1932

Abstract

Modernization theory is a cornerstone of much of political science, despite the mounting evidence against its predictions. We outline a theory in which the distribution of political power critically combines with political culture. We call the basic components of culture “attributes” and argue that these can be combined into larger cultural configurations. These configurations interact with the distribution of power and lead to three distinct self-reinforcing paths of political development, with very different state–society relations, institutions, and economic structures. These are paths to Despotic, Absent, and Shackled Leviathans. The role of cultural configurations is critical in legitimizing the social arrangements in each path. None of the three different paths we highlight support modernization theory. We discuss how political equilibria can change in ways critically dependent on cultural and political entrepreneurship in order to formulate and popularize new cultural configurations and institutionalize political changes.

Keyword(s): culturemodernizationpowerregimestate
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2022-05-12
2024-07-19
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