Division and Cohesion in Democracy: A Study of Norway

Division and Cohesion in Democracy: A Study of Norway

HARRY ECKSTEIN
Copyright Date: 1966
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x12vx
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    Division and Cohesion in Democracy: A Study of Norway
    Book Description:

    To understand what conditions make democracies stable or unstable, effective or ineffective, Professor Eckstein examines the stability and effectiveness of Norwegian democracy. He finds them both to be high. He then examines several theories derived from the study of other democracies or from comparative studies of other democratic and nondemocratic societies. Virtually all present an inadequate explanation of the Norwegian case, because the political divisions in Norway are the kind usually associated with instability and ineffectiveness of democratic rule. The author explains, however, that a profound sense of community exists despite the political cleavages.

    Originally published in 1975.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6816-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-xiv)
    Harry Eckstein
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-2)
  4. I Introduction: The Relevance of Norway
    (pp. 3-10)

    Why should anyone want to study Norwegian politics? Among the questions I was asked after a research trip to Norway, that was much the most frequent. Usually it was not asked to elicit information about the pertinence of Norwegian data to general problems in political study, but, unmistakably, to question the relevance of such a small country to any large academic concern.

    Indeed the smaller European countries are strangely over looked by American political scientists, who seem to know more about Uganda or the Ivory Coast than about Denmark or Holland. Comparative politics has, after all, always had something of...

  5. II Norway as a Stable Democracy
    (pp. 11-32)

    Norway, together with some other “small” states, is a country particularly crucial for studies of the conditions of stable or unstable democracy. The reason is that its democratic system has been, by any standards, remarkably stable and effective. This is important because there are so few unmistakable cases of stable democracy with which the more abundant unsuccessful and ambiguous cases can be contrasted and that can serve as “controls” for statements about the latter. In what senses, then, has Norway been a “stable” democracy?¹

    1. First, Norwegian democracy has been remarkably durable. Factors selected to account for its stability must...

  6. III Political Divisions in Norway
    (pp. 33-67)

    1. To describe Norway’s political divisions we need appropriate concepts; to make these divisions relevant to theory we need hypotheses that use the concepts. Since writings on division and cohesion in democracies rarely go explicitly beyond broad statements about consensus or balances of division and cohesion, we must provide both largely for ourselves.

    As for concepts, political divisions are usually treated as if all were of a kind, or on the basis of simple dichotomies, such as those between conflicts over “fundamentals” and “circumstantials” (that is, constitutional and ordinary law) and between divisions that involve general norms or only particular...

  7. IV The Problem of Norwegian Political Cohesion
    (pp. 68-77)

    1. If a political system survives for a century and a half with out serious challenge to its legitimacy and only one noteworthy modification of form, we may be sure that some powerful cement makes the system cohesive. We may be still more certain if the political divisions of the system have never even long disrupted the day-to-day working of government, particularly if the government is a parliamentary democracy which, like the immobilistic democracies of the continent, lacks a highly aggregative party system. From these standpoints, Norway’s political divisions, however great and potentially destructive they may seem when considered in...

  8. V Norway as a “Community”
    (pp. 78-110)

    Norwegians have a “higher, overarching attitude of solidarity” in that they in fact display in many aspects of their behavior a profound sense of community—a considerableWirbewusstsein,a sense of “we-ness,” as the Germans would say. Norway thus fits, even if it does not conclusively confirm, Pye’s large generalization (derived from Stouffer’s study of the American soldier) that “the modern formal superstructure of relationships can give an organization strength only if supported by the powerful emotional forces arising from particularistic loyalties and by the cohesive powers of the . . . diffuse sentiments that human beings can provoke in...

  9. VI The Origins of Community: A Speculation
    (pp. 111-120)

    Having established, admittedly in a manner compelled by the lack of “hard” data, that there exists in Norway a profound sentiment of community despite the country’s considerable political divisions, we need to ask some questions about that sentiment. What are its sources—that is, how did the Norwegians’ communal attitudes originate and what has maintained them in the face of the society’s political divisions? Precisely how do these attitudes account for the performance characteristics of the Norwegian political system? Not least, how can one explain the existence of the Norwegian pattern of political division, long maintained in its essential outlines,...

  10. VII The Maintenance of Community: Social Interconnections
    (pp. 121-131)

    The patterns of conduct that display the Norwegians’ sense of community are, of course, instilled through all the usual “socialization” processes—in the home, in schools, and in other contexts that shape the attitudes of the young. But to say this is, once again, to raise questions rather than to answer them. We want to know, above all, what there is, in the politically divided and socially very differentiated world of modern Norway, that sustains the Norwegians’ emphasis on communal norms in the shaping of attitudes and conduct, and how these norms survive the Norwegians’ encounter as adults with their...

  11. VIII The Maintenance of Community: Social Authority Patterns—Forms
    (pp. 132-154)

    1. The interlinking of divided men through their values, through affinities in their modes of life, through diffuse personal bonds and organizations deliberately designed to associate them, explains social cohesion less mechanically and less dubiously than their mere intersection at certain points of the differentiation of society. One has a still more powerful basis for cohesion where considerable interconnections and intersections both exist. But of all explanations of social and political cohesion, the most obvious and direct lies in the notion of social homogeneity: in the demonstration that the members of a society are, in ways especially relevant to one...

  12. IX Social Authority Patterns: Norms
    (pp. 155-176)

    Rule by thedemos,literally speaking, is an illusion, even if a grand and useful one. Because of that, effective democracy requires, in addition to a working balance of division and cohesion in its popular and representative aspects, a certain balance of disparate norms of authority: norms of authority that facilitate rule as well as norms of democracy that make for constraints upon and extensive participation in the activities of rule.¹ Both exist in Norway, and both are reflected largely in Norwegian organizational forms, however much more noticeable and self-consciously acted out the democratic norms may be.

    1. Among the...

  13. X Summary and Implications
    (pp. 177-202)

    Theories are generalizations pertaining to a “universe” of cases, case studies interpretations of one unit in such a universe, and theoretical case studies a kind of synthesis of the two. Their object is to interpret specific cases through established generalizations and, by so doing, to cast a sharper light on the cases and to confirm or modify the theories or, if necessary, to generate new ones. Since this essay has presented a theoretical case study of Norwegian democracy, we need, in this last chapter, to look beyond Norway to the larger universe of democratic polities of which it is a...

  14. APPENDIX A: Tables
    (pp. 203-224)
  15. APPENDIX B: A Theory of Stable Democracy
    (pp. 225-288)
  16. Index
    (pp. 289-294)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 295-298)