On National Socialism

Author: Talcott Parsons

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1351501992

Category: Political Science

Page: 366

View: 7332


During the years between the publication of the first of his two major works, The Structure of Social Action (1937), and the writing of his second, The Social System (1951), Talcott Parsons was primarily engaged in political activity through the Office of Strategic Services in its efforts to bring about the defeat of the Third Reich and to set the stage for a democratic reconstruction of postwar Germany. Beyond Parsons' analytic skills the essays reveal a dedicated liberal scholar, far removed from the stereotypes with which he came to be pilloried by later critics. The essays in this collection are the by-products of that special period of intense commitment. They reflect a single dominant theme: National Socialist Germany is seen as a tragically flawed social system but one requiring the same rigorous analysis Parsons brought to more normal and normative systems. Since virulent authoritarianism and even more virulent anti-Semitism were the dominant traits of that system as he saw it, Parsons dedicated many pages to each aspect. While he did not know the full horror of the Nazi ""war against the Jews"" he was able to develop a theoretical framework that continues to be a foundation stone for the analysis of national socialism. Gerhardt's editorial labors in the Parsons archive at Harvard have yielded nothing less than a ""new book"" by the foremost American sociological theorist of his time. This collection of both published and unpublished writings conveys Parsons' cohesive intent. To these otherwise fugitive and neglected essays Gerhardt contributes an introductory essay of her own: in part biography, in part intellectual and social history. She discovered Parsons work on National Socialism while studying his sociology of the professions and his use of medical practice to demonstrate how social science could become an antidote for fascism and authoritarianism. Uta Gerhardt is director of the Medical Sociology Unit at Justu

Sociological Constitutionalism

Author: Paul Blokker,Chris Thornhill

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 110850924X

Category: Law

Page: N.A

View: 9314


This landmark book provides the first systematic overview of the key scholarly contributions in an emerging field of research on constitutionalism: the sociology of constitutions. It presents chapters offering very different normative and methodological approaches to constitutions, ranging from analysis of national constitutional law, to research on transnational legal forms, to discussions of the constitutional impact of international human rights law. The book makes an important contribution to a series of wider debates - spanning constitutional law, legal theory, comparative constitutionalism, sociology, and political science - about the changing nature of constitutionalism. Researchers and students in constitutional law will gain a comprehensive appreciation of a diverse range of distinctively sociological approaches to constitutional law and an in-depth understanding of distinctive sociological dimensions of constitutions. The book offers new insights into the sources of constitutional normativity in society and it proposes different sociological methods for addressing them.

Human Nature vs. Democracy

A case for ethics and evidence in politics

Author: L. M. Auer

Publisher: BoD – Books on Demand

ISBN: 3752827998

Category: Political Science

Page: 500

View: 4930


Modern liberal democracy is praised in a universalistic Western view as the best political system and a quasi-prerequisite for full acceptance by the community of traditional hegemonial States. However, democracy is fully developed in only less than five percent of States globally, and in decline in most Western countries. In this book, democracy is presented as a political system in danger due to its intrinsic flaws and tendency to self-destruction. The major flaw is that “human nature” is not adequately considered in democracy’s conception: its citizens, “We, the people”, as individuals and as crowds, are liberated into a dangerous ideology prioritizing “freedom from society” over “membership in society” and thereby causing decline in libertinism, hedonism and polarization in divided and finally broken societies. Proposals to resolve the rapidly growing crisis include education of citizens into the ethics of reciprocal altruism, grounded in evidence from biological sciences and humanities, professionalization of politics, and a fundamental change of politics towards evidence-based decision-making, thus ending politicking, politicians' personality affairs, and the cold war of political parties, the representative of class warfare in the sheep-skin of “interest-group pluralism”. The author uses his background in human biology and psychology to discuss the relevance of philosophical and politological issues around democracy raised in past and recent literature, and to highlight the prospects of using scientific knowledge for evidence-based socialization of the "human factor".