Social Science as Imperialism: A Theory of Political Development [2 ed.] 9781210591, 978121130x

Claude Ake's study is primarily concerned with what he terms 'the most perinicious form of imperialism' n

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Table of contents :
Introduction xiii
1. The Theory of Political Development 1
2. Theory and Reality 16
3. The Ideological Character of the Theory of Political Development 76
4. Social Science as Imperialism 124
5. What is to be Done? 186
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Social Science as Imperialism: A Theory of Political Development [2 ed.]
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SOCIAL SCIENCE AS IMPERIALISM the theory of political development

by Claude Ake

(second edition)

Ibadan University Press

Publishing House Ibadan University Press University of Ibadan Ibadan, Nigeria © Chude Ake

AU Rights Reserved First edition 1979 ISBN 978 121 059-1

Second edition 1982 ISBN 978 121 130 x Reprinted 1991 This impression 2003

Cover design: Patricia Udokang Printed by Johnmof Printer*, Ibadan

For Jennifer Anne Green








The Theory of Political Development


Theory and Reality


The Ideological Character pf the Theory

1 16

of Political Development



Social Science as Imperialism



What is to be Done?




PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION The argument of the original book has not changed; it has been clarified and extended and the full bibliographical material from which my critique drew has been provided. I am grateful to my colleagues of the School of Social Sciences who have been most supportive, to Mrs Ladi Netimah whose efficient secretarial services made my task much easier and to the Council for the Development of Economic and Social Research in Africa for kindly permit* ting me to draw on a paper which I had written for Africa Development. The reception of the original book was generous and enthusiastic. It seems to me that this is an encouraging sign for our struggle against imperialism and the perversion of science. School of Social Sciences University of Port Harcourt March 1982.

Claude Ake


This book was written at a time when I was commuting between the University of Dar Es Salaam and Carleton Uni­ versity. It benefited greatly from my graduate students at both universities, particularly those of them who refused to be easily impressed. It benefited no less from the thought­ ful comments of several colleagues^ Anthony Rweyemamu of the University of Dar Es Salaam, Paul Rosen and Jon Alexander of Carleton University, Okon Udokang and Sam Nolutshungu of the University of Ibadan. My editor Patricia Udokang put a lot of work into making it readable. Ann Keehner did the tedious job of typing and retyping the manuscript with admirable diligence and good cheer. I am most grateful for all this help. I hope that you will all bear with me for the failings of this book, and that you will understand why, in spite of them, I insist on calling it “our book”.

University of Dar es Salaam




is a study of one of the most subtle and most pernicious forms of imperialism—imperialism in the guise of scientific knowledge. My thesis is that with the exception of the Marxist tradition, Western social science scholarship on developing countries amounts to imperialism. Western social science scholarship on developing countries is imperialism in the sense that (a) it foists, or at any rate attempts to foist on the developing countries, capitalist values, capitalist institutions, and capitalist development; (b) if focuses social science analysis on the question of how to make the developing countries more like the West; and (c) it propagates mystifica­ tions, and modes of thought and action which serve the interests of capitalism and imperialism. Needless to say this thesis is not breaking new ground, but merely supplementing the effort which others have made. The capitalist and imperialist character of the Western scholar­ ship on economic development in the Third World has been indicated by several progressive economists^ particularly Samir Amin, Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of Underdevelopment, and Paul Baran, The Political Economic of Growth. Unfortunately, the treatment of the imperialism of social science in these writings is merely incidental. Paul Baran is mainly interested in how the econo­ mic surplus is produced and used and how developed and underdeveloped societies undergo economic transformation. this




The major task which Samir Amin sets for himself in Accu­ mulation on a World Scale is primarily to clarify the pheno­ menon of underdevelopment The idea that the bulk of Western social science scholarship on developing countries amounts to imperialism does not come out clearly and force­ fully, and the significance of this imperialism does not stand out in clear relief. I have undertaken to highlight this idea, to set out simply and dearly the arguments on which it is based, and to indicate the practical significance of this academic imperialism. I imagine that the need for this enterprise is obvious, at least for those of us in the “underdeveloped” countries. Every prognostication indicates that Western social science continues to play a major role in keeping us subordinate and under­ developed; it continues to inhibit our understanding of the problems of our world, to feed us noxious values and/false hopes; to make us pursue policies which undermine our com­ petitive strength and guarantee our permanent underdevelop­ ment and dependence. It is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot overcome our underdevelopment and dependence unless we try to understand the imperialist character of Western social science and to exercise the attitudes of mind which it inculcates. It seemed to me that the best way to explore my thesis, was to combine a general analysis of the character of the. three major social sciences-economics, political Science, and sociology-with a case study of development studies in political science. The general analysis is the fourth chapter of the book. My case study is political science, or more specifically, the Western political science scholarship on the developing countries. I chose political science partly because so little has been written about the imperialist character of development studies in political science, but mainly because it seems to me



to be the link which integrates the development studies of the three social science discipline under consideration here. The aspect of political science most relevant to the purpose of this study is the literature on political development. To avoid confusion, it is necessary to make a few remarks on this literature. Contemporary writings on political development may be divided into two categories. The first consists of the “occasional writings which use the concept of political deve­ lopment mainly for expositional convenience. For instance, there are writers who use the concept of political develop­ ment as a synonym for political change when writing about the developing countries. Some simply focus attention on what they consider to be the most salient features of the politics of the developing Countries, namely, their dynamic character. Others apply the concept of political development to signal that the political system in question is being looked at from' an evolutionary perspective. Some authors use the concept of political development as a synonym for the political aspects of Westernization or modernization. In all these, the concept of political development is not construed as the key concept of a theory of political development or of developmental analysis. The second category of literature employs the term political development as the basic concept of a theory of political development or a framework of developmental analysis. The major writings in this class are the Princeton Series on political development put out under the auspices of the Committee on Comparative Politics of the Social Science Research Council of America, Almond and Powell, Compara­ tive Politics: A Developmental Approach; and Almond and Coleman, The Politics of the Developing Areas. In these works, political development is used to describe the evolution of political systems through one or more stages



to some desired state of being. The position of the Princeton Series is that a political system develops as it moves in the direction of more equality, structural differentiation, and cultural secularization. It ought to be noted that the writings in this category use the terms political development in two related senses. Political development in the first sense describes the evolution of a political system to a desired state of being. In the second sense, it is comparative concept, a concept which allows us to make cross-cultural comparisons of political systems by analysis of those processes by which they change from one state of being to another. To illustrate the type of comparison, one may begin by studying a group of the “older” political systems—usually Western Europe—to map out the processes and pivotal stages through which they have evolved to be what they are, and then derive a paradigm of stages and conditions of development. One can then study the characteristics of a given underdeveloped country to determine which stages of evolution it corresponds to, and by comparing its characteris­ tics with those of the older political systems, devise a strategy for its development My analysis of th&theory of political development takes up the first three chapters. Chapter one is an exposition of the theory of political development, and chapter two is a rather detailed critique of that theory. A careful examination of the scientific status of the theory of political development has led me to the conclusion that it is utterly useless as a scienti­ fic tool. I was obliged to make a detailed critique of the theory for scveraFreasons. Firstly, the professional status of the proponents of the theory of political development is such that jt i. readily assumed that they must be making sense. Secondlv. jt is all too readily assumed that Third World scholar.1- who nticize Western development studies are being too sensitive or “emotional”. Thirdly, the ultimate purpose


X vi i

of this book is to encourage the developing countries to reject Western social science which is imperialist and useless as science. r . Fourtldy and most importantly, this critique is crucial for my argument about the imperialist character of social science. It exposes the fraudulence of the theory of political develop­ ment and reveals the sharp contradiction between the raison d’etre of the theory and what it pretends to be. If indeed the theory of political development had been sound scientifically, it would have been more difficult to see it as imperialism. For instance,it would be quite problematic to show that a work which merely explains the principles of hydraulics or ht at, is imperialism. In this case, the argument could be made that the work only demonstrates the objective charcter of an aspect of phenomenal experience, that the only questions one can properly ask of such a work are, Is it valid? It is use­ ful for my particular purposes? Well, I have asked these questions of the theory of political development, and I have found that it fails on both counts. It is by seeing how it fails in these respects that we are able to fully appreciate its ideo­ logical character. Chapter three is an analysis of the ideological character of the theory of political development. In this chapter I have placed special emphasis on showing the values which the theory seeks to maximize and the relation between the theory and capitalism. In all three chapters, the case for regarding the theory of poilitical development as imperialism is implicit rather than explicit. In order to avoid repetition, I ha'Fe refrained from making the case explicitly until chapter four, where I make a general argument for the imperialist character of Western social sciences as a whole. This chapter brings home the point that for the purposes of liquidating underdevelopment, exploitation and dependence of the developing countries, Western development studies is worse



than useless. The final chapter briefly examines what to do about the problems of the received social science—briefly because much of what is said here is already implicit in my critique. It seems to me that the alternative to Western development studies is not a social science with no ideological bias. That type of social science is neither possible nor desirable. The alternative has to be a social science whose thrust and values are more conducive to the eradication of underdevelopment, exploitation and dependence. A social science which meets that requirement will necessarily have socialist values.


ir will facilitate exposition to begin with a summary of the main themes and propositions of the theory of political development


Political systems may be conceived in dynamic terms as active agents which have cap abilities, perform functions, influence their environment and are in turn influenced by it.


Political systems undergo or can undergo development They may be usefully compared on a continuum of development


Political development entails an increase of one or more of the following attributes: structural differentiation, cultural secularization, equality, and capacity.


Political development occurs when the political system is compelled to respond to certain types of problems or crises. These crises include the legitimacy crisis, the participation crisis, and the integration crisis.


The order in which the political system meets and resolves these crises constitutes its sequence of deve­ lopment The particular sequence of a given political system affects its capabilities and performance.


To the extent that a political system is developed, it acquires the capacity to perform a wide range of func­ tions such as the maintenance of order, the extraction of resources, etc.

2 7.

The Theory ofPolitical Development

The comparison of political systems in a developmental framework is useful because (a) it advances our under­ standing of how political systems function, how they change, and what the consequences of different patterns of political change might be; and (b) it would generate information which can be used to plan change in the “underdeveloped” countries.

Our exposition of the theory of political development will use Almond and Powell, Comparative Politics: A Develop­ mental Approach, as its point of departure. This work has been chosen because it is the most comprehensive statement of the theory of political development, and of the develop­ mental approach to the study of politics. WHAT THE POLITICAL SYSTEM IS

Almond and Powell begin by discussing the political system which they think of in terms of two main concepts, political structure and political culture. The structure of the political system is the “observable activities wliich make up the political system”.1 The particular activity in which individuals are involved in political processes are referred to as the role.” Any number of systematically related roles constitutes a political structure. For instance, the political structure of the court, is made up of the systematically related roles of the judge, prosecutor, defendant, plaintiff, court orderly, jury, etc. The concept of political structure draws attention to manifest political behaviour. But we cannot fully understand politics by looking only at manifest politicial behaviour. It is necessary to look at the underlying propensities, attitudes, values, and beliefs which define the context in which the political act takes place. These propensi­ ties, beliefs, values, and attitudes constitute political culture. Almond and Powell suggest that the political system may



be reviewed as consisting of “inputs from the environment or from within the political system itself, the conversion of these inputs within the system and the production of outputs into the environments.”2 Following Easton, they make a distinc­ tion between two types of inputs. The first type is demands, such as the demand for participation, rule adjudication, or the allocation of goods, etc. The other type is supports. Supports may be material, participatory, etc. Outputs—that is, the political transactions initiated by the political system-take the form of extraction (e.g., taxes; regulations of behaviour, such as by legislation; distribution of goods and services; (etc.). How does the political system work? Our authors explain the working of the political system with the help of three concepts: capabilities, conversion processes, and system maintenance and adaptation functions. The concept of capa­ bility refers to the performance of the political system as an element within a given environment. The performance of a political system depends on the extent to which it possesses certain characteristics or capabilities; namely, regulative capacity (e.g. law making,) distributive capacity (ability to distribute goods and services), responsive capacity (ability to respond to demands), and extractive capacity. The con­ cept of conversion processes refers to the internal working of the political system. More specifically the conversion processes “are the ways in which demands and supports are transformed into authoritative decisions and are imple­ mented.” There are six categories’of conversion processes: interest articulation, interest aggregation, rule making, rule application, rule adjudication, and communication. Finally, system maintenance and adaptation functions refer to keep the processes by which the political system keeps itself


The Theory ofPolitical Development

in repair, so to speak, and prepares itself to adjust to chang­ ing conditions. There are two of these functions-political recruitment and political socialization.3 The concepts we have just outlined are represented by our authors as constituting a theory of politics. “The theory of the political system will consist of the discovery of the relation between these different levels of functioningcapabilities, conversion functions, and system maintenance and adaptation functions-and of the relation of the func­ tions at each level.”4 We have seen what the political

system is. Let us now turn to the development of political systems. THE DEVELOPMENT OF POLITICAL SYSTEMS: WHAT IT ENTAILS

Almond and Powell define political development in terms of the two main parts of the political system—politi­ cal structure and political culture. We already have some notion as to what these two terms mean to them. In order to comprehend their notion of political development, we have to look more closely at what they have to say about political culture: Political culture is the pattern of individual attitudes and orientations toward politics among the members of a political system. It is the subjective realm which underlies and gives meaning to political actions. Such individual orientations involve several components including (a) cognitive orientations, knowledge, (accurate or otherwise, of political objects and beliefs); (b) affective orientations, feelings of attachment, involvement, rejection, and the like, about political objects; and (c) evaluative orientations, judgements and opinions about political objects, which usually involve applying value standards to political objects and events?



The concept of political culture helps us to make the transfer from the study of the individual to that of the politi­ cal system as a whole by “revealing the pattern of distribu­ tion of orientation to political action”. By the use of political culture we can make an analytically useful classification of members of a political system. The authors classify the popu­ lation of a given political system into three categories: the parochials who have little or no awareness of the political process at the ecumenical level of the nation-state; subjects who, though orientated to the political system and the impact of its outputs, are not orientated to substantial participation in its input structures; and participants who are orientated to participating in the making of political demands and political decisions.6 If we know the pattern of the distribution of a given political population in regard to these orientations, we can make some predictions about its political system. Thus, a political system whose members have weak supportive orien­ tations is likely to fragment when faced with a crisis. When we talk of political development, we are referring to two related changes in political culture and political structure. The developmental aspect of political culture is cultural secularization. “Secularization is the process whereby men become increasingly rational, analytical, and empirical in their political action.”7 A secularized political culture is characterized by the “emergence of a pragmatic, empirical orientation”. Attitudes in a secular political culture tend to he the “market place attitude”; that is, a predisposition towards “give-and-take interactions, in which each side bar­ gains” for limited objectives. Again, to the extent that a culture is secularized; orientations tend to be specific rather than diffuse. Eskimo society is cited as an orientationally diffuse culture, for the Eskimo allegedly does not distinguish political roles from other social roles.


The Theory ofPolitical Development

The change which makes up the other aspect of develop­ ment is structural differentiation or role differentiation:

By ‘differentiation’ we refer to the processes whereby roles change and become more specialized or more auto­ nomous, or whereby new types of roles are established or new structures and subsystems emerge or are created. Wen we speak of role differentiation and structural diff­ erentiation. we refer not only to the development of new types of roles and the transformation of older ones, we refer also to changes which may take place in the relationship between roles, between structures, or between subsystems.8 It should be noted that there are two processes under this blanket term of differentiation: (a) differentiation or the specialization of political roles, structures and subsystems; and (b) the autonomy or subordiantion of these roles, struc­ tures or subsystems. “The extent to which a political system is structurally differentiated and the relative autonomy of its roles and sub­ systems will affect the performance, or capability patterns, of the political system. Thus, a political system which has speciali­ zed roles for the extraction of the resources will be able to extract resources more efficiently than one which lacks these specialized roles.”9 This view of what political development entails is very similar to the view in the Princeton Series on political develop­ ment,10 and to Pye’s Aspects of Political Development.11 But there are some differences between Almond and Powell on the one hand, and Pye and the Princeton Series on the other. It is insightful to compare Almond and Powell’s Comparative Politics with Pye’s Aspects of Political Develop­ ment. (There is no need to bring in the Princeton Series because the account of what political development entails is very similar to Pye’s.)



According to Pye, the development of the political system is the extent to which it has three characteristics—equality, capacity, and differentiation. These three elements constitute what Pye refers to as the development syndrome. Equality means (a) mass participation and popular involvement in political activities; (b) universalistic and impersonal (impartial) laws, and (c) recruitment by achievement rather than by ascrip­ tion. Capacity entails (a) an increase in the magnitude, scope and scale of governmental and political power to influence its subjects; (b) effectiveness and efficiency in the execution of public policy; and (c) “a secular orientation towards policy”, that is, “goverrmental actions are guided more by delibera­ tions and justifications that seek to relate ends and means in a systematic manner”. Differentiation and specialization are (a) functional specificity, and (b) subsystem autonomy. Both accounts of political development posit that an element of political development is structural differentiation and specialization. To this Almond and Powell add a second dimension, cultural secularization. Pye adds capacity and equality. It looks as though there is a fundamental difference between the two accounts. But this is not the case. Pye's concept of capacity includes the idea of cultural secularization. Almond and Powell build capacity and equality into their notion of development But they are no longer independent variables, but rather “effects” of the two independent variables—secularization and differentiation—particularly the former. To illustrate, consider what Almond and Powell say about cultural secularization. They suggest that when one studies political culture, one is primarily interested in “the ways in which cultural characteristics affect the conversion and performance characteristics of political systems”. Hie significance of the distinction that they make between pre­ dominantly secularized cultures on the one hand and predomi­ nantly magico-religious or traditional cultures on the other is


The Theory offioHtical Development

their effect on the performance or capabilities of the political system. “In general, we suggest that a political culture must become increasingly secularized if the new differentiated structures are to operate effectively. We have suggested that, there is, in general, an association between structural differentiation, cultural secularization, and expansion of the capabilities of the political system.” Perhaps it should be underlined that this association is a general tendency, not a necessary relation. As our authors point out, “under circumstances of tension and strain such as international threat, secularization of atti­ tudes regarding goals and values among the people may weaken the support for the system**.12 For Almond and Powell, cultural secularization not only has the effect of improving system performance, it also has the effect of increasing equality :

It is through the secularization of political culture that these rigid, ascribed, and diffuse customs of social interaction come to be overridden by a set of codified, specifically political, and universalistic rules. By the same token, it is the secularization.process that bargain­ ing and accommodative political action become a com­ mon feature of the society, and that the development of special structures such as interest groups and parties becomes meaningful13 We may conclude that the two views of what constitutes political development are very similar. Having said this we must resist the temptation of making them identical Almond and Powell do not equate secularization with equality plus capacity. On the contrary, they are careful to point out that cultural secularization is not always conducive to the enhance­ ment of system capabilities.




We have seen what constitutes political development. How does political development occur? Almond and Powell say that “development results when thfc existing structure and culture of the political system is unable to cope with the problem or challenge which confronts it without further structural .differentiation and cultural secularization”.14 The challenge which the political system has to cope with are:15




State Building: This is the problem of establishing or maintaining authority, of penetration and control. The problem of state building may be externally generated, or it might arise internally as determined demands for radical change which might endanger the survival of the status quo. More specifically, the state building problem “occurs when the political elite creates new structures and organizations designed to penetrate the society in order to regulate behaviour in it and draw a large volume of resources from it”. Participation: The problem of coping with' ‘the pressure from groups in the society for having a part in the decision making of the system Distribution and Welfare: “The pressures from the domestic society to employ the coercive power of the political system to redistribute income, wealth, opportu­ nity and honour. ” Nation Building: This is the problem of winning for the political system, the loyalty and commitment of its subjects.

However, this classification of the problems (or crises) of political development as in Almond and Powell differs some­ what from the classification we find in Pye and in the Prince­ ton Series where we have the following classification of the crises of political development:16






The Theory ofPolitical Development

Identity Crisis: This is the problem posed by the fact of having “traditional forms of identity ranging from tribe or caste to ethnic and linguistic groups”. The problem is to shift identity from these levels to the ecumenical level of the state. Legitimacy Crisis: This is the problem of achieving agreement regarding the legitimate nature of authority and the proper responsibilities of government. The. Penetration Crisis: Essentially the problem of government “in reaching down into the society and affecting basic policies”. Participation Crisis: “The participation crisis occurs when there is uncertainty over the appropriate rate of expansion and when the influx of new participants creates serious strains on the existing institutions. The appearance of a participation crisis does not necessarily signal pressures for democratic processes. The participation crisis can be organized as totalitarian to provide the basis for manipu­ lated mass organizations and demonstrational politics.” The Integration Crisis: The problem of integration “deals with the extent to which the entire polity is organized as a system of interacting relationships, first among the offices and agencies of government and then among the various groups and interests seeking to mike demands upon the system, and finally, in the relationships between officials and articulating citizens.” Pye adds that this “crisis covers the problems of relating popular politics to governmental performance, and thus it represents the effective and compatible solution of the penetration and the participation crisis, one may say that it is largely reducible to the two other crises. In that case the validity of making the integration crisis a separate category in the classification of the crises of political development is questionable.




The Distribution Crisis: This is the problem of “how governmental power is to be used to influence the dis­ tribution of goods, services and values throughout the society.”17

In his foreword to the Crises and Sequences of Political Development,18 (which is the seventh volume of the Prince­ ton Series,.), Pye says that there are five crises of political development: identity, legitimacy, participation, penetration, and distribution. Integration crisis which he had listed in Aspects ofPolitical Development has apparently been dropped. The change appears to constitute an improvement of the classification because what Pye says of the integration crisis suggests that his classification in Aspects of Political Development would have been better if he had dropped this category.

Here is what Pye says of the integration crisis: This crisis covers the problem of relating popular politics to governmental performance, and thus it represents the effective and compatible solution of both the penetra­ tion and the participation crises. The problem of integra­ tion therefore deals with the extent to which the entire polity is organized as a system of interacting relationships, first among the offices and agencies of government, and then among the various groups and interests seeking to make demands upon the system, and finally in the relationships between officials and articulating citizens.19 This is not a very lucid statement But what Pye seeks to communicate is clear enough. The integration crisis is a redundant category because all its major elements are already subsumed in the legitimacy crisis, the penetration crisis and the participation crisis.


7k» Theory ofMMcalDevelopment

How does the classification of Almond and Powell com­ pare with that of the Princeton Series? As far as one can see, there is no significant difference, that is, no difference that reflects serious inconsistency in the theory of political deve­ lopment Both classifications have the categories, participa­ tion and distribution. The problem of state building in Almond and Powell is essentially the same as the problem of penetration in the Crises and Sequences of Political Development. The problem of nation building in Almond and Powell roughly combines the problems of legitimation and identity which are separate categories in the Princeton Series. The proponents of the theory of political development hold that the sequence in which the crises of development occur is a matter of some importance. Thus, Pye argues that if “particular pattern of development in any country depends largely upon the sequence in which these crises arise, and upon the ways in which they are resolved**. England allegedly followed a sequence somewhat like this: identity crisis, participation crisis, and distribution, crisis. He suggests (the point is not argued) that this particular sequential pattern had some effect in making England democratic and stable. He indicates that continental Europe followed “a more chaotic pattern*’. “In Italy and Germany the prelude of nation­ building did not involve a resolution of ths issue of national identity. In France questions of legitimacy and the realities of inadequate integration have persistently frustrated national performance and intensified the crisis of distribution.** Africa and Asia allegedly have a pattern rather like that of continental Europe, but even more chaotic in the sense that the crises have tended to occur simultaneously. Almond and Powell say much the same .thing about the sequences in which the crises occurred in Western Europe.20 According to them the sequence in Western Europe was the



State-building crisis, the nation-building crisis, and the distri­ bution crisis.31 It would appear that Almond and Powell are not very interested in the sequence in which the crises occur. They focus their attention on analysis of the characteristics of political systems and on the ways that given political systems responded to particular crises. According to them “relating system challenges to system responses in the way of explanation and prediction in the field of political develop­ ment In the broader sense, it opens up for us the whole of man’s history of experimentation and innovation in politics as a source for the creation of a useful theory of political change**.33 Such a theory would “also be helpful to people who are concerned with the question of how to influence political development—our own governmental officials and the^elites of the new nations'*. Almond and Powell tell us how to explore the relation between challenges and responses. First, we should describe this relation in terms of the three functional levels: capabilities, conversion functions, and system maintenance and adaptation functions. Thus, we might talk of a crisis arising because of a decline in one of the system cap abilities, for example, distri­ butive capacity. Second, the way that the political system responds to these crises may be described in terms of how the performance of the conversion function is affected. “Thus, when we say that Britain was confronted with the challenge of participation in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we must describe her response to this challenge in terms of what happened to the conversion functions and to interest groups, political parties, media of communication, Parliament, and Cabinet which performed these conversion functions.*'33 Finally, the political system's response to a challenge is also to be described in terms of the system adaptation processes of role differentiation and seculari­ zation.


The Theory of Political Development

We may sum up the theory of political development by saying that it posits that the concept of political develop­ ment is very significant for understanding political systems. It explains system characteristics, especially the level of its performance in terms of the system’s level and sequence of development Thus in Almond and Powell, the “basic theoretical statement” is the “the development of higher levels of system capabilities is dependent upon the develop­ ment of greater structural differentiation and cultural seculari­ zation. ”M



Gabriel A. Almond and G. Bingham Powell, Jc, Comparative Politics: A

Developmental Approach (Boaton: Little Brown and Co., 1966), 21. 2.

Ibid., 25.


Ibid., 30.




Ibid., 56


Ibid., 53. See abo, Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture

(Princeton: Princeton Univeraity Preaa, (196S), 17—21


Almond and Powell, op. cit., 24.




ML, 48-49.


See for inatance, Joaeph La Palombara (ed.), Bureaucracy and Political

Development, (Princeton: Princeton Univeraity Preaa; (1963); Joaeph La Palombara and Myron Weiner (eda), Political Pariesand Political Develop­

ment. (Princeton: Princeton Univeraity Preaa, 1966).


Lucian Pye, Aspects of Political Development, (Boaton: Little Brown and

Co., 1966). 12.

Almond and Powell, op. cit., 58


ML, 60


Ibid., 34




Ibid., 55.


See Pye, op. dt., 62-67.


Ibid., 66.


Ottes and Sequences in Political Development, (Princeton: Princeton Uni-

verrity Preu, 1971). 19.

Pye, op. dt. 66-67-


Almond and Powell, op. dt, 37.




Ibid., 8-


Ibid. 88.


Ibid. 323-


IN this chapter, the scientific status of the theory of political development and its usefulness for understanding the world is examined. I might just as well begin by stating my conclusion, The theory of political development has no scientific status; it is neither applicable to the world nor useful to understand

it I will attempt to demonstrate that this is the case first, by examining the major variables of the theory, such as cultural secularization, to show that they are too rich in meaning and that the attempts by the proponents of the theory to explain them end in confusion. Because these concepts are so con* fused, the theoretical statements which link them together are largely meaningless. These statements are supposed to be saying things about the real world, but it is not clear to what aspects of the world they refer. Secondly, the relations between the major variables from which we are supposed to derive certain crucial values will be shown to be too vague to enable us to derive those values. This means that it is impossible to apply the important pro­ positions of the theory to the world. To illustrate, the main idea of the theory is that the extent of the development of political systems greatly determines its character and perfor­ mance, that a political system is developed to the extent of its cultural secularization and structural differentiation, etc. Now, what use can we possibly make of such a proposition if we could not define with rigour the relation between cultural secularization and structural differentiation? To put it differently, how can wc place historical political systems on a

Theory and Realty


continuum of political development, unless we can derive additive data from cultural secularization and structural diff­ erentiation? Thirdly, I will try to show that the distinctions between the secondary variables are very blurred. The blurring is due to the vagueness of terms and the disregard of the principles of classification. This blurring of distinctions very gravely impairs the applicability of the theory to the world. To illustrate, the theory posits that the sequence in which a political system deals with the crises of political development, is consequential for its behaviour. Clearly, we cannot apply the proposition to the world unless we can maintain clear distinctions between the different crises. Unless we have such distinctions we cannot talk of sequences of crises. Fourthly, the explanatory power of the developmental variables will be explored. The theory suggests that if we know hdw far a political system is developed, we know a lot about its character and its performance. We want to determine how the theory answers the question: When exactly is the political system developed? It utility depends to a consider able degree on how it answers this question. x '' -• Finally, it will be shown that the theory is a very long way from offering us a causal or sequential model of change which can be used to work out strategies of societal change in the “underdeveloped countries”. It will be clear that this failure is due, once more, mainly to the vagueness.of the major terms of the theory. The Developmental Variables: What Do They Mean? The developmental variables—cultural secularization, struc­ tural differentiation, equality and capacity—will now be examined in order to determine what they mean, and to what aspects of phenomenal experience they might be referring. If we are to apply the theory to the world in the manner that



its exponents suggest, we must worry about the meaning and empirical reference of these variables, for unless we have such knowledge, we cannot know when a political system is develop­ ed. underdeveloped or developing. CULTURAL SECULARIZATION

Before we go on to review the concept of cultural seculari­ zation it is useful to know what political culture means because the term cultural secularization describes a particular type of change in political culture. The most detailed definition of political culture in Almond and Powell states that: political culture is the pattern of individual attitudes and orientations toward politics among the members of a political system. It is the subjective realm which under­ lines and gives meaning to political actions. Such indivi­ dual orientations involve several components, including (a) cognitive orientations, knowledge, accurate or other­ wise of political objects and beliefs; (b) affective orienta­ tions, feelings of attachment, involvement, rejection and the like, about political objects; and (c) evaluative orien­ tations, judgements and opinions about political objects which usually involve applying value standards to politi­ cal objects and events.1

Let us now turn to cultural secularization. The seculariza­ tion of political culture is “the process whereby men become increasingly rational, analytic, and empirical in their political action”.2 This is not the only definition of secularization in the work. Another definition i is that:

the secularization of culture is the process whereby traditional orientations and attitudes give way to more dynamic decision-making processes involving the gather­ ing of information, the evaluation of information, the laying out of alternative courses of action, the selection of a course of action from among these possible courses, and the means whereby one tests whether or not a given

Theory and Reality


>urse of action is producing the consequences which were intended.3 There is a third definition: “The emergence of pragmatic, empirical orientation is one component of the secularization process. A second attribute of the process of cultural seculari­ zation is a movement from diffuseness to specificity of orien­ tations”.4 These three definitions of one concept should be equivalent; that is, we should be able to eliminate one in favour of the other in any context without changing the concept But as a matter of fact, they are not equivalent Compare the first definition with the second. In the first definition, we do not define change of orientations in reference to any particular action. But in the second definition, we define secularization as a change of orientations with reference to a ^particular political action, namely, decision making. To avoid incon­ sistency here, an argument has to be made to the effect that decision making is the essence of all political action. Perhaps a plausible argument can be made to this effect However, our authors do not make it Even then there is a more fundamental asymmetry between the two definitions. The first definition makes cultural secu­ larization a disposition to be rational, empirical and analytic. Where is the idea of the tendency to be rational, analytic, and empirical in the second definition? It is hard to answer this question. Perhaps the idea is supposed to be in the phrases specifying what decision making involves: nanely, the gathering of information, the evaluation of information, the laying out of alternative courses of action, and “the means whereby one tests whether or not a given course of action is producing the consequences which were intended”. However, there is nothing inherently rational or analytic or empirical about these proceo sea. Particular ways of gathering and evaluating information



and making decisions, or testing whether action is producing intended consequences, may be rational, empirical, and analy­ tic. Yet, there is nothing inherently rational or empirical or analytic about these acts. In other words, from knowledge that X gathered some information and analysed it, we cannot conclude anything about his bent for rationality or empiricism. For instance, if I am a “believer” I may seek information : from a “holy man” about how God wants me to act, and I may evaluate the information on the basis of my beliefs about the nearness of the “holy man” to God. Am I being empirical and rational? We must conclude that the two definitions of political development are not equivalent Thus, even if they were amenable to quantification, they cannot yield a uniform measure of cultural secularization. A comparison of the third definition with the first two is interesting. The first definition is roughly the same as the second of the two aspects of the process of secularization listed in the second definition. The first definition does not contain the idea of movement from diffuse to specific orien­ tations which is the second aspect of the process of cultural secularization in the third definition. Obviously the omission cannot be explained by saying that it would add nothing new to the first definition. For one thing, the idea of movement from diffuse to specific orien­ tations is not identical with the idea of movement to rationa­ lity and empiricism. For another, if our authors had consider­ ed it redundant in this sense, they would not have included , it in the definition, since the first aspect of the process of, secularization in the third definition is roughly equivalent to the first definition. One possibility remains. We have assumed that the first definition is roughly equivalent to the first dimension of the third definition. However, this is problema­ tic. The orientational tendencies of the first definition are “rational, analytical and empirical”. Now, it could be that 9

Theory and Reality


the second dimension is supposed to supply the idea (in the first definition) which is missing in the third definition. In that case, we get the equation: rational + analytical+empirical - pragmatic + empirical + change from diffuseness to specifi­ city. Preposterous!

The difficulties of determing the meaning of cultuni secularization are compounded by the difficulty of reconciling our definitions of cultural secularization with the notion of degrees of secularization. The definitions of cultural seculari­ zation which we have in Almond and Powell, and in much of the literature on political development, suggest that the secu­ larized political culture is something which is either there or hot there, rather than something which gradually “becomes” and increases Consider the second definition. It is hard to see how we can talk of increasing cultural secularization in terms of this definition. Our decision making either involves the evaluation of information or it does not. It either involves collecting information, or it does not. It cannot properly be said to more or less involve the gathering of information or the evaluation of information. To be sure, the information gathered may be inadequate in regard to quantity and relia­ bility; our evaluation of the information may be more or less Competent. But this is quite another matter. If we are thinking of secularization as the-.ability to gather adequate

information and evaluate it competently, we can clearly talk • ah ■ - * m i 1 of more or less secularization. But, if we do, we would be measuring not orientations and propensities which the con­ cepts of political culture and cultural secularization refer to, but objective capacities. We have similar difficulties with the second definition of I cultural secularization. It is not so easy to see how someone can be said to become increasingly rational except in the sense that there is a higher incidence of rational acts in his



behaviour. To all appearances, this is not the correct interpre­ tation of what our authors mean when they talk of political actors becoming increasingly rational. Finally, the third definition illustrates the problematic nature of the notion that there can be more or less cultural seculariz ation. According to tiie third definition, one dimension of cultural seculariza­ tion is the movement from diffuse to specific orientations. We are told that diffuse orientation is hiving “little or no awareness of the political system as a distinct and specialized entity”, whereas specific orientation is characterized as awareness of the political system as a distinct and separate entity. The relation between specific and diffuse orienta­ tion appears to be “dichotomous”. At any given time, the political actor either knows that there is a political system,or he does not We may of course quite legitimately describe this shift in awareness or cognition from diffuseness to specifi­ city as a “development”, —indeed, it may well be a long involved development—as long as we do not then trick ourselves into forgetting that at those stages when the relevant stimuli are bringing man’s consciousness nearer the recognition of the political system, his orientation logically remains simply diffuse. Finally there is a lack of symmetry between the concept of political culture and the concept of cultural secularization. Recall that political culture is defined as the pattern of indivi­ dual attitudes and orientations to politics. Those orientations fall into three categories: cognitive orientations,affective orien­ tations, and evaluative orientations. Now consider the first definition of cultural secularization as the process whereby people become more rational, analytic, and empirical This concept of cultural secularization is applicable to the first of the types of orientations which constitute political culture, that is, cognitive orientation. Cognitive orientation is “know­ ledge, accurate or otherwise of political objects and belief”.

Theory and Reality


One can properly say that cognitive orientation is secularized, meaning that the political actor’s knowledge of political objects has become more empirical. It would be more problematic to think of this knowledge being more rational and more analy­ tic, but we will not press the point Now, it is difficult to see how the concept of secularization is applicable to the remain­ ing two sets of orientations, namely, affective orientations and evaluative orientations, Consider affective orientations. This is defined, as “feelings of attachment, involvement, rejection and the like, about political objects”. How can such orientations be said to be secularized? In this context, to say that these orientations can be secularized would commit us to making propositions such as, “My feelings about the political system- are becoming more and more rational, analy­ tic, and empirical”. We cannot properly predicate analytic, empirical, and rational of feeling. Much the same type of thing may be said about the third element of political culture, eva­ luative orientations. Evaluative orientations are “judgements and opinions about political objects, which usually involve applying value standards to political objects and events”. Thus, a political actor’s “democratic norms” may lead him to eva­ luate the system as not sufficiently responsive to his political demands, or his ethnical norms may lead him to condemn the level of corruption and nepotism. If we say of these orienta­ tions that they can be secularized, we allow that it makes sense to say things such as, “My value (moral) judgements about the political system are becoming more and more rational, empirical, and analytic”. What could an empirical or a rational moral judgement possibly mean? There are incongruencies between the concept of political culture and the other two definitions of the secularization process. Consider the third definition of secularization which identifies the movement from diffuse to specific orientations as one of two dimensions of the process. This concept of



secularization can be applied to cognitive orientations. In that case, secularization would involve having knowledge of the existence of the political system as a separate entity, knowing exactly what one can do to influence the political system. But any attempt to apply it to the other orientations leads to rather amusing absurdities. Incongruencies exist between the concept of political culture and the definition of secularization as the movement to a more “dynamic decision making” process involving the gathering and evaluation of information. In this case, the definition of secularization is not remotely applicable to, or harmonious with, any of the three sets of orientations which constitute political culture. There is no need for further illustrations of such incongruen­ cies. To sum up, we have three different definitions of seculari­ zations which have little in common; each of these definitions (Ml is vague; it is problematic whether the definitions of seculari­ zation we are given, can be reconciled with a notion of secu­ larization as something of which there can be more or less. Finally, the definitions of secularization are largely incongru­ ent with the conception of political culture. STRUCTURAL DIFFERENTATION

The term, political differentiation, refers to a form of change in a political structure. Political structure is any particular set of political roles. The court is a political structure consisting of systematically related roles—judgeship, defendant, etc. What is a role? “The particular part of the activity of individuals which is involved in political process we refer to as the role.”5 Political*roles

are the basic units of the political system The differentiation of political structure er role differen­ tiation is “the process whereby roles change and become more specialized or more autonomous or whereby new types of

Theory and ReaUty


roles are established or new structures and subsystems emerge or are created. When we speak of role differentiation and structural differentiation, we refer not only to the develop­ ment of new types of roles and the transformation of older ones, we refer also to changes which may take place in the relationship between roles, between structures or between subsystems. . . In speaking of the developmental aspect of role and structure then, we are interested not only in the emergence of new types of roles or the atrophy of old ones, but also in the changing patterns of interaction among roles, structures and subsystems”.6 There is so much that is confusing and vague about this definition. How is the phrase “become more specialized or more autonomous” to be interpreted? In the context, the word “or” can be interpreted in such a way that autonomous and specialized become synonyms. It can also be properly interpreted in such a way that differentiation would entail both specialization and autonomy. We can further interpret the phrase in a such way that differentiation would entail either autonomy or specialization or both. Now, if specialize tion and autonomy are not being used as synonyms—the sense in which they are used in other parts of the book suggests that they are not synonyms—then we would have to know the mathematical relation between the two variables. Will increase of specialization necessarily involve increase in autonomy? Do autonomy and specialization increase at .the same rate or at different rates? If the degree of structural differentiation is the combination of the degree of autonomy and specialization, we would want to know how much speciali­ zation is equal to how much autonomy. The difficulties caused by the ambiguity of “or” in/the phrase “become more specialized or more autonomous” are compounded by the ambiguities of the second “or” between the words “autonomous” and “whereby” in the definition.



The relation between the phrase “become more specialized or more autonomous" and the phrase “whereby new types of roles are established or new structures and subsystems emerge or are created" is unclear. Are these phrases describing the same process or different processes? If they are describing different processes, what is the relation between these proces­ ses? Let us for the moment set aside the question of the logical structure of the definition and look at the processes which are identified as aspects of structural differentiation in this definition. These processes are:

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i)

role change role specialization role autonomy establishment of new types of roles emergence or creation of new structures emergence or creation of new subsystems transformation of older roles changes which may take place between roles, between structures and between subsystems, and the atrophy of old roles.

If we are to talk in terms of degrees of structural differentia­ tion, we must obviously know the relation between these, processes, or aspects of differentiation. But what these mathematical relations are, is not stated. On these grounds alone, we can say that Almond and Powell do not give us any means for classifying historical political systems according to their degree of structural differentiation. But even if the relation between these processes had been stated, very little would have been gained since the particular processes are so vaguely stated, their operational meaning is obscure, and their semantic coherence so problematic, that we cannot really identify or quantify these processes. When is an “old role"

Theory and Reality


atrophied? What is an old role anyway? Consider the vagueness of the process described as the transformation of older roles. What constitutes the transformation of an older role? The diffi­ culty of answering these questions without further clarification from our authors becomes more striking when we remember that roles are clusters of behavioural expectations which are more or less fulfilled. Has the judge who has allowed prejudice to influence his judicial decision transformed his role? Why does transformation apply to “older roles”? Are new roles not transformable? Or does the transformation of new roles not count as structural differentiation? There are more subtle but equally devastating difficulties in the definition of structural differentiation. Consider (e) and (f) in the list of processes which define structural differentia­ tion. Are structures and subsystems a different thing? By extension, is the creation of new structures a different process from the creation of new subsystems? These questions arise because structure is defined as “particular sets of roles which are related to one another”7 while subsystem is defined as any “related and interacting roles”. The question whether subsystem and structure are the same thing affects our inter­ pretation of (h). If the two terms are equivalent, then the phrase “between subsytems” is redundant Actually, in (h) the phrase “between structures and between subsystems” is redundant because changes between subsytems and changes between structures can be nothing other than changes between structures which in turn can be nothing other than changes in roles. It is curious that role autonomy is part of the definition of structural differentiation. For, as we have seen, Almond and Powell posit that there are three aspects to development: structural differentiation subsystem autonomy, and cultural secularization. And then, we find that the autonomy of roles is part of the definition of the process of structural differen­



tiation. In effect, Almond and Powell have two variables, not three, for the process by which “roles become autono­ mous” is the same thing as the process by which subsystems become more autonomous. The point is that they themselves define subsystems as roles that regularly interact. To be sure, it makes a difference whether we speak of “roles” or roles that regularly interact However, whatever difference exists in this distinction is irrelevant to the point being made here, namely, that the class, roles, also includes the class, roles that regularly interact. By extension, the class, autonomous roles, would subsume the class, autonomous roles that regularly interact. In short, if structural differentiation is defined as, among other things, the process whereby roles become autonomous, then subsytem autonomy Cannot be a separate development variable. The most recurrent characterization of structural differen­ tiation in the literature on political development and, indeed, in political sociology generally, is the autonomy and speciali­ zation of roles. It is not clear whether it is intelligible to talk of the roles becoming more specialized and more autonomous, given our usual conception of role. What is a role? Almond and Powell say that “role” and ‘structure1 refer to the obser­ vable behaviour of individuals”. More specifically, they define role as the “particular part of the activity of individuals which is involved in political processes”.8 A role is indeed a part, the part we play—voter, judge, campaign manager, candidate, President, party boss, policeman, administrator. What then is a specialized role? Let us begin by looking at what Almond and Powell say about role specialization in their discussion of the Eskimo political system:

There are only two specialized roles that are politically significant, those of the headman and the shaman, and

Theory and Reality


these are both mixed roles. The shaman is the religious leader, but he also may punish those who violate taboos. In the extreme case, he may order an offender exiled... The headman is a task leader,—making decisions about hunting or the selection of places for settlement An individual who threatens the community by repeated acts of violence, murder or theft may be dealt with by an executioner, who is given the task by the community or assumes the responsibility for the execution with the approval of the community. We speak of this kind of polity as an intermittent politi­ cal system. It has no set of rules, no structure, which is specialized for political purposes. Some of the activities of the shaman and of the headman may be viewed as political or governmental activities. Some social proces­ ses such as duels and blood fueds may be viewed as Eskimo ways of adjudicating disputes. Other community activi­ ties may perform the functions of communicating infor­ mation, articulating different points of views, and making political decisions that have the effect of law.9 This passage fails to spell out what the distinction between political systems with specialized roles and political systems without specialized roles is. It fails to tell us what qualifies a political role to be called specialized. The notion of mixed roles is supposed to be the basisof a possible distinction between specialized and nonspecialized political roles. But it does not help. There is nothing unique about the Eskimo shaman being a religious leader and also having the power to punish people who violate taboos. So does the Pope. And so does the President of the United States: he legislates, plays a military role and an economic * role. The passage under review is interesting. It conveys the impression that the distinction between a political system with



specialized structures and roles and one that lacks specialized structures is being specified. And yet, it does not really make any such specification. One can substitute American data in the passage without absurdity. Thus we can read: The archbishop is the religious leader, but he also may punish those who violate taboos. In the extreme case he may have an offender excommunicated. . . The President is the economic leader making decisions about the allocation of resources, etc. An individual who threatens the community by repeated acts of violence, murder or theft in the United States may be dealt with by an executioner who is given the task by the community or assumes the responsibility for the execution with the approval of the community. Some of the activities of the head of state may be viewed as political or governmental activities. Some social proces­ ses such as gunfights and police attacks on troublesome radical groups may be viewed as American ways of adjudicating disputes. Other community activities may perform the functions of communicating information, articulating different points of view and making political decisions that have the effect of law.10

The question still nags: What does role specialization mean? One meaning of role specialization might be the restriction of the behaviour requirements or activities of a role. Thus, a role which involved doing X, Y, Z might be said to have become more specialized if it were restricted, to activities X and Z. This notion of role specialization appears to be implicit in the following definition of structural differentia­ tion: F or our purposes, differentiation refers to the process of progressive separation and specialization of roles, institu­ tional spheres, and associations in societies undergoing

Theory and Reality


modernization. The assumption has been that the more highly developed a political system becomes, the greater will be its structural complexity and the larger the number of explicit and functionally specific administrative and political structures it will have.11 The notion of specialization or differentiation as the restric­ tion of the scope of a role seems sensible enough until we begin to think of breaking down roles into particular acts. Policeman is a role; the role of the policeman is to keep order. Keeping order involves issuing warnings, counselling and arresting people, prosecuting them, arbitration, etc. Is the role of policeman more specific, more restricted, in its activities than that of the shaman? This is a very difficult question to answer without making arbitrary assumptions. Interpreting role specialization as the restriction of the scope of the activities of a role has another difficulty. If we take the definition of the role as a part, or a particular activity, it becomes very problematic to speak of a role being functionally specific in the sense of being a more restricted activity or function or part. To say that a role is restricted in this way is to imply that its occupant can no longer do some things it might have been assumed in the past that he could or ought to do. But since any particular activity or function or part is a rcle by definition, one might plausibly argue that we have not restricted a role but rather that we have deprived a role actor or an agent of some of the roles he was allowed to fulfil. But this a fine point The important thing to remember is that if we try to classify political systems in terms of the extent to. which this process of restricting agents or depriving them of some roles takes place, we are back to the difficulty we outlined in our comparison of the roles of policeman and shaman. One notion of role specialization is the clarity of the distinc-



tiveness of one role from another in the minds of political actors. We see this notion of specialization in Almond and Powell: An intermittent political system is one in which there are no differentiated political rotes and no specialized political structure. For comparative purposes we may say, as political analysts, that at certain times in relation to certain problems an Eskimo community is performing political functions, as, for example, when two men quarreling over a woman engage in a butting duel while the rest of the community sits around enforcing the rules. The boundaries that separate an intermittent political system h*om the religious or the economic system are diffuse. The Eskimos do not draw these boundaries, but, we may draw them for analytic purposes. The rotes themselves are combined, as are the attitudes and orientations to the rotes in the mind of the indivi­ dual Eskimo.12

We cannot have it both ways. Either Eskimo society or the Eskimo political system has no roles (which is absurd), or they draw boundaries between roles. Remember that a rote is a particular function or a particular activity or part which one fulfils in social interaction. Society—any society— is by definition a system of roles in so far as all social inter­ action is characterized by fairly stable complementary expectations about what one can do in a given situation. To say that rotes exist is to postulate that behaviour is classified, that prerogatives to do or not to do, to expect or not to expect certain acts have been parcelled out, so that people interacting have fairly stable expectations. If the prerogatives are not recognized, then no roles exist and behaviour expect­ ations fluctuate. If they are recognized, then ipso facto, there are roles and they must necessarily be distinct from one

Theory and Reality


another. The Eskimos who sit around in a circle watching a duel constitute a social structure. Their behaviour exchange is “structured” in the sense that they all act or participate according to established expectations; one person is allowed to watch, another to enforce a particular law, etc. In partici­ pating, they all act out roles. If they did not recognize the roles, if they did not draw the boundary between one role and another and respect role expectations, then interaction wduld be incoherent; it would not be social activity. To say that there is a society in which people do not draw boundaries between one role and another is an error. Granted the Eskimo draws a distinction between roles, does he distinguish between political roles and others? Does he know when political functions are being performed? This question is trivial. But it would seem evasive not to answer it. The answer is that the Eskimo is aware of political roles, if we are working with conventional definitions of political roles such as the use of legitimate physical coercion or the authoritative allocation of values. By these definitions of poli­ tical (in contemporary politic al science), when somebody makes demands for goods and services, the regulation of behaviour, etc, he is acting politically. Now, the Eskimos, who are making demands for some change in community organization or who are enforcing the rules governing conflict, competi­ tion, or just day-to-day intercourse, are consciously perform­ ing political roles as long as they are aware of the purpose of their act. Whether the Eskimo enforcing rules calls what he is doing political or not, whether he talks of political systems and the boundaries of political systems as political scientists do, is totally irrelevant to the question of whether he is aware that he is acting a political role. Now we come to the dominant—the most recurrent—inter­ pretation of role specialization. The following passage illustra­ tes it:



The patrimonial political system is different from the patriarchal system in that it has a specialized official­ dom. This means that roles having to do with the im­ plementation of policies and decisions are specialized. It is no longer a case of a patriarch ordering a servant, a son or a wife to do a particular task; the patrimonial king directly orders officials to collect taxes, to lead a military force or to punish an offender.13

The difference between the two types of political systems may be restated as follows: In the former, there are certain roles, X, Y, Z, which were performed by different political actors Pj, P2, P3, P4, any of whom the monarch may call upon to fulfil any of these roles (X, Y, Z) or any combina­ tion of them. In the latter system we have the same constella­ tion of roles, X, Y, Z but in this case, the monarch confines particular political actors to particular roles. Thus Pt might be confined to Y, P2 and P3 to X, and P4 to Z. This notion of role specialization could easily be misleading for it is not really the roles that are getting specialized but rather the agents, the political actors are being restricted to certain roles. The notion of role specialization we have here seems to be analogous to the division of labour in economic theory. F’erhaps this is what gives it the deceptive appearance of a •dear and analytically useful concept. The arguments for the analytic significance of the concept of structural differen­ tiation in political and sociological analysis are more or less the same arguments that are made for the significance of the division of labour. Adam Smith would argue that it is ineffici­ ent for each member of society to bake his own bread, make his own clothes, etc; that it is more efficient and in the interest of everyone if each person specialized in one thing and then exchanged some of it for other things which he might want.14 The same type of argument is made for political structures.

Theory and Reality


If there is a functional specialization of political structures, the political system will perform better. Thus, Almond and Powell link higher capabilities of political systems to increasing specialization of political roles and political structures. While this concept of role specialization might be adequate and useful to economic analysis, it does not make much sense when it is applied to the political realm. To understand why this is so, one might begin by noticing that man is fundamen­ tally a professional worker and only an occasional politician. Ask any person who he is, and the chances are that he will identify himself as an economic role: “I am a chimney sweeper; I am a greengrocer”. In all probability, the only people who even identify themselves in political roles are the few people such as cabinet ministers whose political roles are also their professional roles. Now, if you ask anybody what his political role is, the chances are that he will be baffled and will have some doubt about what to say—this reaction, one suspects, would be true even of political scientists. The point is that politics is, by its very nature, not something in which we have specialization in the same sense as we can specialization in economic activity. The bulk of any given political population performs political roles such as voting, paying taxes, making demands, propagating views on public policy, seeking adjudication, giving loyalty or witholding it, obeying traffic lights, being a candidate, etc. One does not “specialize” in these roles. What can it mean to say that one specializes in the role of a candidate? The concept of role specialization which we have borrowed from economic analysis is not so intelligible when we apply it to political roles. In the light of these considerations, onp must conclude that the meaning of the phrase, role specialization, which is so important in the theory of political development is quite obscure.



The other dimension of political development, subsystem autonomy (in Almond and Powell), equality and capacity in the Princeton Series are not defined operationally, and the verbal definitions of these concepts that we are given are too vague to permit us to determine how far a political system is developed in these respects. Here are definitions of capacity and equality in the Crises and Sequences in Political Develop­ ment:

(i) Our concept of political development refers to a special capacity. It is an integrative, responsive, adaptive, and innovative capacity. It is a capacity not only to over­ come the divisions and manage the tensions created by increased differentiation, but to respond to or contain the participatory and distributive demands generated by the imperatives of equality. It is also a capacity to inno­ vate and to manage continuous change. ... It includes in addition the power constantly to create new and enhanced capacity, to plan, implement, and manipulate new change as part of the process of achieving new goals. It is, in short, a “creative” and not just a “survival” or “adaptive” capacity that is the hallmark of a developing polity.(ii) *1S (ii) For our purposes three components of the concept of equality are indicative of and significant for political development: (1) national citizenship; (2) a universalistic legal order; and (3) achievement norms. Citizenship connotes that basic human equality derived from one’s full membership in a national political community and embodied in equal formal rights possessed by all citizens . . . The prevelance of universalistic over particularistic norms in a government's relations with the citizenry is crucial for the realization of equal rights of citizenship as defined above.16

Theory and Reality


There is no need to try to demonstrate the difficulties of using these definitions for deciding how far a given political system is developed in regard to equality and capacity. To conclude, the developmental variables not only lack operational definitions, their meaning is largely obscure. We cannot use them to make a comparison of political systems according to their degree of development. How the developmentalists, whom we have been discussing, arrived at their decisions that some historical political systems are more developed than others, is anybody’s guess. THE RELATION OF THE VARIABLES

In this section, we shall try to determine how the critical variables of the theory of political development are related. The theory of political development stipulates a criterion of political development which is a set of variables or characteris­ tics. If we want to determine whether a given political system is developed, developing or undeveloped, etc., we must have knowledge of the relation (preferably mathematical) between these variables. What do the proponents of the theory say about the relation between the variables? They posit a tendency for the three developmental variables, differentiation, secularization, and subsystem autonomy “to vary together”. We gather that they vary together in the sense that an increase in one variable tends to be associated with an increase in the others. However, they warn that the relation just described is not “ a necessary and invariant one”.17 To illustrate, they give an example to show how it could be that an increase in structural differen­ tiation is not accompanied by an increase in cultural seculari­ zation. To apply developmental theory to the analysis of historical political systems, we need more information about the relation of the developmental variables. One question that would have to be answered is whether the variables



increase at the same rate when they increase. If they do not increase at the same rate, what are the relative rates of increase? Another question that has to be answered is whether the variables decrease together or not. If any pair of the three or all the three of them decrease together, what is the relative proportional decrease? Another crucial question that is not answered js: What is the relative strength of the developmental variables? In Other words, for the purpose of determining quantitatively the extent of political development, how much cultural seculari­ zation is equal to how much structural differentiation? How much structural differentiation is equivalent to how much subsystem autonomy? To make a quantitative comparison of degrees of political development among political systems or for the same political system at different points in time, we must first specify some operation by which we can derive quantities for differentiation, secularization and subsystem autonomy. Then we must know the relation of these quantities. Let us say that a political system Pl scores X on differentia­ tion, Y on secularization, and Z on subsystem autonomy; another political system P2 scores Y + 1, X—3, and Z+2 res­ pectively. Are Pi and P2 equally developed? We cannot know unless we specify how much differentiation is equal to how much secularization, and how much secularization is equal to how much subsystem autonomy. Almond and Powell do not say anything about this. And partly because they are not explicit on this point, they render impossible a quantitative comparison of degrees of political development.

We encounter similar difficulties in Pye’s Aspects of Political Development. This is what Pye has to say about the relation of the dimensions of political development: In recognizing these three dimensions of equality, capacity and differentiation as lying at the heart of the development process we do not mean to suggest that

Theory and Reality


they necessarily fit easily together. On the contrary, historically the tendency has usually been that there are acute tensions between the demands for equality, the requirements for capacity and the processes of greater differentiation. Pressure for greater equality can challenge the capacity of the system, and differentiation can reduce equality 'by stressing the importance of quality and specialized knowledge.18

In the face of such conflicts, how can we derive the type of data that will enable J us to determine whether a country is developing politically or not and how far it is doing so? Pye appears to recognize the problem. But he does not deal with it. The inference he draws from the passage quoted is that political development is not unilinear, that we should think rather of sequences of political development—a sequence being the order in which the political system faces and deals with the pressures he talks of 19. However, to delineate the sequence of political development, we need to be able to know when development has occured, and how much of it has occurred. To do this in turn demands a rigorous state­ ment of the relation between the elements of political development. Coleman treats the development variables in much the same way. He finds that “both congruences and contradic­ tions are logically inherent in the contrapunctual interplay of the process of differentiation, the quest for equality, and the development of creative polity capacity**.20 First, let us con­ sider the congruences: structural differentiation enhances the system capacity and as system capacity is enhanced, the institutionalization of functionally specialized bodies is facilitated. A similar reciprocity exists between equality and capacity. Equality enhances capacity, for instance, by making the political population more prone to identify with the system. The realization of equality and the exploitation of equality to enhance system capacity depends on the capacity



of the system. Equality and differentiation are similarly interdependent For instance, equal opportunity is necessary to provide the manpower that structural differentiation requires. On the other hand, a structurally differentiated society with its expanding opportunities is needed to “provide that status mobility and flexibility requisite for the main­ tenance of some sort of moving equilibrium between mobility aspirations and available careers ‘open to talent”.21 So “the three elements in the syndrome are clearly both congruent and interdependent”. As for the incongruences, Coleman points out that “polity capacity, particularly when the pressure is for an integrative ‘survival’ capacity, may require the maintenance of structural fusion or an explicit policy of de-differentiation. It may also require the preservation or creation of hierarchy”. Equality and differentiation also conflict: “There are obvious structural limits to the full realization of equality”. Again, “the type of creative capacity we are talking about is clearly impossible without the stimulus of individual and collective motivation and striving and only status differentiation can produce that”. From this analysis, Coleman draws the following conclu­ sion: Because of these inherent contradictions among the elements of the development syndrome, the process of development and modernization must be regarded as interminable. We cannot logically envisage a state of affairs characterized at orice by total equality, irreduci­ ble differentiation, and absolute capacity. Moreover, not only is development interminable, but the course it takes in concrete polities is extremely variable and unpredic­ table. As in the development of institutional spheres, the modernization process is one of interacting leaps and lags in differentiation, in the realization of equality, and in the acquisition of enhanced capacity.22 It does not really follow from what Coleman says about the

Theory and Reality


congruent and conflicting relations of the elements of the development syndrome that political development is “inter­ minable”. What might be said to follow from what he says, is that full development can never be achieved. Again the logic of the conclusion that the course of development in historical political systems would be “extremely variable and unpredictable” is somewhat uneasy. However, these issues are not important for our present purpose. The crucial point is that given what he says about the “incongruent and conflictive” relations of the elements of the development syndrome, he does not raise the question whether we can know when development has taken place and how much development. This question is not answered by arguing that the elements of the development syndrome are in some sense congruent, in some sense mutually contradictory. To conclude, we have no way of knowing whether a politic cal system is developed or not, or the extent to which it is developed. THE BLURRED DISTINCTIONS OF SECONDARY VARIABLES

One of the factors that render the theory of political deve­ lopment inapplicable to the real world is that the distinctions between many of its secondary variables are blurred. The blurring of these distinctions is due to the vagueness of the terms the theory uses and also to the neglect of classificatory procedures. We have already sufficiently illustrated the vague­ ness of the terms and concepts of the theory and their con­ sequences for the utility of the theory. For the purposes of this discussion we shall concentrate on how the neglect of elementary principles of classification blur distinctions that are important for using the theory. The theory of political development relies very heavily on classifications. To illustrate, the political system is conceived as a functional system, and its functions are classified into



these categories: capabilities, conversion functions and system maintenance and adaptation functions.23 Political processes are classified as inputs and outputs. There are two classes of inputs—demands and supports. “Demands are subclassified in many ways”, for example, (a) demand for allocation of goods and services, (b) demand for regulation, etc. There is a classification of conversion functions and of capabilities.”24 For instance, capability may be extractive, regulative, respon­ sive, ejtc. There is a classification of the problems or crises which compel the political system to undergo development.25 It is somewhat odd that a theory which relies so much on classification should have paid very little attention to those elementary principles which make classifications useful Perhaps a brief look at classification will help to put our discussion in clearer perspective. Let us assume a universe of discourse whose members have to be classified. Tc classify them we have to stipulate a set of criteria which will be such that any given member of U meets one of these criteria Cit. . Cn, and one only. All members of U which satisfy a particular criterion from , Cn constitute a class. Since each member of U will satisfy only one of the criteria, the resulting classes of the classification will be mutually exclusive and at the same time together exhaustive (Le. of U). In many taxonomic schemes the require­ ments of exclusiveness and exhaustiveness are satisfied only in a purely logical sense. But a classification would be more useful as an instrument for understanding the world if at least one of these requirements (Le exhaustiveness and exclusiveness) is not only satisfied logically but also empirically. If a classifi­ cation meets this more stringent criterion, that would mean that some low level empirical generations can be derived from it. A good example of a classification whose determining con­ cepts meet the stringent requirement is the periodic table. The place of any member of the universe of discourse within

Theory and Reality


the classification allows many things to be predicted about it. Classification by phylogenetic criteria is another example. The differentiation of each class or the unique quality of each class is associated with a whole configuration of other charac­ teristics. So, by knowing where something falls in the classifi­ cation, we are able to predict a fairly wide variety of things about it. The classification of the theory of political development suffers from a failure to specify the criteria of membership of the subsets of the universe of discourse, whose elements are being classified and also from a failure to meet the require­ ment of exclusiveness. Let us illustrate. To begin with, consi­ der the three functional levels of the political system: capa­ bilities, conversion process, and system maintenance and adaptation functions. It is easy to see that this classification of functions does not meet the criterion of exclusiveness if we look at what Almond and Powell say about the three classes. The class of functions categorized as capabilities is supposedly distinguished by the fact that they refer to the way the politi­ cal system performs in relation to its environment. Thus, the political system may regulate behaviour and distribute resources in its environment, respond to needs, and extract services from its environment. This set of functions referring to the way the political system functions in relation to its environ­ ment is distinguished from the second class of functions, the conversion process, which refers to the internal workings of the political system. This distinction is not clear, for it hinges on a very unclear concept in the theory, the concept of boundary. It hinges on a distinction between what is internal to the political system and what is external to it, on drawing a line between the political and the non-political. Do we have a clear demarcation of the boundary of the political system? To all appearances the answer is no. 2 6



To see why we answer the question in the negative we have to go back to what our authors say about the political act. Our authors conceptualize the political as all interactions which hear some relation to the use of legitimate physical coercion.27 There is hardly any interaction that can be excluded from being political according to this definition, in so far as there is hardly anything that members of a society do that would % not bear some relation to the potential use of physical coer­ cion by constituted authority, “however remote the relation may be”. For instance, in demanding and using public re­ creational facilities, we are involved in political relations, for ‘public recreation facilities are usually supported by taxation, and any violation of the regulation governing their use is a legal offense”. One is at a loss to think of a form of inter­ action or act that does not “affect the use or threat of use of legitimate physical coercion”, that does not support or defy political authorities. If we violate the law, that is if we do anything that the political authorities expressly forbid, then we are acting politically in as much as we affect the use of public coercion in this case we invite its use as sanction. If we confine ourselves to the residual category of interactions which the political authorities allow, we are also acting politi­ cally in at least two senses. First, we are engaged in system supportive behaviour. In other words, we are upholding politi­ cal authority and enabling the political order to persist by emiting the behaviour patterns that public authorities demand. Secondly, such behaviour “affects” the use of public coercion by making little or no demand on it. But more than that, our ability to do what the law allows is associated with the ability of public authorities to create conditions which would allow us to do what the law allows. The ability of public authorities to make it possible for their subjects to behave according to the manner that the law allows is crucial for the survival of public authority and the political system. To the extent that

Theory and Reality


political subjects are prevented (by say, organized crime) from doing what the law allows, public authorities lose their credibility; the political order atrophies. We may conclude that there are no acts that are not political. Now it is easier to see the contradiction in our author’s discussion of the political system. To begin with, we are given a definition of the political system which in effect makes all acts, all inter­ actions political. Then we are told that a boundary has to be drawn around the political system by making a distinction between political roles and acts and nonpolitical roles and acts. If we take seriously the definition of the political as all inter­ actions that effect the use or the threat of the use of legiti­ mate physical coercion, we would have to ignore the distinc­ tion between political and nonpolitical interactions. Conver­ sely, if we take the distinction, seriously we would have to ignore the definition. To clarify the definition of the boundary of the political system our authors make the following statement: The same individuals who perform roles in political systems perform roles in other social systems such as the economy, the religious community, the family and voluntary associations. As individuals expose themselves to political communications, form interest groups, vote, or pay taxes they shift from non-political to politi­ cal roles. One might say that on election day as citizens leave their farms, plants and offices to go to the polling places, they are crossing the boundary from the economy to the polity.28

This does not help. All that the passage is doing is to assert that some acts are political roles while others are not. To assert that a role or an act is political is quite a different thing from setting down the criterion for determing the politicalness of an act or a role—and it is this criterion that we need, to isolate the political system.



We must conclude that the distinction between capabilities and conversion functions collapses because it hinges on the ability to draw a boundary between the political system and its environment or, if you will, a boundary between the politi­ cal and the nonpolitical. There is an easier case against the possibility of being clear about the distinction between the functions called capabilities and those classified as conversion functions. According to our authors, rule making, rule application, and rule adjudi­ cation are conversion functions.29 Now, what is the difference between these functions and extractive and regulative capa­ bilities? It is hard to conceive what the differences could be for we are told that the regulative function is what the political system does to keep order, etc.30 We find similar weakness in the classification of the prob­ lems or crises of political development.31 The categories are the state-building, the nation-building problem, the partici­ pation problem, and the distribution problem. Although the participation problem and the distribution problem appear to be totally different, they in fact overiap to a considerable extent For example, we are told that the participation problem is “the pressure from groups in the society for having a part in the decision making of the system”,32 while the distribu­ tion problem is “the pressure from the domestic society to employ the coercive power of the political system to redistri­ bute income, wealth, opportunity and honour”.33 The pressure for participation is an aspect of the pressure for redistribution of opportunity. To see how difficult it is to make sense of the distinction here between distribution and participation, one only has to try to analyse the pressures that led to the gradual extension of the franchise in England in the 19th century in terms of this distinction. The distinction between the nation-building problem and the state-building problem is similarly blurred,

Theory and Reality


for the penetration and regulation of society is part of the process of transferring the commitments of the subjects of the state from the subsystems such as families, castes, and villages to the inclusive political system. Almond and Powell recognize the overlap of these two problems. So much for evidence of poor classificatory procedure and the blurring of distinctions between variables. Is it important that these classifications have the weaknesses that we have discussed? If so, why are these significant weak­ nesses? The answer is that distinctions which are very blurred amount to no distinctions, and cannot promote understanding. Thus, it may be highly suggestive to think of the functions of the political system in terms of the three categories: capabili­ ties, conversion functions, and system maintenance and adaptation functions. But since the boundary between these three functions is so blurred that it is a matter of considera­ ble uncertainty which member of the universe of discourses of political function belongs to which category, the distinc­ tion becomes a very inadequate tool for analysis. The point is easily illustrated. Discussing the problems or crises of politi­ cal development, Almond and Powell claim that:

... in our efforts to account for the peculiar patterns of performance of political systems, we must examine the ways in which they have encountered these system-deve­ lopment problems in the past or are encountering them in the present. . . In the broader sense, it opens up for us the whole of man’s history of experimentation and innovation in politics as a source for the creation of a useful theory of political change. If we can relate the structural and cultural characteristics of political systems to the ways in which they have confronted, and coped with these common system-development problems, we have taken the first steps in the direction of a theory of political growth which, for example, can help us explain why French and British politics differ in particular ways.3*



Pye also gives great importance to the crises of political development. He hypothesizes that “the particular pattern of development in any country depends largely upon the sequence in which these crises arise and the ways in which they are resolved”.35 Unfortunately, these interesting suggestions do not get us very far. The suggestions imply that the authors take their classifications of the crises of political development seriously. They are saying, in effect, that it matters a great deal whether a country is facing a p articular one of the crises or a particular set of crises in a particular sequence. Unfortu­ nately, we can only analyze political systems in these terms, and subsequently can explore the usefulness of the suggestions our authors offer us here if the distinctions they make between the problems or crises are clear. We cannot study comparatively, the effects of two crises, X and Y, if we cannot even identify each of these crises. To be able to explain differences between two political systems, and P2, by the observation that Pi experienced the problems of development in sequence Sj S3 S2 S4, while P2 experienced it in sequences Sj S2 S3 S4, presupposes a clear distinction between the types of problems. If we cannot dearly distinguish one crisis from another, we cannot posit sequences. Here is one more illustration of the consequences • of poor classification and blurred distinctions. In the theory of politi­ cal development the capabilities of the political system are usually classified into the following categories: extractive, regulative, distributive, symbolic, and responsive. Now, this classification does not meet the requirement of exclusiveness. We will not belabour this particular point. Anybody who sees the definitions of these capabilities and the political activities cited as examples of each type of capacity will readily recog­ nize that the categories are not exclusive. The political system “regulates” behaviour by “extracting”; distributes by regula­ ting; extracts by distributing; responds by distributing and

Theory and Reality


regulating, and so on. When a government bows to a demand to impose heavier taxes on the rich, is it extracting, distribu­ ting, or responding? So much for the exclusiveness of these categories. The taxonomy of capabilities is used to suggest interesting and seemingly fruitful ways of analyzing political systems. For instance, Almond makes the following suggestions Elite policies and goals may and usually do involve more than one capability. For .example, a policy of economic development will require increases in resource extraction, and regulation, perhaps holding the line on distribution and coping with demand inputs by increasing the symbolic capability. From this point of view capa­ bilities may be viewed as ends intermediate to the policy goals of the elites. Since policies are made up of different doses of the different classes of outputs, capabilities analysis is essential to rigorous policy analysis.

With these two capability concepts (extractive and regu­ lative) we can distinguish between primarily extractive political systems such as those referred to above, and extractive-regulative ones such as the historic bureaucra­ tic political system . . . Furthermore, we can chart the development process from the one to the other, as regu­ lative outputs cease being primarily unintended conse­ quences of or instrumental extraction and acquire goals of their own.37 Clearly, if the classification of capabilities is to facilitate rigorous comparative policy analysis as the first part of the preceding quotation suggests, we must have rigorously defined an exclusive categories of capabilities. If we explain aspects of public policy and characterize public policy in terms of the extent to which they are made up of particular “doses” of the different capabilities, we must not only be able to systematically isolate the capabilities, we must also be able to quantify them. Similarly, we cannot classify political systems according to the combination of particular capabilities they possess if we do not have clear and objective criteria for



determining when a capability exists and if we cannot clearly distinguish between the capabilities. It is easy to see that these defects of the classificatory procedure which drastically limit or, indeed, prohibit explo­ ration of some of the interesting suggestions of the theory of political development are due, once more, largely to the reli­ ance on elementary terms and commonsense notions. The distinction between the rule making and rule adjudication, the distinctions between the capabilities (e.g. responsive and extractive capabilities) are distinctions readily suggested by commonsense and popular political parlance. These distinc­ tions seem precise enough; not many people would think that the line between rule making and rule enforcement is unclear. In a sense it is clear; we can give examples o£ some acts which can be confidently said to be rale making, and some which are indubitably rule enforcement. Yet, such distinctions are not good enough, that is, not clear enough for scientific research. To decide whether a distinction is clear or not, we should resist the temptation to think of ■‘members” which belong to one class and not the other; we should rather think of the possibility of the systematic main­ tenance of the distinction. This would mean that if we wanted to find out whether our distinction between law making and law enforcement was clear, we should insist on being able to decide for any given action that it is (a) not a member of either class; (b) a member of the class, law making; or (c) a member of the class, law enforcement. THE


The fundamental assumption of the theory of political development is that development matters a great deal—that if we know how far a political system is developed, we can deduce a lot of things about its performance. To evaluate the utility of the theory for understanding the world, we

Theory and Reality


have to raise the question, in what way does development matter? What are the consequences of increase in cultural secularization, structural differentiation, equality, and capa­ city? This is the question we want to examine in this section. CULTURAL SECULARIZATION

In what sense is the secularization of political culture con­ sequential? Almond and Powell argue that for “specialized” structures such as political parties, interest groups, and a bureaucracy to emerge and function efficiently, it is necessary that political culture be largely secularized. If “the rules of a bureaucracy” are imposed on a traditional culture—that is, one characterized by diffuse orientations, the tendency to particularistic norms, the ascription of status—“they would soon be undermined by the persisting traditional roles. Universalistic treatment of individuals according to the specifically political roles will eventually be distorted by the considera­ tions arising from diffuse societal relationships such as the tribe, caste or family ties”.38 Our authors are correct in saying that if we transport an institution to a setting whose normative orientations are different and even contradictory to those of the institution, the institution will not function properly, that a bureau­ cracy will not function efficiently in a “traditional society*. But the statement is trivially true, for a bureaucracy is defined in terms of its operative norms. We have traditionally assumed with Weber that the bureaucracy's operative norms are ideally universalistic, achievement oriented, etc., that they are the very antithesis of “traditional” norms which are particularistic, ascriptive etc. So by definition, if a bureaucracy is introduced 1 into traditional society, the conflict of th6 two sets of norms will impair the performance of the bureaucracy or even threaten its survival. The notion that cultural secularization facilitates the



existence of “specialized” bodies (such as political parties and interest groups) and a bargaining and accommodative political interaction, also has difficulties. For instance, con* sider the sentence: “By the same token, it is in the seculari­ zation process that bargaining and accomodative political action becomes a common feature, of the society, and that the development of a special structure such as interest groups and parties become meaningful.”39 The word “meaningful” rehders the meaning of this assertion highly problematic. Per­ haps the particular ambiguity here is not so important since a plausible argument can be made to the effect that the general sense of the discussion is that cultural secularization makes the existence of interest groups and parties possible and their performance effective. But, again, this assertion can only be true in a trivial sense, namely, in the sense that the operative norms of some interest groups and parties are secu­ lar. It. does not appear to be true in the fundamental sense where there is no secular culture, there are no parties and interest groups. This is so because in a broad sense, parties and interest groups exist in all'political systems. The papacy, the Republican Party of American, the Liberal Party of Canada, the age-sets and the age-grades of Ibo society, the dynasties, and the “client chains” of the Emirate of Zaria, tribe and the segmentary lineage are all interest groups in their own political systems. Setting out to explain why interest groups exist in one political system and not in another is a waste hf effort in pursuit of a false problem. If our authors are trying to explain why most of the things we identify as interest groups in contemporary industrial society such as political parties did not exist in the Inca kingdom, that too would be a waste of time or an absurdity (rather like explaining why my writing table does not have a carburetor). Explaining certain types of differences among interest groups

Theory and Reality


in different political systems might be interesting and instruc­ tive. For example, we might try to classify interest groups according to their criteria of membership and proceed to explore the significance, if any, of different criteria for, say, the intensity of political competition or the cohesivehess of the interest group. One can imagine the concept of political culture being refined and employed for the purposes of such an exercise. However, that is not what our au thors are doing. Finally, let us look at the association of cultural seculari­ zation with “bargaining and accomodative” political behavi­ our. People whose orientations are secularized are supposed to have “open, bargaining attitudes” while people of “tradi­ tional” culture are oriented to “ascribed status, rigid norms” given by custom and do not have open bargaining attitudes.40 In this sense, people of a traditional culture are somewhat like people in a highly ideological political system who act according to a “set of rules of conduct spelled out by the ideology”. What we have here is just a paraphrase of the major elements in the original definition of cultural seculari­ zation—not an insight into the import of the concept of cultural secularization. What we have here is not knowledge of one thing, leading to knowledge or explanation of another thing: knowledge that a political system has a highly seculari­ zed culture is not here yielding another knowledge, namely that the members of the political system have accomodative and bargaining or “manipulative” political attitudes. This is so because accomodative, bargaining and manipulative atti­ tudes are paraphrases of the definition of cultural seculari­ zation. Recall that cultural secularization is defined as a “tendency toward rational, empirical, pragmatic, etc.”41 We find the same circular explanation in La Palombara’s discussion of secularization. To begin with La Palombara



tells us that “maximum secularization would require that the political process proceed primarily on the basis of a rationality, of the ends of government and of the means utilized to achieve these ends”.42 He points out that secu­ larization is a prerequisite for the complex functions of a modem government To carry out its complex functions, a modem government must collect and process information and use its information to define goals and means. He also indicates that the developing countries often set themselves unrealistic goals, partly because “the environment is not confronted in an essentially rational and empirical manner”.4 3 He then makes the following suggestion: “Given certain national aspirations, we can say that a given degree of secularization is necessary to make politics truly the art of the possible. We might be able to contend that before certain goals are either set or achieved, the determination of ends and means must be based on information as opposed to, say, religious revelation; on prag­ matic considerations rather than arbitrary, a priori pre­ scriptions; on systematic manipulation of the human environment rather than magic; and so on”.44 A passage such as the one just quoted gives us the impres­ sion that we have been told how cultural secularization affects political systems or political behaviour, or that we have been given some insight into the conditions under which political goals are realized. The impression is quite spurious. In effect, La Palomb ar a says that secularization entails more rational behaviour which in turn increases the proba­ bility of goal attainment We can agree that the person who scientifically examines the facts relevant to the goals that he wants to attain and bpses his decision on the analysis of this information might be said to be acting rationally. The rub is that those behavioural tendencies that we see in the non-secularized cultures of traditional societies such as the use of religious revelation as a source of authority and the use of

Theory and Reality


magic are not necessarily non-rational behaviour. This is particularly true if we are thinking of the manipulation of the human environment as the end of behaviour. Magic may not affect the world, but magic may be used to manipulate the behaviour of people who believe in the supernatural. In a tra­ ditional society the magic man may well be more capable of manipulating behaviour than the sociologist. If the point is granted, then the assumption that seculari­ zation will make people (rational and) more likely to attain their goals is somewhat misleading. All thatwe can say is that secular orientations are most necessary for certain types of social organizations. The implication of this would be that if a country wants these types of social organizations, it will alsb need secular orientations. This is really all that the pro­ ponents of the theory of political development are saying, although they may sometimes give the impression of saying something more than this. In saying this, they are not telling us very much. They are certainly not adding anything to Max Weber. The theory might have been helpfid if it had gone beyond assertions to demonstrate with rigour the logical and empirical relationships between pragmatic attitudes, etc to the existence and efficiency of political parties, bureaucracies, etc. It is all the more necessary to do this since poeple are beginning to question the conventional wisdom that bureau­ cratic norms are conducive to efficiency and to industriali­ zation, and the typical organizational forms of complex modem societies. For instance, it has been argued that Japan has built a modem, complex, industrial society with the aid of “traditional values,” that all political cultures are mixed, (that is, neither wholly traditional nor modem).45 Let us turn to an examination of structural differentiation along similar lines. STRUCTURAL DIFFERENTIATION

As we have seen the concept of structural differentiation is very confused. Perhaps it will help to begin by reminding our-



selves that in the theory of political development, the concept of structural differentiation is used in three main senses: (a) proliferation of roles, Le., the creation of new roles; (b) the independence or autonomy of political structures or institu­ tions ; and (c) division of labour in the polity analogous to the economic division of labour. There is a wide agreement on the point that the major signi­ ficance of knowing how far a political system is structurally differentiated is that such knowledge also tells us much about die capabilities and the performance of the political system. For instance, Almond and Powell make the folio wing proposi­ tion:

Higher levels of extraction, more extensive and penetra­ tive regulation, and more thorough distribution of the social products are associated with the differentiation of sets of roles which are related to these specific kinds of capability. On the other hand, the development of a responsive capability is connected with an autonomous political infrastructure, one which enables demand from the society to be brought to bear effectively on the governmental and administrative structures.46 In their final chapter, they appear to equate structural differ­ entiation with the development of a bureaucracy, and then go on to say that a political system’s capabilities will tend to increase in so far as it has bureaucratic organizations: . . . the development of higher levels of system capa­ bilities is dependent upon the development of greater structural differentiation and cultural secularization. In a more specifically structural sense, it is predicted that higher capabilities depend upon the emergence of ‘rational’ bureaucratic organizations. Thus, we predict that a system cannot develop a high level of internal regulation, distribution, or extraction without a ‘modem’ governmental bureaucracy in one form or another.47

Almond and Powell are exceptional in the sense that they

Theory and Reality


are more sensitive to the necessity of articulating the conse­ quences of structural differentiation than the other propon­ ents of the theory of political development Writings on political development do not usually discuss the consequences of structural differentiation but take them for granted. For instance, in Pye’s Aspects of Political Development there is no such discussion. In the Princeton Series one does not find a sustained analysis of this question, only isolated references to it. This is true even of the volumes Bureaucracy and Political Development48 and Political Parties and Political Development49 where such analysis seems so crucial. Although the question is rarely ever raised, virtually all the major writings constituting the theory of political develop­ ment assume explicitly or implicitly that the significance of structural differentiation is that it enhances the capabilities of political systems. Since this position is never closely argued even in Almond and PowelL it is difficult to evaluate it. If *J we press the question as to how and why it would have this, effect, the answer would be that structural differentiation entails functional specialization which is positively associa­ ted with increase in efficiency. As the quotation from Almond and Powell suggests, development as structural differentia­ tion is epitomized by the emergence of bureaucracy, and with bureaucratic norms and bureaucratic organization, comes efficiency.50 It would appear that what the proponents of the theory of political development are offering is a paraphrase of Max Weber. The Weberian point of view that the power of the modern state to extract goods and services, to penetrate the life of the individual and to regulate his behaviour, is owed largely to the development of bureaucratic organizations, is plausible. However, it is not clear that we can correctly posit without qualification that increases in functional speciali-



zation or bureaucratization in social organization will lead to increases in the efficiency of the political system. It would appear that bureaucracy is not a necessary condition of high political system capabilities. Numerically there are small traditional societies such as the Yoruba kingdoms which appear to have had a very effective political system without bureaucratic organization. So, perhaps we are assuming too much if we think that if we know the extent of bureaucratic organizations in a political system, we will know how efficient the political system is. One would have to allow that bureau* cratic organization is more conducive to efficiency in some types of societies than others. Max Weber himself was aware of this. He made it quite clear that bureaucratic organization was particularly suited to the needs of modem, complex, capitalist soceity.51 Our central concern is to determine whether structural differentiation makes any difference (e.g., to the perform­ ance of the political system) and if so, what the difference might be. The answer is that the proponents of the theory of political development claim that it makes a difference, that structural differentiation increases system cap abilities. It is difficult to evaluate the claim because it is not «argued but merely asserted. The difficulty of evaluating it is compounded by the confusion surrounding the concept of structural differentiation. But there is good reason to believe that struc­ tural differentiation amounts to the emergence of bureaucra­ tic organization. If so, the developmental variable is conse­ quential as Weber has shown. By the same token, we can also say that this aspect of the theory of political development is stating, in a more confused way, an ideal that Max Weber had stated with much greater rigour. The writings which use capacity and equality as criteria of political development are the ones that are most indiffe­ rent to the necessity of showing why their criteria of develop­

Theory and Reality


ment are significant especially for explaining the behaviour of political systems. They do not give us any discussion of the consequences of an increase in equality and capacity. From what we are told about these developmental variables, it is hard to say what their significance might be. hi the case of equality, they have chosen very trivial interpretations of the concept For Pye, equality has three aspects: (a) partici­ pation—“Participation must be either democratic or a form of totalitarian mobilization, but the key consideration is that subjects should become active citizens, and at least the pre­ tenses of popular rule are necessary:; (b) universalistic norms; and (c) recruitment by achievement criteria.52 Coleman has a somewhat different definition of equality. For him too, equality has three components: v(a) achievement norms, (b) universalistic legal order, and (c) national citizenship— “citizenship connotes that basic human equality derived from one’s full membership in a natural, political community and embodied in equal formal rights possessed by all citizens”.53 It is anybody’s guess what one can predict about the structures and behaviour of a political system from the know­ ledge of how far it is characterized by equality—given the definition of equality that we have to use. Perhaps this dimen­ sion of development was meant to ffluminate not so much the behaviour of the political system as its moral character. But even from a moral point of view this definition of equal­ ity trivializes the concept For instance, a political system in which there are gross in-equalities of economic and political power—a political system in which the bulk of the members of the polity is denied effective participation in the decision­ making process—can be said to be characterized by equality. In a sense the choice of capacity as a dimension of political development is more puzzling yet Hie significance of capacity is even harder to see than that of equality. The theory of political development uses a concept of political system as a



functional system. We are focussing attention on how the political system “functions” or “performs”. The “performance” or “functioning” of the political system is in turn resolved into its capabilities. So, it is clear that this approach orients us in such a manner that the crucial thing we want to find out about the political system is its capabilities. The defini­ tions of capacity that we are given make it quite clear that the concept is intended to describe comprehensively the functions of the political system. To illustrate, Pye defines capacity in the following way: . . . Capacity is related to the outputs of a political system and the extent to which the political system can effect the rest of the society and economy. Capacity is also closely associated with the governmental perform­ ances and the conditions that effect such performance. More specifically, capacity entails, first of all, the sheer magnitude, scope, and scale of political and govern­ mental performance, Developed systems are presumed to be able to do a lot more and touch upon a far wider variety of social life than a less developed system can... Second, capacity means effectiveness and efficiency in the execution of public policy. Developed systems, pre­ sumably, not only do more things than others but also do them faster and with much greater thoroughness. ... Finally, capacity is related to rationality in administration and a similar orientation towards policy.... 54

Coleman’s definition of capacity also illustrates how the concept represents a shorthand for the comprehensive des­ cription of the functions of the political system: It is art integrative, responsive, adaptive, and innovative capacity. It is a capacity not only to overcome the divisions and manage the tensions created by increased differentiation, but to respond to or contain the par­ ticipatory and distributive demands generated by the imperatives of equality. It is also a capacity to innovate

Theory and Reality


and to manage continuous change. It includes the notion of adaptation which Talcott Parsons had made central to his definition of an ‘evolutionary universal’......... It includes in addition the power constantly to create new and enhanced capacity to plan, implement and manipu­ late new change as part of the process of achieving new goals.55

Paradoxically, the very fact that the concept of capacity characterizes the functioning of the political system so com­ pletely is what makes it an unsuitable development variable from the point of view of systematic import One might also say that the concept prompts the study of the political system, or that it forces us to assume almost everything that has to be explained about the political system. Almost any explana­ tory statement we derive from an assumption of the extent of the capacity of a political system would be tautological. We cannot say that the low capacity of a given political system helps us to understand why it cannot keep order because inabilty to keep order (or low regulative capability) is part of the definition of low capacity. We cannot say that the high capacity of a political system helps us to understand why it is so responsive to demands, for responsiveness to demands (responsive capability) is part of what it means to say the the political system has a high capacity. It is interesting that although Almond is one of those who sponsored the Princeton Series and contributed to the development of their theoretical framework, capacity is not made a developmental variable in Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach. This work avoids the type of difficulty we have indicated here by making cultural secularization and structural differ­ entiation its developmental variables and then explaining and predicting capacity by these two variables. We must conclude that the theory of political develop­ ment has not been able to give a coherent and plausible



account of the importance of political development But as we have seen, it is unable to articulate the logical and empiri­ cal relations between these consequences and the develop­ mental variables. It would appear that the choice of the cri­ teria of the development was not made on the basis of their explanatory value. We shall return to the point later. For the moment we will examine what the theory says about the causes qnd sequences of political development to determine what insights we might glean from it THE CAUSES AND SEQUENCES OF POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT

What the theory of political development says about the causes and sequences of political development deserves special attention. The theory of political development posits that the extent to which a political system is developed is something of enormous significance—that, if we know how far ji political system is developed, we know a lot about it; we can make some cautious predictions about its ability to survive, to adapt to changes in its environment As we have seen, the significance of development is asserted rather than demonstrated. If, indeed, development is so profoundly consequential, we want to know how it can be brought about Such knowledge would be useful beyond the purposes of advancing political science. It would make developmental analysis more of a “policy science** and hence, useful to the members of modernizing societies who are grappling with grave problems of social and political change. The proponents of the theory of political development are well aware that political development is a rather complex process which can assume a variety of manifestations—that it is not something that simply occurs. They have shown interest in charting the sequence or the sequences of political develop­ ment. Some of them suggested that knowledge of the sequen­ ces or pattern of political development would throw light

Theory and Reality


on political development; that the particular pattern of political development that a particular political system would be an important variable for explaining the behaviour of that political system. We might go further to say that if we can map out the patterns of political develop­ ment, if we can explain them and stipulate their consequen­ ces, we will have taken a great step towards a comprehen­ sive theory of social and political change. How does the theory of political development treat the question of the causes and sequence of political develop­ ment? The literature on political development reflects aware­ ness of the significance of explaining how political develop­ ment takes place. However, there is hardly any discussion of the causes of political development in the literature. Perhaps the most explicit definition of the circumstances in which political development occurs is in Almond and Powell: Development results when the existing structures and culture of the political system is (sic) unable to cope with the problem or challenge which confronts ft with­ out further structural differentiation and cultural secu­ larization. It should be pointed out that a decline in the magnitude or a significant change in the content of the flow of inputs may result in ‘development’ in the negative or regressive sense.56

The Princeton Series refrains from this explicit statement of the conditions under which political development occurs. But there is an underlying assumption throughout this series that political development occurs as a response to strain and stress on the political system. On this issue, as in many others, Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach is more consistent and less ambiguous than the Princeton Series. Going through the Princeton Series, one finds abundant evidence to support the view that they would agree with Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach, that



political development occurs as a response to stress and strain, or if you will, challenges to the political system.57 The Princeton Series devotes much attention to the analysis of the crises or challenges of political development. But one also finds abundant evidence in the Princeton Series to the effect that the crises or challenges of political development are not what “effect” development as such but rather, are mere problems associated with development—problems that usually arise in the course of development. For instance, in his introduction to Crises and Sequences, of Political develops meat, Pye refers to the crises as the key problems “that appear to have arisen historically in the process of political development”.58 Just how do the crises and challenges develop the political system? The question is not really answered although Almond and Powell have some suggestions that might be Useful for answering it. It is suggested that these problems invariably affect the capabilities, the conversion process, and the system maintenance and adaptation functions. Presumably to under­ stand how political systems change we have simply to investi­ gate the impact of those problems on these three functional levels. Towards the end of their book, Almond and Powell discuss the question of the relation of the system-development problems or crises to the capacities, conversion functions, and system maintenance and adaptation functions in the light of historical experience. Unfortunately, the discussion is brief and inconclusive. Here is what they have to -say about Britain’s experience: Britain solved the state-building problem —that is, the problem of integration and penetration—without the “destruction of the varieties of particularism characteristic of the preceding epoch. Feudal lords continued to exercise some power in the parliamentary process. Churches and religious movements were deprived of their autonomy, but not'completely awimi-

Theory and Reality


lated: an independent judiciary persisted and flourished. Problems of national identity and nation building in Britain were solved incrementally and continually over a period of several centuries”.® The problems of participation and distribution were also solved incrementally over centuries.

... It can be said that Britain in the last few centuries of its history has been confronted by all four problems ... it has not been confronted by simultaneous acute crises to the extent that was true on the European continent.”. The continuity and gradualism of its growth have been the consequence in part of the relatively light loading of the political system by problems of cultural hetero­ geneity and by the pressures from the international political system.60 By contrast, in Germany tne state-building problem was solved in a most authoritarian fashion and there was thorough­ going centralization. “Demands for political participation became assimilated . . . into demands for national integra­ tion; . . . national power and substantial concessions in the field of social welfare were offered in exchange for the moderation or the withholding of demands for participa­ tion.”61 After comparing the development of Germany and Britain, Almond and Powell draw the conclusion that the political development of Germany has been discontinous and “trauma­ tic” while that of Britain has been “continuous and incre­ mental”. Evidence shows that a historical background of discon­ tinuity and trauma has resulted in a political culture lacking in deep and stable system commitment and loyalty. The system is accepted on instrumental terms as long as it satisfies demands made upon it and does not



impose heavy sacrifies. The psychological reserve of the British political system, on the other hand, would appear to be substantially capable of assimilating shock and crises as well as sacrifices without threat to the stability of the system. 62 There is no need to go into the question of the historical validity of these assertions about the development of Germany and Britain. Whether they are true or not, they do not throw much light on the issue of how the response to challenges causes the political system to develop. From the knowledge that Britain sensibly centralized with some reserve of auto* nomy, or that Germany went about the solution of the pro* blem of integration and penetration in an authoritarian manper, we cannot deduce anything about the relatio i iship of the crises of political development and political develop­ ment Nor can we conclude anything about the relation from the knowledge that political development in Germany was “traumatic” and discontinuous and that of Britain incremental. Because our authors never really go into the question of % die relation between the crises of political development and political development, their generalization about how develop­ ment occurs must seem arbitrary. In fact, we need more information not only to understand this generalization as an explanation, but as a statement Consider some of the questions that this genei auzation about political development occuring only where a political system cannot respond to a problem without further structural differentiation or cultural seculari­ zation would invite. We have already raised one question, namely, What is the relation between the crises and political development? There are many other questions. For example, How can we know when a political system is confronting a particular one of the problems of polities) development? Do all political systems nfpessarily face these problems at some point or other? It is to be expected that the political system

Theory and Reality


will necessarily respond to any of these problems? Can the political system deal with these problems without undergoing changes in its structural differentiation and cultural seculari­ zation? If the political system can cope with these problems -without further structural differentiation and cultural secula­ rization, that is, without developing, would our criteria of development be rendered useless? Can the political system undergo further cultural secularization and structural differen­ tiation under the pressure of these problems without neces­ sarily solving these problems? If so, would the view that higher levels of system performance are associated with higher levels of structural differentiation and cultural secularization still hold? THE SEQUENCE OF POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT

Most of the leading theorists of political development appear to agree that the sequence of political development is of some significance, particularly for explaining the beha­ viour of political systems. In developmental theory, it would appear that the phrase, sequence of political development, does not mean stages in quantitative increases of structural differentiation and cultural secularization, as such, but rathe the order in which the crises or the problems of political development arise and are dealt with. Of course, the general expectation is that, as the political system deals with more of the crises of political development, it undergoes development. A sequential model might be highly formalistic, articulating and explaining the logical consequences of particular configu­ rations of variables: If X occurs before Y and Z, then conse­ quences S, M, N follow, etc. It may also take a more historicalinductive form, examining the experience of historical politi­ cal systems to determine the sequences which they have follow­ ed and proposing generalizations about the significance of * each for the structures and the behaviour of political systems.



There is some indication that the theory of political develop­ ment would lean towards the second type of sequential model So far, theorists of political development have not developed a sequential model although they have written extensively on the crises of political development and a few of them have discussed the sequence of political development If we look at what they have to say about the sequence of political development, we find for the most part uninstructive genera­ lities. In Aspects of Political Development, Pye’s discussion of the sequence of political development proceeds along the following lines: the pattern of the political development of a political system is largely determined by the order in which the crises arise and how they are dealt with. In England, the crises came one at a time and roughly in the following order: identity crisis, legitimacy crisis, penetration crisis, participa­ tion crisis, integration crisis, distribution crisis. In Europe, the crises occurred in a more choatic way. “In Italy and Germany, the prelude of nation-building did not involve a resolution of the issue of national identity. In France questions of legitimacy and. the realities of inadequate inte­ gration have persistently frustrated national performance and intensified the crises of distribution. It was, indeed, the cumulativeness and simultaneity of the crises on the continent that produced the striking difference between the European and the British system.63 Asian and African political systems appear to be following the European pattern rather than that of Britain. Almond and Powell say that Western Europe tackled the crisis of political development in the following order: state building, nation building, participation, and distribution. Beyond this assertion, the only thing in the book that focuses on the sequence in political development is the passage which we summarized in our discussion of the cause of political development. It is surprising that Binder’s essay which opens the Princeton Series volume Crises and

Theory and Reality


Sequences in Political Development does not say very much About the sequence-of political development. Here is the most sustained treatment of the sequence of political development • in Binder’s essay:

' . . . these erises or processes are not mutually exclusive. Participation affects distribution. Legitimacy affects both penetration and distribution; penetration affects identity. And so on. The significance of this overlapping emerges more clearly when we consider the problems of sequence. How, it may be asked, can we consider the sequence of processes which are empirically ambiguous? The answer is that sequence is not significant until consciousness of the problem renders one of these areas of political con­ cern an explicit issue. It is the shift from functionally determined change with normative consequences to a normatively defined issue that may tum the process into a crisis. Should this shift occur* we all know that it has happened. The sequence of the occurrence of the crisis is then empirically unambiguous and, of course, variable from case to case. But it does not seem, from an a priori examination of the theory, that the sequence of crises can be wholly arbitrary. Not only are there external factors operating to create awareness of events in other political systems, but because these processes overlap analytically as well as empirically, crisis in one area will predictably affect other areas. In other words, these processes are dialectically related. Still, the effect that a given intensity of change in one area will have on other areas is a problem for empirical research, and it may be that no situationally transferable generalization, will be produced. Microanalytic changes, then, occqr as elements of five ongoing processes, and macro analytic sequences may be discovered when change reaches crises propor­ tions. Presumably, some sequence* of crises will produce smoother paths to modernity and some more difficult transitions.64



This passage as it stands does not throw light on the sequence of political development; there is no need to dwell on its inadequacies. The theory of political development does not as yet have a sequential model of political development. It is unlikely that the theory can be used to develop this model, because of its inadequacies. In what is perhaps the most sophisticated essay in the Princeton Series so far, Verba points out some of these problems and tries to show how we might go about developing a sequential model. One difficulty he points out is that the conceptions of the crises in the theory of political develop­ ment are such that it would be difficult to place them in a sequential model without further clarification and specifica­ tion of what a crisis is. He notesthat in the treatment of the crises in the volume, the crisis has tended to be used to describe situations in which the institutional framework of the politi­ cal system could not routinely and adequately handle a challenge. This leads him to define crisis as “a situation where a ‘problem' arises in one of the problem areas. . . and some new institutionalized means of handling problems of that sort is required to satisfy the discontent**.6 5 Verba recognizes that we not only have to define crisis clearly; we must have “rules deciding when a crisis exists, which pro­ blem area it is related to, And what the nature of the solution is**.66 He thinks that this is perhaps the most important and most difficult problem that must be solved before the theory of political development can move on to a sequential model. Verba also draws attention to the necessity of making genera­ lizations about sequential patterns and about the consequen­ ces of different sequential patterns. He recognizes that talking loosely about there being a sequence of political develop­ ment or even making assertions, as Almond and Powell do, about the pattern that a particular historical political system I

Theory and RuHty




followed will not do; an attempt has to be made to link the crises in a comprehensive sequential order. Verba suggests how we might go about creating such link­ age. He approaches the problem by posting a hypothetical question: “What is the relationship between theorder in which crises and institutions in the problem areas arise, and the like­ lihood that later crises will be met by successfill institution building?” He suggests that a successful solution of one crisis and the “consequent development of institutionalized per­ formance capacity in that area** will facilitate the solution of other crises. Again, the solution of one crisis will generate pressures for the solution of other crises. Like economic development, political development will tend to be “balanced ” in the long run, although in the short run there may be dis­ continuities and imbalances.M According to Verba, if we start with the solution of the identity crisis, pressures will create- a pattern for the solution of the problem in this order—identity, legitimacy, penetra­ tion, participation, distribution. The creation of “institution­ alized capacity to generate a sense of identity **, in other words; the solution of the identity crisis,'will facilitate participation which in turn will facilitate distribution. He draws attention to the fact that the solution of one problem will usually be associated with “facilitative inputs to government’* and the triggering off of “demands for performance** in regard to other problem areas. Thus, the facilitative inputs of the solution of the identity crisis will be both legitimation and participation and perhaps distribution. Similarly, successful solution of the penetration crisis will be associated with the facilitative inputs, legitimacy, and extraction and would tend to trigger a demand for distribution. We may in turn speculate about and make linkages between facilitative inputs and also between the secondary demands that are triggered by the solution of one crisis. Finally, we can rearrange the crises in a



variety of sequences and explore the consequences of a par­ ticular sequence. To do this, we will have to ask ourselves questions such as: What would be the consequence of.penetra­ tion occurring before the legitimacy crisis? Suppose the par­ ticipation crisis occurs before the penetration crisis? What if the penetration crisis and the identity crisis occur together? There is no need to go into a critique of Verba’s suggestions about the geheral relations of the crises and the effects of the solution of one particular crisis on another. For one thing, he is not so much proposing a sequential model as raising ques­ tions that it would be useful to ask and answer before we can hope to develop such a model. For another, he himself recog­ nizes that the propositions he makes about the logical and empirical relations of the crises and the effects of the solution of one crisis on another cannot be seriously evaluated until we have answered most of the intractable questions he him­ self has raised.67 One can only agree with him that the argu­ ments he makes for these propositions must “remain too abstract and vague until” we can be clear on what the crises are, how to determine when a particular crisis has occurred, what constitutes a solution of a crisis, etc. CONCLUSION

This brings us to the end of our evaluation of the relation of the theory of political development to the world. We have seen that the theory of political development has very little to recommend it as a tool for understanding the world. Per­ haps we have been demanding of the theory of political development a function that it was never intended to serve. It would appear that the theory is an ideology or, at any rate, propaganda for manipulating the world and not for under­ standing it. In the next chapter, we attempt to reveal the normative assumptions of the theory of political development and to show that it is an attempt to represent propaganda and

Theory and Reality


ideology as science. And as we shall see later, it is the propa­ ganda and ideology of imperialism.


Gabriel A. Almond and G. Bringham Powell, Jr., Comparative Politics: A Development Approach, (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1966), 50.


Ibid., 24.


Ibid., 24-25.


Ibid., 58.


Ibid., 21.


Ibid., 22-23.


Ibid., 22.


Ibid., «


Ibidi, 42-43.

10. Ill

The passage is perfectly intelligible.

James Coleman. ‘The Development Syndrome,” in Leonard Binder et. at (eds.) Crises and Sequences in Political Development, Princeton: Princeton

University Press, 1971, 75.


Almond and Powell op. dt, p. 43


Ibid., 45.


Adam Smith, The Wealth ofNations, cd. Max Lerner, (Nev York: Random

House Inc., 1937), 1-16.


Coleman, op. dt., 78—79..




Almond and Powell, op. dt, 307. *


Lucian Pye, Aspects of Political Development, (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.,

1966), 47.


Ibid., 47-48.


Coleman, op. dt


Coleman op. cit.


Coleman op. dt.


Almond and Powell, op. dt., 27—29.

; t



74 24.



Ibid., 35.


Ibid., 19-20.


Ibid., 17.


Ibid., 20.


Ibid., 29.


Ibid.. 28.


Ibid., 35-36.








Pye, op. dt., 66


Gabriel A. Almond, “A Developmental Approach to Political System*”, in J.L, Finke and R.W. Gable, Political Development and Social Change, (New York: Wiey, 1966), 107.




Almond and Powell, op. dt. 59—60


Ibid., 60.


Ibid.. 58-60

4L Joseph La Palombara, "Bureaucracy and Political Development Note*,

Queries and Dilemma*, "in Joseph La Palombara (ed.), Bureaucracy and

Political Development, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), 46. Ibid.


Ibid. Some of the proponents of the theory of political development are aware

of thia. See e.g., Gabriel A. Almond, “A Functional Approach to Com­ parative Politics, " in Gabriel A. Almond and James Coleman (eda), The

Politict of the Developing Areai, (Princeton: Princeton University, Pres 1960).


Almond and Powell, op, dt., 49.


Ibid., 323.


Joseph La Palombara (e