Social Structures



In our definition, the social structures of politics—as opposed to the physical structures (geographic and demographic)—are those that derive from human creation rather than nature. This would include material inventions (a tool, a machine), systems of collective relationships (a business corporation, a matrimonial system), and even doctrines and cultures (Marxism, Western humanism). Bear in mind that the distinction between “physical” and “social” structures is not clear-cut. Physical structures today are intermixed with many social factors, as we have already indicated, and the collective beliefs that have grown up about them are often as important as their material reality. Inversely, physical factors are involved in the structures we call social: the natural needs of mankind form the basis for economic institutions; the physical conditions of a child’s development play a major role in social relationships and even in the formation of ideologies, myths, and civilizations (if we are to believe the psychoanalysts, who perhaps exaggerate but are surely partially right).


Technological Progress Political Life Political Structure Political Regime Party System 
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© Thomas Y. Crowell Company, Inc. 1972

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