Decentralized and Centralized Societies


































































































































































































































































Decentralized Society








































































































































































































































































































Centralized Society









Tocqueville –


Decentralized society is the structure of liberty.  Feudal Societies were decentralized.  A was the king, B the aristocrats, C the commoners.  Britain still had this model for him.  Democratic America also followed this model, but A was the federal government, B were voluntary associations, and C the citizens. 


Centralized society is the structure of despotism.  The absolutist monarchs A (e.g., Louis XIV in France) centralized authority under the old regime by reducing the power of the aristocracy B and leveling society C under them.  Thus, the level B drops out and the aristocrats and commoners are leveled at C.  The democratic Revolution in France of 1789 does not change this structure of despotism because it merely replaces the king with the National Assembly at A.  It is very difficult to move from democratic despotism (centralized society) to democratic liberty (decentralized society).



Durkheim -


Modern society has become too large and centralized, and the individual may feel isolated and not see how he or she fits in: this is anomie.  As a solution, he proposes occupational groups B (a form of decentralized society) to connect the individual A to the whole of society C.  Durkheim compares his proposal to medieval corporatism and proposes a modern form of democratic corporatism: Individuals freely associate, and the associations help control the state.



Schmitter’s theory of Corporatism –


Corporatism takes the structure of a decentralized society.  Schmitter distinguishes between Liberal or Democratic Corporatism and State Corporatism.  In Liberal or Democratic Corporatism, power flows from the bottom up, consistent with Durkheim’s model.  Citizens C freely form associations B, which help control the state A.  In State Corporatism, power flows from the top down: Nazism and Fascism are extreme forms of this.  The state A uses organizations it creates B to control the population C.