Can the Theories of Political Studies Claim the Status of Science? To answer this question this paper will discuss viewpoints of Albert O. Hirschman on political science as social science. Hirschman introduces three ideas that deal with the way citizens tends react in todays civilization when they are displeased with something. These three ideas are voice, exit, and loyalty. If one were to look at these three concepts in mind, they discover that these three concepts can provide some understanding of America as described by David Riesman and Judith Shklar. These three concepts can be interpreted in such a way that it show how people are in the American Society and how they can even change the system when they voice their opinion. David Riesman discusses how some people are- individualists who will not always follow the majority crowd and conformists who are willing to go through anything to stay within the group even if it means something that they are totally against. It is important to note Riesman states that these individuals are only extremes and that in real life they do not exist. He believes that people are just a blend of both types.
People are willing to exercise the option of exit in some certain cases and will remain loyal to other types of cases. Shkler gives further insight to Hirschmans concept by discussing how minority groups voiced their opinions in order to change an entire society. In Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, Albert O. Hirschman discusses three types of ways that people can respond to when there is a change in the consumer market and there is disapproval. The three types are exit, voice, and loyalty. In the exit option, the consumer leaves the organization. Some consumers stop buying the firms products or so members leave the organization: this is the exit option. (Hirschman 4) If the consumer does not approve the organization of their new or improved product, he has the option to just leave and not do anything about it.
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Following the exit option is the voice option. In the voice option, the consumers voice their options. The firms customers or the organizations members express their dissatisfaction directly to management or to some other authority to which management or to some other authority to which management is subordinate or through general protest addressed to anyone who cares to listen: this is the voice option.(Hirschman 4) If a consumer is dissatisfied with a certain way their organization they voice their opinion. They in a sense, fight to the very end making sure that they are heard that that their opinion be stated. If their voice is not heard, they finally use the exit option and leave the organization. The last option is loyalty. Loyalty in that they choose not to leave and hope that the problem will alleviate sooner or later. As a result of loyalty, these potentially most influential customers and members will stay on longer that they would ordinarily, in the hope or, rather, reasoned expectation that improvement and can be achieved from within(Hirschman 79).
These are three basic ways that the public can respond when they disapprove something from their organizers. With these three options in mind, Hirschmans concepts of exit, voice, and loyalty can also be used in helping to provide understanding America as described by David Riesman, author of The Lonely Crowd, and Judith N. Shklar, author of American Citizenship. Hirschmans option of exit can be seen in The Lonely Crowd. Exit can help further explain the types of the inner-directed others. The inner-directed person has early incorporated a psychic gyroscope which is set going by his parent and can receive signals later on from other authorities who resemble his parents. He goes through life less independent than he seems, obeying this internal piloting. Getting off course, whether in response to inner impulses or to the fluctuating voices of contemporaries, may lead to the feeling of guilt.(Reisman 25) Here it is stating that the inner directed person follows only a few people, those who he respects. Other than that he does not really feel obligated to follow those who is not really respected.
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With that in mind, whenever anything changes around him, he will not automatically change to fit the group. He will only change if he feels it is deemed necessary and also if the person or organization is respectable enough to follow. Another clue that the inner-directed person is someone who does not follow the crowd is when he feels guilt. When he feels guilty, that means he is not following people and is using the option exit. Guilt can only happen if they are not following the crowd. Riesman further points out that the inner-directed person may refuse to adapt because of moral disapproval of what the signals of what the signals may convey. Or they may be discouraged by the fact that the signals, though inviting enough, do not seem meant for them.
(Riesman 33) Here, although it may seem right for the inner-directed to follow, they may just choose not to. They will just go with what they feel is right for them. In Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, Hirschman states As in the case of exit, a mixture of alert and inert citizens, or even an alteration of involvement and withdrawal, may actually serve democracy better than either total, permanent activism or total apathy. (Hirschman 32) With that in mind, the option exit can help provide an understanding of America and how democracy works. The quote previously stated by Hirschman shows that the option exit is not a useless. In fact it helps maintain a democracy because it allows people to not always to follow the majority.
They have a chance to just go on their own way. It allows a minority group to form and therefore keep a democracy- majority rule with the respect of minority rights. In many situations in the American Society, injustices were set up to prevent people to enjoy true equality. Exit is sometimes not the best option to use in dealing with certain situations. This is when voice comes to play in understanding America. When exit does not seem like an option, people in a democracy rebel and raise their voices in order not only to be heard of the injustice they believe is put upon them, but also to change it to eradicate the injustice.
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Hirschman states that the exit option is likely to be met with a mixture of incredulity. (Hirschman 30) Here he specifically states that exit usually does not happen quietly. People will try to first voice their opinion to try to change the system and will only exit if all other options have been used. An example that fits this option can be found in Shkalrs book, American Citizenship. The slaves wanted the right to vote and they voiced that they believed that they had the right to vote. The blacks felt that it was necessary to vote in order to achieve equality. Fredrick Douglas states Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot. (Shklar 52) It shows how important it was for the black man to vote.
They kept voicing their opinion until the changed had occurred and the right to vote was granted to them. This shows how effective voice can be. It had not only allowed blacks to vote but it also allowed women to vote. In the beginning, voting was only allowed to white people who had property. However, because minority groups, such as the blacks and women, exercised the option of voice, race and sex can no longer be used as a factor in denying someone their rite to vote. This option also provides an understanding of America of how it is formed by the people and for the people.
In the case of suffrage, when the minority groups felt that they deserved the right to vote. They voiced their opinion and kept voicing their opinions until their wishes were granted. This option was also used in the 1960s when the blacks wanted to make a statement that they are equals. Voice at times can be a great option to use when one is trying to change something in the system. Exit and voice are two options in where the people try to express their disapproval of what is happening to them. There is another option that goes in the total opposite direction. This is the option of loyalty. Going back to Riesmans book, it shows that there are those who are just conformists. Riesman calls these people as the other-directed person.
He states the other-directed person learns to respond to signals from a far wider circle than is constituted by his parents. (Riesman 25) Here he is basically stating that the person is more likely to follow the crowd. This trend, of following people somewhat is prevalent in todays society. People do not want to be ostracized from the group and it seems that they are almost going to extremes to maintain their status of being in the in crowd. No matter what changes, these people will be loyal to the majority group by abiding to their rules instead of their own. Riesman goes on to say that Other-directed character types are produced not only be influences affecting the parent and other early character-forming agent but also by institutions that shape and reshape the character of adults who grew up in an environment more undiluted innerdirected.(Riesman 110) This shows that even when they become adults, they will still tend to change in order to stay within the group. That shows loyalty in the group.
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The option of loyalty shows that in todays society in America, people are always conforming and willing to give up their own morals in order to stay in the in crowd. Even though at first they may even disagree with what the organization is doing they will remain loyal with the hope the change that they disapprove of will be changed back to normal with eventual time. Riesman best defines the people who are loyal to the inner group with this: What is common to all the other-directed people is that their contemporaries are the source of direction for the individual-either those known to him or those with whom he is indirectly acquainted, through friends and through the mass media. This source is of course internalized in the sense that dependence on it for guidance in life is implanted early. The goals toward which the other directed person strives shift with that guidance: it is only the process of striving itself and the process of paying close attention to the signals from other that remain unaltered throughout life (Riesman 22) This clearly proves that other-directed people are always trying to be apart of something and that they will conform in order to stay in it. This shows the current trend in the American Society.
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Another insight that Riesman offers in his book that discusses of not only the option exit but as well as loyalty is when he talks about the tradition-directed person. The tradition-directed person utilizes both exit and loyalty. They will be loyal as long as it stays with the morals Inesof their tradition. They will sometimes not follow the majority group but will maintain loyal to some group. He states that they feels the impact of his culture as a unit, but it is nevertheless mediated through the specific, small number of individuals with whom he is in daily contact. These expect him not so much that he be a certain type of person but that he behaved in the approved way. Consequently the sanction for behavior tends to be fear of being shamed.
(Riesman 25) This is somewhat different than the inner-directed person because they are not listening to themselves. Instead they are still obeying the traditions of their past and is therefore loyal to them. They will avoid the majority group if the majority do not follow their traditions. There are many people in todays society who maintains loyalty to previous traditions. The options of exit, voice, and loyalty show how consumers can react when they disapprove of something their organization is doing. They may leave the organization- exercising the exit option.
They may voice their opinion and try to make a change in the company- exercising the option voice. They may also do nothing about it and just remain loyal to the organization- exercising the option loyalty. Exit allows a minority group to form, voice allows people to speak when the people believe that their has been an injustice set upon them, and loyalty shows how people of today are conformists. By taking a closer look at the following options, one is able to understand that the theories of political studies in valuable field of science because these theories allows to understand American society as a living entity and even psychological aspects of Americans in the very core as could be confront with biology.
Hirschman, Albert Exit Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States Harvard Univ Press, 1972 David Robertson, The Penguin Dictionary of Politics, London, Penguin, 1993, p. 236.
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John Tomlinson, Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991 Jeremy Tunstall, The Media Are American, New York, Columbia University Press, 1977 Riesman, David The Lonely Crowd, Revised edition: A Study of the Changing American Character [ABRIDGED], Yale Univ Press, 2001 Shuker, Roy, Understanding Popular Music, London, Routledge, 1994 Mohammadi, Ali ‘Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Identity’ in John Downing et al. (eds), Questioning the Media: A Critical Introduction, London, Sage, 1990 I am indebted to Ali Mohammadi’s excellent chapter ‘Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Identity’ in ibid., pp. 267-280 for the information contained in this section. Undoing Culture: Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity, London: Sage, 1995.