Mass, Mobilization, and the State

Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


While new social categories were disrupting social systems at the end of the 19th century, the first sociologists were already busy stressing the need for permanent, quasi-organic social organizations so as to restrict mobilization and its destructive consequences. For them, society, such as it was, had nothing in common with the abstractions on which the revolutionaries based their theoretical reconstructions of a new world. Comte and Saint-Simon, after Bonad and Maistre, tried to oppose in their way the upsurge of both social confrontation and theoretical individualism which threatened the collective and organic nature of society. According to these theorists the whole-or society-must necessarily prevail over its parts or individuals. Thus society was for them a complex mechanism where each element depended on all the others. Like Burke, they believed that the abolition of social tructures, of the state or of its auxiliaries, would most likely lead in the end to the disintegration of the whole and to the reign of an uncontrollable individualism. Likewise they foresaw the day when thousands of socially disconnected individuals would be, as it were, atomized under the patronage of an all-powerful state. For them, mass society was none other than that agglomerate of separate beings, incapable of self-government and ready to adopt the most dangerous ideologies. Such a society would thus lack all the principles and traditions that are to be found in a stable, collective, and “organic” society. Tocqueville helped to create this image of a mass society.


Collective Action Social Movement Collective Movement Private Interest Private Benefit 
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.


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