In Power and Society, Harold D. Lasswell collaborates with a brilliant young philosopher, Abraham Kaplan, to formulate basic theoretical concepts and hypotheses of political science, providing a framework for further inquiry into the political process. This is a classic book of political theory written by two of the most influential social scientists of the twentieth century.
The authors find their subject matter in interpersonal relations, not abstract institutions or organizations, and their analysis of power is related to human values. They argue that revolution is a part of the political process, and ideology has a role in political affairs. The importance of class, both as social fact and social symbol, is reflected in their detailed analysis, and emphasis on merit rather than rank, skill rather than status, as keystones of democratic rule.
The authors note that power is only one of the values and instruments manifested in interpersonal relations; it cannot be understood in abstraction from other values. Lasswell and Kaplan call for the replacement of "power politics," both in theory and in practice, by a conception in which attention is focused on the human consequences of power as the major concern of both political thought and political action. The basic discussions of core concepts in political science make Power and Society of continuing importance to scholars, government officials, and politicians.
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About the Author
Harold D. Lasswell (1902-1978) served as Ford Foundation Professor of the Social Sciences at Yale University, Distinguished Professor of Policy Sciences at John Jay College of the City University of New York, and as professor of political science at the University of Chicago. He was a past president of the American Political Science Association and author of many books covering the full range of political and policy research.
Abraham Kaplan (1918-1993) taught at RAND Graduate School, Harvard University, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is widely published, and is perhaps best known for Power and Society, co-authored with Harold D. Lasswell.
Ronald D. Brunner is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Colorado-Boulder. His books include Adaptive Governance and Climate Change.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Transaction EditionPrefaceIntroduction
PART ONEI. PersonsII. PerspectivesIII. Groups
PART TWOIV. Infl uenceV. PowerVI. SymbolsVII. Practices
PART THREEVIII. FunctionsIX. StructuresX. Process