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Community Development n.37-38 1977. International issue of Centro Sociale (ed. italiana: Centro sociale A.24 n.133-135)


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international issue of

"Centro Sociale"


International Review of Community Development

International Edition of «Centro Sociale»

Sponsored by the «Adriano Olivetti» Foundation

Advisory Board

A. Ardigò, Istituto di Sociologia, Università di Bologna - G. Balandier, Sorbonne, Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes, Paris - R. Bauer, Società Umanitaria, Milano - L. Benevolo, Architetto urbanista, Roma - M. Berry, International Federation of Settlements, New York - F. Botts, FAO, Roma - G. Calogero, Istituto di Filosofia, Università di Roma

- M. Calogero Comandini, CEPAS, Roma - V. Casara, Esperta Educazione degli Adulti, Roma - G. Cigliana, Esperto Servizi Sociali, Roma -SE. Clunies-Ross, Institute of Education, University of London H. Desroche, Sorbonne, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

-/. Dumazedier, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris - A. Dunbam, School of Social Work (Emeritus), University of Michigan - M. Fichera, Fondazione « A. Olivetti », Roma VE. Hytten, Div. Social Affairs, UN, Ginevra - F. Lombardi, Istituto di Filosofia, Università di Roma - E. Lopez Cardozo, State University of Utrecht - A. Meister, Sorbonne, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris G. Molino, Esperto Servizi Sociali, Roma

-G. Motta, Fondazione « A. Olivetti », Roma - R. Nisbet, Dept. of Sociology, University of California - C. Pellizzi, Istituto di Sociologia, Università di Firenze - E. Pusic, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb - L. Quaroni, Facoltà di Architettura, Università di Roma

- M. G. Ross, University of Toronto - M. Rossi-Doria, Centro di Specializ. e Ricerche Economico-agrarie per il Mezzogiorno, Università di Napoli (Portici) - U. Serafini, Presi-denza Consiglio Comuni d'Europa, Roma - M. Smith, Home Office, London - J. Spencer, </ Dept. of Social Work, University of Edinburgh - A. Todisco, Fondazione « A. Olivetti », Ivrea - A. Visalberghi, Istituto di Filosofia, Università di Roma - P. Volponi, Fondazione « A. Olivetti » - E. de Vries, Institute of Social Studies (Emeritus), The Hague - A.

Zucconi, CEPAS, Roma.

Editor: Anna M. Levi - Editorial Assistant: Ernesta Rogers Vacca Editorial and Business Offices: Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, 2

00153 Roma

Publisher: Centro di Educazione Professionale per Assistenti Sociali, Roma

Ali rights reserved. The Editors do not hold themselves responsible for the vlews expressed by contrlbutors.

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Questo fascicolo è spedito in conto abbonamento agli abbonati di Centro Sociale. Pubblicazione bimestrale - n. 133-135, gennaio-giugno 1977.


International Review

of Community Development, N. 37-38

Summer 1977

Volume internazionale di «Centro Sociale», a. X X I V , n. 133-135 genn. - giugno 1977

Contents - Sommane - Indice

Innovative Processes in Social Change of Highly Indu-strialized Societies ( edited by Ellen B. Hill) *


E. B. Hill III The Special Aspects of Innovative Processes in Advanced Nations


P. Heintz and 1 Structure and Structural Change of World Society

W. Obrecht

A. Delobelle 19 L'économique: un concept doublé


LI. Himmelstrand 37 Socialism and Social Liberalism in the Context of Swedish Societal Change

D. C. Pitt 67 Social Change in Australia and New Zealand

S. Stiver Eie I l i Resisters to Change: The Case of the Consolidation of Nor-wegian Communes

* The papers in this section of the Review were presented at the First Regional Meeting of the Research Committee on Innovative Processes in Social Change of the Interna-tional Sociological Association (ISA) that took place in Zurich (Switzerland) in Sep-tember 1976. A grant of the ISA Research Council for this purpose is gratefully acknowledged.


Gurrent Problema and Field Studies F. Lesemann 153 J. Zimet tìalevy 195 N. Alldred 241 J. A. Draper and 259 Y.K.N. Unnithan A. S. York 273

Centres Locaux de Services Communautaires: dix ans de réforme socio-sanitaire au Québec

The Effects of Engine Power on Development and Employ-ment

Community Development: Problems and Perspectives The Sociology of Citizen Participation: A Case Study of Citi-zen Awareness of the Jaipur City Pian

Leaders of Voluntary Associations in a " Difficult " Housing Estate

285 Riassunti italiani - English Summaries



The Special Aspects of Innovative

Processes in the Social Change of Highly

Industrialized Countries

by Ellen B. HiU

It may have some significance that the title of the Introduction to a third collection of papers under the auspices of the Research Committee on Innovative Processes in Social Change of the International Sociological Association (ISA) no longer contains an allusion to Modernization. First, as was stated in the second committee publication the term appeared " slightly outmoded " by the time the committee, heir to the Working Group on Modernization of the World Congress of Sociology in Varna 1970, was established in 1972, and it can be said to have been thoroughly abandoned in the intervening years. Second, and pertinent to this latest collection of papers stemming from the First Regional Committee Meeting in Zurich in autumn 1976, the concern with innovation processes has not only been intensified but has visibly become equally important to some of the inhabitants and observers of the highly industrialized, i.e. " modem " nations. Not only is the First World as it is no longer the inspiration of the remaining worlds, it is not in great part even acceptable to itself, and be coming ever more conscious that with economie growth (where it stili exists) social problems may be possibly postponed but rarely solved, while there is so far no majority opinion, or what could be termed a prevailing stance, among experts on alternate solutions. Thus: which way Innovation?

We asked ourselves in 1975 if the economie crisis surfacing with the oil embargo was responsible for the return to less utopian and more rational expectations among western intellectuals and in particular among social

scientists of the advanced nations2. By dictionary definition a crisis is a

temporary situation being a turning point, hopefully for the better. Now few would maintain that we have lately overcome a cruciai situation, most would agree that we are witnessing the end of an era thus undergoing what is commonly named, in Jack of a more precise term, a structural change.


The concept of change has been so incessantly and dramatically debated in regard to the Third World that the First World hardly had an opportunity to think of itself as a changing region. At this point, in part because of the demands upon it by the less developed nations, see: the North-South discussion, the advanced nations only begin to recognize that their problems are irreversible, thus will not go away by being ignored, and have to be first analyzed and understood before international social policy plans for the benefit of the world as a whole can be underwritten.

Apart from the clear timeliness of the theme the organizing committee of the First Regional Meeting also felt that a great deal has been assumed about innovative processes in the developing nations based on the tacit understanding, although without the underpinning of empirical data, that the developed nations were well established, stable and basically static entities. What problems there were commented on had to do with resources (Club of Rome), their utilization (ecology movement), and their methods of production (post-industrial society). That in the meantime social organiza-tion broke down, was propped up, was silently altered, and that individuals in the industrialized nations were agents of change and/or reacted to it could be found in the more systematic writings by and on the

counter-culture3, but has not led to a general theory of innovative processes in

social change in the advanced countries in the last tumultous decades, while for pre-industrial or industrializing nations great quantitites of data have

been collected although they cannot be said to be genuinely comparable4.

Given the amount of statistical and other data available in the Western nations their case studies could be usefully geared to changes in the social structure, both horizontally and vertically, in production processes, in values, and most of ali in the interrelationship of innovative processes in different aspects of life. A prime example of unexpected value changes in advanced countries is for instance the questioning of welfare expenditures that have not stopped growing for the longest time in relation to other expenditures of the GNP, and have suddenly encountered serious resistance from quarters one would not suspect of conservative leanings, as workers and not just employers are becoming aware of shouldering the weight of growing groups

which consume and do not contribute economically5.

Before discussing the papers that are published in this volume under the headings of " Theoretical Considerations " and " Case Studies " we should like to report on presentations that contained research plans and informed on work in progress shedding in their own way additional light on the issues on hand.


investigation of changing values and value structures among the population of Switzerland, a highly industrialized country where value conflicts have been held in abeyance until very recently and are now coming to the forefront but seem to differ significantly from those of the surrounding equally industrialized nations. For this purpose (by now the data have been collected although not as yet completely analyzed) politicai arrangements, the military, the work sphere and labor relations, marriage and the family, as well as religious concerns have been surveyed based on a representative sample, starting from the hypothesis that the more developed a society the more conflict among groups and also among the values themselves will occur. At the same time Meyer maintains that among societies that interact and have similar structures centrai values become ever more similar over time. It is, therefore, to be expected that complex societies exhibit an increased pluralista of values, while these values become steadily less dif-ferentiated from those of neighboring societies.

Hans Geser and Francois Hopflinger of Zurich University drew their material of a study in progress on which they reported also from Swiss data. They are investigating what they cali " active " and " passive " innovations in public administration as they are interested in the causai relationship between size of organization and degree of innovation. They started from the premise that size does not impinge on innovativity but rather on the type of innovations that come into existence and the mech-anism on which they rest. They also think that the large size of an orga-nization influences the capacity of conscious innovation, while small ones are more apt to react with innovations to unpredictable influences. The authors are especially concerned to find out how even small organizations which are naturally prevalent in small nations such as Switzerland must proceed to allow for adequate change within public administrations given their importance in Western mixed economies. They are at this time analyzing the administrative units grouping them by such characteristics as income per capita, degree of urbanization, economie structures and respective size, while attempting to link these and similar aspects to the type of expenditures which differ vastly among particular administrations. Proceeding now to the socialist countries, Karoly Varga of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences prepared a paper on " Management and the Efficiency of Human Resources ", another research design concerned with future testing logicai sequence to the Hungarian literature on innovation processes. If one remembers his article on " Modernization from the Hungarian Point

of View "6 where he stressed social change based on changed behavior


cognitive aspects of innovative agents, one can observe his interest in the relation between innovation and efficiency and the role of management, promoting the latter in a socialist economy. According to Varga industrializa-tion has advanced to a degree where the technical aspects of producindustrializa-tion are no longer centrai to development while the human resources, i.e. the quality of labor, become decisive.* Economie growth then depends largely on management competence, a view that Varga shares with Ferenc Janossy and other Hungarian writers in the field whose recent views have not yet been translated for publication in the West. It would thus seem that social engineering, the object of scorn in market economies, is viewed quite differently by centrally planned societies.

In a similar vein N.I. Lapin of the Moscow Institute of Control Sciences remarked on " the right to speak of the purposeful and meaningful changes in the organization management structure as legitimate study of innovation The aim here is " to develop a system of new social aids and techniques to influence the entire social management plant accurately and in due time to provide its intensive development ". A complementary paper by A.I. Progozhin of the Moscow Institute for Systems Studies which he named a " Sociological Justifìcation of Organizational and Technological Innovations " described MIS (or a Management Information System that is to " significantly facilitate the development of such an important social group as managers ". The papers published in full in this collection deal directly with innovative processes in social change in highly industrialized countries. The reader will find that Peter Heintz and Werner Obrecht have elaborated a macro-sociological theory of development of which significant parts are presented here under the title of " Structure and Structural Change of World Society ". The authors contrast the trend of change in advanced nations to the decidedly different direction that is taken by the developing societies. In the first group economie development has led recently to " saturation " or disaccumulative values, while tertiarization becomes the hallmark of the post-industrial world. In the second group of nations economie development is strongly pushed even though social restructuring is the centrai value these countries must ultimately aspire to. The upper and the lower stratum of world society are miles apart in every respect and the ensuing tensions hardly allow for a functioning international system as had been expected to emerge after the conclusion of World War II and that in spite of such powerful structures as the multinationals. In fact, the present economie crisis had made predictions for a coming world society, if anythin, even more hazardous.


Economics, " L'économique: un concept doublé from an anthropological point of view and opposes market economies to " gift " economies. For

him it is the market economy that leads per force to K modernization "

without enriching a society necessarily in either a human or material sense. He points out in this connection how highly advanced social systems have been forced to deal with their poor via intricate social legislation, an indication that the poor do not disappear within " modernized " societies as had been anticipated for the longest time. Obviously, Delobelle is well aware that he deals with ideal types which in historical situations do not appear in their pure form but adhere to many different manifestations where they do occur.

The second type of papers involves three case studies undertaken in some of the world's most highly industrialized nations where economie development is no longer the real focus of attention while social change efforts are intensified. Thus Ulf Himmelstrand in his paper: " Socialism and Social Liberalism in the Context of Swedish Societal Change " makes it clear that Swedish society is not primarily striving for greater material benefits but rather for a more even distribution and equalization of the power of societal decisions. As a result there is (apart from opposing interests of labor and capital) a confrontation between social and private economies, the latter represented by the " psychologically more privatized tax payers

David C. Pitt describing " Social Change in Australia and New Zealand " comes to the conclusion that the main issue here also is egalitarianism and a chance for participation. Pitt views the social development processes in these two countries, in spite of ethnic overtones, with optimism and considers the actions of pluralist subcultures ultimately as beneficiai to social integration and wellbeing.

When Suzanne Lie writes about " Resistance to Change: The Case of the Consolidation of Norwegian Communes she finds that basically the resisters to change in Norway fear that with the amalgation of communes, which had been planned to achieve greater efficiency in locai administra-tion, centralized power would impinge on the decisional capacity of the individuai. Resistance was strong enough that the Norwegian parliament decided to reinstate the old boundaries in 11 out of 25 protest cases. There remains the question of the representativeness of these rural communes for the country a large.

In short: when the talk is about choice between socialism and freedom, a recent slogan of conservative parties during Western German elections, this is obviously a slanted statement. But there remains little doubt that


given a certain level of living, and only with it, participatory values will come to the forefront and become the object of passionate interest. This seems to hold true at the individuai as much as at the national level and would need further research in many more societies at similar level of tech-nological development and diverse cultural heritage.

The different themes that have governed the sociology of national development over the years have been grouped and regrouped as Portes has

recently shown7. It is clear that the idea of " development as liberation

from dependency " is typical for the Third World, while the " develop-ment of social differentiation " has been prominent in the West and is be-coming increasingly operative in the developing societies. It would appear that " development as enactement of values " is the present most pertinent innovative social process in the highly industrialized regions and consequently ought to be emphasized in future research. This is of course not an unheard of notion, at least where the 19th century academic division of separate social sciences has been overcome. In fact, not just the analysis of social change in the advanced nations is being rightfully advocated at this time, there is even a " clarion cali for a revitalized comparative sociology

of advanced nations " to be heard8. May this member of one of the

un-fashionable worlds of advanced technology be forgiven if she pleads for self-analysis of an equally though differently problem-ridden part of global society for its own benefit, no doubt, but also as mentioned before, as a necessary condition for its role as catalyst of innovation outside of its orbit. Our real epistemological difficulties, for good reasons more vividly felt in the sociology of innovation than in other fields of social research, have been debated ad nausearti while we go on living in technological societies with which, if we chose to or not, we must come to terms.

ELLEN B . H I L L ISTISS (Institute for Social



1 See: " Innovative Processes in Social Change (Modernization II) ", (E. B. HILL

ed.), International Review of Community Development, n. 33-34, Winter 1975, p. V. 2 lhid., p. VI.

3 For one of the more originai statements on the whole complex of flight ftom

the " industriai steamroller " see: H. C. GREISMAN, " Disenchantment of the World: Romanticism, Aesthetics and Sociological Theory ", British Journal of Sociology, v. 27, n. 4, December 1976, pp. 495-507. On the effect of modem industriai society on the individuai in particular who has exchanged helplessness vis-a-vis nature against powerles-ness over the social structure see: THOMAS DUCKMANN: " On the Rationality of Institutions in Modem Life ", European Journal of Sociology, v. XVI, n. 1, 1975, pp. 3-15.

4 In this connection it is interesting to note that Alain Touraine states that "

develop-ment consists in ali those activities which transform a society into a different one and where the impact of intervention of that society is increasing " (A. TOURAINE, Les

sociétés dépendantes, Duculot, Paris, 1976, p. 9) and further: " When the develop-ment agent is in fact the own bourgeoisie as in the most advanced capitalist countries, the study of development and of capitalism are difficult to keep apart as is the study of society and govemment. This is the essence of the First World " (Ibid. p. 14).

5 A beginning of an analysis of the facts underlying this change can be found in

HAROLD L. WILENSKY, The Welfare State and Equality. Structure and Ideological

Roots of Public Expenditures, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1975. See in particular chapter 3: " Diversity and Uniformity among Rich Countries pp. 50-69. For our argument this provides background material only as the statistics end with 1966 when the negative public reaction had not yet evolved from the actual economie facts.

6 In International Review of Community Development, n. 33-34, Winter 1975,

pp. 23-48.

7 See very much to the point: ALEJANDRÒ PORTES, " On the Sociology of National

Development: Theories and Issues American Journal of Sociology, v. 82, n. 1, 1976, pp. 55-85.

8 See: ANTHONY GIDDENS, " Classical Social Theory and the Otigins of Modem


; m&m


Structure and Structural Change of World Society

by Peter Heintz and Werner Obrecht

Introduction. The Emergence of an International Development System

After World War II most colonial caste systems with white people on the top have disappeared and individuai consumption expectations have spread ali over the world and have become institutionalized in a more or less uniform social value. This change has given rise to a new world-wide dynamics. Nations, but also provinces and locai communities are socially compared with regard to this value, i. e. socio-economie development, which thus has become one of the centrai rank dimension of a stratified international

development system.1 Nations as well as other socio-ecological units are,

however, ranked with regard not only to socio-economie development but

also to their relative or absolute mobility on this rank dimension.2 This

means in particular that the international development system is perceived as a more or less open, anyway not as a totally closed stratlfication system. This perception is a condition for structural blame and conflict about

distribution as they can be observed today.3

At the same time the model of development characterized by the lead of industriai technology and the lag of culture has become extremely success-ful in the higly developed countries in terms of rising standards of living of the population as a whole. The same model has also been applied by the European socialist nations. The success has been accompanied, particularly in those countries having large populations, by an exponential

growth of science production.4

This model has privileged the already economically privileged nations of the international system by making use of the advantages concerning capital accumulation the rich nations have. At the same time it has become clear that this model cannot be adopted by less developed nations unless they accept an increasing asymmetry of their vertical economie interactions, and an increasing asymmetry seems to be rather incompatible with economie


growth.5 This is demonstrated by the effects of industrialization processes

carried through by multinational industriai corporations.6

On the other hand, the increasing standard of living has produced in the most developed countries a certain saturation of the development value

And this trend has revealed certain shortcomings of industriai technology.7

However, among the other highly developed countries and also among the European socialist nations the model has been slightly changed by an increase of the instrumentality of formai secondary education for economie growth. This change implies that the model does not require here anymore

a lag of formai education.8

While in many highly developed countries particular cultures have experi-enced a kind of renaissance as a basis for politicai mobilization, as, for

example, in Belgium, Canada, France and Great Britain,9 in a number

of less developed countries the individuala participation in public administra-tion has become a centrai socio-economie stratificaadministra-tion dimension and conse-quently the economie basis for the circulation of national civilian and

military elites.10 Finally, the attempt of the socialist countries at turning

the state into the economie institution of the nation has largely failed.

A Theoretical Tool for the Analysis of Social Macrosystems

The following theoretical discussion takes into account some major features of this historical background of world society.

World society can be conceived of as an extremely complex set of more or less complete structures of interrelated social systems. The interrelationship is mainly given by the concentrical location of such systems in the sense of systems of a lower level being units of systems of a higher level. In addition, each structure has a more or less broad marginai fringe of non-integrated units.

Three basic ideas are underlying the theory:

1. Social systems are stratified in terms of a number of socio-economie rank dimensions which differ with regard to their power and prestige loading.

2. Social systems have boundaries established by the differentiation of internally and externally oriented roles and by particular (non socio-econ-omic) cultures.

3. Structural change may be the result of tensions inherent to the structure of social systems.


According to che first basic idea, the structure of a social system has two main characteristics:

(a) It has various vertical dimensions or institutionalized values; i. e.

values which are incorporated into social institutions: such as income in the national economy and formai education in the national school system.

(b) The members of a social system have varying chances to move

on the vertical rank dimensions. The movement is seen as regulated to a considerable extent by the structure.

Since the institutionalized values may vary from one system to another, as shown for ex. by the comparison of intersocietal and interorganizational systems, since the relationship between the accessibility of values and the degree of participation in them also varies from one value to the other, and since the participation in a value can be instrumentai for the access to another value, the structure of a particular social system can be characterized by three parameters:

(a) the institutionalized values;

(b) the relationships between the accessibility of the values and the

degree of participation in them, and

(c) the instrumentalities of the values.11

The more positive the relationship between accessibility and status, i. e. the higher the accumulativity, the higher is the power loading of a dimension. The more negative the relationship between accessibility and status, i. e. the higher the disaccumulativity, the higher is the prestige loading of a dimension.

The theory of social systems as presented in " A Formai Theory of

Social Systems "1 2 and in " A Theory of Societal Systems "13 includes

complex propositions on how the structure of a social system regulates the behavior of its members and the conditions and mechanisms determining the stability and change of the structure of such systems. In particular, it states the conditions under which the actors' behavior shaped by the structure contributes to reproduce or change the structure. In addition, the conditions for entrance and exit are specified. Thus, for example, the behavior of the least developed countries can be interpreted as the behavior of actors who stili are in the process of fulfilling the conditions

for the entrance into international development systems.14 In other words,

the degree and amount of marginality with regard to a structure has also to be established.

The second basic idea refers to the establishment of boundaries of social systems by way of the differentiation of internai and external roles


and of particular (non socio-economic) cultures.15 These cultures may differ

from the centrai (socio-economic) values of the structure. The boundaries are supposed to be identical with the societally differentiated frames of orientation assigned to the members. It may be that the mode of differen-tiation of societal systems varies systematically from one system level to the other, that for ex. the relevance of particular cultures decreases from

lower to higher system levels.16

It is also assumed that the different system levels are interlocked by sets of systems which from the point of view of individuai actors are concen-trically located. It is postulated that there are systematic associations between kind and degree of differentiation of a system and the configuration of posi tions it has within a more comprehensive system. Within this frame-work, the conditions for an eventual transfer of tensions between

concen-trically located systems can also be specified.17 This idea is cruciai for an

ad-equate description of the international system as the most comprehensive one. The third basic idea is that structural change may be a consequence of tensions which are immanent to the structure, i. e. the idea of endogenous

structural change 18 in contrast to the conception of a stable equilibrium.

This idea does not deny the possibility of exogenous structural change. The theory presented here postulates that the structure of a social system as described before implies a fundamental contradiction between the three above mentioned structural parameters, i. e. institutionalized values, accessibilities and instrumentalities of these values. The contradiction shows up for example, in the fact that if two parameters are maintained Constant there is a relatively good chance that the third one will change. It may for ex. be asked whether the change of meaning of urbanization in some highly developed countries is accompanied by a relatively high degree of rigidity of one or both of the other two parameters, i. e. the relationship between accessibility and participation or the instrumentality of urbanization. However, the contradiction does not prevent a simultaneous change of two or even three parameters.

The contradiction between the three parameters is explained in terms of a partial incompatibility between the conditions for maintaining and legitimating the power structure. The configuration of the three parameters which is characteristic for the structure of a particular social system can be considered as an institutionalized compromise between the two above mentioned conditions. The existence of such an institutionalized compromise points to a relatively high degree of consolidation of the structure.

During the phase of emergence of a structure, i. e. before the parameters are more or less fixed, there is no contradiction producing conflict between the structure and its members. In more precise terms, during this phase


the emerging structure fully determines the behavior of its members but not viceversa. A successful process of emergence of a structure tends to guarantee the autonomy of the resulting structure vis-à-vis its members, i. e. its legitimacy. It provides the members of its field of recruitment with direct or indirect access to values which are relevant to them.

The emergence of a structure is proceeding in two steps. During the first step a legitimating rank dimension is differentiated with regard to an already existing more centrai and power-loaded dimension. During the second step the structural chances involved in the different relationships of the various rank dimensions between accessibility and participation are being used by the members and, as a consequence, the relationships between the actors' statuses on the different dimension vary systematically with their rank. The second step implies a transformation of the originai structural tension into a tension resulting from the difference between

strata norms.19

Once these relationships are stabilized, the phase of the emergence of a structure comes to an end. However, the consolidation of a structure is normally conditioned by an evenly distributed growth of production of the system's centrai value. Such a collective mobility of the system's members represents an important way how the conflict as a consequence of the institutionalized compromise between the partially incompatible conditions for maintaining and legitimating the power structure can be postponed. However, according to empirical findings it may be difficult to make compatible positive growth and even distribution of the additional goods. Il the condition for collective mobility is not fulfilled, conflict between actors who differ with regard to their structural position can hardly be prevented. However, it may be possible to transfer the conflict into a concentrically located system of a lower level. Such a transfer implies that the system where the conflict originates does not have to face the immediate consequences of the conflict. Transfers of structurally determined tensions from the international system into national ones have happened quite frequently, for ex. as a consequence of the support received by the politicai and economie élite in developing countries and provided by highly developed nations. Such centripetal transfers from the international system can continue until reaching the level of the individuai. However, more recently some retransfers of tensions back to the international system can be observed.

If such transfers are not feasible, or if the possibilities of transferring tensions have been exhausted, a change of the structure which has generated the tension will ensue. The result of such a change may be conceived of as a loss of structural complexity. Such a loss is accompanied


by a decreasing capacity of the centrai power-loaded rank dimension to shape the behavior of the powerless. In particular, the vertical division of labor may become less complex and the legitimating rank dimension

may lose its instrumentality in the sense of becoming an end by itself.20

But even if the condition of collective mobility is fulfilled, another kind of structural change may set in characterized by a certain saturation of the centrai power-loaded rank dimension on the highest ranks of the system.

Application: Discussion of Some Recent Processes of Structural Change within World Society

Structural change of the international system may affect the differentiation of nations. The loss of legitimacy of the international structure may induce the governments in highly developed nations to promote a policy of internai legitimacy and the governments in less developed countries to engage in a policy of independence or self-reliance. Good examples for a policy of internai legitimacy are given by some of the social democratic governments (Sweden, German Fed. Republic, etc.) and for a policy of self-reliance by China and Tanzania. The populations of the least developed and small countries will be inclined to decrease the differentiation of their national frames of orientation. On the contrary, the populations in highly developed countries will be inclined to reactivate particular cultures. Such a reactivation may make some culturally determined frames of orientation more impermeable but it will not necessarily increase the legitimacy of the state.21

The international system represents an important part of world society. Its importance depends on the degree to which social systems are in fact concentrically located. The concentrically located socio-ecological systems converge in the international system which, for this reason, is directly or indirectly relevant through national membership status for ali citizens of the world. Since the international system has a weak politicai organ-ization (UN, etc.) and since there is no higher system level with regard to which the international system could differentiate roles and its particular culture, the international system does not represent a societal frame of orientation in the strict sense. Its culture cannot be regarded as a particular one.

Ali socio-ecological systems have in common the socio-economic value of development. Most important subdimensions seem to be income per capita, formai education, urbanization, sectoral differentiation of the economy, life expectancy, etc.


The international system is not only a system of socio-ecological units but it is also an intergovernmental system. In contrast to the international development system the intergovernmental system is based on the aggregation of resources at the disposai of the members of each nation. Dimensions of this system are GNP, military strength, science production, population size, etc.22

Although the two systems interact, it does not make much sense to consider them as one and the same system. On the contrary, the change of relationship between both systems is of particular relevance for an

adequate description of world society over time.23 The degree of complexity

of the structure of the international development system probably is much greater than that of the structure of the intergovernmental system. The same is true for the degree of legitimacy.

This description of the relationship between both systems does not ex-clude that the rank dimensions of both systems can be located on one and the same scale of power or prestige loading. The dimensions of the intergovernmental systerq have a relatively high degree of power loading. There are some indications that before World War I ali these dimensions formed part of one international stratification system characterized by a relatively low degree of complexity and that only after the World War II the development dimensions have become combined in a more complex system whose reproduction is independent of politico-military power. As a consequence a number of contradictions have emerged between both systems. A very good illustration of such contradictions is provided by the repercussions of the Vietnam war within US society.

Structural change, when considering simultaneously both systems, has probably first threatened the more power-loaded structure, a threat to which the actors have reacted by making an increasing use of empirical research

in positive sciences.24 Later on the structure of the development system

has also become threatened.

Structural changes can be observed more easily within the power-loaded intergovernmental system. Indeed, nationally aggregated naturai resources are mobilized as a new source of power. This mobilization does not question systematically the stratification of the international development system, since the possibilities of participating in this new source are quite unevenly distributed.

The structural change of the international system primarily affects the power-loaded rank dimension. The percentage of economie resources channelled through the state has increased considerably among highly developed nations. However, certain limits seem to have been reached by the countries most advanced in this direction. In this respect one has


to ask whether these resources are used for external power exertion or for purposes of internai legitimacy. These trends are also accompanied by an increasing exchange of negatively evaluated goods, i. e. of conflict, whose determinants are located within these dimensions. The decrease of positive interaction within the vertical extension of these dimensions can be interpreted in the same sense. Such a decrease may even lead to a certain segregation of different strata. The possibilities of successfully adapting to this new situation seem to be considerably greater in the international upper stratum than in the lower stratum. At the same time, processes of illegitimation are going on which primarily inhibit the transfer of legitimacy from legitimating to power-loaded centrai rank dimensions. This applies for example to scientific production. These processes may be seen as conditions for activating new power resources by low-ranking members of the international development system.

In the course of destructuring of the international system a new class of actors appears who are neither identical with socio-ecological units (national populations) nor with governments. We refer to the multinational industriai corporations which succeed in transcending national frames of orientation. Their internai division of labor continues, however, to reflect differences in socio-economic development of the national contexts in which they are established. They make a contribution to new forms of vertical international labor division through spatial differentiation between guiding and executing activities within the frame of industriai production. The industrialization carried through by multinational corporations within less developed countries appears to be of little instrumentality for economie growth, whereas the concentration of highly qualified services in the more developed countries has proved to be instrumentai for economie growth on the highest ranks of the development system.

The above mentioned processes of structural change on the level of world society point to the fact that the degree of structuring of this society is decreasing and that the cultural codes at the disposai of individuai and collective actors for the processing of information on these events are becoming more and more inadequate. As a consequence, retreatism among national populations has become more frequent and may go as far as rejecting new information.

Application: Some Empirical Findings Concerning Structural Change in the International Upper Stratum

As pointed out before a number of changes of the structure of the inter-national development system can be observed. Some of these changes are endogenous and concern the upper stratum of this system. In the


following some empirical findings on processes of change referring to the meaning of institutionalized values concern socio-economic development as a set of interrelated rank dimensions of the international development system. In other words, we look for changes of the meaning of such rank dimensions among developed nations.

The theory mentioned before distinguishes within the complex of develop-ment values between

(a) centrai and instrumentai values, and

(b) power-loaded values which elicit accumulative growth processes,

and prestige-loaded values which elicit disaccumulative ones.

It can be shown empirically and makes theoretical sense that, on one side, centrai values and accumulative ones and, on the other, instrumentai values and disaccumulative ones tend to coincide.

For theoretical reason it is postulated that the following three kinds of changes are located in the upper stratum of the international system:

(a) processes of saturation of centrai values;

(b) processes of diffèrentiation of instrumentai values;

(c) processes of increasing instrumentality of disaccumulative values. Processes of saturation imply that the centrai value loses relevance. It is assumed that the loss of relevance is shown by the presence of mechanisms indicating a disaccumulative growth of the centrai value.

Processes of differentiation imply that an instrumentai value loses its instrumentality and becomes an end by itself. It is assumed that the loss of instrumentality is due to the loss of relevance of the value for which the value considered is instrumentai, and that, in order to prevent a corresponding loss of relevance of the value considered, its meaning is changed into an end by itself. If it is assumed that instrumentai values are disaccumulative the change of meaning implies the presence of a mechanism indicating an accumulative process of growth of the instru-mentai value.

Processes of increasing instrumentality of a disaccumulative value imply a decreasing degree of subcultural differentiation. Subcultural differentia-tion is supposed to be due to the low degree of accessibility of a centrai accumulative value on low levels of participation in this value and to the consequent shift of relevance to more accessible values. Processes of increasing instrumentality are therefore located on high levels of participa-tion in instrumentai disaccumulative value. It is assumed that this change of meaning implies the presence of a mechanism indicating a positive action of the participation in instrumentai values on the growth of a centrai value.


Whereas processes of differentiation of instrumentai values imply a loss of relevance (or saturation) of the corresponding centrai value, the contrary is trae for processes of increasing instrumentality of disaccumulative values. If both processes are observed, we guess that the processes of differentiation are, together with the processes of saturation, located on higher levels of participation in the centrai value than the processes of increasing instru-mentality, i. e. that they characterize different substrata of the upper stratum of the international development system.

A set of national growth models concerning centrai and instrumentai, accumulative and disaccumulative rank dimensions of the international development system enables us to test these hypotheses referring to the presence of change processes among developed nations. The models have been constructed with the help of a multivariate non-linear fitting procedure on the basis of data from 53 nations in 1950, 1955, 1960 and 1965. The total set of models of growth referring to five-year-increments (A) of income per capita (I), primary and secondary education (E), urbanization (U) and sectoral differentiation of the economy (LD) is recursive, i. e. self-sustained. The rank dimensions of the international development system considered therefore coincide with the institutionalized values whose increments are explained.

It can be shown that the most accumulative and centrai value of the four rank dimensions included is income per capita, and that the most instrumentai and disaccumulative value is education. Sectorial differentiation of the economy is also highly disaccumulative

The results of the test of the three hypotheses concerning processes of change in the upper stratum of the international development system can be summarized as follows:

(a) There indeed exists a process of saturation of income per capita which accelerates toward the highest levels of national economie develop-ment.

(b) There can be observed within the upper upper stratum a process

of differentiation of the tertiary sector not only related to the process of saturation of income per capita, but also as a new rank dimension of the international upper stratum.

(c) Finally, a process of increasing instrumentality of education for economie growth can be detected culminating within the lower upper stratum of the international development system.

These observations are not particularly surprising. It is well known that the saturation of the institutionalized " standard of living " has given rise to a shift of relevance to some non or not yet institutionalized values such


as " quality of life ". Modem tertiarization as shown by the most developed nations can be seen as the core of what is currently called the post-industrial society. The most dynamic branches of the economy make a much broader and better use of post-primary education than agriculture and traditional industriai mass production.

5 11965

In Table 1, the partial derivative . — relating a change of I in 1950

5 11950

to a change of the same variable in 1965, is considered as an indicator for the degree of saturation of income per capita on high levels of participation in this value. The smaller the effect, the higher is supposed to be the degree of saturation.

Table 1. Saturation and Economie Development (I) (27 Nations) 5 11965

5 11950

Low Medium High

Italy Greece, Portugal, USSR, DDR,

Low Hungary, Ireland, Spain, japan



France, Finland, Czechoslovakia Belgium, BRD,

Austria, Netherlands Iceland

Norway, US, Luxembourg, Australia New Zeal., Switzerland,

Sweden, Canada, Denmark Gr. Britain


One of the additive terms of the A-model, — ( ) 5i5°, can be seen


as a mechanism which, under the assumption of a positive association


between I and LD on side and on the other, elicits a disaccumulative


process of income per capita which accelerates toward higher levels of I.


One of the terms of the ALD-model, + ( ) 7,81; points to a mechanism


which, under the same assumption, elicits an accumulative process of sectoral differentiation which accelerates toward high levels of LD. This mechanism determines a differentiation process of the tertiary sector.


The same term is related to the saturation process of I and the


differentiation process of LD.

However, other indicators for the differentiation process of instrumentai values such as low instrumentality for economie growth and high self-instrumentality do not confirm the hypothesis. As shown by Table 2, the

5 11965

association between saturation of I measured by and the

instru-5 119instru-50 5 11965

mentality of LD for I, measured by among the 16 nations of the

5 LD 1950

upper upper stratum is positive, and there is no relationship at ali between saturation of I and self-instrumentality of LD among the same nations.

Table 2. Saturation and Instrumentality of Sectoral Differentiation for Economie Growth (16 Most Developed Nations)

5 I 1965 5 LD 1950 8 I 1965 8 11950 Low Medium Low Austria Netherlands, Canada, Gr. Britain, BRD High

US, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France, Belgium Switzerland Luxembourg High Australia, Japan

Table 3 shows a clearly curvilinear relationship between the

instrumen-8 1 1960 instrumen-8 1 1960

tality of LD for I ( ) and the self-instrumentality of LD( ).


Table 3. Accumulativity (Self-instrumentality) and Instrumentality of Sectoral Differentiation for Economie Growth (27 Developed Nations)

8 LD 1965 5 LD 1950 Low Medium High Low Netherlands, Canada, Gr. Britain Australia BRD, Japan Austria 5 11965 8 LD 1950 Medium High

US, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark Ireland Luxembourg, Norway, France, Belgium Spain, Czechoslovakia, Finland Iceland Greece,

Portugal, USSR, DDR, Italy, Hungary

The relationship is similar to the one between instrumentality of

edu-8 11965

cation for income per capita ( ) and self-instrumentality of education

8 E 1950 5 E 1 9 5 0 *

( )-

26 8 E 1965

However, this relationship is valid for the world sample of 53 nations and not particularly for the group of developed countries. Furthermore, there is a linear relationship between the instrumentality of education for income per capita, and income per capita. As shown by Table 3, the same is not true for the instrumentality of LD for I among the developed nations. According to Table 2, there is a negative association between the instrumentality of sectoral differentiation for income per capita, and the self-instrumentality of income per capita in the upper upper stratum. This points to the fact that those developed nations which are characterized by high instrumentality of LD for I and low self-instrumentality of LD, tend to have a high degree of saturation of I, whereas those developed nations which are characterized by low instrumentality of LD for I and low self-instrumentality of LD, tend to have a low saturation of I.

Now, the question is raised if there are counter-forces which limit or cancel the effect of the change mechanism mentioned before. Looking for such counter-forces among the additive terms of our models we find a number of mechanism which can be interpreted in this sense.


The most important counter-mechanisms are:

(a) concerning saturation of income per capita (I) and increasing instrumentality of education (E):


+ ( _ )3 48 > A I


(b) concerning differentiation of the tertiary sector (high level of LD):

— ( L D )6 94 > A L D

I The first counter-mechanism represented by the additive term 4 , is

E identical with the basic pattern of economie development of the de-veloped nations. According to it, economie growth depends on the lead of the technologically determined productivity of the economically active population, measured by income per capita, and on the lag of primary and secondary education. The term increases with increasing level of economie development. It points to an accumulative growth of income per capita under the condition of lagging education. According to our interpretation, it represents the traditional pattern of industriai development combining technological lead and cultural lag (William F.

Table 4. Degree and Accumulativity (Self-instrumentality) of Sectorial Differentiation (27 Developed Nations)

8 LD 1965 LD Low Medium High Low Canada Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Gr. Britain, US, Sweden, New Zealand 8 LD 1950 Medium Japan Ireland, Luxembourg, BRD, France, Austria Norway, Belgium High Greece, DDR, USSR, Portugal, Hungary, Spain, Finland, Italy Czechoslovakia Iceland


Ogburn). However, on the lower upper stratum this pattern is threatened by an increasing instrumentality of education for economie growth and on the upper upper stratum by the saturation of income per capita.

The second counter-mechanism represented by the additive term—LD, points to the highly disaccumulative process of growth of sectoral differen-tiation among the developed nations. This is also shown by the negative association between LD and the self-instrumentality of LD (see Table 4). In this respect sectoral differentiation behaves similarly to education on the level of the total system. The corresponding mechanism is: — £ 2:09 > AE. But the relationship of sectoral differentiation to income per capita is inverse to the corresponding relationship of education


within the traditional pattern of industrialization ( — ( )5 50 *• Al,


versus + (—)3 48 > AI).


The saturation process of income per capita is conditioned by a lagging economie differentiation. The tertiarization process also depends on a lagging economie differentiation. Therefore, we guess that both processes run parallel on the highest level of development. But the longer these processes are going on, the lower the chances that they will continue. If the traditional industrialization process is very successful in terms of the level of economie development attained, the tertiarization and saturation processes will accelerate. However, the more this tertiarization process goes on, the more economie differentiation will again become instrumentai for economie growth. This change corresponds to the third process mentioned above, i. e. the increasing instrumentality of a disaccumulative value which counteracts the process of saturation. Nevertheless, the above mentioned disaccumulative process of sectoral differentiation will finally lead to a stop of both tertiarization and growth of income per capita. According to these considerations, at first, traditional industrialization will lose its instrumentality. Then, the entrance norm of a new international subsystem will be established in terms of a high level of economie differen-tiation. This new subsystem corresponds to post-industrial society. It combines saturation and tertiarization and tends to become segregated from the lower stratum. It will be slowly enlarged by other developed nations which succeed in fulfilling the new entrance norm.

These processes of change may have been interrupted by the recent econo-mie recession. However, econoecono-mie recession may not only accelerate the end of traditional industrialization but may also give another push to impending tertiarization.



World society is full of tensions produced by unequal distribution of goods and opportuni ties. At the same time, it is constituted by a number of interlocked structures and their environments which allow to transfer tensions, for example, from the international over an intranational to the intrafamily structure, from the socio-economic to the politicai structure and viceversa. Such transfers do not necessarily solve the originai problem, i. e. do not eliminate the source of tensions.

Since the transfer of tensions does not necessarily solve the originai problem, it is quite possible that such processes do not go on forever. The failures of such processes may be recorded, and it may happen that that tensions are retransferred to the originai structure.

Comparing world society today with the one 10 to 20 years ago it seems that important transfer cycles have been closed, in particular the one which started in the international development system. David Apter detected many years ago only a few mobilization systems. Today most developing societies pretend to represent diverse kinds of mobilization systems although much less spectacularly than during the time of Nasser, Sukarno and Nkrumah.

The centrai feature of the relationship between different development strata is no more the exchange between external dependency of locai élites in less developed countries and external support given them by more developed nations. Simultaneously, the international development system has become less legitimate. In particular, the superiority of Western culture, for example science, is no more an indicator for the superiority of Western man.

In the last chapter some endogenous changes in the upper stratum of the international development system have been mentioned. The change of values involved contributes to the destructuring of world society through a process of segregation of the development strata. The exchange of goods between different strata based on the different development conditions tends to diminish in relation to the total volume of world trade. Segre-gation in the sense of economie independence becomes a goal by itself for developed and developing countries.

May be that the conditions for the emergence of new international socio-economic structures exist. Such structures are already represented by multinational industriai corporations; another may emerge on the basis of the enlarged volume of trade between the oil-exporting countries and the most developed nations. In both cases the main sociological problem involved is not so much the preservation of asymmetry in exchange


relationships but the enlarged area of marginality as a consequence of the emergence of these new structures.

The weakening of the structure of the old international development system may not only give rise to the emergence of new socio-economic structures but also to the strengthening of the politico-military system. However, this strengthening does not imply any increase of the legitimacy of this system. The population of the big and rich nations may agree with such a shift of relevance, the populations of the small and poor countries will certainly not do so. It is striking to observe that the big and rich nations are supposed to be the leaders of the world for getting ali others out of economie recession. These leaders are today the US, Japan, and the German Federai Republic. Such trends point not only to the weakening of the international development system but also to a kind of return to the pre-World War I situation. To what extent this will in fact occur depends among other things on the relative efficiency of different uses of resources for the exercise of power, the most important uses being economie vs. military.

PETER HEINTZ and WERNER OBRECHT Sociological Institute - University of Zurich


1 PETER HEINTZ, Ein Soziologisches Paradigma der Entwicklung (A Sociological

Paradigm of Development), (Stuttgart: Enke, 1969).

2 RUDOLF BAUTZ and THOMAS HELD, "Interaction Analysis: Structural Chances of

Societal Units", in P. HEINTZ (ed.), A Macrosociological Theory of Societal Systems

with Special Reference to the International System, (Bern: Huber, 1972), voi. I, pp. 83 ff.

3 VOLKER BORNSCHIER and PETER HEINTZ, " S t a t u s i n k o n s i s t e n z u n d S c h i c h t u n g » (Status Inconsistency and Stratification), Zeitschrift fùr Soziologie, (in print).

4 HANS PETER WIEDERKEHR, " S c i e n c e as an I n s t r u m e n t o f P o l i t i c s " in P . HEINTZ, ed.,

op. cit., voi. I, pp. 305 ff.

5 LAWRENCE R. ALSCHULER, "A Field Theory of National Development in Latin

Ame-rica", Bulletin des Soziologischen Instituts, 29/I-IV, pp. 1-295.

6 VOLKER BORNSCHIER, Wachstum, Konzentration und Multinationalisierung von

Industrieunternehmen (Growth, Concentration and Multinationalisation of Industriai Corporations), (Frauenfeld: Huber, 1976).

7 PETER HEINTZ a n d SUZANNE HEINTZ, Die Zukunft der Entwicklung ( T h e F u t u r e of Development), (Bern: Huber, 1974), pp. 53-54 and p. 65.

8 PETER HEINTZ, Der Zusammenhang zwischen Bildung und wirtschaftlichem Wach-stum im internationalen Vergleich (The Relation between Education and Economie


Growth in International Comparison). Paper presented to the European Seminar on "Measuring the Economie and Social Effects of Educational Inequalities", organized by the Swiss UNESCO Commission, Sigriswil, December 14-16, 1976.

9 RUTH GURNY, Nationalismus beute. Drei Versuche einer soziologischen Kldrung

(Nationalism Today. Three Attempts at a Sociological Clarification). Doctoral Disserta-tion, Winterthur, 1976.

10 SIMON SCHWARTZMAN, "International System and International Tensions" in

P . HEINTZ, ed., op. cit., v o i . I , p p . 1 9 7 f f .

11 PETER HEINTZ a n d SUZANNE HEINTZ, op. cit., p p . 5 1 - 5 3 .

12 PETER HEINTZ, " A Formalized Theory of Social Systems", in P. HEINTZ, ed., op.

cit., voi. II, pp. 13 ff.

13 PETER HEINTZ, "Theory of Societal Systems", in P. HEINTZ, ed., op. cit., voi. I,

pp. 127 ff.

14 PETER HEINTZ, " A Formalized Theory of Social Systems", in P. HEINTZ, ed., op.

cit., voi. II, pp. 32-36.

15 PETER HEINTZ, Etne Theorie der strukturellen Determinanten politischer Kultur

(A Theory of the Structural Determinants of Politicai Culture), Soziologisches Institut, Zurich, 1976.

16 THOMAS HELD and RENÉ LEVY, Die Stellung der Frau in Familie und Gesellschaft

(The Woman's Position in Family and Society), (Frauenfeld: Huber, 1974), Introduction.

17 PETER HEINTZ, "Structural and Anomic Tensions" in P. HEINTZ, ed., op. cit.,

voi. I, pp. 140 ff., Par. 13: "Induction of Anomic Tensions", pp. 144-45.

I® PETER HEINTZ a n d SUZANNE HEINTZ, op. cit., p . 5 1 .

19 PETER HEINTZ a n d RAUL A . HERNÀNDEZ, Das Interdepartementale Entwicklungs

system Fatagoniens (The Interdepartmental Development System of Patagonia), Sozio-logisches Institut, Zurich, 1977.

20 PETER HEINTZ, A Social Science Code. Paper presented to the Symposium "Report

on World Society and Educational Code", Zurich, January 23-24, 1976.

21 PETER HEINTZ, The Relationship between Internai and External Sectors in Small

Countries. Paper presented to the International Workshop on "Comparative Study of Contemporary Switzerland", Geneva, June 19-24, 1975.

22 HEIDE BIRGIT DECHMANN, "Informai Interaction between Governments" in

P . HEINTZ, ed., op. cit., v o i . I I , p p . 1 8 5 f f .

23 PETER HEINTZ, "On the Change of Parameters of the International System

1870-1970. An Analytical Review of Some Literature", The Journal of Conflict Resolution. 20, 1, 1976, pp. 173-184.

24 PETER HEINTZ, "Strategien organisationeller Eliten zur Strukturierung der Umwelt"

(Strategies of Organizational Elites for Structuring the Environment), Schweiz.

Zeit-schrift fiir Soziologie, 3, 1976, pp. 3 ff.

2 5 F o r a d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e m o d e l s , see JUAN BULNESS, BOBBY M . GIERISCH a n d PETER HEINTZ, "A Recursive Model of National Development", in P. HEINTZ, ed.,

op. cit., voi. II. For a more advanced analysis of the additive terms of the models

interpreted as mechanisms, see P. HEINTZ and R.A. HERNÀNDEZ, Das

Interdeparte-mentale Entwicklungs..., op. cit.


L'économique : un concept doublé

par André Delobelle


L'analyse économique classique distingue trois moments dans l'activité économique: la production des biens et des services, leur distribution, leur consommation.

En soi, la production est un problème technologique. A ce titre, elle peut s'évaluer en termes de développement technologique ou organisation-nel d'une société. La consommation, elle, est dominée par les faits de culture propres à une société. En ce sens, la première correspond à une question de niveau, la seconde à une question de genre de vie.

Finalement, seul le mode de distribution ou d'échange des biens constitue le véritable phénomène économique. C'est pourquoi l'économique se définit

essentiellement comme étant le processus ou le système des échanges de biens dans la vie sociale.

Influencé par le niveau technologique de la production autant que par la structure culturelle de la consommation, le mode des échanges influence à son tour, d'une manière centrale pourrait-on dire, les deux autres volets de la vie économique.

Considéré ainsi, l'économique est un probème formel, quoi qu'on puisse en croire ou en dire. Ce qui caractérise la vie économique, ce n'est pas l'objet produit ou consommé, en tant que tei, mais le rapport formel qu'il entretient avec les autres biens produits et consommés. En ce sens,

l'économique est fondamentalement une science de la forme. Nous montrerons comment une analyse « matérialiste » ou « naturelle » de l'activité éco-nomique n'est que la manifestation de l'un des deux modes formels sous lesquels se présente la vie économique.

Depuis les origines de la théorie économique, de nombreuses classifica-tions ont été proposées pour décrire la typologie des systèmes économiques. L'erreur de départ a été de concevoir toujours ces typologies en référence à la seule économie de marché. Les systèmes qui lui sont contraires sont géné-ralement présentés comme étant soit des économies « traditionnelles »,


c'est-à-dire « non modernes », soit comme des exceptions locales et momentanées. L'intérèt des travaux en anthropologie économique vient de ce qu'ils viennent compléter ces typologies classiques et les mettre en perspective critique, éclairant du mème coup l'ensemble du domaine économique.

Il apparait ainsi qu't'Z faut distinguer fondamentalement entre deux types

de circulations des biens: l'économie de communauté ou de don, d'une part, l'economie monétaire ou de marché, d'autre part. Il n'existe pas d'autre type.

Nous nous trouvons donc devant un phénomène binaire, vis-à-vis duquel chacun, de la personne particulière au gouvernment centrai d'un état,

opère des choix à chaque instant, ou du moins à chaque bien échangé. En mème temps, ces choix sont largement influencés, si pas commandés par le système économique dans lequel se trouve la personne au moment du choix.

Il s'agit, en effet, de deux formes distinctes, à la fois opposées entre elles et complémentaires. Ensemble, elles constituent la totalité des choix possibles, c'est-à-dire des procédures possibles pour la vie économique.

L'activité économièue d'une société est caractérisée par la manière dont ces deux modes se partagent les secteurs ou se combinent à l'intérieur d'un mème secteur. Globalement, il existe des sociétés à prédominance d'économie de don, et d'autres où l'économie de marché est prédominante. Dans le language courant, cette opposition est traitée en termes de « sous-développe-ment » ou d'« économies modernes »: ce qui, en soi, en dit long sur le caractère unilatéral de nos théories économiques.

C'est pourquoi, l'économique est un concept doublé.

Pour faciliter la compréhension de ces prénomènes complémentaires, nous pourrions prendre l'image d'un couple. Si les deux conjoints pensent que les apports et services de l'un compensent globalement, dans l'immédiat ou à terme, les apports et services de l'autre, ils se pensent à l'intérieur d'une économie de don ou de communauté. Si, au contraire, ils comptabilisent strictement les apports de chacun et veillent à leur Constant équilibre, ils se pensent extérieurs l'un à l'autre. En ce cas, leur couple peut ètre assimilé à une économie monétaire ou de marché. La circulation des biens y est conflictuelle (homo ceconomicus), au lieu d'ètre « relationnelle » ou positive comme dans le premier cas.

L'économie de communauté

Sorte de pièce de musée, au regard de la sociologie ou de l'anthropologie courantes, l'Essai sur le don, de Marcel Mauss, constitue encore toujours la meilleure intrduction à une définition et une analyse de l'économie de communauté.


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