A Few Rules of Social Movement

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To describe adequately the Thai social scene requires a calculus of movementsrather than an appeal to geometric concepts. As we have alreadyseen, groups under a leader vary in size and stability; those rising in thehierarchy become larger and more stable. In turn, size and stability dependon the economic resource ready for distribution. Hence, a primary rule of social movement may be stated: As groups grow in resources, they growlarger and more stable. Conversely, as resources diminish, groups dwindlein size and stability.Within a group the movements correspond very closely to this picturealso. As the resources of a group increase, benefits accrue in greater measureto those standing near the leader and are distributed in diminishingamounts down the scale. Thus each group, like a comet, has its greatest solidarityat the head, while toward the tail greater instability occurs.Similarly, in affiliating with a superior, the person with the larger andmore stable group, hence greater resources for rendering services, receivesa higher position within a group than persons with fewer resources to offer.Conversely, in terminating an affiliation with a group, those persons orgroups with fewer resources and fewer benefits are more likely to seek toaffiliate elsewhere.From these variations in the resources necessary for affiliation at variouspoints on the hierarchy, we may speak of a “price gradient” for affiliation.This means simply that the price of affiliation changes progressively as onerises in the hierarchy. Such a “price gradient” for affiliation may also be expectedto vary for the areas of Thailand. Bangkok would have the highest,while the gradient would diminish as one moves from provincial capitals toward  more isolated communities.

 

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