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Private Man and Society

Author(s): Otto Kirchheimer

Source: Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Mar., 1966), pp. 1-24
Published by: The Academy of Political Science
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PrivateMan and Society


"Der wirkliche Mensch ist der Privatmensch der jet-

zigen Staatsverfassung."
MARX, Kritikder HegelschenStaatsphilosophie.

do How does the individualacquirethe capacityto

participatein the generalaffairsof the state?How does it become
possiblefor all citizens to approachpublicaffairs,not as particular
individuals,but in such a mannerthat their assembledparticular
wills embracethe stateas theircommonaffair?


This alphaand omegaof democratictheorywould lose its explosive
power if we substitutea theory of consensusfor concentrationon
the difficultiesof the individualin his capacityas a fundamental
constituentof the state. Were we to hypothesizesomethinglike a
nationalconsensus,sometimesswelling to a mighty chorus,some-
times runningunderground,but always strong enough to drown
out or interpose itself between the thousand individual conflict
situationsbetweenthe rich and the poor, the mighty and the small,
we would not need to botherabout the riddleof the commonwill.
The individualsspontaneouslyat one with the state on their most
vital commonconcernsmay safely leave to the executiveranks the
detailsof policy. But theoremsof the nation as fundamentallyone,
despitetheirfrequentuse, have a fragileexistence.In the faceof reli-
gious, nationality,economic,and ideologicalcleavagesthey often
areforcedto beat a retreatin favor of morepragmatictests.
Volume LXXXIMarch 1966 Number 1 1

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If substantiveagreementremainsan elusivepropositionin socie-

ties whose membersoften have widely disparategoals, consensus
mightstill be saved,so it seems,on a narrowerbasis.Althoughdiffi-
cult to agreeon last principles,agreementmight still be found on
what to do here and now underthe changingcircumstancesof the
day. We might decide to emphasizecivil rights or international
peace,but still be willing, when acutedangerthreatens,to call out
the police or build the arsenalof democracy.Who knows, perhaps
we couldall follow the Low Countries'verzuiling system, and erect
our polity on some neatly built up fortressesof separateWeltan-
schauungen. We could then start negotiating endlessly with each
other,providedwe were reasonableenough to build up an ironclad
codex abouthow to conductour negotiations.To haggle endlessly
over substancebut keep the system going via sacrosanctways of
proceduremay be one worthwhileand well-knownway out of our
dilemma.The value of this procedure,however, may be circum-
scribedby a commonsense observation:to ride togetherin a bus
while wanting to go to differentplaces may be all right, provided
that the destinationsare not too differentfrom each other.
Recentlyour quantitativebrethrenhave uttereddoubts.They in-
dicatethatwhat they arewont to call the influentialsand the public
at largeshow, as expected,little agreementon majorpremisesof the
politicalsystem. Moreover,if questionedclosely, and not allowed
to mouth conventionalphrases,the publicappearsto be much less
concernedover the necessity for proceduralguaranteesthan their
more genteel brethren.1We could play down this difference,as an
Americanpeculiarity,and point out that other industrialcountries
with a differenthistoricalandinstitutionalrecordmay be moreuni-
versallyconsciousof proceduralvalues. Or, we might surrenderto
the happy conscienceof the technologicalelitist, and guess that as
long as the going is good, the runof the mill of the citizenrywill not
enterthe politicalmarketexceptin defenseof theirown specialized
interest.Or, if they enterthey will be guidedby the commonman's
recognitionof the superiorworkmanshipof the more exaltedcom-
munitymembersin performingparticularfunctionaltasks.2Or, we
couldrejoicewith the civicculturemanover the fact that the citizens
'Herbert McCloskey,"Consensusand Ideology in AmericanPolitics,"Ameri-
can Political ScienceReview,LVIII(X964),365.
2 CarlJoachimFriedrich,The New Image of the CommonMan (Boston,

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of this outstandingpilot democracyhave such a high estimate of

theirown politicalsubjectivecompetence,andneednot be concerned
unnecessarilyaboutthe gap betweenthe citizens'assertionof sub-
jectivecompetenceand theirostentatiousfailureto makeuse of it.3
Thus,consensusstatementsof any kind remainratherproblematic.
Besides,as we have alreadymentioned,consensusstatementsmight
runinto the barrierof quantitativeinquiries.The less suchinquiries
areguidedby imagesof desirableparticipantpoliticalstructures,the
morethey areproneto castdoubtson the natureof the ties between
the officialpoliticalestablishmentand the underlyingpopulation.


A closer analysis of the structureof man's mind in relationto the
surroundingsocial universemay put the inquiryon a more secure
footing thaneitherconsensustheoriesor selectedopiniontidbitsre-
lating to a complicatedstructureof social reality can provide.This
hiatusbetweenassertedsubjectivecompetenceand inabilityto use it
connotesfailure to connectofficial policies with man's fate. From
the recentinquiriesregardingthe averageindividual'splace in so-
cietyandstate,Lane'sbookseemsto offerthe best pointof departure
for ourcriticalenterprise.5It accompaniesthe citizen,so to speak,in
his engagementwith socialrealityand watcheshow he internalizes
his variousexperiences.Thus,society'sapparatusdoes not only ap-
pear as an outsideagent to be avoided,resisted,managedone way
or another,but also as an elementin his own personalitystructure.
Insteadof juxtaposing,as the civiccultureman does,individualsand
institutionsand tabulatingthe former'srelationsto the latter on a
preconceivedscale of integrative or disintegrativetraits viewed
throughthe eyes of the best availablemodel of state organization,
Lanetries to show us the results of the individual'sconfrontation
with society'sideologiesand realities.Thusthe types of answershe
receivesarenot predetermined by his modeof analysis.We arepre-
sented with the individual curriculaof fifteen native-bornwhite

'Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba,The Civic Culture(Princeton,1963), 481.

'"Consensus is one of the more elusive and misleadingconceptsto have been
introducedinto recentpolitical theory,"DankwartA. Rustow,The Worldof Na-
tions (Washington,D.C., 1965), mimeographed,Chap.I, 21. See also BemardR.
Crick,In Defence of Politics (rev. ed.; Baltimore,1964), 24.
'Robert E. Lane,PoliticalIdeology (New York, 1962).

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people,with quite divergentpersonalitystructures,whose occupa-

tions runfromvariouskindsof machineoperativesto truckdrivers,
policemen,bookkeepers,and supply clerks. Variationsin reaction
patternsareas a resultprobablymuchbroaderthanif the authorhad
studiedpeople on a somewhatlower rung of the social ladderand
with a smallerdegreeof skill specializationor less regularworkhab-
its. Despitethesevariations,anddespitethe existenceof an irrecon-
cilableminorityof four citizenswho adoptedirrationalexplanatory
schemesand viewed their surroundingswith a cabalist'sbelief in
the presenceof secretgroupsbehindthe scene acting as creatorsof
politicalreality, enough commonthemes run throughLane'sanal-
ysis to meritclose attention.Only within theirlocal environmentis
the politicalexperienceof thesemen an immediateone; within these
limits some possibilityof accessto local machinesand politicalfig-
ures exists, and, occasionally,the adjustmentof a particulargriev-
ancemay takeplace.
Outside the strictly local sphere, the importanceof which is
dimmedfor the individualby the high frequencyof interlocalmobil-
ity, politicalexperienceis mediatedthroughotherlayersof the social
system, such as unions. As none of these upper-working-class
groupshas a wide rangeof professionalchoice,thereis little ques-
tion of having consciousoptions in social existence.Theirliberty,
then, is best describedas the possibilityof foragingaroundwithin
the confinesof the system for a rewardingjob combinationopening
up maximumaccessto consumergoods. Thesemen's universallib-
erty is, then, the liberty of the consumer'smarket.But one would
think that libertymust somehowbe relatedto the options in one's
life: how to fill one's time after the necessitiesare taken careof. It
becomesreadilyapparentthat in the time horizonof Lane'ssample
collective,images of nation, religion, or class have little part. One
might thinkthat thereexist such things as workingtime and leisure
time, individualtime and grouptime, privatetime and publictime,
with as many variationsin measurementsas therearevariationsin
intensity of pursuitsand of intergroupand interpersonalrelations.
Yet, for Lane'smen, only one universalequationseems to exist: the
endlessreversibilityof two coordinateswhich arethe men'sprimary
resources,time andmoney.
This reductionof life into a time-moneyequationlimits the hori-
zon of the future.Not too many time units canbe exchanged,as the

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humansupplyof timerunsout ratherquickly.In orderto escapethis

naturallimitationone would have to convertindividualinto collec-
tive time, switch from short- and middle-rangeconsumerexpecta-
tion to more universalentities, thus transcendingthe time-money
equation.But ProfessorLaneis quite emphaticon this point: "the
failureto extendtheirprivaterangeof interestand attentionbeyond
theirown generationtends to limit the social goals that have much
appealto them."6
How do Lane'smen then see their relationsto the surrounding
world?Let us examinetwo aspectsof this problem.The first con-
cernstheirnotion of how to relatethemselvesto those on the lower
andupperlevels of society and throughthese relationsto formulate
their particularnotion of equality. The answer is clear-cutagain.
They do not look at the quest for equalityas a desirablepostulate,
but as an unwelcome agent of social destabilization.They have
reacheda certainplateau-with a slight overestimationof theirin-
dividualcontributionas against more general social conditionsas
the causalfactor-and their psychologicalinvestmentin this posi-
tion mustbe defendedagainstthe moreunfortunateclasses.In order
to get the maximumbenefitfrom this form of ego defense,the mis-
fortuneof theselower-levelgroupswill be ascribedto theirshiftless-
ness ratherthan to causesbeyondtheircontrol.7By the same token,
theirpositionseemsto favorthe recognitionof a meritoriouselite as
the preconditionfor securityin their own ranking.Thus the quest
for equalitydisappearsor is reducedto smallincrementsof mobility
allowingfor a limitedamountof advancementas a preconditionfor
the smoothfunctioningof the social system. The status satisfaction
of Lane's workers requiresthat the cleavage between their own
ranksand the lower ordersbe upheld, and at the same time legiti-
mizes the positionof theirbetters.
If equalityas a dynamicconceptwhich abatesintergroupdistance

Ibid., 293.
' The inclination to emphasizeindividual ratherthan collective or accidental
chances of personal success can be seen also in the data in Alfred Willener,
Images de la societe et classes sociales (Bern,1957), III, 115. Sixty per cent of
his Swiss sampleemphasizefactors relating to individualeffort as preconditions
of success; twenty-one per cent emphasize that success is socially conditioned;
and nineteenper cent emphasizepure chance.The same distinctions are made in
a discussion of the causes of poverty: individual factors, fifty per cent; social
factors, twenty-fourper cent; chancefactors, twenty-five per cent.

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meets with little comprehension,what aboutsocial relationsin the

worker'sown world made up of factory,office, and colleagues?A
wide variety of evidencewould show, at best, a somewhatnarrow
rangefor initiativeandautonomy,varyingfromoppressiveto toler-
able accordingto the job structureand form of authority.A half-
heartedcamaraderiemay occur, resting on sharedexperienceand
limited by the continualpresence of competitiveelements; such
camaraderie scarcelyextendsto the level of sharedpurposeandclose
friendship.In Lane'sinterpretation,the lessons of industrialdisci-
pline, punctuality,attentionto detail, and avoidanceof waste, help
to createthe self-reliantman. The industrialcitizen acceptsrespon-
sibility for his own destiny,thoughin a morelimitedway than did
his forefathers.While this knowledgehas not yet been rationalized
into a new belief system,the workerhas cometo rely on the helping
handof the state in an increasingnumberof situationsin which his
own willingnessto do his stint wouldnot suffice.
Yetwith all his understandingfor the worldof the self-reliantin-
dustrialman who lacks a sense of sharedpurposeor evil, Lanehas
little confidencein man'spoliticalabilityor judgment.With slightly
condescendingpraisefor their sturdy qualities,Lane turns toward
the professionalclassesratherthanthe businessandlaboringclasses
for the realizationof the majordemocraticvalues,libertyand equal-
ity. Giventhe picturehe drawsof his sample'sdistinctivequalities,
I fail to see whatelsehe couldhave done.Captivesof theirsurround-
ing civilizationin more than one sense, industrialjungle-dwellers
andone-dimensionalprivatesin the consumers'army,Lane'swork-
ers contributelittle to the publicenterprisebeyondtheirpresenceas
producersand consumers.
What do we need to add to Lane'sdescription?That libertyfrom
the viewpointof the populationat large is first and above all per-
ceivedin consumertermsis by now a well acceptedthesis. Butwhat
is the genesisof this freedom?Does it rest on the accidentaljuncture
of massproduction,higherwages, andsome sort of communalcare?
Social securityand medicalserviceshave allowedthe lower strata,
for the firsttimein history,to thinkin termsof consumergoods be-
yond the area of primaryneeds. The lower strata'sinitiation into
consumersociety requirednothing but the exchangeof their work
time for desirableconsumergoods. This initiationtook placewith a

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high degreeof spontaneityand a markedabsenceof coercion,which

was presentin the previousmajorsocial experiencesof this group.
Moreover,what was the alternative?How frequentlyhas ad-
vancedindustrialsociety offeredthese executants8the possibilityof
parlayingtheirearningsinto enoughpowerto work a radicaltrans-
formationof their present occupationalposition? Whatevertheir
chancesfor socialmobility,such chancesdid not essentiallydepend
on doubtsaboutfully enteringthe consumergoods market.Yet, the
restrictionof freedom exclusively to consumergoods orientation
may also be groundedin somethinglike substitutesatisfaction.It
seems,therefore,to the pointto look at the positionof variouswork-
ing-class stratain the productionprocessand to see to what extent
theirpositionoffersan explanationfor the shrinkageof freedomto
the choiceof consumergoods.

Whatstrikesus firstis the greatvarietyof positionsin the industrial
process.Theproblemis to find a commondenominatorbetweenthe
pre-industrialartisan,still abundantin many regions of southem
Europe,the often-analyzedautomobileworkerwhose rhythmis set
by the conveyorbelt abovehim, the girl in the textilemill simulta-
neously supervisinga dozenlooms, the chemicaloperatorwatching
his dials at regularintervalsand adjustinginstrumentscorrespond-
ingly, and his higher level maintenancecolleaguereadingthe fun-
nies while waiting to hurryto some repairjob. If one thinksprima-
rily in termsof outletsfor initiativeand variation,thereexists little
common measure for their respective job experiences.Initiative
would becomea disturbingfactorif the pace of work and the time
allowedfor it is exactlyregulatedby the rhythmof the performance
requiredfrom the individual.A work groupor an individualmight
petition a foreman,and throughhim the engineer,to change the
rhythm;if eitherattemptedto do so on his own, chaoswould result.
The girl watchingthe looms may determinein what orderto exam-
ine the machines,and not muchelse. Nonetheless,the operatorand

8 The executantclass comprisesall positions, whetherblue collaror white col-

lar, where a job is narrowly circumscribedby strict hierarchicalsubordination
and/or restrictionto a single phase of a largerproject.

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the maintenanceman in a fully automatedenterprisecan use their

ingenuityand play aroundwith alternativesolutions to obtain the
Thereis no reason,however,to expectautomationwill be intro-
ducedin the entireindustrialfield.Manyindustrialjobsare too mar-
ginal to warrantthe necessarycapitaloutlay for automation.Auto-
mationwill also limit the workers'individualdiscretionin handling
theirparticularproblems.Frequentlya new layer of office workers
or plant engineerswill appear;they are expectedto calculateor lay
out in detailthe most economicperformancefor the worker'spartic-
ularjob. In many jobs educationalrequirementswill increasedras-
tically, not simply (as has often happenedpreviouslyin times of
growingunemploymentand job insecurity)by upgradingjob qual-
ificationswithout correspondingchanges in needed skills, but by
raising the numberof jobs combininga variety of skill elements.
Skillgroupdifferentialsmay becomeincreasinglyimportantfactors
in determininghow one conceivesrelationsto the outsideworld.A
recentinquiryin a New Jerseycar assemblyplant has shown, for
example,thata threefolddistinctionbetweenskilled,repair,andline
workerswith correspondingdifferencesin initiative, security, and
status are, without furthermediatingagencies,immediatelytrans-
latedinto differentattitudestowarda wide rangeof socialphenom-
ena. Confidencein the future,acceptance(with some reservation)of
social, institutional, and state organizationsmarked the higher
group;so-calledradicalism,mistrustof the surroundingworld,and
expectationof violence as a regulatorof world affairsmarkedthe
lowest skilledgroup.9
Thesedifferencesappearas barriersto the formationof common
horizonsandbondsof experiencebetweenworkers,both within the
same enterpriseand betweenvarious units. But a type of common
experiencealso exists. When Lanespeaksof the self-reliantindus-
trial man as a prerequisitefor the functioningof democracy,he
makesa politicalvirtue out of commonsocial necessity.Job risk is
still individualizedin the sense that society does no more than fur-
nish a favorableor an inhospitableclimate for job hunting. The
socializationprocesswhich the workerundergoeswhen he enters

'Lewis Lipsitz,"WorkLife and PoliticalAttitudes: A Study of ManualWork-

ers," American Political Science Review, LVIII (1964), 951-63.

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the work groupincludesacquiringa sense of balancebetween co-

operationand the distancenecessitatedby the universalfact of in-
terpersonalcompetition. The balance between cooperationand
competitionis quitedifferentfrom the specificrole which goes with
eachindividualjob. Two processesmust be differentiatedfrom each
other: the specificrole change, supposedto take place only at the
time when a personsteps up the ladderfrom, say, workerto fore-
man, connotesa maskwhichcan be slippedon and off at will,10but,
in addition,thereis moreuniversaland constantbehavior,the gyro-
scopeactivityof scanningthe horizonfor yet undeterminedpickups
to improveone'sposition.
The model of fully competitiveinterpersonalrelationsmay be
subjectto variousgradations.At one end we find Crozier'smodelof
fully bureaucratized industrialstate organizations."Herethereis a
differentiatedsystem of conditionsfor entranceinto the organiza-
tion, and within the organizationthereis watertightcompartmen-
talizationallowing a minimumchanceof moving upwardon the
hierarchyof functionallevels. Correspondingly,the cadres have
only a minimalrightto interferewith the workandpositionof either
the individualor his functionalgroup.Undersuch conditionsthere
is a far-reachingconvergenceof the horizons of individual and
groupexpectation.The incidenceof submissionto hierarchicaldis-
cipline,frequentlythe most resentedpartof the worker'sexistence,'2
may not altogetherdisappear,but it loses much of its substance.
Changesin the individualsituationno longerderivefroma mixture
of individualaccommodationand the discretionof a determinate
superior,but appearto be the work of a deus ex machina,ordersof
an anonymousministry without the participationof a proximate
superior.Herethe elementof insecurityis transferredfromdepend-
ence on the interestand evaluationof one's immediatesuperiorsto
the interferenceof unknownforces, the operationof which cannot
'OHaroldL. Wilensky and Hugh Edwards,"The Skidder:IdeologicalAdjust-
ment of Downward Mobile Workers.,"American Sociological Review, XXIV
(1959), 215-31.
" MichelCrozier,The BureaucraticPhenomenon(Chicago,1964).
'1 The point is scarcelycontroversial.See the instructivetabulationin Andr6e
Andrieuxand Jean Lignon,L'ouvrierd'aujourd'huisur les changementsdans la
conditionet la conscienceouvrieres(Paris, 1960), 8i. Of ninety answers to the
question,"Whatdispleasesyou most at your enterprise?"forty-twvonamed"sub-
ordinationand dependence."

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be calculatedin advanceand consequentlycannotbe influencedby

modificationsof one's own behavior.
Of the two levels of insecurity,insecurityby virtueof a life situ-
ation's dependenceon proximatesuperiorsor by virtue of imper-
craticstructureeliminatesmost of the former.Theirdistancefrom
the fountainheadof authoritypreventsthe lower stratafrom catch-
ing morethan an occasionalglimpseof decision-making;the miss-
ing link betweenhigh-leveldecisionandindividualfate shows up,13
however,to the samedegreein bureaucraticand competitiveorgan-
To what extent upper-leveldecisionsmay be changedby low-
level pressuredependsas much on the cohesionof the lower ranks
as on the formof organizationin which the work takesplace.Thus,
protection,both against job risk and the weight of organizational
structure,may be obtainedthroughthe introductionof bureaucratic
rigidity,but such rigidityprovidesno guaranteeagainstmajoror-
ganizationalchange. Hierarchicaldependenceis also mitigatedin
proportionto: (I) the complexityof the task performed,(2) the ac-
quisitionof a high degreeof technicalsensitivity in servicingma-
chines, and (3) the extent that performanceis intricatelygearedto
and dependenton the individualeffort of other group members.
Hierarchicaldependenceis also mitigatedwhen automationsubsti-
tutes the job of recurrentobservationand possible modificationof
an uninterruptedproductionsystem for exactly-timedrepetitious
physicallabor.A greaterdegreeof workinitiative,exceptunderthe
conditionsof Crozier'sfully bureaucratized model, does not, how-
ever,excludea certainamountof competitionto improveone's posi-
tion in relationto wages, jobtype, andworkschedule.14It is through
the agency of personalimprovementthat hierarchicaldependency
again entersworkingrelationsin automatedindustries,althoughit
plays a somewhatsmallerrole in the work performanceitself.
Couldthe consumergoods society ever have prosperedwithout
t-henotion of the supremacyof one's private existencewithin the
bosom of the nuclear family over all other competing values?

See the typical workers' responses in Otto Neuloh, Der neue Betriebsstil
(Tuibingen,1960), ioi, and HeinrichPopitz et al., Das Gesellschaftsbilddes Ar-
beiters (Tiibingen,1957), 227.
'4 RobertBlauner,Alienation and Freedom(Chicago,1964), i6i.

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Whetherwe are dealingwith Crozier'sshelteredemployein the ac-

countingofficeor the tobaccomonopoly,or with Zweig's and Hog-
gart'sBritishworkers,1" Popitz'sGermanfoundryworkers,or Lane's
self-reliantindustrialmen, the experienceis everywherethe same,
the increasingisolationof the working-classindividual.Herewe are
dealing not only with the side effects of boundarylines between
groups,the fact that eachprofessionalgrouptries to surrounditself
with an artificialbarrieras a protectiveshield againsterosionof its
occupationalbasis by advancingproductiontechniques.Nor are we
merelydealingwith the impactof isolationof work placesin non-
automatedindustries.It is to the point that workersfrequentlypre-
fer to work in isolation ratherthan as membersof a group.16This
attitudeis in line with the tendencyto reducerisks and avoid con-
flict situationspotentiallydamagingto one's own prospects.Thus,
projectsfor collectiveworkers'action againstmanagementcan run
counterto the presumedinterestof the membersas individualparts
of a hierarchicallyorderedfactoryorganization.17
Self-isolationand withdrawalfromparticipationin collectiveac-
tion, even at the cost of loweringthe climateof the work place to a
temperaturewhich excludesthe possibilityof collectiveaction,may
be perceived,at whateverpsychologicalcost, as the best means to
avoid immediatedamage to a personalinterest situation. But the
problemmay go deeperthan the ambiguityinherentin a person's
choice between upholdingcollectiveaction on the basis of shared
experienceand the safety of prescribedcorrectnesswithin the work
organization.The climateof isolationis also partof a pseudo-bour-
geois patternof existence.Professionalor commercialelementsmay
continuouslycoalesceto exploresituationsaffectingthem, rally in
defenseof an acquiredpositionor battle those of others.After each
short-livedcombination,theremay remaina nucleusof strongper-
sonal relationshipsto be recombinedand reactivatedat the spur of
the moment.In contrast,for the executant,congenialityof environ-
ment and people"8may seem desirable,but possibilitiesof control-

2 FerdinandZweig, The Workerin an Affluent Society (London,1961); Rich-

ardHoggart,The Uses of Literacy(London,1957).
'See Neuloh, 236-37.
lSee Daniel Mothe, Journald'un ouvrier,1956-1958 (Paris, 1959), a running
accountof such a situation.
'8 HerbertH. Hyman, "TheValue Systems of DifferentClasses: A Social Psy-

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ling and manipulatingthe job environmentare restricted;narrowly

conceivedeconomicnecessity remains the primaryconsideration.
Once "theirsocial rights to a living wage"19have been securedby
the evolutionin productiontechniques,with some assistancefrom
the state and fromunion representatives,the executant'sinterestin
his positionas an industrialcitizenrecedes.His reactionsto the en-
deavorsof officialspokesmento interesthim in any kind of sociali-
zation or co-determinationschemesare mildly enthusiastic,some-
what like a child's feelings toward a complicatedgift which will
bring morejoy and excitementto the donorexperimentingwith it
thanto the recipient.Theexecutant'sinterestleansmorein the direc-
tion of intra-organizationalrewards,enhancinghis status,initiative,
and salary.20
Wouldthe experienceof Crozier'sfully bureaucratized organiza-
tions contributemajormodificationsto this pictureof the worker's
passivityandisolation?The competitivesituationwhichcreatesam-
biguous relations between personal interest and collective action
may be absentin the fully bureaucratized organization.Since he is
protectedin his relations with his hierarchicalsuperiorsby the
workingof impersonalrules,the possibilityof formaland informal
pressureson the workeris at a minimum.2'Couldone not arguethat
with the existenceof this universeof protectivegroupsand individ-
ual positions, the blossomingof personalfriendshipsfree from all
impedimentsof interestand loyalty claims should be the orderof
the day?Butthe absenceof competitionas a majoragentof instabil-
ity in intragrouprelationsdoes not seem to have had the expected
consequences.Crozier'sexplanations,which emphasize the con-

chological Contributionto the Analysis of Stratification,"in ReinhardBendix

and SeymourMartin Lipset (eds.), Class, Status and Power, A Readerin Social
Stratification (New York, 1953), 426, 433, Table 5.
'1T. H. Marshall, Class, Citizenship, and Social Development (GardenCity,
N. Y., 1964),1o6.
' See Blauner,206, Table45. It should be especiallynoted that only thirty per
cent of the workersgave cynical answers in regard to the factors determining
advancementchancesand that advancementchancesare more favorablein auto-
matedindustries.This is in contrastto previouslyprevailingopinions that work-
ers expectmorebenefitsfrom collectivelygrantedawards,an opinion still upheld
by Lipset in "TradeUnions and Social Structure:I," Industrial Relations, I
(1961), 75-89. The same type of factorymanagementorganizationorientationis
reportedin Neuloh, 205.
' Crozier,BureaucraticPhenomenon,286.

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tinuedisolation of individualsin theirbureaucraticmilieu, rest on

reasons peculiarto the Frenchpsychologicaland social structure.
We shouldpreferto look at this isolationand at the shallownessof
interpersonalrelations,whichengulf humanbeingsworkingin sub-
ordinatepositionsunderdifferenttypes of socialarrangements,as a
moregeneralizedphenomenonin our society.
Lackof initiative, compartmentalization, feelings of dependence
(resultingeitherfromdirectsupervision,or from the decisionof an
anonymousministry reachingdown to the lowest-levelexecutant)
go handin handwith an appreciableeasingof both the physicalbur-
den of workand an increasein materialbenefits.It is on the basis of
both the confiningconditionand the increasein materialrewards
that workerresponsemust be considered.In a previousgeneration,
when work was more arduousand materialrewardsless abundant,
those workerswho translatedtheirpersonalexperienceinto a larger
social frameworkoften espousedconceptsof social equality.Vague
ideasof a morejust societywere accompaniedby moreconcreteim-
ages of what equalitywould mean in the contextof work organiza-
tion. These images includedfraternalrelations of mutual respect
which would prevailbetweenall ranks;hierarchicalrelationswith
strictsubordinationof the lowest rankwere expectedto fall by the
Duringthe courseof the last decades,workershave learnedthat
increasingmaterialbenefits and a much greateramount of social
security were not accompaniedby greater equality on the job.`2
Whatevermay have been changedin the organizationof the group
in commandof the enterprise,the workers'visions which had the
least chanceof realizationwere those coloredby any type of egali-
tarianideology.Expectationsof moreegalitarianworkingconditions
falteredwhen facedwith the realitiesof the industrialsituation.In
this respectit seemssignificantthat, consideringthe greatdifference
betweenvariousjob situationsdescribedin this paper,a majorityof
Americanworkerswouldnot chooseagainthe type of workin which
they areengagednow.23

a Until recentlythe exceptionwould have been printerswho were considered

craftsmenratherthan industrialworkers.
' This is true, even though in the majorityof cases the same workershad no
objections to the specific enterprisein which they were working. See Blauner,
202, Table37.

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It is in this contextthat the questionof equalityand status con-

.sciousnesstakeson new contours.If workhierarchyis unavoidable,
if "thehorizonis closedand the chainis quitesolid,"24maintenance
of socialstatusbecomessimplya matterof protectingone's own in-
terest. This is all the more the case when the conditionsleading to
a betterjob in the work hierarchyare of purely accidentalnature
(seniority,businessrequirementsat a certaindate, etc.), and there-
fore requiremore rationalizationand fortification,or, as the case
may be, more cynicism.Yet, the workers'status consciousness,as
distinctfromthat of theirartisanpredecessors,does not give rise to
any specialpride.25Theirreactionmay dependon the exact place
they hold in the workinghierarchy.Thosewho are able to maintain
their status may at times chase away moods of self-flagellationby
upgradingtheirown relativesuccessandenhancingtheirself-esteem
throughthinkingof theirless fortunatebrethren.Yet, such tenden-
cies arequicklycounterchecked by industrialman'sinterestin some
of the materialaspectsof social equality,helping him towardcon-
struinga stateobligationto providefor the essentialsof life running
parallelandbeing supplementedby his own efforts.Theworkerhas
had enough experiencewith the quirksof the economicsystem to
want the state to put up both a permanentcollateralto be drawnon
in caseof necessityandpossiblysomeextrasto be distributeduncon-
ditionallyrightnow. Whilethe existenceof an insurancepolicymay
enhancefeelings of security,it does not change environmentand
style of living.
Many attemptshave been made to developtypologiesof how to
relateexecutantclass experienceto the surroundingworld.The pre-
dominanceof family involvementwill, especiallyin the case of fe-
maleworkers,displacethe effectof workexperience.The samework
experiencemay lead to a varietyof reactionsaccordingto the degree
of intensitywith which the particularjob experienceis internalized
by the respectiveindividuals.But there are relativelyfew ways to
translate this reaction into specific attitudes toward the outside
world:an executantmay look at the relationsbetweenhimself and
managementas an individualor as a collectiveconflictsituationin
which managementholds most of the trumpcards, and he or his
24Workerquotedin Andrieuxand Lignon,210.
25Moth6,15. Forthe oppositetendenciestowardself-devaluation,see Andrieux
and Lignon, 192.

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grouprelativelyfew and weak ones.26Theremay be, on the other

hand, a completeabsenceof any societalimage and a completere-
fusal to considerwhat is going on in the stratosphereabove him.
Both ways of experiencinghis job will frequentlyemerge as two
often-overlappingescaperoutes,and give rise to a type of existence
in which those conditionswhich he misses most take a pre-eminent
place:greaterdegreeof personalinitiative,and independencefrom
hierarchicalorders.On the upperfringes, especially,of the white
collar workers,the executantmay feel confidentto take his own
Thereis ampleevidencethroughoutindustrialsociety that many
have consideredattemptingescapewith varying degreesof inten-
sity. The most frequentgoal, the hope of buildinga smallbusiness,
frequentlyserves as a psychologicalescapemechanismratherthan
an actualalternative.27 If the conditionsof personalexistencecannot
be changed,the individualcan strictly compartmentalize his com-
mandperformanceat the work shop and his privatelife. It should
not be said, however, that this renunciationand withdrawalcome
easily. Thereare a large numberof workerswho want to connect
theiractivitymeaningfullywith the goals of the organization.28 To
the extentthat these hopes of participationare fulfilled,the worker
can internalizethe enterpriseas a system of participantorderrather
thanas a grudginglyrecognized,butpsychologicallyresisted,neces-
sity. Thereis also the moreambiguoussituationof partof the white
collargroup.To whateversmall extent they participatein the com-
mandfunctionwhile they arestill at the bottomof a ladder,they are
neverthelesson it, andtakeattitudesthatarehelpfulin climbingit.29
In the majorityof cases,however,suchconditionsareabsent.This
is due in partto the intrinsicdifficultiesof overcomingbasic antag-
onismsin worker-management relations.In part it is also due to a
policy barrier;the right to meaningfulinformationand discussion

Popitz, 233.
a Thepoint has been discussedfrequently.See, for example,Ely Chinoy,Auto-
mobile Workersand the AmericanDream (GardenCity, N.Y., 1955), 86, and
Andrieux and Lignon, 104.
' The point comes out most succinctlyin Neuloh, 86 ff., who, however,due to
his constant "harmonizing"tendency, makes no attempt to assess the reasons
militating against the fulfillmentof the urge to participate.
' See Michel Crozier,Le monde des employe'sde bureau(Paris,1965), 39, and
his discussionof Kroner'sTheoryof Delegation.

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can shade imperceptiblyinto the right to disagree and challenge,

whichso farneitherpublicnorprivateenterprisewants to recognize.
Thus the main tendencyis separationist.Joblife and privatelife
have no commondenominator.Thereis a scarcityof privatecontacts
betweenco-workers.Eighty-fiveper cent of Crozier'ssamplenever
socializewith their colleagues.80Such separationisttendenciesmay
be reinforcedby isolationat the workplaceor by a competitivework
situation.Twentypercent of the workingforceconsistsof so-called
"skidders,"peoplewho have been unableto hold on to their posi-
tions. In anticipationof the loss of a job, restrictionof one's contacts
may minimizethe psychologicaldamagecausedby sucha threat.At
the same time, a policy of shunning deeperpersonalinvolvement
might not standin the way of upwardmobility,but favor it by the
lack of affectiveties. Whateverthe impoverishmentof the individ-
ual's existence,isolationreleasesthe individualfor a vigorouspar-
ticipationin consumersociety,thusincreasingthe chancefor a more
tolerantacceptanceof his job, which may now be reinterpretedas a
kind of preconditionfor his consumerexistence."To be sociallyin-
tegratedin Americais to acceptpropaganda,advertisingand speedy
obsolescencein consumption."'"

With privatizationof existencesynchronizedwith consumergoods
orientation,where does this leave the executant'sability to make
contactwith the widerpurposesof society?If we say that his con-
tributionrestrictsitself to his consumerrole of makingplannedob-
solescencea success,we are assertingthat actingout his privatede-
siresremainshis only publiccontribution.The executant'sproblem-
atic ties with the affairsof the widerpolity have been the objectof
numerousdiscussionswithin the frameworkof pluralismand mass
society schemes.This discussionhas emphasizedmainly the desta-
bilizing politicalconsequencesof isolation, especiallyfor members
of the lower classes, and resultanteasy accessibilityto extremist
politics. Executantelements, who in emergenciesmay be mobi-
lized by extremistdynamism,are more likely to stick to minimal

8 Ibid., 114; Zweig, 75-88.

S'HaroldL. Wilensky, "MassSociety and Mass Culture,"AmericanSociologi-
cal Review, XXIX (1964),176.

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politicalengagementin moresettledtimes. They may respondonly

in case they feel their immediateinterestsituationis threatened.
How do these varioustheoriessee the executant'sposition in the
polity?In theoriesbasedon pluralisticmodels,emphasislies in max-
imal voluntary participationin intermediatesocial organizations
which are strongenoughto operateautonomously,having accessto
the politicalelite, yet existingindependentlyof it. At the sametime,
it is expectedthat the participationof membersin a systemof linked
pluralismwhich rests on simultaneousmembershipin various or-
ganizationsenhancesthe chanceof maintaininggroupbalanceeffec-
How does such pluralismfit the life experienceof the executant
class?The most importantorganizationsfor the rankand file of the
executantclass are tradeunions and religiousgroups.The qualifica-
tions of thousandsof otherorganizations,fromstampcollectorsand
glee dubs to antivivisectionistsand beekeepers,are doubtful.Par-
ticipationmay possibly be intensive, but I fail to see how these
groupsqualifyas intermediarypowersbetweenthe officialstate or-
ganizationand the individualexcept on a very narrowfront. The
Germanyof the WeimarRepublichad an untold multitudeof asso-
ciations of this hobby type which quickly took to the prescribed
brown coloringin 1933. Intensiveparticipationin hobbies-often
another form of escapism from political reality-left the people
strandedin theirpoliticalignorance,just as it left the countrywith-
out a governmentenjoying sufficientpolitical backing by major
intermediarysocial organizations.
Few membersof the executantgroup will become involved in
special ad hoc protest or promotiongroups on a national level. A
sharplydelineatedlocal situation-the changeof or an exceptionto
a zoning regulation,a hospital or school buildingprogram,a slot
machineor a liquorlicenseproblem-may be a differentstory. Peo-
ple in the executantcategorywho are both familiarwith the issue
and possibly have an active personalinterestin it may bring their
otherwisedispersedand isolatedpolitical resourcesto bear on the
decision.32To the extent that a particularconstitutionalsettlement
(the U.S. and Switzerland,for example,as against Franceand Ger-
' Forthe by now classic description,significantboth for the descriptionof the
possibilities and limits of mobilizing individual resourcesfor local action, see
RobertA. Dahl, Who Governs? (New Haven, 1961), Chap.z6.

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many) favors participationof the local citizenryin the settling of

localfinancialissues, ad hoc groupsmay ariseand competewith the
political influentialsfor actual decision-making,without entering
the politicalarenain a more steadyfashion.33
What,then,is the meaningof membershipin the majororganiza-
tions of the executantclasses,the tradeunions and religiousbodies?
Union membershipis often a requiredpassport for certain jobs.
Undersuchcircumstances,membershipmay imply only a remoteor
perfunctoryparticipationin the union'sactivities.Correspondingly,
the degreeof acceptanceof the union's decisions,closely analogous
to thatof governmentaldecisions,may relatemainlyto factorshav-
ing to do with powerratherthanwith loyalty, and thereforefit only
moderatelywell into the pluralistscheme.Butthe natureof decision-
makingmay shift and with it the natureof membershipties to the
organization.In some categoriesof automatedenterprises,closer
relationswithin the work group may develop, includinga greater
amount of cooperationbetween operatorsand engineers. These
closerrelationsmay allow some successfullocalizedcollectiveaction
againsta managementmore concernedwith uninterruptedproduc-
tion and morewilling to compromiseon the wage daims of an in-
creasinglysmallernumberof executants,at least amongtheirwork-
ing classstaff.The centralunion type of organizationwouldbe rele-
gated to purely legitimizing bodies. Instead, decisions would be
taken on the spot by decentralizedtypes of workerorganizations
with firmerroots in the workers'consciousness,and consequently
with a greaterchanceof membershipparticipation.34 Of course,op-
posite tendencies are as likely, if not more so. The stake of workers
in the enterprisemay be so high as to lead to clearcutidentification
with the enterprise.This identificationmay engulf the existentele-
ments of workers'representation.The workers might accept the
enterprisefully as their intermediaryfor dealing with the outside
world. Were this to occur,such conditionswould create,insteadof

3The manifold social, economic,and political variations of new group entry

into and exit from the local political processare now unraveledin RobertE. Ag-
ger, Daniel Goldrich,and BertE. Swanson,The Rulersand the Ruled (New York,
1964). The authors rectify the somewhat over-optimisticconclusions in regard
to non-elite participationin the local political processwhich readersmight draw
if they were to generalizefrom Dahl's New Haven picture.
3 This hypothesis is discussed in Serge Mallet, La nouvelle classe ouvriere
(Paris, 1963), 27-69.

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bureaucraticpapergiants, dispersedcentersof more firmly rooted

authorityfor the participants.35
Unions would becomea more vig-
orousandpromisingcandidatefor the roleof the majorintermediary
Thepossibleroleof religiousorganizationsis still less easy to cir-
cumscribewithout consideringthe particularitiesof case and coun-
try. In spite of a thoroughsecularizationof industrialsociety, and
a correspondingincreasein purely nominal membership,religious
bodiesstill reachpotentiallymoremembersof the executantgroups
than any other organization.Yet, to qualify as an effectiveinter-
mediaryorganization,such bodiesneed not only have an existence
separatefromthe state, but also need to appearto theirmembersas
separateentities. This requirementcertainlyraises questionsfor a
countrysuch as Italy3"and, to a somewhatminordegree,for West
Germany.In both cases the majordenominationstoday are official
TheUnitedStatessystem,on the otherhand,operateson the basis
of separationbetween state and a multiplicityof religiousbodies,
none of which has a predominantposition. In the mind of an opti-
mistic sociologist,37this arrangementhas been one of the sources
of success of the United States establishment.Accordingto this
interpretation,disestablishmenthas been an incentive for turning
churchesinto secular, utilitarian, and democraticestablishments,
with a high degreeof "religiousmobility."The very use of the ex-
pressiondenotesa late stage of developmentin commercialciviliza-

'An extremecase of management-workercollusion against the state has oc-

curredrecentlyin Germany.Managementand works council often agreedon the
introductionof a private kind of court system for employes guilty of asocial
conduct extending from infractionsof factory rules to larceny and sexual mis-
demeanors.Fines meted out by a combinedworkerand managementrepresenta-
tion would settle problems,expeditiouslypreventingthe wasting of scarcelabor
power of defendantsand witnesses and the disturbanceby outside interference
of enterpriseharmony. For some details, see Herbert Lederer,"Betriebsjustiz
etwas ausserhalbder Legalitat," GewerkschaftlicheMonatshefte, XVI (1965),
' ForItaly, see JosephLaPalombara,InterestGroupsin ItalianPolitics (Prince-
ton, 1964), Chap.IX. The authorhas coined a new concept,"parentela,"for the
interrelationbetween church,ancillarychurchbodies, political parties, and state
administration.This state of affairs,however, is subject to changes-vide Aus-
tria-where the dominantCatholicChurchhas, in the last decades,and despite
its characteras a publicinstitution,becomeindependentfrom the political setup.
SeymourMartinLipset, The First New Nation (New York, 1963).

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tion wherereligionmay be primarilyviewed as a social promotion

Within this system, sects retaining elements of an apocalyptic
theology continue to preach to their flock the promise of future
glory. Thesesects renderthe social system anothersignificantserv-
ice by reconcilingtheir flock to the notion that the social system's
inequalitiesand iniquitiesare of strictly secondaryimportance.In
exchange,the politicalsystem, in spite of the sects' refusal to join
the bandwagonof consumergoods orientation,grants them the
same type of protectionand recognitiongiven to the majorchurch
organizationswhich are more intent on transformingthemselves
into institutions providing social service and status satisfaction."8
The difficulty of this position, if looked at rather as an operative
device within a pluralist society than as a description of previous
development in the field of religious institutions, concerns the im-
pact of those denominations which continue to play a role in con-
firming status while their social service function is atrophying.39
By raising specific social and moral problems on the basis of revealed
truth accepted as a binding norm by the community, the churches
create an incomparably firmer position for formulating and pressing
demands on government authority than were they to opine on a
broad front of contemporary issues merely on the basis of the
In contrast, various sects which serve as institutionalized devices
for the incapsulation of their members against the surrounding
world exercise a much stronger hold on their members. Because they
radically divert their members' interest from the hopeless affairs of
this world,40 they arrive-except for occasional clashes with the

88 RodneyStark,"Class,Radicalism,and Religious Involvementin GreatBrit-

ain," AmericanSociological Review, XXIX (1964), 698-706. The author shows
that-with associational affiliation kept constant-differences between upper-
class religious affiliation,seventy-threeper cent, middle-class,fifty-six per cent,
and working class, thirty-nineper cent, are quite appreciable(p. 703).
8 The facts are scarcelycontroversial.See, for example,ArthurJ. Vidich and
Joseph Bensman, Small Town in Mass Society: Power and Religion in a Rural
Community (Princeton, 1958), 313. For the correspondingfading of religious
consciousnesssee Lane'sinstructivecase studies, 129, 137. For the British mate-
rial compareZweig, 146-53, and Hoggart, 93-99.
4'See, for example,Wilbur Cash, The Mind of the South (New York, 1941),
291 ff.

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state authoritiesover compulsoryparticipationof the sects' mem-

bers in state-orderedfunctions-at easy coexistencethroughnon-
participation.This may be a welcomefeaturefor a state authority
hard-pressedby many demands,but it providessomewhatproblem-
atic supportfor the modelof a societyrestingon the participationof
A more favorablecandidatefor the role of such an intermediary
is offeredby the experienceof a predominant,yet independenttype
of church,as is presentlyfoundin France.The absenceof any com-
petition encouragesexperimentation,yet prevents fragmentation
accordingto socialstatuscategories.Thesecategoriesarea consider-
ablebarrierto moraleffectivenessandto the claimto representative-
ness for any religious organizationwhich has left the sect stage
behindit. The Frenchtype of independentchurchtries to solve the
problemof relatingits core activitiesto varioussocial subdivisions
by encouraginga multitudeof ancillaryorganizationswith a certain
amountof initiativein theirrespectivefields of action. In this way,
the churchenhancesits legitimacyin its dialoguewith the state,ad-
dressingthe state eitherin the interestof specialdisadvantagedand
under-represented groupsor as a spokesmanfor broadersocial ob-
jectives.Knowingthatits effectivenesswouldnot reachfurtherthan
the active supportof its membersallows, the churchtries the diffi-
cult experimentof combiningforms fixed by traditionand dogma
with a widerrangeof socialandpoliticalchoices.The churchhas an
impacton bothmembersandpolity,whichis the morepervasiveand
ubiquitousfor only rarelymountinga directchallengeto the official
state authority.Factorsfavoring the church'sposition are its inde-
pendenceand distancefrom the officialstate apparatus,some cohe-
sion in its religiouscore,absenceof a rigid politicaland social doc-
trine, and solutions of vexing decentralizationproblemsthrougha
multiplicityof semi-independentancillaryorganizations.

The associationalbalancesheet of the executantis a checkeredone.
The increasingthoughtandeffortthe officialworldgives to the im-
provementof his conditionserves, to use T. H. Marshall'swords,
not only "to raise the floor-levelin the basementof the social edi-
fice," but "to remodelthe whole building."41 The offeringsof the

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mass media, in short, the possibility of partakingin civilization's

wareswithoutthe necessityof any activeengagement,coupledwith
a heavy dose of skepticismtowardthe motivationsof those doing
the offering("we are not buying it") saps the executant'scommit-
ment to any of the various policy centers of society. He is their
client, and thanks to the universalizationof some politicalcompe-
tition and industry'sinterestin any outlets, the executant'sneeds
and reactionshave become a matter of steady preoccupationfor
thosecenterswhichx-ray andanalyzethe needsand reactionsof the
executantas a preconditionfor carryingout theircombinedservice
and domesticationjob.
But the occasionswhen the executantentersinto communication
with these centersremainlimited. Even during the work process,
which provideshis most vital, frequent,and directcontactwith the
world outside the shopping centerhorizon, the executant'ssocial
communicationis restrictedto his peersand the next higher execu-
tant echelon.42Otherwise,verticalrelationsare conductedeitheron
a purely ceremoniallevel or througha class of professionalsocial
middlemen:the clergyman,the laborpolitican, the personneloffi-
cer,who serveas links or, to put it differently,checkup on, or orient,
the worldof the executant.
One might thereforeturnaround,as has recentlybeen done, and
contest the validity of the pluralistassumptionaltogether.43There
are enoughexamplesof how the channelingof intensiveloyalty to
cohesive and strong intermediaryorganizationsof the movement
or sect typemay deprivethe stateor officialparticipantsin the polit-
ical process of communicationwith the adherentsof such move-
mentsor sects,while allowingsuchbodiesto checkmateandatrophy
the officialmachinery.To avoid such a misfortune,one might feel
constrainedeither to put more relianceon the individualagain, or
resortto the beneficialequalizingtendenciesof mass culturewhich
will in time even out the differencesbetween the various popular
stratain the industrialuniculture.Meanwhile,the most resource-
ful individualsof the executantclassesmay have developedenough
upward social mobility and found their way into the executive

4 See the figuresgiven by Neuloh, 88-89.

4Joseph R. Gusfield,"Mass Society and ExtremistPolitics,"AmericanSocio-
logical Review, XXVII (1962), 19-30. See also Charles Perrow, "The Sociological
Perspectiveand Political Pluralism,"Social Research,XXXI (1964), 411.

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classes. Their self-reliancemay be sufficientto allow them to find

theirway throughthe jungle of the industriallandscape;theircon-
tributionto the politicalprocess is likely to be more modest. The
executantis unlikely to disturbthe politicalprocess,but, if called
upon,he makeshis legitimizinggesture.Wilenskyinsists that mass
culturewill even out the apparatusof perceptionin use by different
groups, and create,in the long run, consistentbehaviorbetween
variousgroups,classes,and fields of activities.44To the extent that
this contentionmakesthe point that pluralisticman and mass man
are not essentiallydifferententities, it is well taken. Pluralisticor-
ganizationssuchas the media,the establishedchurches,the meneurs
des masses (as RaymondAron calls the politicalas well as the in-
dustrialleadership)which channelize,indoctrinate,and amuse the
masses, will continueto speak in differenttongues. Their message
remainsthe same: You never had it so good, be friendly to each
other, and, above all, do not upset the applecart.
But what will be the reactionamong the executants?Or is even
such a questionillicit?Has not indoctrinationin the ways of mass
societyproduceda commonway of experiencingreality?Wouldone
not want to concludethat whatever differencesdo exist are due
eitherto differentpeople exercisingdifferentfunctionsin line with
their capacities,or to very personaldeviations,that is, reactionsto
the commonfare of civilizationwhich can be explainedby differ-
encesin personality?But is it true to assertthat all classesperceive
realityin the sameway becausethey areall subjectto the samelevel-
ing mass cultureinfluencesin after-working-hours? Does this way
of lookingat thingsnot neglectthe differentrole of mediain the life
of variousclasses?Is the perceptionof a differentcapacityto manip-
ulate realitynot a moreconstantand morepowerfulelementin hu-
man behaviorthan the unifying mass culturetheory?Is the phe-
nomenonof isolation and withdrawal,conditionedas it is by the
experienceof the executantandhis positionin industrialsociety,not
identicalwith the permanenthelplessnesswhichhe feels becauseof
the narrowlimits within whichhe is able to manipulatereality?Yet
the only thingwhichmass culturecannotdo is to changetheselimi-
tations in dealingwith reality.To that extent the growing identity
of consumerreactionin the fieldof politicaland economicconsump-

" Wilensky, "MassSociety and Mass Culture,"i8o.

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tion will not close the gap. It may well be that electoralresponseto
Ike'spersonalitycan be dosely correlatedwith responsesto undis-
cussedgasolineads.45Does this mean that the executant'svistas are
infinitelymalleableby all organizationsworkingin the context of
mass society?I think that the combinedsystem of consumergoods
orientationand withdrawalto one's privacy allows a differentin-
Mostof what canbe singledout as relevantbehaviorarereactions
within the contextof mass-consumerinstitutions.Which candidate
of two competingcatch-allmass partiesthe executantvotes for, to
whichbrandof gasolinehe gives his temporaryallegiance,what TV
programhe switcheson, may have importantconsequencesfor the
purveyorof the respectivegoods. But for the individualthese deci-
sions drawtheirimportanceonly from the fact that they createthe
illusionof a marginof initiative.Fora fleetingmomenthe may en-
joy this initiativeand then becomea victim of subliminalguidance
by the purveyorsof these articles.While he might carefor the illu-
sion of initiative,he caresfor nothing else in this decision,because
it does not constitutea meaningfulcontributionto his problemof
how to enlargehis controlover reality.
Thus,the privacyof mass civilizationis at the same time privacy
and protectionagainst mass civilization.The mass man as a pro-
ducerandas a consumermay overlap,but they arenot identical.The
fact thatmassman escapesfromthe firstrole to the seconddoes not
give the secondrolecompletecontroloverhim. Thus,fromthe view-
point of mass civilization,the executant'swithdrawaland isolation
remainsambiguous.It makeshim the customerof mass civilization,
but as in the case of the associationswhich the mass man joins, he
does not becometheir prisoner.Mass man's withdrawalis not re-
lated to self-confidenceor coolness toward those agencies which
guidehis consumerand leisuretime satisfactions.The reasonis that
these agenciesare insufficientlyrelatedto the majorproblemof his
existence:his purposein life. Evenif tomorrow'sconsumersociety
couldfill his last desires,therefore,and do a still moreperfectjob in
creatinguninterruptedlynew ones, mass man would still have a
chanceto escape.The consciousnessof his inability to controlhis
job is at the same time the measureof mass man's distancefrom
being irrevocablyengulfedby mass society.
' Ibid.

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