A Definition Of Terms

A Definition Of Terms

THE POLITICS OF MASS SOCIETY, by William Kornhauser. Free Press. 1959.

Of all the words employed by Socialists, Sociologists, Liberals, Political Scientists, Writers and Literary Critics, none has been so abused as the word “mass.” Whether it has been applied to society, politics, civilization, or culture, or simply to The Masses, it has been used vaguely and without specific meaning. Indeed, the whole concept of masses as applied to twentiethcentury life has become so corrupt from lack of definition that to speak or write the word today is immediately to run the risk of identifying oneself as a snob—and quite correctly too.

Correctly, because the viable concept of mass has been taken over by the culture-snobs who in America derive part of their inspiration from a fear of The Revolt of the Masses as it has been enunciated by the Holders of High Culture. Naturally, the culture-snobs have not been misusing the word only to protect High Culture. It has been...

Socialist thought provides us with an imaginative and moral horizon.

For insights and analysis from the longest-running democratic socialist magazine in the United States, sign up for our newsletter: