An index of sociocultural development applicable to precivilized societies

American Anthropologist Vol/Iss. 71 Published In Pages: 454-461
By Bowden, Edgar


"Traits [loading above .5 on] rotated factor Index of Social Development [are]: permanency of residence, group life, agriculture, use of grain for food, constancy of food supply, domesticated animals other than herded, mining and smelting of metals, metals obtained from outside, pottery, weaving, money or other standard medium of exchange, trade, private property in land, power vested in a chief, codified laws, authority of judges, plutocracy, and organized priesthood" (456)


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Gouldner, Alvin W.Findings: Factor T, "Level of Technology", with its stress on pottery and grain for food is suggestive of neolithic technology. The two heaviest positive loadings (oblimax rotation) were noted above. Other heavy positive loadings are: mining and smelting, prevalence of war, basketry, money, weaving, herding, agriculture, domesticated animals other than herded. Highest negative loadings are: warm climate, legendary heroes, fishing, and patrilocal residence (25)
Rudmin, Floyd WebsterCertain characteristics of societies will be significantly correlated in the same direction with both Simmons' (137) and Murdock's (1967) measures of private property ownership.
Gouldner, Alvin W.Findings: Factor A, "Apollonianism or Norm-Sending", has high positive loadings (oblimax rotation) for: elaboration of ceremony and ritual, organized priesthood, authority vested in judges, power vested in chief, government by restricted council, and attractiveness of future life. Highest negative loadings are for marriage by capture and domesticated animals other than herded.
Murdock, George Peter". . . patrilineal institutions [are] associated with the presence of traits indicative of higher civilization, matrilineal institutions with their absence. [Some of these are:] agriculture, [animal] domestication, writing, pottery, weaving, metals, [labor] specialization, money, [social] classes, government [and] priesthood . . ." (467)
Simmons, Leo W."Finally, with advancing economy, greater complexity and integration of social organization, and with a general improvement in societal stability the aged have tended to enjoy a steadily rising enhancement of status in civil and political affairs" (130)