Cultural Orientations, Institutional Entrepreneurs, and Social Change: Comparative Analysis of Traditional Civilizations
Posted on 25. May, 2009 by James Miller
|Title||Cultural Orientations, Institutional Entrepreneurs, and Social Change: Comparative Analysis of Traditional Civilizations|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1980|
|Journal||The American Journal of Sociology|
This paper analyzes the impact of cultural orientations on the patterns of change of some of the major types of "traditional" social and political systems. Offering a theoretical framework and analytical tools for the analysis of the relations between "ideas" or "culture" and social structure, the study is intended also to contribute to analysis of the relations between the dynamics of historical civilizations (defined usually in cultural or symbolic terms) and the dynamics of social and political systems. Last, it is intended to contribute to a reappraisal and reorientation of comparative studies in general and comparative-institutional ones in particular. The first of three sections distinguishes among three ideal-typic patterns of change in traditional civilizations: coalescent, partially coalescent, and noncoalescent. These are differentiated both according to the degree of change in major institutions, in the structure of power, and in the economic sphere, and according to the extent to which the actual processes of change tend to coalesce. The second section explores underlying causes of the variations in patterns of change. Particular attention is paid to cultural orientations, institutional structures, and the role of elites. The final section applies the analytic framework to selected traditional societies and civilizations exhibiting the three patterns of change. Social and cultural linkages are explored in three types of regime: imperial and imperial-feudal (the Chinese, Russian, and Byzantine Empires; Western European civilization), city-state and tribal federation (ancient Greece and certain Near Eastern societies), and patrimonial (Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic civilizations).