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Elites in Latin America by Seymour Martin Lipset; Aldo Solari Review by: John Duncan Powell The Journal

of Developing Areas, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Jan., 1968), pp. 283-284 Published by: College of Business, Tennessee State University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4189466 . Accessed: 24/09/2012 03:16
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An acquaintance with the work of Bell and his associates is necessary for the student of the West Indies. Unfortunately this book is expensive (in either cloth or paper editions) and has many characteristics of a "non-book." Four of the chapters have already been published as articles, one is summarized in Bell and Oxaal's Decisions of Manhood and three are forthcoming as monographs. DAVID PAVY Harvard University ELITES IN LATIN AMERICA. Edited by Seymour Martin Lipset and Aldo Solari. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. Pp. xii + 531, Paper-$2.95, Cloth-$9.50. Upon spotting this volume on a bookstore shelf, the Latin Americanist and the general developmental analyst are likely to be thrown into a state of high anticipation because, as the jacket promises, this "is not only the first study of Latin American elites, but is also the first comprehensive sociological study of Latin America." The state of anticipation is heightened by the roster of contributors (many of the finest social thinkers in the hemisphere) and sustained by Professor Lipset's introductory essay. But in the end, we fall victim to a feeling of relative deprivation. The main thrust of the volume is that: (1) the value systems of traditional elites and their sociopolitical consequences diminish the possibility of a modernizing transformation in Latin America; (2) upwardly mobile elites emerging from new social bases either assimilate these same values during their ascent, or are unlikely to challenge effectively the traditional sociopolitical processes; and (3) the educational process, as it is organized in Latin America, shows little promise of altering this situation. We are left, however, with some loose threads in this analysis which threaten to undo the tapestry. Two of the social bases of traditional elite values, the church and the military, are treated in the volume, and internal changes are occurring in each. Within the church, a cleavage is developing between the social activists at the institutional base and the managers at the hierarchical apex. Within the military, values are shifting away from their traditional moorings (while remaining in many ways incompatible with a modernizing transformation). The third pillar of the traditional triumvirate, the landed elite, is not singled out for the attention it merits. Although mentioned in almost every essay, no specific chapter is devoted to its study. Since the other two are changing, yet the operative value systems are being maintained, might it not be that the landed elite is the single most important carrier and steward of the traditional values? Or might it be that the peculiar nature of the institution of property per se is the systematic element of stability in the Latin American world? In that case, it would have been interesting in this volume on elites to have analyzed the behavior of the revolutionary elites in Cuba in order to gauge the depth of changes in their values. It is probably too early to tell, but one wonders whether the transformation of the property system has changed the values of the managers of the econiomy




and polity, or whether some sort of new class is emerging with man) of the traditional values still operative. Does the patron system still function in Cuba? Do familism, machlismo, personalism, heroic defiance of fate, and other manifestations of traditionial Hispanic values still function in Cuba? Granting the difficulty in obtaining an objective analysis of Cuban developments, one wishes that the editors had made some attempt to do so. Beyond such criticisms lies the fact that this is a valuable study. One could not include the work of so many brilliant men in one volume without producing brilliant results. Three of the chapters-Landsberger on labor elites, Bonilla on cultural elites, and Ratinoff on middle class elites-represent scholarship of very high caliber. And I suspect that it is Professor Lipset to whom we owe thanks for initiating and guiding this entire enterprise; for in bringing together the best of Latin American sociologists with leading North American sociologists, he has challenged the widely held bias, that Latin Americans can not match their Yankee counterparts in objective, empirical analysis. While a few chapters do suggest a basis for holding such an outlook, several of the Latin American contributions are superb, particularly that of Glaucio Soares. And, as the chapter by Professor Walker unfortunately demonstrates, North American mastery of certain methodological tools does not guarantee significant sociological analysis. In conclusion, Elites in Latin America is an important contributioni to the field of development-and the statures of Professor Lipset anld others are unlikely to be diminished by whatever shortcomings the volume exhibits. Used selectively for teaching purposes, it promises to be an extremely useful tool. Because of the excellence of somneof its individual contributions, it should also become a source of enlightennment and stimulation to further research. It is a recognition of the magnitude of the c iallenge rather than a criticism of this volume to realize that we are ,till waiting for that "first comprehensive sociological stuidy of Latin America." JOHN DUNCAN POWELL Center for International Affairs
Harvurd University

THE COLONIAL BACKGROUND OF MODERN BRAZIL. By Caio Prado, Jr. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1967. Pp. 530, $11.00. After its initial publication in Brazil in 194?., this book was soon considered a fundamental contribution to the knowledge of Brazilian social and political development. Successive editions have more than confirmed this estimate; now a translation makes this classic of Brazilian historical and sociological literature available to a larger English speaking public. It is uncontested that Caio Prado, Jr., with his many publications and particularly with this book, must be considered one of the most competent specialists to have analyzed the mechanisms of economic life in Brazilian history. He combines an uncommon .talent for observation and interpretation of economic phenomena with the ability to keep much