Abstract

Michael Mann is one of the leading historical macrosociologists. According to him, societies are not well structured totalities or unitary systems; rather, they are constituted of multiple overlapping and intersecting socio-spatial networks of power. And power is a general means to attain whatever human’s goals through mastery of one’s environment. Power cannot be reduced to its exploitative aspect; cooperation can enhance allies’ collective power over third parties or over nature. Mann distinguishes four dimensions of power: extensive and intensive and authoritative and diffused power. They describe centralized/de-centralized nature of a subject of power and the extent of penetrative/outflanking capacities of power. The four sources of social power, constituting Mann’s IEMP model, are ideological, economic, military and political human relations of conflictual or cooperative nature. Over the course of history, there was a development of human collective power. This developmental process was of «interstitial» rather than evolutionistic nature because of non-coherence of networks of power, defects of translation of human goals into organizational means, unintended consequences of social actions, historical accidents.

One of the central issues of Mann’s historical sociology is the rise of state power and transformation of state’s nature as well as its impact on other power organizations. In exchange for the rising power previously movable population become encaged by civilization and state. The origins of the first states lie in accumulation, centralization and defense of the resources of irrigation agriculture and the trade emerging nearby. The following dia lectic between the ancient empires of «compulsory cooperation» and «multi-power-actor civilization» improved extensive and intensive properties of state power correspondingly. Transcendent ideologies of world religions (especially Christianity) introduced a normative pacification in geopolitical relations between states. Increasing cohesion of ruling class and «military revolution» raises state’s requirements in economic and human resources and leads to interpenetration of state and civil society. Thus state increased its «infrastructural power» at the expense of its «despotic» power and relative autonomy from society.

Keywords: Michael Mann, historical sociology, power, networks, state, civilization, empire