Cultural Patterns and Technical Change

Cultural Patterns and Technical Change

Cultural Patterns and Technical Change

Cultural Patterns and Technical Change


In view of the considerable activity at the present time in the field of Technical Assistance, by the more privileged to some of the less privileged countries of the world, it is indeed satisfactory that Unesco has inspired the production of this manual.

Rapid changes in the industrial or social structure in any country are apt to lead to unforeseen disturbances even when such changes are initiated or supervised by nationals of that country. When men and women with technical skills set out to help in shaping new developments in a country or a culture other than their own, there are clearly many more possibilities of producing unfortunate consequences. Sometimes great harm can be done to the people of that country, especially through the creation of social psychological stresses and the disorganization of family and community life.

The World Federation for Mental Health has always stressed the problems of prophylaxis as being in the long view even more significant than those of treatment, important though the latter are. In the understanding and solution of such problems, inter-professional teams of anthropologists, sociologists, economists, educators and others, along with psychologists and psychiatrists, are essential if mental health and good human relations are to be established and maintained.

The Federation was therefore happy at being asked to sponsor such an effort, and in the hands of a skilled team in the United States of America under Dr. Margaret Mead's able leadership a good first contribution in this field has been prepared.

Dr. Mead herself sets out the plan and arrangement of the survey, and suggests the type of reader which she and her collaborators have in mind. The World Federation for Mental Health certainly hopes that this work will be of real service to workers in Technical Assistance projects and in many allied fields. The book is no Encyclopaedia which provides answers to all questions. It does, however, suggest lines of approach to many of the cultural and social situations which will inevitably be encountered.

J. R. REES, Director, World Federation for Mental Health . . .

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