Notes on Technology and the Moral Order

By Alvin W. Gouldner; Richard A. Peterson | Go to book overview

Preface

The work reported here was conceived by the authors as part of an ongoing reexamination of functional social theory. As such, it is related to several other studies of functionalism which the senior author has previously published.

In effect, the present study grew out of efforts to find operationalizations for some of these earlier theoretical analyses and, most particularly, to experiment with the use of factor analysis for this purpose. As armchair Xenophons, we found ourselves caught in a theoretical interior from which we sought to improvise a way back to the sea of data. We knew where we wanted to go but were far from certain about the route to be taken or whether there was one. Indeed, our doubts are still far from resolved.

It needs to be said candidly that the data we used were chosen not because of any special interest in them per se, but because they seemed to allow the methodological explorations that were of interest. Which is to say that, although we elected to use data deriving from the Human Relations Area Files (that which was then published and easily accessible at the time we undertook our work), nonetheless, we had no expectations of making a contribution to anthropology as such. Should some anthropologists wish to disagree we will not, of course, be churlish. In any event, the original objective was methodological although, as in all such matters, we soon found our interests in substantive issues engaged.

ALVIN W. GOULDNER

RICHARD A. PETERSON

-vii-

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