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Modernization and Its Political Consequences

Modernization and Its Political Consequences: Weber, Mannheim, and Schumpeter

Hans Blokland
Translated by Nancy Smyth Van Weesep
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 278
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nq1jb
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  • Book Info
    Modernization and Its Political Consequences
    Book Description:

    People's capacity to give meaning and direction to social life is an essential dimension of political freedom. Yet many citizens of Western democracies believe that this freedom has become quite restricted. They feel they are at the mercy of anonymous structures and processes over which they have little control, structures and processes that present them with options and realities they might not have chosen if they had any real choice. As a result, political interest declines and political cynicism flourishes.The underlying cause of the powerlessness pervading the current political system could be modernization. Taking the work of Max Weber, Karl Mannheim, and Joseph Schumpeter as a point of departure, Hans Blokland here examines this process. The topics covered are, among others, the meaning of modernization, the forces that drive it, and, especially, the consequences of modernization for the political freedom of citizens to influence the course of their society via democratic politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13482-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Chapter 1 General Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    People’s capacity jointly to give meaning and direction to social life is an essential dimension of political freedom. Yet many citizens of Western democracies believe that this freedom has become quite restricted. They feel they are at the mercy of anonymous structures and processes over which they have hardly any control, structures and processes that present them with options and realities they might not have chosen if they had had any real choice. In this regard, the present political system seems incapable of resolving any number of today’s critical problems: environmental degradation; urban sprawl and the concomitant demise of the...

  5. Chapter 2 Max Weber
    (pp. 17-60)

    Nineteenth-century liberal and radical thinkers like John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx had a rather optimistic vision of “progress” in history and of the possibilities that a democratic society offered for citizens to develop their talents to the full. In the twentieth century, however, this optimism about the Enlightenment project turned into pessimism in certain intellectual circles. This happened not in the “postmodernist” 1980s but at the beginning of the century. One of the main exponents of this shift is Max Weber (cf. Held 1987: 143ff.). Although Weber was a firm believer in such modern values as individualism and pluriformity,...

  6. Chapter 3 Karl Mannheim
    (pp. 61-113)

    After more than half a century, Mannheim’s diagnosis of the social problems of his time is still, as we shall see, surprisingly up to date. Many have been inspired by his analysis of modernization and its consequences, and especially of the possibilities for citizens still to exert influence on the development of their society. His work had this effect not only in the years right after the Second World War but also during other periods when many people apparently had the feeling that the foundations of society had to be thought out anew. This applies to the 1960s but has...

  7. Chapter 4 Joseph Schumpeter
    (pp. 114-182)

    Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883–1950) is one of the greatest social scientists of the twentieth century. Only Max Weber and his renowned rival John Maynard Keynes might compete with him. At least, this is opinion of the Harvard economist Gottfried Haberler (1994: xiv). Many others are no less enthusiastic in their praise. According to Robert Heilbroner, Schumpeter’sCapitalism, Socialism and Democracy(1942), the book around which the following discussion revolves, is one of the most provocative books ever written on the future of capitalism (1980: 312), and Richard Swedberg considers it to be one of the greatest classics in the literature...

  8. Chapter Five Synthesis: The Modernization of Politics and Society
    (pp. 183-210)

    Our main reason for delving into the work of Weber, Mannheim, and Schumpeter is to get a clearer picture of the modernization process in Western society and politics. This process is the overarching framework in which the argument of this book is couched. In this framework, we have posed various questions throughout the preceding chapters. Of what does modernization consist according to these three authors? Which motivations set this process in motion and keep it going? To what extent can we influence this process? How does modernization affect the individual and society? How does it affect the ways we can...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 211-240)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-250)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 251-261)