Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIX
MALADJUSTMENT AND SOCIAL WASTE

Social Pathology a Special Field. The penalty for inadequacy of social guidance throughout the history of mankind has been general maladjustment, individual tragedy and abnormality, and social pathology and waste. Since the purpose and spirit of this book is to present the whole picture of social problems integrated somewhat into a theoretical analysis, rather than deficiencies by which society is now being penalized, the treatment of these problems is limited to a simple descriptive outline. And the whole field of social pathology is so large and important that it must take its place alongside other special fields of social study and social work for technical and extended treatment. Outstanding volumes, such as Gillin Poverty and Dependency and Crime and Penology are evidence of the range and substance of such study. Companion volumes to be presented in the American Social Science Series, such as Kelso The Science of Public Welfare, Steiner The Community in Action: Case Studies of American Communities; Thurston and Carstens' Processes and Programs of Child Welfare, and others, are indicative of the very important specialized tasks just ahead. Nevertheless the story of man's efforts toward social adjustment and guidance must necessarily give a great deal of emphasis to the manifold problems of social pathology and the tragedies of maladjustment. They should be presented as an essential and organic part of the products of society's evolution. They should be presented as evidence of the increasing need for the study of social problems and of more scientific social guidance. And they should be presented in at least comprehensive outline as a basis for the interpretation of much of social work and social guidance of the future. This chapter, therefore, in accordance with the plan of the book limits its content and method to these objectives.

A Cross Section of Complex Society. One of the best ways to obtain a picture of current types of social maladjustment and waste is to look at cross sections of the most complex, rapidly developed

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