Hans Haferkamp and Neil J. Smelser
Haferkamp is grateful to Angelika Schade for her fruitful comments and her helpful assistance in editing this volume and to Geoff Hunter for translating the first German version of parts of the Introduction; Smelser has profited from the research assistance and critical analyses given by Joppke.
1. Social Change and Modernity
Those who organized the conference on which this volume is based—including the editors—decided to use the terms "social change" and "modernity" as the organizing concepts for this project. Because these terms enjoy wide usage in contemporary sociology and are general and inclusive, they seem preferable to more specific terms such as "evolution" "progress," "differentiation," or even "development," many of which evoke more specific mechanisms, processes, and directions of change. Likewise, we have excluded historically specific terms such as "late capitalism" and "industrial society" even though these concepts figure prominently in many of the contributions to this volume. The conference strategy called for a general statement of a metaframework for the study of social change within which a variety of more specific theories could be identified.
2. Theories of Social Change
Change is such an evident feature of social reality that any social-scientific theory, whatever its conceptual starting point, must sooner or later address it. At the same time it is essential to note that the ways social change has been identified have varied greatly in the history of thought. Furthermore, conceptions of change appear to have mirrored the historical
realities of different epochs in large degree. In his essay for this volume Giesen shows that even though ideas of time existed and evolved over thousands of years—ranging from the identification of time as a period of action and a period of living to the differentiation of time according to hierarchical position (the gods are eternal; empires rise, prosper, and fall; humans have a time lifespan), to the conception of time as progress—stability and order were the norm and changes were exceptional. But in more recent centuries the dominant conceptions of change itself have changed. Social change as a concept for comprehending a continual dynamic in social units became salient during the French Revolution and the industrial revolution in England, both periods of extraordinary dynamism. Comprehensive change became normal, and, accordingly, social philosophers and later sociologists gradually replaced the older ideas of natural constants and the contractual constructions of natural and rational order with conceptions of social change, even though precise formulations were slow to appear. For these thinkers social change was "a property of social order, known as change" (Luhmann 1984, 471). Moreover, in the midst of change observers began to look in retrospect to the dramatic changes that had occurred in earlier epochs, for examples, in the development of the Egyptian Empire or the Western Roman Empire.
Contemporary theories of social change have become more generalized in order to explain far-reaching processes of change in past and present. In a review of contemporary theories of change Hermann Strasser and Susan C. Randall have identified the following attributes for these changes: "magnitude of change, time span, direction, rate of change, amount of violence involved" (1981, 16). In our view any theory of change must contain three main elements that must stand in definite relation to one another:
1. Structural determinants of social change, such as population changes, the dislocation occasioned by war, or strains and contradictions.
2. Processes and mechanisms of social change, including precipitating mechanisms, social movements, political conflict and accommodation, and entrepreneurial activity.
3. Directions of social change, including structural changes, effects, and consequences.
Graphically, these may be arranged as follows:
Even this rendition of the metaframework for models of change is overly simple, for among the structural determinants of different processes of social change are the accumulated consequences of previous sequences of change.
Wiswede and Kutsch (1978, vii) argue that although "the analysis of social change represents the touchstone of sociology," it "obviously still appears to be underdeveloped today." The editors accept this judgment and advance two reasons for it. The first reason is that despite the evident fact that comprehensive social changes cannot be explained by monocausal theories, such theories still survive in one form or another: cultural emanationist theories, materialist theories, and more specific examples such as the explanation of social changes by the size and composition of the population of a society (Cipolla 1978) or by changes in key actors' attitudes (Opp 1976). Such theories generally break down when confronted with explaining unexpected changes or when they are used for predicting or forecasting. The second reason for the underdevelopment of the study of social changes is those who accept the necessity of multicausal explanations face a formidable task in arranging the great arsenal of determinants, mechanisms, processes, and consequences into sufficiently complex interactive and predictive models. Simple theories are easier to create but are more likely to be inadequate, whereas complex theories are more likely to be realistic but are more difficult to construct formally.
Another point of tension in the scientific study of social change is that between the striving for general theories and the carrying out of specialized studies dealing with certain societies and periods of time. Certainly the more comprehensive theories of the sociological masters still survive and inform the research of many scholars, even though the focus of these scholars has become more limited. Examples of the more focused study of changes in economic structure and stratification are found in the contributions of Goldthorpe, Haferkamp, and Münch to this volume; examinations of changes in political and social structures are found in the contributions of Touraine and Eyerman.
This volume strikes a kind of balance between comprehensiveness and specialization. Although the contributors and editors have kept in mind Wilbert E. Moore's cautionary words about "the myth of a singular theory of change" (Moore 1963, 23), we have nonetheless been able to organize the volume around some general themes in the contemporary study of social change. These themes are the persistence of evolutionary thought, structural differentiation and cultural change, theories of modernity, modernity and new forms of social movements, modernity and social inequality, and international and global themes. This introduction takes up these themes in the order listed.
2.1. Developments in the Paradigm of Evolutionary Theory
The lasting attractiveness of the paradigm of evolutionary theory in sociology is a remarkable phenomenon given the controversial history of this perspective in sociology. In very recent times, however, it has been less the evolutionary writings of Spencer (The Study of Sociology , Principles of Sociology [1876–96]) than those of Darwin that have provided the models for sociologists (Giesen 1980, 10–11; Luhmann, this volume; Giesen, this volume). Recent evidence of the continuing vitality of the evolutionary perspective is found, among North American sociologist, in the works of Talcott Parsons (1961, 1966, 1967, 1971a, 1977), Neil J. Smelser (1959, 1976), and Gerhard Lenski (1970, 1976) and among West German sociologists, in the theories of Jürgen Habermas (1976, 1981) and Niklas Luhmann (1984). The work of Shmuel N. Eisenstadt (1970, 1976) shows a similar influence.
These evolutionary conceptions have not been without their critics. Parsons's emphasis on evolution as an increase of adaptability, that is, the capacity to control and gain greater independence from the environment, has come under attack from a variety of sources (Granovetter 1979; Schmid 1981, 1982; Luhmann 1984). This line of criticism stresses the apparent teleology of Parsons's formulation and his failure to explain the structural prerequisites that are presumably necessary for further evolution. West German neoevolutionary thought has also come in for its share of critical reactions (on Habermas, see Berger 1982; Schmid 1981; Honneth and Joas 1986. On Luhmann, see Haferkamp and Schmid 1987). One particular line of criticism of Habermas's work is that it is too normative and not sufficiently explanatory in its force: "He fails to give a plausible reason why a rise in the capability for moral reflection should in all cases a rise in the adaptability of a social formation" (Schmid 1981, 29). In this volume Goldthorpe, impatient with the generalities of both classical evolutionary theory and Marxist thought, echoes Popper's (1944–45, 1945) still-pertinent criticism.
Despite these critical responses, evolutionary theory—or at least selected aspects of it—continues to reappear. In this volume a number of authors (Luhmann, Eder, and Hondrich) take up evolutionary questions directly. Other authors, who are more closely identified with either systems theory or conflict theory (Giesen, Smelser, and Eisenstadt), also touch on evolutionary issues. Thus, Eder, although mainly looking at societal contradictions, also asks about the evolutionary functions of contradictions.
Looking at the contributions to this volume that take up evolutionary themes in terms of the metaframework sketched above, it is possible to identify the following elements: triggering mechanisms for change, sustaining
mechanisms of change, the end state of change (directionality), and the change process considered as a whole.
1. Triggering mechanisms. In addition to the various internal mechanisms (such as technology, cultural lags, and contradictions), Smelser suggests that "intersocietal relations" be systematically included as triggering mechanisms. Eder focuses on contradictions and treats them as "mechanisms [that] initiate or continue communication." Communication, in turn, initiates sequences of change. In a related formulation Eisenstadt identifies "structural variety" in societies, which is a breeding ground for conflicts. And in the most unorthodox formulation Luhmann develops the notion of improbability." In an earlier formulation Luhmann (1984) criticized Parsons's and other neoevolutionary theories on the basis that they did not specify a process but simply defined the requirements for structural development. By contrast, Luhmann argues that, when viewed retrospectively, all developments are improbable in that they could not have been explained by prior existing determinants (for example, the distribution of power or wealth). Changes are, rather, the product of what Luhmann calls autopoiesis, that is, the tendency for self-production is social systems. Luhmann thus departs from the tradition causal assumptions of evolutionary theory and builds a high degree of indeterminacy—summarized by the phrase "the improbability of the probable"—into his conception of change. Eder also introduces the notion of liberty and improbability into his perspective on change but not in such a central way.
2. Sustaining mechanisms. The contributors to this volume develop many such mechanisms by making reference to biological analogies. Hondrich considers differentiation and segmentation to be "two opposing yet collaborative principles of evolution, the former representing the dynamic, innovative, expanding and risky aspect of evolution, the latter standing for preservation, stability, and a reduction of risks." Eder works out an elaborate classification of mechanisms for his three stages (variation, selection, and stabilization), involving learning processes within groups, classification struggles, and conflicts between society and environment. Again striking a note of indeterminacy, Luhmann regards the sustaining mechanisms for change as autopoiesis, that is, as self-referential systems permanently producing themselves and heading into an open-ended future.
3. Directionality. The contributors range across the board with respect to the determinacy of the end states of change. Eder speaks of a telos
(of contradictions), the aim of which "is to reproduce communication…. This ongoing stream of communication constitutes social reality as being something in flux, as something always in change." On the level of moral ideas Eder works on the "assumption of an evolutionary change in moral consciousness which was evoked by the initial dissolution of the religious basis of morality in the sixteenth century" (1985, 10). At this level telos signifies the development of a morality based on the autonomy of the subject and is thus reminiscent of Piaget's and Kohlberg's conceptions of moral development. Hondrich, using a traditional biological analogy, finds directionality in the "interests of evolution," which are primarily those of survival. Luhmann appears to replace his earlier emphasis on the directionality found in "differentiation," "complexity," or even "progress" with a directionality that is more improbable. Smelser, who in an earlier (1959) formulation stressed both differentiation and complexity as lending directionality, is now more skeptical about very general statements concerning evolutionary goals or directions. Eisenstadt argues against positing any directionality toward modernization on the basis of prior structural properties—calling them merely "necessary conditions of modernization"—and argues that the fortuitous intervention of elites necessary to create modern social structures. Finally, Giesen considers that the notion of directed development is wholly inappropriate.
4. Overall process. One of the features of contemporary evolutionary theory is that even though traditional models of development survive, there is also a preoccupation with pathology, paradox, decay, and dissolution as well as with growth (Elias 1985). Although Hondrich relies mainly on functionalist theories of differentiation and acknowledges the increases in size and efficiency accompanying differentiation, he also sees an increasing homogeneity in society and points to various threats posed to society by functional differentiation. Extreme differentiation, for example, is always accompanied by the development of a substratum of black markets, informal groups, and secret networks. Eder also points to pathologies in the evolutionary process that generally lead to higher level of morality. Luhmann's stress on "backward developments" and Giesen's insistence that both emergence and decay are present in any social process also underscore the more pessimistic flavor of the most recent evolutionary models.
2.2. Patterns of Structural and Cultural Change
Among the most persistent themes that appear in the evolutionist and neoevolutionist literature are those of differentiation, integration, conflict,
and, in particular, the relationship among these. The notion of differentiation (or specialization) was central in the work of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, and Emile Durkheim. The same notion informs the work of a number of contemporary theorists, notably Parsons. Yet both the causes and consequences of social differentiation remain unclear; they are explored by many of the contributors to this volume.
One way of organizing existing thought on structural differentiation is to trace the ways in which this phenomenon has been related to both integration and conflict. In the theories of Adam Smith and Herbert Spencer differentiation was regarded as a fundamental principle of change, but the integration of specialized activities was not problematic in their theories because it was regarded as a result that emerged from the aggregation of voluntary exchange in society. Differentiation (the division of labor) also played a central role in the theories of Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim. Marx posited contradictions, conflicts, and ultimate disintegration as arising from the differentiation of economic and social positions in economic systems. Durkheim stressed the need for positive integration in a differentiated society if anomie and conflict were not to become endemic. In his contribution to this volume, Alexander acknowledges the power of Durkheim's theory of differentiation but finds shortcomings in its naive evolutionary assumptions and its mechanistic quality.
One of the most comprehensive theories of differentiation is that of Parsons, who laid great stress on the adaptive upgrading that is attained through greater specialization of roles, organizations, and institutions. Yet this very focus on the functional consequences of differentiation, Alexander notes, perhaps diverted Parsons from a closer focus on "the actual processes by which that new and more differentiated institution actually came about." This lack of attention to mechanisms was the focus of earlier criticism of Parsons's efforts (Lockwood 1956; Dahrendorf 1955, 1958) and is at the center of Alexander's criticisms of both Durkheim's and Parsons's theories of differentiation. The stress on functionally positive consequences may harbor a certain apologetic note, even an "ideological patina." The works of Smelser (1959), Eisenstadt (1969), Bellah (1970), and Luhmann (1982) have constituted something of a corrective in that they have stressed mechanisms and processes more and positive functionalist aspects less. But the dynamics of structural differentiation are still not fully understood.
The focus on structural causes and mechanisms of differentiation is found in Alexander's contribution to this volume. He argues that to improve the theory of differentiation, it is "necessary [to have] … a more phase-specific model of general differentiation and of social process alike." Here Alexander focuses on the key role of war and conflict.
He argues that the theory of differentiation has as yet been unable to incorporate the notions of "political repression," "ferocious violence," "oppression," and "war." By distinguishing between polarization and differentiation on the one hand and various historical situations on the other, Alexander works toward a scheme that will more readily incorporate processes of change such as revolution, reform, and reaction. One advantage of his formulation is that it proposes a reciprocal relationship between conflict, conquest, and repression on the one hand and processes of differentiation on the other. Each set of variables plays a central causal role in the development of the others. In related formulations Eder regards conflict as a starting mechanisms of social change through variation, and Eyerman's analysis begins with societal conflict.
This focus on conflict brings to mind the Marxist heritage of differentiation as the source of the contradictions that destabilize and ultimately destroy a society. Lockwood's and Dahrendorf's criticisms of Parsons's formulations of the positive relation between differentiation and integration pushed both of them somewhat in a Marxist direction in that they regarded conflict as the core consequence of differentiation, especially the differentiation of authority. Dahrendorf's current views of social change still echo this position: "Social change is define in terms of direction and rhythm by that power of unrest for which it is so difficult to find a sufficiently general name, by incompatibility, discord, antagonism, contradiction and resistance, through conflict" (Dahrendorf 1987, 11). Finally, it should be noted that Eisenstadt's insistence on the centrality of group conflict in the development of civilizational change is in keeping with the general thrust noted: the effort to synthesize systematically the conceptions of conflict, differentiation, and integration.
To align these conceptions graphically, we refer the reader to Table 1. The only empty cell in the table is the one representing integration as one of the active causes of differentiation. Little attention has been given to this relationship in the literature on social change. But it is at least plausible to think that a highly integrated society with a legitimate and responsive state might tend to produce orderly structural innovation and differentiation as a response to internal group conflict, whereas a less-integrated system might produce chronic and unresolve group conflict and instability. It might also be supposed that a well-integrated society would be less likely to export its internal conflicts in the form of aggressive wars. Pirenne hinted at this relationship when he contrasted the North European "Hanse" with the Italian republics of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa:
This confederation of German maritime towns, which forms such a striking contrast to the continual wars of the Italian towns of the Mediterranean,
gave them a predominance on all the Northern waters, which they were to keep to the end of the Middle Ages. Thanks to their agreement, they succeeded in holding their own against the attacks launched against them by the kings of Denmark and in promoting their common interests abroad. (Pirenne 1937, 150)
In addition to a rebirth of interest in differentiation, which is a phenomenon primarily at the social-structural level, there has been a revitalization of interest in cultural change and the power of culture as an active determinant of institutional change. This tradition brings to mind above all the work of Max Weber, which established the dynamic power of culture, particularly religion, in social change. For a prolonged time debate raged mainly over whether material factors were fundamental or whether culture could in fact be regarded as having independent significance in change. In more recent times, however, there has been a rediscovery of culture as an independent variable. In West Germany this was epitomized by a special issue in 1979 of the Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie titled Kultursoziologie (Cultural sociology), which included the articles "Zum Neubeginn der Kultursoziologie" (A fresh start for cultural sociology) by Wolfgang Lipp and Friedrich H. Tenbruck (1979) and "Die Aufgaben der Kultursoziologie" (The tasks of cultural sociology) by Tenbruck (1979). In 1986 a second special issue of this journal was dedicated to the theme of Culture and Society . It focused on Jürgen Habermas's writings on the development of morality (1976, 1981) and on revised neo-Marxist approaches to culture. The interest in culture has been revitalized in England and the United States as well,
particuarly by Raymond Williams and the Birmingham group, Clifford Geertz, Robert Bellah, and students of the mass media, especially Michael Schudson, Gaye Tuchman, and Todd Gitlin.
In considering cultural change we distinguish between the explanation of cultural change as such and the explanation of other processes of change that refer to culture as a determinant. Most contemporary theoreticians acknowledge that culture should be regarded as an analytically distinct aspects of social life to be analyzed on its own level. But the effort to pursue the study of culture, independently considered, is hampered by the difficulty of coming up with a proper definition of culture and a proper representation of its empirical manifestations. Culture seems to present the analyst with a kind of "elementary diffuseness" (Neidhardt 1986). How can we grasp culture's enormous variety of empirical manifestations and treat it as a totality? How do we deal with the complex and multiple cultures (high culture and folk culture, elite culture and street culture) that are present in all societies? Or should they be considered an unrelated patchwork? These are some of the methodological questions that have troubled students of culture.
Reviewing studies of culture in his contribution to this volume, Wuthnow concludes that the main approach to culture has been psychological, culture as "beliefs and outlooks, … moods and motivations." However, he regards this kind of conceptualization as unsatisfactory, particularly when it comes to studying cultural change. As an alternative Wuthnow suggests that culture be defined as "discourse" and other "symbolic acts," with attention being drawn to "speakers and audiences." This definition would be a more sociological one because it stresses the interactive and communicative aspects of culture. It would be one way of extracting common or social beliefs and knowledge (see Eder 1983, 1985; Haferkamp 1985; Miller 1986) and of working toward a conceptualization of mind (Geist ) as developed in Lévi-Strauss's structuralism.
Wuthnow's approach also has empirical and methodological implications: it looks toward the analysis of "discursive texts, the rituals in which discourse is embedded." Although the study of symbolic acts of speakers and audiences has developed to a degree in the research on small-group discussions (Pollock 1955; Mangold 1962), Wuthnow emphasizes institutional contexts and longer periods of time in the study of text, debates, rituals, and the discussions created by or taking place in political organizations, religious groups, and even "subversive" organizations and marginal groups (see Haferkamp 1975). Geisen's contribution to this volume adopts this strategy. He assesses texts from various periods in past centuries and draws from them evidence of long-term changes in the cultural modes of thinking about time and the notion of social change. Eisenstadt's conception of the "premises of societies" could be given empirical
meaning by the study of similar kinds of texts and rituals that have held a central place in the histories of societies.
One tradition of sociological theory and research has treated cultural change as dependent on changes in the situation of classes, strata, carrier groups, etc. The most evident and perhaps most extreme thread in this tradition is found in the work of Marx and Engels. But it is also found in Durkheim in his view that changes in religion, morality, law, and cultural values such as individualism are rooted in the increasing complexity of society. Wuthnow divides this tradition into two large categories of "cultural adaptation theory" and "class legitimation theory," both of which view cultural change as a response to or result of other types of change. He finds both versions too one-dimensional and general and calls instead for "multifactoral … explanations of cultural change … considering the specific contexts, processes, and mechanisms that translate broad societal changes into concrete episodes of innovative cultural production."
To put this approach into the terms suggested by our metaframework, the abroad conditions emphasized by these theorists can best be placed in the category of "structural determinants." These structural determinants, however, are somewhat nonspecific in character. It is not possible to derive from them the precise processes and mechanisms of cultural change, the patterns of cultural innovations, or the ultimate directions and consequences of cultural change. Such processes, patterns, and consequences result from partially independent dynamics that operate within the broad conditions established by the cultural dimensions. Examples of research that build on this multideterminative model are Cohen (1955), Luhmann (1985), and Chambliss and Seidman (1971). At a more abstract level the programs of Luhmann and Giesen, which stress indeterminacy, improbability, and looser models, underscore the point that patterns of cultural change cannot be derived from general structural preconditions.
Another traditions has treated cultural change itself as a determinant, one that serves as a constant source of pressure for change, a release mechanisms for change, or a shaper of social reality. Max Weber is the exemplar of this type of analysis. However, his insistence on the "reciprocal relationship" between religious belief and economic action indicates that cultural changes themselves have social-structural factors among their determinants. Parsons's formulations of change also stress the active role of culture. He emphasizes that differentiation results in a more complex structure of society, which gives rise to new and more general value patterns that are important in guaranteeing stability in a more complex setting (Parsons 1971b, 14ff.). At the same time, however, he puts society's cultural code" in a position in the of the hierarchy of social control, "which, … is able to control processes of action on a lower level" (Schmid 1982, 185).
Eisenstadt's contribution in particular elaborates this notion of the reciprocal interaction between idea and institution. He stresses that in processes of social change, culture—and ideas in particular—plays an arbitrating role. As a concrete illustration, Eisenstadt takes the cultural ideas of hierarchy and equality and asks how they work out differently in different social settings. Starting from Sombart's questions "Why is there no socialism in the United States?" (1976) and adding the question of why socialism has been relatively weak in Japan, he points out the different consequences of equality and hierarchy as values. In the United States the deep institutionalization of the value of equality of opportunity has historically diminished tendencies toward collective class consciousness and the mobilization of political parties on that basis, whereas in Japan the fundamental institutionalization of hierarchy and the relative absence of any notions of equality worked toward the same end. It might be added that it was mainly in the European countries, where the two ideas of hierarchy and equality have existed side by side in uneasy tension, that class-based political action has been more in evidence. Such is the power of fundamental "premises of society."
The editors believe that they see a kind of theoretical convergence, both in the contributions to this volume and in the larger trends in sociological analysis in both Europe and North America. This convergence involves an impatience with and desertion of one-sided models of cultural and social change, whatever their primary emphasis, and an active development of multicausal modes that stress reciprocal effects and the cumulative effect of diverse processes of change that are partly independent of one another.
3. Theories of Modernity
Among the most conspicuous theories of social change are those that go under the name of "modernity" or "modernization" and include other related terms, such as "development," as well. Yet within this family of theories there are significant differences about whether modernization involves continuity or discontinuity, whether the theorist is relatively optimistic or pessimistic, whether the "modern" phase of social development has given way to some other era.
Two examples of scholars who have stressed the continuity of development are Weber and Parsons. Weber's description of Occidental rationalism is particularly emphatic on this point, stressing the organizational continuities between such apparently diverse systems as rational bourgeois capitalism and socialism. Parsons posited the constancy of certain values (especially universalistic achievement) in modernization and in a "relatively optimistic" moment forecast that modernity would continue
to flourish for another one hundred to two hundred years (Parsons 1971, 141). Others regard the process as involving a somewhat more chaotic picture. In 1883 Charles Baudelaire characterized modernity as half "transitory, volatile, possible" and half "eternal and unchanging" (Baudelaire 1925, 168). Hanns-Georg Brose, following from this viewpoint and from the position of Habermas, has argued that the general characteristic of modernity is "the contradiction between innovation and decay, new and enduring, and also its conservation and treatment of time in the modern experience" (1985, 537).
Most nineteenth-century theories of modernity (although not given that name) were optimistic in character and based on ideas of progress. Although this kind of interpretation has been dampened, some contemporary treatments still retain elements of it. By and large, the theorists who focus on the specific characteristics of "advanced industrial societies" often implicitly assume that capitalism, democracy, the market economy, and a prosperous society will assert themselves and live on (Zapf 1983, 294). A similar optimism appears in Dieter Senghaas (1982). In Senghaas's work there is no trace of the autumn of modernity. Indeed, a feeling of elation persists, the kind that was typical of the Europe grande bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century, that was experienced in the United States during much of the twentieth century, and that has developed in contemporary Japan, whose business leaders are fond of the term "Eurosclerosis."
Some traces of optimistic view are seen in Calhoun's essay in this volume. He has previously criticized theories of development because they do not offer convincing explanations of continued integration. In this volume he makes an effort to account or integration by referring to the circumstances that others hold responsible for disintegration and conflict, namely, increasingly indirect interpersonal relationships. These relationships are manifested in large-scale markets, corporation (as closely administered organizations), and information technology. They foster the much-discussed secondary relationships. Calhoun, however, goes beyond this to describe "tertiary" and "quaternary" relationships. Tertiary relationships are those in which actors are aware of the physical presence of others, as in the case of the relationship of a district representative to his political constituency. Quaternary relationships, however, "occur outside of the attention and generally of the awareness of at least one of the parties to them," as in communication through mass media. Calhoun regards this as "the extension of social integration to an ever larger scale, yet with greater internal intensity, through reliance on indirect social relationships." The specific note of optimism is that these integrative tendencies operate as counterdeterminants to conflict and disintegration.
The theoretical literature shows a more pessimistic steak. Weber took a clearly ambivalent stance, recognizing the greater efficiency and rationality of modern capitalism, but also stressing the progressive disenchantment and the constraining influences of the "iron cage." Pessimistic countertendencies to modernity are seen even more clearly in the work of Marx and Engels (1848), who insisted that in the last analysis the destructive tendencies of modern capitalism will prevail. A variety of contemporary theorists, including analysts in the Frankfurt School, who focus on "late capitalism," also foresee the decay, decline, and ultimate fall of modern societies.
Bendix (1979) offers another variant of modernity that tempers Western European rationalism with realism. He notes the loss of the Western feeling of superiority, which had lasted for centuries, and argues that excesses in the developments that brought about modernity are responsible for that loss. With these excesses in mind, Bendix writes that "the harnessing of nuclear power marks the beginning of a scientific and technical development that for the first time in the consciousnesses of many people calls into question the 350-year-old equation that links knowledge with progress" (Bendix 1979, 13). This evaluation is consistent with Bendix's stress on the twofold nature of the value of modernity and his rejection of an exclusively optimistic or pessimistic interpretation.
Above and beyond these different assessments there is general agreement that modernity involves both rapid and all-encompassing change and that the origins of this process go back several centuries. There are, however, some differences in identifying the decisive turning points. Dahrendorf argues that the beginning of modernity can be seen in Erasmus of Rotterdam, whose era fell "between the autumn of the Middle Ages and the first traces of the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, that is, the turning point of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the key period of the modern world" (1987, 12). Parsons also places the beginning of modernity in the Renaissance and Reformation, but in addition he stresses the salience of the industrial and democratic revolutions and the educational revolution that followed. In this contribution to this volume Eyerman dates the decisive origins of modernity much later. He stresses the impact "of industrialization, urbanization, and political democracy on essentially rural and autocratic societies." More specifically, he identifies the place and time as "Europe in the half of the nineteenth century." Bendix also describes modernization as emerging from the changes in the social structures in England and France that were associated with the industrial and political revolutions in these societies. Perhaps these differences in interpretation can be reconciled by indicating that those who identify earlier origins refer more to cultural
origins and those who stress later developments emphasize the dramatic changes in social structure.
The issue of the end of modernity and the onset of postmodernity (if, indeed, there has been such an onset) is also a matter of disagreement. Fundamentally, the dispute is over the question of continuity versus discontinuity. Eyerman (this volume) categorizes contemporary Western societies as postmodern, noting that "postmodernity is at once more universalistic (concerned with humanity and nature, women's liberation, and world peace) and more parochial (concerned with local control and self-reliance)." Most of the contributors, however, characterize postmodernity as a process, a special type of social change that did not orginate in earlier eras.
The elements of any theory of the process of modernization can usually be identified under the headings of structural determinants, processes and mechanisms, and outcomes. These elements indicate that theories of modernization belong in the category of theories of social change. In his contribution to this volume Berger asserts that modernity cannot be equated with capitalism because capitalism is only one type of modernity. He argues that modernization involves the liberation and increasing autonomy of associations of action in almost all societal areas. Associations have built up the economy, the state, religion, and communities. Then, linking Marx with Luhmann, Berger goes on to argue that the economy, once set free, develops into an autopoietic system. It reproduces itself from the elements it has already produced (capital, wage labor, profit, etc.). This liberated system, however, may devour the prerequisites for its further change by subordinating the environment to economic exploitation. Efforts at ecological preservation through social control and social planning constitute and effort to avert this result. At the same time capitalism is restricted from below by social movements that challenge its autonomous development and ultimate self-destruction. We now turn to these modern (or postmodern) social movements.
3.1. Modernity and New Social Movements
To give salience to social movements in connection with social change and modernity is to give salience to the notion of process. The term "movement" is so close conceptually to the notion of change that the following theoretical possibilities are suggested: either social movements constitute modernity, or they at least make a very large contribution to its appearance. Eyerman suggests the first possibility when he states, "Modernity connotes movement." Elsewhere Touraine has expressed a similar view: modern society is the first type of society to reproduce itself, and new social movements are the decisive force in this process (Touraine 1981).
To speak of "new" social movements is to imply a category of "old" social movements. Those who write in this tradition appear to conceive of old movements as those that were distinctively associated with the class systems of industrial capitalism, for example, liberalism and the workers' movements. New movements are those that are less class-based, including the women's movement, various ethnic movements, the ecology movement, the peace movement, and the antistate movement. Conceptually, the distinction creates a few problems. Some of the "new" movements, for example, the women's movement and the peace movement, have very long histories. Also, it is possible to identify various kinds of movements, such as popular uprisings in Rome and religious movements in medieval times and the Reformation, that are older than those identified as "old." This suggests that the distinction between old and new as currently discussed is limited mainly to the distinction between classical industrial capitalism and contemporary industrial (or postindustrial) society.
Be that as it may, the old social movements are commonly seen as representing the struggle for power and control over the organization of living conditions; thus they are perceived as being essentially economic in character. These movements were commonly regarded as threats to the capitalist system. Tenbruck (1981) has argued, for example, that much of Durkheim's sociology reflects an anxiety about the consequences of these kinds of movements and is an effort to find various kinds of social arrangements that could incorporate them into a newly formed society. Although offshoots of these old movements can still be found in various advanced countries, writers making use of the new-social-movement framework consider the old type of social movement to be no longer threatening. Accordingly, as Berger noted in discussion at the conference, "the proletariat has lost its role as privileged actor and subject of historical change." Much of this loss of force (and threat) has been attributed to long periods of increased prosperity, the nullification of many of the impulses of the workers' movement by the policies of the welfare state, and the incorporation of these movements into political parties and the state.
For Touraine modernity means the development of a system of production and distribution of cultural goods that threatens the current cultural self-definition of many actors. These actors anticipate personal and social progress through an increased sense of their own subjectivity, but this subjectivity is threatened because culture is currently being industrially produced and distributed. Subjectivity manifests itself in two ways: as a force of opposition to domination and in the recognition of other individuals as unique people with whom personal relationships can be formed. Thus the new social movements are fighting for "cultural creativity and autonomy and the capacity to act on all aspects of human experience."
Eyerman, although in agreement with many of Touraine's views, does not give such a distinctively modern role to the search for subjectivity. In his estimation, "The development of a new sense of self, of subjectivity and individuality, which distinguishes the modern individual from the traditional one" has been the theme of prior social movements for more than a hundred years. Eyerman regards his own views as belonging to the theoretical tradition represented by Weber, Simmel, and Michels. These scholars studied the "effects of modernity on the individual and the new forms of organization that it entailed." For them modernity meant "new possibilities for the expression of human subjectivity."
In their contributions to this volume, Eyerman and Touraine are in agreement on yet another point: whereas the old social movements concentrate on industrial society and the work process, the new ones are associated with postindustrial society and events outside the work process. But Eyerman characterizes postindustrial society in a different way that Touraine: it involves the expansion of the state, the explosion of the knowledge industry, and the development of the new mass media (the latter being closely involved in Touraine's production of culture). The expansion of the state leads to the politicizing of new areas of social life. This in turn evokes reactions from both the political left and the political right and offers issues for activists in new social movements. The tension between the knowledge industry and corporate and state interests on the one hand and education and knowledge on the other hand produces an additional arena for conflicts and movements. The mass media are instrumental in creating the new social movements and to some degree become part of them.
Both Touraine and Eyerman hold that the new social movements have great potential for shaping the future of modern societies. In their estimation these movements are already proclaiming the characteristics of the social structure that will prevail in the future. In contrast, Eder's contribution regards these movements more critically and describes them as having a more specific class base. Many of the new social movements, he argues, are carried by the petty bourgeoisie who want to protect their life world: "These 'new' social movements try to formulate another way of controlling the professional regulation of society by referring to health, "green" nature, aesthetics, and in general, to the idea of the 'good life.'"
By way of contrast, Tiryakian believes that contemporary social movements are much more in conflict with modernity than do Touraine, Eyerman, and Eder. Youth movements, the counterculture, movements of religious fundamentalism, movements of value rationality (Wertrationalität ), and movements that involve an ethic of absolute values (Gesinnungsethik ) all unite in their opposition to modernity. In his contribution
to this volume Tiryakian examines the romantic movement since the second half of the eighteenth century and argues that it emerged from the "rejection of one major side of modernity: the seemingly cold, drab, impersonal, anonymous, standardized, rationalized, 'lifeless.' 'technocratic,' industrial order." The romantics subscribed to the view that "seeks and finds, often in the imagination, the creative center of human energy, the potential for altering or conjuring a different order than the industrial one at hand." Tiryakian also regards witchcraft and exotism as expressions of the romantic impulse. These are movements of reenchantment, which in his view are an almost necessary reaction to the disenchantment that characterizes modernity. Tiryakian also examines several movements of dedifferentiation, such as those committed to a Gesinnungsethik (including the radical religious movements of the Reformation, the great nationalist movements, and the student movements of the 1960s). He employs the following chain of causality: Differentiation leads to a power hierarchy, which leads to the exclusion of some groups, which leads to dedifferentiation. Finally, like Hondrich, Tiryakian considers that movements of dedifferentiation are not only inhibitors of development but also forces that encourage regeneration and rejuvenation.
3.2. Modernity and Social Inequality
A number of the contributions to this volume take up the reciprocal relations among structured inequality, group contradictions and the conflicts that arise from them, and modernity. These relations are evidently complex. Inequality plays a large role in shaping modernity because it generates class and group conflicts, which become the basis of the institutional invention and innovation that come to constitute the structures of modernity. The increasing proliferation of roles and institutional structures, however, provides an ever-increasing number of structural bases for inequality. Indeed, some have identified distinctive patterns of inequality (such as class, gender, and race) as the fundamental characteristic of modernity. The chapters by Goldthorpe, Haferkamp, and Münch explore these issues.
Goldthorpe's essay is a theoretical and methodological critique. In particular he is impatient with both the historicist and the evolutionary models. His criticisms are common: that these models are often evoked for normative and political purposes and that they continually founder when held to the test of explaining empirical patterns of change. This is not to say that evolutionary concepts such as variation and selection are not fruitful but that they become so only when they can be tested against historical materials. Goldthorpe regards history as a profusion of material, a particularly long sequence of events containing shorter or longer periods that can be evoked and studied to confirm or disconfirm theories
of varying levels of generality. The complexity of the theory is related to the historical scope considered.
This approach is consistent with Goldthorpe's focus on a relatively limited set of issues and a limited historical scope: the changes in class structure in modern Western societies since the end of the Second World War. He believes that it is possible to make precise and confirmable statements for this period. Goldthorpe's account finds both the Marxist and liberal generalizations—the one foreseeing the degradation of the working class and an increase in social inequality, the other foreseeing an upgrading of the working class and an equalizing tendency—to be incorrect. His main point is that these and other evolutionist writings (including some in this volume) are too historicist. His methodological focus is on those periods of time, actors, and actions to which the instruments of empirical social research have access. In their chapters Münch and Haferkamp also focus on relatively short periods of time and on a small number of societies. Münch examines developments from the American Revolution up to the present day, Haferkamp from the French Revolution to the present, each examining empirical tendencies in relation to general theories of inequality and modernity.
With respect to the overall diagnosis of patterns of inequality in the contemporary West, we find three general points of view.
1. One group of authors, most of them Marxist-oriented, sees increasing inequality, although they are not in agreement about its structural bases. Braverman (1974), focusing on the labor process in monopoly industry, argues that in the wake of Taylorization labor power (even white-collar labor) is increasingly deskilled and that this process has produced greater proletarianization. Gorz (1982) takes a different line, stressing that the working class is divided between a well-organized core in primary labor markets (characterized by high wages, employment security, and moderate unionism) and a fragmented, nonorganized lumpenproletariat at the periphery of the laboring society which, in the form of "new" social movements, attacks the growth- and security-oriented alliance between labor and capital. It should be noted that the authors in this group look almost exclusively at the labor process.
2. A second group of authors sees enduring or unchanging social inequality. These authors refer to current levels of social inequality as "stable" (Hradil 1983, 192) or even "ultrastable" (Beck 1983, 35). Their claims are based on the fact that the distribution of property and income has not charged more than a few percentage points in the past fifty to a hundred years. Among the contributors to this volume Goldthorpe seems closest to this position when he argues
that neither the Marxist theory of increasing inequality nor the liberal position of a leveling process appears to be sustantiated by empirical trends. Although the conditions of the working class in the West have on balance been upgraded more than degraded since the Second World War (with many consequences for income, wealth, and life-style), mass unemployment has persisted since the mid-1970s, if not worsened. As a result equalizing trends have abated.
3. Yet another group of authors observes a tendency toward a reduction in inequality. These voices have been heard for some time: Alexis de Tocqueville, Theodor Geiger, Helmut Schelsky, Talcott Parsons, Norbert Elias, Reinhard Bendix, Otis Dudley Duncan, and Karl Otto Hondrich are among them. Recent empirical studies (for example, Schade 1987) have produced results that are consistent with this opinion. This argument appears to be most viable when other dimensions of inequality are taken into account, especially political inequality, educational inequality, and the leveling of life-styles. The chapters by Münch and Haferkamp in this volume appear to stress these other dimensions. Münch develops a general model to explain changing levels of equality and inequality. His model is based on Parsons's perspective, in which many different processes of change proceed simultaneously, some working toward equality and some toward inequality. On balance, Münch finds the forces pressing for equality in the United States to be stronger. At the same time, he points out the double tendency in this country, by which both equality and inequality are legitimized: "The conflict between these two positions has been a major factor in hindering the establishment of a societal community properly embracing society as a whole, as opposed to a society breaking apart into different societal groups." Haferkamp stresses leveling tendencies as well. He argues that the masses have increased resources at their disposal and that this improves their potential for achievement. He also identifies a strengthening of the value of equality as an important factor in the leveling process. But above all he stresses the process of negotiation among significant economic and political groups (business, labor, agriculture, and the professions), a process that typically results in leveling compromises, and the continuing access to the centers of political on the part of these groups.
Many of the apparent confusions and contradictions among these diagnoses of inequality probably stem from the problem of confounding apples and oranges. Different answers will emerge depending on which aspect of inequality—the labor process, the distribution of property and
income, social mobility and status attainment, or access to education, power, and prestige—is chosen for focus. In any event, rather than treating the subject of inequality as a unified whole it seems essential to disaggregate the notion into its various dimensions in order to identify the different patterns of inequality and the different mechanisms that determine the character of each.
The metaframework laid out at the beginning of this introduction is applicable to the study of inequality and its changes. With respect to structural conditions and mechanisms, the two general traditions in sociology are the functionalist and the conflict approaches. The functionalist approach stresses cultural (value) determinants and allocative mechanisms; the conflict approach stresses structures of domination and processes of conflict. None of the three chapters on inequality in this volume falls conveniently under either of these headings. Münch lists twelve factors—half working toward greater inequality, half toward greater equality—but these cannot be regarded as "factors" in the strong causal sense. Rather they are parts of complex networks of facilitating and discouraging forces. Haferkamp's approach is rooted more explicitly in the theory of action. It begins with the actors—elites and masses in particular—and views these actors as producing resources and values, both intentionally and unintentionally. These resources and values become the starting-points that define the production and distribution of services and power. Goldthorpe's theoretical approach is least emplicit, but it appears to be more nearly structural (stressing unemployment, the welfare state, etc.), giving little attention to the cultural factors that inform the contributions of both Münch and Haferkamp. But all three contributors appear to be in fundamental agreement on two related assumptions: First, the determinants of inequality are multiple and must be combined in complex, interactive explanatory models. Second, the interplay between structural conditions and carriers (elites, interest groups, etc.) in the processes that produce stability or changes in social inequality is complex.
With respect to directions and effects, we refer the reader to the previous discussion of the three groups of thought about the directions of change in social inequality as well as the discussion of the new social movements, which have arisen out of the distinctive patterns of inequality associated with postindustrialism or postmodernity.
3.3. International and Global Themes
Modernity is characterized by more than new values, new institutional structures, new patterns of inequality, and new social movements. Because the societies of the world are growing increasingly interdependent along economic, political, and cultural lines, modernity is also
characterized by increasing globalization and internationalization. Of course this process is variable. Some societies (Hondrich's "niche societies") are relatively isolated from external influences, but others, whose fortunes are tied to other societies by trade, economic penetration, and international conflict, are deeply enmeshed in the international system. Different groups in society are differentially involved in the international world. For example, the worlds of some bankers, politicians,scientists, scholars, and sports celebrities are mainly international in character.
Although world—national society relationships have become increasingly salient over the past two centuries, social scientists have been relatively slow in explicitly incorporating these relationships into their analyses in systematic ways. Of course the names of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Franz Boas, and Max Weber come to mind as exceptions to this generalization. But up to around 1950 mainstream sociology focused almost exclusively on national societies and their institutional and group life.
After 1950, however, interest in global society and the international system increased. The voices of Stein Rokkan and Niklas Luhmann in Europe and Talcott Parsons in the United States should be mentioned in this regard. In the late 1960s and early 1970s dependency theory (Cardoso 1969) and world-system theory (Wallerstein 1974) further crystallized and advanced this perspective. In 1987 Norbert Elias stated that sociology today is now possible only as a sociology of world society. In his other work (1956, 1985) Elias joins many political scientists in focusing on the relations among the United States, the Soviet Union, and the societies dependent on them. In a complex, multidimensional analysis Elias argues that the world scope of battles among dominant power groups has become larger and that by now virtually the whole world is enmeshed in the extended struggle between the superpowers. Given these developments it should come as no surprise that four of the contributors to this volume (Robertson, Eisenstadt, Smelser, and Hondrich) stress the themes of globalism and internationalization.
One way of organizing the discussion of these articles is to note that each involves explicit criticisms of the dominant, if not exclusive, role given to international economic factors by scholars such as Wallerstein. This "economic program in the sociology of world society" has been attacked forcefully by Bendix (1978), who identifies numerous other lines of international influence. Intellectuals, scientists, and journalists, for example, are conduits through which influences of one country are carried to another. The mechanism by which this occurs is that these actors identify institutions in other societies that they regard as superior to their own and become the spearhead of reforms and social change in
their own societies. These institutions, moreover, may be of the most diverse kinds: French parliamentary democracy, the German penal and civil law, the British factory system, and the computer technologies of different countries.
In his contribution Robertson also acknowledges the importance of economic factors, but places a "cultural-sociological explanatory program" alongside the economic program. Much of Robertson's analysis hangs on the notion of "world images," a formulation that clearly owes much to Max Weber (1920). Robertson argues that it is necessary to go beyond societo-centric approaches and consider the world as an entirety. Societies, particularly their elites, shape the world according to their definitions of the world and their images of world order. Memories of world-historical events and processes are especially important, as the post-World War II generation's rejection of the politics of appeasement and the 1960s generations' rejection of some of the more aggressive postures of Cold War politics demonstrate. The notion of world images touches sociology and the other social sciences because they are in the business, as it were, of generating images of the world society. These images come to influence the thinking of bankers, politicians, and others responsible for shaping world events, sometimes through the educational process and sometimes through more direct avenues. Friedrich H. Tenbruck (1984) has assembled evidence on how American and, later, West German sociologists took part in the process of spreading certain world images in the West after 1945.
Eisenstadt's contribution also contains an explicit critique of the economic program in sociology. In addition to relations of domination that follow economic lines, Eisenstadt focuses on independent global and imperial tendencies on the part of the societal elites. As the cultural premises of these elites are "exported" through colonization and other processes, they meet a combination of receptiveness and resistance on the part of "importing" societies and are molded in a series of fusions and compromises. His argument here is not unlike that of Gusfield (1967). One of Eisenstadt's most important observations is that modernity itself (as it crystallized historically in Western Europe and North America) can be regarded as a culture and that this culture has become a world culture in its diffusion in the twentieth century. But again this is not simply a question of domination. Rather it is a matter of domination, diffusion, combination with traditional values, and continuous reshaping. Furthermore, this process of diffusion has been characterized (Tiryakian 1985) by changing centers of modernity: first Western Europe, later the United States, and now a complex mix in which Japan and other Asian societies play a key role, China lurks in the background, and the Soviet Union remains a major question mark.
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Smelser's contribution reminds us that at this time in world history it is necessary "to rethink the fundamental assumption, long established in our disciplines, that the primary unit of analysis in the nation, the society, of the culture." The basis for this recommendation lies in the increasing salience of external factors in the internal dynamics of nations. By systematically examining a number of theories that have appeared during the past century Smelser distills four dimensions of intersocietal influence, dimensions that constitute a program for systematic research: economy, polity, culture, and societal community. The dynamics of international influence differ for each dimensions, but all must be taken into account to gain a comprehensive picture of the international influences on the fate of nations.
4. Notes on Tables
Taken together, the contributions to the theory of social change in this volume are multifaceted, extensive, and complex. As an aid to the systematically minded reader we append a tabular summary of both the introduction and the main points of the contributions themselves. We classify the contributions, with some acknowledged arbitrariness, under the three headings of "Evolutionary Approaches" (Table 2), "Theories of Modern Social Movements" (Table 3), and "Theories of Modernity and Social Inequality" (Table 4). In each case we list on the horizontal axis some general categories that can be identified as elements in theories of social change, and on the vertical axis we list the names of the contributors. The cells of each table contain brief specifications of the formulation that each contributor has made with respect to each element. We hope this presentation is helpful, that it involves little distortion, and that it adds a degree of systematization to the materials presented here.
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