Be Aware of “Mass Societies”. Simultaneities between the 50's and 60´s Sociologies of Argentina and the United States

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:10
Oral Presentation
Alejandro BIALAKOWSKY, Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani - Facultad de Ciencias Sociales - Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pablo DE MARINIS, Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Insituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina
From the 1930s onwards, the social-theoretical problematization of masses and crowds took a new path in almost all over the world. On the one hand, greater emphasis was placed on technical progress and bureaucratisation of organizations (both State and business, as well as the media, political parties and trade unions). On the other hand, the various effects of these processes, from the democratic blurring of cultural distinctions between elites and non-elites to the transformation of the class structure that could –and did– lead to totalitarianism were stressed. Authors like José Ortega y Gasset or Karl Mannheim were illustrative of these positions.

Starting from a previous work, in which we have comparative studied the perspectives of David Riesman and Gino Germani, this paper proposes a broader effort. To do this, we will recover the comparative perspective of the "simultaneous approach" between theories of the South and the North that we had deployed there, although we will leave aside the specificity we had then reached by comparing only two perspectives. Now, we intend to systematize more generally the dominant characteristics, similarities and peculiar features that the analysis of these problems assumed in sociology in the United States and in Argentina during the 50's and especially the 60's. At that time, sociology reached higher levels of institutionalization in Argentina and, consequently, a greater volume of research and theoretical reflections, while in the United States its elaborations and research proposals achieved global reach. There, we will highlight certain common “epochal crossroads”, related to the emergence of the so called "mass society", and at the same time we will trace the different ways in which both sociologies elaborated and intervened on such crossroads, based on public opinion, social structure, long-range historical or organizational studies.