ERIC Number: ED052426
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Social System's Analysis of the Structure of Influence in a Small Community.
Given, C. William; Mitchell, John B.
The structure of influence in a community is the ordering and patterning of the interaction within a system based on the element power (influence) and all other elements as they relate to the use of influence within the social system. The structure of influence in a rural community, Riverview (a pseudonym for the town), Ohio, was analyzed, using four subsystems: the economic, the civic, the educational, and the governmental. The methodology used in data gathering was: (1) the selection of "judges" who were knowledgeable in one or more areas of community life; and (2) the designation of community influentials by the judges. In Riverview, 9 judges nominated 21 individuals two or more times, and 18 of these people were interviewed. Six of the 18 were mentioned four or more times in answers to questions concerning general community influence; only these individuals were considered as general reputed community influentials. This influence was based on particular elements such as power (both formal and informal), rank, status-role position, sentiment, and sanctions. No vertical systems--extracommunity based power--were active in the structure of influence within the community. The social system as a conceptual tool is useful as a theoretical framework from which to analyze the structure of influence. (DB)
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Authoring Institution: Ohio State Univ., Columbus. Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.