t i o n s i n means and s t r a t e g i c problems produced s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t p o l i t i c a l s t r u c t u r e s . W e might o u t l i n e it this way: 1. region by the conceptual maps is one I have not mentioned a t a l l . In this l i g h t .

The vision they had occasionally showed the influence of a doctrine or an historical memory. In the long run. Nor did they ordinarily foresee that organizations of that sort would emerge as a consequence of the pursuit of warmaking. their competitors. or to master. and capital accumulation. by selling off their assets. autonomous. The people who extended the power of national states were surely attempting. or even expanding. To make more effective war. and capital accumulation profoundly shaped European statemaking. Europeans did not undertake those three great activities with the intention of creating centralized. they might acquire that capital by conquest. on the whole. differentiated. of their own factions. For my own part. to advance the interests of their own families. The interactions of warmaking: taxation. very crudely: The people who controlled European states (and organizations that eventually became the cores of states) made war in order to hold off. Yet the state structures that actually took shape grew largely as unintended by-products of other activities.stein ~okkan ever addressed these questions directly. that rival. To put it very. or what reply he would have given them in 1979. territory. or even vanquish. by coercing or dispossessing accumulators of capital. but most often represented the condition of a rival: The point was to create an organization sufficiently effective to check. taxation. they In the short run. the quest involved them in Big Structures 121 . I think the answer is: some of each. Which activities? The question helps us to become more specific about the elements missing from Rokkan's scheme. attempted to locate more capital. far-reaching political organizations - national states. and thus to enjoy the fruits of power within a secure. of the classes to which they belonged.

the shaping of banks. sometimes to forward the interests of the capitalists on whom they relied for financing. and mints. centralized. sometimes in order to assure the availability of capital to borrow and tax. this line of argument indicates what kind of efort would most effectively continue Stein Rokkan's inquiry: his underlying search for the origins of the political means and outcomes available to different groups of Europeans.establishing regular access to capitalists who could supply and arrange credit. In general. A - further tracing of the geographic variations identified by Rokkan's conceptual maps will not yield large intellectual returns. differentiated. It ignores the variation France and a federated It neglects the effects of different approaches to collecting I certainly have provided no evidence here for its It may well be wrong. the institution of tax-collecting bureaucracies. My account is willfully crude and incomplete. the establishment of services to supply those armies. Statemakers did not seek to create the organization. nevertheless. and in imposing one form of regular taxation or another on the people and activities within their own territories. To the extent that it is plausible. As the process went on. the maps have served their purpose. they developed a durable interest in promoting the accumulation of capital. autonomous. markets. sometimes in the guise of direct return to their own enterprises. they sought to sustain the activity. powerful. All these activities required organization: the creation of standing armies. But the organization they created to sustain the activity hardened into the apparatus of a national state: durable. the next round of work must examine the interactions among contenders for power and Big Structures 122 . taxes. correctness. between the experiences of a highly-centralized Netherlands..

Big Structures 123 .t h e i r consequences f o r t h e c r e a t i o n of new p o l i t i c a l s t r u c t u r e s . In p a r t i c u l a r . and t h e accumulation of c a p i t a l deserve t h e c l o s e s t a t t e n t i o n . the i n t e r a c t i o n s involved i n warmaking. taxation.

In a distant future. . we can aim to have theories of large-scale social processes sufficiently precise that a well-measured chur~kof a single region's experience will provide strong proof of a theory's validity or invalidity.CHAPTER 8 : CONCLUSIONS TheTBsksatBand In the light of any formal logic of comparison. and regions.ecries L " 1 . G ~ l yir! !mildin. On the scale of continents. It would be an error because with the multiplication of cases and the standardization of categories for comparison the theoretical return declines more rapidly than the empirical return rises. national states. do not simply differ from models of state-by-state Big Structures 124 . In the present state of our knowledge of big structures and large processes.. and sometimes actually improve our understanding of those structures and processes. what's the use? The use is this: Historically grounded huge comparisons of big structures and large processes help establish what must be explained. a Moore or a Rokkan will we manage to shift that curve of theoretical return from finer comparison. . most of the inquiries we have been examining are ungainly indeed. If we' can never get past hesitant generalizations in the style of Stein Rokkan. attach the possible explanations to their context in time and space. with larger numbers of cases and more variables controlled. . the matching of instances with each other only provides the grossest of natural experiments. means of comparisons on the scale of a Bendix. and the trap of despair. The trap of despair opens up when we decide that such a day will never come - can never come. Therein lie two traps: the trap of refinement It is tempting to look for finer and finer comparisons. a Skocpol. Rokkan's conceptual maps of Europe. better *. for all their faults. that would be a serious error.

directly or indirectly. For our own time. They have more explanatory power. and huge comparisons into history. to the two interdependent master processes of the era: the creation of a system of national states. large processes. Encompassing comparisons have the twin advantages of directly taking account of the interconnectedness of ostensibly separate experiences and of providing a strong incentive to ground analyses explicitly in the historical contexts of the structures and processes they include. Big Structures 125 . Generalizing and encompassing comparisons. generalizing comparisons. individualizing comparisons. universalizing comparisons. on the whole. and the formation of a worldwide capitalist system. We face the challenge of integrating big structures. yield greater intellectual returns for a given effort than do individualizing and universalizing comparisons. and encompassing comparisons all have their places.political development. it i s hard to imagine the construction of any v a l i d analysis of long-term structural change that does not connect particular alterations. They are better In the improvement of our understanding. models.

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