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Dan Ziblatt In Defense of the Continued Relevance of the Barrington Moore Problematic

Hoisted from Comments: Dan Ziblatt writes:

After Barrington Moore: Draft for September 25, 2010 50th Anniversary Conference - Grasping Reality with Both Hands: Just taught Moore to my PhD students last week.

One amendment: while you are certainly correct that the "Moore problematique" has diminished relevance in the industrialized world of U.S. and Europe, it is very much alive and well in much of the world. Less relevant than his particular dependent variable (communism, fascism, and democracy) is his explanatory framework: the urban-rural split and the nature of rural social structure is at the heart of fights over political regime, for example, in Thailand (e.g. Thaksin's populist appeal to Thai countryside vs. urban elite) as well, even more to the point, in Pakistan where one of the Taliban's main appeals there is to rural tenants against powerful rural landlords, a Junker-type landowning class. To put it more strongly: Without a Barrington Moore framework, we cannot understand the appeals of Pakistan's Taliban.

The point: Moore's explanatory paradigm (rural social structure as determinant of politics, however defined) remains alive and well in countries, outside of the core of the OECD world, that are also increasingly of interest to ambitious social studies students.

I assume, I should add, that is part of the reason I am able to keep publishing stuff on 19th century rural social structure and European democratization in political science journals--people see parallels to many other countries today.