More Organization with Fewer People

  • Apostolis Papakostas
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


In Chapter 3, we saw that the public’s very witnessing of the decision-making process in modern democracies played an important role in the establishment of trust. We also saw how social and organizational boundaries simultaneously solve trust problems within a delimited boundary and create a transparency problem for those outside. The mechanisms that elucidate the course of events within a delimited area also constituted a theme in Chapter 3. For example, the fact that the estates were forced to keep minutes that became public represents one such mechanism. The mechanisms work to shed light on the decision-making processes of a fairly shielded elite group while maintaining a line of demarcation between the group and that part of society the group believes it represents. Mass participation through formal membership is the functional equivalent of this. Despite the oligarchic tendencies so inherent to it, mass participation based on membership abolishes the boundary between elite groups and the social base. It thus transforms the question of transparency into one of internal organizational processes and controls written in rules that often stipulate routines, role differentiations, the control of power, and power abuses, similar to those prescribed in constitutions.


Civil Society Collective Action Social Life Political Party Social Movement 
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Copyright information

© Apostolis Papakostas 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Apostolis Papakostas
    • 1
  1. 1.Södertörn UniversitySweden

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