Robert Michels, Political Sociology and the Future of Democracy

Robert Michels, Political Sociology and the Future of Democracy

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These essays by the brilliant historian of political science Juan Linz comprise a remarkable intellectual review of the life and work of Robert Michels, his major book Political Parties, and the dimensions of democracy as a functioning system. Linz elucidates the importance of Michels in a way that offers more than a mechanical view of political parties as some sort of precisely ordered system of authority and influence. Instead, Michels offers a view of politics that is bottom up and untidy, what he calls a "reciprocal deference structure." Michels is not simply the father of the iron law of oligarchy, but the idea of politics as a less than orderly network of responsiveness, responsibility, and accountability. Linz demonstrates, with magisterial power, why Michels must be ranked as a foremost thinker in classical political sociology. The remaining three segments of the volume cover areas with which Linz has also long been identified. Each in its own way illumines aspects of Michels as well. "Time and Regime Change" articulates differences between change within a regime and change of a regime--sometimes hard to identify because of the elongated time frames involved. The next essay explains why Spain is neither a traditional society nor a successful modern nation. The reliance upon central authority displaced the hoped for evolution of a society based on representative democratic institutions. The final section. "Freedom and Autonomy of Intellectuals and Artists" is a topic that gripped Michels and Linz alike. Freedom as a goal of the intelligentsia has been frustrated by those who provide ideological justification for repression of ideas and actions in the name of higher values. This segment provides a bridge between Michels and Weber--not to mention both of these major figures with Linz himself. The role of state power in mediating intellectual freedom is the leitmotif that blankets the twentieth century. The work is graced by a full-length bibliography of the writings of Juan J. Linz, prepared by his student and colleague, H. E. Chehabi.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 238 pages
  • 157.5 x 236.2 x 22.9mm | 498.96g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0765803380
  • 9780765803382

Review quote

"To paraphrase the title of one of the chapters of this excellent book, "It's about time." This volume consists of four extensive and previously unpublished essays by Juan Linz that have been underground classics for decades. Two of these chapters, in particular, have had major impact on scholarship even though they had not been published in English, and were circulated only as photocopied manuscripts. Linz's magnificent piece on "Tradition and Modernity in Spain," for example, has profoundly influence my own work on Spanish politics and culture for over two decades. And his essay on Robert Michels is both a superb intellectual biography and an extraordinarily insightful critique of much of the literature on political parties and democratic accountability. These scholarly gems by the greatest political sociologist of the post-WWII era have finally been made available to a general audience, beyond the network of scholars lucky enough to have received them through hand-to-hand circulation.""--Richard Gunther, Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University" -To paraphrase the title of one of the chapters of this excellent book, -It's about time.- This volume consists of four extensive and previously unpublished essays by Juan Linz that have been underground classics for decades. Two of these chapters, in particular, have had major impact on scholarship even though they had not been published in English, and were circulated only as photocopied manuscripts. Linz's magnificent piece on -Tradition and Modernity in Spain,- for example, has profoundly influence my own work on Spanish politics and culture for over two decades. And his essay on Robert Michels is both a superb intellectual biography and an extraordinarily insightful critique of much of the literature on political parties and democratic accountability. These scholarly gems by the greatest political sociologist of the post-WWII era have finally been made available to a general audience, beyond the network of scholars lucky enough to have received them through hand-to-hand circulation.- --Richard Gunther, Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University -Juan Linz is one of the world's major political sociologists and has been over the past several decades enlightening us by his influential writings on his lifelong preoccupations with democratic systems, regime types (totalitarian, authoritarian and democratic), regime changes, and institutional structures. Few scholars have made such enormous contributions to so many important aspects of the study of politics. The splendid bibliography of Linz's writings included in this volume leaves no doubt of this.- --Ezra Suleiman, IBM professor of International Studies, Princeton University -For half a century Juan Linz has been one of the most brilliant social scientists in the western world, unexcelled as an analyst of comparative politics and of contemporary history from a social science perspective. This new book offers a broad audience of students and scholars direct access to some of his key shorter works, penetratingly original studies on the political sociology of Michels, on tradition and modernization in Spain, on the timing of political change, and on the freedom and responsibility of intellectuals.- --Stanley G. Payne, Hilldale-Jaume Vicens Vives Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison "To paraphrase the title of one of the chapters of this excellent book, "It's about time." This volume consists of four extensive and previously unpublished essays by Juan Linz that have been underground classics for decades. Two of these chapters, in particular, have had major impact on scholarship even though they had not been published in English, and were circulated only as photocopied manuscripts. Linz's magnificent piece on "Tradition and Modernity in Spain," for example, has profoundly influence my own work on Spanish politics and culture for over two decades. And his essay on Robert Michels is both a superb intellectual biography and an extraordinarily insightful critique of much of the literature on political parties and democratic accountability. These scholarly gems by the greatest political sociologist of the post-WWII era have finally been made available to a general audience, beyond the network of scholars lucky enough to have received them through hand-to-hand circulation." --Richard Gunther, Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University "Juan Linz is one of the world's major political sociologists and has been over the past several decades enlightening us by his influential writings on his lifelong preoccupations with democratic systems, regime types (totalitarian, authoritarian and democratic), regime changes, and institutional structures. Few scholars have made such enormous contributions to so many important aspects of the study of politics. The splendid bibliography of Linz's writings included in this volume leaves no doubt of this." --Ezra Suleiman, IBM professor of International Studies, Princeton University "For half a century Juan Linz has been one of the most brilliant social scientists in the western world, unexcelled as an analyst of comparative politics and of contemporary history from a social science perspective. This new book offers a broad audience of students and scholars direct access to some of his key shorter works, penetratingly original studies on the political sociology of Michels, on tradition and modernization in Spain, on the timing of political change, and on the freedom and responsibility of intellectuals." --Stanley G. Payne, Hilldale-Jaume Vicens Vives Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison "To paraphrase the title of one of the chapters of this excellent book, "It's about time." This volume consists of four extensive and previously unpublished essays by Juan Linz that have been underground classics for decades. Two of these chapters, in particular, have had major impact on scholarship even though they had not been published in English, and were circulated only as photocopied manuscripts. Linz's magnificent piece on "Tradition and Modernity in Spain," for example, has profoundly influence my own work on Spanish politics and culture for over two decades. And his essay on Robert Michels is both a superb intellectual biography and an extraordinarily insightful critique of much of the literature on political parties and democratic accountability. These scholarly gems by the greatest political sociologist of the post-WWII era have finally been made available to a general audience, beyond the network of scholars lucky enough to have received them through hand-to-hand circulation." --Richard Gunther, Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University "Juan Linz is one of the world's major political sociologists and has been over the past several decades enlightening us by his influential writings on his lifelong preoccupations with democratic systems, regime types (totalitarian, authoritarian and democratic), regime changes, and institutional structures. Few scholars have made such enormous contributions to so many important aspects of the study of politics. The splendid bibliography of Linz's writings included in this volume leaves no doubt of this." --Ezra Suleiman, IBM professor of International Studies, Princeton University "For half a century Juan Linz has been one of the most brilliant social scientists in the western world, unexcelled as an analyst of comparative politics and of contemporary history from a social science perspective. This new book offers a broad audience of students and scholars direct access to some of his key shorter works, penetratingly original studies on the political sociology of Michels, on tradition and modernization in Spain, on the timing of political change, and on the freedom and responsibility of intellectuals." --Stanley G. Payne, Hilldale-Jaume Vicens Vives Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madisonshow more

About Juan J. Linz

Juan Linz is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political and Social Science at Yale University. He is former Chairman of the Committee on Political Sociology of the International Sociological Association and the International Political Science Association. H. E. Chehabi is professor of international relations and history at Boston University.show more