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Conceptions of power in the social sciences have undergone significant changes during the last twenty-five years. Above all, sensitivity to the salience of communication and culture in the exercise of power has increased. An early overview was given by Michèle Lamont in a previous volume of this Yearbook (Lamont, 1989), where she delimited four fields of investigation: Cultural industries as an arena for power struggles; Knowledge and aesthetic competence serving as resources in the exercise of power; Cultural power exerted indirectly by modes of definition; and finally, Power by means of exclusion – exclusion of people or ideas.
The relationship between gender, family and employment is often depicted as the outcome of rational allocation between time in paid work and time spent on family-related…
The relationship between gender, family and employment is often depicted as the outcome of rational allocation between time in paid work and time spent on family-related tasks, such as household chores and care for children and other dependent persons (Becker, 1991). This balancing process may be framed in purely economic terms as a question of which spouse should be most active in the labour market when the goal is that of maximizing the total family income. It may also be conceived as deliberations over gender role norms (e.g. Petersen, 2002). If spouses have similar earning capacity, or if they accord relatively little importance to variation in pecuniary income, they may instead decide the employment pattern on the basis of norms of fairness or gender equality. In both cases the couple making the decision is portrayed as context-free actors maximizing a simple set of values: family income or gender equity.
Critiques of elites define populism, which conceives of power relations as a unified, conspiring elite exploiting the good people. Yet, populism itself is inherently…
Critiques of elites define populism, which conceives of power relations as a unified, conspiring elite exploiting the good people. Yet, populism itself is inherently elitist, calling for a strong leader to take power and channel the will of the people. Elite theory, surprisingly overlooked in scholarship on populism, can clarify this apparent paradox and elucidate the dimensions of populism and its risk of authoritarianism in new ways. In contrast to populist ideological conceptions of power relations in society, elite theory points to the possibility that several elites with diverging voices and interests exist. Furthermore, elite theorists argue that such elite pluralism is a necessary component of a well-functioning democracy. Much scholarship on populism, often aiming to understand its causes and focussing on Western Europe and North America, points to the similarities of populist movements. The focus on similarities strengthens the understanding of populism as a uniform phenomenon and populist elite critiques as homogeneous. However, broader comparative studies show that different populist movements target a range of various elite groups. Indeed, the empirical reality of populist elite critiques targeting diverse elite groups is more in line with elite theory than populist ideological conceptions of power relations in society. A key to grasping the democratic challenges posed by the power relations between elites and masses in both populist critiques and populist solutions is an understanding of the institutional conditions for elite integration versus elite pluralism. This central discussion in both classical and modern elite theory is applied to analyse populism in this contribution.
The significance of literature in nation-building in two “second generation” nations, Germany and Norway, is discussed. In both countries a specific national literature…
The significance of literature in nation-building in two “second generation” nations, Germany and Norway, is discussed. In both countries a specific national literature was constituted parallel to the political institutions during the latter half of the 19th century. Yet there are clear differences in political effects in the two cases. In Norway, the struggle for national independence up to 1905 entailed a significant democratization of society. Germany, in the wake of the revolution of 1848, developed into a politically authoritarian regime, fully established under Prussian leadership in 1871.
These processes are mirrored in the position of literature. In Norway, where artistic traditions were absent, the national literature was a product of the 19th century, and emerged in close connection to ongoing political debates. In Germany, the Weimar heritage had gained classical status during the 1850s. Thus, the problem was foremost that of redefining the spiritual heritage to fit the history of the German Reich.
A related difference is found in the diffusion of literature through its most important channel – the school system. Norway developed a modern, uniform school, where the nation’s new literature was accorded a central place. In Germany, a more class-based school system was cemented, and the idea of diffusing the cultural heritage to the population at large held a weak position.
Along with these institutional factors, the development of national literatures in the two countries is seen in the light of regional specificities, constellations of literary genres with high and low prestige, and the social and political position of writers.