I.1 – Etymology

I.1.1 – Gender ultimately means “produce”.

I.1.2 – The role such as a notion of “rolled-up” piece of paper with the actor’s lines written up on it.

I.1.3 – Economy and Development in semantics.

I.2 – Semantics

I.2.1 – Gender in semantics.

I.2.2 – Economic Development in semantics: economy’s disclosure or economy’s improvement?

I.2.3 – The Patriarchy and Matriarchy eras.








II.1 – Natural and social differentiation of the genders

II.2 – The categories of the Human Environment.

II.2.1 – The modal categories.

II.2.1.1 – The function (military, religious, burocratic).

II.2.2 – The role (in the family, in a group, in the society).

II.2.2 – The quality’s categories.

– Emargination; emancipation; abuse

II.3 – Power Imposition in a cultural unbalanced Environment.

II.4 – The essential element of democracy: a balanced culture between individuals.








III.1 – Social Structure and Change

III.2 – Redefinition and redistribution of social roles as a premise to a more balanced economic development between genders.

III.3 – Equal opportunities to equal potentialities.





I.1 – Etymology

The underlying meaning of etymology is “finding the underlying or ‘true’ meaning of words.” Its ultimate source is Greek étumos ‘real, true’.  From this was derived étumon ‘true or literal sense of a word’ (acquired by English in the 16th century as etymon). 

Post-classical grammarians came to use this in the sense ‘root from which particular word was derived’ as a result of which modern etymology, the study of etymons, deals with their history rather than their meaning.


I.1.1 – Gender ultimately means “produce”.

General is one of a vast range of English words which go back ultimately to the prehistoric Indo-European base*gen-,*gon-,*gn-, denoting ‘produce’.

Its Germanic offshoots include kin, kind, and probably king, but for sheer numbers it is the Latin descendants genu ‘race, type’, gens ‘race, people’, gignere ‘beget’, and nasci  ‘be born’ (source of nation, nature, etc.) that have been the providers.

From genus come gender and its French-derived counterpart genre, generate, generic, generous, and genus itself. Gens produced genteel, gentile, gentle, and gentry, while gignere was the source of genital, genitive, gingerly (originally ‘daintily’, as if befitting someone of ‘noble birth’), indigenous and ingenuous.

A separate Latin strand is represented by genius and genie, and its derivative genial, while Greek descendants of Indo-European *gen-,*gon- are responsible for gene, genealogy, genesis, genetic, genocide (apparently coined by the Polish-born American jurist Raphael Lemkin in 19944), and gonorrhoea (literally ‘flow of semen’).

As for general itself, it comes via Old French general from Latin generalis ‘of the genus or type (as a whole)’, particularly as contrasted with specialis ‘of the species’ (source of English special). The application of the noun general to ‘senior military officer’ originated in the 16th century as an abbreviation of the phrase captain general (where the general was an adjective), a translation of French capitaine générale.

Words which are etymologically linked with the entry word ‘general’ are: gender, gene, genealogy, generate, generous, genesis, genetic, genie, genital, genius, genocide, gingerly, gonorrhoea, indigenous, jaunty, kin, kind.



I.1.2 – The role such as a notion of “rolled-up” piece of paper with the actor’s lines written up on it

English has to words roll, both of which go back ultimately to Latin rotulus  ‘small wheel’, as diminutive form of rota  ‘wheel’ (source of English rotate, rotund,  etc.). This passed via Old French rolle into English as roll ‘rolled-up parchment’. The modern French version of the word has given English role, whose underlying notion is of a ‘rolled-up’ piece of paper with the actor’s lines written on it.

From rotulus was driven the Vulgar Latin verb rollControl comes from the same source.

Words which are etymologically linked with the entry word ‘general’ are: control, rota, rotate, round.


I.1.3 – Economy and Development in etymology

The underlying notion contained in the word economy is of ‘household management’. It comes, via French or Latin, from Greek oikonomia, a derivative of oikonomòs, and a term for the ‘steward of a household’. This was a compound noun formed from oikòs ‘house’ (a word related to the -wich element in many English place-names) and némein ‘manage’ (ultimate source of English antinomian and nomad). The original sense ‘household management’ was carried through into English. It broadened put in the 17th century to the management of a nation’s resources (a concept at first termed more fully political economy), while the use of the derivative economics for the theoretical study of the creation and consumption of wealth dates from the early 19th century.

Words which are etymologically linked with the entry word ‘general’ are: antinomian, ecology, and nomad.


The history of develop and its close relative develop is hazy.

English acquired it from développer, the modern French descendant of Old French desveloper.

This was a compound verb formed from the prefix des-‘un-‘ and voloper ‘wrap’. But where did voloper comes from? Some have proposed a hypothetical Celtic base *vol- ‘roll’, while others have pointed to similarities, formal and semantic, with Italian viluppo  ‘bundle’ and viluppare  ‘wrap’, which come from an assumed late Latin *faluppa  ‘husk’. Beyond that, however, tha trail has gone cold.


In etymologics, economy development indicates the unwrapping of that particular discipline named economy, where unwrapping means ‘to free from wrappings, disclose’.

So, if we unwrap or disclose economy, we will have for sure the development of economy, but who cares of the development of economy? We want to have the development of something useful, not of something aimed to develop or unwrap itself. So, we want to develop, to unwrap, to disclose, to open, to show something useful, and not just to disclose, or to show anything.

If someone would emphatically say “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to show you economy”, probably everybody would answer “who cares?”

But, if anybody would state “Ladies and gentlemen, learn economy, because it is a good method to improve your quality of life”, certainly everyone would answer “Thanks for the notice”.



I.2 – Semantics

Sema was the Greek word for ‘sign’.

It has been widely pressed into service in the modern European languages for coining new terms, including semaphore (a borrowing from French, which etymologically means ‘signal-carrier’), semasiology (a German coinage), and semiology. The adjective derived from sema was semantikòs which reached English via French sémantique. It was fleetingly adopted in the mid-17th century as a word for “interpreting the ‘signs’ of weather”, but it did not come into its own as a linguistic term until the end of the 19th century.


I.2.1 – Gender in semantics

Likewise the words ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘light’, ‘dark’, etc., gender indicates a quality.

In grammar, gender indicates any of two or more divisions within a grammatical class that determine agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms.

In nature gender indicates one of the two divisions within the natural class that determines living beings. So, we have a male class and a female class in all living species.

This division belong to the sexuate reproduction species, while the asexuate species can have only one gender: the female.

The ‘sign’ of the gender is the sex and all activities related to the species reproduction.

This involves that genders can not have a same role, a same function, same needs, because their targets in reproduction are different, where the female engagement is much harder than the male engagement. Thus, they are different and differently engaged in the social structure too.

Whereas in grammar, grammatical forms and other words agree and are selected with the gender of the nouns, so in a human society all social forms and function should be selected and agreed with the gender of the social actor.

Fortunately, in a physiologic society it is very simple to distinguish the two genders. The problem becomes more complicated in a pathologic society, where egoism does not allow accepting the different role, function and engagement of genders.



I.2.2 – Economic Development in semantics: economy’s disclosure or economy’s improvement?

Has economy to be disclosed or improved? Certainly both of them, but firstly let’s discuss an argument.

We can compare the statement “Economic Development” to a more famous and popular statement such as “Political Development”, which has been used for decades until the disaster of the Former USSR, and is still used in the Latin America, in China, India, Pakistan, and in all the poorest countries.

Used in the semantic sense, Political Development means to unwrap, to show, therefore to learn politics. Then, when people learn politics and realize that the discipline has nothing useful to state, therefore, slowly but continuously, they abandon politics.

Right now politics is a big disaster even in the most “self-defined” democratic countries. That means politics is useless to solve the problems of human societies. Politics could have been improved, isn’t it? Anyway, nobody has been able to do that, therefore we are still using a scientific discipline that is obsolete.


What could happen if we had the same conclusion with economics? What would happen if we told people “learn economics!”? I do not exactly know, but I can imagine they would do it, and certainly they would get much more profit than learning politics.

Is it necessary to improve economics? Yes, it is, necessary and urgent, but anyway, what we have now certainly works much better than politics.

Solving the problem of quality of life between genders is not a matter of politics, but a simple matter of economics. When people will learn that roles and functions in a human society have been instilled by the nature, then, as in all other living beings societies, they will understand that it is much more convenient to accord, as in grammar, economic duties and engagements to the gender of individuals more than to the power of individuals. Because that’s an economic law!  That’s the economic theory of comparative advantage.

What we can do for improving economics is just free economy from politics wrappings. That’s all!



I.2.3 – The Patriarchy and Matriarchy eras








II.1 – Natural and social differentiation of genders

II.2 – The categories of the Human Environment.

II.2.1 – The modal categories.

II.2.1.1 – The function (military, religious, bureaucratic).

II.2.2 – The role (in the family, in a group, in the society).

II.2.2 – The quality’s categories.

– Emargination; emancipation; abuse.

II.3 – Power Imposition in a cultural unbalanced Environment.

II.4 – The essential element of democracy: a balanced culture between individuals.










III.1 – Social Structure and Change

The term social structure-together with such terms as social organization, social order, social patterns, and social form-has been used to indicate the fact that social relations within a particular environment are not random but, on the contrary, have certain coherence.

The term is a metaphor or analogy that applies to human social relations or conditions, a description that ordinarily would be applied to such things as machines, buildings, or the body organism. The term structure, in particular, was borrowed by social scientists from physics and anatomy. The basic assumption is that there exists in a society-as there presumably exists in a machine or an organism-a functional interdependence of the parts of the whole, all seeking or maintaining an equilibrium. According to the context or the writer, the parts might be social institutions, social groups, obligatory relations, statuses and roles, or other social components. It should be remembered, however, that metaphors or analogies are useful only in their illustration of particular principles. They are intellectual tools, not properties of empirical reality. If pressed in their empirical reality they can become useless and misleading.

In groupings ranging from the state to the mother bearing her child, human beings congregate and disperse, associate and disassociate themselves for a variety of purposes and ends that are to a large extent routinized or institutionalized. All societies exist by virtue of ceaseless interaction. Even member of a society is different, and consequently every combination of individuals in interaction is unrepeatable. There is indeed constant flow. It is only when one adopts the concept of the role that one has a tool for distinguishing permanence and change. A role is the part of the behaviour of individuals in interaction that is traditional, which each expects of the other as a result of his having been socialized in that society. A social structure is maintained through the repetition in the role situations. The persistence of legal codes for decades, centuries, and even millennia with basic principles and even wording merely added to but not replaced, for example, is a phenomenon not so obvious but just as certain as the relatively frequent changes of the personnel who administer the legal codes. The persistence of such ‘products of interaction’ as legal codes exemplifies the kind of permanence that characterizes human society. The ceaseless activities of judges, legislators, policemen, and citizens of the state constitute not change but structural stability.

As the process of interaction goes on, certain necessary functions are performed for the continuing existence of these social institutions. What looks to ordinary people like change, such as putting persons out of political office and putting others in, is actually a process of renewal of personnel enabling the state structure to continue to be the same structure that it has been. Every society has its renewal processes; these are not change but maintenance. Processes of renewal of personnel, processes of intensification of solidarity of groups, processes of distributing of economic goods and their production, these and many others are maintenance processes.

The maintenance of social and cultural systems may be seen to take place in rhythmic cycles: that is to say, in many recurrent series of events. Not only the more obvious sequences, such as recurrent elections characterizing certain kinds of political organizations, but also shorter cycles, such as daily gathering of a family for a meal in the evening with perhaps some group ritual or the seasonal recurrences of planting and harvesting-such cyclic activities are the stuff of which the persistence of groups and their culture are made. There are, however, other kinds of current sequences that are not clearly part of the maintenance processes of societies. They range from cycles in women’s dress through recurrent rises and falls in prices and wages to the rise and decline of ‘civilizations’.





There is various way of conceptualizing order or pattern in social affairs or attempting to do so. Not all the approaches involve use of term structure per se, but, whatever terms are used, they are used more or less synonymously within the overreaching idea of structure or organization. The remainder of this work considers one by one the major models or approaches in as more scientific as possible way.


Culture-pattern model.

Three convergent circumstances may be adduced as greatly influencing the development of the culture-pattern model, which was most influential from the 1920s to the 1950s. First, the end of the World War I found anthropology at a crossroads. The way had brought to light the fact that while pre-war  (and especially 19th century) scholars had been preoccupied with global theories of human social development, very little was known in a scientific way of the ways in which people actually lived, quarrelled, and somehow got on together. There was a need for new ideas, ideas that would both stimulate research and discover the determination of living together in harmony. Second, Sigmund Freud and other psychologists were in their ascendant. It was thought that if anything could rebuild a world shattered by the war, psychology would surely provide the key. Anthropologists began to look to psychology to lead them through and out of their theoretical dearth, and they developed culture-pattern theory as a consequence. Third, the people who advanced culture-pattern theory were mostly Americans, and they were in a rather unique position. Unlike the situation in many other parts of the world, the lives and times of North America native people were relatively well documented. They had a discovery history. Moreover, their geographical circumstances tended to inhabit distinct ecological zones and form mutually exclusive groups; although they interacted with one another, they were nonetheless physically discernible and bounded groups, each with its own peculiar style of making and doing. The idea of culture as a patterned functioning whole fell in naturally with the circumstances; groups were cultures.

The method used in the culture-pattern approach was essentially to derive a people’s culture from an examination of individual people. Thus, Ruth Benedict characterized certain cultures on the basis of patterns of institutionalized purposes, motives, emotions, and values. Indeed, so direct was the derivation of “culture” from “individual” that a culture, it was thought, could been spun out of the psychoanalysis of a single individual representative.

The model took predominant or basic personality types as the given data, and events in the culture were constructed through the lens of such personality types. Clyde Kluckholn could thus “explain” witchcraft and sorcery as result from the interaction between particular events and the given personality type. Furthermore, since culture was derived from the personalities of individuals and since the significance of events depended on predominant types of personality, it was important to find put how this personality was formed-hence the concentration on sexual mores and on the conception, birth, nurture, and upbringing of children. If these practices, taken to be formative of the basic personality, could be changed, then the basic personality would be changed; and this genetic approach could be made to seem historically relevant. Indeed, the shape of history could be made to seem dependent on modes of child nurture. Later developments took status, role, group membership, and situational determinants into account

Aggression, frustration, conflict, cooperation, motivation, socialization, and character formation were terms frequently encountered in culture-pattern models. Developing a culture-pattern for a people was achieved by interrelating some or all of these features. It is a resultant, rather than a predicative, a mode of operation.

There is no doubt that the culture-pattern studies have made an enormous and valuable contribution to social science, particularly in their close observation and recording of the process in culture. The mutual mirror image of individual personality and culture, however, has tended to obscure the institutional matrix that individuals with specific economic and politic interests have to manipulate to gain their ends. Man’s highest cultural achievement, his articulate thought, tends to be lost in mass of nonverbal behaviour. Changes in economic resources go unnoticed. The conflicts of political and economic interests, whether within the culture or imposed from outside, tend to be subsumed in personality differences.


Structure-function model

Structure-function model, typified in British anthropology although derived from the French, is the precise opposite of the culture-pattern model. The individual is seen as subordinate not so much to the group as to the categories of collective representation. The collective categories exist and persist; an individual is born into them, manipulates them, and changes them perhaps. But when he dies the collective categories live on. Individuals are not so much personalities in themselves as actors with parts to play. Consequently, role, status, and positional relationships are of paramount importance; so economic and political interests are.

The French sociologist Emile Durkheim was the prime sponsor of this approach. For Durkheim the basic unit were the “social facts”-the roles, offices, institutions, or whatever that went on existing independently of the particular individuals who might transiently be occupied with them. The units were thought of as centripetal: like an organism, society maintained itself in virtue of the integrationist nature of the relations between various parts of the whole.

Conformity was necessary to the maintenance of the social order. If there were acts that tended to break down the solidarity and produce mutually exclusive unities, somehow these unities came to be rebuilt into a larger whole or brought together into necessary mutual alliances immediately or concurrently. The British anthropologist A.R. Radcliffe-Brown asserted that:

“The continuity of social structure….is not static like that of a building, but dynamic continuity, like that of the organic structure of a living body. Throughout the life of an organism its structure is being constantly renewed; and similarly the social life constantly renews the structure.”

(From ‘Structure and Function in Primitive Society’, 1952).


The structure-function model seems to have been most successful in application to small-scale societies, in which kinship categories could be made the main components of structure. The kinship categories defined who in a society should be thought of as consanguine and affine; evoked role, status, and positional relationships; generated mutual obligations and expectations of behaviour and attitude; and further, in small-scale societies could be used to classify the total environment.

The chief British exponents of the structure-function approach, the anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowsky and Radcliffe-Brown, emphasized the importance of searching for “laws” of social life and society. Only within such laws (or regularities) was social change considered admissible. Critics of the British school have charged that the neglect al change and of history left the model incomplete. But such a charge can hardly be sustained. Much weightier in the criticism that, being integrationist and wedded to what is permanent, the structure-function model might be able to include minor rebellion and conflict but could not contain revolution, innovative changes, or deep-seated centrifugal or disintegrative tendencies. Furthermore, being normative, it seemed to have few predictive properties.

These criticisms were well founded. Again, it is often said that the model was too intellectualized, too depersonalized. Where are the people in all this manipulation of categories?

Certainly the model is politically conservative and even emasculating:  it serves to discover and interpreting an unknown but has little or no potential within itself of generating new policies or ideas. It is itself a closed system and can only be developed in relation to more and more detailed field material.

There was also an American branch of the structure-function proponents, led by such sociologists as Robert K. Merton and Talcott Parsons. It laid less emphasis on kinship patterns and more on various aspects of stratification-role, status, and positional relationships determined by personal qualities, possessions, authority and power, and the like. The shift in emphasis was necessary because there was a shift in the object of study from small-scale to large-scale modern societies. Perhaps, in this too much was attempted. A model born of and devised for the study of simple and small-scale communities was adapted to the complex organizations of modern civilized society, and in the process the simple coherence of the model was lost in a jumble of jargon, an esoteric maze of words.


Conflict Model

The conflict model is grounded in political theory and in attempts to explain the historical process. It generally attempt to predict or, in the words of one of its chief current advocates, the German theorist Ralf Dahrendorf, to “account for the rate and direction of change” (Conflict after Class, 1967). It is actually a model that has preoccupied thinkers from earliest times.

It involves whole philosophies as to the nature, being, and purpose of the man. From Plato and Aristotle trough Saint Paul the Apostle, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and numerous Medieval and Renaissance thinkers to men such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, G.W.F. Hegel, Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and, indeed, every politician, some model of the locus of conflict and its probable consequences has been essential.

Two major but not necessarily mutually exclusive themes may be identified. First, the locus of conflict may be placed squarely in the nature of man; second, it may be placed in the nature of his social order.  Most often the two themes are combined in either of two general ways:

(1) In the nature and consciousness of man there is a variety of things (original sin, frustrated sexual drives, the will to dominance or power, competitiveness, territoriality, control of wealth, etc.) that give rise to conflict; these things, can be contained, controlled, and rendered nugatory by a particular kind of social order. Nearly all Utopian thought-political, philosophical, or sociological-conforms to this formula. And since the locus (whatever it may be) is inherent in man, few such models can avoid Plato’ solution (in The Republic) of a dominant corps of guardians to enforce and maintain the harmony.

(2) Since the nature and consciousness of man is a product of his social order, conflict results from the contradictions in the social order: the solution to conflict must reside in rearrangements of the social order.

Such models belong mainly to political theory that seeks to bring about kinds of change. Hence, both structure and organization are closely described and subordinated to whatever is deemed the impetus for conflict.

Dahrendorf did present a theory of integration in society whose social structure is held in equilibrium by certain patterned and recurrent processes; but he joined it to a theory of coercion in which the social structure is held together by force and constraint and contains within itself forces causing an unending process of change. Thus the model becomes dialectic between stability and change, integration and conflict, consensus and coercion. The model is furthermore focussed on large-scale and complex societies and on class conflict. Unlike Marx, however, he did not identify entities in conflict (such as capital and labour) but identified conflict in terms of groups and individuals occupying particular roles and exercising power vis-à-vis one another. The roles reflect structure of stasis; the exercise of power and the response to it cause change. In the model devised by the American sociologist Lewis Alfred Coser, the essential equilibrium is the equilibrium maintained by conflict. What emerges is less a model of structure than a series of proposition about the functions of conflict or what conflict does; it maintains or disrupts cohesion depending upon circumstances; it forms groups and also destroys them, it is the locus of social dynamics, but it also maintains a balance of powers. In the sense that all conflicts take place within a framework of rules, they do have a structure. The critical situation arises when the parties to a conflict operate under different frameworks of rules-as do members of revolutionary social movement’s vis-à-vis defenders of the status quo. Here the sociologist should turn historian and attempt to subsume the two sets of rules and relations into an overarching framework. Sociology of revolution, however, has so far been elusive. It is not simply a matter of changing the meaning of structure or organization. There are very real conceptual difficulties involved in creating a model capable of transforming itself into another.

Adaptations of the Hegelian formula (thesis-antithesis-synthesis) must still suffice.


Physical-science Models

Most of the difficulties inherent in physical-science models stem from (1) the nature of social material, (2) basic assumptions and purposes, and (3) language. The empirical realities of physical science may be subjected to innumerable experiments by large numbers of scientists supported and funded by a large proportion of the gross national product. It is questionable whether a comparable effort and investment in social science would obtain comparable results. But since the empirical realities of social life can only be obtained ad hoc, under the artificial conditions of a small group laboratory, or by maintaining an institution very like a concentration camp, it is doubtful whether social scientists would ever have access to the same range of experimental data as do physical scientists. Moreover, in social science there is a moral relationship between investigator and investigated that inhibits an objective analysis and explanation of social behaviour in physical-science terms. When one of the chef proponents of the physical-science model, the American sociologist George A. Lundberg, states that “human sociology deals with the communicable adjustment technique which human groups have developed in their long struggle to come to terms with each other and the rest of their environment” (Foundations of Sociology, 1964, p. 1), he asserts an assumption about human existence with which not everyone would be able to agree. Moreover, if there could be agreement on the nature of human existence and purpose, there is the additional question of the nature and purposes of sociology, namely, whether it merely analyzes, whether it explains, or both. It is a truism; for instance, that in any interplay of human activities, more energy is expected to reach some goal or conclusion than a rigid physical-science measurement would indicate; that is, most of the empirical reality of social life is totally unnecessary, activity appears to be necessary, he raises questions of what is rational and draws in the opinions of his own conscience; as a result, he manipulates more than he observes.

The problem of talking about values and beliefs raises the question of a language that is “value free.” The problem is not solved by the invention of new terms and phrases, the creation of new jargon. Such metalanguages, however, are not wholly without value; hence the present emphasis on using various kinds of computer languages.


Mathematical or a Priori Logical Models

Mathematical and logical models are based on the use of metalanguage-analyses of empirical realities or rationalizations or categories in terms of the a priori relations of mathematics or logic. From Plato through the Enlightenment until the rise of humanism and the Romantic Movement, it had always been an axiom that the cosmos had an underlying harmony that could be expressed in mathematical terms. This was most obvious in the behaviour of celestial bodies and least obvious in the behaviour of men and women; but, if human behaviour could be expressed in mathematical terms and realized in the form of social organization or the state, man had perfection in his grasp. Such indeed was the purpose of Plato’s Republic.

Eighteenth-century Humanism and the Romantic Movement obscured this ideal. Now, however, it is in process of realization. Primitive as yet, long-winded, and not wholly convincing, mathematical and a priori logical models are not so much models of structure and organization.

While physical and natural sciences are concerned with the extraction of systematic relationship between sets of empirical data, and social science is mainly concerned with systematic relationship between rationalizations on the empirical data, mathematics and logic are concerned with abstract relations that have no empirical content. They are, like languages, tools whose relational content can be used to bring order to the variety of semantics fields generated by a consideration of data obtained by field research. Myth, kinship, and the decision-making process have been found particularly susceptible to analysis with these tools.

Although there is little doubt that the wedding of mathematics and social science will be fruitful, criticism pf such work stems from the fact that sociology was born of, and still carries, a desire to improve society. One can perform mathematical and logical exercises with ethnographic material, but questions arise over the kinds of policy that will result. A first answer resides in the example of physical and natural science: not only do mathematical and logic techniques create a rigour of discipline in the kinds of thinks that can be said about the data, but the data also may open further avenues of relations in the abstract terms characteristic of mathematics and logic.

In view of some of the claims of sociology, this would be no small gift. A second answer resides in the work that has already been done. Given the initial intuitive and intellectual perception of harmony in social affairs, mathematical and logic harmonies may be spun out. And the feedback from such operations will correct the initial perceptions. But at this point one is returned to Plato’s problem: what if social relations are basically inharmonious?




In trying to understand the scope of current concepts of social change, one must dispense with older views of the subject. For many decades, interest was largely confined to certain kinds of long-term change called cultural or social evolution. Many 18th century anthropologists, social scientist, and philosophers focussed attention on evolutionary change. Each varying specific conception became a hook on which information about different social systems was hung. The most important of these was probably Herbert Spencer’s view, which, influenced by the biology of the time, held that human societies in the long run become more heterogeneous and differentiated as they adapt to different environments. His vast collection of data for demonstration of this long-term trend was not much used by other cultural evolutionists; but his view is essentially that which remains most influential in the interpretation of succession of technologies today. Evolutionary development, however, whether in Spencer’s terms or others, does not subsume the subject of cultural change. Evolutionary processes are only one kind of change process.

Still less is social change to be identified with that pervasive and deeply influential conception of long-term change that has been called the idea of progress, a concept that has been a dominating influence for 200 years or more. The idea that societies and cultures move more or less steadily toward better and better conditions for men has effected numerous students of social change. This assumption was inherent in much of the 19th century, when it was held that all non-Western societies were moving toward economic, political, and religious conditions comparable to those prevailing in the countries of Western Europe. The ethnocentrism of these early investigators has been repudiated long since. Nevertheless, something very like 19th century concept of progress toward west European conditions pushes unsuspected into current comparative studies of “modernization” and industrialization. Not only the idea that changes move inevitably in the direction of west European and North American technology and economy but also the value judgement that this is somehow good creeps in. Progress as defined by members of various societies is an interesting phenomenon and must be studied but the tendency of Westerners to assume that all change or at least change most worthy of study is a progress toward conditions that they value highly runs counter to sound method.


The process of social change

The general process of social change is characterized by three phases: innovation, selection, and integration.

The innovative phase

Innovation includes any new combination of cultural elements. The key word here is combination, for innovations are made up not out of thin air but of well-known elements of the cultural system. They are new in the sense that, under conditions favourable to innovation, some member of a society or some group puts familiar items into new relationships. Most people are aware of the process of innovation whereby the automobile emerged as a new combination of wheels, steam engine, horse-carriage body, and so on or whereby the clock emerged in the monasteries of medieval Europe as the combination of gears, coiled springs, and escapement, all of which had long been known as separate items but not in combination. People in fact are inclined to associate innovation exclusively with mechanical invention. But the same sort of recombination of familiar elements into new structure has been documented for social organization, such as the city-manager form of municipal government, and for belief systems, such as the Black Muslim doctrines of the 20th century.

The process of combination itself is understood better than the general socio-cultural conditions that encourage or inhibit innovation. The analysis of specific innovations often seems to be based on an assumption that the process is an individual psychological matter. Some writers, for example, have emphasized the importance of what they call dissident, disaffected, and resentful types of individuals in the creation of innovations. Others have not only pointed to the innovation-mindedness of individuals but have also emphasized the kinds of social relations and cultural orientations that tend to encourage the development of such individuals in certain types of societies. It s clear enough that certain societies do put high value on innovative activities. One is familiar with this tendency in industrialized societies, which establish groups of individuals organized specifically, as in modern chemical and automobile industries, to produce new products. Such organized innovation, it should be noted, is nevertheless guided by what have become traditional interests in the industrialized societies. Innovations in technology are sometimes sought as means of maintaining the social or economic status quo. The question indeed may be asked as to whether such planned activity should be classified as true innovation.

If the study of social change is to avoid bogging down in the analysis of fads and fashions-that is to say, unimportant variations-distinctions among types of innovations might be recognized. No terminology has yet been developed for this purpose, but perhaps one kind of innovation might be designated as novelty. Innumerable new combinations are produced daily in every modern society. Most never go through the third phase of the change process-integration. They remain unimportant with reference to any aspect of the cultural system, are accepted only briefly, and ultimately disappear without leaving any mark.

The selective phase

The second phase of the general process is selection-also called acceptance, diffusion, and so on. Change in the social system can come about only if individuals accept the innovation into their stock of behaviour and beliefs. The acceptance is a process of social interactions. It involves a series of choices or decisions by individuals or groups of individuals.

In complex societies it is normal to have a large number of alternatives. Innovations may be created and added to the ranks of the alternatives. This area of alternatives must be understood to be the arena in which competition among elements decisive for the future takes place. A shift in the number of individuals choosing one alternative as opposed to another may begin a trend in the direction leading to extensive reorganization of the whole society and its culture. Choice, or selection among alternatives, may thus be seen as a necessary phase in all social change.

The integrative phase

The third phase, integration, is the process whereby the innovation (or selected alternative) is adapted to all parts of the system into which it enters. Admittedly, the integration begins with the selection phase, and the two phases are not really separable; but for analytical purposes they are better separated. The selection sub process is best enough of as initial social interactions through which the innovation becomes established as part of the social system; it may then be regarded as extending farther as more and more persons accept the innovation throughout the society. In short, the selection phase focuses directly on innovation. Then the integration phase might be regarded as the process of modification of the innovation as it is adapted to the beliefs, sentiments, and common understandings of the cultural system. This is a matter of mutual adaptation of both the innovation and the parts of the system.

There are a host of rather well-known examples of integration. Following its initial acceptance by politically powerful families, the factory system in Japan, for instance, was adopted to Japanese family and ritual kinship institutions and to the village economies in such a manner as to make it quite different from the factory system developed in England. The whole story of this process of mutual adaptation or integration of the factory into Japanese social life and Japanese culture is very complex. Similarly, the integration of single elements, such as the automobile or the radio, into the socio-cultural system of the United States, as traced in several studies, demonstrates very complex mutual adaptations. The continuing process of integration, moreover, seems often to have no end; it is not possible to pinpoint the time when Japanese feudal society became an industrialized society. Human interaction is a continuum, and it must be always arbitrary to say that the effects of the introduction of a certain innovation have come to a conclusion. These criteria for industrial society may be arbitrary, but there can be no question about a decisive difference between the Japan of the 1880s and the Japan of the 1980s.


Different conceptions of change

Various specific processes of change have been identified within the general concept of social change.

Culture contact 

A variety of change that has attracted anthropologists for some 100 years has been called acculturation or, more simply, culture contact-defined as all those processes that come into operation when societies with different cultures come into contact. Until recently this study was developed in the colonial areas of the European empires in Africa and Asia and among the “internal colonials” of the American countries. The term acculturation came to be used when contacts involved colonial people being subordinated and required to adjust to the cultures of the Western colonial powers.

Under colonial conditions, there was deemed to be a super ordinate and subordinate society. In all such situations, the super ordinate society made an effort to change the subordinate society in some way and even to direct that course of change in some degree. This change may occur only in certain specialized areas of contact, such as in employment in factories or plantations, or it may be on a very broad scale, as in the case of the Indians of the United States who experienced directed culture change through schools, jobs, agricultural development, household management, and many other aspects of life under the direction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Some writers have made a distinction between directed culture change and process of change in which choice was free.

The implication of the term is not that the management of change is successfully directed by the dominant society (frequently the results are the reverse from what is delivered) but simply that the dominant society’s cultural values and social sanctions become deeply involved in the subordinate society’s life. The selection phase here is affected powerfully by the dominant society’s interests.

A second distinctive feature of contact change has been called syncretism, or cultural fusion.

The fusion of elements from diverse cultural sources-in religious belief and ritual, in the lexicons of languages, in technologies, and more recently in economic and political organization-testifies to the importance of this kind of ultimate integration of borrowed or imposed cultural elements in the growth of civilizations. Important in situations in which empires were built by conquest, it was also important in connection with the diffusion of the great world religions, and now, with the spread of industry and representative democracy, one finds again the great tendency to fuse and combine cultural elements. Cultural fusion may also take place whenever a receiving society tries to reject the dominant society’s imposition, as in the well studied phenomena of native and nationalistic movements.

It is notable that the concept of acculturation, though developed in the study of “primitive” societies under colonial conditions, has larger and more current applications. Complex modern societies are composed of sub societies often as different in cultural tradition, structure, and orientation as were isolated, simpler societies of the 19th century and the colonial powers that dominated them. Thus, within modern political units of nation-states there are contact situations characterized by phenomena similar to those of the earlier colonial environments.

Conflict and cooperation

In the work of Marx, there is an explanation for social change, called dialectic, which has been of great influence. This concept, intended to account for change throughout human history, has been less and less accepted in the Western world and more and more in the Eastern; nevertheless, its influence in conflict theories of the causes of change is important. Change is initiated, according to the theory, by conflict between classes; that is collectivities of individuals whose interests are determined and limited by their roles in the production process. In various forms this view is used in modern analysis. Some writers have used ideas regarding tension management and release; certain roles are said to have built into them the means of creating tension among individuals. Societies may be forced to change their structure in an effort to alleviate tensions, or they may devise techniques that keep the tensions under control.

At present, perhaps equally vigorous as any conflict theory of change are theories of change through cooperation. There is a view, for instance, that whenever individuals are brought into working relationship, their adaptations result in changes in the system of which they are a part. The change, in other words, is a result of bringing people together on a cooperative working basis. There is a question, however, as to how much, if any, of this represents social change and how much merely that constitutes adjustments toward maintaining given systems.


Theories have been offered from time to time regarding environmental influences on societies and cultures, theories sometimes labelled geographical or environmental determinism.

Although the old ideas that man is somehow at the mercy of his environment have been abandoned, it is nevertheless recognized that the physical environment does set some measure of limitation on the possibilities for change and development in a society. The more isolated a society is, as in the case of the Eskimos two centuries ago, the more important the influence of environment appears. Beginning in the 19th century, however, societies heretofore isolated have been subjected to contacts with the put side world, and relationships between any society and its immediate physical environment have assumed less and less importance. Nevertheless, in the study of change there has appeared a school of cultural ecology that is much concerned with the environment influences and has focussed, for instance, on what has been called core culture; that is, those elements of a culture most positively and directly related to their environment. The core responds to changes in the environment, and the process of adaptation itself in turn affects the environment. As the ecologists have expanded their conception to include the social environment, so that they take into consideration such factors as competition and cultural fusion.

A similar but theoretically much more elaborate approach characterizes the work of the sociologist Parson, in whose view the social system exists in a complex environment composed of four other systems-namely, the cultural system, the personality system, the organic life-system, and the system of the physical environment. The cultural system is sometimes defined as the set of legitimizing values for the social order or as a network of roles in the social system. The personality system is regarded as the system of human motivation causing participation in the social systems. The organic-life system consists of the human biology out of which personality arises. And the physical environmental system is composed of the interrelated elements of climate, topography, fauna and flora, and so on. Each of these systems has its own requirements, and all are articulated. Changes in one may initiate a sequence of events ultimately reflected in the others. The environment is thus conceived as originating in any of them.

Demographic factors

Another set of factors increasingly taken into consideration by students of social change is the demographic conditions. Population size and density, age and sex distribution, and birth rates and death rates are dealt with as sources of extensive change. Social relations, whenever in family, community, or state, must constantly adapt to the numbers and distributions of the human individuals involved. For instance, the worldwide lowering of the death rate has been accompanied by a whole series of other demographic shifts, and these seem to be correlated with industrialization. It is not that the demographic shifts entail industrialization, or vice versa but merely that the demographic shifts and the processes of industrialization are correlated. Each is an indicator of the other, and thus, wherever there is evidence of a declining death rate, changes in the labour supply and other socioeconomic phenomena associated with the processes of industrialization can also be predicted.

Another approach involving efforts to understand the train of social and cultural changes accompanying population shift is that of two British anthropologists, Godfrey and Monica Wilson. They phrase the analysis in terms of social scale, which has to do with the size or scope of a society but is not to be conceived in the simple terms of population rises and falls. Social scale is affected by changes in the number of people in a given area, but what is decisive with regard to the scale of the society is the number of people involved with one another in active social relations and the intensely-that is the frequency- of those social interactions. Furthermore, social scale is affected by other things, such as the introduction or increase of literacy. Through reading, the scale of the society is increased, because people are in a sense interacting with persons not physically present. It should be clear that scale is no simple concept of population curve but is nevertheless much involved with changes in the population. The Wilsons have increase in scale, as exemplified in European expansion into Africa, with a large number of correlated changes in the character of African societies, such as a decrease in the use of magic for control of the environment, an increase in contractual as contrasted with personal relations, and a development of social mobility. The expectation of discovering a unitary theory of socio-cultural change in the sense of a master single source of innovation, such as technology or the natural environment, has steadily faded. Instead, the analysis of sequences of events is carried on in terms of many factors that in combination, it is assumed, encourage innovation or the selection of those alternatives that lead decisively to one another kind of change.




Such a concept as social structure has been a guiding notion basic to the development of sociology as well as social and cultural anthropology. What was once a general term connoting some idea of wholeness, “structure” had attained a certain specificity by the 1940s, mainly because of the work of the British proponents of the structure-function model. But in the course of the subsequent decades it became a general term used to refer to the rules, explicit or implicit, within which any kind of behavioural sequence-verbal, ideational, or physical-could be said to operate. And because structure is a property of any behavioural sequence, the notion of structure is definitely no longer static. It has come to encompass the dynamic aspect, change.

From the 18th century to the present there has been a generalized movement from macro models to micro models, from global theories about the nature of human society to micro models about the nature of specific kinds of situations in particular environments. It is at this point that psychology and sociology or social and cultural anthropology begin to mesh. It is at this point too, that mathematical and logical models, as well as a variety of investigatory and measuring techniques, are proving to be most useful, both experimentally and when considering the interrelations of small-scale societies. Here lies a growing point whose virtues are only slowly beginning to dawn.


III.2 – Redefinition and redistribution of social roles as a premise to a more balanced economic development between genders.

III.3 – Equal opportunities to equal potentialities.





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