Robert Michels (German: [ˈmɪçəls]; 9 January 1876, Cologne, Germany – 3 May 1936, Rome, Italy) was a German-born Italian sociologist who contributed to elite theory by describing the political behavior of intellectual elites. He belonged to the Italian school of elitism. He is best known for his book Political Parties, published in 1911, which contains a description of the "iron law of oligarchy." He was a friend and disciple of Max Weber, Werner Sombart and Achille Loria. Politically, he moved from the Social Democratic Party of Germany to the Italian Socialist Party, adhering to the Italian revolutionary syndicalist wing and later to Italian Fascism, which he saw as a more democratic form of socialism. His ideas provided the basis of moderation theory which delineates the processes through which radical political groups are incorporated into the existing political system.
Michels born to a wealthy German family, studied in England, Paris (at the Sorbonne), and at universities in Munich, Leipzig (1897), Halle (1898), and Turin. He became a Socialist while teaching at the University of Marburg and became active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany for whom he was an unsuccessful candidate in the German federal election, 1903. In Italy, he associated with Italian revolutionary syndicalism, a leftist branch of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). He left both parties in 1907.
He achieved international recognition for his historical and sociological study, Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie. Untersuchungen über die oligarchischen Tendenzen des Gruppenlebens, which was published in 1911; its title in English is Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy. In it, he presented his "Iron law of oligarchy" theory that political parties, including those considered socialist, cannot be democratic because they quickly transform themselves into bureaucratic oligarchies.
Michels was considered a brilliant pupil of Max Weber, who began publishing his writings in the Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik in 1906 and appointed him as co-editor in 1913, but they disagreed over Michels' opposition to World War I.
Michels criticized what he perceived to be Karl Marx's materialistic determinism. Michels borrowed from Werner Sombart's historical methods. Because Michels admired Italian culture and was prominent in the social sciences, he was brought to the attention of Luigi Einaudi and Achille Loria. They succeeded in procuring for Michels a professorship at the University of Turin, where he taught economics, political science and socioeconomics until 1914. He then became professor of economics at the University of Basel, Switzerland, a post he held until 1928.
In 1924 he joined the Fascist Party, led by Benito Mussolini, former director of the Italian Socialist Party's newspaper "Avanti!". Michels was convinced that the direct link between Benito Mussolini's charisma and the working class was in some way the best means to realize a real lower social class government without political bureaucratic mediation. In 1928, he became professor of economics and the history of doctrines at the University of Perugia and occasionally lectured in Rome where he died on May 3, 1936.
The Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research was founded in 1945. It is part of the Department of Psychiatry of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.Elite theory
In political science and sociology, elite theory is a theory of the state that seeks to describe and explain power relationships in contemporary society. The theory posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks, holds the most power—and that this power is independent of democratic elections. Through positions in corporations or on corporate boards, and influence over policy-planning networks through financial support of foundations or positions with think tanks or policy-discussion groups, members of the "elite" exert significant power over corporate and government decisions. The basic characteristics of this theory are that power is concentrated, the elites are unified, the non-elites are diverse and powerless, elites' interests are unified due to common backgrounds and positions and the defining characteristic of power is institutional position.Elite theory opposes pluralism, a tradition that assumes that all individuals, or at least the multitude of social groups, have equal power and balance each other out in contributing to democratic political outcomes representing the emergent, aggregate will of society. Elite theory argues either that democracy is a utopian folly, as it is traditionally viewed in the conservative Italian tradition, or that democracy is not realizable within capitalism, as is the view of the more Marxist-compatible contemporary elite theory permutation.
Even when entire groups are ostensibly completely excluded from the state's traditional networks of power (historically, on the basis of arbitrary criteria such as nobility, race, gender, or religion), elite theory recognizes that "counter-elites" frequently develop within such excluded groups. Negotiations between such disenfranchised groups and the state can be analyzed as negotiations between elites and counter-elites. A major problem, in turn, is the ability of elites to co-opt counter-elites.Gaetano Mosca
Gaetano Mosca (1 April 1858 – 8 November 1941) was an Italian political scientist, journalist and public servant. He is credited with developing the elite theory and the doctrine of the political class and is one of the three members constituting the Italian school of elitism together with Vilfredo Pareto and Robert Michels.Hierarchical organization
A hierarchical organization is an organizational structure where every entity in the organization, except one, is subordinate to a single other entity. This arrangement is a form of a hierarchy. In an organization, the hierarchy usually consists of a singular/group of power at the top with subsequent levels of power beneath them. This is the dominant mode of organization among large organizations; most corporations, governments, and organized religions are hierarchical organizations with different levels of management, power or authority. For example, the broad, top-level overview of the general organization of the Catholic Church consists of the Pope, then the Cardinals, then the Archbishops, and so on.
Members of hierarchical organizational structures chiefly communicate with their immediate superior and with their immediate subordinates. Structuring organizations in this way is useful partly because it can reduce the communication overhead by limiting information flow.Hubert Lagardelle
Hubert Lagardelle (8 July 1874 – 20 September 1958) was a pioneer of French revolutionary syndicalism. He regularly authored reviews for the Plans magazine, was co-founder of the journal Prélude, and Minister of Labour in the Vichy regime.Iron law of oligarchy
The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It asserts that rule by an elite, or oligarchy, is inevitable as an "iron law" within any democratic organization as part of the "tactical and technical necessities" of organization.Michels's theory states that all complex organizations, regardless of how democratic they are when started, eventually develop into oligarchies. Michels observed that since no sufficiently large and complex organization can function purely as a direct democracy, power within an organization will always get delegated to individuals within that group, elected or otherwise.
Using anecdotes from political parties and trade unions struggling to operate democratically to build his argument in 1911, Michels addressed the application of this law to representative democracy, and stated: "Who says organization, says oligarchy." He went on to state that "Historical evolution mocks all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy."According to Michels all organizations eventually come to be run by a "leadership class", who often function as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons or political strategists for the organization. Far from being "servants of the masses", Michels argues this "leadership class," rather than the organization's membership, will inevitably grow to dominate the organization's power structures. By controlling who has access to information, those in power can centralize their power successfully, often with little accountability, due to the apathy, indifference and non-participation most rank and file members have in relation to their organization's decision-making processes. Michels argues that democratic attempts to hold leadership positions accountable are prone to fail, since with power comes the ability to reward loyalty, the ability to control information about the organization, and the ability to control what procedures the organization follows when making decisions. All of these mechanisms can be used to strongly influence the outcome of any decisions made 'democratically' by members.Michels stated that the official goal of representative democracy of eliminating elite rule was impossible, that representative democracy is a façade legitimizing the rule of a particular elite, and that elite rule, which he refers to as oligarchy, is inevitable. Later Michels migrated to Italy and joined Benito Mussolini's Fascist Party, as he believed this was the next legitimate step of modern societies. The thesis became popular once more in post-war America with the publication of Union Democracy: The Internal Politics of the International Typographical Union (1956) and during the red scare brought about by McCarthyism.Mario Einaudi
Mario Einaudi was a scholar of political theory and European comparative politics. He was born in 1904 in Italy in one of the most influential intellectual family in Italy. His father, Luigi Einaudi, was one of Italy's great economic thinkers and later became the second President of the Republic of Italy (1948–55). His brother, Giulio Einaudi, was antifascist and the founder of the leading intellectual publishing house Giulio Einaudi Editore. A graduate of the University of Turin's distinguished law faculty, Mario Einaudi married Manon Michels, the daughter of the socialist Robert Michels, in 1933.Mass movement
A mass movement denotes a political party or movement which is supported by large segments of a population. Political movements that typically advocate the creation of a mass movement include the ideologies of communism and fascism. Both communists and fascists typically support the creation of mass movements as a means to overthrow a government and create their own government, the mass movement then being used afterwards to protect the government from being overthrown itself.
The social scientific study of mass movements focuses on such elements as charisma, leadership, active minorities, cults and sects, followers, mass man and mass society, alienation, brainwashing and indoctrination, authoritarianism and totalitarianism. The field emerged from crowd or mass psychology (Le Bon, Tarde a.o.), which had gradually widened its scope from mobs to social movements and opinion currents, and then to mass and media society.
One influential early text was the double essay on the herd instinct (1908) by British surgeon Wilfred Trotter. It also influenced the key concepts of the superego and identification in Massenpsychologie (1921) by Sigmund Freud, misleadingly translated as Group psychology. They are linked to ideas on sexual repression leading to rigid personalities, in the original Mass psychology of fascism (1933) by Freudo-Marxist Wilhelm Reich (not to be confused with its totally revised 1946 American version). This then rejoined ideas formulated by the Frankfurt School and Theodor Adorno, ultimately leading to a major American study about The authoritarian personality (1950), as a basis for xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
Another early theme was the relationship between masses and elites, both outside and within such movements (Gaetano Mosca, Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels, Moisey Ostrogorski).Michels
Michels is a surname, derived from Michaels, which in turn is derived from the given name Michael. Notable people with the surname include:
Birgit Michels (born 1984), German badminton player
David Michels, British businessman
Jan Michels, Dutch footballer
Jeff Michels, American weight lifter
Mareno Michels, Dutch darts player
Pete Michels, American television director
Rinus Michels, Dutch association football player and coach
Robert Michels, German sociologist
Robert Michels (physician), physician and professor of Medicine and of PsychiatryModeration theory
Moderation theory is a set of interrelated hypotheses that explain the process through which political groups eschew radical platforms in favour of more moderate policies and prefer electoral, compromising and non-confrontational strategies over non-electoral, exclusive, and confrontational strategies. Moderation can take place at both ideological and behavioural levels that mutually reinforce each other. The origins of the theory go back to the work of Robert Michels who offers a classical study of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in his book Political Parties. The theory offers insights into the transformation of party politics in a great range of cultural and historical cases including socialist and Christian democratic parties in Western Europe and more recently Islamic political groups. In particular, the evolution of Islamic political parties in Turkey since the early 1970s that culminated in the rise of the Justice and Development Party in the 2002 parliamentary elections exemplifies the dynamics highlighted by moderation theory.
The theory is composed of three causal mechanisms. First, once radical political groups are organized as vote-seeking parties, electoral considerations prevail and these groups abandon revolutionary agendas in favour of vote-maximizing strategies. This expectation is based on the median voter theorem. A second mechanism concerns the vulnerability of radical political groups participating in electoral contest to state repression. The logic of political survival necessitates that these groups avoid openly confronting state elites. The final mechanism involves the effects of organizational resources on group behaviour and suggests that the maintenance of electoral organization is prioritized over original political goals. Once radicals are organized as electoral parties, their original projects of revolutionizing the
political system becomes unachievable simply because of the lack of organizational resources. While moderation of radicals is generally thought to be conducive to democratization, it can also hamper and even hinder democratic progress as radicals are co-opted into the ruling political system and lose their reformist characteristics.
In contemporary times, moderation theory is further developed and critically refined to understand the evolution of Islamic political parties in Muslim majority countries as diverse as Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey. The Center Party (Hizb al-Wasat) of Egypt is example of a moderate Islamic organization that was not given license by the ruling regime. Moreover, Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt has transformed into an organization that is responsive to the logic of political competition and survival in an authoritarian regime at the cost of its original ideological commitments. Similarly, the Islamic Action Front of Jordan shows that Islamists can be moderate as a result of participation in pluralistic political process as long as this participation can be justified in Islamic terms.Moisey Ostrogorsky
Moisey Yakovlevich Ostrogorski (also Moisei Ostrogorsky; Russian: Моисе́й Я́ковлевич Острого́рский; Belarusian: Майсе́й Я́каўлевiч Aстрaго́рскi; 1854 – 10 February 1921) was a politician, political scientist, historian, jurist and sociologist. Along with Max Weber and Robert Michels, he is considered one of the founders of political sociology, especially in the field of theories about party systems and political parties. Ostrogorski noted that loyalty to parties is often comparable to loyalty to one's religion. He was a member of the First State Duma of the Russian Empire representing the Hrodna province in 1906-1907.Nocturnal clitoral tumescence
Nocturnal clitoral tumescence (NCT) is a spontaneous swelling of the clitoris during sleep or when waking up. Similar to the process in males, nocturnal penile tumescence, females experience clitoris tumescence or engorgement of the vagina mainly during REM sleep phase.Oligarchy
Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning 'few', and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning 'to rule or to command') is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious, political, or military control. Such states are often controlled by families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next, but inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term.
Throughout history, oligarchies have often been tyrannical, relying on public obedience or oppression to exist. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as meaning rule by the rich, for which another term commonly used today is plutocracy.
In the early 20th century Robert Michels developed the theory that democracies, as all large organizations, have a tendency to turn into oligarchies. In his "Iron law of oligarchy" he suggests that the necessary division of labor in large organizations leads to the establishment of a ruling class mostly concerned with protecting their own power.
This was already recognized by the Athenians in the fourth century BCE: After the restoration of democracy from oligarchical coups, they used the drawing of lots for selecting government officers to counteract that tendency toward oligarchy in government. They drew lots from large groups of adult volunteers to pick civil servants performing judicial, executive, and administrative functions (archai, boulē, and hēliastai). They even used lots for posts, such as judges and jurors in the political courts (nomothetai), which had the power to overrule the Assembly.Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic
At his death, Payne Whitney (March 20, 1876 – May 25, 1927) bestowed the funds to build and endow the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic (PWC) on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Whitney was an American businessman and member of the influential Whitney family. An eight-story free-standing hospital was constructed, and was affiliated with Cornell University's medical school, now called Weill Cornell Medicine, and with New York Hospital, now New York–Presbyterian Hospital (NYP), before its opening.
Payne Whitney was a large donor to the Hospital and Medical College, and it has been an issue of long speculation why he chose a psychiatric building to be his primary naming opportunity at New York-Cornell.
The poet Robert Lowell wrote of his hospitalization at Payne Whitney, Marilyn Monroe was hospitalized there in early 1961, and Mary McCarthy based her book, The Group, on her inpatient experience. The poet James Schuyler wrote about his experiences there in the eleven-poem series "The Payne Whitney Poems" which appeared in the New York Review of Books, August 17, 1978 issue. In Woody Allen's 1979 film, Manhattan, a character named Caroline Payne Whitney Smith is featured in a comedy sketch, where she and her husband are considered "normal folks," except for the fact that she is a catatonic.
The Payne Whitney building itself was torn down in the early 1990s to make way for an expansion of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital over the FDR Drive. Since that time, all clinical and research services at the two primary Cornell psychiatric campuses—in Manhattan and in White Plains, New York—have been named after Payne Whitney. The clinic also has an outpatient and Continuing Day Treatment Program in an off-campus building at East 61st Street and York Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Payne Whitney Clinic and NYP / Weill Cornell have been home to some of the most notable psychiatrists in the country. Current psychiatrists and psychologists include Jack Barchas, Robert Michels, Otto F. Kernberg, James Kocsis, George Makari, Michael Posner, William Breitbart, and Theodore Shapiro.
Noted staff have included Arnold Cooper, Frederic Flach, Benjamin Spock, Gerald Klerman, Robert Millman, Louis Jolyon West, David Silbersweig, Harry Tiebout, Mary Jane Sherfey, Helen Singer Kaplan, Allen Frances, and Paul McHugh. Payne Whitney has also been the "voluntary faculty" home to Roy Schafer, Richard Isay, Michael Perelman, Gail Saltz, and Daniel Stern, and the recent home of such senior scholars as David A. Hamburg and Beatrix Hamburg.Political Parties
Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy (German: Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie; Untersuchungen über die oligarchischen Tendenzen des Gruppenlebens) is a book by the sociologist Robert Michels, published in 1911 and first introducing the concept of iron law of oligarchy. It is considered one of the classics of social sciences, in particular sociology and political science. It was translated to Italian as Sociologia del partito politico nella democrazia moderna: studi sulle tendenze oligarchiche degli aggregati politici by Alfredo Polledro in 1912, and then translated from the Italian to English by Eden Paul and Cedar Paul for Hearst's International Library Co. in 1915.This work analyses the power structures of organizations such as political parties and trade unions. Michels's main argument is that all organizations, even those in theory most egalitarian and most committed to democracy – like socialist political parties – are in fact oligarchical, and dominated by a small group of leadership. The book also provides a first systematic analysis of how a radical political party loses its radical goals under the dynamics of electoral participation. The origins of moderation theory can be found in this analysis.Representative democracy
Representative democracy (also indirect democracy, representative government or psephocracy) is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. Nearly all modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, France is a unitary state, and the United States is a federal republic.It is an element of both the parliamentary and the presidential systems of government and is typically used in a lower chamber such as the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, Lok Sabha of India, and may be curtailed by constitutional constraints such as an upper chamber. It has been described by some political theorists including Robert A. Dahl, Gregory Houston and Ian Liebenberg as polyarchy. In it the power is in the hands of the representatives who are elected by the people. Political parties are often central to this form of democracy because electoral systems require voters to vote for political parties as opposed to individual representatives.Robert Michael
Robert Michael may refer to:
Robert Michael (footballer) (1879–1963), Australian footballer for Collingwood
Robert T. Michael, founding dean of the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at University of Chicago
Robert Michael (historian) (1936–2010), see Martin Luther and antisemitism
Robert Michael Lewis (1909–1997), American actorRobert Michels (disambiguation)
Robert Michels (1876–1936), German sociologist.
Robert Michels may also refer to:
Robert Michels (physician) (born 1936), psychology researcher at Cornell and Columbia UniversitiesRobert Michels (physician)
Robert Michels (born 1936) is Professor of Medicine and of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a training and supervising psychoanalyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.
A native of Chicago, Michels graduated from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University's medical school. After a residency and psychoanalytic training at Columbia, Michels completed a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Michels was named chairman of Cornell's psychiatry department in 1974. He served seventeen years as chairman at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic and served as Dean of Cornell's medical school from 1991 to 1996. Michels has been a Fellow of The Hastings Center since 1970.
He is the author of many articles and has co-edited multiple texts. His best known work is The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice, which was written with Roger MacKinnon and published in 1971. A second edition was published in 2006.