Social Science History

Social Science History
Volume 28, Number 4, Winter 2004



    Jenkins, Jeffery A.
    Schickler, Eric, 1969-
    Carson, Jamie L.
  • Constituency Cleavages and Congressional Parties: Measuring Homogeneity and Polarization, 1857-1913
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    Subject Headings:
    • United States. Congress -- History.
    • Political parties -- United States -- History.
    • United States -- Politics and government.
      We analyze the constituency bases of the congressional parties from 1857 through 1913 by focusing on two key concepts: party homogeneity and party polarization. With a few notable exceptions, prior efforts to assess these concepts have relied upon measures based on members' roll call votes. This is potentially problematic, as such measures are likely endogenous: They reflect the party's actual level of success as much as the party's underlying homogeneity. To address this problem, we construct measures for party homogeneity and polarization that are based on constituency characteristics, using economic-based census data and presidential voting data as proxies. We then examine how these "exogenous" measures compare to roll call–based measures. We find that changes in party unity on roll call votes track shifts in constituency characteristics fairly closely. Substantively, we find that the congressional parties went through three distinct phases during these 56 years: first, a period of extremely high overlap and low party homogeneity during the Civil War and Reconstruction, followed by a period of moderate polarization and homogeneity from the mid-1870s through the early 1890s, and concluding with a period of sharp polarization and high homogeneity, which coincided with the realignment of 1894–96. While the status of the 1894–96 elections as a critical turning point remains controversial in the historical and political science literatures, our results suggest that these elections did lead to a substantial change in the underlying characteristics of the congressional parties.
    Gross, Matthias, 1969-
  • Human Geography and Ecological Sociology: The Unfolding of a Human Ecology, 1890 to 1930 -- and Beyond
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    Subject Headings:
    • Human ecology -- History.
    • Sociology -- History.
    • Human geography -- History.
      This article discusses how American geography and sociology began their university institutionalization in the 1890s with some very similar disciplinary points of origin and understanding of their subject matter but subsequently carved out their own fields by creating new or abandoning old disciplinary areas. Some of the disciplinary "catchment areas" were fought over until they came under the heading of human ecology around 1907/8, which, at least in the case of sociology, later became an influential but nevertheless transient perspective. It is argued that the unfolding of human ecology can best be understood against the background of the interaction between sociological and geographical streams of thought beginning in the 1890s.
    Spierenburg, Petrus Cornelis.
  • Punishment, Power, and History: Foucault and Elias
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    Subject Headings:
    • Foucault, Michel. Surveiller et punir.
    • Elias, Norbert.
    • Criminal justice, Administration of -- Historiography.
    • Power (Social sciences)
      This article reevaluates the work of Michel Foucault and Norbert Elias, in so far as it relates to criminal justice history. After an examination of the content of Foucault's Surveiller et punir (1975), it discusses Foucault's receptions among criminal justice historians. Some of the latter appear to have attributed views to the French philosopher that are not backed up by his 1975 study. Notably the "revisionist" historians of prisons have done so. As a preliminary conclusion, it is posited that Foucault and Elias have more in common than some scholars, including the author in earlier publications, have argued. They resemble each other to the extent that they both thought it imperative to analyze historical change in order to better understand our own world.

      Nevertheless, Elias is to be preferred over Foucault when it concerns (1) the pace of historical change and (2) these theorists' conception of power. It is demonstrated that Foucault's notion of an abrupt and total change of the penal system between 1760 and 1840 is incongruent with reality and leads to ad hoc explanations. Rather, a long-term change occurred from about 1600 onward, while several elements of the modern penal system (as claimed by Foucault) did not become visible until after 1840. With respect to the concept of power, Elias and Foucault converge again on one crucial point: the notion of the omnipresence of power. However, whereas Elias defines power as a structural property of every social relationship and acknowledges its two-sidedness, Foucault's concept of power has a more top-down character, and he often depicts power as an external force that people have to accommodate. Although Foucault's notion of the interconnectedness of power and knowledge is valuable, Elias has a more encompassing view of sources of power.

    Siegelbaum, Lewis H.
  • The Condition of Labor in Post-Soviet Russia: A Ten-Year Retrospective
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    Subject Headings:
    • Working class -- Russia (Federation) -- Economic conditions.
    • Working class -- Russia (Federation) -- Social conditions.
    • Labor movement -- Russia (Federation)
      Labor (meaning both wage workers as well as their collective representation) in Russia was a major loser in the decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Aggregate data on prices, average wage and pension levels, wage arrears, and unemployment indicate a serious decline in workers' standard of living that is unprecedented in the post–World War II era, while strike data show an upsurge in this form of worker militancy during the mid-1990s but a decline thereafter.

      This article seeks to explain both why these developments occurred and what prevented workers from adequately defending their collective interests. Four explanations have been advanced by Western and Russian scholars. The first is that workers were victims of state policies pursued in line with the "Washington consensus" on how to effectuate the transition from an administrative-command to a market-based economy. The second points to workers' attitudes and practices that were prevalent under Soviet conditions but proved inappropriate to post-Soviet life. The third, claiming that several key indices of workers' standard of living are misleading, denies that labor has been a loser. The fourth and most compelling of the explanations is derived from ethnographically based research. It argues that despite changes in the forms of property and politics, power relations at the enterprise level remained intact, leaving workers and their unions dependent on the ability of management to bargain with suppliers of subsidies and credits. The article concludes with some observations about workers' survival strategies and the extent to which collective dependence on economic and political strongmen has worked against structural change in favor of labor.

    Sawers, Larry, 1942-
  • The Mule, the South, and Economic Progress
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    Subject Headings:
    • Mules -- Southern States -- History.
    • Draft horses -- Southern States -- History.
    • Agriculture -- Southern States -- History.
      This article examines the choice of draft animal in Southern agriculture in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century and shows that the preference for the mule over the horse reflected the South's geography. The mule was well suited to the crops that dominated the region. The long, hot summers favored the heat-tolerant mule. The region's geography made it difficult to produce good pastures and encouraged mule breeding to locate at considerable distances from Southern farms. The consequent variation in the price of mules relative to the price of horses across the South shaped the choice of work stock. Also important were the forms of labor organization on Southern farms. This research shows that the choice of the mule over the horse represented an important and progressive step for Southern agriculture.




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