The Unit of Political Analysis: Our Aristotelian Hangover

  • Judith Hicks Stiehm
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 161)


Every scholar knows that assumptions shape conclusions. In particular, students of politics know that the unit chosen for analysis has a crucial effect on what is seen and recommended. At different times and places the analytical unit has been the family, the tribe, the corporation, the individual, the group, social class, the mass (and or the elite), the nation, and even “the globe.”


Family Income Political Participation Occupational Prestige House Occupation American Political Science Association 
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    Efforts have been made in Jane Jaquette (ed.), Women in Politics (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1974); Marianne Githens and Jewel L. Prestage (eds.), A Portrait of Marginality (New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1977) Jeanne Kirkpatrick, The New Presidential Elite (New York: Russell Sage Foundation and the Twentieth Century Fund, 1976); Marjorie Lansing and Sandra Baxter, Women and Politics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1980).Google Scholar
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    The Politics of Aristotle, ed. by Ernest Barker (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 1–8 and 32-38.Google Scholar
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    Family power studies have been reviewed by Constantina Safilios Rothschild, ‘The Study of Family Power Structure: A Review 1960-69,’ Journal of Marriage and the Family 32 (1970), 539–52. In general women seem to have more power when they are income producers and when their income is a substantial portion of the family’s total income. Both circumstances decrease as family income rises. See other issues of the the same journal for further discussion.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1977, 98th ed. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977), p. 391; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series p-60, no. 105, ‘Money Income in 1975 of Families and Persons in the United States’ (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977), p. 36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Hicks Stiehm
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaUSA

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