Popular imagery treasures the notion that human affairs constitute a “system.” Human behavior and social arrangements are said to take place within something resembling a social mechanism or even an organism which has dependably continuous or repetitious, integrating, and compensating characteristics. The myth of social system, so common in human cultures and in the philosophical formulations of intellectuals, has the sense of definite, methodical, and even logical plan or order.
In recent years a good deal of the very best sociological work has been devoted to the study of organization. Although the term organization, belongs to the category of expressions about which there is maintained an air of informed vagueness, certain special conventions exist that focus its use, with qualifications, on a delimited set of phenomena.
Societies can only be thought of as different forms of life. The characteristics of primitive societies which interest anthropologists from the point of view of sociological theory -kinship organization, patterns of myth and ritual, etc- ought not to be taken as an indication of some intrinsic difference between the primitive and the modern, but rather as variations on certain fundamental themes found in all societies. The danger of this kind of reification criticized in this paper is that it prevents us from recognizing this, and from gaining any real understanding of what it means to live in a society other than our own.
Nearly a century ago Toennies and Durkheim identified for sociology the problem of occupation and personality or self. Since then, many able theorists have pointed out that as individual mobility becomes institutionalized the family (as prime socializing agency) suffers severe loss of function. School and occupation -and, increasingly, school for occupation- become the important instrumentalities society uses to produce individuals who want to do what they are called on to do. But while there has been a plentitude of research which describes important occupational roles and their interlocking relationships, not much effort has gone into establishing and explaining what these relationships mean and how they are experienced by those caught up in them.
The past five years have seen a sharp increase in the magnitude of economic research activity located at universities in tropical Africa, and an even greater increase in the relative importance of academic facilities in the total economic research capability of African nations. This article describes briefly the structure of economic research facilities that existed in colonial Africa, and the growth of African universities and their constituent economic research centers in post-colonial era since 1960.
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Review of book by Edwin M. Schur. Englewood Cliffs. N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1065. 180 pp.
Review of book by Joseph A. Litterer. New York and London: John Wiley and Sons, 1963. 418 pp.
Review of book edited by Morris Janowitz. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1964. 369 pp.
Review of book by David Riesman. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1964. 610 pp.