Abstract

Societies have risen and fallen throughout history. This theoretical study seeks to understand the process by which societies succeed and fail, how societies evolve over time, and what role an individual leader can play in this evolution. Societal evolution follows a pattern that this study refers to as Punctuated Equilibrium, a term borrowed from evolutionary biology. Societies remain unchanged for long periods of time, and then rapidly change through destructive means in a short timeframe. A synthesis of Max Weber's works on Charisma and Politics as a Vocation with Michel Foucault's work on Parrhesia provides the possibility that a society can adapt to new conditions without having to dismantle and reassemble itself. While modern societies have not achieved this ideal, there may be unique opportunities for institutional reform that past societies have not been afforded.

Advisor

Tierney, Thomas

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Disciplines

Theory, Knowledge and Science

Publication Date

2013

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2013 Edward Alter Day