In a footnote to his essay “Sects and Sectarians” (DISSENT, Autumn, 1954), Lewis Coser advises that he is employing a “typological procedure,” and that the political sect modeled in his study is a sociological construct, neither portraying in its entirety any particular sect, nor implying in its composition any value judgment. As colleagues of Coser, sharing his deep concern with the problems of socialism, we understand that it could not have been his intent to disclaim “resemblance to persons living or dead.” Yet his essay illustrates in its approach and methods the limitations of sociological techniques when applied to what are fundamentally political problems.
An examination of socia...
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