Guide to the vibrant and

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role of colonial photography and later, ethnographic

film, and re-set in the context of systems

of visual significance. In this respect, visual anthropology,

visual sociology, and the analysis of

visual communication merge with aspects of the

sociology of the plastic arts, film, and, more recently,

the virtual realm of computer media. Topics

for visual sociology include physical positioning,

memory work, exhibition, iconography, and the

microscopy of visual perception. Simultaneously,

attention within sociology has been directed to the

determinants of vision itself and, in this respect,

connects to philosophy and cognitive science. Main

methodological perspectives within visual sociology

are described by Sarah Pink in a special issue

of Visual Anthropology Review (2004), on “Applied

Visual Anthropology.” TIN DENORA

vocabularies of motives

– see accounts.


– see occupations.

voluntary associations

The state is not a voluntary political association.

While there are procedures such as naturalization

to become a member of a state, being stateless in

the modern world is not an option. By contrast,

voluntary associations are public associations with

noncoercive and optional membership. Voluntary

associations include political parties, professional

associations, neighborhood groups, and trade

unions. Voluntary associations are the building

blocks of civil society and associative democracy.

Theorizing voluntary associations has a venerable

tradition in sociology but perhaps E´mile

Durkheim was an outstanding example of a sociologist

who attributed a central role to them in

modern life in The Division of Labor in Society (1894

[trans. 1944]) and Professional Ethics and Civic Morals

(1890 [trans. 1990]). In its very origins, sociology

had already set out its problem as that of the

relationship between individual and society. It

was generally agreed that modernity came to constitute

these two entities as poles around which

social relations evolved. In fact, modernization

of social relations meant the dissolution of any

intermediate associations or relations of

belonging, solidarity, and affinity between the individual

and society. For early sociologists, as

much as this was a necessary process, it also

created anomie, alienation, and powerlessness, especially

for Ferdinand To¨nnies, in Community and

Association (1887 [trans. 1963]). The diagnosis was

that, without intermediate associations, these

would lead to dissolution of the very society itself.

There is no doubt this particular interpretation of

modernity owed much to the pioneering work of

Alexis de Tocqueville and his emphasis on townships

and towns in American democratic life in

Democracy in America (1835 and 1840 [trans. 2003]).

But for Durkheim, modernity, at least in Europe,

had reached a stage where it was no longer reasonable

to assume that face-to-face relationships

would constitute the primary means by which

individuals were socialized. Late in the nineteenth

century, Durkheim was already aware that

towns and cities could not remain as the fundamental

milieu of democratic social life and that

other intermediary associations were already

emerging to respond to these needs. For Durkheim,

professions were such intermediate associations

that would constitute the secondary

modes of belonging, affiliation, and solidarity in

modern society.

The twentieth century has largely borne out

Durkheim’s anticipation: professionalization has

been perhaps among the most important, enduring,

and growing movements. Nevertheless, the

professions were not the only intermediate associations

that came to play a significant role between

individual and society. The emergence of numerous

other organizations, non- or quasi-governmental

bodies, have come to affect social life so much

so that they have been defined as either social

movements or the rise of civil society, a social

order distinct from the state but existing parallel

to, if not between, individual and society. While

there would be disagreement about whether to

include civil society organizations or social movements

within the general rubric of voluntary associations,

it is useful to conceptualize them against

this broader view on individual and society.

In the early twenty-first century, it would be

unimaginable to conceive modern social and

democratic societies without voluntary associations

ranging from well-organized professions

to quasi-professions, charitable organizations,

foundations, groups, lobbies, and many other

forms of belonging, solidarity, and affinities (see,

vocabularies of motives voluntary associations


for example, Don E. Eberly and Ryan Streeter, The

Soul of Civil Society: Voluntary Associations and the

Public Value of Moral Habits, 2002). The range of

social issues raised, addressed, advocated, and

problematized by voluntary associations is virtually

endless. Children’s aid societies, anti-poverty

organizations, refugee rights organizations, environmental

protection societies, women’s rights activists,

and civil rights organizations are only a

few examples of this vast and vital aspect of social

life in democratic states. In fact, the vitality and

strength of social and democratic life cannot be

measured merely by formal political institutions

such as voting, but by the depth, scope, and

strength of voluntary associations that prevail in

any given society. ENGIN ISIN


This is a political right that all adults should exercise,

but it does not always bring about a situation

in which people can govern their own lives. Voting

is therefore a necessary but not sufficient part of


Although all politics requires an element of

consensus, the notion that people should consciously

and specifically register their opinion

arises with the liberal tradition. Liberalism

argues that everyone is an individual and, being

an individual, such a person should consent to

government. Of course the right to vote was in

practice restricted to certain categories of people

well into the twentieth century, since liberals

took the view historically that only individuals

with property and rationality should vote. This in

practice meant not only men, but men with property

and the “right” ethnicity and religion. Even a

celebrated liberal like John Stuart Mill argued

that voting was for “civilized” peoples, by which

he meant people of European descent. Democracy,

construed as the exercise of universal suffrage,

was feared by liberals until the twentieth

century on the grounds that the poor, the “dependent,”

the female, and those of the “wrong”

religion would not be able to vote sensibly and


When the Chartists in Britain campaigned for

universal male suffrage in the 1840s, they described

the vote as “a knife-and-fork question”

since it was clear to the poor that in itself the

vote would only change their lives if used to elect

governments that would make inroads into the

market. It was not the act of voting per se that

solved social problems: it was the policies of governments.

Whereas the wealthy could educate

themselves and maintain their health privately,

poor people required government provision of

resources if knife-and-fork questions were to be

satisfactorily addressed.

Should the act of voting be a private and secret

one? Some feel that voting should be part of a

public discussion process and that people should

be prepared to demonstrate their opinions publicly

and see how others voted. However, the secret

ballot was adopted on the grounds that open

voting would lead to voters being intimidated by

those with social power, for example, workers by

their employers, women by their husbands or

fathers, and so on.

How frequently and on what issues should

voting take place? Elitist-minded publicists

favored infrequent voting while the radically

minded tended to argue that voting should occur

often (sometimes the demand was raised for

annual parliaments). Democrats took the view

that voting not only should be extended to all

adults who were citizens in a society, but should

be used to decide numerous issues. Voters should

not merely elect representatives in a legislature,

but also vote on propositions periodically put to

them through referendums. Moreover, voting

should occur in social as well as traditionally political

contexts, so that, for example, employees

should be given a vote to determine managements.

Existing systems are cautious here, fearing

that voters might be swayed by informal pressures,

and that professionals with expertise

should be appointed by those best able to judge

their capacity.

Should voting be compulsory? There is a strong

argument for suggesting that rights won after

long struggles are too precious to be left to pure

choice and that many more people would vote if

voting for parliamentary candidates, say, was

made compulsory. Clearly, such a system could

be justified only if people dissatisfied with all

candidates were able to vote for “none of the

above.” In general, however, it is felt that compulsion

is inappropriate in this context (although in a

number of countries voting is compulsory). It is

not clear as to why people do not vote. It has been

argued that nonvoting arises from satisfaction

with the existing system, but this view is challenged

by those who (rather more plausibly) contend

that nonvoting disproportionately affects the

poor and the inarticulate.

There is greater concern about the character of

the electoral systems in which people vote. In

Britain and the United States, the candidate with

the most votes in a constituency wins and all the

other votes are “wasted.” This seems unfair to

voting voting


many, and there is considerable support for an

electoral system in which there is at least an element

of proportionality, so that all votes matter and

parties gain representatives in proportion to the

electoral strength of their members. Critics argue

that such a system undermines strong government

and leads to endless bargaining and deals.

This argument particularly appeals to those who

can win elections on a minority of votes cast. In

Britain, however, it is significant that regional

parliaments do have proportional voting, and it

seems likely that at least elements of proportionality

will be adopted in national elections as


Should representatives mirror their electorate?

On the one hand, it is difficult to see how representatives

who have significantly different social

experiences from those they represent can exercise

empathy and real concern. On the other hand,

it is arguable that individuals have an infinity of

identities, and to insist, say, that women representatives

represent the interests of women, and that

blacks represent the interests of blacks, can be

naive and counterproductive.

Is there a contradiction between voting and the

state? Anarchists argue that, if voting made a difference,

it would have been abolished, and that

voting is a meaningless ritual which gives people

the illusion of power. It is certainly true that fear

interferes with the exercise of a responsible and

meaningful choice, and it could be argued that

using force rather than negotiation to settle conflicts

of interest prevents people from using their

vote to advance their capacity to govern their own

lives. Indeed, in many societies convicted lawbreakers

are stripped of their right to vote.

Should voting be extended to children? Certainly

there is a case for lowering the age of

voting, and allowing boys and girls in their teens

the right to vote. But democracy involves selfgovernment,

and it is important to see that voting

is not an end in itself, but a way of enabling people

to act in an enlightened and socially responsible


voting voting



Wach, Joachim (1898–1955)

An underappreciated figure in the sociology of

religion, Wach was born and studied in Germany,

but under Nazi pressure emigrated to the United

States in the mid-1930s and completed his academic

career at the University of Chicago. His

major work was Sociology of Religion (1944), which

was an elaboration of his Einfu¨hrung in die Religionssoziologie

(1931). Wach believed in the universality

of religious belief and argued that “communing

with the deity” was as fundamental to culture and

society as was recognition of our material surroundings.

Influenced by Max Weber, Wach emphasized

the importance of the historical and

comparative study of religion, and especially of

the need for western scholars to study eastern

religions. He argued that comparative study

should aim towards understanding (Verstehen)

and not just aggregate statistical analyses.

Wach was an advocate of the intellectual value

of the discipline of religious studies and saw it as a

way of teaching students to be neither fanatical

nor indifferent towards religion. He regarded the

sociology of religion as providing an important

bridge to theology and to making different types

of religious expression more accessible to social

science analysis. But, while arguing for the essentially

religious nature of humans, Wach differentiated

between theology and its concern with

understanding its own faith or confessional tradition

(what must I believe?), and the comparative

study of religion, Religionswissenschaft, that seeks to

establish and understand “what is there that is

believed?” Unlike Peter L. Berger, Wach did not

see religious pluralism as undercutting the certainty

of belief; he saw it rather as potentially

leading to the reflexive examination, preservation,

and strengthening of an individual’s own


Wallerstein, Immanuel (1930– )

Professor of Sociology at the State University of

New York, Binghampton, Director of the Fernand

Braudel Center for the Study of Economics, Historical

Systems and Civilizations, and former President

of the American Sociological Association,

Wallerstein’s early work was on Africa and colonialism

in The Road to Independence: Ghana and the

Ivory Coast (1964), Africa: The Politics of Independence

(1961), Social Change: The Colonial Situation (1966),

and Africa: The Politics of Unity (1967). Wallerstein

became influential primarily through the development

of world-systems analysis in his The Modern

World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of

the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century

(1974) and The Modern World System: Mercantilism

and the Consolidation of the European World Economy

1600–1750 (1980). Wallerstein criticized modernization

theory and functionalism by showing that

European capitalism developed by exploiting its

colonial periphery. Wallerstein’s theory was a

modification of Marxist sociology of social class,

demonstrating that the bourgeois class in the

core states exploited the working class of the

periphery. The semiperiphery included new rising

powers – such as Japan and Russia – and declining

old powers – such as Spain and Austria-Hungary.

Wallerstein has been a critic of American foreign

policy. His political radicalism was in part

a consequence of the student protests of the

1960s, which he analyzed in University in Turmoil:

The Politics of Change (1969). His most recent publication

is The Uncertainties of Knowledge (2004).



This is a type of violent social conflict between two

or more armed powerful organizations, in which

each aims to prevail by destroying the other’s

power, primarily through the deliberate use of

armed force. As a form of social violence, war is

distinguished first by its character as an organized

contest. Although war sometimes leads to spontaneous

violent acts by individuals, it centers on

courses of action planned by collective social

actors. War is also distinguished by the general

legitimacy of its violence. It is the only context in

which large-scale killing, in other situations highly

illegitimate, has become generally legitimate in

human society. Indeed in modern society, in which


legitimate killing by individuals is limited to very

narrow contexts of self-defense, and many states

have abandoned the death penalty, war is almost

the only context of legitimate killing of any kind.

Because violence is always an extreme form of

social power, this social institution concerned with

legitimate, organized violence is one of the most

important in all societies in which it exists. A

society’s mode of warfare, the complex of all the

social practices concerned with the organization

and preparation of war, is always one of its most

influential institutional clusters. Indeed the development

of warfare has been associated with the

emergence of many other social institutions. Thus,

the differentiation of a warrior class has been seen

as one of the first forms of social stratification –

closely linked to the development of gender distinctions

since warriors have generally, although not

always, been men – and of social class and social

status, since warriors often obtained greater

material wealth and prestige than other members

of society. The development of warfare has also

been linked to the development of the state, as a

social institution concerned first of all with the

control of violence. Indeed, Max Weber in Economy

and Society (1922 [trans. 1968]) classically defined

the state through its monopoly of legitimate violence:

the state’s concern with war-making was

linked to its control over other social actors and

its limiting of their rights to exercise violence in

their social relations. Karl Marx and Friedrich

Engels in The Communist Manifesto (1848 [trans.

1968]) had also seen the state as constituted by

“bodies of armed men”; although Marxists have

often seen this kind of power as a means of social

control within national societies, its main function

has been to project power in relations between

states. In States, War and Capitalism (1988), Michael

Mann showed that, until the mid twentieth century,

the majority of state expenditures had always

been devoted to warfare.

Despite this centrality of warfare to social organization,

classical social theory, born of the new

industrial society of the early nineteenth century,

failed to give war a central place. Claude Henri de

Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon and Auguste

Comte saw industrial society, with its rational,

scientifically based organization, as inherently

peaceful, giving rise to the influential myth of

pacific industrialism in modern sociology, which

is discussed in Raymond Aron’s War and Industrial

Society (1958). Even Marx saw capitalism as a mode

of production characterized by relations of exploitation

rather than physical violence. This issue is

explored in Bernard Semmel (ed.) Marxism and the

Science of War (1981), but warfare was not central to

Marxist theory of modern society. However, later

Marxists like Vladimir Ilich Lenin (Imperialism, 1916)

and Rosa Luxemberg (1870–1919), (The Accumulation

of Capital (1913 [trans. 1963]) developed a theory of

“militaristic capitalism,” linking war to imperialism.

Both pacific and militaristic theories of

modern society have been criticized by writers

such as Mann, Martin Shaw in “Capitalism and

Militarism,” in War, State and Society (1984), and

Aron, who favored more geopolitical explanations

of war. Indeed, the neo-Weberian school of the late

twentieth century moved away from the prevalent

socioeconomic explanations of war, granting significant

autonomy to warfare itself. Theda Skocpol

has argued in States and Social Revolutions (1979)

that international war played a significant part in

activating class tensions and causing revolutions.

Anthony Giddens (The Nation-State and Violence, 1985)

identified warfare as one of the four primary institutional

clusters of modern societies. Mann (The

Sources of Social Power, I, 1986) claimed that military

power was one of the four fundamental sources of

social power, causally implicated in many fundamental

social changes. An influential social history

by William H. MacNeill (The Pursuit of Power, 1982)

showed how the “industrialisation of warfare” had

transformed the destructive power of war.

While these writers emphasized the central role

of war, especially in transformations of the state,

they gave less attention to social relations within

warfare. The classic modern theorist of war, Carl

von Clausewitz (1780–1831), who wrote about the

same time as Comte, remains neglected in the

sociological canon. His posthumous On War (1831

[trans. 1976]) elaborated the essential character of

war as a violent clash of armed social forces,

tending towards absolute destruction (although

it also identified the counter-tendencies resulting

from “friction”). It also proposed a primitive sociology

of modern war, identifying government

with the rational policy element, generals with

strategic craft, and the people with war’s essential

violence. The latter derived from the element of

popular mobilization which arose from nationalism

and was manifested in systems of conscription

and mass armies.

All of these were central to the later development

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