When comparing a society with its past or with another society, we often employ a dichotomy such as "advanced vs. backward," "developed vs. underdeveloped," "civilized vs. uncivilized," or "complex vs. simple." Sometimes these words yield too little information, because they claim simply that one society is superior to another. Sometimes they yield too much, for terms like "advanced" shroud a galaxy of vague connotations. Hence to use such words may generate conflicts of pride and conflicts of meaning, both of which subvert intelligent discourse.
The dichotomies are, however, not completely useless. Common to all are the dimensions of complexity and differentiation. In other words, an "advanced" or "developed" society possesses a complex organization of differentiated social and cultural components. To illustrate, a religion becomes a religious tradition only after it shakes off its undifferentiated tribal elements and develops a complex, independent organization. A military machine is more developed than spontaneous warfare because it operates under specific, explicit, and sometimes autonomous rules. Bureaucratic administration is more advanced than a household staff not only because it is more complex but also because it is less mingled with personal loyalties.1 A highly developed economy has a complexity of organization and a differentiation of units which do not characterize underdeveloped forms.2 Political behaviour "advances" when it is carried on within political institutions free from nepotism, tribal loyalties, and bald economic interests. In short, one element in "growth," "advancement," and "civilization" is that the social structures in question become more differentiated from each other.____________________