• Geoffrey K. Ingham
Part of the Studies in Sociology book series (SS)


THROUGHOUT the 1950s and 1960s it was fashionable for sociologists to conceptualise the changes in the structure of western industrial societies since the nineteenth century as a process of institutionalisation. It had been argued in the nineteenth century that capitalist industrialisation had transformed these societies in such a way that new classes and strata had emerged which rendered the traditional institutions obsolete and consequently inadequate for their task of regulating social divisions and conflicts. The analytical presentation of this observation was, in essence, common to many writers including, for example, Marx and de Tocqueville — despite their rather different evaluations of the process. For Marx, capitalist development had eroded the morally sanctioned bonds of feudal society and linked the new classes of bourgeoisie and proletariat by the stark cash nexus. Similarly, de Tocqueville pointed out the harshness of authority relations in a situation in which the masters had abrogated the responsibilities of paternalism while retaining its material privileges and the servants no longer saw obedience as a divine obligation. In other words, observers noted that the major economic and political conflicts were characterised by the absence of appropriate institutionalised normative regulation.


Collective Bargaining Capitalist Development Social Division Authority Relation Traditional Institution 
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  1. 1.
    S. M. Lipset, Political Man(London, 1960) p. 406.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Talcott Parsons, ‘Communism and the West’, in Social Change, ed. A. and E. Etzioni (Glencoe, Ill., 1964).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S. M. Upset, ‘The Changing Class Structure and Contemporary European Politics’, Daedalus (Winter 1964) p. 272.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© British Sociological Association 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey K. Ingham
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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