Psychological interpretation of politics, In the system...

Psychological interpretation of politics

As a result of studying this chapter, the student must:


• What is the psychological interpretation of politics:

• The main ideas of G. Lasswell, T. Adorno, E. Fromm;

be able to

• distinguish between political psychology and political pathopsychology;


skills in the diagnosis of pathopsychological situations.

I love your idea stubborn

And I agree to play this role.

But now there is another drama,

And this time I'm fired.

Boris Pasternak

In the system of sciences

Since the man began to think about the nature of human society, the study of politics tended to two different poles. On one of them were those who considered political institutions the main agents of social control and social change. Supporters of this point of view saw the most important aspects of politics in the behavior of states and the intentions of rulers. Others, first of all, paid attention to the influence of non-political factors or conditions on political events and institutions.

These two approaches essentially differed in determining what the primary - civil society or "political" is. Since the study of non-political institutions eventually became the content of a wide variety of social disciplines - anthropology, sociology, economics and psychology - the question of the relationship between studying politics and other social sciences existed from the moment of the emergence of interest in this field of knowledge.

Of course, few authors who were interested in the nature of political action can be enrolled only in this category. Plato was looking for a sovereign who could use political power to create an ideal republic. At the same time, he was concerned with the question of how the structure of the family or the nature of education affects different types of political action. Aristotle pointed to the causal relationship between the distribution of wealth and the structure of society, on the one hand, and the type of political regime that exists in it, on the other. However, he also studied the constitutions of Greek states in order to discover the difference between their political institutions.

Beginning with Machiavelli until the middle of the XX century. The political spider was most often interpreted as the science of the state. Only in the last decades of the last century the term "political system", more precisely expressing the specifics of the subject, has become increasingly used.

At a later time, Marxism became the pioneer of this approach to politics, which established the primary source of political behavior in social factors, i.e. in the level of technical development and class structure. At the same time, some theoreticians of Marxism noted that the causes of specific political phenomena lie in the internal dynamics of political systems, that heads of states and political bureaucracies tend to strengthen their own positions of power by their actions, which may contradict the needs of the dominant social classes and the needs of the economic system. >

At the end of the XIX century. and in the XX century. As the social sciences appeared in the form of separate, albeit interrelated, disciplines, each of them focused on various aspects of human behavior. Each discipline has been determined by the aspect of human behavior that it seeks to explain, and yet none of them has confined itself to the main subject of its interest. Why does not there exist a form of behavior that, to a certain extent, would not be interpreted by each of the social sciences? Science differs only in the area of ​​initial interest.

The economist deals with the analysis of factors that affect social behavior in the production system, i.e. finds out what influences the decision about investing capital or using economic resources. Since the value of these factors can be determined in monetary terms, economic science before other social sciences was able to formulate its theoretical concepts with the help of a mathematical language. Yet the economist is constantly forced to analyze the impact on economic behavior of "non-economic factors": cultural values, personalities, political needs and status concerns.

The psychologist seeks to know why people behave differently. He is interested in the extent to which human behavior determines biochemical and psychological factors, how these factors affect the ability to perform various tasks, to interact with other people, etc. Since one of the key sources of personality formation and individual behavior is the response to participation in changing social situations and interaction with other individuals, the psychologist must also engage in social psychology, the consequences of the individual's participation in various group associations.

Anthropologist is interested in various ways of organizing human culture, structured models of relationships that distinguish one society from another. For the analysis of culture, it is necessary not only to single out the basic values ​​of different societies, but also to consider how to satisfy the basic material needs (in food, clothing, blood), determine family relations (the kinship system) or the system of power relations (including politics) and find out how these factors affect other aspects of culture.

A sociologist who is interested in how institutions, that is, stable systems of expectations and actions, meet changing human needs in society, in particular in a complex society, explore almost all aspects of human behavior.

The study of politics - the oldest and at the same time the new social discipline - has faced difficulties, probably more numerous than in any other science, due to the need to limit the scope of its interests and define this restriction in analytical terms. In political science, as in philosophy, intellectual origins and genuine interests go back to works whose authors considered the political structure of society or culture as a whole, where people establish social relationships, family systems, and ways of producing goods.

As Gabriel Almond noted, "classical political theory is more political sociology, psychology and normative political theory than the theory of the political process."

Everything that happens inside the black box of the political system, and all the consequences of what was happening, were derived from the way in which the social structure is represented in the political system. In the Platonic, Aristotelian, and later in the Roman classification of political systems, much attention has been paid to the effects of the variations of social stratification it adopts and to the ways in which it exists in political systems rather than the varieties of political decision-making processes. The basis of political classification is rather sociological than political. The Greek and Roman theories of political development are socio-psychological, they consider pure forms of government (monarchy, aristocracy or democracy) as obviously unstable because of their exposure to corruption stemming from sociological and psychological processes.

Various social sciences, as they arise, began to address problems that were considered as part of an interconnected whole. This applies to Aristotle, Plato, Locke, Hobbes, Hegel, Montesquieu and many other thinkers who aspired to create a good society with a high morality and directed their attention to the forms within which people act together, i.e. politically.

As the philosophy was divided, social science disciplines adopted methodological approaches. Restricting the range of independent (causal) and dependent (subject to explanation) variables, they tried to formulate a theoretical system that would establish the relationships between factors within their competence. When such restrictive proposals on human behavior were formulated, the search for verification or justification of the provisions of these disciplines began.

The study of politics, however, for a long time remained a general discipline that encompassed all aspects of human behavior. Politics is inherent in exercising political jurisdiction in all areas of human activity. Thus, policy researchers for a long time tried to continue the traditions of ancient philosophers. Their sphere of interest was not limited to the formulation of empirically verified sentences resulting from theoretical systems limited by variables related to the discipline, but rather included an explanation of political action on the basis of any knowledge and approaches that were borrowed from the totality of human knowledge.

The term political science gradually began to denote a specific academic field of research, but initially it meant what we now call the science of politics, i.e. the application of knowledge to identify the interests of the sovereign and those who strive to create a good society. For the first time this term appeared in the annals of American universities in 1890, when Columbia University established the faculty of social science, called the Faculty of Political Science. At this faculty there were departments of economics, sociology, history, anthropology, statistics, general law and state disposition. The separation of the state's morals was to be occupied not by political science, but by one of the political sciences.

In the system of the sciences of politics, which corresponded to the traditional normative orientation of classical works on politics, which later became known as the political theory, state law (or political science) did not go beyond other societal disciplines. Initial research in this area was of a normative historical and analytical nature. The exercise of state law did not involve attempts to systematically generalize the achievements of other social sciences. However, while political science stood out as an independent field of knowledge, other disciplines continued to show considerable interest in politics.

This is especially true for early sociologists in Europe and in America. In their attempts to formulate generalizations about institutions and social behavior, they could not ignore such an important phenomenon as political institutions or the formation of relations and group norms in politics. Scientists such as Max Weber, Robert Michels, Wilfredo Pareto and Emil Durkheim, engaged in political analysis as part of their teachings. Arthur Bentley, who became the main authority in the field of political science in America, received sociological training in Europe and held the only academic career in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Franklin Giddigins, one of the fathers American sociology, in the first decades of this century, encouraged his students to engage in empirical research of election behavior. Psychologists interested in the formation of relations, turned to the study of political values ​​and behavior. The work of political scientists was also influenced by the psychoanalytic theory of Freud with her interest in personality problems.

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