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structurally reflected in the corresponding production organizations. The result is that the four organizational types are not randomly distributed over the types of technological process. Nonindustrial technological processes appear to fall into two broad categories: those tending to require an emphasis on specificity and achievement but not permanence; and those tending to require permanence, but not specificity or achievement. In no instance does permanence seem to be combined with specificity and achievement in one set of organizational requirements, as is the case in industrial systems.

Technology and organization. Tillage and animal husbandry are closely tied to the seasonal cycle, require relatively long periods of time for their yield, and tend to be continuously repetitive in yearly cycles. Construction is somewhat similar in that it lends itself to work in successive stages over a fairly long period. None of these three processes ordinarily requires the undivided attention of members of the production organization. It is perfectly possible to cultivate a field, tend a herd, or build a house, and be carrying on some other activity during the same period. In fact, in tillage and animal husbandry there are limits beyond which more exclusive attention to the process would in effect be wasted, since at some point there is no alternative but to wait for crops or animals to mature. Similarly, in these three processes, failure of one member of the production organization to perform his role correctly would not ordinarily result in failure of the entire process. What is not done today can be done tomorrow, and what one person fails to do another can do at another time. One would consequently expect a tendency toward permanence in organizations carrying on tillage, animal husbandry, or construction. On the other hand, specificity and achievement would not tend to be required, since success is not dependent on immediate unfailing performance of tasks, and other activities can be carried on also.

The situation of hunting, fishing, and collection is quite different. These processes are of relatively short duration. Members of organizations performing such work cannot ordinarily do anything else at the same time if only because some search procedure is generally necessary. The workers usually must be away from other activities and must be specifically concerned with finding game, fish, or produce. Once the game has been located, undivided attention is often necessary to keep it under control; success frequently depends on every member doing what he is supposed to do competently and effectively. In hunting by drive or surround, for example, failure of one or a few members on

the job may result in the breakthrough and escape of the quarry. Permanence tends to be unnecessary in these processes. Specificity and achievement, on the other hand, tend to be emphasized, and success greatly depends on effective role performance by each member, especially in hunting.

These inferences, in combination with the previous findings as to structural consistency of production organization, suggest the following propositions:

5. Tillage, construction, and animal husbandry tend to be carried on by familial or custodial organizations:

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6. Hunting, fishing, and collection tend to be carried on by voluntary organizations:

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Contractual organization, as the argument would suggest, is not significantly associated with any particular type of nonindustrial process. Since this form of organization tends toward specificity and achievement, one might expect hunting and fishing to be alternatively organized in this way, particularly in view of the large number of exceptions in the preceding tabulation. Only one of these exceptional cases, however, is contractual; most are custodial:

7. Hunting and fishing, when not carried on by voluntary organization, tend to be carried on by custodial organization:

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Deviations from organizational forms expected on purely technological grounds have been found. In particular, a preponderance of

custodial organizations are found where one would expect contractual structures instead. This apparent tendency merits some exploration, inasmuch as industrial development is evidently dependent on the possibility of contractual organization. These findings suggest strong pressures toward custodial rather than contractual forms in nonindustrial contexts, and this in the face of seemingly stringent technological requirements to the contrary.

Production organization and social setting. The populations of the great majority of newly developing areas practice settled agriculture and live under centralized government, defined as an ultimate monopoly on the legitimate use of force exercised by a concrete group. Such specialized political organization is unlikely in a society of less than 1,500 persons. In other words, the societies now on the brink of industrialization resemble the "peasant” variety more than the “tribal” or "primitive" sort. Custodial and contractual organizations both seem relatively more likely to occur in "peasant" societies:

8. Custodial and contractual organizations are both associated with settled agriculture combined with centralized government:

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A stable political system, which generally involves some kind of centralized government, has frequently been alleged to be a requisite of contractual relationships.10 Here, however, custodial forms are involved as well. This might be expected in view of their essentially political basis, but it is particularly significant because custodial forms are quite unsuited to industrialism. Next to the contractual type, the voluntary organizations seem more closely akin to industrialism even though adapting them to industrial use is largely precluded by the fact that they are more characteristic of "tribal" than of "peasant" societies and hence are less likely to be found in newly developing areas:

9. Voluntary organizations tend to be absent in societies with settled agriculture and centralized government:

Levy, op. cit., pp. 485-486; Murdock, op. cit., pp. 674-686.

10 See pp. 58-59 supra.

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10. Under conditions of settled agriculture and centralized government, hunting and fishing tend to be carried on by custodial organization; in the absence of these conditions, they are carried on by voluntary organization:

Settled agriculture and centralized government




x2 = 8.80



20 P < .01

Q = +.80 Contractual organization does not seem to be significantly associated with any particular type of process. The data imply that settled agriculture and centralized government involve a shift away from voluntary forms and toward custodial organizations, rather than contractual. Although this involves permanent organization rather than impermanent, it also involves a departure from administrative "rationality" in favor of social recruitment, diffuseness, and ascription. Custodial organization, which is generally associated with tillage, construction, and animal husbandry, tends to be generalized to all other types of process, technological suitability notwithstanding. No similar "generalizing" tendency can be shown for contractual structures:

11. Custodial organization is more likely to occur in more than one type of process in the same society than is contractual organization: More than one type 15


Q = +.86


x2 = 7.34

One type only




Familial forms are also quite likely to occur in more than one type of process in the same society, but not in processes for which they are technologically ill-suited. Furthermore, familial forms cannot be shown to be associated with particular social conditions; they are simply ubiquitous, within technological limitations.

An explanation of the tendency of custodial organization to occur in more than one type of productive process is suggested by various theo

retical writers. Production of an agricultural surplus makes support of a specialized political structure possible and implies a decline in the marginal importance of success in hunting and fishing as sources of food supply. Thus the relatively stable land tenure arrangements necessitated by settled agriculture tend to involve a structure of political authority centered around landed property, and to make the society able to afford the "costs" of custodial organization, as opposed to contractual or voluntary. In such circumstances there appears to be a high probability of pre-emption of control over land and other resources by the political authority. One specific mechanism in this connection is described by the "conquest theory of the state." The result is a generalized political system on which custodial organization can be based in all types of production by virtue of the control over resources.11 A tendency toward custodial organization does not necessarily imply a tendency toward direct government control of production. All that is required is a structure of differential power ultimately supported by governmental sanction. The group actually carrying out production may or may not be governmental in nature; often it is not. Structural alternatives to direct government control may be found in a context of general social stratification:

12. Societies with centralized governments are more likely to possess complex hierarchies of general social stratification than are societies without such governments: 12

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Why do these tendencies not occur with contractual organization? The relative incidence of contractual forms is higher where centralized

11 See Ralph Linton, The Study of Man (New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1936), pp. 243-252; Melville J. Herskovits, The Economic Life of Primitive Peoples (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1940), pp. 372-387; Henry Maine, Lectures on the Early History of Institutions (New York: Henry Holt, 1888), pp. 64-97; Maurice R. Davie, The Evolution of War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929), pp. 160175; Raymond Firth, Elements of Social Organization (New York: Philosophical Library, 1951), pp. 50-57.

12 Complex stratification is considered to be present where "three or more social classes or castes" or "hereditary aristocracy” are reported (Murdock, op. cit., pp. 673, 675-686).

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