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Critique of the concept of mass society Schofield, Josephine Muriel 1971

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A" CRITIQUE OP THE CONCEPT OF MASS SOCIETY by JOSEPHINE MURIEL SCHOFIELD B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f Ne w c a s t l e - o n - T y n e , 1967 A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department o f P o l i t i c a l S c i e n c e We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o the r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1971 In presenting th i s thesis in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree l y ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th i s thes i s for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th i s thes i s fo r f i nanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permission. Department of The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Dept. of Political Science The University of British Columbia Kancouver4 B, C_. / ABSTRACT I I D e s p i t e i t s wide currency,, t h e term "mass s o c i e t y " i s d i s t i n c t l y ambiguous. T h i s a m b i g u i t y r a i s e s t h e q u e s t i o n o f th e u t i l i t y o f t h e s o c i o l o g i c a l c o n c e p t o f mass s o c i e t y f o r e x p l a i n i n g p o l i t i c a l phenomena, s p e c i f i c a l l y , t h e s u s c e p t i b i l i t y o f d e m o c r a t i c systems t o mass p o l i t i c s . P a r t 1 o f t h e t h e s i s a t t e m p t s a p r e c i s e d e f i n i t i o n o f mass s o c i e t y u s i n g as a b a s i s the v a r i o u s v i e w s o f t h e t h e o r i s t s . A c r i t i c a l a n a l y s i s o f the c o n c e p t i s t h e n t m d e r t a k e n i n P a r t 2. B e f o r e t h e model i s d e f i n e d , however, t h e h i s t o r i c a l o r i g i n s o f t h e c o n c e p t a r e examined b r i e f l y . I t s r o o t s c a n be t r a c e d back t o t h e f o u n d e r s o f Wes t e r n c u l t u r e . The c o n c e p t o f mass r u n s l i k e a t h r e a d t h r o u g h t h e h i s t o r y o f p o l i t i c a l t h o u g h t r e a c h i n g i t s z e n i t h i n the 1930's and t h e p o s t - w a r p e r i o d . Then, i t was e l a b o r a t e d upon by s u c h t h e o r i s t s as A r e n d t , Fromm, K o r n h a u s e r and S e l z n i c k . S i n c e t h a t t i m e i t has v i e d w i t h c l a s s a n a l y s i s as t h e main e x p l a n a t i o n o f t h e r i s e o f t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m i n t h e West. As t h e c o n c e p t o f t h e mass(es) was t h e a n t e c e d e n t o f the t h e o r y o f mass s o c i e t y , i t i s e s s e n t i a l t o d e f i n e t h e f o r m e r c l e a r l y . The masses a r e t h e a t o m i z e d n o n - e l i t e s i n s o c i e t y whose members a r e u n a t t a c h e d , s o c i a l l y u n s t r u c t u r e d and u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , and d i s t i n g u i s h e d by a l i e n a t i o n and m e d i o c r i t y . Complementing t h i s n o t i o n o f t h e ma s s ( e s ) i s the concept of the e l i t e ( s ) . They are mi n o r i t i e s who hold positions of authority i n the ce n t r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and co n t r o l the c e n t r a l value systems which guide and legitimate these i n s t i t u t i o n s . A model of mass society i s next outlined and i s contrasted with the following s o c i e t a l types: feudal and p l u r a l i s t i c . A mass society i s characterized "by accessible e l i t e s and a v a i l a b l e non-elites (or masses) with no group structure mediating between the two. I t i s t h i s paucity of vi a b l e primary and secondarj^ groups i n mass society that d i s t i n g u i s h e s i t from e i t h e r a feudal or p l u r a l i s t i c s o c i e t y . The main fact o r s contributing to the "decline of community" i n mass society are rapid i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n , rapid urbanization, bureaucratization and the development of mass c u l t u r e . In Part 2, three main c r i t i c i s m s are l e v e l l e d at the democratic (not the a r i s t o c r a t i c ) t h e o r i s t s of mass society. F i r s t , t h e i r analyses are a blend of empirical and normative ingredients and not, as they claim, d e s c r i p t i v e only. Second, the concept i s too imprecise and t h i r d , i t i s too s e l e c t i v e to q u a l i f y f o r the l a b e l " s c i e n t i f i c . " More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the c r i t i q u e takes the following form. The e l i t i s t bias of the t h e o r i s t s i s exposed i n t h e i r discussion of the elite-mass r e l a t i o n s h i p . A c r i t i c a l examination of the notion of atomization so c r u c i a l to the theory of mass i i i s o c i e t y i s n e x t u n d e r t a k e n . The p l u r a l i s t "bias o f t h e t h e o r i s t s i s , t h e n , b r o u g h t t o l i g h t . I t i s a r g u e d t h a t i n t h e i r d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e " d e c l i n e o f community" i n a mass s o c i e t y , an i d e a l i z e d model o f • p l u r a l i s t i c s o c i e t y i s i m p l i c i t l y p o s t u l a t e d as t h e norm. T h e i r model i s i d e a l i z e d because o n l y p o s i t i v e f e a t u r e s of s u c h a s o c i e t y a r e i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o i t and because i t m i n i m i z e s ( o r even i g n o r e s ) s u c h f a c t o r s as the r o l e o f power, the n a t u r e o f c o n f l i c t , the u n o r g a n i z e d , economic i n t e r e s t s , the e f f e c t s o f s t r a i n s and t h e consequences of c u l t u r a l d i v e r s i t y . What emerges most c l e a r l y f r om t h i s c r i t i q u e o f t h e c o n c e p t o f mass s o c i e t y a r e t h e s c i e n t i f i c p r e t e n s i o n s o f t h e d e m o c r a t i c t h e o r i s t s . I n o t h e r words, f a r f r o m b e i n g an a c c u r a t e , o b j e c t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n o f s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t y , as t h e y c l a i m , t h e c o n c e p t r e s e m b l e s more o f an i d e o l o g y r i d d l e d w i t h t h e i r v a l u e judgments. ' The t h e o r y o f mass s o c i e t y , t h e n , i s an i d e o l o g i c a l p o s i t i o n and n o t a s c i e n t i f i c c o n c e p t . i v TABLE OP CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i TABLE OP CONTENTS v LIST OP TABLES v i INTRODUCTION 1 PART 1: THE CONCEPT OP MASS SOCIETY 1. THE INTELLECTUAL ORIGINS OP THE CONCEPT 6 2. THE CONCEPT OP MASS(ES) 11 3. THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OP A MASS SOCIETY 17 PART 2: A CRITIQUE OP THE CONCEPT 4. THE FRAMEWORK OP THE CRITIQUE 42 5. THE ELITIST BIAS 51 6. THE RISE OR PALL OP COMMUNITY? 68 7. THE PLURALIST BIAS 90 CONCLUSION 115 BIBLIOGRAPHY 119 v LIST OF TABLES Table I: The Constituent Elements of a Mass Society 40 v i 1 INTRODUCTION Two c o n f l i c t i n g images of modern Western society constantly recur i n contemporary w r i t i n g - be i t l i t e r a t u r e , the s o c i a l sciences or the humanities. The v a r i a t i o n i n the images presented i s explicable i n terms of a diff e r e n c e i n i d e o l o g i c a l perspective. Both viewpoints agree on the s t r u c t u r a l features of modern society and the f a c t o r s that produced i t but they see r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t consequences f o r i n d i v i d u a l s ensuing from such a phenomenon. On the one hand, modern society i s viewed as the most progressive to date i n terms of i t s e g a l i t a r i a n , consensual and humanitarian tendencies. The mass of the population i s f o r the f i r s t time enjoying c u l t u r a l , economic, p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l p r i v i l e g e s previously reserved f o r the few. Freed from the tyrannies of want and t r a d i t i o n a l authority structures, opportunities f o r c r e a t i v e , independent l i v i n g are supposed to have never been greater. In t h i s society of "emerging freedoms" twentieth-century man i s seen as enjoying a sense of se c u r i t y , i n d i v i d u a l d i g n i t y and i d e n t i t y h i t h e r t o regarded as Utopian. On the other hand, modern society i s considered to bear a s t r i k i n g resemblance to Kierkegaard's "broken world of hollow men." The c u l t u r a l , s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of twentieth-century society has l e f t i n i t s wake masses of normless, unattached and insecure i n d i v i d u a l s . Overwhelmed by 2 the forces of technology, oppressed by an overcentralized and bureaucratic state, dominated by vast, impersonal corporations, contemporary man, f a r from being happier, f r e e r , and more integrated than ever before, i s seen as powerless, i s o l a t e d , f e a r f u l and anomic. No wonder, then, that, everywhere alienated, mass man sublimates h i s f r u s t r a t e d desires f o r roots and h i s search f o r community i n p o l i t i c a l aberrations - be they of L e f t or Right persuasion. Now, a concept that i s so f l e x i b l e as to be able to embrace two such widely divergent i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of modem society can hardly be described as precise. The use of t h i s concept of mass society by s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s i s , by any standard, i n d i s c r i m i n a t e . As Bramson i n d i c a t e s , «[s| imply because people use the same word f o r something i s no i n d i c a t i o n that they mean the same t h i n g . T h e ambiguity of the term r a i s e s the question: "What exactly i s a mass society?" In Part 1, t h i s thesis attempts a d e f i n i t i o n by molding together the views of d i s p a r i t e t h e o r i s t s into some kind of coherence. E s s e n t i a l l y , what i s presented i s a model of mass society, the sources of which are many and v a r i e d . The imprecision of the concept also suggests that i t i s le s s " s c i e n t i f i c " than some of the patrons of the term would have us b e l i e v e . Thus, i n Part 2, L. Bramson, The P o l i t i c a l Context of Sociology (Princeton, N.J., Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1961), p. 4. 3 the paper w i l l examine whether the concept i s an accurate d e s c r i p t i o n of r e a l i t y or merely an ideology. B a s i c a l l y , Part 2 i s a c r i t i q u e of the t h e o r i s t s 1 views. Despite i t s manifest ambiguity, the concept of mass soeiety occupies a c e n t r a l place i n contemporary s o c i a l theory. I t s s i g n i f i c a n c e i s revealed i n the following comments. I t has been v a r i o u s l y described as "Marxism apart, the most i n f l u e n t i a l s o c i a l theory i n the Western world today" ( B e l l ) ; "the dominant myth of the post-modern age" (Walter); and "a specter ... haunting s o c i o l o g i s t s " ( S h i l s ) . In view of i t s importance, why has the "specter" of mass society f a i l e d to disturb the slumbers of p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t s during the post-war period? For, although the concept i s securely lodged i n the s o c i o l o g i c a l imagination, i t i s conspicuous by i t s absence i n the contemporary p o l i t i c a l imagination."^ The pre-emption of the concept by s o c i o l o g i s t s need hardly concern us i f i t s subject-matter i s only p e r i p h e r a l l y p o l i t i c a l . However, the concept of mass society has an e x p l i c i t p o l i t i c a l dimension that has been generally l e f t unappraised by p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t s . I t seeks to explain the sources and genesis of p o l i t i c a l extremism i n Western Support f o r t h i s statement i s provided by Tinder who laments the "blindness of both p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t s and p o l i t i c i a n s to "the menace of mass d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . " See G. Tinder, "Human Estrangement and the F a i l u r e of P o l i t i c a l Imagination," The Review of P o l i t i c s , Y o l . 21, No. 4 (October 1959), p. 6 2 0 . 4 democratic systems. A thorough evaluation of the adequacy of t h i s explanation i s outside the scope of t h i s t h e s i s . A sketchy a p p r a i s a l only i s made during the c r i t i q u e . I t i s hoped that the s t a r t begun here might awaken the Rip Van Winkles of the profession to f u r t h e r a n a l y s i s of t h i s e s s e n t i a l l y p o l i t i c a l concept. PART 1 THE CONCEPT OF MASS SOCIETY 6 CHAPTER 1 THE INTELLECTUAL ORIGINS OP THE CONCEPT The i n t e l l e c t u a l h i s t o r y of the concept has been neglected by s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s but such an enterprise i s outside the scope of t h i s t h e s i s . The o r i g i n s of the concept are here examined only b r i e f l y as our main concern l i e s with the l a t e stages of i t s development. The roots of the idea of mass society date from the very beginning of Western philosophy. Its source i s found i n the writings of A r i s t o t l e and Plato and t h e i r Roman successors: Livy, Plutarch and V i r g i l . The Greek concept of hoi p o l l o i i s c l o s e l y a l l i e d with the Roman h i s t o r i a n s ' idea of the " tumultuous populac e':" The picture of the mass as capable only of violence and excess originates with A r i s t o t l e ' s P o l i t i c s . In h i s threefold typology, democracy i s equated with the r u l e of hoi p o l l o i - who are e a s i l y swayed by demagogues - and must degenerate i n t o tyranny. The notion of the masses as developed i n H e l l e n i s t i c times was deepened by the struggles between plebs and a r i s t o c r a c y i n the Roman Republic and by the e f f o r t s of the Caesars to e x p l o i t mob support; the image of the insensate mob fed by •bread and c i r c u s e s ' became deeply imprinted i n h i s t o r y . 1 Most t h e o r i s t s ( f o r example, Bramson and Kornhauser), however, locate the o r i g i n s of the concept i n the nineteenth-D. B e l l , "The Theory of Mass Society: A C r i t i q u e , " Commentary, V o l . 22 (July, 1956), p. 78. 7 century, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , i n the ideas of the Counter-Enlightenment and the r e a c t i o n to the French Revolution. I t was no coincidence that t h i s century was also "the century of the emergence of the p o l i t i c a l mass," 1 created hy the extension of the f r a n c h i s e . Aversion to t h i s process of democratization and i t s e f f e c t s upon society and culture was expressed, by such diverse thinkers as de Bonald, de Maistre, Taine, Tarde, Acton, Burke and de Tocqueville. They feared that i n d i v i d u a l l i b e r t y would be s a c r i f i c e d f o r equality and the e f f e c t s of increased mass p a r t i c i p a t i o n upon the 2 performance of the e l i t e s . The work of s o c i o l o g i s t s on various aspects of nineteenth-century society also contributed to the development of the concept of mass so c i e t y . Tonnies' a n a l y t i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft gave s o c i o l o g i c a l content to the sense of s t r u c t u r a l d e t e r i o r a t i o n . Durkheim used h i s concept of anomie to explain the s p i r i t of discontent and unrest brought on by the s o c i a l d i s l o c a t i o n s . Le Bon and Simmel's work on crowd psychology demonstrated the increased s u g g e s t i b i l i t y and m a n i p u l a b i l i t y of people l a c k i n g group t i e s . R.A. Nisbet, The Quest f o r Community (New York, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1955), p. 187. 2 Kornhauser groups such thinkers under the l a b e l " a r i s t o c r a t i c c r i t i c s " o f the theory of mass socie t y . See W. Kornhauser, The P o l i t i c s of Mass Society (New York, The Pree Press, 1959), pp. 21-30. 8 Weber's analysis showed the e f f e c t s of the processes of r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n and bureaucratization shaping modern socie t y . "What made t h i s kind of s o c i o l o g i c a l theory relevant to the idea of mass society was i t s analysis of the atomization and depersonalization of s o c i a l organization r e s u l t i n g from 1 modernization." I t , however, i s important to point out that what these nineteenth-century writers (and others before them) were discussing was not the idea of mass society as such but rather the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of mass behavior: Before [the 1930's] thinking about mass behavior was r e s t r i c t e d to dealing with the 'mass1 as a part of society, examining the conditions that produced i t , the types of ac t i o n p e c u l i a r to i t and t h e i r i m p l i c a t i o n s . A f t e r that time, the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the 'mass' were a t t r i b u t e d to society as a whole.2 Up to the watershed, the idea of the mass was equated with the mob or the nineteenth-century concept of the crowd. For Le Bon, Park et a l . the mass was regarded as a regression to a lower stage of c i v i l i z a t i o n . Their use of the concept W. Kornhauser, "Mass Society," I n t e r n a t i o n a l  Encyclopaedia of the S o c i a l Sciences (New York, Macmillan, 1968), Volume 10, p. 61. 2 E.V. Walter, "'Mass Society!*:- The Late Stages of an Idea," S o c i a l Research, V o l . 31, No. 4 (Winter 1964), p. 397. Kornhauser f a i l s to make t h i s c r u c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n r e f . , " C r i t i c i s m s of nineteenth-century trends that may properly be termed theories of mass society ...," The P o l i t i c s of Mass  Society, p. 21; my emphasis. 9 revealed an e x p l i c i t a r i s t o c r a t i c b i a s . The term "mass" had a pejorative meaning r e f e r r i n g e i t h e r to a psychic state, f o r example, mass h y s t e r i a or to a s o c i a l condition such as mass behavior. The e a r l i e r meaning of the concept was f a r removed from the idea of mass societ y . Walter explains what i s missing: This concept t r a d i t i o n a l l y emphasized a high l e v e l of a f f e c t , intense i n t e r a c t i o n and contagion - above a l l , the s o c i a l -psychological condition that Park termed rapport. In contrast, the idea of mass society pictures emotional p r i v a t i o n , mechanical i n t e r a c t i o n s , i s o l a t i o n , atomization and a l i e n a t i o n - a condition i n which rapport i s absent.1 I t was l e f t to Blumer, Freud and y Gasset to add the necessary elements to the concept of mass i n order to create a concept of mass soc i e t y . Blumer was the f i r s t s o c i o l o g i s t to d i s t i n g u i s h between crowd and mass behavior adding the t r a i t s of anonymity, atomization and i s o l a t i o n to the l a t t e r . Freud stressed the d u r a b i l i t y of the masses, which were formerly regarded as s h o r t - l i v e d phenomena, by s t a t i n g the conditions under which permanent groups l i k e churches and armies were 2 transformed in t o psychological masses. Ortega y Gasset led the f i e l d i n i d e n t i f y i n g the r u l e of the masses as the c h i e f feature of the present age and i n l i n k i n g fascism and communism to t h i s phenomenon. Walter, "'Mass Society*," pp. 3 9 9 - 4 0 0 2 I b i d . , p. 401. 10 The main impetus of the change i n emphasis of the concept from applying only to a part to encompassing the whole of society, was the development of t o t a l i t a r i a n systems. The task of creating a d e s c r i p t i v e and t h e o r e t i c a l l i t e r a t u r e to explain t h e i r growth was undertaken by such writers as Lederer, Mannheim, Neumann and l a t e r by Arendt, Fromm, Kornhauser, Nisbet and Selzniek. I t i s the work of t h i s l a t t e r post-war group that i s s c r u t i n i z e d i n t h i s t h e s i s . E i t h e r e x p l i c i t l y or i m p l i c i t l y , these t h e o r i s t s used the concept of mass society i n t h e i r analyses of the sources and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of extremist movements. In so doing they pinpointed c e r t a i n tendencies i n modern democratic s o c i e t y : a l i e n a t i o n and s o c i a l atomization that increase the v u l n e r a b i l i t y of such a society to p o l i t i c a l extremism. These t o t a l i t a r i a n tendencies w i l l be examined below i n Chapter 3. 11 CHAPTER 2 THE CONCEPT OF MASS(ES) In attempting a d e f i n i t i o n of "mass society" i t i s necessary f i r s t to define "mass" f o r , as we saw above, the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the mass were superimposed onto society at large during the l a t e r stages of the development of the concept. Unfortunately, there i s no one c l e a r d e f i n i t i o n of the term that i s generally accepted. The term has been used interchangeably with many d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l groupings - the crowd, the majority, the mediocre, the mob, the P h i l i s t i n e s , the people, the poor, the p u b l i c , the workers and the non-cl a s s e s . The ambiguity of the term i s such that J u d i t h Shklar might w e l l ask "the great question: What and who are the masses?"""* Nonetheless, even though the use of the concept often reveals more of the i d e o l o g i c a l p o s i t i o n of the person employing i t than i t c l a r i f i e s the s o c i a l phenomenon under discussion, a l l w r iters concur - e i t h e r e x p l i c i t l y or i m p l i c i t l y - on one meaning of the term. That i s , they accept i t s purely p o l i t i c a l meaning that the masses comprise the m i l l i o n s who do not hold o f f i c e s i n a p o l i t y . We can assert, then, that the term always r e f e r s to the non-elites i n society, J.N. Shklar, A f t e r Utopia. The Decline of P o l i t i c a l F a i t h (Princeton, N.J., Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1957), p. 156. 12 i r r e s p e c t i v e of how t h i s group i s viewed. Thus, t h i s " e s s e n t i a l l y abstract concept ... takes on c o l o r only when set against the a r t i c u l a t e , p o l i t i c a l l y or economically organized minority operating i n a p a r t i c u l a r i n s t i t u t i o n a l context.""'" The concept of the mass generates a complementary concept of the e l i t e , which w i l l be defined more f u l l y below. If'we accept Shklar's statement that there are "only two 2 genuinely s o c i o l o g i c a l theories" to account f o r the masses, we can come cl o s e r to e s t a b l i s h i n g a precise d e f i n i t i o n of the term. One theory regards the masses as the a n t i t h e s i s of c l a s s e s . The other theory i s Le Bon's "simple e l i t i s m " that i d e n t i f i e s the mass with the i r r a t i o n a l crowd. 3 With one exception, mass society t h e o r i s t s do not equate the masses with classes. For them, the former lack the d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s and the unity of i n t e r e s t that define c l a s s e s : J.B.S. Hardman, "Masses," Encyclopaedia of the S o c i a l  Sciences (New York, Macmillan, 1937J, p. 195. 2 S h k l a r , A f t e r Utopia, p. 160. 3 S.M. Lipset i s the exception. He defines the masses as "the lower s t r a t a , " "the exploited c l a s s e s . " See P o l i t i c a l  Man (New York, Anchor Books, 1963), p. x x i i i . Also, Walter i n d i c a t e s that s o c i a l i s t s use the term i n i t s p l u r a l form only to r e f e r to the "chosen c l a s s . " See "Mass Society," p. 398. 13 Masses are not held together by a consciousness of common i n t e r e s t and they lack that s p e c i f i c c l a s s a r t i c u l a t e n e s s which i s expressed i n determined, l i m i t e d and obtainable goals. The term masses applies only where we deal with people who •.. cannot be integrated i n t o any organization based on common i n t e r e s t . 1 Compare the d e f i n i t i o n s offered by Kornhauser and Selznick, For the former, the masses are "an aggregate of people without d i s t i n c t i o n of groups or i n d i v i d u a l s . " For the l a t t e r : "Mass connotes a 'glob of humanity,• as against the i n t r i c a t e l y r e l a t e d , i n s t i t u t i o n a l l y bound groupings which form a healthy s o c i a l organism." From these d e f i n i t i o n s we can deduce that the masses are: a) i s o l a t e d , b) unattached, c) s t r u c t u r e l e s s , \ 4 d) u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d . A l l these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are derived from the f a c t that the members of the mass belong to no organization. 1H. Arendt, The Origins of T o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , 3rd ed. (New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1966), p. 311. 2 Kornhauser, "Mass Society," p. 58. 3 P . Selznick, " I n s t i t u t i o n a l V u l n e r a b i l i t y i n Mass Society," The American Journal of Sociology, V o l . 56, No. 4 (January mi), P . ^ ^This t r a i t implies that the mass i s also homogeneous. However, i n another sense, as Wilensky (following Blumer and Wirth) points out, the mass i s heterogeneous as i t i s dispersed geographically c r o s s - c u t t i n g many groups and sub-cultures. See H. Wilensky, "Mass Society and Mass Culture: Interdependence or Independence," American S o c i o l o g i c a l Review, V o l . 29, No. 2 ( A p r i l 1964), p. 176, f f . 9. 14 The i s o l a t i o n of the masses, t h e i r lack of membership i n p o l i t i c a l or s o c i a l units and t h e i r consequent lack of s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n , resultrfrom a general process of s o c i a l fragmentation. The weakening of family, church and t r a d i t i o n a l p o l i t i c a l t i e s leads to a psychological atomization. For the leading advocates of the theory of mass society, i t i s not the s i z e of the mass - i n short, i t s quantity - that distinguishes i t but i t s atomized q u a l i t y : What i s c r u c i a l i n the formation of the masses i s the atomization of a l l s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s within which human beings gain t h e i r normal sense of membership i n society. The mass i s an aggregate of i n d i v i d u a l s who are insecure, b a s i c a l l y lonely and ground down ... i n t o mere p a r t i c l e s of s o c i a l dust. Within the mass a l l ordinary r e l a t i o n s h i p s and a u t h o r i t i e s seem devoid of i n s t i t u t i o n a l f unction and psychological meaning. 1 The consequences of atomization are d i r e indeed. Lacking meaningful human r e l a t i o n s , the i n s e c u r i t y and i n s t a b i l i t y of the mass and t h e i r consequent desire to belong i n some sense, render i t s members suggestible to manipulation and a v a i l a b l e f o r m o b i l i z a t i o n by e l i t e s bent on t o t a l domination. With the refinement of s o c i o l o g i c a l analysis since the time of Le Bon's work on crowd psychology, no longer i s the crowd i d e n t i f i e d with the mass rather the two are distinguished. However, shades of h i s "simple e l i t i s m " s t i l l l i n g e r i n the works of some mass society t h e o r i s t s . For example, the Nisbet, The Quest f o r Community, pp. 198-199 15 " i r r a t i o n a l i t y " of the mass i s used by A'rendt, Lederer (and Koestler) to explain the success of t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m and the f a i l u r e of socialism.* 1" More important, i n the sense of being more widespread among the t h e o r i s t s i s the extension of the l a b e l "mediocrity" or "averageness" to cover the mass as well as the crowd. Members of the mass are thought not to be distinguished by excellence or c r e a t i v i t y i n any sphere. Individuals possessing these t r a i t s would, by d e f i n i t i o n , belong to the e l i t e s i n societ y . "The mass i s i m p l i c i t l y defined i n contrast to these creative and cult u r e - s u s t a i n i n g e l i t e s and hence i t i s conceived of as being e s s e n t i a l l y p u n q u a l i f i e d . " Members of the non-elites are regarded as la c k i n g and i n d i f f e r e n t to c u l t u r a l and aesthetic values - as 3 "co-ordinated masses of respectable P h i l i s t i n e s . " In answer to the question: - "What and who are the masses?" we can reply, then, as follows: They are the atomized non-elites i n society whose members are  unattached, s o c i a l l y unstructured,and u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , and  distinguished by a l i e n a t i o n and mediocrity. The idea of the mass involves a corresponding concept, that of the e l i t e which remains to be defined. Shklar, A f t e r Utopia, p. 324. 2 P. Selznick, The Organizational Weapon ( I l l i n o i s , The Free Press of Glencoe, I960), P» 278. ' 3 Arendt, Origins of T o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , p. 337. 16 The concept of the e l i t e as used by the t h e o r i s t s of mass society does not imply a s i n g l e , comprehensive e l i t e but rather a p l u r a l i t y of e l i t e s , each set apart from the res t of society by i t s pre-eminence i n p a r t i c u l a r areas. These e l i t e s are mi n o r i t i e s who hold positions of authority i n the c e n t r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and c o n t r o l the c e n t r a l value systems which guide and legitimate these i n s t i t u t i o n s . The chief function of a l l groups c o n s t i t u t i n g the e l i t e i s to formulate and maintain fundamental values and p o l i c i e s i n t h e i r area of competence be i t culture, economics, m i l i t a r y a f f a i r s , p o l i t i c s , r e l i g i o n or technology. "An e l i t e , then, i s composed of people who by v i r t u e of t h e i r s o c i a l p o s i t i o n have s p e c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r standards i n a given s o c i a l context." 1 With both the e l i t e and the mass defined, we can now turn our at t e n t i o n to s i f t i n g out the main features of a mass societ y . In a sense, the concept of mass(es) i s the parent of such a society just as "the c h i l d i s father of the man." How close the family resemblance i s w i l l be brought out below. But as i n any parent-child r e l a t i o n s h i p there are differences a l s o . Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 51. 17 CHAPTER 3 THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF A MASS SOCIETY In the following discussion the concept of mass society i s not intended to depict any act u a l s o c i e t y . I t i s rather an i d e a l type denoting c e r t a i n abstract r e l a t i o n s h i p s that, taken together, constitute a "mass society." Whether a given society or some part of i t warrants the l a b e l "mass" i s "always a question of degree." 1 But the d i f f i c u l t y i s to pinpoint t h i s "degree" accurately. The approach adopted here circumvents t h i s f o r " i f we understand that what we are a s s e r t i n g i s a r e l a t i o n between abstract characters -the nature of the mass and the q u a l i t y of e l i t e s - t h i s 2 problem can be avoided." Comparisons between mass society and other s o c i e t a l types - p r i n c i p a l l y , feudal and p l u r a l i s t i c - are made throughout t h i s discussion. I t must be stressed that these are a n a l y t i c a l constructs and not act u a l d e s c r i p t i o n s . Obviously, our f i r s t task i n attempting to construct a model of mass society i s to apply the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the mass described i n chapter 2 to society generally. This t r a n s i t i o n from the micro- to the macro-level of analysis 1 I b i d . f p. 228. 2 Selznick, " I n s t i t u t i o n a l V u l n e r a b i l i t y , " p. 322. 18 i s not just a question of simply g r a f t i n g these t r a i t s onto the l a r g e r c o l l e c t i v i t y . More complex surgery i s involved. For example, the masses were e a r l i e r described as the non-e l i t e s . But i t does not follow from t h i s that a mass soci e t y i s one characterized by no e l i t e s - the meaning d e r i v i n g from a crude, g r a f t i n g operation. A mass society i s distinguished by a s p e c i a l kind of r e l a t i o n s h i p between both masses and e l i t e s . "The rul e of the masses i s not inconsistent with e l i t e c o n t r o l of the state f o r that r u l e i s expressed i n the f a c t that the governing e l i t e i s i t s e l f formed i n the image of the mass." In a mass society, then, the mass supplants the values of the culture-bearing e l i t e with i t s own commonplace values that tend to be homogeneous and f l u i d . This usurpation i s aided by the pervasion of the ideology of eg a l i t a r i a n i s m which weakens respect f o r t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t i e s . This ideology i s expressed i n the populist character of mass societ y . The popular l e g i t i m a t i o n of-authority, although centering i n the p o l i t y , spreads to a l l kinds of s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s : A l l members of mass society are equally valued as voters, buyers and spectators. Numerical s u p e r i o r i t y therefore tends to be the decisive c r i t e r i o n of success. In the p o l i t i c a l realm t h i s means the number of vote's; i n the economic realm i t i s the number of sales; and i n the c u l t u r a l realm i t i s the siz e of the audience.2 Ib i d . , p. 321. Kornhauser, "Mass Society," p. 59. 19 The power of the majority almost completely undermines the autonomy of the e l i t e . The elite-mass d i v i s i o n dominates the structure of mass soc i e t y . "By and large, a l l s o c i a l positions are e i t h e r • e l i t e ' or "non-elite'; with few intermediate gradations." 1 In a sense, t h i s corresponds to the feudal type of s o c i a l structure that i s characterized by a small e l i t e and a large mass. There i s , however, a c r u c i a l d i f f e r e n c e , apart from the a g r i c u l t u r a l - i n d u s t r i a l dichotomy. Under feudalism extreme status differences mark of f the e l i t e from the mass so that the l a t t e r has no influence upon the former. But i n a mass society the e l i t e i s fashioned i n the very image of the mass. This r e l a t i o n s h i p i s not found i n a p l u r a l i s t i c society e i t h e r even though the non-elites c o n t r o l the e l i t e s ( v i a e l e c t i o n s ) as i n a mass society. Under pluralism, however, the l a t t e r are distinguishable from the mass electorate by t h e i r superior q u a l i f i c a t i o n s whereas i n a mass society, the e l i t e merely r e f l e c t the incompetence of the mass. 2 With one exception, the writers on the topic of mass society agree that a society i n which the mass i s "sovereign" M.E. Olsen, The Process of S o c i a l Organization (New York, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., 1968), p. 327. 2 S h i l s i s the "odd man out." He welcomes the f a c t that " i n one way or another, vox populi, vox d e i , i s the source of mass society" viewing i t as an enhancement of the masses' d i g n i t y . See E. S h i l s , "The Theory of Mass Society," Biogenes, No. 39 ( P a l l . 1962), p. 53. 20 i s also one i n which no one i s q u a l i f i e d . For the i n t e r v e n t i o n of the mass into such key i n s t i t u t i o n a l areas as p o l i t i c s , consumption and communication, means, by d e f i n i t i o n , a spread of incompetence in t o these areas ( r e f . , the mediocrity of the mass). Selznick argues that i n the concept of the mass as u n f i t , judgments concerning the inherent competence of various s t r a t a of society are i r r e l e v a n t . What i s at stake i s the r o l e s of i n d i v i d u a l s not t h e i r q u a l i t y . "What i s r e a l l y i d e n t i f i e d i s a s o c i a l system i n which the indispensable functions of creative e l i t e s cannot be performed." 1 (The v a l i d i t y of t h i s statement i s discussed i n the c r i t i q u e - f o r the moment i t i s accepted at face value). The e f f e c t of mass pressure upon the e l i t e s i s therefore a d e b i l i t a t i n g one. Wo longer insulated from popular pressures as they are i n both feudal and p l u r a l i s t i c s o c i e t i e s , the e l i t e s are prevented from carrying out t h e i r functions of c r e a t i n g and sustaining culture, and providing the e f f e c t i v e s o c i a l leadership that i n s u l a t i o n permitted. Their l o s s of exclusiveness and authority also render them insecure hence manipulable by mass pressures e s p e c i a l l y as they are i n a c c e s s i b l e by legitimate ( i n the p l u r a l i s t sense) means. The mode of i n t e r v e n t i o n used by the mass to gain access to the e l i t e i s , therefore, d i r e c t and unrestrained. Just as the e l i t e s are susceptible to manipulation by the masses so are Selznick, Organizational Weapon, p. 278. 21 the masses a v a i l a b l e f o r manipulation and mo b i l i z a t i o n by e l i t e s . Access to e l i t e s and a v a i l a b i l i t y of non-elites are pre r e q u i s i t e s of a mass s e c i e t y . " E l i t e s are accessible and non-elites are a v a i l a b l e i n that there i s a paucity of independent groups between the state and the family to protect e i t h e r e l i t e s or non-elites from manipulation and mo b i l i z a t i o n by the other." 1 I t i s t h i s r e l a t i v e absence of a " p a r a p o l i t i c a l " structure made up of a p r o l i f e r a t i o n of independent i n t e r e s t groups and voluntary associations that sets o f f a mass soci e t y from i t s p l u r a l i s t i c counterpart. In the l a t t e r , the protection afforded by such a mediating structure enables the e l i t e s to preserve t h e i r autonomy and d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s w h i l s t implementing the wishes of the people. Their demands are relayed to the leaders through the channels of communication established by groups. Lacking such channels of r e s t r a i n t , the non-elites i n a mass society express t h e i r demands d i r e c t l y . In contrast to the a v a i l a b l e hence manipulable non-elites of mass society, the a v a i l a b i l i t y of the mass under pluralism i s low f o r the personal commitments e l i c i t e d from membership i n diverse and autonomous groups act as deterrents against e l i t e manipulation. The non-el i t e s , however, lack such t i e s Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 41. 22 i n a mass socie t y . Isolated except f o r t h e i r link: with the c e n t r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , they are suggestible to manipulation p r e c i s e l y because they lack group resources and so lack the information and support required to form t h e i r own opinions. The f a c t o r s responsible f o r the erosion of an intermediate group structure intervening between individuals-in-the-mass and "massive power" are now examined. We saw above that the atomized, shapeless, unintegrated mass emerged from a general process of s t r u c t u r a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n i n socie t y . This process can perhaps best be understood as a "decline of community." Mass s o c i e t i e s , then, are those s o c i e t i e s that "enjoy power and plenty and yet be poor i n the v i t a l element of community.""'" Several f a c t o r s contributed to the decline i n the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s communal concept and the concomitant r i s e of the masses. F i r s t , the process of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n under cap i t a l i s m was "an i s o l a t i n g and separating process that stripped o f f the h i s t o r i c a l l y grown layers of custom and s o c i a l membership, leaving only l e v e l l e d masses of 2 i n d i v i d u a l s . " However, i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n produces masses only i f the process i s introduced i n such a manner as to 1 S . Wolin, P o l i t i c s and V i s i o n (Boston, L i t t l e , Brown & Co., Inc., I960), p. 393. 2 Ostrogorski quoted i n Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, p. 96. 23 involve "marked d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s i n s o c i a l organization."**" In such cases, the process has a p a r t i c u l a r l y d r a s t i c e f f e c t upon primary r e l a t i o n s . " I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n ... grinds down the autonomy and i n t e n s i t y , the numerical s i z e , the duration 2 and the functions of primary groups." The decay of such groups i s further exacerbated by the increased s o c i a l m o b i l i t y that r e s u l t s from t h i s process. Second, the process of urbanization released increasing numbers of i n d i v i d u a l s from the t r a d i t i o n a l confines of extended family, g u i l d and v i l l a g e community and l e f t them r o o t l e s s i n t h e i r new urban environment. Again, t h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the mass i s more l i k e l y to develop i f the i n f l u x i n t o the c i t y i s r a p i d : The c i t y does not develop the communal l i f e that was formerly provided by the r u r a l community ... The urban subcommunity loses i t s coherence as a r e s u l t of the increasing scale and s p e c i a l i z a t i o n of common a c t i v i t i e s . Instead of a f f i l i a t i o n with a community, the urban resident experiences considerable s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n and personal anonymity. 3 Rapid urbanization, then, destroys smaller s o c i a l u n i t s but o f f e r s only impersonality and atomization i n t h e i r place. Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 150. 2 E. Van den Haag, "Of Happiness and Of Despair We Have No Measure," i n B. Rosenberg and D.M. White (eds), Mass Culture. The Popular Arts i n America (New York, The Free Press, 1957)* p. 506. 3 ^Kornhauser, "Mass Society," p. 58. 24 Third, the trend toward bureaucratization of the major i n s t i t u t i o n s of society, an outgrowth of the twin processes of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and urbanization, undermined the autonomy of l o c a l groups and secondary a s s o c i a t i o n s . This s t r u c t u r a l trend atomizes the community by rendering people's s o c i a l bases of c o n t r o l i n e f f e c t i v e . "[Tjhe growth of bureaucracy thrusts decision-making centers beyond the e f f e c t i v e range of understanding and influence, leaving only the i s o l a t e d and exposed i n d i v i d u a l . 1 , 1 There i s agreement amongst s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s that these three processes are the main agents of the decline of community. This i s not to deny that there are other secondary sources such as population increase, the growth of the nation-state vand the spread of Protestantism that stressed the i n d i v i d u a l rather than the group as the c e n t r a l u n i t . The ascendancy of the doctrine of i n d i v i d u a l i s t -l i b e r a l i s m also negated the importance of the s o c i a l context. The influence of these f a c t o r s , however, pales besides that exerted by the development of mass cu l t u r e . This phenomenon i s a byproduct of the three major processes shaping mass society and of the loosening of the t r a d i t i o n a l monopoly of culture by the upper classes. I t s development sounded the death-knell f o r the communal concept. Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 120 25 "Mass culture emerges when community, that i s , groups of i n d i v i d u a l s l i n k e d to each other by concrete i n t e r e s t s and values, i s eroded. Mass culture, i n turn, f u r t h e r undermines community." 1 The mass media exert a "homogenizing" e f f e c t upon the heterogeneous mass and brings about an uniformity i n a t t i t u d e and l i f e - s t y l e and a standardization i n ideas and ta s t e s . S i m i l a r i t i e s between i n d i v i d u a l s become more important than t h e i r differences - be they ethnic, r e g i o n a l , e t c . The d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s and unique q u a l i t i e s of such l o c a l cultures are l o s t as they come int o contact with mass c u l t u r e . The contacts offered by the media are poor substitutes f o r s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Instead of providing meaningful experience, they stereotype i n d i v i d u a l experience and so al i e n a t e people and i n t e n s i f y t h e i r i s o l a t i o n . The media, "by weakening community with immediate surroundings make people lonely even when i n a crowd and crowded even when 2 alone." For the mass society t h e o r i s t s , the contemporary problem of community focuses i n the realm of small, primary r e l a t i o n -ships and i n the area of those secondary r e l a t i o n s h i p s that act as mediating agents between the i n d i v i d u a l and the la r g e r s o c i e t y : "'"L.A. Coser, "Comments on Bauer and Bauer," Journal of  S o c i a l Issues, V o l . 16, No. 3 (I960), p. 82. 2 Van den Haag, "Happiness and Despair," p. 529. 26 Whatever the differences among i n d i v i d u a l w r i t e r s , there i s a common core of d e s c r i p t i o n i n the term •mass society' which suggests the attenuation of primary and l o c a l associations and groups ... The emphasis i s upon the "breakdown of immediate r e l a t i o n s h i p s and d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n s so that the population i s now much more homogeneous but also l e s s sharply i d e n t i f i e d and a f f i l i a t e d with d i s t i n c t i v e s o c i a l groups. I t i s i n t h i s sense that the t h e o r i s t - of mass society views the t r a d i t i o n a l categories of s o c i o l o g i c a l analysis -family, c l a s s , community, ethnic i d e n t i t y , etc. -as having l o s t s i g n i f i c a n c e i n mass s o c i e t i e s . 1 The t h e o r i s t s do not argue that primary groups disappear i n a mass societ y . Instead, they assert that t h e i r functions are weakened under mass conditions. In e a r l i e r times such primary groups as family, church and l o c a l community performed c e r t a i n functions - mutual a i d , welfare, education, recreation, economic production and d i s t r i b u t i o n - that were indispensable f o r feudal s o c i e t y . Both the economy and the p o l i t i c a l order presupposed the existence of these small, l o c a l groups to achieve t h e i r ends."'" Now, however, the functions of these groups have changed, 'for''example,: the church i s more of a welfare and r e c r e a t i o n a l agency than a r e l i g i o u s one; or else, the functions have been r e d i s t r i b u t e d to other i n s t i t u t i o n s , f o r example, the state has assumed a major r o l e i n economic production and d i s t r i b u t i o n . These changes i n function a f f e c t the members' allegiances to the primary groups. They are no J.H. G u s f i e l d , "Mass Society and Extremist P o l i t i c s , " American S o c i o l o g i c a l Review, V o l . 27, No. 1 (February 1962), pp. 20-21. 2 Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, pp. 50-54. 27 longer able to act e i t h e r as sources of support or meaning f o r i n d i v i d u a l s . Consequently, t h e i r importance i n a mass society i s minimal. Intermediate secondary groups also become i r r e l e v a n t f o r i n d i v i d u a l s i n a mass societ y . Economic i n t e r e s t groups, f o r example, lose t h e i r hold over t h e i r members because the importance of class diminishes i n such a society. Increased s o c i a l (and s p a t i a l ) m o b i l i t y 1 and the entry of most of the population i n t o such areas as consumption and p o l i t i c s , b l u r c l a s s d i s t i n c t i o n s arid boundaries. Class dissolves i n t o mass. This s o c i o l o g i c a l transformation and the psychological condition of loneliness that ensues are, f o r Arendt, the 2 p r e r e q u i s i t e s f o r the creation of a mass societ y . On a more general l e v e l , the spread of large-scale organization i s , i n part, responsible f o r the l o s s of effectiveness on the part of secondary as s o c i a t i o n s . The increase i n the s i z e of these groups means a corresponding increase i n i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y to t h e i r members' influ e n c e . Their f a i l u r e to meet the needs of t h e i r membership r e s u l t s i n the l a t t e r ' s disenchantment. Lacking c o n t r o l , p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n these associations seems meaningless. Consequently, the See the following f o r the e f f e c t s of rapid socio-economic mo b i l i t y : M.M. Tumin, "Some Unapplauded Consequences of S o c i a l M o b i l i t y i n a Mass Society," S o c i a l Forces, V o l . 26, No. 1 (October 1957), pp. 32-37. 2 Arendt, Origins of T o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , p. 336. 28 i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p between the i n d i v i d u a l and the c e n t r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s becomes, in c r e a s i n g l y , a d i r e c t one. This weakening of intermediate r e l a t i o n s i s o f f s e t by the increasing c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of decision-making, p o l i t i c a l l y , i n the state and, economically, i n a small group of large corporate bodies. The p o l i t i c a l sector i s probably the chief b e n e f i c i a r y i n the sense of acquiring ever-increasing influence and authority but a l l other key i n s t i t u t i o n a l sectors gain from the decline i n community. These na t i o n a l bodiss take over the functions of intermediate a s s o c i a t i o n s . "Thus, mass society does not represent a state of disorganization but of organization around the state and other n a t i o n a l organizations." The extension i n the scale of t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s removes the i n d i v i d u a l f u r t h e r and f u r t h e r from the source of d e c i s i o n -making. The impotence of the i n d i v i d u a l i s enhanced by the bureaucratic nature of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s that t y p i f y these large-scale aggregates. These r e l a t i o n s h i p s are r e l a t i v e l y standardized and impersonal not i n d i v i d u a l i z e d and personal l i k e primary r e l a t i o n s . "This standardization and impersonality p heightens the mass q u a l i t y of the s o c i e t y . " Oriented e x c l u s i v e l y toward e f f i c i e n c y and service, and bound to the needs of the moment, these large-scale n a t i o n a l W.A. Pitcher, "'The P o l i t i c s of Mass Society*:- S i g n i f i c a n c e f o r the Churches," i n D.B. Robertson (ed.), Voluntary  Ass o c i a t i o n s . A Study of Groups i n Free S o c i e t i e s (Richmond, V i r g i n i a , John Knox Press, 1966J, p. 237. 2 P.E. Mott, The Organization of Society (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J., P r e n t i c e - H a l l , Inc., 1965J, p. 361. 29 bureaucracies soon cease to be i n s t i t u t i o n s i n any meaningful sense and become merely mass organizations. For Selznick, the mass i s i n part responsible f o r t h i s transformation. For the l e v e l l i n g pressure i t applies on the i n s t i t u t i o n a l e l i t e s to accept i t s standards i s " i n d i f f e r e n t to long-run c u l t u r a l meaning" and serves "to deny to i n s t i t u t i o n s any i n t r i n s i c value."""" Mass society, then, i s dominated by c e n t r a l i z e d , bureaucratic, large-scale organizations. These mass organizations be they i n d u s t r i a l corporations, trade-unions or mass p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s or movements, replace primary groups as the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c units of socie t y . Impersonal, bureaucratic r e l a t i o n s h i p s replace personal, informal primary r e l a t i o n s h i p s . "Everywhere there i s organization; everywhere bureaucratization; l i k e the world of feudalism, the modern world i s broken up into areas dominated by c a s t l e s but not the c a s t l e s of l e s chansons de geste but the ca s t l e s of Kafka." 2 The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of mass organization constitute a microcosm of mass society. They are distinguished by size and complexity, segmental p a r t i c i p a t i o n , high m o b i l i z a t i o n Selznick, Organizational Weapon, p. 296. Wolin, P o l i t i c s and V i s i o n , p. 354. 30 and a r e l a t i v e l y unstructured membership. The l a s t three t r a i t s are elaborated upon below, the f i r s t being s e l f - e v i d e n t . Segmental p a r t i c i p a t i o n has two dimensions: extent and q u a l i t y . As a mass organization only demands a p a r t i a l commitment from the i n d i v i d u a l , h i s i n t e r e s t and p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n i t i s l i m i t e d . The q u a l i t y of his p a r t i c i p a t i o n i s also segmental i n that r e l a t i o n s h i p s are l e v e l l e d and depersonalized: Individuals i n t e r a c t not as whole p e r s o n a l i t i e s but according to the r o l e s they play i n the s i t u a t i o n at hand. This i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of urban l i f e and of formal organizations where only the f u n c t i o n a l relevance of i n d i v i d u a l s i s p r i z e d . The p e r s o n a l i t i e s of the i n d i v i d u a l s are l e v e l l e d ; men deal with themselves and with each other as abstractions and as manipulable commodities. 1 Thus, mass organizations f a i l to o f f e r opportunities f o r p a r t i c i p a t i o n equivalent i n extent and q u a l i t y to those proffered by t h e i r predecessors, primary groups. For an organization to q u a l i f y f o r the l a b e l "mass," mo b i l i z a t i o n of the rank-and-file must be high. A. book club Selznick, Organizational Weapon, p. 287. This whole discu s s i o n of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of mass organizations owes much to Selznick. Compare Fromm (who c l o s e l y follows Marx) on the f u n c t i o n a l nature of the contemporary employer-employee r e l a t i o n s h i p : The owner of c a p i t a l employs another human being as he 'employs' a machine. They both use each other f o r the pursuit of t h e i r economic i n t e r e s t s ; t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s one i n which both are means to an end, both are instrumental to each other. I t i s not a r e l a t i o n s h i p of two human beings who have any i n t e r e s t i n the other outside of t h i s mutual use-fulness. See E. Fromm, Fear of Freedom (London, Routledge, Kegan Paul, 1962), p. 102. 31 or a trade-union i n which the only a c t i v i t y of the membership i s dues-paying, do not q u a l i f y . A c t i v i t y i n a mass organization i s mobilized from the center rather than generated through groups within the structure f o r the l a t t e r are absent. There are only the u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d mass and the e l i t e and so the organization i s unintegrated l i k e the mass i t s e l f . In order to achieve i t s ends, the e l i t e must win the consent of the membership: Consent i n the age of organization does not connote self-government, much l e s s the idea of p a r t i c i p a t i o n as practised i n the ancient ' p o l i t y . 1 I t means, instead, 'commitment' which i s something f a r d i f f e r e n t . Commitment i s the s p e c i a l p r e s c r i p t i o n f o r a mass age where men are i s o l a t e d and t h e i r l i v e s depersonalized and bleak. Their wants are psychic and hence to be s a t i s f i e d by 'integration' rather than made more anxious by the demands of p a r t i c i p a t i o n . The aim of the e l i t e therefore i s to convert 'neutral men' int o a 'committed p o l i t y . ' 1 This process of conversion i s helped by the f a c t that the mass i s a l i e n a t e d . Lacking attachments to any groups outside the organization, the mass turns to i t f o r sustenance. "The r e s u l t i s a group which may be manipulated and mobilized -2 hallmarks of a modern mass organization." As mass organizations neither b u i l d upon nor support primary r e l a t i o n s among members, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the membership and the c e n t r a l i z e d e l i t e i s unmediated and Wolin, P o l i t i c s and V i s i o n , p. 428. Selznick, Organizational Weapon, p. 289. 32 impersonal. The attachment of the mass to the symbols employed by the e l i t e s to co n t r o l i t i s also unmediated. These "new unmediated man-symbol r e l a t i o n s h i p s have a manipulative directness"" 1" that i s lacking i n older forms of symbolic co n t r o l such as those found i n feudal or p l u r a l i s t i c s o c i e t i e s . As t r a d i t i o n a l symbolic controls were mediated through group channels, the i n d i v i d u a l was provided with some means of assessing t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e . But i n these new r e l a t i o n s h i p s , the i n d i v i d u a l , l a c k i n g such intermediaries, i s unable to test the ideas symbolized. As they bear l i t t l e or no r e l a t i o n to h i s d a i l y l i f e , h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with the symbols i s both p " s u p e r f i c i a l and a r t i f i c i a l . " Members of the mass are, therefore, susceptible to manipulation by the symbols. The e l i t e i s aided i n i t s symbolic manipulation of the non-elite by the communications media. The former i s able to make use of these means because, i n a mass society, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the media and the p o l i t i c a l sector, f o r example, i s a "contingent" one i n contrast to the "autonomous" r e l a t i o n s h i p i n a c l a s s (or p l u r a l i s t i c ) s o c i e t y . Manipulation i s f u r t h e r f a c i l i t a t e d i n a mass society as the masses are "mere media markets": 1 I b i d . , p. 290. 2 I b i d . 3 T.H. McCormack, " S o c i a l Change and the Mass Media," Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, V o l . 1 (February 1964), p. 57. 33 In t h i s view, the public i s merely the c o l l e c t i v i t y of i n d i v i d u a l s each rather passively exposed to the mass media and rather h e l p l e s s l y opened up to the suggestions and manipulations that flow from these media. The f a c t of manipulation from c e n t r a l i z e d points of c o n t r o l c o n s t i t u t e s , as i t were, an expropriation of the old multitude of l i t t l e opinion producers and consumers operating i n a free and balanced market. 1 Unlike a p l u r a l i s t i c society where discussion i s the dominant mode of communication and the media are merely u t i l i z e d to l i n k discussions between "primary p u b l i c s , " a mass society i s dominated by a communications technique that i s e s s e n t i a l l y manipulative i n character. Organizational e l i t e s are i n f u l l command of the channels of communication - they not only create but also c o n t r o l mass opinion. Mass organizations are regarded by mass society t h e o r i s t s as p a l t r y substitutes f o r the primary and secondary groups they have replaced. They f a l l down on three counts: on the type of p a r t i c i p a t i o n they o f f e r , on the nature of the commitment they e l i c i t and on the manipulation they exercise. (In f a c t , we would not expect to f i n d a v i a b l e group l i f e i n a mass society, the macrocosm of a mass organization, f o r , being masslike, groups, by d e f i n i t i o n , are i n s i g n i f i c a n t ) . For the t h e o r i s t s , mass organizations are unable to provide the d i r e c t i o n and support, the psychological meaning and i d e n t i t y , and the C. Wright M i l l s , The Power E l i t e (New York, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1956), p. 305. 34 s o c i a l i z a t i o n to members that the customary a u t h o r i t i e s provided. Perhaps t h e i r greatest f a i l u r e i s t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to inculcate values: I n s t i t u t i o n s functioning under conditions of mass society do not touch the character and the personal values of those exposed to them. Being s o l e l y instrumental means, the major associations and i n s t i t u t i o n s of the society cannot act as agencies through which values are inculcated. Because of t h i s , the p o l i t i c a l e l i t e s of the society cannot mediate decisions to the acceptance of the rank-and-file. 1 Instead of countering the a l i e n a t i o n of the mass, these organizations may a c t u a l l y enhance i t and so f a i l as agencies of i n t e g r a t i o n . In f a i l i n g to assume the r o l e and functions of the groups they have replaced, mass organizations f a i l to provide a structured force between the i n d i v i d u a l and "massive power." The e f f e c t s of t h i s lack upon the i n d i v i d u a l are g r a p h i c a l l y described by Wright M i l l s : And, i n the mass, he loses the self-confidence of the human being - i f indeed he has ever had i t . For l i f e i n a society of masses implants i n s e c u r i t y and furthers impotence; i t makes men uneasy and vaguely anxious; i t i s o l a t e s the i n d i v i d u a l from the s o l i d group; i t destroys f i r m group standards. Acting without goals, the man i n the mass just f e e l s p o i n t l e s s . 2 As he lacks a sense of belonging to primary groups and as he f i n d s membership i n the l a r g e - s c a l e , impersonal aggregates an Gusfield, "Mass Society," p. 21. Wright M i l l s , Power E l i t e , p. 323. 35 unsa t i s f a c t o r y substitute, the i n d i v i d u a l i n a mass society i s e s s e n t i a l l y i s o l a t e d . "The ch i e f c h a r a c t e r i s t i c - o f the mass man i s not b r u t a l i t y and backwardness but h i s i s o l a t i o n and lack of normal s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . " 1 Hispsense of i s o l a t i o n and the r e s u l t i n g f e e l i n g s of i n s i g n i f i c a n c e and powerlessness are manifestations of h i s a l i e n a t i o n defined as " a l t i t u d e s of i n d i f f e r e n c e , helplessness, d i s t r u s t or apathy which r e s u l t when the i n d i v i d u a l has no sense of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the 2 organization on which he i s dependent." Alienated mass man i s a product of the process of s o c i a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n that destroys the bonds of allegiance to both primary and intermediate structures. Personal a l i e n a t i o n i s thus r e l a t e d to the s t r u c t u r a l properties of mass soc i e t y . "The a l i e n a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l i n modern s o c i e t i e s i s the 3 psychological statement of detachment." The s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l a l i e n a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l have the same root: lack of attachment to primary or secondary groups. Belonging to no s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l body, the i n d i v i d u a l i s free to reunite i n new groups that purport to o f f e r him the "community" he so desperately needs: Arendt, Origins of T o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , p. 317. 2 Seeman's d e f i n i t i o n quoted i n McCormack, " S o c i a l Change," p. 51. 5 G u s f i e l d , "Mass Society," p. 21. 36 The alienated mass man i s i n society but not of i t . He does not accept r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the preservation of value systems hence may e a s i l y be moved to new adherence. 1 The search f o r community i s not unique to a mass society but i s a "timeless and u n i v e r s a l phenomenon" - the shape and 2 i n t e n s i t y of which varies from age to age. In a society characterized by sudden s o c i a l change and d i s l o c a t i o n , and by a decline of community, t h i s search looms large i n importance. The quest f o r community can be defined as "the need f o r human beings to dwell i n more intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p s with each other, to enjoy more a f f e c t i v e t i e s , to experience some c l o s e r s o l i d a r i t y than the nature of urbanized and i n d u s t r i a l i z e d society seems w i l l i n g to grant." In t h e i r search f o r a substitute f o r the primary bonds they have given up, i n d i v i d u a l s enter the arena of p o l i t i c a l extremism. P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n mass movements provides a means of s a t i s f y i n g t h e i r desire to belong. They experience a sense of r e i n t e g r a t i o n i n t o a "greater" community. For the mass society t h e o r i s t s , the source of p o l i t i c a l extremism i s located i n the atomized conditions of mass soc i e t y . The obstacles to community created by such conditions enhance the s u s c e p t i b i l i t y of the mass to movements Selznick, " I n s t i t u t i o n a l V u l n e r a b i l i t y , " p. 324. Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, p. 30. Wolin, P o l i t i c s and V i s i o n , pp. 363-364. 37 that o f f e r a s i m i l a r phenomenon. "The dread spectacle of t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m as an organized movement i n every Western country at the present time cannot be divorced from the p r o f f e r of community to i n d i v i d u a l s f o r whom sensations of d i s s o l u t i o n and a l i e n a t i o n have become i n t o l e r a b l e . " 1 However, the t h e o r i s t s consider the images of community presented by such movements to be merely substitute forms. For Kornhauser, t h e i r ideologies and programs only p "simulate but do not create community." S i m i l a r l y , Fromm regards man's t i e s of allegiance to these movements as "pseudo." For him, "these new bonds do not constitute r e a l union with the world" and never can, f o r they represent attempts to solve neurotic symptoms that r e s u l t from unbearable psychological conditions. "They leave unchanged the conditions that necessitate the neurotic 3 s o l u t i o n . " Extremist movements are u t t e r l y dependent upon the existence of the mass f o r t h e i r own creation and growth. The decline of community creates the opportunity f o r mass-oriented e l i t e s to mobilize the non-elites i n order to destroy i n s t i t u t i o n a l r e s t r a i n t s on p o l i t i c a l power and Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, pp. 33-34. Kornhauser, "Mass Society," p. 62. Fromm, Fear of Freedom, p. 205. 38 to gain c o n t r o l so as to transform mass int o a t o t a l i t a r i a n s o c i e t y . "People cannot be mobilized against the established order u n t i l they f i r s t have been divorced from p r e v a i l i n g codes and values.""1" The e l i t e s of t o t a l i t a r i a n movements ex p l o i t the sense of aloneness and disillusionment that characterizes the mass i n order to secure a t o t a l commitment from i t s atomized members. "Compared with a l l other p a r t i e s and movements, t h e i r most conspicuous external c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i s t h e i r demand f o r t o t a l , u n r e s t r i c t e d , unconditional, and p unalterable l o y a l t y of the i n d i v i d u a l members." In the " i n t o l e r a b l e emptiness" of mass society, then, the only kind of l o y a l t y possible i s the attachment to anti-democratic movements - a bond the mass zealously c l i n g s to. In order to manipulate the mass and to keep i t i n a constant state of mobi l i z a t i o n , the t o t a l i t a r i a n e l i t e s employ a v a r i e t y of emotion-invoking devices and symbols. Perhaps the most e f f e c t i v e of these i s demagoguery. The impact of a s k i l f u l a g i t a t o r upon h i s mass audience can be devastating: Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 123. For differences v i s a v i s mass and t o t a l i t a r i a n s o c i e t i e s , see pp. 32-34, p. 41 and pp. 122-123. 2 Arendt, Origins of T o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , p. 323. 39 In him, the martyr u l t i m a t e l y triumphant over h i s detractors and persecutors, the adherents see a l l t h e i r own f r u s t r a t i o n s magically metamorphosed in t o grandiose g r a t i f i c a t i o n s . They who are marginal suddenly have a prospect of sharing i n the exceptional; t h e i r s u f f e r i n g now can appear to them as a glorious t r i a l , t h e i r anonymity and servitude as stations on the road to fame and mastery. The a g i t a t o r ... shows them how a l l the accumulated s t u f f of repression and f r u s t r a t i o n can be l i t up into a magnificent fireworks, how the refuse of d a i l y drudgery can be converted in t o a high explosion of pervasive destruction. 1 He succeeds, where mass society f a i l e d , i n arousing the emotions of an alienated mass but to what end? According to the t h e o r i s t s , the masses' quest f o r community finds i t s r e s t i n g -place i n p o l i t i c a l aberrations that threaten not only democracy but also the very s o c i a l f a b r i c that nurtured them. The threads of the above discussion on the constituent elements of a mass society can now be drawn together. The dominant i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p i n such a society i s the elite-mass one - besides t h i s , a l l others pale into i n s i g n i f i c a n c e . A c c e s s i b i l i t y and a v a i l a b i l i t y , r e s p e c t i v e l y , d i s t i n g u i s h these two aggregates which are both manipulable, the one by the other. These t r a i t s depend f o r t h e i r creation upon the atomized conditions of a mass societ y . L. Lowenthal and N. Guterman. " S e l f - P o r t r a i t of the F a s c i s t A g i t a t o r , " i n A.W. Gouldner (ed.;, Studies i n Leadership (New York, Russel l & R u s s e l l , Inc., 1965), p. 99. For the e f f e c t of Goebbel's and H i t l e r ' s demagoguery upon the German mass, see a l s o : A. Speer, Inside the Third Reich (London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1970), pp. 16-17. 40 The atomization of mass society a r i s e s from the breakdown i n the functioning of primary groups and secondary associations and the f a i l u r e of the l a r g e - s c a l e , impersonal mass organizations that replace them to assume t h e i r r o l e s and functions. The l a t t e r o f f e r only mechanical i n t e r a c t i o n not s o c i a l . People are s o c i a l l y i s o l a t e d from one another and i n t e r a c t only as segmented, impersonal, r o l e actors. The decline of community leaves i n d i v i d u a l s i s o l a t e d , unattached, s t r u c t u r e l e s s , and unintegrated thus a v a i l a b l e f o r m o b i l i z a t i o n by movements p r o f f e r i n g fellowship. The i s o l a t i o n and the concomitant a l i e n a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l are exploited most su c c e s s f u l l y by e l i t e s bent on t o t a l domination. Purporting to s a t i s f y the desperate quest f o r community pursued by the mass, these e l i t e s merely use the communal v i s i o n as a means of manipulation i n order to achieve t h e i r own an±i-democratic ends. A simple tabulation of the main c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of mass society i s presented below: Table I: The Constituent Elements of a Mass Society STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS PSYCHOLOGICAL ELEMENTS INDIVIDUAL I s o l a t i o n Emotional p r i v a t i o n A l i e n a t i o n S u s c e p t i b i l i t y SOCIAL Di r e c t elite-mass r e l a t i o n s Manipulation Centralized n a t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s E g a l i t a r i a n i s m Impersonality Attenuated primary and intermediate r e l a t i o n s Atomization PART 2 A CRITIQUE OP THE CONCEPT CHAPTER 4 42 THE FRAMEWORK OP THE CRITIQUE Having delineated the concept of mass society i n Part 1, we now turn our a t t e n t i o n to an assessment of i t . The problem, however, i s to decide upon what dimension t h i s c r i t i c a l evaluation should be undertaken. Is the concept purely " s c i e n t i f i c ? " Or, i s i t s o l e l y an ideology? Does i t merely describe s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t y ? Or, i s i t . rather a perspective f o r evaluating such phenomena? The basic contention of t h i s thesis i s that the concept of mass society i s not " s c i e n t i f i c " i n the modern, loose sense of the term, that i s , purely d e s c r i p t i v e implying no set of values. I t i s an i d e o l o g i c a l viewpoint, a Weltanschaaung, that i s , a s e l e c t i v e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the conditions i n society made by those who share some p a r t i c u l a r conception of what i t ought to be. 1 To deny that the concept i s " s c i e n t i f i c " i s not to deny i t s a n a l y t i c a l value. Thus, to dismiss, as Bramson does, the concept as mere ideology because i t does not meet the 2 canons of science, i s too g l i b a conclusion. "To neglect, i n the name of science, the idea of mass society, and to refuse to explore the sense i n which i t i s true i s to withdraw from "H?. White, Beyond Conformity (New York, The Pree Press of Glencoe, Inc., 1961), p. 6. 2 Bramson, P o l i t i c a l Context, pp. 117-118. 43 the present age with the obstinate p u r i t y that builds a Copernician ghetto i n a c i t y of Ptolemaists." 1 The concept, then, i s not based wholly on empirical evidence but contains within i t c e r t a i n value orientations that underlie the arguments of the t h e o r i s t s and determine the problems to be discussed. This blending of f a c t s and values would seem to be inherent i n the subject-matter of s o c i a l science but as the ongoing, unresolved controversy over the fact-value dichotomy demontrates, t h i s opinion i s by no means generally accepted. Thus, not a l l the t h e o r i s t s would accept that t h e i r analyses are distinguished by an intermingling of empirical and normative elements. Selznick, f o r example, gives no overt i n d i c a t i o n that he regards the concept as anything 2 other than an " a n a l y t i c a l category" and so ignores i n toto the value presuppositions inherent i n the concept. Kornhauser, w h i l s t recognizing that the concept i s a "value perspective f o r evaluating the q u a l i t y of culture and i n s t i t u t i o n s " as well as 3 a "theory" i n the s c i e n t i f i c sense, e x p l i c i t l y d istinguishes between them. For him, the t h e o r e t i c a l nature of a concept i s Walter, "Mass Society," p. 410. 2 Selznick, Organizational Weapon, p. x v i i . 3 ^Kornhauser, "Mass Society," .p. 64. The terms "theory 1 1" or "analysis" used by the t h e o r i s t s require elaboration. F i r s t , they can be used interchangeably. Second, i n c o n t r a d i s t i n c t i o n to value perspectives, they are e s s e n t i a l l y non-normative. In e i t h e r a c t i v i t y - analyzing or t h e o r i z i n g -no judgments are passed, no preferences expressed. 44 separate from i t s value relevance. 1 Unfortunately, however, t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s not s t r i c t l y observed and, as w i l l he shown below, value judgments are sometimes disguised as f a c t s . In the arena of methodological combat within contemporary s o c i a l science, to l a b e l those of a p o s i t i v i s t persuasion "ideologues" i s analogous to throwing a red rag at the p r o v e r b i a l b u l l . Nonetheless, t h e o r i s t s such as Kornhauser and Selznick who claim that the n e u t r a l i t y of science permeates t h e i r analyses of mass society, l a y themselves open to attack f o r t h e i r s c i e n t i f i c pretensions. Hopefully, t h i s c r i t i q u e w i l l expose t h e i r hidden value premises and i n so doing knock one more n a i l into the c o f f i n of the s t e r i l e fact-value dichotomy. In a sense to attack pretensions i s to attack "straw men" f o r much of what the t h e o r i s t s say, e s p e c i a l l y Kornhauser, i s of value and adds to our understanding of the forces that strengthen and, conversely, weaken l i b e r a l democracy. This th e s i s i n no way aims to depreciate the t h e o r i s t s ' contributions but i t does intend to point out the danger of too easy an acceptance of some of the key propositions of the concept by p r o f e s s i o n a l and "pop" s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s . These ideas have percolated through contemporary l i t e r a t u r e to such an extent that they are now accepted as "obvious truths" rather than as Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 24. 45 unconfirmed hypotheses ( r e f . , the a l i e n a t i o n hypothesis). In part, the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h i s rests on the shoulders of the t h e o r i s t s f o r claiming that the concept of mass society i s " s c i e n t i f i c " i n nature. Their pretensions, then, can j u s t i f i a b l y be c r i t i c i z e d . The l a b e l " s c i e n t i f i c " i s misapplied to the concept on three grounds. F i r s t , the "theory" of mass society i s not purely d e s c r i p t i v e but i s characterized by a mixture of normative and empirical elements. "Two things are mixed up i n that theory: a judgment as to the q u a l i t y of modern experience - with much" of which any s e n s i t i v e i n d i v i d u a l would agree - and presumed s c i e n t i f i c statement s ."'"' A prime example of t h i s blemding i s supplied by Selznick. For him: p "To analyze mass behavior i s to i d e n t i f y a 'disease'." Second, the "theory" i s imprecise as shown by the amount of c o n f l i c t i n g evidence that f i t s several of i t s hypotheses ( r e f . , a l i e n a t i o n and the concept of the mass). The ambiguity of c e r t a i n of the terms i n part explains t h i s . "Although i t provides t h e o r e t i c a l support f o r many in v e s t i g a t i o n s , lack of p r e c i s i o n denies i t the function of theory i n the s c i e n t i f i c 3 sense." B e l l , "Theory of Mass Society," p. 77. i Selznick, Organizational Weapon, p. 291. Walter, "Mass Society," p. 403. 46 Third, the concept of mass society f a l l s down because i t ignores some data that do not f i t . I t cannot, therefore, q u a l i f y as a theory f o r the l a t t e r does not imply a set of f a c t s but i s oriented toward comprehending as wide a number of data as possibl e . The concept resembles more of an ideology than a theory i n i t s s e l e c t i v i t y of information. Consequently, the t h e o r i s t s ' "empirical d e s c r i p t i o n of society cannot be regarded as s o c i o l o g i c a l l y r e l i a b l e . " Their misinterpretations of society "stem from s e l e c t i v e biases ... that f a i l to take i n t o account a l l necessary f a c t o r s . " 1 An attempt to substantiate these charges i s made throughout Part 2. Before beginning t h i s process, i t i s necessary to define more s p e c i f i c a l l y our targets of c r i t i c i s m . Since the work of Kornhauser, the t h e o r i s t s of mass society are divided into a r i s t o c r a t i c and democratic camps. A l l these t h e o r i s t s , i r r e s p e c t i v e of t h e i r value o r i e n t a t i o n s , accept the necessity of e l i t e r u l e i n society - mass or otherwise. The c e n t r a l problem confronting them i n a mass society i s the d e b i l i t a t i o n of t r a d i t i o n a l culture-bearing e l i t e s and of the core values they sustain, brought on by t h e i r lack of i n s u l a t i o n 2 from popular pressures. The unique feature of a mass society i s that f o r the f i r s t time i n h i s t o r y e l i t e s are formed i n the image of the mass (and are thus unqualified) and so are unable to perform t h e i r functions. White, Beyond Conformity, p. 124. i Wilensky, "Mass Society and Mass Culture," p. 174. 47 This precis of the t h e o r i s t s ' argument prompts two i n t e r e s t i n g questions. F i r s t , what kind of values, culture and functions are d e b i l i t a t e d i n a mass society? Second, are they i n e x t r i c a b l y connected to a c e r t a i n group and a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i e t a l form? 1 (An attempt to answer the two separate issues r a i s e d i n the l a t t e r i s made i n Chapters 5 and 7 r e s p e c t i v e l y ) . The only point of agreement among the t h e o r i s t s i s on the main values to be preserved, that i s , freedom and order. A r i s t o c r a t i c and democratic c r i t i c s of mass society concur on p "the preservation of c r i t i c a l values e s p e c i a l l y freedom." Likewise, order i s also a paramount value. "The emphasis on order which i s fundamental to sociology i s brought to a focus i n the theory of mass society."*^ The t h e o r i s t s , however, d i f f e r according to t h e i r value perspectives, over which groups embody freedom and over the type of society i n which l i b e r t y and order are most l i k e l y to f l o u r i s h . For example, the e a r l i e r self-avowed a r i s t o c r a t i c c r i t i c s of mass society, arguing that i t i s only possible f o r some few persons to achieve l i b e r t y , favoured feudal society as the form best suited to protect the freedom of the e l i t e from the non-elites and to maintain order. In contrast, the more contemporary """I am indebted to Dr. Martin Levin f o r r a i s i n g these questions. 2 Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 22. 48 t h e o r i s t s - generally l i b e r a l democrats - opt f o r a p l u r a l i s t i c society as the most stable and l i k e l y environment i n which to preserve the freedom of the many, the non-elites from e l i t e domination. Only t h i s l a t t e r group i s attacked i n t h i s paper. We have no quarrel with the a r i s t o c r a t i c c r i t i c s f o r they, unashamedly, admitted to t h e i r value preferences. These c r i t i c s of mass society were " e x p l i c i t a r i s t o c r a t s who never thought of apologizing f o r the s p e c i a l and exclusive nature of t h e i r own standards." 1 Our quarrel l i e s with the democratic t h e o r i s t s (Arendt, Fromm, Kornhauser, Nisbet and Selznick) f o r introducing i n t o t h e i r " s c i e n t i f i c " t r e a t i s e s unacknowledged preferences whilst professing a method divorced from values and revolving only about f a c t s . By confusing t h e i r r o l e s as objective observers of society and as evaluative c r i t i c s of i t , they expose t h e i r analyses to Parsons^ and White's c r i t i c i s m of "the theory of mass society as an i d e o l o g i c a l p o s i t i o n congenial 2 to c e r t a i n groups of i n t e l l e c t u a l s . " A prime example of a democratic t h e o r i s t who f a i l s to adhere to his i n t e n t i o n to discuss the problem on a t h e o r e t i c a l plane alone i s Kornhauser. He confuses h i s d i s t i n c t i o n between t h e o r e t i c a l and value orientations and i n so doing reveals his S.H. Hughes, "Mass Culture and S o c i a l C r i t i c i s m , " Daedalus, V o l . 89, No. 2 (Spring I960), p. 388. 2 T. Parsons and W. White, "The Mass Media and the Structure of American Society," Journal of S o c i a l Issues, V o l . 16, No. 3 (I960), p. 67. : 49 own preferences. "In spite of h i s desire, a p a r t i c u l a r p o l i t i c a l philosophy - one i n which the e f f i c i e n t cause i s c o n s t i t u t i v e (freedom) ... conditions the statement of the problem. 1 , 1 P r e c i s e l y how? For Kornhauser, the dilemma confronting democratic t h e o r i s t s i s twofold: how to safe-guard the freedom of the non-elites and how to maintain the p o l i t i c a l order. But i n t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the democratic c r i t i q u e of mass society, the problem i s never one of ends and goals other than freedom and order, ranked r e s p e c t i v e l y . Freedom i s the "ultimate value" or the value " c o n s t i t u t i v e of 2 the good society." The equally prime democratic value, 3 equality i s scarcely considered. This neglect weakens Kornhauser's analysis f o r i t suggests that a personal preference that excludes equality as one of i t s components and that places a heavy weight on l i b e r t y , and not an objective, comprehensive i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of democratic theory has determined the problem f o r him. Kornhauser's preference f o r l i b e r t y also leads him to confuse the democratic t h e o r e t i c a l and value orientations despite h i s e x p l i c i t statement that h i s i n t e r e s t l i e s only -with the former. T h e o r e t i c a l l y , the democratic t h e o r i s t s Pitcher, "?:Politics of Mass Society',« p. 251. 2 I b i d . , p. 250. 3 Apart from scanty references to equality i n Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , pp. 23, 31, 120. 50 i n s i s t upon self-determination by n o n - e l i t e s . In contrast, the democratic value i s l i b e r t y . But cannot self-determination and l i b e r t y be one and the same thing? As Pitcher points out, i f "democratic values emphasize l i b e r t y , or l i b e r t y plus c e r t a i n forms of decision-making that protect l i b e r t y , i t i s not c l e a r how the self-determination of the people, Kornhauser's t h e o r e t i c a l or a n a l y t i c a l proposition describing democratic theories, i s d i f f e r e n t from democratic v a l u e s . " 1 This confusion of d e s c r i p t i o n and evaluation i s not unique to Kornhauser. Submerged i n a l l the contemporary t h e o r i s t s ' analyses of mass soci e t y i s an e l i t i s t bias, which i s now discussed. Pitcher, " ' P o l i t i c s of Mass Society'," p. 249 CHAPTER 5 51 THE ELITIST BIAS Despite t h e i r disclaimer that they are conducting only a " t h e o r e t i c a l " exercise, the democratic t h e o r i s t s do dis p l a y an e l i t i s t bias i n t h e i r discussion of the elite-mass r e l a t i o n s h i p . This contention that the t h e o r i s t s are e l i t i s t s and/or conservatives i s a popular one espoused by the Bauers, B e l l , Bramson, Walter, Parsons, White and Wolin. However, much of t h e i r c r i t i c i s m f a l l s down because i t i s e i t h e r unsubstantiated or misdirected. The Bauers, f o r example, only "suspect" the t h e o r i s t s of e l i t i s m and make l i t t l e attempt to support t h e i r suspicions with evidence. 1 Instead, "they serve up unproven assertions spiced with a 2 l i b e r a l dose of innuendo." The attacks of B e l l and Bramson are weakened by t h e i r f a i l u r e to d i s t i n g u i s h between the a r i s t o c r a t i c and democratic c r i t i q u e s of mass socie t y . For B e l l , the theory of mass society i s "a defense of an a r i s t o c r a t i c c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n , " and "a conservative defense of p r i v i l e g e . " Here he i s attacking a r i s t o c r a t i c t h e o r i s t s f o r something """R.H. Bauer and A.H. Bauer, "America, 'Mass Society, 1 and Mass Media," Journal of S o c i a l Issues. V o l . 16, No. 3 (i960), p. 59. 2 Coser, "Comments on Bauer," p. 79. 5 B e l l , "Theory of Mass Society," p. 78. 52 they would openly admit to. Bramson's c r i t i c i s m i s s i m i l a r l y misguided. For him, the e l i t i s t p o s i t i o n of the t h e o r i s t s "emerges i n conjunction with t h e i r preference f o r a Standesgesellschaft, a h i e r a r c h i c a l l y organized s o c i a l order, the i d e a l f o r which i s often sought i n medieval models." 1 His c r i t i c i s m i s l i m i t e d i n that i t i s only applicable to a r i s t o c r a t i c t h e o r i s t s who are e x p l i c i t e l i t i s t s anyway. I t i s too s i m p l i s t i c to lump, as the Bauers, B e l l and Bramson do, a l l the t h e o r i s t s of mass society together i n t o one bag and then to proceed to l a b e l them "conservatives." There e x i s t considerable moral, p o l i t i c a l and s c i e n t i f i c p differences amongst them - amongst even those of a s i m i l a r value o r i e n t a t i o n (compare Mannheim and Kornhauser, f o r example). In an e f f o r t to be more precise than other c r i t i c s , the targets of attack are defined i n t h i s paper. They are the contemporary democratic t h e o r i s t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y Kornhauser, Nisbet and Selznick. They are accused of introducing i m p l i c i t value judgments into t h e i r s e l f -appointed value-free analyses of the elite-mass r e l a t i o n s h i p and i n so doing revealing an e l i t i s t b i a s . More s p e c i f i c a l l y , i n t h e i r supposedly n e u t r a l discussion they are charged with making i m p l i c i t judgments about the q u a l i t y Bramson, P o l i t i c a l Context, p. 37. Coser, "Comments on Bauer," p. 79 . 53 of mass society as compared to other s o c i e t a l types; and, by i m p l i c a t i o n , the q u a l i t y of the mass as compared with other aggregates. The t h e o r i s t s - although democrats - accept a p r i o r i the necessity of e l i t e guidance. Moreover, the freedom of the mass appears to depend upon e l i t e r u l e . " C i v i l l i b e r t y requires considerable s o c i a l autonomy of both e l i t e s and n o n - e l i t e s . " 1 Their carte MJbiche acceptance of the necessity of decision-making by e l i t e s r e l a t i v e l y free from the pressures of non-elites seems on f i r s t sight to be a damning i n d i c a t o r of the democratic t h e o r i s t s ' e l i t i s m . For are they not arguing, i n e f f e c t , that r u l e by a q u a l i f i e d minority i s i n e v i t a b l e , i f l i b e r t y i s to be maintained? The i n e v i t a b i l i t y of e l i t e r u l e i s assumed on the basis that nowhere i n t h e i r discussion are there any q u a l i f i c a t i o n s to i t introduced. Irrespective of s o c i a l conditions, e l i t e guidance appears necessary. For Parsons and White, as f o r Walter, t h i s acceptance i s s u f f i c i e n t evidence of the 2 t h e o r i s t s ' e l i t i s m . However, i s t h e i r acceptance of the e l i t e p r i n c i p l e , i n f a c t , incompatible with t h e i r democratic leanings as the above c r i t i c s suggest? To the extent that any large, complex Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 230. 2 See Parsons and White, "Mass Media," p. 70; see also E. Walter, "The Power E l i t e , " Dissent, V o l . 3, No. 4 ( F a l l 1956), p. 398. 54 system - democratic or otherwise - employs minority leadership i n order to handle the a f f a i r s of the system e f f e c t i v e l y , i t would seem that the c r i t i c s are overlooking a p r a c t i c a l r e a l i t y of p o l i t i c a l l i f e : There i s leadership everywhere ... and leadership implies a d i v i s i o n between the few who make up the vanguard and the many who make up i t s t r a i n . In t h i s respect democracy equally with other forms of state accepta as basic the f a c t of e l i t e . 1 Consequently, the democratic t h e o r i s t s ' acceptance of minority leadership need not i n i t s e l f expose t h e i r e l i t i s t b i a s . Where such a bias emerges i s i n t h e i r discussion of the fa c t o r s that contribute to the pe c u l i a r nature of the e l i t e -mass r e l a t i o n s h i p i n a mass society. The basic complaint of the t h e o r i s t s i s that such a society i s characterized by rule by an inept majority. In t h i s sense mass society i s i n f e r i o r to previous s o c i e t a l forms that are distinguished by rule by a competent minority. The unique form of rule i n a mass society occurs because the e l i t e i s formed i n the image of the mass which i s , by d e f i n i t i o n , incompetent. Thus, the e l i t e i s not e s p e c i a l l y q u a l i f i e d but i t i s implied that i t ought to be. Insofar as the process of c u l t u r a l l e v e l l i n g prevents the emergence of rul e by a q u a l i f i e d minority, i t i s i m p l i c i t l y condemned by the t h e o r i s t s . Selznick, f o r example, regards D. Spitz, Patterns of Anti-Democratic Thought, Revised ed. (Princeton, N.J., Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1968), p. 104. . 55 the l e v e l l i n g process as undesirable because i t destroys the d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s of the e l i t e . For him, "a mass society i s one i n which no one i s q u a l i f i e d . This i s so because the r e l a t i o n s h i p s involve a r a d i c a l c u l t u r a l l e v e l l i n g , not because no superior i n d i v i d u a l s exist."" 1" The process of c u l t u r a l attenuation, then, destroys the p o s s i b i l i t y of q u a l i f i e d minority leadership. Instead, the entry of the mass of the population into such areas of " c u l t u r a l incubation and development" as education, l e i s u r e and p o l i t i c s means that such agencies "must adapt themselves to the in t e r v e n t i o n of the mass by permitting p a r t i c i p a t i o n p on the basis of low standards of knowledge and conduct." The mass, by d e f i n i t i o n , are unable to take over the r o l e of the e l i t e as c u l t u r a l innovators. Thus, i n a mass society the established c u l t u r a l standards and the "stable," "diverse" and " c r i t i c a l " values of t r a d i t i o n a l e l i t e s are replaced by the a r b i t r a r y opinions and f l u i d , homogeneous and u n c r i t i c a l values of the mass. Surely i n t h i s discussion Selznick reveals a d e f i n i t e anti-democratic b i a s . For i s he not implying that s o c i a l betterment harms culture or, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , the c u l t u r a l standards and values of a r e l a t i v e l y narrow e l i t e ? In the t h e o r i s t s ' preference function the preservation of the Selznick, " I n s t i t u t i o n a l V u l n e r a b i l i t y , " p. 321. 2 I b i d . , p. 322. 56 d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s of t h i s e l i t e and the values i t symbolizes, appears to carry a higher value than the process of democratization. Their e l i t i s t stance a r i s e s , i n part, from t h e i r attempt to apply two incompatible standards simultaneously, the one a r i s t o c r a t i c and the other, democratic. On the one hand, they are concerned to protect the p o s i t i o n of a c e r t a i n e l i t e and on the other, they i d e n t i f y themselves with the v i r t u e s of the common man. "They have t r i e d to combine e l i t i s m and democracy - things compatible perhaps i n a P e r i c l e a n or J e f f e r s o n i a n sense of popular government led by 'the Best,' but, under contemporary conditions, r a d i c a l o p p o s i t e s . H u g h e s i s here r e f e r r i n g to the t h e o r i s t s ' desire to preserve and impose the s p e c i a l c u l t u r a l standards of a small e l i t e i n a society that emphaiszes the value of popular judgment. Their p o s i t i o n does seem to resemble, as Lipset i n d i c a t e s , the c l a s s i c case of t r y i n g "to have the cake and to 2 eat i t too," of t r y i n g to combine the best of two possihle worlds - a r i s t o c r a c y and democracy. The e l i t i s t bias i n the model of mass society also emerges i n the concepts of e l i t e and mass, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the l a t t e r . The t h e o r i s t s ' image of the e l i t e , conceived i n terms of superior moral character, i s e s s e n t i a l l y p o s i t i v e . In Hughes, "Mass Culture," p. 388. Lipeet, P o l i t i c a l Man, p. 413. 57 contrast, t h e i r image of the mass i s b a s i c a l l y negative f o r i t i s i m p l i c i t l y and unfavourably compared with the e l i t e . Both concepts, then, reveal the e l i t i s t bias of the t h e o r i s t s but that of the mass does so i n more of a subtle way. In the l a t t e r , the t h e o r i s t s express t h e i r preference "almost s e c r e t l y , not s t a t i n g i t d i r e c t l y , but holding i t as a l a t e n t assumption while t a l k i n g about not the e l i t e , but 'the mass." 1 According to the t h e o r i s t s , the e l i t e i s a superior minority as contrasted with the i n f e r i o r mass. Members of the e l i t e , unlike the inept mass, are competent to r u l e i n matters of state, culture, education, etc. This idea of a narrow, sharply defined e l i t e s u i t a b l y q u a l i f i e d to perform a " v i t a l l y u s e f u l " r o l e i n the s o c i a l system has i t s o r i g i n s i n a t r a d i t i o n dating back to Plato. "The concept of the e l i t e f i t s n a t u r a l l y with a t r a d i t i o n of p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l theory i n which hierarchy, order and d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n are fundamental ideas: a t r a d i t i o n as old as p o l i t i c a l thought i t s e l f and as p recent as modern sociology." A troublesome point i n the t h e o r i s t s ' discussion of t h i s concept i s how to ensure that the e l i t e w i l l be q u a l i f i e d . What guarantee i s there that i t s members w i l l possess the Wright M i l l s , Power E l i t e , p. 331. Wolin, P o l i t i c s and V i s i o n , p. 420. 58 " r e q u i s i t e values and s k i l l s " to carry out t h e i r leadership functions, that i s , as policymakers, as guardians of the c u l t u r a l heritage and as protectors of i t s standards and v a l u e s ? 1 The t h e o r i s t s o f f e r only the p a l l i a t i v e of 2 education. But surely t h i s i s no guarantee of an e l i t e of q u a l i t y : "To i n d i c a t e that the e l i t e i n a liberal-democratic or p l u r a l i s t i c society (Kornhauser•s preferred model f o r society) are educated i s not to face the issue squarely, f o r as he himself reports, one-quarter of H i t l e r ' s S.S. e l i t e at 3 one time possessed Ph.D. degrees." Presumably, the mass men amongst the e l i t e s reached the same educational l e v e l as t h e i r p l u r a l i s t i c peers but the former obviously lack the r e q u i s i t e q u a l i f i c a t i o n s . What c r i t e r i o n , then, distinguished a man of q u a l i t y from mass man? How do we sort out the sheep from the goats? The t h e o r i s t s seem to evade such considerations. The hoary question of how to ensure that leadership i s of the required c a l i b r e or character i s not answered s a t i s f a c t o r i l y by them. In f a c t , the whole discussion of the concept of the e l i t e by the t h e o r i s t s seems almost d e l i b e r a t e l y vague. The concept i s not t i e d to classes or hi e r a r c h i e s of power as i t was f o r Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 52. 2 See i b i d . , p. 57. ^Pitcher, " ' P o l i t i c s of Mass Society,'" p. 251. 59 e x p l i c i t a r i s t o c r a t s . I t i s a moral rather than a s o c i a l concept - "the a r i s t o c r a c y becomes a s c a t t e r of morally superior persons rather than a s o c i a l l y recognizable class."""" But, as Wright M i l l s i n d i c a t e s , to generalize the a r i s t o c r a t i c ethos i n t h i s way and to empty i t of s o c i a l content are unsa t i s f a c t o r y f o r they provide no widely accepted c r i t e r i a f o r judging who i s e l i t e and who i s not. The t h e o r i s t s ' penchant f o r an e l i t e of i l l - d e f i n e d q u a l i t y may be u n r e a l i s t i c under contemporary conditions. Walter argues that modern e l i t e s tend i n c r e a s i n g l y to be re c r u i t e d from psychopaths who manifest behavioral t r a i t s s i m i l a r to those a t t r i b u t e d to the mass by the t h e o r i s t s . Contemporary l i b e r a l democracies are no more immune from such "abnormal and delinquent leadership" than are d i c t a t o r s h i p s . Thus, no benefit i s to be gained from s u b s t i t u t i n g the pathology of the e l i t e s f o r that of the mass. "He who r e v o l t s from the masses to the fantasy of an a r i s t o c r a t i c refuge i s exactly i n the p o s i t i o n of the man i n the fable who 2 sold h i s breeches to buy a wig." The t h e o r i s t s could, of course, reply that t h i s a f f i n i t y between the personality of the e l i t e i s t y p i c a l of a mass society or, at l e a s t , evidence that mass phenomena are i n f i l t r a t i n g other s o c i e t a l forms. U n t i l , however, they •"•Wright M i l l s , Power E l i t e , pp. 3 3 0 - 3 3 1 . 2E.V. Walter, "The Masses and the E l i t e , " Dissent, Y o l . 3 , No. 1 (Winter 1 9 5 6 ) , p. 7 8 . 60 p r o f f e r a more precise and l e s s loaded concept of the e l i t e , Walter's point retains a c e r t a i n v a l i d i t y . In appropiating part of the a r i s t o c r a t i c c r i t i q u e of mass society, v i z . , t h e i r desire to preserve the exclusiveness of the e l i t e , the democratic t h e o r i s t s seem also to have adopted - perhaps unconsciously - the a r i s t o c r a t i c concept of the mass: This conception sees humanity as divided into two species: the p r i m i t i v e , formless mass, and the e l i t e , which i s evolved, r e f i n e d and p u r i f i e d from the mass and, presumably, restrained by inner c o n t r o l s . When the masses are quiet, s e t t l e d i n t o the forms of piety and authority set up f o r them, they are human; when they are presumptuous and pass over these l i m i t s , they are barbarians. 1 The image of the mass that emerges from the "theory" of mass soc i e t y conforms i n es s e n t i a l s to the above d e s c r i p t i o n . I t appears as an inept, p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous aggregate. Why i s the mass regarded as a p o t e n t i a l danger by the th e o r i s t s ? Two reasons can be gleaned from t h e i r discussion. F i r s t , the mass poses a threat to the t r a d i t i o n a l e l i t e s hence to t r a d i t i o n and i t s c u l t u r a l values. A mass society i s characterized by a r e l a t i v e lack of respect f o r t r a d i t i o n e s p e c i a l l y t r a d i t i o n a l b e l i e f s . I t i s a society of the 2 " l i v i n g contemporaneous mass." S i m i l a r l y , Nisbet t a l k s of Ibi d . , p. 75. S h i l s , "Theory of Mass Society," p. 54. 61 the " t r a d i t i o n l e s s mass." 1 For Selznick, the fundamental meaning of "massness" i s the "weakening of values," and: p "Where values weaken, manipulation a r i s e s . " Lacking values because the mass i s atomized, i t s members also lack d i s c i p l i n e f o r "the d i s c i p l i n e of values within a person has a close and continuing r e l a t i o n s h i p with the d i s c i p l i n e of values supported by human i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s . " Second, i n challenging the legitimacy of t r a d i t i o n a l e l i t e s , the mass i s also i n d i r e c t l y confronting the accepted order of power succession and the h i e r a r c h i c a l structure of so c i e t y . Mass behavior i s seen as a consequence of "the withdrawal of deference to established i n s t i t u t i o n s . " ^ The question of whether such withdrawal i s ever j u s t i f i e d , under c e r t a i n circumstances, i s brushed aside. Selznick, i n p a r t i c u l a r , seems so committed to the preservation of i n s t i t u t i o n s qua i n s t i t u t i o n s that any attempt to question t h e i r value i s interpreted as a sign of "reds under the beds," that i s , subversion on the part of extremists. The p o s s i b i l i t y that i n s t i t u t i o n s may r i g i d i f y i n t h e i r operation and become too deeply involved i n the maintenance Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, p. 203. Selznick, Organizational Weapon, pp. 307-308. Nisbet, op. c i t . , p. 230. Selznick, op. c i t . , p. 294. 62 of the status quo at the expense of service to t h e i r c l i e n t e l e i s scarcely considered. Indeed, the hypothesis i s tendered that t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y i s l i k e l y to increase, the more established the i n s t i t u t i o n . The issue of the legitimacy of such i n s t i t u t i o n s depends upon one's place i n the hierarchy. From the point of view of most (but not a l l ) members of the i n s t i t u t i o n a l e l i t e s , they remain l e g i t i m a t e . From the perspective of the mass whose members are at the r e c e i v i n g end, the power of such i n s t i t u t i o n s i s no longer regarded as l e g i t i m a t e . I t s consequent withdrawal of deference, then, can r e s u l t from the malfunctioning of i n s t i t u t i o n s . How f a r the t h e o r i s t s ' concept of the mass i s grounded i n f e a r rather than f a c t i s demonstrated by the i d e o l o g i c a l nature of the concept. An examination of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s imputed to the mass by the t h e o r i s t s i n d i c a t e s that they are not e m p i r i c a l l y v a l i d but are stereotyped notions. The very f a c t that c o n f l i c t i n g evidence, to that of the t h e o r i s t s e x i s t s should make them wary of such categoric statements as (1) "the mass i s distinguished by mediocrity;" (2) "the mass i s atomized;" and (3) "the mass i s alienated hence suggestible to extremist behavior." The cumulative e f f e c t of such statements i s described by B e l l : 63 The image of the mindless mass capable only of violence and excess i s a product of a tradition-bound, cMass-biased point of view ... As a r e s u l t of i t s l a r g e l y unquestioned acceptance throughout s o c i a l theory, i t has had the impact of a cumulatively self-confirming hypothesis; i t s oft-repeated d e c l a r a t i o n that t h i s i s what the mass is_ disposes people to act i n that fashion and has f u r t h e r the e f f e c t of i n h i b i t i n g considerations by the policy-maker, democratic leader and s o c i a l t h e o r i s t of what the mass i s c a p a b l e o f . I t i s i n the t h e o r i s t s ' discussion of the mediocrity of the mass that t h e i r e l i t i s t bias emerges most c l e a r l y . By t h i s , they presumably mean that the mass lacks a d i s c r i m i n a t i n g taste, an i n a b i l i t y to judge so that i t s members w i l l s e l e c t the mediocre, the s u p e r f i c i a l and not the superior and profound. Influenced by y Gasset and seemingly unaware of the a r i s t o c r a t i c c o r o l l a r i e s that stem from the acceptance of h i s mediocrity t h e s i s , the t h e o r i s t s see the mass as psssessing a "commonplace mind ... that crushes' beneath i t everything that i s excellent, 2 i n d i v i d u a l , q u a l i f i e d and s e l e c t . " Mass man i s , then, the average man. Indeed, he i s , by d e f i n i t i o n , a mediocrity and as such does not possess competence. The exact nature of h i s incompetence i s hard to e s t a b l i s h . For Selznick, mass man, "the S t a l i n o i d , " lacks competence i n "the defense of D. B e l l , "Notes on A u t h o r i t a r i a n and Democratic Leadership," i n Gouldner (ed.), op. c i t . , p. 396. 2 J . Ortega y Gasset, "The Coming of the Masses," i n Rosenberg and White (eds), op. c i t . , p. 45. 64 i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e g r i t y . " 1 We can deduce that he also lacks competence i n decision-making - p o l i t i c a l or otherwise. Incompetence appears to be almost a generic t r a i t of the mass that cannot be a l l e v i a t e d by increased educational opportunities, e t c.: I t i s not ... simply the f a c t that the average man i s uninformed. He lacks, even more, the capacity to accumulate the necessary knowledge on which to base an i n t e l l i g e n t opinion. By d e f i n i t i o n not a superior man, he i s said to be e s s e n t i a l l y an imperfect, even i n f e r i o r man.2 Mass man, therefore, i s average, inherently incompetent and i n f e r i o r . A l l these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s combine together to produce the mediocrity of the mass. I t i s contended that the t h e o r i s t s ' c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the mass i n t h i s way depends upon value preferences not f a c t s . Questions of mediocrity and i n f e r i o r i t y are surely matters of judgment. I m p l i c i t l y postulated i n t h e i r discussion are superior standards by which the mass f a l l s short. These standards are those of the e l i t e who, f o r the t h e o r i s t s , i s superior i n judgment, taste, q u a l i f i c a t i o n s - nay even, innate i n t e l l i g e n c e . The ru l e of an inept majority i s contrasted unfavourably with the ru l e of a competent e l i t e . "Unfortunately, the only judge of the •5 e l i t e ' s competence i s the e l i t e i t s e l f . " There then a r i s e s Selznick, Organizational Weapon, p. 297. Spit z , Patterns of Anti-Democratic Thought, p. 127. 'Walter, "Masses and E l i t e , " p. 76. 65 a case of "quis custodet custodes?" Thus, contrary to Selznick*s denial that e x t r a - s c i e n t i f i c judgments are made about the various s t r a t a i n a mass society, the mass i s unfavourably contrasted with the e l i t e (see p. 20 of the t e x t ) . The e l i t i s t overtones of the t h e o r i s t s ' model of mass man are f u r t h e r highlighted i n t h e i r debate concerning mass cu l t u r e . B a s i c a l l y , there seem to be two questions. On the one hand, are the c u l t u r a l standards set f o r the masses? On the other, do the masses get what they want and they deserve? I f the former, then, the mass cannot help but be mediocre because a c u l t u r a l e l i t e (or s o c i a l conditions) prescribe standards f o r i t . I f the l a t t e r , then, since the standards are mediocre, the mass i s ipso facto mediocre as w e l l . The paradoxical s i t u a t i o n of the contemporary t h e o r i s t s i s that they embrace both p o s i t i o n s . This seeming inconsistency i s explicable on i d e o l o g i c a l grounds. That i s , each p o s i t i o n assumed by the t h e o r i s t s represents not a t h e o r e t i c a l but an i d e o l o g i c a l approach described by White as "reforming" (structure-oriented) and "moralizing" (value-oriented) r e s p e c t i v e l y . Further, each i d e o l o g i c a l wing i s representative of the democratic and a r i s t o c r a t i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of mass s o c i e t y . 1 Thus, i n adopting both White, Beyond Conformity, p. 58. 66 conceptions as "a basis f o r a general theory of mass society," Kornhauser and h i s followers have unwittingly also assumed t h e i r value premises. This explains, i n part, why the t h e o r i s t s are at one and the same time " s o c i a l democrats" and " c u l t u r a l e l i t i s t s . " 2 On the one hand, the t h e o r i s t s as s o c i a l - s t r u c t u r e i d e o l o g i s t s blame the "low q u a l i t y of supply" f o r the mediocrity of the mass. Obviously, the unique feature of a mass society i s that the mass sets the standards as any e l i t e i s formed i n i t s image. Consequently, i n such a society i t i s not the c u l t u r a l e l i t e that i s held responsible f o r the mediocrity of standards but s o c i a l conditions. Given a favourable s o c i a l environment (the r e s t o r a t i o n of community t i e s , the a b o l i t i o n of anonymous authority, e t c . ) , c u l t u r a l standards would be superior. But i n an atomized mass society the mass i s so alienated that i t cannot be expected to create and accept anything better than mediocre culture, s o c i a l •5 conditions being what they are. Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 38. p Parsons and White, "Mass Media," p. 68. White suggests another reason why these i n t e l l e c t u a l s of l i b e r a l - r a d i c a l persuasion adopt an e l i t i s t p o s i t i o n i n regard to mass cu l t u r e . This area d i r e c t l y impinges on them. Whereas i n other areas such as economics, they could a f f o r d to be l i b e r a l , i n t h e i r own private domain of culture, they adopt a contrary stand. "The standards now being focussed on are those over which the i n t e l l e c t u a l s consider themselves to be the guardians," White, Beyond Conformity, p. 208. Parsons and White, op. c i t . , p. 69. 67 On the other hand, the t h e o r i s t s , as moralizers, place the blame f o r mediocrity squarely on the shoulders of the mass. They argue that mass man does have "consumer sovereignty" and so must be held responsible f o r the low q u a l i t y of c u l t u r a l standards. 1 The mediocrity of such standards i s correlated with the loss of exclusiveness of the e l i t e s i n a mass society. The mass i s incapable of maintaining the same l e v e l of q u a l i t y i n i t s protection of culture as t r a d i t i o n a l e l i t e s and so, i n e v i t a b l y , standards decline. Thus, i t i s as moralizers that the t h e o r i s t s reveal t h e i r e l i t i s t b i a s . The important point to emerge from t h i s discussion i s that the t h e o r i s t s ' concept of the mediocre mass i s i d e o l o g i c a l not t h e o r e t i c a l . To l a b e l i t the l a t t e r i s , therefore, a misnomer. Whether the mass i s or i s not mediocre i s an open not a closed question. We now turn to discuss whether or not the mass i s atomized. I b i d . ; see also White, Beyond Conformity, p. 57 68 CHAPTER 6 THE RISE OR PALL OP COMMUNITY? The t h e o r i s t s argue that the atomized mass i s a product of s o c i a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . Lacking the attachments of independent groups, the mass i s s o c i a l l y unstructured or unintegrated. As i t s members do not share values and norms i n common, they can behave i n an uniform and u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d way. I n d i v i d u a l i t y i s assumed to disappear on entry i n t o t h i s aggregate. Mass man i s seen as an i s o l a t e d , anonymous detached p a r t i c l e and as such an easy target f o r manipulation - organizational or propogandist. This concept of the atomized mass i s c r u c i a l to the so-called theory of mass soc i e t y . Atomization i s the antecedent condition that gives r i s e to a l i e n a t i o n and extremist behavior. I f i t i s found to have l i t t l e basis i n empirical r e a l i t y , then, the t h e o r i s t s ' fundamental th e s i s crumbles. At present, a debate i s raging between the t h e o r i s t s and t h e i r empirical c r i t i c s over the extent of atomization i n the modern community. Mass communications research i n the U.S. throws in t o question the concept of the atomized mass. I t challenges the notion that members of the mass have no contact with one another except v i a the media. The findings of researchers reveal that the messages of the mass media are received within a group context. The influence of primary groups i s e s p e c i a l l y 69 strong i n acting as a buffer between the media and the individual-in-the-mass: Now to the extent that mass communications research has revealed the existence and the importance of intermediate groups between the media and the 'masses,' i t has also undermined the concept of m a n i p u l a b i l i t y as following from the atomization and i s o l a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l s who compose the mass. So that evidence which contradicts the one image w i l l also contradict the other. 1 Research i n other areas besides communications also disputes the concept of the atomized mass. Various s o c i o l o g i s t s have discovered i n America, that "most massive of a l l mass s o c i e t i e s " ( S h i l s ) , the persistence and s t a b i l i t y of primary bonds; the continued existence of a widespread and r e l a t i v e l y stable a s s o c i a t i o n a l structure; and t h r i v i n g voluntary organizations. I t i s on the basis of such research findings that the t h e o r i s t s of mass society are accused of f a l s i f y i n g the extent Bramson, P o l i t i c a l Context, pp. 108-109. The various studies that contradict the image of the atomized mass are c i t e d on pp. 99-101. 2See B e l l , "Theory of Mass Society," pp. 80-81; S. Greer and P. Orleans, "Mass Society and the P a r a p o l i t i c a l Structure," American S o c i o l o g i c a l Review, V o l . 27, No. 5 (October 1962), p. 645; Wilensky, "Mass Society and Mass Culture," pp. 176-177; and the findings of the studies of Axelrod ( D e t r o i t ) , Wendell B e l l (San Francisco), Foley (Rochester), Greer (los Angeles), Janowitz (Chicago), Kommarovsky (New York), are c i t e d i n : S. Greer, "Individual P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n Mass Society," i n R. Young (ed.), Approaches to the Study of P o l i t i c s (Evanston, I l l i n o i s , Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1958), pp. 331-332. 70 of contemporary i s o l a t i o n . But do such r e s u l t s r e a l l y destroy the v a l i d i t y of t h e i r atomization thesis? Once again, the c r i t i c s of mass society are weak adversaries. Their naivete i s subject to attack f o r they "seem to think that t h i s information, which i s anything but s t a r t l i n g ... i s enough to r i d s o c i a l thought of a noxious i l l u s i o n . " 1 B e l l and the other c r i t i c s are p a r t i c u l a r l y naive i n thinking that one instance i s s u f f i c i e n t to i n v a l i d a t e a hypothesis: Those who r e j e c t the theory when they observe anti-mass tendencies i n America, England or elsewhere confound the general c r i t e r i a of mass society with the p a r t i c u l a r case. The theory does assert that contemporary s o c i e t i e s are e s p e c i a l l y l i k e l y to develop properties of mass society, unless strong counter-tendencies e x i s t ; but i t does not imply that a l l modern s o c i e t i e s manifest these properties i n the same degree. 2' The c r i t i c s also misinterpret the "theory." The t h e o r i s t s never make the claim that primary r e l a t i o n s h i p s and secondary associations disappear i n a mass societ y . They argue only that t h e i r functions lose t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e so that such groupings e x i s t only on the periphery of society and f a i l to involve t h e i r members psy c h o l o g i c a l l y , (which i s very d i f f i c u l t to prove). The mere existence and number of groups i s not a v a l i d Walter, "Mass Society," pp. 403-404. Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 14. 71 i n d i c a t i o n of pluralism. "The important question i s not whether primary groups e x i s t or whether they f l o u r i s h i n mass soci e t y , hut rather what t h e i r o r i e n t a t i o n and function tend to he; whether they are autonomous or dependent; whether they provide conditions of freedom or become a u x i l i a r y engines f o r the forces of mass s o c i e t y . " 1 Empirical research into the question of whether the p l u r a l i s t group structure i s subject to these forces of mass soci e t y tends to support the notion of the decline of community. Y i d i c h and Bensman's study of Springdale revealed the dependence of t h i s small town upon the i n s t i t u t i o n s of a mass so c i e t y . The response of i t s c i t i z e n s to t h e i r powerlessness i n the face of domination by mass organizations i s i n t e r e s t i n g . They refused to recognize t h e i r loss of l o c a l autonomy and instead, reaffirmed the values (rugged independence, equality and grass-roots democracy) that were denied by r e a l i t y . In t h i s sense, t h e i r values are " q u i x o t i c " but these defenses are also " r e a l i s t i c i n that they enabled the Springdaler to survive i n a world over which p he had no c o n t r o l . " Much of Stein's research i n d i c a t e s a s i m i l a r erosion of independence on the part of l o c a l communities. His review of Walter, "Mass Society," p. 404. 2 A.J. V i d i c h and J . Bensman, Small Town i n Mass Society, Revised ed. (Princeton, N.J., Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1968), p. i x . 72 a v a r i e t y of empirical studies of community organization leads him to conclude that there i s , indeed, an "eclipse of community" i n Worth America: The process seems to have two poles. On the one hand, i n d i v i d u a l s become i n c r e a s i n g l y dependent upon c e n t r a l i z e d a u t h o r i t i e s and agencies i n a l l areas of l i f e . On the other, personal l o y a l t i e s decrease t h e i r range with the successive weakening of n a t i o n a l t i e s , r egional t i e s , neighborhood t i e s , family t i e s , and f i n a l l y , t i e s to a coherent image of one's s e l f . These polar processes of heightened f u n c t i o n a l interdependence and diminished l o y a l t i e s appear i n most s o c i o l o g i c a l diagnoses of our. time. 1 Although these processes appear uniform i n t h e i r impact, the responses to them are anything but the same. Stein compared the postures of i n d i v i d u a l s toward mass society i n three d i f f e r e n t suburbs and Springdale. He found that t h e i r reactions v a r i e d . The cynicism of the "exurbanites," and the s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of the suburbanites i n Park Forest and Crestwood Heights, toward the workings of a mass society contrasted sharply with the naivete of the small towners. These dif f e r e n c e s , however, represented only "so many minor p v a r i a t i o n s on a single major theme," the decline of community. Caution i s advised i n accepting t h i s decline of community as v e r i f i e d because there are c e r t a i n methodological problems involved i n the research on community organization. F i r s t , "4/1.R. Stein, The E c l i p s e of Community (Hew York, Harper & Row, 1964), p. 2 I b i d . , p. 296. 73 the extent of the representativeness of community studies i s l i m i t e d . Second, generalizations are d i f f i c u l t to make "because of the differences - regional, economic, age, etc. - as between communities. Third, the studies are confined i n time and space and so t h e i r relevance f o r understanding future or past studies i s always i n question. 1 Moreover, even i f the image of decline i s an accurate r e f l e c t i o n of the process of atomization, does t h i s v e r i f y the*hypothesis f o r the th e o r i s t s ? The United States might be an exception; the same i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s may not apply i n other c u l t u r a l contexts. To te s t whether s i m i l a r forces create everywhere s i m i l a r conditions, a large assumption made by the t h e o r i s t s , requires a v a r i e t y of c r o s s - c u l t u r a l studies that have not yet mate r i a l i z e d . The concept of atomization, as developed by the t h e o r i s t s , attempts to explain the appeal of p o l i t i c a l extremism. What has research into the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the atomized mass and mass movements uncovered? Much i n t e l l e c t u a l e f f o r t has been expended i n an attempt to e s t a b l i s h the exact nature of the support of Nazism. No d e f i n i t i v e answer i s forthcoming as ye% f o r the s o c i a l bases upon which the Nazis b u i l t t h e i r success are s t i l l hotly debated between the mass and cl a s s For an elaboration of the above points and a discussion of the problems posed by the use of d i f f e r e n t i a l l e v e l s of abs t r a c t i o n i n community research, see i b i d . , pp. 94-96, 295-301 r e s p e c t i v e l y . 74 t h e o r i s t s , Tooth using as weapons, sophisticated s t a t i s t i c a l techniques i n t h e i r analyses of voting returns. On the one side are arrayed the proponents of mass anal y s i s who argue that Nazism was e s s e n t i a l l y a mass phenomenon. Arendt, f o r example, contends that the r e c r u i t s f o r the Nazi movement came from "the p o l i t i c a l l y n e u t r a l and i n d i f f e r e n t masses." 1 S i m i l a r l y , Kornhauser favours the idea that extremist movements have a mass rather than a cl a s s base. "The primary u t i l i t y of mass analysis centers i n i t s power to explain c r i s i s p o l i t i c s and the extremist response, whereas cla s s analysis would appear to be more u s e f u l i n the area of 2 routine p o l i t i c s . " The study of O'lessker also supports the atomized mass hypothesis. He points out that the success of the Nazis i n 1930 depended, i n part, upon "the outcast and the apathetic." On the other side, there are the supporters of class analysis who contend that, on the contrary, Nazism was a cla s s not a mass phenomenon. Lipset a t t r i b u t e s i t s success i n 1930 to the support of the middle c l a s s , s p e c i f i c a l l y , the non-Catholic bourgeoisie. He argues that t h i s extremist ^Arendt, Origins of T o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , pp. 311-312. 2 Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 15. 5K. O'Lessker, "Who Voted f o r H i t l e r ? A New Look at the Class Basis of Nazism," American Journal of Sociology, V o l . 74, No. 1 (July 1968), p. 66. 75 movement did not become a mass movement u n t i l a f t e r t h i s c r u c i a l e l e c t i o n . He rebuts the mass thesis on the grounds that: The most outcast and apathetic sections of the population can be won to p o l i t i c a l a c t i o n by extremist ... parties only a f t e r such p a r t i e s have become major movements not while they are i n t h e i r period of early r i s e . To support a new and small movement requires a r e l a t i v e l y complex, long-term view of the p o l i t i c a l process which insecure, ignorant and apathetic persons cannot sustain. 1 A l l e n also supports the class idea i n h i s study of the predominantly middle-class town of Thalberg. He concludes that there the r i s e of Nazism was a class r e v o l t on the part of the middle class against the working c l a s s . "The most important f a c t o r i n the v i c t o r y of Nazism was the active 2 d i v i s i o n of the town along class l i n e s . " Nazism or other mass movements that present an extremist view of p o l i t i c s are complex, many-sided phenomena. Consequently, no one single explanation can adequately account f o r t h e i r o r i g i n s and growth. Rather, a combination of fa c t o r s must be considered. To explain, say, the r i s e of Nazism, at l e a s t both models - the quasi-Marxist c l a s s and the atomized mass - would seem to apply i n varying degrees, the "''Lipset, P o l i t i c a l Man, pp. 150-151. 2 W.S. A l l e n , The Nazi Seizure of Power (Chicago, Quadrangle Books, 1965), p. 274. 76 precise extent of which i s s t i l l an unknown quantity. The concept of the atomized mass does not o f f e r an adequate explanation on i t s own. Thus, to dismiss, as the t h e o r i s t s tend to do, class analysis as i r r e l e v a n t to an understanding of extremism i s a myopic view. Conversely, i t i s equally short-sighted f o r the class analysts on t h e i r part to ignore mass theory. Also, Nazism i s "but one example of an extremist movement. The t h e o r i s t s of mass society seem to assume that the s i m i l a r i t i e s between such movements are greater than t h e i r differences but i t i s conceivable that the l a t t e r might outweigh the former. U n t i l much more work has been done on the nature of recruitment to such movements, judgment concerning the u t i l i t y of the concept of the atomized mass i s suspended. We now turn to examine the subjective c o r o l l a r y of atomization, that i s , the concept of a l i e n a t i o n . Some argue that t h i s concept of a l i e n a t i o n i s synonymous with the idea of mass society. I t forms the apex f o r the Bauers and Bramson, who describe the "theory" as "a persistent parable," "a statement of a l i e n a t i o n " r e s p e c t i v e l y . 1 The f e e l i n g of a l i e n a t i o n as experienced by mass man i s , perhaps, most l u c i d l y expressed by Promm. Bauers, "America, 'Mass Society,'" p. 72; Bramson, P o l i t i c a l Context, p. 64. 77 "Man does not experience himself as the active hearer of h i s own powers and richness, hut as an impoverished 'thing, 1 dependent on powers outside of himself unto whom he has projected h i s l i v i n g substance." 1 For the t h e o r i s t s of mass society, the a l i e n a t i o n of mass man i s a consequence of s o c i a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . " S o c i a l atomization engenders strong f e e l i n g s of a l i e n a t i o n and anxiety, and therefore the d i s p o s i t i o n to engage i n extreme 2 behavior to escape from these tensions." Under normal conditions the alienated mass i s quiescent but i n times of, say, economic and s o c i a l d i s l o c a t i o n s , i t i s susceptible to e l i t e s bent on t o t a l domination. Lacking the con t r o l mechanisms offered by a group structure, mass man i s free to indulge i n destructive, unrestrained behavior, that i s , a n t i - s o c i a l behavior. The " t h e o r e t i c a l " model of the t h e o r i s t s , then, embodies a "structure-alienation-behavior" sequence. In •_ t h i s t r i p a r t i t e ordering "£aj l i e n a t i o n i s the c r u c i a l intervening v a r i a b l e : i t i s produced by the s o c i a l structure 3 and, i n turn, produces d i s t i n c t i v e behavior." This behavior E. Fromm, The Sane Society (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956), p. 124; statement underlined i n text. 2 Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 32. 3 M. Seeman, "Alie n a t i o n , Membership, and P o l i t i c a l Knowledge: A Comparative Study," Public Opinion Quarterly, V o l . 30, No. 3 ( P a l l 1966), p. 354. 78 can e i t h e r take the form of mass apathy or mass activism. "Precise predictions about the behavioral and psychological r e s u l t s of a l i e n a t i o n are not made by the theory except at the extremes of a continuum which runs from no signals ( r e s u l t i n g i n apathy) to appeals i n time of acute s o c i e t a l d i s t r e s s ( y i e l d i n g a c t i v e mass movements).""*' A number of questions a r i s e out of the t h e o r i s t s ' discussion, each of which i s discussed i n turn: (1) Whether a l i e n a t i o n i s r e l a t e d to the s t r u c t u r a l properties of a mass society? (2) Whether a l i e n a t i o n has the s p e c i f i e d consequences? (3) Whether the concept of a l i e n a t i o n i s a parable or a proposition? (1) The t h e o r i s t s argue that a v i a b l e intermediate structure mediating between the i n d i v i d u a l and the l a r g e r society serves as a bulwark against the development of a l i e n a t i o n and, conversely, that the lack of such a structure i s l i k e l y to produce a l i e n a t i v e f e e l i n g s . The hypothesis that s t r u c t u r a l conditions do lead to a l i e n a t i o n seems to be borne out by empirical studies. Rosenberg found that f e e l i n g s of f u t i l i t y based on a sense of personal inadequacy and on the unmanagability of p o l i t i c a l forces derived from the p a r t i c u l a r J.D. Aberbach, "Al i e n a t i o n and P o l i t i c a l Behavior," American P o l i t i c a l Science Review, V o l . 63, Ho. 1 (March 1969), p. 87. 79 nature of the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l structure. "The mass  nature of the society, characterized by wide d i s p a r i t i e s of power, promotes the sense of personal i n s i g n i f i c a n c e ; the c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of government f o s t e r s a sense of remoteness from the key decision-making processes." 1 An attempt to test the a l i e n a t i v e consequences of membership and non-membership, undertaken by Seeman i n the U.S. (450 workers sampled i n Columbus, Ohio) and Sweden (558 workers sampled i n Malmo), revealed that members of trade unions or employers' 2 associations exhibited l e s s powerlessness than non-members. These findings appear congruent with the proposition that group members are less alienated than t h e i r unorganized peers: But to say that the evidence i s 'congruent' with mass society theory i s to recognize that the d i r e c t i o n of causation implied i n that theory has not been demonstrated. Does membership lead to low a l i e n a t i o n , or i s i t rather that only the non-alienated j o i n organizations? 3 There i s another consideration i n h i b i t i n g the acceptance of the s t r u c t u r e - a l i e n a t i o n hypothesis. Rosenberg's sample of seventy i n Ithaca, Hew York was of the f r e e - f l o a t i n g type and M. Rosenberg, "Some Determinants of P o l i t i c a l Apathy," Public Opinion Quarterly, V o l . 18, Wo. 4 (Winter 1954-1955), pp. 360-361. 2 Seeman, "Alienation, Membership," pp. 356-358. 3 A.G. Weal and M. Seeman, "Organizations and Powerlessness: A Test of the Mediation Hypothesis." American S o c i o l o g i c a l  Review, Vo l . 29, No. 2 ( A p r i l 1964;, p. 224. 80 so h i s data are s t a t i s t i c a l l y u n r e l i a b l e . Seeman's research, though more exact, i s confined to an occupational context. A l l his data reveal i s that the hypothesis holds f o r such a context. A l i e n a t i o n might be a s i t u a t i o n a l l y - r e l a t e d v a r i a b l e , as Dean suggests,"1" and so workers alienated i n the factory might be thoroughly "integrated (or, at l e a s t , l e s s a l i e n a t e d ) , i n other settings such as primary groups, l o c a l community associations, etc. More empirical studies need to be done on the r e l a t i o n between the atomization of a s o c i a l structure and a-lienation before the hypothesis can be accepted or rejected. (2) The question of whether a l i e n a t i o n r e s u l t s i n extremist behavior i s broken down int o two parts. F i r s t , the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a l i e n a t i o n and apathy i s discussed. The studies of Rosenberg, Neal and Seeman c i t e d before a l l found that a l i e n a t i o n defined as powerlessness i s a "determinant of p o l i t i c a l apathy." Likewise, Templeton i n h i s a n a l y s i s of the I960 na t i o n a l e l e f t i o n s i n the U.S. discovered that "alienated i n d i v i d u a l s tend to withdraw from p o l i t i c s i n 2 terms of both t h e i r knowledge and i n t e r e s t . " These research f i n d i n g s would appear to bear out the alienation-apathy D.G. Dean, "A l i e n a t i o n and P o l i t i c a l Apathy," S o c i a l  Forces, V o l . 38, No. 3 (March I960), p. 189. 2 F. Templeton, "Al i e n a t i o n and P o l i t i c a l P a r t i c i p a t i o n : Some Research Findings," Public Opinion Quarterly, V o l . 30, No. 2 (Summer 1966), p. 256^ 81 hypothesis of the mass society t h e o r i s t s . Dean, however, r e j e c t s i t on the basis of e s t a b l i s h i n g low c o r r e l a t i o n s between a l i e n a t i o n scales (powerlessness, normlessness, s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n ) , and p o l i t i c a l apathy scales ( i n t e r e s t , influence, behavior, v o t i n g ) . 1 As h i s study i s more comprehensive than the others i n the sense that more c r i t e r i a are employed, the v a l i d i t y of the hypothesis remains suspect. An a l t e r n a t i v e argument not considered by the t h e o r i s t s i s that apathy can equally as well r e s u l t from i n t e g r a t i o n as from a l i e n a t i o n . The cross-pressures a r i s i n g from mu l t i p l e -group a f f i l i a t i o n s can oompel voters into p o l i t i c a l apathy as much as the lack of any group t i e s . "Individuals who are subject to pressures d r i v i n g them i n d i f f e r e n t p o l i t i c a l 2 d i r e c t i o n s must ei t h e r deviate or 'escape into apathy.'? Thus, non-voting can be e i t h e r a consequence of a l i e n a t i o n or of the voters' i n a b i l i t y to decide. Second, the c o r r e l a t i o n between a l i e n a t i o n and activism i s now examined. There i s a curious lack of empirical studies of t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p . Abcarian and Stanage only suggest that activism i n contemporary r a d i c a l " r i g h t i s t " Dean, "Al i e n a t i o n , " pp. 187-188. Lipset, P o l i t i c a l Man, p. 13. 82 movements i s a manifestation of p o l i t i c a l a l i e n a t i o n . 1 S i m i l a r l y , Hofstadter postulates that the development of the " r a d i c a l r i g h t " i n the U.S. i s rel a t e d to a sense of powerlessness and v i c t i m i z a t i o n on the part of i t s supporters.' Almond's study of why people j o i n the Communist movement i n the West i s more r e l i a b l e i n that i t i s based upon a sample of former party members (221 American, B r i t i s h , French and I t a l i a n respondents). He argues that a l i e n a t i o n i s a c r u c i a l f a c t o r i n explaining the appeal of Communism. "[Yjhere are met i n t h i s movement a l l the al i e n a t i o n s of man, rushing from many and unlike t r i b u t a r i e s into a torrent of wrath without 3 end." I f we consider a l l C P . members, i r r e s p e c t i v e of rank, as a c t i v i s t s or, at l e a s t , p o t e n t i a l a c t i v i s t s , then, a l i e n a t i v e f e e l i n g s defined as neurotic h o s t i l i t y , s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n and s e l f - r e j e c t i o n , played a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e i n t h e i r decisions to j o i n . However, the incidence of a l i e n a t i o n among the upper echelon, surely the most active i n the ongoing sense, was r e l a t i v e l y much lower than amongst the middle and lower echelons and the rank-and-file. Only expressions of G. Abcarian and S.M. Stanage, " A l i e n a t i o n and the Radical Right," Journal of P o l i t i c s , V o l . 27, No. 4 (November 1965), p. 788. 2 R. Hofstadter, "The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt 1955," i n D. B e l l (ed.), The Radical Right (Garden C i t y , N.Y., Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1963), p. 77. G.A. Almond, The Appeals of Communism (Princeton, N.J., Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1954), p. 381. 83 h o s t i l i t y distinguished t h i s group to any s i g n i f i c a n t extent. 1 The l i m i t a t i o n s of the sample are such that Almond's findings only support the a l i e n a t i o n - a c t i v i s m hypothesis, they do not v e r i f y i t . As yet, t h i s hypothesis i s neither confirmed nor i n v a l i d a t e d . E i t h e r form of a c t i v i t y - activism or apathy - i s regarded by the t h e o r i s t s as a neurotic symptom r e s u l t i n g from the a l i e n a t i o n of the mass. A c t i v i s t involvement, f o r example, i n extremist movements i s seen by them as a form of sublimation of a l l the sensations of l o n e l i n e s s , i n s e c u r i t y , despair and resentment that r e s u l t from the break-up of the s o c i a l structure. What the t h e o r i s t s overlook i s the equally v a l i d argument that the mass can be s t i r r e d into p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n extremist movements f o r sane, even r a t i o n a l motives. Such motives include "an active defense of t h e i r s e l f - r e s p e c t , s e l f -determination, i n a l i e n a b l e r i g h t s and other sublimations of p t h e i r ... wants as we l l as t h e i r sense of oppression." As well as being regarded as a form of c o l l e c t i v e i n s a n i t y , mass activism i s confined by the th e o r i s t s to take place outside 3 of i n s t i t u t i o n a l channels. This concept of mass behavior Compare Tables I, I I , I I I , i n i b i d . , pp. 261, 273, 281, r e s p e c t i v e l y . 2Hardman, "Masses," p. 200. 3 See Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , pp. 45-46. 84 might just be too r e s t r i c t i v e f o r i t excludes persons with a " f r a n t i c attachment" to p o l i t i c s - p l u r a l i s t or otherwise -as extremists. The "overattaehed" are found amongst the ranks of the e l i t e . They are not Selznick's " S t a l i n o i d s " but are "the successful operators who, lacking ... 'the nerve of f a i l u r e , ' constantly persuade themselves that t h e i r actions are meaningful, when i n f a c t these actions may harm long-run goals i f the operators dared s p e l l them out." 1 The over-attached within the system l i k e t h e i r counterparts u l t r a  v i r e s are l i k e l y to be alienated but the r e s t r i c t i v e nature of the concept of mass p o l i t i c s eliminates the former from consideration. As Walter points out, to l i m i t the concept to e x t r a - i n s t i t u t i o n a l a c t i o n "also implies that any large-scale opposition to i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d power using unauthorized 2 techniques i s defined as 'mass p o l i t i c s . ' " Resistance as w e l l as mass movements are included under t h i s d e f i n i t i o n . Accepting the t h e o r i s t s ' l i m i t e d d e f i n i t i o n of mass behavior f o r the momemt, i t remains to enquire whether, i n f a c t , such behavior i s as destructive as they contend. "The a c t u a l h i s t o r y of r e v o l u t i o n does not indicate that the masses are prompted in t o a c t i o n s o l e l y by the urge f o r destruction "4). Riesman and N. G-lazer, " C r i t e r i a f o r P o l i t i c a l Apathy," i n Gouldner (ed.), op. c i t . , p. 528. 2Walter, "Mass Society," p. 407. 85 and that they are destructive when i n act i o n ...; the d i s t i n c t i o n i s to he home i n mind that the masses are not mobs or crowds." 1 Moreover, destructive behavior i s not the sole prerogative of the mass. Couch points out that a greater part of the k i l l i n g i n various r e b e l l i o n s , etc., i s done by the established authority not the mass. This suggests that i t i s not the personality of mass man but "something about the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s inherent i n authority that i s responsible p f o r widespread destruction of l i f e . " (3) Certain shortcomings i n the use of the concept of a l i e n a t i o n by the t h e o r i s t s hinder l a b e l l i n g i t a " t h e o r e t i c a l proposition." In the hands of Fromm, f o r example, the concept becomes ambiguous. As Schaar i n d i c a t e s , Fromm defines a l i e n a t i o n i n two d i f f e r e n t ways: sub j e c t i v e l y to describe f e l t misery experienced by pa r t i c i p a n t s themselves, and ob j e c t i v e l y to explain u n f e l t anxiety. Thus, he i s able to manipulate empirical findings to s u i t h i s argument. Fromm's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of j o b - s a t i s f a c t i o n surveys i l l u s t r a t e s 3 Schaar's point. The admitted d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n of the workers i s interpreted as a sign of subjective a l i e n a t i o n ; expressions 1Hardman, "Masses," p. 200. 2 C.J. Couch, " C o l l e c t i v e Behavior: An Examination of Some Stereotypes," S o c i a l Problems, V o l . 15, No.o3 (Winter 1968), p. 314. 5See Fromm, Sane Society, pp. 296-297. 86 of s a t i s f a c t i o n are interpreted as manifestations of "unconscious" a l i e n a t i o n . "This sort of manipulation i s e s p e c i a l l y troublesome i n Fromm's work because, although his system i s derived l a r g e l y from c e r t a i n p h i l o s o p h i c a l convictions, he asserts that i t i s based on empirical findings drawn from both s o c i a l science and from h i s own consulting-room." 1 What Fromm seemingly f a i l s to r e a l i z e i s that his concept of objective a l i e n a t i o n or " r e i f i c a t i o n " i s based e s s e n t i a l l y upon his value premises rather than on f a c t s . This r e i f i c a t i o n concept involves "a value judgment about the q u a l i t y (or lack of qu a l i t y ) of human l i f e i n a given s o c i a l s e t t i n g , as made by a detached and neutr a l observer." Consequently, t h i s concept "cannot be studied e m p i r i c a l l y p without f i r s t making several c r i t i c a l value assumptions." Kornhauser shies away from employing the concept of a l i e n a t i o n to describe an objective s i t u a t i o n . His analysis confines i t s e l f to t r e a t i n g a l i e n a t i o n as a subjective a t t i t u d e only. He uses a l l f i v e meanings of the term as defined by Seeman: powerlessness over environment, i s o l a t i o n from c u l t u r a l and s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , self-estrangement from one's own r o l e , the meaninglessness of l i f e , the normlessness J.H. Schaar, Escape from Authority (New York, Harper & Row, 1964), p. 205. 2 M.E. Olsen, "A l i e n a t i o n and P o l i t i c a l Opinions," Public  Opinion Quarterly, V o l . 29, No. 2 (Summer 1965), pp. 201-202. 87 of i n d i v i d u a l conduct. 1 However, they are used "rather 2 i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y . " Operational measures of a l i e n a t i o n are employed f o r the f i r s t three meanings of the term ( p o l i t i c a l i n e f f i c a c y , s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , low ego strength) hut f o r the remainder (anomie and normlessness) only a l l u s i o n s are made despite the existence of scales of such f e e l i n g s developed by Dean and Srole r e s p e c t i v e l y . The intermingling of f a c t s and values and the lack of p r e c i s i o n that d i s t i n g u i s h these t h e o r i s t s ' concept of a l i e n a t i o n r a i s e serious doubts as to i t s s c i e n t i f i c value. Indeed, i n the "theory" of mass society the concept does 3 seem to be "more than a hypothesis; i t i s a perspective." As a perspective, then, i t i s concerned with the q u a l i t y of the experience of i n d i v i d u a l s . As such, the t h e o r i s t s cannot claim that the n e u t r a l i t y of science pervades t h e i r analyses: Science cannot measure the q u a l i t y of an experience. There ex i s t s no metric uni t by v i r t u e of which t h i s could be a f f e c t e d . An argument about the 'essential q u a l i t y ' of an experience i s not a s c i e n t i f i c one; i t i s an e s t h e t ic or p h i l o s o p h i c a l one. I t must res t on e x t r a - s c i e n t i f i c judgments. Yet the Golden Age which many mass society t h e o r i s t s look back or forward to, as the a n t i t h e s i s of 'modern a l i e n a t i o n , ' i s held to be a superior one i n p r e c i s e l y those terms. 4 "4/1. Seeman, "On the Meaning of A l i e n a t i o n , " American  S o c i o l o g i c a l Review, Vol . 24, No. 6 (December 1959), pp. 783-91. 2 Aberbach,"Alienation and P o l i t i c a l Behavior," pp. 108-112. 3 Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, p. 15. ^Bramson, P o l i t i c a l Context, p. 116. 88 Given that the concept i s a "parable" of a l i e n a t i o n and not a t h e o r e t i c a l proposition, i t i s legitimate to ask whether i t merely r e f l e c t s the projected fears of the t h e o r i s t s rather than acts as a r e l i a b l e index to the conditions of a c u l t u r e . No one can deny that the p o s i t i o n of established American i n t e l l e c t u a l s has not been aff e c t e d by the onslaught of the ideology of populism and that to some extent t h e i r p o s i t i o n has been rendered insecure by i t . Their i n s e c u r i t y gives r i s e to other a l i e n a t i v e f e e l i n g s such as resentment and f u t i l i t y . Further, as S h i l s points out, the American i n t e l l e c t u a l community i s atomized. 1 Lacking cohesion as a group, i t seems pl a u s i b l e that t h e i r f e e l i n g s of i s o l a t i o n , i n s e c u r i t y and estrangement could be projected onto something external such as the mass, i n an attempt to disown them. The o b j e c t i v e l y atomized and s u b j e c t i v e l y alienated mass i s , therefore, but a mirror-image of the i n t e l l e c t u a l e l i t e : In such themes of estrangement we are dealing with roo t l e s s shadowy apprehensions of the i n t e l l e c t u a l rather than with the empirical r e a l i t i e s of the world around us. Extreme and habitual i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m may ... produce tendencies of a somewhat morbid nature -inner tendencies that the i n t e l l e c t u a l i s too frequently unable to r e s i s t endowing with external r e a l i t y . 2 E. S h i l s , "Mass Society and i t s Culture," Daedalus, V o l . 99 (I960), p. 304. 2 Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, p. 19. 89 Nisbet, however, goes on to r e j e c t the idea that the contemporary preoccupation with a l i e n a t i o n i s a mere figment of the i n t e l l e c t u a l s ' imagination. He f i n d s a "good deal of evidence" i n the mid-twentieth century to suggest that " p h i l o s o p h i c a l intimations of a l i e n a t i o n and d i s s o l u t i o n are set i n a context of analogous mass i n t i m a t i o n s . " 1 Unfortunately, t h i s evidence i s nowhere c i t e d . So long as the concept of a l i e n a t i o n i s supported i n such a loose way by the t h e o r i s t s , so long w i l l they expose themselves to the charge that i t i s a product of t h e i r tortured minds. U n t i l much more r e l i a b l e empirical research i s done, "there must remain the nagging suspicion that a l i e n a t i o n may be l i t t l e more than an expression of the malaise of the i n t e l l e c t u a l , who, rejected by and i n turn r e j e c t i n g the l a r g e r society, projects his own fear and despair onto the broader p s o c i a l screen." Ibid . , p. 20. Schaar, Escape from Authority, pp. 201-202. CHAPTER 7 90 THE PLURALIST BIAS The t h e o r i s t s ' whole discussion of the decline of and quest f o r community i s permeated by a p l u r a l i s t b i a s . I m p l i c i t i n t h e i r concept of community i s a preference f o r the p l u r a l i s t model of society (and an i d e a l i z e d model at t h a t ) . We have no quarrel with t h e i r viewpoint that the optimum conditions f o r the s u r v i v a l of t h e i r cherished values of freedom and order are found i n a democratic p l u r a l i s t i c p o l i t y . What i s subject to attack i s the c o l l e c t i v e blindness of the t h e o r i s t s who f a i l to see the ways i n which values themselves determine what they see as f a c t s . The aim of t h i s chapter i s to show how a s p e c i f i c ideology about society i s masked as a d e s c r i p t i o n of i t . The discussion takes the following form: the argument.1 of the t h e o r i s t s i s presented f i r s t and then the assumptions underlying i t are brought to l i g h t i n order to reveal t h e i r s e l e c t i v i t y . The t h e o r i s t s argue that the lack of a v i a b l e , independent group l i f e i n a mass society threatens the l i b e r t y of not only the mass but also the e l i t e . Why? For i n such a society both groupings are d i r e c t l y exposed to one another. What type of s o c i a l structure provides the r e q u i s i t e autonomy? "The theory of mass society implies that s o c i a l pluralism i s a s o c i a l arrangement which performs t h i s f u n c t i o n . " 1 The s o c i a l checks Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 230. 91 and balances among a p l u r a l i t y of diverse groups provide the i n s u l a t i o n that both e l i t e and mass require i f t h e i r respective l i b e r t y i s to be maintained. A p l u r a l i s t i c society allows the e l i t e s to perform t h e i r leadership functions unimpeded by the d i r e c t , unrestrained and often v i o l e n t popular pressures applied on leaders i n a mass society. As Kornhauser puts i t , "intermediate groups help to protect e l i t e s by functioning as channels through which popular p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the l a r g e r society ( e s p e c i a l l y i n the nationa l e l i t e s ) may be directed and restrained.""'" Conversely, the l i b e r t y of the mass i s protected f o r the m u l t i p l i c i t y of independent groups form a buffer between i t and the e l i t e . V ia groups, members of the mass are f i r m l y attached to proximate symbols and r e l a t i o n s h i p s which act as deterrents to manipulation. A concern f o r proximate objects e l i c i t s a definite,- independent, r e a l and responsible response from i n d i v i d u a l s because they r e l a t e to t h e i r personal experience; whereas a concern f o r remote objects as i n a mass society only e l i c i t s abstract, i r r e s p o n s i b l e reactions f o r 2 they do not r e l a t e to the d a i l y existence of i n d i v i d u a l s . Freedom and order cannot possibly f l o u r i s h i n a mass society because, f o r p l u r a l i s t s , the s o c i a l roots of such Ibid. , p. 77. 2 Ibid., pp. 43-44. 92 values are found i n groups. In a mass society, however, are "destroyed or diminished the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s and c u l t u r a l values by which human being3 normally l i v e and i n which they gain not merely t h e i r sense of order but t h e i r desire f o r freedom." 1 In e f f e c t , what the t h e o r i s t s are saying i s that a society possessing a p l u r a l i s t i c s o c i a l structure i s ipso facto a free and stable society; and, conversely, that an atomized society i s one i n which l i b e r t y cannot flower and disorder reigns. The t h e o r i s t s ' argument only holds i f we accept t h e i r assumption that freedom l i e s within a s s o c i a t i o n . Thus, a mass society i s one that lacks "the reinforcement of a s s o c i a t i v e 2 t r a d i t i o n . " We can equally w e l l argue, l i k e the nineteenth-century l i b e r a l s , that freedom l i e s outside of a s s o c i a t i o n , that groups place f e t t e r s on i n d i v i d u a l l i b e r t y , and that the breakdown of t r a d i t i o n a l group authority has l i b e r a t i n g consequences f o r i n d i v i d u a l s . Depending on one's viewpoint, one can see i n man's i s o l a t i o n e i t h e r a l i e n a t i o n or l i b e r a t i o n . In e i t h e r case, the proposition i s i d e o l o g i c a l demonstrating a p l u r a l i s t or unitary o r i e n t a t i o n r e s p e c t i v e l y . By no yardstick i s i t s c i e n t i f i c , that i s , demonstrably true or f a l s e . Nisbet, Quest f o r Gommunity, p. 199 2 I b i d . , p. 203. A d d i t i o n a l evidence that the nature of the t h e o r i s t s ' discussion i s i d e o l o g i c a l not purely d e s c r i p t i v e i s furnished by the f a c t that they a l l but ignore the tyrannies imposed by group l i f e i n modern society. For Bramson, such tyrannies include ethnic and r a c i a l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n and the p r o v i n c i a l i s m of the small, l o c a l community.1 This s e l e c t i v i t y s e r i o u s l y weakens the a n a l y t i c a l value of the concept of mass society. Wot only are freedom and order threatened i n a mass society but also democracy i t s e l f . For the t h e o r i s t s , "the strength of democratic i n s t i t u t i o n s depends on the underlying p s o c i a l structure." This follows from the p l u r a l i s t assumption that " i t i s i n the basic associations of men that the r e a l consequences of p o l i t i c a l power reveal themselves." In other words, the statuses and s o c i a l memberships that men hold r e f l e c t the present l o c a t i o n and d i s t r i b u t i o n of power i n society. Intermediate groups possess t h e i r own power bases and are, therefore, r e l a t i v e l y independent of the state. They also prevent dominance by any one group. Where there i s a v i a b l e , independent group structure, l i b e r a l democracy f l o u r i s h e s but i n a society characterized by atomization, Bramson, P o l i t i c a l Context, p. 22. Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 13. Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, p. 48. 94 democracy i s doomed to wither away because i t lacks the s o c i a l bases to sustain i t . Thus: "As a c o r o l l a r y a p l u r a l i s t i c structure i s i m p l i c i t l y posited as an e s s e n t i a l condition f o r democratic p o l i t i c s . " 1 Fundamental to a l l the assumptions discussed so f a r i s a p r i o r assumption concerning the nature of man. For p l u r a l i s t s , "man i s a being whose nature i s shaped by s o c i a l groups" and whose destiny i s almost "to serve as a palimpsest r e g i s t e r i n g 2 the c r i s s c r o s s of s o c i a l i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . " Man, then, has no i d e n t i t y outside of group l i f e f o r h i s sense of s e l f i s derived from meaningful r e l a t i o n s h i p s with others i n an organic community. Only the type of community found i n a p l u r a l i s t i c society i s genuine because therein i s group i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and l o y a l t y . In contrast, mass and t o t a l i t a r i a n s o c i e t i e s can p r o f f e r only pseudo-communities and an i n f e r i o r form of existence f o r they lack the r e q u i s i t e type of s o c i a l s tructure: Man does not l i v e merely as one of a vast aggregate of a r i t h m e t i c a l l y equal, s o c i a l l y u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s ... As a concrete person he i s inseparable from the p l u r a l i t y of s o c i a l allegiances and memberships which characterize h i s s o c i a l organization and form the d i v e r s i t i e s of b e l i e f and habit which form a c u l t u r e . 3 """Gusfield, "Mass Society," p. 22. 2 Wolin, P o l i t i c s and V i s i o n , p. 363. Nisbet, Quest f o r Community, p. 267. 95 This assumption helps to c l a r i f y the negative image of the mass held by the t h e o r i s t s . For them, members of the mass are non-human because they lack the group umbrella - they are "mere p a r t i c l e s of s o c i a l dust," " s h e l l s of humanity." 1 However, do a l l group members i r r e s p e c t i v e of the extent and q u a l i t y of t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n , q u a l i f y f o r the converse l a b e l of "concrete persons?" Or, i s i t s o l e l y the most active p a r t i c i p a n t s ? The imprecision of the "theory" of mass society becomes apparent here f o r nowhere are these elemental s o c i o l o g i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n s incorporated into the t h e o r i s t s ' respective analyses. Moreover, t h e i r argument seems p a r t i c u l a r l y Utopian i n that i t ignores the findings of s o c i o l o g i s t s themselves which reveal that group membership i s confined to a minority i n many Western p l u r a l i s t democracies. Issues of p r e c i s i o n aside, we can say that, f o r p l u r a l i s t s , the prime units of t h e o r e t i c a l consideration are the intermediate associations and primary groups and not "atomized p o l i t i c a l p a r t i c l e s . " The former determine the nature of man and h i s r e l a t i o n to society. Man i s r e l a t e d to s o c i e t y through groups. From these he derives not only h i s sense of i d e n t i t y but also a sense of belonging and a sense of status. Group membership determines his outlook on l i f e and h i s attitudes towards others as well as toward himself. I t produces a s p e c i f i c type of i n d i v i d u a l : 1 I b i d . , p. 191 96 S o c i a l and c u l t u r a l pluralism i n v i t e s the development of d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , autonomous i n d i v i d u a l s , f o r v a r i e t y i n i n s t i t u t i o n s and values encourages the i n d i v i d u a l to compare d i f f e r e n t models of conduct and to integrate elements from several models into a d i s t i n c t i v e i d e n t i t y . The autonomous man respects himself as an i n d i v i d u a l , experiencing himself as the hearer of h i s own power and as having the capacity to determine h i s l i f e and to a f f e c t the l i v e s of his fellows. Personal autonomy does not develop apart from society and c u l t u r e : i t requires pluralism i n society and c u l t u r e . Non-pluralist society lacks the d i v e r s i t y of s o c i a l worlds to nurture and sustain independent persons. 1 A c l e a r e r example of an i d e o l o g i c a l commitment to pluralism would be hard to f i n d . This "statement of hope" rather than a " f a c t " i s located i n Kornhauser's " t h e o r e t i c a l " discussion of the features of a p l u r a l i s t s o c i e t y . The statment, however, ignores the personal disorganization that can r e s u l t from the 2 c u l t u r a l heterogeneity of such a society. The danger of postulating personality types such as " p l u r a l i s t man," "mass man," i s pointed out by Wilensky. He found that those who f i t the image of the former i n a p l u r a l i s t i c society - the "Happy Good Citizen-Consumer" - also f i t the image of the l a t t e r i n a mass society i n the sense that they tended to be unusually prone to personality-voting, to be dependent upon the media f o r opinion-formation, and to be susceptible to mass behavior generally. He concludes that Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 110. Pitcher, " ' P o l i t i c s of Mass Society,'" p. 250. 97 "jVJny accurate picture of the shape of modern society must accommodate these ambiguities."^ At present, the idea of mass society f a i l s to make such an accommodation. Kornhauser's romanticized image of p l u r a l i s t man exemplifies the type of treatment applied by the t h e o r i s t s to p l u r a l i s t i c phenomena. A charge of romanticizing not the p l u r a l i s t but the p r e - i n d u s t r i a l order has been l e v e l l e d by c r i t i c s at the "theory" of mass society. Although there are 2 traces of t h i s i n the work of the contemporary t h e o r i s t s , t h i s c r i t i c i s m seems somewhat i r r e l e v a n t i n that i t r e a l l y only applies to the e a r l i e r a r i s t o c r a t i c t h e o r i s t s . I t i s contended here that a more relevant c r i t i c i s m of the democratic t h e o r i s t s i s that they romanticize pluralism. This aspect has been neglected by c r i t i c s generally (but not absolutely) and so i t i s hoped that the following discussion w i l l make something of an unique con t r i b u t i o n . The contention that an i d e a l i z a t i o n of pluralism colors the t h e o r i s t s * analyses of mass society demands elaboration. Like the model of mass society, the model of p l u r a l i s t i c s o ciety i n the "theory" i s an i d e a l type. In one sense the t h e o r i s t s ' use of t h i s term i s non-controversial f o r i n the "^Wilensky, "Mass Society and Mass Culture," pp. 195-196. 2 See, f o r example, Kornhauser's lament f o r the passing of the village-based society i n "Mass Society," p. 58. 98 case of both s o c i e t i e s , the i d e a l type i s conceived of as a t h e o r e t i c a l construct f o r the analysis of empirical r e a l i t y . In the case of pluralism, however, the term takes on a f u r t h e r meaning that i s e s s e n t i a l l y normative. Not only i s " i d e a l " used i n the sense of idea but i t also connotes p e r f e c t i o n . Only p o s i t i v e features are incorporated i n t o the t h e o r i s t s ' model of pluralism. I t i s i n t h i s sense that t h e i r model i s said to be i d e a l i z e d . " I m p l i c i t i n the theory of mass p o l i t i c s i s an i d e a l i z e d conception of the p l u r a l i s t i c s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l system held necessary f o r the maintenance of democratic i n s t i t u t i o n s . " 1 The s e l e c t i v i t y and d i s t o r t i o n a r i s i n g from t h i s i d e a l i z a t i o n s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t the s c i e n t i f i c u t i l i t y of the model. I t downplays - even at times ignores - the following f a c t o r s : 1) the r o l e of power, 2) the nature of c o n f l i c t , 3 ) the unorganized, 4) economic i n t e r e s t s , 5) the e f f e c t s of s t r a i n s , 6) the consequences of c u l t u r a l d i v e r s i t y . P r e c i s e l y how the t h e o r i s t s exclude each of these fact o r s from consideration i s now discussed. Gusfield, "Mass Society and Extremist P o l i t i c s , " p. 20. 99 l ) The r o l e of power i s underestimated i n the p l u r a l i s t model "because the view of p o l i t i c a l pluralism that emerges i n the "theory" of mass society i s e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i o l o g i c a l : I t i s indeed the very model of a s o c i o l o g i c a l theory, f o r p o l i t i c a l behavior i s accounted f o r , so to speak, i n n o n - p o l i t i c a l terms. The group, and the norms and values emanating from i t , are the center of the theory. 1 For the proponents of the s o c i o l o g i c a l theory of p o l i t i c a l pluralism, the s t a b i l i t y of a democratic society i s dependent upon multiple group membership. For cros s - c u t t i n g rather than overlapping allegiances are l i k e l y to prevent any group becoming completely homogeneous on economic, p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l dimensions. Consequently, every group w i l l have to compromise i f decisions are to be made. A major shortcoming of t h i s "compromise pluralism" i s i t s minimization of the conception of power as developed i n p o l i t i c a l science. Instead of taking the group as the arena i n which differences of opinion are resolved, veto or pressure group pluralism considers r e l a t i o n s h i p s as between independent groups. Each group holds countervailing power over one another and the v i a b i l i t y of democracy i s maintained so long as one group does not become predominant. In Perrow' view, bargaining among groups and confrontations of power i s C. Perrow, "The S o c i o l o g i c a l Perspective and P o l i t i c a l P luralism," S o c i a l Research, V o l . 31, Wo. 4 (Winter 1964), p. 411. 100 "more basic mechanism" than compromise within groups pr i m a r i l y because i t r e f l e c t s a concern with the exercise of power, that i s l a c k i n g i n the s o c i o l o g i c a l view. 1 2) Another example of the " o v e r - s o c i o l o g i c a l " approach of the t h e o r i s t s of mass society i s given by G u s f i e l d . His s p e c i f i c c r i t i c i s m of t h e i r i d e a l i z e d model of pluralism i s that i t minimizes the force of c o n f l i c t . " I t f a i l s to give adequate weight to b a r r i e r s which c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t o f f e r to p o l i t i c a l harmony and compromise under any p o l i t i c a l 2 structure." This f a i l u r e stems, i n part, from the concept of c o n f l i c t held by the p l u r a l i s t school. From such a perspective, c o n f l i c t i n a p l u r a l i s t i c society cannot but be other than moderate. Why? Their argument rests on the assumption, that i s "a r e p e t i t i o n of the i d e o l o g i c a l bias of nineteenth-century l i b e r a l i s . n , " that there i s a natural harmony of i n t e r e s t s sustaining the s o c i a l ,and p o l i t i c a l system: Occurences of sharp c o n f l i c t are therefore i n d i c a t i v e of disruptions i n the form of s o c i a l arrangements. There i s nothing i n the content of i n t e r e s t s and b e l i e f s which makes compromise improbable. 3 Ib i d . , pp. 412-413. Gusfield, "Mass Society and Extremist P o l i t i c s , " p. 20. Ibid., p. 26. 101 This conception of c o n f l i c t , however, ignores p l u r a l i s t i c sources of p o l i t i c a l extremism as i t equates extremism with a mass not a p l u r a l i s t society. In c e r t a i n instances the p l u r a l i s t i c structure, so lauded by i t s patrons, a c t u a l l y enhances a c t i v i s t sentiments. Gusfield describes four s i t u a t i o n s i n which t h i s occurs. The f i r s t involves disenfranchised classes or the unorganized which i s elaborated upon l a t e r . The second instance concerns doomed and defeated classes which, contrary to the p l u r a l i s t assumption that groups w i l l accept defea.t and compromise when t h e i r i n t e r e s t s are challenged, are prepared to use violence and other non-democratic means to achieve t h e i r ends. Not only groups but a n e u t r a l and non-competing element l i k e public opinion may employ n o n - p o l i t i c a l means outside of the p l u r a l i s t i c machinery to influence governmental decisions. Extremism can also r e s u l t from the periodic c r i s e s that develop out of the i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y between the long-run perspectives of leaders and the short-run i n t e r e s t s of groups. In a l l these instances, p o l i t i c a l extremism i s resorted to by "well-structured" groups not by the atomized mass. Such a course of a c t i o n i s taken because of the i n a b i l i t y of the p l u r a l i s t i c structure to accommodate them. "Fa i l u r e to recognize that p l u r a l i s t assumptions cannot alone sustain p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s i s at the root of the i m p l i c i t ideology of the t h e o r i s t s of mass p o l i t i c s . " 1 I b i d . ; f o r an elaboration of these four s i t u a t i o n s , see pp. 24-25. 102 3) Perhaps the most serious l i m i t a t i o n of the p l u r a l i s t model i s i t s f a i l u r e to cater f o r the unorganized, the non-joiners, which, as surveys show, constitute a majority i n Western democracies. 1 An assumption c r u c i a l to pluralism i s that the i n t e r e s t s of a l l s i g n i f i c a n t groups are given representation. However, i f we take the case of the U.S., long known as the best approximation to a p l u r a l i s t democracy, we f i n d there that the representation of many deprived minority groups i s i n s i g n i f i c a n t and hence t h e i r influence; on policy-making i s minimal ( r e f . , Indians, Mexicans, Negroes, Puerto Ricans; the aged, the unemployed, e t c . ) . Lacking organization, non-groups also lack the key to p o l i t i c a l effectiveness i n a p l u r a l i s t democracy: In Congress and the c l i e n t e l e agencies of the Executive, the unorganized are the unrepresented. And the unrepresented are by d e f i n i t i o n unable to force t h e i r choice of issues onto the p o l i t i c a l process. 2 They must eithe r function outside of the "rules of the game" or else force t h e i r way into the representational system as the p l u r a l i s t i c structure f a i l s to provide a mechanism f o r the peaceful entry of new groups in t o such a system. The unorganized tend to be concentrated amongst the For summaries of group membership see Olsen, Process, p. 321 and Perrow, " S o c i o l o g i c a l Perspective," p. 416. 2 M. Reagan, "America as a Mass Society," Dissent, V o l . 3, No. 4 ( P a l l 1956), p. 350. 103 lower-status segments of the population. This f a c t has serious implications f o r the u t i l i t y of the p l u r a l i s t model. I t i s argued here that such a model i s class-biased i n that i t functions e f f e c t i v e l y only f o r a minority of the population i n the upper and middle echelons of society: That i s , at the l e v e l of the middle and upper classes, p o l i t i c a l p l uralism may be an excellent i n t e r p r e t a t i o n f o r the behavior of some of the leaders ... P o l i t i c a l p l uralism i s not a theory, however, which explains the behavior of those who are outside the system - the lower classes, the unemployed, deprived m i n o r i t i e s , etc. 1 Thus, i n e f f e c t , what the t h e o r i s t s are doing i s generalizing from upper- and middle-class behavior f o r society as a whole. Their p l u r a l i s t model, then, has only a very l i m i t e d u t i l i t y f o r , f a r from applying to a l l major segments of the population, i t explains the behavior of a very small minority indeed. I t i s t e n t a t i v e l y suggested that t h i s c lass bias of the p l u r a l i s t model stems, i n part, from the t h e o r i s t s ' e l i t i s m discussed e a r l i e r . I f one of t h e i r main concerns i s to preserve the d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s of the e l i t e , following here the a r i s t o c r a t i c o r i e n t a t i o n , then, i s i t not natural that t h e i r i d e a l i z e d version of pluralism should be set i n the context of e l i t e behavior, given that t h i s group are f o r the most part drawn from the upper and middle classes? Perhaps Perrow, " S o c i o l o g i c a l Perspective," p. 420 104 unconsciously, the t h e o r i s t s are taking e l i t e behavior as a norm by which to judge other, l e s s desirable modes of a c t i o n such as mass behavior. 4) On a more concrete l e v e l , the class bias inherent i n the p l u r a l i s t model i s c l o s e l y associated with i t s minimization of the r o l e of economic i n t e r e s t s . Perrow argues that such i n t e r e s t s are downplayed by the t h e o r i s t s because p l u r a l i s t i c groups tend to be composed of the economically wealthy. "Group membership i s both a luxury which can be afforded by the a f f l u e n t , and a means of protecting t h e i r investment."'1' Such l i b e r a l notions as tolerance, compromise and bargaining can only occur amongst those who enjoy a surplus and are not faced by threats. Por such persons, the focus of the t h e o r i s t s , economic i n t e r e s t does not play an important part i n explaining 2 t h e i r behavior. Amongst the economically deprived lower c l a s s , however, material i n t e r e s t might be expected to play a more important r o l e . Such a group does not enjoy the p r i v i l e g e s - economic or otherwise - of the middle and upper classes and so i t s extremist behavior can be explained i n economic terms. Perrow concludes that Kornhauser's r e j e c t i o n of the "simple" economic -"•Ibid. 2 See Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , pp. 162-163 105 i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of mass behavior i s based le s s on r e l i a b l e a n a l y s i s and more on a class bias, a preference shared with many s o c i o l o g i s t s : Schattschneider has observed that the chorus i n the p l u r a l i s t heaven sings only i n upper-class cadences. Much of s o c i o l o g i c a l imagery i s scored i n the same churchly mode. We have, then, not only the danger of s o c i o l o g i c a l imperialism, which seeks i n group r e l a t i o n s ..., the explanation of good and e v i l , but the danger that the very c r i t e r i a u t i l i z e d to define and locate good and e v i l may be biased i n favor of those who already have and to whom i t s h a l l be given. I t i s not so much the absence of c o n f l i c t and the assumption of a natural harmony of i n t e r e s t s that disturbs us i n the p l u r a l i s t and p r e v a i l i n g s o c i o l o g i c a l view but that c o n f l i c t on the part of the l e s s p r i v i l e g e d i s automatically deemed d i s r u p t i v e , while the harmony of i n t e r e s t s e x i s t s f o r those who have i n t e r e s t s worth harmonizing. 1 5) The p l u r a l i s t model i s further i d e a l i z e d i n that i t underestimates the e f f e c t s of the presence of s t r a i n s upon the r o l e of groups. Prom the p l u r a l i s t perspective, primary and secondary groups are assumed to have r e s t r a i n i n g e f f e c t s on people. In t h i s view, a mass society i s susceptible to extremism p r e c i s e l y because i t lacks the mechanisms of r e s t r a i n t offered by groups. Why do p l u r a l i s t s assume that groups have a r e s t r a i n i n g role? P i r s t , attachments to and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with intermediate groups are l i k e l y to create s i m i l a r l o y a l t i e s to n a t i o n a l structures that w i l l lead to s o c i a l r e s t r a i n t s i n the Perrow, " S o c i o l o g i c a l Perspective," pp. 421-422 106 demands of the mass upon the e l i t e s and i n t h e i r evaluation of the l a t t e r ' s d e c i s i o n . 1 G-usfield, however, contests the v a l i d i t y of t h i s assumption arguing that doomed and defeated classes "may come to f e e l that the existent p o l i t i c a l order i s 2 i n s u f f i c i e n t to command t h e i r a l l e g i a n c e . " In such a s i t u a t i o n t h e i r previous attachment to na t i o n a l structures i s transformed in t o a sense of a l i e n a t i o n from them. Second, the s o c i a l i z i n g function of secondary groups contributes to r e s t r a i n t . Such groups are l i k e l y to s o c i a l i z e members to accept the "rules of the game" and to achieve objectives through discussion, bargaining and compromise rather than v i a more d i r e c t means. But, as Pinard i n d i c a t e s , such groups can also exert important "communicating e f f e c t s , " ( f o r example, the transmission of new information). Group members are more l i k e l y to l e a r n about the spread of new mass movements than atomized people and so i n t h i s sense the s o c i a l i z i n g function of groups can be used to f o s t e r the cause of extremism as opposed to moderation. Third, group p a r t i c i p a t i o n i s assumed to f o s t e r the development of a sense of p o l i t i c a l e f f i c a c y while lack of i t ''"Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 67. 2 Gusfield, "Mass Society and Extremist P o l i t i c s , " p. 26. 3 M. Pinard, "Mass Society and P o l i t i c a l Movements: A New Formulation," American Journal of Sociology, V o l . 73 (July 1967-May 1968), p. 686. 107 i s supposed to engender a l i e n a t i o n and the search f o r p o l i t i c a l ventures. Group p a r t i c i p a t i o n gives r i s e to "a r e a l i s t i c concern f o r na t i o n a l and i n t e r n a t i o n a l a f f a i r s " and, conversely, atomization leads to a lack of concern f o r the same.1 Pitcher p r o f f e r s an a l t e r n a t i v e hypothesis to that of Kornhauser: The i n t e r e s t i n na t i o n a l and i n t e r n a t i o n a l a f f a i r s engendered by t h e i r r e l a t i o n s to intermediate groups w i l l create r e c r u i t s f o r the mass society, since i n r e a l i t y the average c i t i z e n can know l i t t l e and do l i t t l e about the lar g e r issues of the national l i f e ... As soon as he i s aware of the r e a l i t y of p o l i t i c s , even on the l o c a l l e v e l , the more d i s i l l u s i o n e d , the more p r i v a t i z e d he w i l l become. The more s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s make him aware of h i s lack of power, the more the man who thought he had power w i l l react. 2 Thus, the t h e o r i s t s ' claim that primary and secondary groups exert r e s t r a i n i n g e f f e c t s on membership i s "a one-sided view of the ro l e of intermediate groupings." Such groupings can also exert "mobilizing e f f e c t s , " that i s , they can motivate and legitimate group p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n a new s o c i a l movement, or else adopt a neutr a l p o s i t i o n between the two extremes. The or i e n t a t i o n a group w i l l take i s dependent upon a c r u c i a l f a c t o r , that of s t r a i n s . In a s i t u a t i o n of severe s t r a i n s , Kornhauser, P o l i t i c s , p. 65. Pitcher, " ' P o l i t i c s of Mass Society,'" p. 255. Pinard, "Mass Society and P o l i t i c a l Movements," p. 684. 108 m o b i l i z i n g and communicating e f f e c t s w i l l tend to predominate over r e s t r a i n i n g e f f e c t s and "integrated i n d i v i d u a l s and p l u r a l i s t s o c i e t i e s w i l l be more prone to p o l i t i c a l movements than atomized people and mass societies.""'" Consequently, the "theory" of mass society only holds i n s i t u a t i o n s of no or few s t r a i n s . I t s basic proposition, the lower the degree of in t e g r a t i o n , the greater the s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to extremism, applies when the success of mass movements i s problematic to s t a r t with. In the presence of severe s t r a i n s , the proposition f a l l s down due to the f a i l u r e of the "theory" to accommodate more than one view of the ro l e of groups and i t s neglect of the importance of the extent of s t r a i n s . 6) The c u l t u r a l v a l u e - r e l a t i v i s m that often accompanies a p l u r a l environment i s discounted by the p l u r a l i s t model. Such r e l a t i v i s m can produce reactions to the p o l i t i c a l order equally as negative as those a t t r i b u t e d by the th e o r i s t s to the valueless mass cu l t u r e . The tolerance f o r a v a r i e t y of c u l t u r a l values that characterizes a p l u r a l i s t i c society can lead to a c u l t u r a l r e l a t i v i t y of values that, i n turn, leads to "the elimination of whole-hearted value involvement and i n e v i t a b l e p o l i t i c a l l a s s i t u d e . P o l i t i c s then has no compelling meaning; i t i s an at t i t u d e t e n t a t i v e l y held but p not vigorously defended." Par from producing informed, 1 I b i d . , p. 682. 2 M. Rosenberg, "The Meaning of P o l i t i c s i n Mass Society," Public Opinion Quarterly, V o l . 15 (Spring 1951), p. 11. 109 active c i t i z e n s , a p l u r a l i s t society can manufacture an apathetic mass. Consistent with the t h e o r i s t s ' i d e a l i z a t i o n of the p l u r a l i s t model i s t h e i r t a r n i s h i n g of the model of mass soc i e t y . For i f the former incorporates only the p o s i t i v e features, i t follows that the l a t t e r contains only negative aspects. The t r a n s i t i o n from a p l u r a l i s t to a mass society i s analogous to the " F a l l from Grace" and as such i s i m p l i c i t l y bemoaned by the t h e o r i s t s . The "angelic" nature of a p l u r a l i s t i c heaven where a l l i t sweetness and l i g h t i s contrasted with the "demonic" nature of mass society f u l l of mournful gloom. So overdrawn are both these s o c i e t a l images that one i s tempted to dismiss, with B e l l , "the theory of mass society as an ideology of romantic protest against contemporary s o c i e t y . " 1 The t h e o r i s t s present only the costs of l i f e i n a mass society. They ignore or, at most, pay l i p - s e r v i c e to the benefits such a society can o f f e r . The mass model i s perhaps the most blatant example of the s e l e c t i v i t y that stamps the so-called theory. The i d e o l o g i c a l myopia of the t h e o r i s t s prevents them recognizing the p o s i t i v e consequences of such processes as bureaucratization, B e l l , "Theory of Mass Society," p. 8 3 . 110 democratization, i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and urbanization. They see only the s o c i a l l y d i s i n t e g r a t i v e e f f e c t s of such forces. These processes, however, can act as p o s i t i v e agencies of s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n as well as devices of s o c i a l d i s s o l u t i o n : I t must be also pointed out that the same forces operate to incorporate persons int o a l a r g e r n a t i o n a l culture and s o c i a l system. While mediating structures and l o c a l units may be weakened, d i r e c t attachment to the t o t a l society i s enhanced. 1 For S h i l s , t h i s greater attachment of most of the population to the center, the e l i t e s , i s the hallmark of a mass society. "The i n c l u s i o n of the entire population i n the society, or a pronounced tendency towards that i n c l u s i o n i s what makes 2 the mass society." Far from a weakened consensus i n mass society, the sense of a f f i n i t y created by the forces of s o c i a l change, enhances i t f o r t h i s sense cuts across c l a s s , ethnic and kinship boundaries. This notion of mass society as consensual i s as acceptable as the concept of such a society offered by the t h e o r i s t s . Whether or not the conditions therein increase the p o s s i b i l i t y of substantive consensus around s p e c i f i c a l l y p l u r a l i s t i c norms i s l e s s acceptable. Gusfield argues so. Gusfield, "Mass Society and Extremist P o l i t i c s , " p. 27. S h i l s , "Theory of Mass Society," p. 52. Gu s f i e l d , op. c i t . , p. 29. I l l But h i s use of the term " p l u r a l i s t i c " to describe the value-system of a mass society i s very questionable as pluralism presupposes a d i v e r s i f i e d m u l t i p l i c i t y of groups that i s , by d e f i n i t i o n , not found i n a mass society. Nonetheless, G-usfield conceives of such a society composed of many groups and i n so doing he r a i s e s the issue of whether mass society can be seen as made up of multiple sub-groups linked together through multiple memberships. I t i s i r o n i c a l that h i s "very c r i t i q u e of pluralism has to be framed i n a p l u r a l i s t i c context." 1 The questions raised by him point to the problem of using i d e a l types f o r a n a l y s i s . Such s o c i e t a l types as mass and p l u r a l i s t represent polar extremes: at one end of the continuum are no groups and at the other, many groups. The t h e o r i s t s ignore not only the consensual nature of mass society but also the b e n e f i c i a l consequences of increased d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i n function and structure that accompany bureaucratization. Kornhauser, f o r example, sees only increased a l i e n a t i o n r e s u l t i n g . He c r i t i c i z e s the d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of functions that characterize large-scale organizations, f o r s p l i t t i n g a person from h i s r o l e and so enhancing h i s f e e l i n g s of self-estrangement. A "given s o c i a l function i s so s p e c i a l i z e d or otherwise l i m i t e d that 2 i t cannot provide s u f f i c i e n t meaning to summon commitment." Perrow, " S o c i o l o g i c a l Perspective," p. 418. Kornhauser, "Mass Society," p. 62. 112 He overlooks the p o s s i b i l i t y that s p e c i a l i z a t i o n of function might a c t u a l l y increase the self-awareness of the i n d i v i d u a l . "Through d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n , he becomes conscious of what he was formerly unaware o f . " 1 I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that Kornhauser and the other t h e o r i s t s ' r e a c t i o n i s so negative toward increased d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i n s o c i a l organization. For i t can be argued that t h i s process plus the increased complexity and heterogeneity accompanying i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n , etc., i s one f a c t o r that made a c r u c i a l c o n t r i b u t i o n to a p l u r a l i s t i c power structure. "A s e r i e s of new e l i t e s are created as a r e s u l t of i n d u s t r i a l and urban development, each e l i t e p r e v a i l i n g on some but not a l l issues, i n contrast to the s i n g l e e l i t e dominance i n the small, 2 nineteenth-century community." Moreover, the course of s t r u c t u r a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n led to an i n c r e a s i n g l y ramified network of c r i s s - c r o s s i n g s o l i d a r i t i e s that t y p i f y the p l u r a l i s t i c s o c i a l structure. Again, only the destructive e f f e c t s of the processes of democratization, urbanization and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n are White, Beyond Conformity, pp. 132-133. 2 D. Rogers, "Monolithic and P l u r a l i s t i c Community Power Structures," i n R.L. Simpson and I.H. Simpson?(eds), S o c i a l  Organization and Behavior (New York, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1964), p. 402. " 113 considered i n the t h e o r i s t s ' model of mass society. The emancipating features of such processes are underplayed. The t h e o r i s t s , however, do not go so f a r as to argue that these processes lead d i r e c t l y to t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m as some of t h e i r c r i t i c s charge."*" They only suggest that under c e r t a i n s p e c i f i c conditions, urbanization, f o r example, could contribute to personal a l i e n a t i o n , the f i r s t step on the road to p o l i t i c a l extremism. What they do overlook are the benefits accruing from such processes. Democratization, f o r example, incorporated the mass into the p o l i t i c a l system. This i s but one instance of White's phenomenon of extensity, that i s , the spread of gains over l a r g e r proportions of the population 2 created by such a process as democratization. I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n i n destroying "primordial t i e s " and reducing the power of t r a d i t i o n and hierarchy "set loose the cognitive, 3 appreciative and moral p o t e n t i a l of the mass." S i m i l a r l y , urbanization destroyed the primary community but at the same time "released i t s members from the close constraints and enforced norms of group l i f e . " In t h i s sense, mass society i s "one of emerging freedoms."^ See Bramson, P o l i t i c a l Context, p. 36; and Shklar, A f t e r  Utopia, p. 160. 2 White, Beyond Conformity, p. 134. 5 S h i l s , "Theory of Mass Society," p. 59. ^Greer, "Individual P a r t i c i p a t i o n , " p. 338. 114 The model of mass society presented by the t h e o r i s t s i s , then, e s s e n t i a l l y p a r t i a l . They stress the "nasty, b r u t i s h " aspect of the conditions there and ignore the more p o s i t i v e I f i t i s granted that mass society i s compartmentalized, s u p e r f i c i a l i n personal r e l a t i o n s , anonymous, t r a n s i t o r y , s p e c i a l i z e d , u t i l i t a r i a n , competitive, a c q u i s i t i v e , mobile, status-hungry, etc., etc., the obverse side of the coin must be shown too - the r i g h t to privacy, to free choice of friends and occupation, status on the basis of achievement rather than of a s c r i p t i o n , a p l u r a l i t y of norms and standards rather than the exclusive and monopolistic s o c i a l controls of a single dominant group, etc., etc. For i f , as S i r Henry Maine once put i t , the movement of modern society has been from status to contract, then i t has been, i n that l i g h t , a movement from a f i x e d place i n the world to possible freedoms. 1 The divergence i n the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of s o c i a l conditions i s explicable i n terms of ideology. The value perspectives of Gusfie l d and S h i l s are obviously d i f f e r e n t from those of the th e o r i s t s of mass societ y . Where the l a t t e r see s t a b i l i t y , freedom and in t e g r a t i o n , S h i l s sees only c o n f l i c t , c l a s s b a r r i e r s and i n e q u a l i t y constraining personal development. Where the l a t t e r sees enhanced consensus, increased i n d i v i d u a l d i g n i t y and altruism, the t h e o r i s t s see extreme c o n f l i c t , a l i e n a t i o n and egoism. The models of pluralism and mass society are, therefore, i d e o l o g i c a l not t h e o r e t i c a l constructs. B e l l , "Theory of Mass Society," p. 79 115 CONCLUSION This thesis has examined the concept of mass society from a c r i t i c a l point of view. I t has attempted to point out i t s many methodological weaknesses which must he overcome before i t can be considered an adequate explanation of the following three phenomena: the differences between a l i b e r a l democracy and a mass society, the causes of t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , and the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the mass to t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m . Several c r i t i c i s m s have been l e v e l l e d at the u n s c i e n t i f i c nature of some of the democratic t h e o r i s t s ' key propositions e s p e c i a l l y those concerning the mass. F i r s t , f a r from being f i r m l y grounded i n empirical r e a l i t y , i t has been shown that t h e i r notion of the mediocre mass incorporates the c h i e f stereotypes of c o l l e c t i v e behavior as developed by Le Bon and y G-asset plus t h e i r e l i t i s t overtones. Thus, i t i s an i d e o l o g i c a l not a t h e o r e t i c a l concept. Second, t h e i r notion of the atomized mass i s suspect. The whole controversy surrounding the concept of atomization i l l u s t r a t e s the kind of c i r c u l a r i t y of argument one encounters i n studying t h i s elusive t o p i c . For the t h e o r i s t s , atomization and the consequent weakness of attachment to p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s r e s u l t s from the breakdown i n the functioning of primary and secondary associations i n a mass 116 society. The problem i s , simply, how to v e r i f y t h i s ? The th e o r i s t s do not accept the c r i t e r i o n of lack of or decline i n membership of groups thus r e f u t i n g the e m p i r i c i s t s ' evidence that many such groups thrive (at l e a s t i n the U.S.). The former argue that i t i s not the number of groups but t h e i r functions that have been displaced i n a mass society. But, how can one demonstrate t h i s conclusively? The subjective c o r o l l a r y of atomization, the concept of a l i e n a t i o n so c e n t r a l to the "theory" of mass society, i s also open to c r i t i c i s m . The r e l a t i o n s h i p between a l i e n a t i o n and the atomized structure of mass society has not yet been securely established, although there does seem to be a c o r r e l a t i o n . Whether or not a l i e n a t i o n leads d i r e c t l y to extremist behavior (eith e r apathy or activism), as the t h e o r i s t s propose, remains an open question as c o n f l i c t i n g evidence f i t s the hypothesis. In view of t h i s , i t would appear to be more p r o f i t a b l e to regard t h e i r concept of a l i e n a t i o n as a "parable" rather than a t h e o r e t i c a l proposition. In other words, i t i s more us e f u l as a perspective f o r evaluating the q u a l i t y of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s experience than as an objective device f o r merely • describing i t . At present, the concept of mass society i s too ambiguous and too imprecise to q u a l i f y f o r the l a b e l " s c i e n t i f i c . " Obviously, i d e a l types are not per se' 117 inadequate t h e o r e t i c a l models. Use of such types as feudal, p l u r a l i s t i c and mass by the t h e o r i s t s allows c e r t a i n f a c t o r s to be i s o l a t e d which f a c i l i t a t e s comparison and explanation. However, the s e l e c t i v e nature of t h e i r types goes beyond the bounds of acceptable t h e o r i z i n g . For only the p o s i t i v e features of p l u r a l i s t i c society and, conversely, only the negative aspects of mass society are incorporated into the respective types. Consequently, the t h e o r i s t s lay themselves open to the charge of i d e a l i z a t i o n . The sketching of the two extremes - one black (mass s o c i e t y ) , the other, white (pluralism) - leads the t h e o r i s t s to some curious conclusions. According to them, t h e i r chosen democratic values of freedom and order can only survive i n a p l u r a l i s t i c society safeguarded by multiple e l i t e s . Here, they conduct a volte-face f o r , o r i g i n a l l y , they argued against the a r i s t o c r a t i c t h e o r i s t s that these values were best preserved by the non-elites, the many and not the e l i t e , the few. This change i n t h e i r p o s i t i o n a r i s e s from t h e i r minimization of the prime democratic value, equality, throughout t h e i r analyses. To accentuate the v i r t u e s of pluralism, mass society i s painted i n the worst possible l i g h t . Here, tyranny and disorder r e i g n as the atomized mass follows capricously the dictates of "unscrupulous" e l i t e s . The i n f i l t r a t i o n of the values of the democratic t h e o r i s t s i n t o t h e i r " s c i e n t i f i c " analyses of mass p o l i t i c s i s seen c l e a r l y i n t h i s j u xtaposition of the two types of society. 118 The main target of attack throughout the thesis has been the s c i e n t i f i c pretensions of the contemporary t h e o r i s t s of mass societ y . Hopefully, these have been exposed by revealing t h e i r e l i t i s t and p l u r a l i s t biases. These biases prevent consideration of a l l relevant f a c t o r s . Their f a i l u r e to r e a l i z e that t h e i r analyses are coloured by such preferences i s a serious one f o r i t l i m i t s the a n a l y t i c a l u t i l i t y of the concept. The concept i s , i n f a c t , more us e f u l as a perspective f o r evaluating s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t y than f o r explaining i t . The concept of mass society, however, cannot be s l o t t e d i n t o one i d e o l o g i c a l category^but i s rather composed of a mixture of ideologies spanning the l e f t - r i g h t continuum. Msbet has described i t as the "ideology of lament" due to i t s stress on the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the family and the small community. I f the concept i s seen as ideology, i t s value i s enhanced f o r i t a r t i c u l a t e s the subjective elements of contemporary l i f e . " I t i s a s e n s i t i v e i n d i c a t o r of changes dimly perceived, and perhaps i t i s a p r o t o - s c i e n t i f i c formulation of truth, bringing to consciousness features of r e a l i t y not yet s u b s t a n t i a l enough to be grasped by the methods of science."' 1" 'Walter, "Mass Society," p. 410. 119 BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Books A l l e n , W.S. The Nazi Seizure of Power. The Experience of a  Single German Town 1950-1935. Chicago, Quadrangle Books, 1965. Almond, G.A. 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