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is permanent and static – it is preordained.

Leaders and followers cannot change places.

Indeed, the very designation of the leadership

role implies that it is irreversible. It sounds absurd

to speak of slaves leading citizens since the very

notion of a “slave” implies someone who follows.

Once a leader, always a leader.

It is therefore historically valuable that these

notions are challenged by liberalism. In the place

of hierarchical relationships, there is abstract

equality. Thus the liberal theory of representation

argues that, when one person acts as the representative

of another, he or she is acting on their

behalf. The representative is authorized by those

they represent, and therefore the relationship is

not one of difference, but of sameness. The individual

is re-presented at a “higher” level. No hierarchy

is involved.

Hence liberalism places individuals outside relationships.

Abstract individualism makes the notion

of “leadership” theoretically impossible, and it is

this abstract individualism that leads anarchists to

argue that individuals can spontaneously govern

themselves without organization or hierarchy. In

fact, since people can identify themselves as individuals

only through their relationships with

others, real individuals are always in hierarchical

attachments to others.

Postliberal or relational argument accepts leadership

as inevitable, since what makes a relationship

possible is that on a particular issue one person leads

and the other follows. For this reason, relationships

are necessarily hierarchical – two people can

relate to one another only because they are both

the same and different – and this difference must

generate deference of some kind. But although

postliberalism stresses the relational character of

human activity, it differs from preliberal thought

in that the notion of leadership as natural is tied

to a concept of nature that is developmental and

not static. It is natural for a parent to “lead” a

three-year-old across a busy street; it would not be

natural for a parent to lead a thirteen-year-old.

Moreover, leaders and followers continually

change places. The doctor who “leads” a motor

Le Play, Pierre Guilliaume Fre´de´ric (1806–1882) leadership


mechanic on medical matters follows such a

person when he or she wants a vehicle repaired.

Leadership, conceived of in a postliberal manner,

is always provisional and specific: a leader who is

developmental in one area becomes oppressive

when he or she seeks to guide in every issue.

Leaders in a democracy dedicate themselves to

enhancing and not diminishing the capacity of

people to govern their own lives. JOHN HOFFMAN

legal-rational authority

– see authority.


The authority of an institution, person, or practice

to command obedience can derive from a sense of

its rightfulness or legitimacy. People often go

along with the commands of others, rules of law

or organization, or taken-for-granted norms because

of a sense of obligation or moral necessity

rather than any immediate or general threat of

coercion or promise of reward. Legitimacy,

according to Max Weber, can derive from age-old

norms (or tradition), from consciously enacted

rules (such as law), or from a sense of devotion to

an exceptional sanctity, heroism, or magical characteristic

of an individual person (charisma). At

their core, all forms of legitimacy provide an explanation

for the social world as it is, or as it is

hoped to be. This explanation or reason provides

the meanings that ground social action, for the

fortunate and unfortunate alike. According to

Weber, human beings are prepared to tolerate

extraordinary deprivation, suffering, and torment.

What is unacceptable, however, to the unfortunate,

is the meaninglessness of suffering,

and to the fortunate the meaninglessness of life

itself. “Legitimating explanations seek to justify

the distribution of fortunes by showing that it

conforms to a coherent normative conception of

some sort, a conception which not only makes the

differences in human fates intelligible but justifies

them in an ethical sense as well” (Anthony

Kronman, Max Weber, 1983). Thus, legitimations,

whether from history, reason, or mysticism, offer

accounts of social arrangements and events that

make life meaningful and therefore tolerable.

Legitimacy attaches not merely to individual

actions and relationships but to institutionalized

systems of power and domination. If power

consists of the probability that one actor within

a social relationship will be in a position to

achieve intended and foreseen effects (Dennis

Hume Wrong, Power, 1969), authority rests on the

belief in the rightfulness or legitimacy of that

action. Although authority is only one form

of power, it is the most stable and enduring

according to Weber, because it requires fewer physical

or economic resources to sustain. Obedience

and deference to authority are secured by its legitimacy,

deeply sedimented in social relations and

beliefs, through the “internalization of symbolically

represented structures of expectation” (Ju¨rgen

Habermas, The Legitimation Crisis, 1973 [trans.

1976]). In this sense, legitimacy is a questionbegging

avoidance technique that works only to

the extent that it is unquestioned and unnoticed,

that is, it constitutes a hegemony. Once questioned,

the ability of legitimacy to secure obedience

is threatened because the belief in a person,

organization, or institution as legitimate derives

from its being unquestionably right. Once the subject

of ideological contest, however, a social order

can experience a legitimation crisis, the revelation

of a disjuncture between the claims of legitimacy

and the validity or actual empirical facts of that

order. Embedded in legitimacy claims, therefore,

is a truth claim, which, once challenged, undermines

the deference legitimacy otherwise secures.

In his analysis of types of social orders and

legitimations, Weber described a historical development

from traditional to increasingly rational

systems, punctuated by charismatic eruptions.

The systemic rationalization of advanced capitalism

and loss of tradition and magic would lead,

he suggested, to pervasive disenchantment.

Rationality would undermine its own legitimating

capacity by its unceasing inquiry, continually

eroding the grounds of social construction and

thus eroding the possibilities of legitimating narratives

capable of commanding unquestioned deference

and obedience. SUSAN SI LBEY

legitimation crisis

– see legitimacy.


The term derives from the Latin word licere,

meaning “to be allowed.” The concept was undertheorized

in classical sociology, yet, arguably, it

constituted a meta-theme in much progressive

and revisionist thought of the time. For example,

the Enlightenment looked forward to the leisure

society in which individuals would have the freedom

at their disposal to explore and cultivate

their diverse interests. Karl Marx regarded leisure

under capitalism to be constrained by class exploitation,

commodification, and alienation. His

theory of communist society envisaged the expansion

of leisure and the development of social

legal-rational authority leisure


capital. MaxWeber’s sociology implied that leisure

was subject to the rationalization process and the

bureaucratization of society. Ferdinand To¨nnies’s

distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

carried with it a critique of work-centered existence

and, in as much as this is true, connoted

leisure with social well-being. However, most

classical sociologists followed E´mile Durkheim in

regarding leisure as belonging to “the less serious

side of life.”

The exception was Thorstein Veblen, whose Theory

of the Leisure Class (1899) is of axial importance in

the emergence of the sociology of leisure. Veblen

defined leisure as “the non-productive consumption

of time.” He argued that leisure in industrial

society is bound up with the allocation of social

distinction, which, in turn, reflects social hierarchy.

Industrial society is dominated by a leisure class of

propertied citizens, who devote themselves to nonpecuniary

labor. By engaging in the equestrian arts,

cultivating etiquette, learning dead languages such

as Latin or Greek, and other non-pecuniary work,

the leisure class articulate their exemption from

the need to engage in wage-labor. Distinction in

leisure forms and practice is further expressed

through “conspicuous consumption,” that is, lavish

expenditure on fashion, entertaining, and other

forms of social display. Veblen predicted that the

development of industrial society would intensify

conspicuous consumption and erode the work


Sociological interest in leisure expanded in the

postwar period. It was first organized around industrial

sociology in the 1950s which held that the a

priori of leisure was held to be wage-labor. A variety

of studies examined the work–leisure relationship

and developed compartmentalized/segregated and

spillover/extensionmodels of leisure. They also produced

a meliorist strain in the study of leisure that

essentialized leisure as holding the characteristics

of freedom, choice, and self-determination, and related

leisure practice narrowly with life fulfillment

and social integration.

By the 1960s, the coming of the leisure society

was a central element in postindustrial society

theory. It was assumed that science and technology

were on the verge of solving the problems

of want and the requirement to spend a large

percentage of adult life in paid employment. Leisure

Society was presented as a pluralist democracy

in which the requirement to work would be

minimized and a corresponding efflorescence of

the arts, sport, and social capital would ensue.

This approach is now regarded as unrealistic and

inadequate in its treatment of power and justice.

Questions relating to the relationships between

leisure and identity and between leisure and citizenship

were peculiarly neglected until the 1970s.

Interactionist approaches developed a perspective

that stressed the situated character of leisure

action and explored choice in relation to a variety

of social, economic, and cultural constraints. However,

the main units of analysis were the individual

and the group, and this led to criticisms that

the approach could not deal satisfactorily with

structural influences of social class, gender, and

race and ethnicity.

The Marxist tradition revitalized the Frankfurt

School perspective that proposed that leisure is a

fundamental means of social control. The distribution

of free time was directly related to class,

and the proposition that leisure is free time for

the expression of individual choice was challenged

by emphasizing the preeminence of commodification

and corporate domination in consumer

culture. Leisure forms and practice were analyzed

in relation to their ideological functions. The

contribution of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary

Cultural Studies led to leisure being

directly related to hegemony. Leisure forms and

practice were studied as contested social processes.

At the same time, feminism castigated “malestream”

dominance in the allocation of leisure

time and the organization of leisure studies. Feminists

related leisure to patriarchy and the tendency

of commodity culture to fetishize the

female body.

All of these positions challenged meliorist overtones

in the sociology of leisure by emphasizing

structural inequalities in access to leisure time

and space and by positioning myth and ideology

in relation to leisure experience.

Recent work in the field has concentrated on

questions of embodiment, classification, and globalization.

Juliet Schor’s “overwork thesis” raised

the profile of the relationship of leisure to embodiment

through a critique of the culture of

overwork and its consequences for physical and

mental health and mortality, such as in her The

Overworked American (1991). Overwork was analyzed

as a consequence of the general addiction

to the acquisitive values of consumer culture. The

creation of a revised work–leisure balance is portrayed

as the solution to overwork and the ills

of the consumer society.

Robert Stebbins’s distinction, in Amateurs, Professionals

and Serious Leisure (1992), between “serious”

and “casual” leisure revitalized the interest

in classifying leisure forms and practice. Serious

leisure refers to a trajectory of activity based in

leisure leisure


the concept of a career and the progressive improvement

of skills. Casual leisure refers to desultory,

opportunistic practice which is associated

with low attention spans and multi-tasking.

Globalization was recognized as a foundational

issue in the development of leisure studies in the

Sa˜o Paulo Declaration issued by the World Leisure

and Recreation Association in 1998. Citing Article

24 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of

Human Rights which articulated the right to leisure

for every member of the world’s community,

the Declaration pointed to the need to study the

global dimensions of inequality and injustice in

leisure forms and practice. One urgent research

issue here is the dynamics of sourcing leisure

commodities for retail by western leisure multinationals

from low-wage developing economies.


leisure class

– see leisure.

leisure society

– see leisure.

Lemert, Edwin M. (1912– )

An American sociologist, Lemert has been influential

in the development of a social-psychological

level of analysis in relation to the onset of delinquency

and crime. His particular contribution

has been to refine labeling theory. According to

Lemert, in order to describe the process of labeling,

it is important to distinguish between primary

deviation and secondary deviation.

Primary deviation refers to the initial deviant

action or behavior. Lemert acknowledged the very

wide range of reasons for this: social, cultural,

and psychological reasons. More particularly,

he acknowledged that many people do engage

in deviant or delinquent behaviors (underage

drinking, smoking cannabis or petty shoplifting)

and that for the most part engagement in activities

does not lead to a psychological reorientation

in terms of self-identity (that is, individuals do not

immediately see themselves as a drunk, a pothead,

or a thief). There is no fundamental change in


Secondary deviation relates to the official or

social reaction to the primary deviant behavior

which involves the labeling of the individual (as

a “young offender” or as a “criminal,” for instance).

Lemert’s thesis was that individuals so

labeled would begin to engage in deviant behavior

based upon the new social status of “young offender”

or “criminal” conferred on them by the

criminal justice system. Through formal namecalling,

stereotyping, and labeling, a deviant identity

is confirmed. Lemert’s subsequent assertion

that social control causes deviance not only provided

impetus for the development of a radical

and critical criminology that has flourished since

the 1960s, but fueled the abolitionist movement.

The “naming and shaming” tactics so favored by

politicians in the United Kingdom may thus have

unintended adverse consequences.


Lenin, Vladimir Ilich (1870–1924)

Famous for his leadership of the Russian Revolution,

and for his theory of the party and imperialism,

Lenin was born in Simbirsk, Russia. He was

expelled from the University of Kazan in 1887

for political involvement, and, after being sentenced

to three years of internal exile, he wrote

The Development of Capitalism in Russia (1899).

In 1900 he became involved with Iskra, the

official paper of the Social Democratic Labor

Party, and two years later Lenin presented the

case for a party of professional revolutionaries in

What Is To Be Done? (1902). He returned to Russia

during the abortive 1905 revolution. In 1917 (in

Switzerland), he published Imperialism: The Highest

Stage of Capitalism.

When the tsar abdicated in March, 1917, Lenin

argued the case for a socialist revolution in his

April Theses. This was successfully engineered in

October. Lenin became head of the Soviet Council

of Peoples’ Commissars, and land was distributed

to peasants, banks were nationalized, and

workers’ control of factory production introduced.

An assembly, elected to draw up a new constitution,

had a socialist but not Bolshevik majority. It

was closed down and other political parties were

banned, and, although the Bolsheviks won

the civil war, they were faced with an uprising

at Kronstadt. Lenin then introduced the New

Economic Policy that allowed some market

trading and denationalization.

His health declined after an attempt wasmade on

his life. Three days after dictating a “will and testament,”

in which he called for the removal of

Joseph Stalin (1879–1953) from the post of General

Secretary of the Communist Party, he died in 1924.



– see Vladimir Ilich Lenin.

leisure class Leninism


Lenski, Gerhard (1924– )

An American sociologist, Lenski contributed significantly

to the study of inequality, social change,

and religion. In The Religious Factor (1981) he made

an importart contribution to the development of

the sociology of religion in the United States.

He is best known for his attempt at synthesizing

the functional and conflict explanations of

social hierarchy through broad historical comparisons,

and for his contribution to the theory of

status crystallization (see social status). In Power

and Privilege (1966) and Human Societies (1982)

Lenski outlined an ecological–evolutionary social

theory. All desirable resources, including food,

money, prestige, and power, are scarce, and

therefore obtained through competitive struggles

by the best-endowed individuals and groups. This

competitive struggle is reduced owing to routinization

of unequal distribution systems. Such

systems, legitimized by custom and tradition, reflect

the operation of two parallel “laws.” The “law

of needs” reflects largely the functional needs of

society, such as survival and maintenance of the

productive efficiencies of all social groups, including

the lower strata. The “law of power” applies

mainly to the distribution of “surpluses,” that is

resources exceeding basic functional needs. The

surpluses are distributed proportionately to differential

power, and therefore are concentrated in

elites and privileged classes. The implication of

this argument is that the less technologically advanced

societies have more egalitarian–functional

distribution systems, and that social hierarchies

become steeper with the advancement of

technology and surplus production. This regularity,

argues Lenski, does not apply to modern industrial

societies owing to enhanced productivity,

increasing legal regulation, and democratic ideology.

The rule of law changes the power balances in

modern societies to the advantage of the lower

strata by increasing their bargaining power and

widening their access to welfare. Therefore social

stratification in advanced societies is multidimensional

and complex, and power hierarchies are


lesbian feminism

In the early 1970s, in the period of feminism

usually described as “second-wave feminism,” a

number of feminists argued that the only way to

end the oppression of women was for women

to identify themselves as lesbians. Any other

form of sexual identity was, for many writers,

merely a way of prolonging sexual inequality and

abandoning the possibilities of female autonomy

and emancipation. Prominent among the writers

who suggested this was Jill Johnston, who published

two collections of essays (Marmalade Me,

1971, and Lesbian Nation, 1973). In both collections

(drawn from essays which Johnston had written

for New York’s The Village Voice) liberal feminism,

or any feminism which accepted heterosexuality,

was seen as merely an extension of patriarchy by

other means. Johnston’s vivid prose was very influential

at the time and her work contributed considerably

to the ideas of her contemporaries Kate

Millett, Andrea Dworkin, and Adrienne Rich.

All these writers were to follow Johnston in her

analysis of heterosexuality as “compulsory” (as it

was to be described by Adrienne Rich) or inherently

based on male violence towards women (as

Dworkin was to argue).

The influence of these writers has been considerable,

but two other forms of lesbian feminism

have been equally important. The first is the integration

of the idea of the strength of relationships

between women (sexually active or not) into academic

literature: Terry Castle in The Apparitional

Lesbian (1993) and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick in Epistemology

of the Closet (1991) are two examples of

writers who have pointed out the hidden tradition

of relationships between women in literature. The

second is the considerable strength of the tradition

of lesbian feminism which has been influential

in campaigns about violence against women

and legislation about marriage. In both cases lesbian

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