Choices Between Political Systems

  • D. E. Apter


The analysis that follows brings together the three approaches [normative, structural, behavioral] by centering on models of government, described in terms of two main criteria; degree of hierarchy and type of values. The first is the measure of stringency of control and is structurally visible in the degree of centralization of authority. The second criterion is the degree to which ultimate ends are employed in action, with ultimate ends understood as ‘religion’ and intermediate ends as ‘secularity’, following Durkheim’s distinction between sacred and secular ends. The extremes of these factors combine to form four models, of which two, the secular-libertarian and the sacred-collectivity, are the most interesting. These two normative models are in perpetual conflict and are constantly in danger of being transformed into each other.


Political System Individual Mind Passive Agent Civic Culture Comparative Government 
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  1. 1.
    See Gabriel Almond and James S. Coleman, The Politics of the Developing Areas (Princeton U.P., 1960), p. 533.Google Scholar

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© Jean Blondel 1969

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  • D. E. Apter

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