Tocqueville and Weber on the Sociological Origins of Citizenship: The Political Culture of American Democracy

  • Stephen Kalberg


Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is considered today to be perhaps the most profound analysis of American society ever written. Far more than a ‘political commentary’, this classic focuses upon the ‘manners and mores’ — the customs — at the very foundation of the political culture of the United States. Two major themes, both of which originate from Tocqueville’s focus upon the far-ranging differences between ‘aristocratic and democratic nations’ and the ways in which the ‘equality of conditions’ widely influences American society, stand at the centre of his analysis: a concern regarding a potential danger of a ‘tyranny of the majority’ and an emphasis upon the necessity of widespread civil associations if democracy is to remain stable.


Political Culture Political Association Ethical Community Democratic Nation Feudal Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Eschenburg, Theodor. 1976. Tocquevilles Wirkung in Deutschland’ in Jacob P. Mayer, ed., Über die Demokratie in Amerika. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, pp. 879–930.Google Scholar
  2. Kalberg, Stephen. 1991. ‘The Hidden Link Between Internal Political Culture and Cross-National Perceptions: Divergent Images of the Soviet Union in the United States and the FR of Germany’. Theory, Culture and Society 8, pp. 31–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kalberg, Stephen. 1993. ‘Cultural Foundations of Modern Citizenship’ in Bryan S. Turner, ed., Citizenship and Social Theory. London: Sage Publications, pp. 91–114.Google Scholar
  4. Kalberg, Stephen. 1996. ‘On the Neglect of Weber’s Protestant Ethic as a Theoretical Treatise: Demarcating the Parameters of Post-War American Sociological Theory’. Sociological Theory 14, pp. 49–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kalberg, Stephen. 1997. ‘The Modern World ass an Iron Cage? Max Weber’s Reflections on the American Political Culture’. Partisan Review Lxiv, pp. 196–205.Google Scholar
  6. Mayer, J. P. 1972. Alexis de Tocqueville: Analytiker des Massenzeitalters. Munich: C. H. Beck.Google Scholar
  7. Schlesinger, Arthur M. 1986. The Cycles of American History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  8. Tocqueville, Alexis de. 1945. Democracy in America, vols. 1 and 2. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  9. Tocqueville, Alexis de. 1955. The Old Regime and the French Revolution. New York: Doubleday Anchor.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Kalberg

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations