Industrialization As an Agent of Social Change: A Critical Analysis

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Transaction Publishers, 1990 - Social Science - 171 pages
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Herbert Blumer wrote continuously and voluminously, and consequently left a vast array of unpublished work at the time of his death in 1987. This posthumously published volume testifies further to his perceptive analysis of large-scale social organizations and elegant application of symbolic interactionist principles.

Blumer's focus on the processual nature of social life and on the significance of the communicative interpretation of social contexts is manifest in his theory of industrialization and social change. His theory entails three major points: industrialization must be seen in processual terms, and the industrialization process is different for different historical periods; the consequences of industrialization are a function of the interpretive nature of human action and resembles a neutral framework within which groups interpret the meaning of industrial relations, and the industrial sector must be viewed in terms of power relations; industrial societies contain inherently conflicting interests.

The editors' introductory essay outlines Blumer's metatheoretical stance (symbolic interactionism) and its emphasis on the adjustive character of social life. It places Blumer's theory in the context of contemporary macro theory, including world systems theory, resource dependence theory, and modernization theory.

Herbert Blumer (1900-1987), formerly Chairperson, Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, was the theoretical and methodological leader of "symbolic interactionism" and was identified as its foremost proponent for a half-century. His publications include works on industrial relations, research methods, mass society, collective behavior, race relations, and social movements.

David R. Maines is chairman of the department of anthropology and sociology at Oakland University. He has worked to articulate an interactionist approach to the study of social organization as well as the fundamental relevance of temporality and communication for sociological analysis.

Thomas J. Morrione is Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology at Colby College and he is currently Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the college. He was a Research Associate (1977, 1985) and Visiting Professor (1984) at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Ambiguity of the Concept of Industrialization
13
A The Inadequacy of the Colloquial Meaning of Industrialization
14
B The Confusion of Industrialization with Other Processes
16
C Study of Selected Aspects or Expressions of Industrialization
24
The Nature of Industrialization
31
A Industrialization as a Type of Economy
32
B Views of Industrialization as an Agent of Social Change
35
B Significance of the Differential Responses of Established Social Orders
97
C Summary Observations
101
Industrialization and Problems of Social Transition
103
A The Alleged Role of Industrialization in Producing Social Disorder
104
B Assessment of Industrialization as a Source of Social Disorder
113
C Relation of Early Industrialization to Disorganization and Disorder
120
The Neutral Role of Industrialization
127
A The Construction of a Typology of Early Industrialization
129

C The Framework of Industrialization
42
D Variation in Industrialization
49
Industrialization as an Agent of Social ChangePreliminary Considerations
53
A Analysis of Happenings at Points of Entry
58
B Implications of the Analysis
75
C Summary Remarks
82
Industrialization and the Traditional Order
85
A Response of the Established Order to Industrialization
88
B The Addition of the Social Setting
134
Implications of the Neutral Role of Industrialization
145
B Research Procedure under the New Perspective
150
C Comparative Study of Industrialization
159
D The Ideal Type of Analysis
161
E Implications for Social Policy
165
Index
169
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