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Last updated Mai. 29, 2007

Archive



Contents - Issue 4/2005



THE ANALYTICAL TOCQUEVILLE - ON THE OCCASION OF ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE'S BICENTENARY

Harald Bluhm/Hans-Peter Müller
Editorial     S. 443

Alexis de Tocqueville
Report on Cherbuliez' Book, On Democracy in Switzerland     S. 447
          Abstract

Raymond Boudon
Tocqueville's New Political Science     S. 459
          Abstract

Richard Swedberg
Tocqueville as Economic Sociologist     S. 473
          Abstract

Jon Elster
Patterns of Causal Analysis in Tocqueville's Democracy in America     S. 495
          Abstract

Christofer Edling/Peter Hedström
Analytical Sociology in Tocqueville's Democracy in America     S. 511
          Abstract

Matthias Bohlender
Democracy and Empire. Tocqueville in America and Algeria     S. 523
          Abstract



Essay

Heinz Steinert
The Journey to America, Then and Now. Tocqueville's Research Program and the Politics of the Culture Industry     S. 541



Review Essay

Harald Bluhm/Skadi Krause
Many Tocquevilles? - New Interpretations of a Classic     S. 551










Abstracts Issue 4/2005


 

Berliner Journal für Soziologie Vol. 15 (3)

Alexis de Tocqueville
Report on Cherbuliez' Book, On Democracy in Switzerland
Alexis de Tocqueville held this speech on January 15, 1848, at the Académie des sciences morales et politiques, shortly before the Europe-wide political revolutions of 1848. It is presented as a report on Cherbuliez' Buch "De la démocratie en Suisse" (2 Vols., Paris 1843), however, Tocqueville does not merely report, but develops some fundamental considerations for democratic theory.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie Vol. 15 (3)

Raymond Boudon
Tocqueville's New Political Science
Tocqueville's influence has been less pronounced than that of several of his contemporaries, e.g. Guizot or Auguste Comte, but he is closer to us: not only is he a great figure in the history of ideas, he provides us with tools and ideas which help us in understanding modern societies. His deep originality, of which he was fully aware, is to a large extent the consequence of his methodology. The "new science of politics" he developed is characterized by five features. 1) It rests upon the principle of value neutrality. It follows the objective of explaining social and political phenomena by procedures used by all sciences. 2) It gives central strategic value to comparative analysis. 3) It pays central attention to the discovery of conditional laws, i.e. "if A, then B", and interprets these laws as being driven by understandable motivations and reasons on the part of individual social actors. 4) It identifies typical social mechanisms and processes. 5) It defines implicitly the notion of "good theory" by the criteria accepted by modern epistemologists. The accuracy and validity of Tocqueville's methodology is responsible for the force of his analyses in the second volume of Democracy in America and in The Old Regime and the Revolution, the two works more particularly taken into consideration here. Thanks to his methodology, he was able to identify a number of significant and important trends characterizing modern societies and the French society in particular. Hence the impression of eternal youth the reader easily experiences when reading his more than one and a half century old work. Back






 

Berliner Journal für Soziologie Vol. 15 (3)

Richard Swedberg
Tocqueville as Economic Sociologist
Tocqueville's views on politics, religion and law have attracted many commentators, as opposed to his views on economic topics. In this article I try to remedy this situation by presenting and discussing what Tocqueville knew about economics and, more importantly, what economic phenomena he focused on and how he analyzed these. Special attention is paid in this respect to "Democracy in America" and "The Old Régime and the French Revolution", but also some of his minor writings are discussed. Tocqueville wrote before the emergence of modern economics and there are few points in common between his type of analysis and that of, say, John Stuart Mill or modern economists. There is, on the other hand, a distinct affinity between Tocqueville's way of analyzing the economy and that of economic sociology.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie Vol. 15 (3)

Jon Elster
Patterns of Causal Analysis in Tocqueville's Democracy in America
Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America was written to persuade his French compatriots that their fears of American-style democracy were ungrounded. In pursuing this end, Tocqueville used a number of models of political psychology and social causality. His marshalling of models of causal mechanisms to persuade his readers is analyzed, the claim being that such an analysis is the primary reason for reading "Democracy in America" today.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie Vol. 15 (3)

Christofer Edling/Peter Hedström
Analytical Sociology in Tocqueville's Democracy in America
Analytical sociology seeks to explain complex social processes by carefully dissecting them and then bringing into focus their most important constituent components. It is through dissection and analytical abstractions that the important cogs and wheels of social processes are made visible and intelligible. By identifying some common features between Tocqueville's Democracy in America and contemporary analytical sociology, we argue that the explanatory approach that Tocqueville pursued in many respects is a forerunner to analytical sociology. These features are contrasted with those of other classical approaches in order to highlight the defining characteristics of Tocqueville's approach. One reason why Tocqueville is still worth reading, 200 years after his birth, is as an early example of the explanatory power of the analytical approach to sociology. However, the methodological and theoretical advances that sociology has undergone since the publication of Democracy in America makes it more interesting as a classic than as a useful source of reference for today's sociology students.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie Vol. 15 (3)

Matthias Bohlender
Democracy and Empire. Tocqueville in America and Algeria
Tocqueville's justification of the French conquest and colonization of Algeria is not merely a blind spot of an otherwise liberal and enlightened thinker. It is a consequence of his social and political analysis of democracy as a dangerous way of life. For Tocqueville, the imperial conquest and occupation of Algeria was a kind of escape from the crisis and vulnerability democracy caused in the domestic politics of France, i.e. individualism, conformism and apathy. With the national project to raise a French colony on the coast of North Africa he intended to forge a political class of virtuous citizens out of a rather commercial and depoliticized bourgeoisie. At the same time a democratic France should recapture its former powerful position among the European nations. It is only in his late writings on Algeria that Tocqueville recognizes the disastrous outcome of this nation- and class-building politics: the ruthless war waged by the French military against the indigenous population proved to be a hotbed of racism, violence and domination.
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