International Journal of Comparative Sociology. 1963, Vol IV, p93.
George M. Foster, Traditional Cultures: and the Impact of Technological Change
Harper and Brothers, New York, 1962, pp. xiv + 292, $ 4.75 (text edition).
Dr. George..M. Foster, with a decade of his experience in applied Anthropology, presents in this book the human aspects of technical assistance and technological development mainly as they are found in traditional rural communities.
In the first two chapters, the author introduces the concepts of culture and society and discrusses at length the concept of culture in relation to the planned cultural change followed by an examination of the ways in which cultures change. In the succeeding chapter, some of the characteristics of peasant society, useful to development workers are analysed. Then the author portrays in detail under three different chapters, the various cultural, social and psychological barriers to change. It may be pointed out in this connection that the author has consciously neglected the analysis of economic factors in the discussion of barriers to change. This is no doubt a limitation from which this book suffers. And Dr. Foster himself frankly admits of this inadequacy. Afterwards an account of the variety of factors that stimulate change forms the theme of a separate chapter entitled 'Stimulants to Change'.
Then the author's attention is shifted to the technical expert, his professional culture, the relationship of his training to his task and his experience of "Culture Shock" in a foreign culture. The role of Anthropologist is broadly considered at the conceptual level followed by its examination in terms of a sequence of events. Dr. Foster tells us that a technical aid project has an inception, a planning period, an operations period and an evaluation period. The work of the Anthropologist at these four periods is described with a number of illustrations.
The penultimate chapter is devoted to an exposition of some of the important problems of teamwork between the Social Scientist, particularly the Anthropologist and the programme administrator. Finally, the book brings to focus some of the ethical factors which are associated with developmental work.
Dr. G. M. Foster deserves all congratulations in producing a handy book, extremely useful not only to the students of applied Anthropology but also to Community Development workers and administrators and to all those who are interested in planned technological change. An important virtue of the book lies in the fact that it makes interesting reading to even those who have little background of Anthropology. The author's modest hope that the "ideas and the evidences presented will help in a better understanding of the implications of the directed technological change and the role of the personnel who participate in such programmes" has all the prospect of fulfilment.
Karnatak University, Dharwar. B. RAMAKRISHNAM RAJU
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