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Social Structure and Political Change in Ethiopia and Liberia

Social Structure and Political Change in Ethiopia and Liberia


Social Structure and Political Change in Ethiopia and Liberia SAGE Publications, Inc.1970DOI: 10.1177/001041407000300102 Robert H. Jackson If one perceives that concepts are primarily analytical instruments for the intellectual mastery of empirical data and can be only that, the fact that [some] concepts are necessarily ideal types will not cause one to desist from constructing them. -Max Weber THE CONSTRUCTION and use of typologies in political analysis has been a mode of inquiry that dates back at least to Montesquieu's study of government types in The Spirit of the Laws. While no contemporary scholar has yet matched Max Weber's mastery of typological analysis, few can indeed desist from constructing and using novel ideal types for understanding new social, economic, and political situations. This essay is no exception. Here, an attempt is made to discuss and use ideal types for comparative purposes. I wish to demonstrate how quite simple typological constructs can be formulated and used to analyze changes in the relationships between social structure and politics in the historical evolution of Ethiopia and Liberia. While the following section briefly discusses the methodology of ideal types, the remainder of the essay attempts to employ them for making temporal and spatial
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