The Soviet System: Models of Political Science

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Many things make up a modern society: its history, culture, natural setting, wealth, classes, and peoples. For some, the power structure, the political system, lies at the heart of the social order. Russia has long been a “political society” and its future may also be decided in large part by the power structure. A good way to understand Russia and other modern societies is to examine the ties between the “Soviet system” and the rest of the country’s life. George Fischer argues that it is these ties that explain ...

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Overview

Many things make up a modern society: its history, culture, natural setting, wealth, classes, and peoples. For some, the power structure, the political system, lies at the heart of the social order. Russia has long been a “political society” and its future may also be decided in large part by the power structure. A good way to understand Russia and other modern societies is to examine the ties between the “Soviet system” and the rest of the country’s life. George Fischer argues that it is these ties that explain much about the consequences of a communist state.

The Soviet System, originally published in 1968, presents a provocative challenge to prevailing theories of modernization throughout the world. In this book Fischer takes issue with current assumptions that societies developing an advanced, fully modern economy and culture must inevitably adopt Western-type social and political institutions. The author holds that our understanding of contemporary nations is impeded by assessing them in terms of the prevailing American theory of “pluralism.” The notion that a “pluralist” division of labor pervades all of modern society is challenged and tested in the context of the former Soviet Union as a modern society.

The emergence of the dual executive, a leader with a special mixture of political and economic know-how, is emphasized as a trend toward a “monist” model of society. Fischer demonstrates how this model, in which all power is public and both industry and culture remain part of a non-capitalist, non-liberal state structure, can prove useful in studying social change today. The result is a book of value to all scholars and students dealing with the social and political systems of both developing and advanced societies—long after the Soviet system of rule dissolved.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Professor Fischer’s monograph, published under the auspices of the Bureau of Applied Social Research and the Russian Institute of Columbia University, constitutes a detailed analysis of biographical data concerning higher full-time officials of the Communist party of the Soviet Union…. Fischer’s work can be highly recommended as constituting a very careful, imaginative, and informative treatment of his narrow subject.” —David Granick, Political Science Quarterly “This is a carefully documented sociological study of 306 top Soviet executives. It provides a framework for George Fischer to outline the structure—and prognosticate the future—of Soviet society.” —Alex Simirenko, American Sociological Review “Fischer deserves praise for tackling enormously difficult problems in a highly stimulating fashion.” —Frederick C. Barghoorn, Slavic Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412842754
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/30/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 199
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

George Fischer, author and editor of this volume, taught sociology at Columbia University. His books include Soviet Opposition to Stalin, Science and Politics, andAmerican Research on Soviet Society.

Paul Hollander is professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and center associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. His books include Political Pilgrims, The Many Faces of Socialism, and Soviet and American Society: A Comparison.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition v

Preface ix

Introduction The Future of the Soviet System 1

1 A Sample of Executives 19

2 Types of Career: Is There a Trend? 47

3 The Social Origin of Executives 65

4 Schooling 92

5 Past Work 106

6 Current Standing 117

Conclusion A New Model of Modern Society? 135

Notes 154

List of Tables 181

List of Executives 185

Acknowledgments 193

Index 195

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