Notes on Technology and the Moral Order

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

CHAPTER 1
The Problem
This exploratory analysis of data from 71 primitive or pre-industrial societies has the following objectives:1
1. It seeks to identify fundamental dimensions or subsystems common to such societies, and
2. To examine some of their relations to each other, thus to see them systemically, and
3. To assess the relative importance of these dimensions.
4. It aims to pursue the above objectives with a systematic body of empirical data derived from the Human Relations Area Files and with statistical methods, rather than calling upon random anecdotal materials or impressionistic insight.

The empirical analysis to follow derives from and in turn takes on meaning in terms of certain very general problems. Some of these problems bear on difficulties of theory and research distinctive of the scholarly tradition in anthropology. Others, however, involve meth-

____________________
1
The authors wish to thank the following scholars for their thoughtful criticisms of an earlier draft of this manuscript: John W. Bennett, James Coleman, Robert Hamblin, Irving Kaplan, Walter Goldschmidt, Fred Strodtbeck, and Edward Winter. We are deeply indebted to Kern Dickman of the University of Illinois for help in utilizing Illiac. to the Social Science Research Council for an Auxiliary Research Award which made much of our work possible, and to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences for typing the manuscript. The authors alone, of course, are responsible for all errors and inadequacies in this study.

-1-

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