Rural Social Systems: A Textbook in Rural Sociology and Anthropology

Rural Social Systems: A Textbook in Rural Sociology and Anthropology

Rural Social Systems: A Textbook in Rural Sociology and Anthropology

Rural Social Systems: A Textbook in Rural Sociology and Anthropology

Excerpt

In no specialized field of sociology has there appeared a greater volume, or greater diversity, of research findings than in rural sociology. During the 40-year period in which rural sociology literature has developed, there have been few attempts to reduce or convert research findings into a body of organized science. The reasons are that, with very few exceptions, both reports on research and other treatises have been chiefly concerned with the worthy purpose of presenting significant information about rural life and living. Action institutions and agencies and the general public have demanded information on and analyses of rural situations which it was desired to improve. Rural sociology textbooks have been written to be used chiefly in classes composed of students who were taking the course in rural sociology for informational rather than scientific purposes. Administrators, or controllers, of research funds have approved few research projects the findings of which did not give promise of immediate usefulness and practical action programs.

Anyone who has closely followed the evolution of rural sociology textbooks cannot, however, fail to recognize the gradual attempt to convert rural sociology research findings into a body of scientific so- ciological knowledge. This book is a worthy attempt to carry this trend a long step forward by presenting a solid core of conceptual in- terpretation of those types of social phenomena which have either easily identifiable social structure or are oriented by values. All such types of phenomena its authors call "social systems." The term is not too familiar to rural sociologists but is far superior to the term "social organization" or "social structure" because it includes all systems of social interaction which are structured by either locality, formal organization, or cultural factors; they may be major social action agencies, local cliques, or broad religions. All of them are, however, functioning social entities in which individuals seek and find status, roles, rights, and objectives (purposes) in daily living and by means of which they fulfill the imperatives of being persons.

Sociologists have far too long taken too literally Carl Pearson's statement that science is method, without recognizing that no amount . . .

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