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Social Structure

The structure of it society affects its rate of  change in subtle and not immediately apparent ways.inkeles and Smith [1974] conducted in-depth interviews in six developing countries, seeking to find out what made some
persons receptive to change. They found that some persons had "a general modernity syndrome" [p. 225] and that such persons were likely to have worked in a factory, to have had several years of edu<latio~,and to read newspapers. A society which vests great authority in the very old people, as classical China did for • centuries, is likely to be conservative and stable. A society which stresses conformity and trains the individual to be highly responsive to the group, such as the Zuni,. is less receptive to change than a society like the I1eo, who are highly individualistic and tolerate considerable cultural variability [Ottenberg, 1959]. A highly centralized bureaucracy is very favorable favorable to the promotion and diffusion of change [Dowdy, 19701, although bureaucracies have sometimes been used in an attempt  ts:> suppress change, usually with no more than temporary success .. When a culture is very highly integrated, so that each element is rightly interwoven with all tile others in a mutually interdependent system, change-Is difficult and costly Among a number of Nilotic African peoples, such as the Pakot, Masai, and Kipsigis, the culture is integrated ~rou d the cat I arne are not only a m ns of  they are ;0150 a necessity for brid purchase  a measure of status, and an object intense affection [Schneider, 1959}. such a system is strongly resistant to social change. But when is less highly integrated, so that w rk. ploy, family, religion, a d other act are less d pe  easier  yut It. A tightly structured society, wherein every person's role ,duties, privileges, and obligations ~are preci ely and rigidly defined, is less given to changes than a more loosely structured social  wherein roles, lines of authority, privileg ,rl d obligations are more ope, to individual rearrangement. The.structure of American society is highly conducive to social change. O r individualism, our lack Of rigid social tr tificJt'nl'l, OUT relatively high proportion  and our institutionalize tion research .11 encourage rapid '.lOCI .1 chang . no ay tens of thousands of workers are engaged in finding new discoveries and inventions. This T'r'ration is something I 1 f'W in the world's sometimes ups it consequence.