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Political Parties

Overview

Robert Michels (1876-1936) was a German sociologist who wrote on the political behavior of intellectual elites and contributed to elite theory. He became a Socialist while teaching at the University of Marburg, and became active in the radical wing of the Social Democratic Party of Germany; he left the party in 1907. In 1914, Michels became a professor of economics at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1926. He is best known for his book Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical ...
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Overview

Robert Michels (1876-1936) was a German sociologist who wrote on the political behavior of intellectual elites and contributed to elite theory. He became a Socialist while teaching at the University of Marburg, and became active in the radical wing of the Social Democratic Party of Germany; he left the party in 1907. In 1914, Michels became a professor of economics at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1926. He is best known for his book Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy (1916), which contains a description of the "iron law of oligarchy". Amongst his other works are Proletariato e la Borghesia nel Movimento Socialista Italiano (1908), Probleme der Sozialphilosophie (1914) and Imperialismo Italiano: Studi Politico- Demografici (1914).
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
**** Cited in Books for College Libraries, 3rd ed.. Comprises a critical discussion of the problem of democracy with an analysis of the three tendencies that oppose the realization of democracy: dependence on the nature of the individual, the political structure, and the organization. First published in 1910, this text is aimed at political scientists, sociologists, and historians. No bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780029212509
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1966
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 380
  • Sales rank: 835,783
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Author's Preface 5
Introduction 15
Introduction
Democratic Aristocracy and Aristocratic Democracy 43
The Ethical Embellishment of Social Struggles 52
Pt. 1 Leadership in Democratic Organizations
A Technical and Administrative Causes of Leadership
Introductory - The Need for Organization 61
Mechanical and Technical Impossibility of Direct Government by the Masses 63
The Modern Democratic Party as a Fighting Party, Dominated by Militarist Ideas and Methods 78
B Psychological Causes of Leadership
The Establishment of a Customary Right to the Office of Delegate 81
The Need for Leadership felt by the Mass 85
The Political Gratitude of the Masses 92
The Cult of Veneration Among the Masses 93
Accessory Qualities Requisite to Leadership 98
Accessory Peculiarities of the Masses 105
C Intellectual Factors
Superiority of the Professional Leaders in Respect to Culture, and Their Indispensability; the Formal and Real Incompetence of the Mass 107
Pt. 2 Autocratic Tendencies of Leaders
1 The Stability of Leadership 117
2 The Financial Power of the Leaders and of the Party 129
3 The Leaders and the Press 149
4 The Position of the Leaders in Relation to the Masses in Actual Practice 153
5 The Struggle Between the Leaders and the Masses 167
6 The Struggle Among the Leaders Themselves 172
7 Bureaucracy. Centralizing and Decentralizing Tendencies 188
Pt. 3 The Exercise of Power and Its Psychological Reaction upon the Leaders
1 Psychological Metamorphosis of the Leaders 205
2 Bonapartist Ideology 212
3 Identification of the Party with the Leader ("Le Parti c'est Moi") 220
Pt. 4 Social Analysis of Leadership
1 Introductory. The Class Struggle and Its Disintegrating Influence upon the Bourgeoisie 227
2 Analysis of the Bourgeois Elements in the Socialist Leadership 238
3 Social Changes Resulting from Organization 254
4 The Need for the Differentiation of the Working Class 271
5 Labor Leaders of Proletarian Origin 277
6 Intellectuals, and the Need for Them in the Working-Class Parties 293
Pt. 5 Attempts to Restrict the Influence of the Leaders
1 The Referendum 307
2 The Postulate of Renunciation 312
3 Syndicalism as Prophylactic 317
4 Anarchism as Prophylactic 325
Pt. 6 Synthesis: The Oligarchical Tendencies of Organization
1 The Conservative Basis of Organization 333
2 Democracy and the Iron Law of Oligarchy 342
3 Party-Life in War-Time 357
4 Final Considerations 364
Index of Names 373
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