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Political Order in Changing Societies (The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series) The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series Edition
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I came to this book highly skeptical that I would learn anything important. In college, I read Huntington's The Third Wave, a text of canonical status in the field of democratization studies, which at the time nonetheless (or perhaps for that very reason) struck me as insipid. Here is not the place to discuss whether and how my views on that later book have changed. Suffice it to say that Political Order in Changing Societies surprised me pleasantly with its fresh insights, wide learning, and clarity of argument. Its reputation as one of most important books in political development is well-deserved.
If I were to describe this book in one sentence, I would say that it is Hobbesian in outlook and Hegelian in method. That the book is Hobbesian in outlook is indicated by the justly famous opening sentence: "The most important political distinction among countries concerns not their form of government but their degree of government." It is confirmed beyond doubt by Huntington's elaboration of that statement: "The function of government is to govern. A weak government, a government which lacks authority, fails to perform its function and is immoral in the same sense in which a corrupt judge, a cowardly soldier, or an ignorant teacher is immoral" (28).Read more ›
Additionally, Huntington calls for a strong state structure during the modernization process. Modernization destroys traditional authority structures which must be replaced by one central authoritative body. This parallels the Weberian idea that as political freedoms expand in modern society, strong bureaucratic structures for social institutions are imperative.
When discussing modernization, Huntington argues that during the process it may be necessary to constrain some human rights in order to ensure political stability. This illustrates that modernization may not lead to total democracy. Donnelly (1984) referred to these human rights versus development conundrums as needs tradeoffs, equality tradeoffs, and liberty tradeoffs. For example, Huntington argues that economic development (modernization) may require that the central authority limit "consumption-oriented" human rights during the economic development process.Read more ›
In my opinion there is a lot of material in the book that could be eliminated in favor of a more concise presentation.
(Just a note on the Clash of Civilisation. It was widely mocked when it first came out in the early 1990's, but after 9/11 it was proved that what he wrote was right and - as usual - perscient.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The low rate is for the shipment. The shipping personnel left the book in a raining day----which hadn't to be a problem since we have a roof in front of the door, and it would be... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Zhang Zhe
I always admire the writing style of this man.. most of his works are focused on the world order and how the waves of democratization influences the countries involved in the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Andrew
The controversial political philosopher, Huntington reveals what was going on in democratic development order under the view of sociological aspects. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Nassir S.Alnour
This is a seminal work in political science. In this book, Huntington kills off the modernization theory; the theory that claims economic and social modernization will lead to... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Pey
foundational book to understanding geopolitics and international relationsPublished 12 months ago by DLC SoCal
A modern classic. The issues of political mobilization and institutionalization of organization and procedures as discussed in the book are still relevant to present day situation. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Koo Tat Kee
I have not started this book so I do not know if it will be a good as I expect. My brother, Prol. of English, Harvard Grad. Read morePublished on October 12, 2013 by Harold Robinson, III
It is for the those wanting to understand the political process and is akin to a text book. It rids a lot of assumed myths about social politics.Published on September 27, 2013 by Charles M. Barley
This book is the most intelligent collection of geopolitical thought and reason that I have ever laid my eyes on!Published on September 1, 2013 by Howdy Russell