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Thomas Hobbes

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Hierarchies
Critique of Individual theories
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In the last section, theorists focused on how
people come to share common
understandings of a situation
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People’s behavior will reflect this
understanding
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In other words, how people come to know the
rules of the game
Once they know the rules, they will follow them
But this approach ignores the possibility of
self-interest
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Even people who know the rules might be
tempted to cheat
Critique of Individual theories,
cont’d
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Common language and concepts may
be necessary to produce cooperation,
but they are insufficient
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Cohen and Vandello’s South
Intrafamily conflict
Critique, cont’d
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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?
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Hobbes’ question
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How is social order possible?
Hobbes’ assumptions
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People have the capacity to reason
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They weigh the costs and benefits
They consider the consequences of their
actions
Hobbes’ assumptions, cont’d
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People are self-interested
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They seek to attain what they desire
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Security (avoid death and injury)
Reputation (status)
Gain (possessions)
Assumptions, cont’d
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Their ability to attain what they desire
depends on their power
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Because men want a happy life, they seek
sufficient power to ensure that life
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All men have a “restless desire for power”
Assumptions, cont’d
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But men are equal in body and mind
Everyone is pulled into a constant
competitive conflict for a struggle for
power
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Or at least to resist his powers being
commanded by others
Assumptions, cont’d
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Without a power that is able to enforce
rules, people don’t enjoy their
interactions with each other
Implications
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The natural state of man is a war of all
against all (�the state of nature’)
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People who want the same things will be enemies
They will use all means (including �force and fraud’) to
attain their ends
Characteristics of the �state of
nature’
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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
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Hence, no agriculture, navigation, building, culture,
science
Life is short and unpleasant
Characteristics of the �state of
nature’
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Nothing can be unjust
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The notions of right and wrong, justice and
injustice have no place
Hobbes’ defense of his
assumptions
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The fact that people lock their doors at
night (even in the 16th century!)
provides support for Hobbes’ view that
people are naturally inclined to use
�force and fraud’
Hobbes
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People don’t like the state of nature
They therefore have a desire for social
order
Summary of the problem of
social order
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Man is a rational egoist who fears death
His egoism пѓ competition and war with
all others
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He is engaged in a zero-sum game
His fear of death and desire for
вЂ�commodious living’ пѓ demand for
social order
Hobbes’ solution
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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
How to make sure that
everyone would seek peace?
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No use for everyone to merely agree to give up their
individual sovereignty
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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
пЃ® By having the authority to use the combined
force of all the contractors to hold everyone to
it
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Agreements alone don’t have any force without
some coercive power to back them up
The solution: surrender of
sovereignty
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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
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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.
Hobbes: Summary of causal
relations and mechanisms
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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
Hobbes: Draw the theory
War of all
against all
Unhappy
life
Formation
of the state
Individuals
give up
rights
Costs of
disobedience
Social order
Individual
compliance
Hobbes
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How do we know if the theory has
merit?
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Look at the empirical world
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For example, do societies without government
have more violence than societies with
governments? (Cooney 1997)
Friedrich Engels
Engels on the state
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Like Hobbes, Engels views the state as
necessary for social order
However, the origin of the state is
different
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Hobbes: a world of equal individuals
Engels: a world of unequal classes
Classes
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Defined by their relation to the means
of production
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Owners
Non-owners
Are important because production
determines consciousness (Marx)
Classes
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The interests of the dominant and
subordinate classes conflict
Their behavior reflects their conflicting
interests
So, societies are prone to conflict
Classes
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The class with the most economic
power becomes the political power
Engels: How the state
encourages compliance
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It represents the interests of the ruling class
as against the class made up of non-owners
Mechanism: coercion, supplemented by
ideology/religion
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Coercion
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Fines
Prison
Ideology/religion
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Makes dominance by the ruling class seem natural
Engels: How the state
encourages compliance, cont’d
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Example: 1984
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Coercion via
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Monitoring (telescreens)
Sanctioning
Ideology/persuasion
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Control over information
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Ministry of truth
Engels: Draw the theory
Class
Conflict
Dominance
by Powerful
= State
Costs of
deviance, view
of what’s
appropriate
Social
Order
Compliance
Engels
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How do we know if the theory has
merit?
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Look at the empirical world
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E.g. Do governments protect the interests of
the wealthy?
Do religion, education, and so forth benefit the
wealthy?
Education
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(Bowles and Gintis)
Education perpetuates inequality
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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 student’s
IQ
Children of highly educated parents do better on
standardized test scores
Less money is spent on schools that poor children
attend
Education, cont’d
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Education perpetuates existing status
structures
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The structure of schools corresponds to the
structure of the economic world
Role relationships replicate the hierarchical
division of labor
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Students don’t control curriculum content
Rewards are external (grades) rather than
internal/intrinsic
Education, cont’d
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There is a hierarchical division of types of schools
like there is for types of jobs
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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.
Critique of coercive theories of
social order
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Hobbes cannot explain social order
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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?
Critique of coercive solutions
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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)
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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)
Critique of coercive solutions
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Very high levels of coercion would be
required to produce social order. But,
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Coercion is expensive
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Need a cop on every corner
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A telescreen in every room (1984)
Coercion is ethically unappealing
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Proudhon’s list of the �domestic inconveniences
of the state’
Max Weber’s contributions
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1. The concept of legitimacy
2. Three types of social order
Legitimacy
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In every social order, commands will be
obeyed by a given group of individuals
To ensure this, there must be some
voluntary compliance
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people must have an interest in obeying the
rules/laws
Thus, every type of social order
cultivates the belief in its legitimacy
Legitimacy implicitly recognized
in Marxism
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To forestall class conflict, the ruling class attains
intellectual hegemony by supporting
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In capitalism, political, military, religious, media
institutions are dependent on the ruling class
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(State) churches – religion = �the opiate of the people’
Schools
The mass media
Serve the interests of the ruling class
Justify exploitation of the working class
The Orwellian conclusion
пЃ® In 1984, the ruling class molds thinking, through its
control over media, language, etc.
Legitimate orders
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Requires administrative staff to rule
large numbers of people
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Staff = a specialized group normally
trusted to execute policy
Every system of order
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Has a way to bind the staff to the ruler
Has a way to bind the ruled to the ruler
Three �ideal types’ of social
order
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Abstract models of social conditions
Patrimonial (�Traditional order’)
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Bureaucratic (�Legal order’)
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Rests on the belief in the sanctity of traditions, and
the legitimacy of the rulers selected thereby
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
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Rests on devotion to the exceptional sanctity,
heroism, or exemplary character of an individual
person
How are these types arrived
at?
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By assuming what instrumental, selfinterested actors would do, if they
found themselves in the given social
conditions
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Weber imagines how rational egoists would
behave in these conditions
Charismatic order
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There are no fixed rules
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Leaders make their own rules (said to come from
a higher power)
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Gandhi
Order does not depend on a continuous
source of income
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Wealth not pursued in a methodical manner
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Regards as undignified all rational economic
conduct
Master and disciples must be free of ordinary
worldly attachments
Charismatic order, cont’d
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Followers are not materially compensated
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They often share in the goods the leader
receives as donations
Ability of leader to provide goods sets a limit
on charismatic authority
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Leader’s mission must prove itself by fulfilling the
values of faithful followers (and providing some
subsistence to them)
Patrimonial order
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Rests on the sanctity of age-old rules and
powers
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Masters chosen according to these rules, obeyed
because of their traditional status
Motivational basis
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Personal loyalty
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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
Recruitment to staff
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People are recruited to a patrimonial
staff either via
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Traditional ties of loyalty
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Kinsmen, slaves, dependents, clients, etc.
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Example: Saddam Hussein recruits from Tikrit
Voluntarily
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People who willingly enter into a relation of
loyalty to the leader
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(Tom Hagen, the consigliere to the Corleone family)
Factors absent from
patrimonial orders
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Clearly defined spheres of competence
subject to impersonal rules
Rationally established hierarchies
An orderly promotion system
Technical training as a requirement
Fixed monetary salaries
How are patrimonial staff
compensated?
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By living from the lord’s 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
A contemporary example
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Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather,
Part I
The bureaucratic order
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Based on the rule of law
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Abstract rules established intentionally
Law applies these general rules to specific cases, so as to
rationally pursue the organization’s interests
Office holders themselves subject to an impersonal order
Members owe obedience to superiors not as
individuals, but only to the impersonal order
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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.
Fundamental characteristics of
bureaucracy
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Official business conducted according to formal
rules
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Hierarchy
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Each office has a distinct sphere of competence
Candidates for office selected according to technical
qualifications
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Each lower office is under the control and supervision
of a higher one
tested by exams, guaranteed by diplomas
Incumbents cannot buy their offices
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Instead, staff are paid by fixed money salaries, usually
with pensions
Bureaucracy, cont’d
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The office regarded as the primary
occupation of the incumbent
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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
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Meetings with minutes
Bureaucracy, cont’d
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Rights of individuals are protected
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This prevents the arbitrary use of power by
superiors in the service of extraorganizational goals
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Procedural justice
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The right to appeal decisions and statements of
grievances
Types of bureaucratic
organizations
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Governments
Armies
Profit-making firms
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Including professional sports teams
Universities
Charitable organizations
The rationale of bureaucracy
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It is the most efficient form of
administration
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It is the most stable and disciplined
Its activities are the most predictable
It can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks.
Bureaucracy = the modern
system of authority
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Modern organizations are types of
bureaucracies
Bureaucracy -- by far the most efficient
means of administration
The advantages of
bureaucracy
Takes advantage of the division of labor
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Based on technical knowledge
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Ensures that the best people are selected for each
position
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пѓ greater precision, speed and objectivity in
administrative organization
Recruitment according to expertise
Provides a basis for individual accountability
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Superiors grade performance of their subordinates
Promotion in the career contingent on good
performance
Advantages, cont’d
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Contributes to social levelling
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Meritocratic rather than particularistic
recruitment
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Affinities with democracy
High stability
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Sometimes, too stable: bureaucratic inertia
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Democratic decision-making can be inefficient
Some disadvantages of
bureaucracy
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Concentrates power in the hands of a
small number of people
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Slow to adapt to environmental changes
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Those at the top of the various hierarchies
Akin to turning around a large oil tanker
Discourages individualism, creativity,
and risk-taking
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An �iron cage’
A key question
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Bureaucracy is a modern invention;
dates from the late 18th century, at the
earliest
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Yet if it is such an efficient system of
administration, then why isn’t it found
everywhere in space and time?
Answer: bureaucracy has certain
preconditions that were not able to be
met until modern times
Why patrimonialism?
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What does an instrumentally rational
leader do in the absence of modern
technology of communication and
exchange?
The 3 essential tasks of administration
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Recruiting an effective staff
Motivating the staff
Monitoring its compliance
Comparing the two orders
Patrimonialism
Bureaucracy
Recruiting
Dependents
Experts
Motivating
(Sanctioning)
No Job Security
Job Security
Extreme vulnerability
Advancement based on
performance
Monitoring
Difficult
Administrative
Hierarchy
Hence reliance on sanctions
alone
Question
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If bureaucracy is the most efficient
system of administration, why isn’t it
found in the Mafia?
Weber: Draw the theory
Characteristics
of the authority
Individuals view
ruler as
legitimate
Social order
Individuals obey
ruler demands
Weber
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How do we know if the theory has
merit?
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Look at the empirical world
Paul Willis
Willis, Learning to Labour
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Consequence of the counter-school
culture: poor achievement пѓ placement in
working-class jobs
The emergence of a �counter-school
culture’
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�lads’ vs. �ear’ oles’
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Conflict over dress and personal attractiveness –
about the legitimacy of the school as an institution
 �having a laff’
Lessons from Willis
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Legitimacy needed for cooperation, but
not predictability
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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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