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Göteborgs universitet



An Integration of Theories Proposed by William James,

Walter Lippman and Ferdinand Töennies

Compared to other mammals, man has a startling manual dexterity.
He can make tools which in turn help provide him with the essentials
of life: food, clothing, shelter. He can also engage in a kind
of activity that is rare, if existent at all, among other animals:
the manipulation of symbols. Through symbols men tell each other
what they have seen, heard or felt, what they want and what they do.

However, man's activities, whether in the form of manual
actions or communicative actions, share with the activities of
animals the limitation that they require time and energy. Since
a man's days are numbered and a man's energy is not boundless, it
follows that there is an upper limit to the number of actions a
man can embark upon. This leads us to the simplest law of the
science of man: the principle of the limit of actions:

    The possible number of actions per actor is limited.

This formulation does not make any qualitative differentiation
between actions: the stupid action counts as much as the brilliant
one, and the repeat action as much as the innovating one. The
principle applies both to a single individual and to a totality of
individuals. Furthermore, it applies to each type of action sepa-
rately. Thus we may speak of the limit of manual actions as well
as the limit of communicative actions.

The principle of the limit of actions has never been subject
to an experimental test. It is one of the several propositions in
social science that is so simple that any researcher - even a
notoriously simple-minded sociologist - would be embarrassed to
subject it to research; yet it has so many implications that are
far from obvious, so that a theorist must give it a great deal of

That everybody has had some personal experience with this
principle is, however, clear from the amount of complaining we do
about lack of time or energy. We all know too well that one
cannot be completely involved in science, for example, and also in
politics, money-making, and the raising of a big family. And on

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a larger scale we can intuitively visualize some of the consequences
of this principle; for example, that a low rate of fertility, that is
fewer children to bring up, releases actions for engagement in other
areas of life, such as science, politics or economy. Thus it
becomes reasonable to expect that certain members of the higher
social strata involved in managing the economy, developing science,
or running the body politic will have few children, as is indeed the
case in most every instance for which we have data.1
1 Dennis Wrong, Class Fertility Trends in Western Nations, Ph.D.
Thesis, Columbia University, 1956.

In the course of exploring the ramifications of this principle, we
shall find many similar instances in which the obvious principle has
less obvious, and often documented, implications.

There are obviously individual variations in the limit of action.
Here is one area in which biological factors have direct sociological
consequences. In a general way we have -

    The greater the physical and mental stamina of a population,
    the higher is the limit of actions per actor.

It has always been known that the very young and the very old
are capable of fewer actions than adults in the prime of their lives,
and the healthy are capable of more than the sick at any age. The
concern with the physical and mental fitness of a society has also
been a serious one among rulers and social thinkers of all times
because, as a determinant of the limit of actions, it affects what
the society can and cannot do.

Byproducts of scientific advances have made man healthier and
more long-lived. Better nutrition and the control of many diseases
account for the change. The expectation of life for an American
white man born in 1850 was about 42 years, in 1900 it had risen to
51 years and those born in 1963 can enjoy lives expected to average
71 years. Thus a man's life span has almost doubled in the course
of a century, and the limit of actions per actor increased in a
commensurate way.

While all this is remarkable, it does not mean that physical
and mental stamina has lost its significance for society. The
extent to which a complex societal enterprise depends on the stamina
of the population is well illustrated by the use of manpower for the
armed forces by the United States during World War II. The population

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of draft age (18-37) in 1940 comprised about 22.4 million men. In
addition, some younger and older persons volunteered for service.
Of this entire group 4.4 million were deferred (more than 3 million
of those deferred were between 30 and 37 years of age). No less than
5.7 million were rejected after the induction examination; 66 per
cent of them for physical defects, 19 per cent because of emotional
defects, and 14 per cent because of mental-educational defects.
Later 2.5 million were separated from service; more than one-half
of these men were released simply because they became over-aged in
the course of the war; 3 per cent of them received non-honorable
discharges; 5 per cent of them were dropped because of inaptitude;
13 per cent because of their physical inability, and 22 per cent
of those separated from service has psychiatric disabilities. The
total non-useable manpower was thus 12.6 million, which was more
than half of the available manpower.1
1 Eli Ginzberg et al., The Lost Divisions, Columbia University
Press, New York, 1959.


There is normally a discrepancy between the actual number of
actions and the potential limit of actions. The usefulness of the
principle of the limit of action in predictions depends on our
knowledge of this discrepancy. Let us define the mobilization of
actions as the ratio of actual to potential actions among a set
of actors. It would be zero under conditions of complete idleness,
e.g. during sleep, and approach unity when the individuals concerned
are pressing themselves to the utmost of their resources.

Most men at most times operate at a rather modest degree of
mobilization. It takes a crisis situation to give us the startling
demonstration that we can do a great deal more than we actually do.
William James is not merely a Puritan moralist when he says with
some disapproval that "as a rule men habitually use only a small
part of the powers which they actually possess and which they might
use under appropriate conditions".1
1 William James, The Energies of Men, Dodd, Mead and Co., New York,
1926, p. 7. (Originally published by The American Magazine in 1907.)
The quote appears in italics in the source.

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He backs up his statement by a string of examples and by reference
to many common-sense experiences which indicate that extra energy,
"a second wind," is a reality and can be put to use when needed.

Psychologists have not pursued these insights of James' with
experimental investigations, and we lack precise knowledge about
the phenomenon. It is a part of a general complex of problems
about which Murray once observed:
    "To the topic of energy (vital energy, psychic energy)
    much thought and many words have been devoted, but,
    as yet, no theory acceptable to the majority of
    psychologists has been proposed. Psychologists who
    deal small segments of the personality have usually
    been able to dispence with the concept but few
    practical psychologists agree that it is possible
    to do so, even a crude notion being better for them
    than none." 1
1 Henry A. Murray, Explorations in Personality, Oxford University
Press, New York 1938, p. 130.
Although this was written in 1938, it still rings true. For the
present, we, too, have to accept a crude notion as better than none.
Ways are available, however, to measure effort and the experimental
literature is growing,2 and attempts are
2 "A number of physiological functions seem to lend themselves to
measuring operations for something like 'a' (but hardly 'the') effort
variable. Among these, psychologists have suggested measures of
    (a) energy expenditure (through Basal Metabolic Rate);
    (b) autonomic activity (through skin conductance, etc.);
    (c) highly motivated Ss will show more energy mobilization in
    the sense that for them a CFF drop over the task period will be least
    (d) CFF change will not necessarily be related to subjective
    ratings of fatigue."
Hans-Werner Wendt, "Motivation, Effort, and
Performance" in David C. McClellan (ed.), Studies in Motivation,
Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, 1955, pp. 448-449.
being made to fit energy variables into general psychological

3 An attempt to bring energy economy into his theory of learning
was made by Hull in his concept of reactive inhibition which acts
as a drive for rest. See Clark L. Hall, Principles of Behavior,
Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1943, p. 16 or p. 296.

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The type of crude and common-sense approach taken by James and
which we will follow here may become more refined. Each
individual seems to have an accustomed or usual level of energy
expenditure. From the clinical literature one gets vivid
impressions of a high rate in the maniac and of a low rate in the
neurasthenic, but also in cases that are not pathological one can
assume a certain degree of intra-individual consistency in the level
of energy expenditure. This general level of energy expenditureis
only in part given with the biological heritage; it is also
affected by external circumstances and training.1
1 Rudolf Brun writes about the low level of activity in constitutional
neurasthenia: "In Wirklichkeit verhalt es sich wohl auch hier in
den meisten Fallen wie mit allen anderen Krankheiten; so, das bei
der Erwerbung derselben im allgemeinen wohl eine bestimmte konsti-
tutionelle Disposition begünstigend wirkt, das aber die Krankheit
auch bei Fehlen dieser Disposition erworben werden kann, nämlich
dann, wenn die exogenen Bedingungen eine besonders grosse Intensität
erreicht haben. Je intensiver also diese spezifischen exogenen
Bedingungen sind, umso geringer braucht die vorbestandene konstitu-
tionelle Disposition zu sein, um die Krankheit auszulosen, und um-
gekehrt." Rudolf Brun, Allgemeine Neurosenlehre, 2nd edition,
Benno Schwabe, Basel, 1946, p. 105.

In discussing the mobilization of energy, it is essential to
distinguish between long-term processes counted in months or years
from short-team processes counted in days or weeks. A graph might
illustrate the simplest possible relation between the two. The
long-team ratio of actions per actor might be represented by a long-
range moving average (say, the average of the past 200 days) and
around this the short-term averages (daily or weekly) will fluctuate.


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When the short-range curve is higher than the long-range moving
average we speak of "mobilization above par", and when it falls
lower than the moving average we speak of "mobilization below par".
The ratio of the values of the long-range curve to the limit of
actions we shall call "the accustomed level of mobilization". It
follows from the way we have defined this term that -

A long-run increase in the number of actions per actor leads
to a higher accustomed level of mobilization, while a long-run
decrease leads to a lower accustomed level.

An interesting paradox emerges when the accustomed level of
mobilization declines: one does not get more done although one has
more time. An Austrian worker who had long been unemployed compared
what he did in the days when he was employed with the idle days
of unemployment and said: "Ich hab früher weniger Zeit für mich
gehabt, aber mehr für mich getan. 1
1 Marie Lazarsfeld-Jahoda & Hans Zeisl, Die Arbeitslosen von
Marienthal, Hirzel, Leipzig, 1933, p. 63.

This paradox of having more time, but accomplishing less
occurred because his accustomed level of mobilization had
decreased during his long unemployment. Leaders of men must,
therefore, always attempt to keep them busy if the men shall retain
their level of mobilization. Contrariwise, in periods of increase
of the accustomed level of mobilization, one may have less time
for a task but accomplish more of it. Leaders, in assigning tasks
to their men, also are likely to find that it pays to overestimate
rather than underestimate the energies of men.


The accustomed level of mobilization is best thought of as an
equilibrium state. This is the meaning of a new postulate in our
theory that we will call the principle of equilibration of mobil-
ization or simply the principle of mobilization.

During mobilization above par there is a tendency to reduce
the number of actions per actor, while during mobilization below
per there is a tendency to increase the number of actions per

However, rough this proposition nay seem to physicians and
psychologists - and rough it is - I believe it is sufficiently

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precise for use in sociological predictions. It introduces one of
the dynamic elements in our theory of society, and stands a good
chance if earning its way by helping us to make many accurate

The principle of mobilization admits there is a built-in
laziness in men as well as a built-in exuberance; the former is with
us above the accustomed level of mobilization and the latter below it.
Social structures must deal with both tendencies, because laziness
is a potential danger, since it may keep essential tasks from being
done, and exuberance is potentially dangerous, because it generates
activity that may not fit into the established social fabric.

In general, laziness is counteracted by social rewards for
workmanship and exuberance is counteracted by keeping channels open
for activity. These measures are not always taken successfully.
Parkinson aptly suggests that among civil servants "work expands so
as to fill the time available for its completion" because the social
incentives in a bureaucracy are allied, rather than countervailing,
forces to laziness; prestige is given to a bureaucrat in proportion
to the number of subordinates he can get to share his work. 1
1 C. Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson's Law and Other Studies in
Administration, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1957, p. 2ff.
Our experience with modern cities also suggests a failure in providing
enough channels for the exuberance of the young, with the resulting
amount of non-social or anti-social behavior. No one who has talked
extensively with juvenile delinquents can fail to observe how often
they interpolate phrases like ”we had nothing to do" in discussing
why they got into difficulty.

The principles of the limit of actions and of mobilization
have many consequences. Let us begin by exploring extensiveness of
social relations stereotypy and rationalism.


Each social relation in whom a person enters engages a larger
or smaller number of his actions. Even the most insignificant of
positions will now and then demand a share of the occupant's time
and energy in interaction with ethers. At the same time it is
noteworthy how relatively few of the things we do fail to become
part of exchanges in social relations. Even my lonely pre-occupation

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in writing this will eventually be part of an author-reader relation.
We may divide our actions into two parts: those which enter social
relations and those that do not and we will find that the latter
number is small; men is a social animal. The notion of number of
actions per actor is almost the same as the notion of number of
actions in social relations per associate.

The notion of number of actions in a social relation can be
related to several attributes of social relations delineated by
sociologists. All relate to the "extensiveness" (or diffuseness) of
the social relation. First we have the specialization of social re-
lations. The smaller the proportion of a person's total actions at
one period of time that enter a social relation, the more specialized
it is. Thus, other things being equal, the average number of
actions in a more specialized role is lower than in a less specia-
lized role. Second, and related to the above, is the familiarity
in social relations. The more a person knows about the various
actions of his associate, the more familiar is their relation. This
knowledge is composed of a large number of descriptive bits - a kind
of action - and thus, the average number of actions in a more fami-
liar relation is higher than in a less familiar one. Third, the
duration, or time span, of a social relation affects the number of
actions that can enter into it. Obviously-, other things being equal,
the average number of actions is higher in a more durable than a
less durable social relation. Fourth, the sporadicness of a social
relation determines the number of actions that it comprises. This
stands for the extent to which the relation is inactive for any
reason, such as temporary disinterest, interruptions because of more
urgent tasks, sleep, absence of partner, and so forth. Clearly,
the average number of actions is smaller in a more sporadic than in
a less sporadic relation.

If we rewrite our principle of mobilization to take into accent
these various ways of adding: or subtracting actions in a said relation
we arrive at the theorem of extensiveness:

During mobilization above par among associates their social re-
lations tend to become a) more specialized b) less familiar,
c) less durable, and d) more sporadic; while during mobilization
below par tend to make their social relations a) less specialized,
b) more familiar, c) more durable and d) less sporadic.

One may say that mobilization above par turns our associates into

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strangers while mobilization below par turns them into neighbors. It is
plain that very extensive relations such as friendships grow only
in leisure.


Faced with a limit on actions, human beings tend to make a
simple adjustment. We cut down on the richness of our responses
and behave instead in conventionalized fashion. In effect, we
substitute one stereotyped response for what otherwise would have
been a variety of individualized responses. The stereotyped
patterning of a set of actions is the extent to which a smaller
number of actions are repeatedly used in the place of a larger
variety of actions. Since stereotyped actions take less of our
time and energy than the ones adjusted to the details of the situa-
tion, they give us a way of economizing with our limited action
potential. Thus we sometimes ask questions from a standardized
questionnaire instead of making the questions part of a personal
conversation, and we sometimes answer mail by form letters, instead
of individual letters. Walter Lippman, who brought the issue of
stereotypes to general attention, rightly suggests: “There is
economy in this. For the attempt to see all things freshly and in
detail, rather than as types and generalities, is exhausting, and
among busy affairs practically out of question.”1
1 Wa1ter Lippman, Public Opinion, Ch. 6, sec 3.
Yet the researches of social scientists have not been geared to
test this major determinant of stereotypes, but rather dealt with
the, from our point of view, more marginal question that different
personally types have varying tendencies toward stereotyped
2 Since there are individual variations in the limit of actions
and in degrees of mobilization, it follows there must be also in-
dividual differences in use of stereotypes.

Since stereotypy is a way of reducing the number of actions
per actor we can write a proposition about it that is a. straight
implication of the principle of mobilization:

During mobilization above par there is a tendency to increase
stereotype patterning, while during mobilization below par there
is a tendency, to decrease stereotype patterning.

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I will call this the theorem of stereotypy or the Lippman's
theorem. It says in effect that stereotypes increase and decrease
in pace with our work load. A life of ”idle curiosity” to borrow
Veblen's phrase, is conducive to fewer stereotypes than the life of
busy affairs. People who cut through our existing web of stereotypes
- be they artists, scientists, or leaders of nations - are likely
to do so during periods of seeming leisurely retreat: alone in the
wilderness, during sabbatical years, on weekends away from it all.
Conversely, new stereotypes are least likely to develop in our more
leisurely social relations. This is perhaps the reason why we tend
to hold few stereotypes about our friends and what they do, but many
about our co-workers and what they do.


Let us now apply the same reasoning to social structures, and
see the use of stereotypes in identifying persons. Again turning
to Lippman's description of busy men mobilized above their par:
"There is neither time nor opportunity for intimate acquaintance.
Instead we notice a trait which marks a well-known type, and fill in
the rest of the picture by means of the stereotypes we carry about
in our heads. He is an agitator……He is an intellectual. He
is a plutocrat. He is a foreigner. He is a ’South European,’ He
is from Black Bay. He is a Harvard man. How different from the
statement: he is a Yale man. He is a regular fellow. He is a West
Pointer. He is an old army sergeant. He is a Greenwich Villager:
what don't we know about him then, and about her? He is an inter-
national banker. He is from Main Street."1
1 ibid.p.

In looking over this sample of stereotypes about persons one is
struck by the fact that virtually all of them indicate past or
present positions. The tendency to treat an associate in terms of
his position rather than his person is to treat him impersonally
("universalism").A special case of the Lippman theorem is thus
the theorem of impersonality:

During mobilization above par social relations between associa-
tes tend to become more impersonal, while during mobilization below
par social relations tend to become less impersonal.

Thus we can add impersonality to our list of attributes of
social relations affected by- mobilization above or below par. The

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complete list now is specialization, familiarity, duration,
sporadicness, and impersonality. In all, mobilization above par
create constellations between strangers, while mobilization
below par creates constellations typical of neighbours.


The most striking method of coping with the limit of actions
and the pressures of mobilization above par is found in rationalism.
Rationalism has been a striking warping in the fabric of Western
culture from its very beginning; no other culture has so embraced
rationalism as ours.1
1 This is one of the conclusions a reader is apt to make Max Weber,
Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Religionssosiologie, J.P.B. Mohr, Tübingen,
1924. Pitirim A. Sorokin has attempted to tabulate the extent to
which Western systems of truth and knowledge exhibit traits of
rationalism, empiricism, mysticism, criticism, skepticism and
fideism during each century -from- 600 B.C. to 1900 A.D. Rationalism
takes first rank in 17 out of these 25 centuries and ranks second
in the remaining eight. Pitirim A. Sorokin, Social and Cultural
Dynamics, Vol. 2, American Book Company, New York, 1937, p. 31.

Socrates was perhaps the first to realize that reasoning can
open a new universe to men, which is more perfect and much simpler
than the one we spontaneously. can experience. The things that we
can see and touch change incessantly, appear and disappear turn
from one to another. Colors fade, water evaporates, seasons change,
men die. The same holds for our inner world. Wants and desires
shift and contradict one another; we want sometimes this and some-
times that. There is an endless number of things to keep track of
and to respond to.

The concepts, however, form a world of unchanging and exact
entities. The virtuous .mar has also his weaknesses or vices, but
the idea of virtue is void of vice. The idea of white contains
nothing but whiteness, the idea of movement never changes into rest.
These ideas enter into relations with each other without losing their
identity or making each other turbid. Their relations are determined
not by chance, circumstance, or fluctuations in a market place, but
by an unambiguous, small number of rules of logic, foremost of which
is the syllogism. Thus, ordinary discourses of men can be fitted
into a more perfect abstract discourse. We see already here the two
characteristic tenets of rationalism: (1) proper names of events
and attributes are subsumed under general concepts, and (2) relations

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between proper names, i.e. sentences about events and attributes
are subsumed under general themes.

It is easy to understand the excitement experienced by Socrates
and his followers in seeing the clean, cool, lucid outlines of con-
cepts and themes arise in their midst. They felt they had discove-
red a new reality which by comparison made the everyday world look
drab and even unimportant. It gave them a new mission: to add the
reasoned to the spontaneous. And it gave the Western culture a
distinguishing type of person, the intellectual, the man who mani-
pulates symbols in a rational way.

One should not overlook how this tendency to turn away the
changing myriad of details of the everyday world toward the simpler
world of ideas gave the disciples of Socrates a way of coping with
the fact that man’s actions-inc1uding his mental ones are limited.
Athens was no leisurely p1ace. The freeborn population of Athens at
the time of Pericles has been estimated to be somewhat above
5O,OOO persons. At least a half of them were included in the well-
trained army or the superb fleet, and the military efforts demanded
a great deal- of the time and energy of the citizens. Business was
another main pre-occupation of the Athenians; local production and
far-f1ung trade prospered. In spite of the sophistication and se-
cularization of Athens, religion had a substantial following and
rites and magic were a serious concern as witnessed by the elaborate
religious temples adorning the gods of the city. The participation
of the freeborn in politics was widespread and intense, the knowledge
of the sophists was startling, and art flourished as never before
or after. By all odds, any reading that could have been taken of
“the number of actions per actor” would have been high, perhaps
close to the all-human high. Rationalism reduced this larger number
of actions to a smaller number of general concepts and themes.

The process involved here can be expressed as a special case
of our principle of mobilization and may be called the theorem of

During mobilization above par there is a tendency toward
rationalism, while during mobilization below per there is a tendency
away from rationalism.

It is not a coincidence or merely a tribute to the geniality
of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, that their times were so receptive
to their rationalist teachings. For people who were all too frequent-

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ly forced to operate above their accustomed level of mobilization,
rationalism came as a relief. Rationalism, I venture, became one
of antiquity's ways of making manageable the surging activities that
converged in the Mediterranean cities.


In rationalism, as we have seen, a large number of acting can
be reduced to a small number of themes. In structuring, we have a
parallel process for the large number of units of social structure.

The units here are positions (and by implication social relations).
They are legion and each person can only perceive a fairly limited
number, and the number he "knows" in the sense of having a sense
or the relevant prescriptions and role behaviors is still smaller.
Here too we face a limit of action. Structuring is the process
by means of which a large number of positions are subsumed into a
smaller number of collectivities. Thus a variety of positions of
craftsmen are subsumed into a small number of guilds; a variety of
positions of warriors each related to a particular weapon are sub-
sumed into a smaller number of companies or regiments. A large and
varied number of positions are thus reduced to a smaller one. The
process involved is again a special case of the principle of mo-

During mobilization above par there is a tendency to increase
the structuring of positions; while during mobilization below par
there is a tendency to decrease structuring.

We shall identify this proposition on the theorem of structuring.

The bases for structuring - type of activity, rank, geographical
location, et cetera - cannot be discussed here.


Let us pause to list the propositions we have reviewed which
all have the discrepancy from accustomed mobilization as their
common determinant, but they specify several alternative results.
They are:

   General                         Applied to social structure

1. Principle of mobilization    2. Theorem of extensiveness

3. Theorem of stereotypes       4. Theorem of impersonality

5. Theorem of rationalism       6. Theorem of structuring

The principle of motivation is the most inclusive of these;
the others are special cases. We will now turn to determinates of

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mobilization above and below par.


Let us first view some macro-sociological determinates to mobi-
lization above or below par. In another context, I have shown that
so called 'institutional values' -- order, prosperity, knowledge,
sacredness, beauty and virtue -- can be defined as sum totals of
certain action types.1 If this is accepted, we may are that
1 Hans L. Zetterberg, Social Theory and Social Practice, The
Bedminster Press, New York, 1962 pp. 67 - 68

When the ratio of institutional value per person is increasing
we obtain mobilization above par; and when the ratio of institutional
values per person is decreasing we obtain mobilization below par.

The institutional values represent the economic, political
and cultural heritage and we thus expect mobilization above par when
it is increasing and mobilization below par when it is declining,
assuming the population is stable. If the population drops (through
famine, war, disaster, epidemics, birth control, et cetera) and the
institutional values remain the same we get mobilization above par;
if the population increases but the institutional values remain the
same we obtain mobilization below par. In concrete cases we have
to deal with simultaneous charges in institutional values and popu-
lation. When great empires are built we observe an increase in po-
pulation and an even faster increase in institutional values. Order
prosperity, knowledge, sacredness, beauty and virtue grow at a faster
pace than the population, then the number of actions per capita is
increasing, and the level of mobilization is rather constantly
squeezed above par. The Roman Empire, like the British or the Soviet,
was built by highly mobilized men who drove themselves hard. If
order, prosperity, knowledge, et cetera - in short, sum totals of
actions - grow slower than the population, the reverse holds and
mobilization slips below par. Many underdeveloped areas of the
world face this situation today. In spite of the concerted efforts
to the contrary, their populations threaten to expand at a faster
rate than their order, prosperity and knowledge. The result is a
low level of mobilization which travelers watching the idle crowds
by the roadsides describe as "a spirit of mass apathy."

- 15 -


Durkheim's concept of "density" is also related to mobilization.
It should not be conceived as persons per square mile but rather as
the number of associates per person. It is not necessarily related
to the size of a market or organization, although most structures
are such that an increase in membership is also an increase in
associates per actor. One can, however, conceive of organizations
which combine large size with the requirement that each number knows
and interacts with only a few fellow members. The "cell" structure
of a political underground movement or an espionage agency is a case
in point.

Since each associate a person has at some time or another will
demand attention and response it is easy to grasp that. -

When the ratio of associates per actor is increasing we obtain
mobilization above par; and when the ratio of associates per person
is decreasing we obtain mobilization below par.

It is easy to imagine the associates that come with the typical
stages of a man's life cycle. Let me merely hint them by listing
a few key words:

    1. Man, single, without a job
    2. Man, single, employed
    3. Man employed, married without children
    4. Man, employed, married, father of children who live at home
    5. Man, employed, married, children have left home
    6. Man, retired, widowed, children have left home

At middle age - stage 4 in the above listing - the typical man has a
greater number of social relations than either before or after. This
is the time when his energies are most fully mobilized: his home
demands the most at this stage and so does his career. I cannot
agree with William J. Goode who claims that it is a general sociolo-
gical law that "the individual's total role obligations are over-de-
1 William J. Goode, "A. Theory of Role Strain, "American Sociolo-
gical Review, Vol. 25 (1960), p. 485.
However, I readily admit that in middle age one nay feel the pinch
of a high degree of mobilization.

Another illustration is furnished by those who decide to run for

- 16 -

public office in a democracy. To become known and to capitalize in
sentiments in various segments of their district, they have to de-
velop a huge number of personal relations and get involved in a
large number of organizations. Uniformly, politicians (and their
wives) testify that they live a very busy life requiring mobilization
of all their time and energy. Similarly, the many social relations
which the members of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union have to
enter force them to a high degree of mobilization of energy. As a
rule, no organization (except the family) is allowed to exist in
the Soviet Union unless a member of the Party is assigned to it.
Party members thus become assigned to every factory, hospital,
union, military unit, police station, scientific society, museum,
government agency, et cetera. In addition, they have to attend party
meetings and respond to a pile of inquiries from their central leader-
ship. "Many Party functionaries live an ascetic type of existence,
putting prodigious energy and vigilance into their work, with only
a very occasional splurge with the luxuries at their disposal."1
1 Raymond A. Bauer, et al, How the Soviet Social System Works, Har-
vard University Press, Cambridge, 1957, pp. 171-172.
"One of the frequent complaints of party ,members, expressed after
they have defected to the West and evident also in Soviet materials,
is that they are overwhelmed, overburdened, overused." 1 Many associa-
1 Carl J. Friedrich & Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictator-
ship and Autocracy, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1956, pp.
tes and social relations again push mobilization above par.


Recently, we have also learned to manipulate the level of energy
expenditure through the use of drugs. What is colloquially known as
"pep pills" increase energy expenditures and so-called "tranquillizers"
depress it.1
1 Biological discoveries of this type should be of some concern to
sociology. It is customary to assume that certain aspects of human life
are biologically determined while others are socially determined.
The customary critique of such a view is the observation that neither
the biological nor the social can be considered sufficient causes of
most human actions both are necessary but not sufficient causes.

- 17 –

However, frequently overlooked has been the fact that the borderline
between social and biological determinants is not fixed but fluid.
Now biological knowledge and new medical practices constantly reduce
the area of biological determinants and increase the control of the
social environment. In other words, what previously was considered
a natural biological chain of events can now be manipulated to meet
socially desirable ends. It is a very important sociological problem
that arises hero; what norms shall govern the new territory that
the social environment has claimed from the biological realm? Who
shall control the new possibilities of manipulation that now appear?
As far as I know there exists no sociological study directly focusing
on this problem.
Of more direct interest to sociologists is how one can increase mobili-
zation by means of emotive manipulation.

An emotive ritual often precedes executive actions. Drums beat,
trumpets sound, banners wave before the soldiers to attack. Big
supper meetings with political flag words and much pep talk launch
the volunteers on a wave of enthusiasm to work for their political
candidate. Cheering rallies send one college football team to beat
another college team. Invocations begin the working day of Congress-
men and morning assemblies the day of the school boys. These events
can be understood in view of the proposition that -

An increase in the emotive actions among a set of actors tend
to sharply increase their mobilization above par.

Let us turn again to William James. He relates the presence of
certain ideas to the unloading of the energy reserves in man, and from
all of his examples, it is clear that these ideas are emotive symbols:
“As certain objects naturally awaken love, anger, or cupidity, so
certain ideas naturally awaken the energies of loyalty, courage, en-
durance, or devotion. When these ideas are effective in an individual's
life, their effect is often very great indeed. They may transfigure
it, unlocking innumerable powers, which, but for the idea, would never
have come into play. 'Fatherland,’ ’the Flag,' ’The Union,’ ’Holy
Church,’ ’the Monroe Doctrine,’ ’Truth,’ ’Science,’ ’Liberty,’ ’Garibal-
di's phrase 'Rome or Death,’ etc., are so many examples of energy-
releasing ideas. The social nature of such phrases is an essential
factor of their dynamic power. They are forces of detent in situations
in which no other force produces equivalent effects, and each is a
force of detent only a specific group of men." 1
1 William James, op. cit. p. 22-23.
While many others have in similar ways commented upon the arousing
power of emotive symbols, no experimental confirmation has come to my

- 18 -

1 A proposal for a research program which includes related
problems has been made by Torgny T. Segerstedt in "Symbolmiljö,
mening och attityd: ett forskningsprojekt", Uppsala Universitets
Årsskrift, 1956, No. 4. Relevant data may also be obtained from
other sources. For example, we know than an emotive rite de
passage is likely when individuals make important changes from one
position to another. The assumption that emotive actions have a
mobilizing effect makes it possible to state a deduction:

Persons who have just changed from one position to another
through a passage rite tend to have a high mobilization.
Some everyday observations confirm that a man often exhibits an
extra burst of energy after he has been promoted to a new job,
received an academic degree, become a father, or recently been admit-
ted to a club. "New brooms ..." the observer says when he sees the
energy of the newly initiated. Undoubtedly this temporary increase
in mobilization of energy is useful to the incumbent of the new
position and helps him in learning his new duties.

Georges Sorel grasped the possibilities of social enginee-
ring implicit in the mobilizing effect of emotive symbols, and in
the process drastically reversed Marx' conception of the part played
by ideas in society. He suggests that as a matter of strategy, one
can create an emotive symbol in the form of an image of the future
and thereby have a device "by which, more easily than by any other
method, men can reform their desires, passions, and mental activity."1
1 Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence, The Free Press, Glenco, 1950
(French original 1908)
As such a "myth" Sorel proposed the "general strike" for his own
syndicalist movement. Followers of Sorel have been more successful
in generating symbols serving as a pillar of light during the day
and a pillar of fire during the night for the faithful - Mussolini
painted a new Imperium Romanum to his countrymen, Hitler a new order
based on Blut und Boden, and Lenin held out the glory of the proleta-
rian revolution. There is every reason to believe that these symbols
did indeed acquire an emotive quality to the followers of these men
and rallied them to greater efforts.

When a person spontaneously arouses emotive actions we
speak of him as "charismatic". The charismatic leader's ability to
rally followers to enormous effects is legendary. Here too we assume
that emotive actions generate mobilization above par.


We may now pause to list the determinants we have found
for discrepancies in mobilization from par. They are:

- 19 -

    1. Changes in institutional values per capita
    2. Changes in number of associates per actor
    3. Changes in emotive actions

Our remaining task is new to relate these directly to the various
results of discrepancies in mobilization from par. Our intervening
variable - mobilization above or below par - will then have served
its main purpose, and can fade into the background. Our final
matrix will then look like this:

        RESULTS  ! Extensive-  Impersona-  Structu-  Stereo-  Rationa-
                 !   ness        lity        ring     types    lism
Institutional    !
values           !
per capita       !
Associates       !
per              !
actor            !
Emotive          !
exuberance       !


What Töennies called 'Gemeinschaft’ seems to be a society
marked by all the consequences of mobilization below par. Here
social relations are extensive; there is little specialization,
people are familiar with each other, they know each other long,
and interact more incessantly. One knows one's follow man primarily
as a person, not as an occupant of a position. There is little
structuring of positions into larger units. Stereotypes are rare,
and there is no effect toward rationalism. We now know that these
societies emerge where institutional values per capita tend to
decline; there is no increment in prosperity, order, knowledge,
sacredness, beauty or virtue from generation to generation.
We also know that they emerge and survive only where the number of
associates per person is declining or low; the social groups and
publics which a person encounters in his life cycle remain small.

- 20 -

What Töennies called 'Gesellschaft' seems to be a society
marked by all the consequences of mobilization above par. Here
social relations are specialized, unfamiliar, short, sporadic and
impersonal. There is a great deal of categorization, structuring
of positions, organizations and markets into larger units.
Stereotypes are common and rationalism prevails. Our theory suggest
that this type of society emerges when there is an increase in
institutional values per capita. Here sons become more prosperous
than their fathers, know more than their fathers, obey more regula-
tions than their fathers, and the sons may even have more taste,
holiness, and rectitude than their fathers. This society also
emerges when contacts between men increase, when the member of
associates per actor is large and increasing.1
1. Elsewhere, I have attempted to show that achievement motivation
emerges in a society when institutional values are expanding
(Social Theory and Social Practice, p. 115). Thus one may round out
the description of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft by saying that
consolidators live in the former while achievers dominate in the latter.

Emotive exuberance, through myths or charismatic leaders,
may shake both the Gemeinschaft and the Gesellschaft. The end result
however, is likely to be a "routinization" (to use Weber's term)
of the exuberance into something bureaucratic, structured, and

Hans L. Zetterberg