Mark Kesselman, “Order or movement: The literature of political development as ideology”, World Politics 26 (1973), pp. 139-154

_Summary:_ Kesselman is critiquing Huntington and Binder, et al. on the primacy that they put on political order.  Particularly, Kesselman doesn’t buy the argument that political order is the primary political good, and he demonstrates several reasons for why a narrow view of power defined strictly by the power of elites in society is in need of expansion (see notes, sec. III).  He advocates an inclusion of understanding processes of change, and the expansion of order and conflict into non-elite spheres.


_Important Insight:_ Kesselman’s take home point is that if we conceive of order and development in such narrow terms, we miss the boat.  We need to examine more than just the elites, and more than just elite-based change.


_Methodology:_ Critical book reviews of Huntington and Binder, et al.


== Notes==

=== I ===

* Examining the works of Huntington and Binder, specifically focused on their convergences

* Idea of political development came about as a response to the threat of communism

* Telological view of progress towards an American/Western end – all it needed was a jumpstart

* Post-independence – this didn’t happen – economic growth and modernization were not inevitabilities – military takeovers, coups, revolution, stagnation, etc. all occurred

* Problem?

** Lack of skilled personnel – but this only addressed one segment of politics

* Huntington – political development is _distinct_ from modernization, is not inevitable and is often impeded by modernization

** This leads to Huntington’s stress on order (the primacy of the political sphere) and the ‘crises a polity has to confront in the course of political development’ (Binder).

* Huntington is uninterested in specific projects, interested in maintenance of hegemony

* For Binder, development is a process without an end point – it consists in a polity’s finding satisfactory resolutions for its crises of identity, legitimacy, participation, capacity and distribution – though none is ever fully resolved, they are perennial

* Both stress the role of political power, precisely b/c consensus is unlikely and stability is problematic


=== II ===

* Replaces what is the good society with what is the stable society – normative shift to the importance of stability – order is _the_ highest political good

* Political decay/disorder that results because of rulers and ruling institutions who exert coercion falls outside of the definition – the concept of order places the burden of disorder on subordinates who challenge elites.

* Huntington’s conception also fails to distinguish between popular challenges and narrowly based military coups

* Something is wrong if these scholarly concepts are intelligible only from the narrow, partisan perspective of those who benefit most from established arrangements


=== III ===

* Why is order preferable? Why not seek a balance between order and disorder?

* Consequences of confining concern to political order and development:

** 1) That order must precede liberty is highly questionable – it might be better to create authority and safeguard freedom simultaneously

** 2) All values are under threat in developing societies – preference for order only makes sense if it is _disproportionately_ endangered

*** Importantly, political order in developing counties is more often threatened by those in positions of authority than by social mobilization from below

** 3) Change is given prominence in these works, but no satisfactory explanation for the dynamics of change is presented. Without understanding the origins of mobilization, we cannot understand the dynamics of change

** 4) Both share the assumption that an excess of power held by the elite is less significant than its lack of power. But looking just at the overall capacity of a system overlooks conflicts of interest within it.

** 5) It is argued that institutionalization embodies attractive values: coherence, autonomy, complexity, adaptability. However, these values are deceptive – governments may prefer some over others (autonomy, for example). It is insufficient to defend the increased capacity of rulers, in other words, unless one can demonstrate that the result will benefit public interests – no only rulers’ interests.

** 6) Huntington connects institutionalization with the promotion of the public interest. But he defines public interest in terms of the concrete interests of the governing institutions…


=== IV ===

* Although they stress change, Huntington and Binder’s positions appear to be ideological

* At the end of the day, development and order come to mean what prevails in the United States

* Ultimately, political development and order refer to a particular vision of the nation-state: highly organized, centralized, stratified, and controlled (penetrated) by large institutions (both public and private).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *