CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Numerical social trends have become increasingly available and useful both for the retrospective examination of social change and for extrapolation and prediction. Five types of social trends are distinguished here: Type A (developmental), Type B (mixed), Type C (motivational). Type D (institutional), and Type E (adversarial). Numerous examples of each type are described. It turns out that when the five types are arrayed in the order of their dependence on scientific-technical progress, their predictive potential falls into the same rank order. Presumably because almost all of that potential is ultimately derived from scientific-technique progress. A sixth type of trend—virtually independent of science-technology and highly resistant to interpretation—is briefly noted.

Theodore Caplow
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