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Soviet Relations Of Domination: Legitimate or Illegitimate?


Chris Armbruster


Module Machine International

August 25, 2005


Abstract:     
Questions of domination and power, legitimacy and legitimation have driven 20th century research on dictatorship and democracy, on totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, on fascism and communism and even on capitalism versus socialism. Reference to Max Weber's ideal-types of legitimate domination was universal, but the prior logical distinction between legitimate and illegitimate domination remained unexamined. Hence Soviet relations of domination were appraised as total, goal-rational, new traditionalist and eudaemonic but never was the legitimacy of relations of command and obedience examined closely, not even in the light of the scope, duration and intensity of Stalinist terror. We propose such a re-examination here and conclude that as a consequence of the terror Soviet (imperial) relations of domination were illegitimate. We buttress this hypothesis through a historical comparison between the Soviet, National Socialist and Chinese communist case; by contrasting it with the most theoretically informed contemporary appraisal of the Soviet path after Stalin's death; and by defending the excess content of the new hypothesis vis-a-vis such notions as total domination, goal-rational legitimation, new traditionalist legitimacy and eudaemonic legitimacy. Our discussion challenges sociology to develop a general theory of domination as a social relation - as begun by Max Weber but never completed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: Domination, Power, Legitimacy, Legitimation, Soviet empire, terror, totalitarianism, goal-rational legitimation, eudaemonic legitimacy, legal-rational domination

JEL Classification: H70, N44, P20, P30

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Date posted: August 31, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Armbruster, Chris, Soviet Relations Of Domination: Legitimate or Illegitimate? (August 25, 2005). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=790508 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.790508

Contact Information

Chris Armbruster (Contact Author)
Module Machine International ( email )
Lessingstrasse 55
Berlin, 13158
Germany
HOME PAGE: http://modulemachine.net
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