Policy (political substance) – politics (political process) – polity (political institution)
Going back an the Latin (even of Greek origin) term politia/politiae – state, constitution of a state.
politia is at the same time a term used as title of a book by the Greek philosopher Plato.
Another way to root the term is the connection which can be drawn back (going from the French to the Latin to the Greek) and linking it to police, in French originally used for the civil government.
Links are set to
* Crowd and finally as well
Making clear the two and respectively four dimensions of
public versus private
* regulated versus spontaneous.
Implied are as well links to nearness and distance, immediateness and mediated and the like.
Taking this as granted it is questionable if The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology by Walter W. Skeat (Hertfordshire: Woodsworth Editions Ltd., 1993) states that the term policy, understood as warrant for money in the funds, a contract of insurance is completely distinct from the term policy, going back to police.
In general, we see already here a very general question that follows us throughout the history of social thinking, i.e. the issue that probably most prominent had been spelled out by Sir Arthur Sutherland Maine in the words from status to contract.
back to policies, politics and polities it cannot developed here how exactly the
development took shape, which areas we currently take as part of the public, the
state and politics had been originally part of this setting and, on the other
hand, which parts successively arrived there from private spheres etc.
now, it has to be emphasised that today’s constellation is by far not an
eternally given one.
further consideration following two further views back into history are of
first refers to Plato and marks some basic principles of the constitutions of a
state – for now (but only for now) we can use terms as state, political
system, society, nation stated as interchangeable.
In a second step I want to give a brief insight into something what will – explicitly but even more implicitly – employ us throughout any investigation of social policy, namely the supposedly counterpart of economic policy. Here I want to go back to the original meaning of the term behind it, namely oikonomia. This goes back to oikos – the house – and nemein – manage, lead, distribute.
I quote in some length from another ancient philosopher.
principle of a good management of an household in accordance with this approach
consists on the combination of the following elements
The principle of a good management of an household in accordance with this approach consists on the combination of the following elements
* an autarkic, sustainable system, in which activities aim on the production of utility values;
* a hierarchic system in the frame of which the mutual dependencies are respected and utilised for the “benefit of all”;
* the constitution of a clientelistic system, in which on the one hand the client is obliged to provide certain work; however, on the other hand, s/he is not at the mercy of the patron. Rather, the patron is obliged to fulfil the duty of care against the client.
A fundamental upheaval of such a system arises with the initial accumulation, by which the production is finally split between the production of the utility value on the one side and the exchange value on the other side. By this, i.e. basically the orientation on the production of added and surplus value and its private appropriation the fundamental split between the two classes, namely the bourgeoisie and proletariat is unavoidable.
On this basis there is no “need” anymore for clientelistic care. The whole ethical foundation of welfare provisions change; they develop from
* the clientelistic system to
* the charity, based on good will in the framework of different religious systems finally to
* the fulfilment of functional provisions due to the requirements of maintaining the system.
Recapitulating from here we have the following four starting point for developing in the further arguments social policy:
* The development of societies in a sense of an increased differentiation – even if a variety of theories and different arguments had been build around this we can basically, although with caution argue that this development is about the replacement of status by contract.
* Plato: constitution of states, born out of
Ø and power relationsships on grounds of factual authority, knopwledge and charisma
The economy not simply as a matter of production of goods; rather it can
be only grasped as a matter of social interaction, as a social relationship. As
such it determines a complex and at the same time contradictious area: On the
one hand it is an open system, in which different actors can be found, relating
to each other. As such it is a system of which the total is more than the sum of
its individual parts. However, being an internally open system this does not
mean that roles are interchangeable. On the contrary, the positions are more or
less strictly defined – first by status, later by contract; the solidarity is
initially mechanic and later organic (Durkheim). In other words again we
find a process of civilisation: taking certain actions out of immediate
individual control, bringing them under a mechanism of psychologically
internalised control allow the development of ever longer chains of action, thus
enhancing the societal control by consciously making use of interdependencies (cf.
Norbert Elias: Process of civilisation).
NB: From here the mechanisms of control are interesting as a matter of quality: It has been Emile Durkheim who elaborated in particular in his studies on La Division du travaille and even more in his analysis of Le suicide the mismatch between individual, social and societal control and who showed the mechanism of anomie as an important – and at times as good as unavoidable – consequence of the widening gap.
* Structuration of society and class division
From here we have to look at
* the actors in the social system and their interests and
* the mechanism of empowerment and des-empowerment respectively.
Appropriation is a core issue at stake since it allows the analysis of two dimensions. Basically the term goes back to French and Latin origins, namely apropriare. Propre, proprium have the meaning of one’s own, peculiar, suitable. This means first and foremost the constitution of a relationship of nearness.
From here we can grasp the two dimensions, already alluded upon can be seen. We find
* the dimension of technically lead action and
* the dimension of the entire utilisation, i.e.
Ø the control of the interaction with the material – including the control of the planning of the process of production
Ø the control of the interaction with other – involved and/or effected – people and
Ø the control over the product and the use made of it.
What basically is reflected here is the existence and overcoming of the division between use respectively utility value and the exchange value. Only in this way, at least, the opportunity for participation, i.e. for a full membership in society can arise. This would define citizenship as constitution of a sovereign actor. Such a definition of citizenship links to a positive realisation of participation, pars capere with the twofold meaning of
* Taking a part from the whole and
* taking part in the whole, i.e. taking part in the activities – communications and decisions – of the entire society – which makes such a communication a mutual process with an equal distribution of power.
It is a difficult question now to interpret citizenship as a real matter, as a structural condition, defined by various means (as e.g. discussed by Tom Marshall and as a process of daily life.
Marshall highlights political, economic and social rights (sequence) as evolving system to grant full citizenship. At the first glance, there is no problem with this. However, a more detailed look raises doubts insofar citizenship cannot be conceptualised as a gradual status. Rather, citizenship is a meaningful concept only if it is grasped as process, i.e. as something, which allows an active intervention into political, economic and social existence on the individual and social level. Furthermore, the concept of citizenship makes only sense if it is bound to an absolute standard. There cannot be anything like “a little bit citizenship”. This can be highlighted by looking at the origins of the idea of citizenship in its current understanding, tracing it back to the era of enlightenment and the bourgeois revolution.