anatomies of america: sociological philip ehrensaft; amitai etzioni

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  • Anatomies of America: Sociological Perspectives. by Philip Ehrensaft; Amitai EtzioniReview by: Robert E. StaufferSocial Forces, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Sep., 1970), pp. 153-154Published by: Oxford University PressStable URL: .Accessed: 15/06/2014 11:47

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    Richard Jensen's "History and the Political Scientist" traces history's contribution to the de- velopment of political science in America and out- lines appropriate uses of it by the contemporary fifth generation of political scientists concerned above all to develop empirical theory. In "An- thropology and Political Science: Courtship or Marriage," Ronald Cohen describes how an in- crease in data variance can be gained from the rich resources of his field by students increasingly aware of the sociopolitical milieu. Scott Greer discusses the relation between "Sociology and Political Science." While separated from an earlier political economy, in studying society as a whole, they may be rejoined. This has been the domain of sociology, but Greer finds the social sciences are one, as their basic unit, men in ag- gregates, is the same.

    "From the Sociology of Politics to Political Sociology," by Giovanni Sartori, attacks conven- tional political sociology at its weak spot, the tendency to reduce politics to the social. This re- sults in a limited sociology of politics. Much of it is faulted for heavy emphasis on class voting, which he finds empirically unproven. Sartori per- suasively argues for a political sociology which serves as an interdisciplinary bridge. His most important point, though, is that the Lipset-Rokkan answer to "how conflicts and cleavages are trans- lated into a party system" in their Party System and Voter Alignments is a landmark for political sociology. But Sartori had declared already that Parsonian models had little use in political anal- ysis and yet, Lipset-Rokkan claimed to ground their views with Parsonian concepts. This goes to confirm the reviewer's suspicions that the brilliant analysis made after paying homage to Parsons for 26 pages could have stood on its own.

    William Mitchell has switched from social sys- tem models to the new political economists who rest analysis on exchange models in "The Shape of Political Theory to Come." This still may be too rational for the more complex real world. In "The Relationship between Economy and the Other Social Sciences: The Province of a Social Report," Mancur Olson, Jr., argues that the economist's ideal to maximize efficiency is polar to the sociologist's ideal to minimize alienation through institutional integration. Thus, a social report would weigh how much of one ideal must be given up to get more of the other. With "Personality and Politics: Problems of Evidence, Inference and Conceptualization," Fred I. Green- stein shows a way to study political psychology. Using Smith's "map" of the interrelations among the types of relevant variables, this chapter is a very good account of the pertinent literature weighed against the map. Moving to "Psychiatry and Political Science: Some Reflections and Pros- pects," Arnold A. Rogow gives reasons for no healthy marriage between the two areas including: the long-time non-behavioral stance of political science; the Freudian challenge to rational models

    of behavior; and the contemporary preference for "hard" research contrasted with the alleged "soft- ness" of psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

    Jensen appears lagain with "American Election Analysis: A Case History of Methodological In- novation and Diffusion." He finds the transition from traditional approaches to behavioralism im- portantly aided by the analysis of election sta- tistics, traced in voting studies from the 1870s to 1932. Finally, in "Statistics and Politics: The Need for Causal Data Analysis," Hayward R. Alker, Jr., shows the development of quantitative methods from German and English roots in the seventeenth century. Reading this chapter makes it clear that causal modeling in the behavioral sciences presently is no passing fad and those of us not in Jensen's fifth generation should con- tinue to brush up our statistics.

    This book will make a contribution if nothing else is gained from its reading than a firmer feel of the common ground on which many social scientists now stand in individual and collaborative research.

    ANATOMIES OF AMERICA: SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPEC- TIVES. Edited by Philip Ehrensaft and Amitai Etzioni. New York: Macmillan, 1969. 499 pp. Cloth, $9.95; paper, $4.95.

    Reviewed by ROBERT E. STAUFFER, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    While it will probably serve the same market, this collection of articles, all written by sociol- ogists, is not simply another of the current on- slaught of introductory Readers. And therein in a sense, lies both its virtues and defects. First, the editors have chosen pieces dealing only with the United States, as their title indicates, and in so doing both give more coherence to the book and perpetuate our limiting preoccupation with our own society. (With regard to the latter point, I must strenuously object to the editors' contention in the Preface that American sociologists ". . . are much more inclined to explore the internal pro- cesses of other societies than the making of our own." My impression is that American sociology must plead guilty to exactly the opposite charge.) Second, the collection includes few articles of a primarily conceptual nature, such that while the selections will no doubt thereby have more in- herent interest to the student, they provide rela- tively little sense of sociology as a theoretical discipline. This, incidentally, is a disadvantage not corrected by the editors' section introductions, for these are unusually skimpy. Finally, and re- latedly, many of the selections are popularized essays, often drawn from the better periodicals, and while this means that they are highly readable and often quite stimulating, it also means that the student will acquire little sense of sociological re-

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    search from reading the book. Thus, by conscious- ly editing the kind of book they did, Ehrensaft and Etzioni have provided us with an appealing collection but one with real limitations if used in the typical introductory course. (On the other hand, the book is generally ideal for service courses on American Society.)

    The collection is divided into nine parts, be- ginning with an overview (an essay by Daniel Bell entitled "Toward a Communal Society" and one by Raymond Aron on "Europe and the United States") and continuing with sections on politics, work and class, race and ethnicity, religion and culture, education, urbanization, deviance, and family and demography. Overall, I found the selections very good, within the limitations noted above. I do, however, want to mention two criti- cisms. The Aron piece was included to demon- strate the "foreign aspects of contemporary America," but focuses almost entirely on military and economic relations between the U.S. and Europe, and consequences of these relations for European politics. I applaud this inclusion but would have appreciated at least one additional article pertaining to the United States' impact on and involvement in the "third world." Second, I was very disappointed to find that the only selec- tion specifically devoted to big corporations was that by W. Lloyd Warner. His central concern is with the moral restraints by which he alleges society severely curtails the power of the large cor- poration, and the unaware reader could easily come away with the two conclusions that morality (not countervailing power) is what restrains cor- porations and that corporations are by now rela- tively benign institutions serving the public good. I find both conclusions remarkably naive and cannot understand why the editors permitted this essay to stand alone.

    On the other hand, let me again stress that generally the articles were well-chosen in the sense of being interesting, timely, and perceptive; and several, e.g., Cloward and Elman's "Poverty, In- justice, and the Welfare State," are excellent. In fact, my criticisms notwithstanding, I think the book is one of the better collections presently available.


    DICTIONARY OF MODERN SOCIOLOGY. Prepared by Thomas Ford Hoult. Totowa, New Jersey: Littlefield, Adams, 1969. 408 pp. $3.45.

    Reviewed by PAUL MICHAEL ROMAN, Tulane Uni- versity

    Attempts at developing common reference points for the use of sociological concepts through codifi- cation of patterns of current usage are reflected in the recent revision of the International Encyclo- pedi


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