Respecifying the Effects of Voluntary Association on Individuals in a Traditional Society* RANDALL J. THOMSON North Carolina State University, Raleigh, U.S.A. MICHAEL ARMER Florida State University, Tallahassee, U. S. A. LITERATURE ON THE EFFECTS of participation in voluntary associations is extensive. Some scholars claim that participation in voluntary associations produces integration of individuals, communities and societies by providing affectual support, by implementing values, and by supporting the normative order (Durkheim, 1933; Babchuk and Edwards, 1965; Little, 1965; Banton, 1968; Kerri, 1976). Others claim that, instead of integration, volun- tary associations reinforce the cultural distinctiveness of various ethnic and minority groups (Rose, 1954; Rouch, 1954; Litwak, 1961; Gordon, 1964; Palisi, 1966), serve as political pressure groups that check the state's power (Tocqueville, 1945; Dahl, 1956; Almond and Verba, 1963; Verba and Nie, 1972), mobilize individuals for change (Olsen, 1972; Turner and Killian, 1972) and even contribute to major political changes including independence and statehood movements (Wallerstein, 1964; Levy and Kramer, 1972; Meillassoux, 1968; Paden, 1973). These seemingly inconsistent claims can be partially resolved by acknowledging the multifunctional and dynamic capabilities of voluntary associations and by differentiating between types of associations in different contexts. Specifically, voluntary associations can serve both
International Journal of Comparative Sociology (in 2002 continued as Comparative Sociology) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1980
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