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Hierarchies. Critique of Individual theories In the last section, theorists focused on how people come to share common understandings of a situation In.

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Presentation on theme: "Hierarchies. Critique of Individual theories In the last section, theorists focused on how people come to share common understandings of a situation In."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hierarchies

2 Critique of Individual theories In the last section, theorists focused on how people come to share common understandings of a situation In other words, how people come to know the rules of the game Peoples behavior will reflect this understanding Once they know the rules, they will follow them But this approach ignores the possibility of self-interest Even people who know the rules might be tempted to cheat

3 Critique of Individual theories, contd Common language and concepts may be necessary to produce cooperation, but they are insufficient Cohen and Vandellos South Intrafamily conflict

4 Critique, contd How then do we get people to follow the rules? How do we get people to cooperate even when doing so is counter to their self-interest?

5 Thomas Hobbes ( )

6 Hobbes question How is social order possible?

7 Hobbes assumptions People have the capacity to reason They weigh the costs and benefits They consider the consequences of their actions

8 Hobbes assumptions, contd People are self-interested They seek to attain what they desire Security (avoid death and injury) Reputation (status) Gain (possessions)

9 Assumptions, contd Their ability to attain what they desire depends on their power Because men want a happy life, they seek sufficient power to ensure that life All men have a restless desire for power

10 Assumptions, contd But men are equal in body and mind Everyone is pulled into a constant competitive conflict for a struggle for power Or at least to resist his powers being commanded by others

11 Assumptions, contd Without a power that is able to enforce rules, people dont enjoy their interactions with each other

12 Implications The natural state of man is a war of all against all ( the state of nature ) People who want the same things will be enemies They will use all means (including force and fraud ) to attain their ends

13 Characteristics of the state of nature People are insecure, and live in a constant fear of injury and death There is no place for industry, because the fruit of it is uncertain Hence, no agriculture, navigation, building, culture, science Life is short and unpleasant

14 Characteristics of the state of nature Nothing can be unjust The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have no place

15 Hobbes defense of his assumptions The fact that people lock their doors at night (even in the 16 th century!) provides support for Hobbes view that people are naturally inclined to use force and fraud

16 Hobbes People dont like the state of nature They therefore have a desire for social order

17 Summary of the problem of social order Man is a rational egoist who fears death His egoism competition and war with all others He is engaged in a zero-sum game His fear of death and desire for commodious living demand for social order

18 Hobbes solution Under these conditions, how can social order be attained? In the state of nature, people have liberty Since man is rational, he will never use his power to harm himself Man will try to attain peace only if he is convinced that everyone else will do the same

19 How to make sure that everyone would seek peace? No use for everyone to merely agree to give up their individual sovereignty because men would still be rational egoists and would renege whenever it was to their advantage They would have to transfer them to some person or body who could make the agreement stick By having the authority to use the combined force of all the contractors to hold everyone to it Agreements alone dont have any force without some coercive power to back them up

20 The solution: surrender of sovereignty The only way to provide social order is for everyone to acknowledge a perpetual sovereign power (the state, or Leviathan) against which each of them would be powerless This represents a coercive solution to the problem of social order. Due to rational egoism, the only means of providing order is by establishing a state that would punish would-be miscreants.

21 Hobbes: Summary of causal relations and mechanisms Macro-level cause: war of all against all Situational mechanism: people want security Individual internal state: desire order Behavioral mechanism: rational egoists decide to give up sovereignty to the state Individual action: People give up sovereignty to the state Transformational mechanism: Aggregation Macro-level outcome/cause: state Situational mechanism: Individuals evaluate new costs of deviance Individual internal state: Recognize that deviance is costly Behavioral mechanism: Individuals want to avoid costs Individual action: Obedience Transformational mechanism: Aggregation Macro-level outcome: Social order

22 Hobbes: Draw the theory War of all against all Formation of the state Social order Unhappy life Individuals give up rights Costs of disobedience Individual compliance

23 Hobbes How do we know if the theory has merit? Look at the empirical world For example, do societies without government have more violence than societies with governments? (Cooney 1997)

24 Friedrich Engels

25 Engels on the state Like Hobbes, Engels views the state as necessary for social order However, the origin of the state is different Hobbes: a world of equal individuals Engels: a world of unequal classes

26 Classes Defined by their relation to the means of production Owners Non-owners Are important because production determines consciousness (Marx)

27 Classes The interests of the dominant and subordinate classes conflict Their behavior reflects their conflicting interests So, societies are prone to conflict

28 Classes The class with the most economic power becomes the political power

29 Engels: How the state encourages compliance It represents the interests of the ruling class as against the class made up of non-owners Mechanism: coercion, supplemented by ideology/religion Coercion Fines Prison Ideology/religion Makes dominance by the ruling class seem natural

30 Engels: How the state encourages compliance, contd Example: 1984 Coercion via Monitoring (telescreens) Sanctioning Ideology/persuasion Control over information Ministry of truth

31 Engels: Draw the theory Class Conflict Dominance by Powerful = State Costs of deviance, view of whats appropriate Compliance Social Order

32 Engels How do we know if the theory has merit? Look at the empirical world E.g. Do governments protect the interests of the wealthy? Do religion, education, and so forth benefit the wealthy?

33 Education (Bowles and Gintis) Education perpetuates inequality Those with wealthy, educated parents have more years of school and are more likely to attend college Parental socio-economic status is a better predictor of college attendance than the students IQ Children of highly educated parents do better on standardized test scores Less money is spent on schools that poor children attend

34 Education, contd Education perpetuates existing status structures The structure of schools corresponds to the structure of the economic world Role relationships replicate the hierarchical division of labor Students dont control curriculum content Rewards are external (grades) rather than internal/intrinsic

35 Education, contd There is a hierarchical division of types of schools like there is for types of jobs At work: lower levels emphasize rule-following; middle levels emphasize dependability and ability to act without supervision; higher levels stress internalization of norms At school: lower levels (junior and senior high) limit and channel activities of students. Community colleges have more independent activity. Elite four year colleges even more so. As students master each level, they either progress to the next or are channeled into the corresponding level in the hierarchy of production.

36 Critique of coercive theories of social order Hobbes cannot explain social order Why should rational egoists in the state of nature ever be willing to lay down their arms and surrender their liberty to a coercive ruler?

37 Critique of coercive solutions Hobbes solution to the problem of order stretches the conception of rationality beyond its scope in the rest of the theory, to a point where the actors come to be concerned about the social interest rather than their individual interests (Parsons 1937) In the absence of normative limits on the use of force and fraud there will be an unlimited struggle for power But there are no normative elements in Hobbes (nor are these central in Marx-Engels)

38 Critique of coercive solutions Very high levels of coercion would be required to produce social order. But, Coercion is expensive Need a cop on every corner A telescreen in every room (1984) Coercion is ethically unappealing Proudhons list of the domestic inconveniences of the state

39 Max Webers contributions 1. The concept of legitimacy 2. Three types of social order

40 Legitimacy In every social order, commands will be obeyed by a given group of individuals To ensure this, there must be some voluntary compliance people must have an interest in obeying the rules/laws Thus, every type of social order cultivates the belief in its legitimacy

41 Legitimacy implicitly recognized in Marxism To forestall class conflict, the ruling class attains intellectual hegemony by supporting (State) churches – religion = the opiate of the people Schools The mass media In capitalism, political, military, religious, media institutions are dependent on the ruling class Serve the interests of the ruling class Justify exploitation of the working class The Orwellian conclusion In 1984, the ruling class molds thinking, through its control over media, language, etc.

42 Legitimate orders Requires administrative staff to rule large numbers of people Staff = a specialized group normally trusted to execute policy Every system of order Has a way to bind the staff to the ruler Has a way to bind the ruled to the ruler

43 Three ideal types of social order Abstract models of social conditions Patrimonial (Traditional order) Rests on the belief in the sanctity of traditions, and the legitimacy of the rulers selected thereby Bureaucratic (Legal order) Rests on the belief in the legality of enacted rules, and the right of those elevated in authority under such rules to issue commands Charismatic Rests on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism, or exemplary character of an individual person

44 How are these types arrived at? By assuming what instrumental, self- interested actors would do, if they found themselves in the given social conditions Weber imagines how rational egoists would behave in these conditions

45 Charismatic order There are no fixed rules Leaders make their own rules (said to come from a higher power) Gandhi Order does not depend on a continuous source of income Wealth not pursued in a methodical manner Regards as undignified all rational economic conduct Master and disciples must be free of ordinary worldly attachments

46 Charismatic order, contd Followers are not materially compensated They often share in the goods the leader receives as donations Ability of leader to provide goods sets a limit on charismatic authority Leaders mission must prove itself by fulfilling the values of faithful followers (and providing some subsistence to them)

47 Patrimonial order Rests on the sanctity of age-old rules and powers Masters chosen according to these rules, obeyed because of their traditional status Motivational basis Personal loyalty When exercising power, the master must consider how far he can go without inciting resistance When resistance occurs, directed against the master personally, not against the system as such

48 Recruitment to staff People are recruited to a patrimonial staff either via Traditional ties of loyalty Kinsmen, slaves, dependents, clients, etc. Example: Saddam Hussein recruits from Tikrit Voluntarily People who willingly enter into a relation of loyalty to the leader (Tom Hagen, the consigliere to the Corleone family)

49 Factors absent from patrimonial orders Clearly defined spheres of competence subject to impersonal rules Rationally established hierarchies An orderly promotion system Technical training as a requirement Fixed monetary salaries

50 How are patrimonial staff compensated? By living from the lords table By allowances in kind By rights of land use in exchange for services By the appropriation of property income, fees, or taxes By fiefs

51 A contemporary example Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather, Part I

52 The bureaucratic order Based on the rule of law Abstract rules established intentionally Law applies these general rules to specific cases, so as to rationally pursue the organizations interests Office holders themselves subject to an impersonal order Members owe obedience to superiors not as individuals, but only to the impersonal order Incumbents obliged to obey only within the scope of their job description Members owe obedience to superiors not as individuals, but only to the impersonal order.

53 Fundamental characteristics of bureaucracy Official business conducted according to formal rules Hierarchy Each lower office is under the control and supervision of a higher one Each office has a distinct sphere of competence Candidates for office selected according to technical qualifications tested by exams, guaranteed by diplomas Incumbents cannot buy their offices Instead, staff are paid by fixed money salaries, usually with pensions

54 Bureaucracy, contd The office regarded as the primary occupation of the incumbent It constitutes a career, with a system of promotion based on seniority, merit or both Officials accountable to superiors for their conduct in office Administrative acts, decisions and rules formulated and recorded in writing Meetings with minutes

55 Bureaucracy, contd Rights of individuals are protected This prevents the arbitrary use of power by superiors in the service of extra- organizational goals Procedural justice The right to appeal decisions and statements of grievances

56 Types of bureaucratic organizations Governments Armies Profit-making firms Including professional sports teams Universities Charitable organizations

57 The rationale of bureaucracy It is the most efficient form of administration It is the most stable and disciplined Its activities are the most predictable It can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks.

58 Bureaucracy = the modern system of authority Modern organizations are types of bureaucracies Bureaucracy -- by far the most efficient means of administration

59 The advantages of bureaucracy Takes advantage of the division of labor Based on technical knowledge greater precision, speed and objectivity in administrative organization Ensures that the best people are selected for each position Recruitment according to expertise Provides a basis for individual accountability Superiors grade performance of their subordinates Promotion in the career contingent on good performance

60 Advantages, contd Contributes to social levelling Meritocratic rather than particularistic recruitment Affinities with democracy High stability Sometimes, too stable: bureaucratic inertia Democratic decision-making can be inefficient

61 Some disadvantages of bureaucracy Concentrates power in the hands of a small number of people Those at the top of the various hierarchies Slow to adapt to environmental changes Akin to turning around a large oil tanker Discourages individualism, creativity, and risk-taking An iron cage

62 A key question Bureaucracy is a modern invention; dates from the late 18 th century, at the earliest Yet if it is such an efficient system of administration, then why isnt it found everywhere in space and time? Answer: bureaucracy has certain preconditions that were not able to be met until modern times

63 Why patrimonialism? What does an instrumentally rational leader do in the absence of modern technology of communication and exchange? The 3 essential tasks of administration Recruiting an effective staff Motivating the staff Monitoring its compliance

64 Comparing the two orders PatrimonialismBureaucracy Recruiting DependentsExperts Motivating (Sanctioning) No Job Security Extreme vulnerability Job Security Advancement based on performance Monitoring Difficult Hence reliance on sanctions alone Administrative Hierarchy

65 Question If bureaucracy is the most efficient system of administration, why isnt it found in the Mafia?

66 Weber: Draw the theory Characteristics of the authority Individuals view ruler as legitimate Individuals obey ruler demands Social order

67 Weber How do we know if the theory has merit? Look at the empirical world

68 Paul Willis

69 Willis, Learning to Labour Consequence of the counter-school culture: poor achievement placement in working-class jobs The emergence of a counter-school culture lads vs. ear oles Conflict over dress and personal attractiveness – about the legitimacy of the school as an institution having a laff

70 Lessons from Willis Legitimacy needed for cooperation, but not predictability The order in the working-class school is not legitimate, yet students behave in a predictable way They commit everyday acts of resistance Consequence: reproduction of the existing class structure


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