The First New Nation

The First New Nation
Language: 
Pages: 
424
Published: 
1967 by Doubleday Anchor Book (NY)
Rating: 
4.2

"In a real sense, this book pursues two substantive themes with which I've been concerned in previous writings—the problem of what was once known in the Marxist literature as American exceptionalism & the conditions for stable democracy. In undertaking the study of a successful socialist movement in a Canadian province (Agrarian Socialism '50), I was initially interested in learning why Canada, seemingly so akin socially to the US, was able to cast up a large socialist party when the US couldn't. Many of the sociological explanations for the weakness of American so­cialism seemingly also applied to Canada. As the reader of The 1st New Nation will discover, sections of it still are concerned with the sources of structural variation between the two N. American nations. The comparative sections of Social Mobility in Industrial Society (w/Reinhard Bendix '59) were similarly stimulated by an effort to test the thesis that political class consciousness was weak in the US because the US had a much higher rate of mass mobility than European nations. The research which sought to specify the ex­tent of mass mobility (crossing the line between the manual working class & the nonmanual middle class) concluded that there weren't significant differences between rates of mobility, as judged by these crude indicators, between industrialized Europe & America. (It should be noted, however, because many readers have ignored the caveat, that this book never contended that variations don't exist in rates of elite mobility, particularly among those occupational strata which require high levels of education.) Since the evidence with respect to mass mobility didn't sustain the hypothesis, Bendix & I turned to an analysis of the factors in American social structure which sustained the impression that mobility was higher in America. My subsequent work on values & the American class system presented here represents an elaboration of this work which I began with Bendix & I acknowledge my indebtedness to him for helping me formulate my ideas on the subject."--Preface

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