Social Structure and Mobility in Economic Development

By Neil J. Smelser; Seymour Martin Lipset | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THE FOUNDATION of this volume is the notion that the several processes of change constituting economic and social development are systematically interrelated. The essence of development is the appearance of rapid rates of increase in many different indices -- output per capita, political participation, literacy, and the like. These quantitative changes are, however, commonly accompanied by vast changes in the social structure -- markets emerge, political bureaucracies arise, and new educational systems appear. And finally, development entails a substantial movement of persons in society from rural to urban settings, from one occupation to another, and from one prestige level and another. While a good deal is known about each type of process, very little is known about the relations among them. This volume constitutes, we hope, a modest inroad on this ignorance.

As early as 1961 the Committee on Economic Growth of the Social Science Research Council began to explore the idea of holding a conference on the relations between social structure and social mobility in economic development. Because neither a theoretical framework nor a consolidated tradition of empirical research was available on the subject, the Committee thought this conference should receive especially careful advance planning. The planning committee -- whose members were Neil Smelser (chairman), Seymour Martin Lipset, and Wilbert E. Moore-- developed subjects for papers and considered potential authors over a period of two years. The bulk of the planning for a conference was done at a special two-day meeting in Berkeley in June, 1962. Besides Smelser, Lipset, and Moore, this planning session was attended by Reinhard Bendix, Clifford Geertz, Bert F. Hoselitz, and Leo F. Schnore.

The conference was held in the Sheraton-Palace Hotel, San Francisco, on January 30 and 31 and February 1, 1964, and was the sixteenth conference sponsored by the Committee on Economic Growth.

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