Status inconsistency in relation to social participation and political activity in a Boston Negro community: an application of the status inconsistency concept to the study of a local community
Akiwowo, Akinsola A.
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The hypothesis from which this Study sprang was first proposed by Professor Gerhard E. Lenski (1952) of the University of Michigan in his quest of the true nature of American social classes. It maintains that the structure of human groups normally involves the coexistence of a number of parallel vertical ranks or levels which imperfectly fit together. Also, it maintains that individuals occupy a number of status levels in the major structures which when viewed from a non-vertical dimension assume a high or low degree of status cryetallization. Those individuals with a low degree of crystallization differ significantly in their social and political attitudes and behaviors from those with a high degree of status crystallization. Professor Lenski then conducted a survey of residents in the Greater Detroit, Michigan area, using a derived statistical formula as a tool to separate the residents into two groups in accordance with their degree of status crystallization. He then set a number of variables against these two groups with significant results. An attempt was made in the present Study to apply the status crystallization concept, called here the status inconsistency concept, in a Study of social participation and voting behavior in a local community in Boston: the Negro section of Roxbury, Boston. The research method is described in detail. The unit of study here was the Negro male head of household between the ages of 25 and 65 years. A random sample of 100 respondents was drawn but only 65 were interviewed. Using a different criterion from Lenski's, the residents in the local community were divided into three groups: Consistent Group, Somewhat Inconsistent Group, and the Highly Inconsistent Group. The first and third Groups are, respectively, the approximate counterparts of Lenski's high and low degrees of status crystallization. A somewhat extensive survey of the literature was undertaken in the fields of social stratification and voting behavior. And a list of significant findings were presented. This Study was designed to test the hypothesis: that status inconsistency is inversely related to membership in voluntary associations but directly associated with participation in voting, and preference for change in the social order. Our findings indicate that in the Northern local Negro community of Boston, the members of the Highly Inconsistent Group tend to maintain a fluid marginality between the "colored world within" and the "white world without". They manifest attitudes and behavior similar to those whom Lenski designated as possessing a low degree of status crystallization. The findings also indicate that the members of the Consistent Group in the Northern Local Negro community tend to manifest attitudes and behavior similar to those whom Lenski called the high status crystalizers. With respect to change in the distribution of power in the social order, the former prefer changes in those areas where social control is exercised over the prestige system. And the latter prefer changes in those institutions where their economic security is curtailed. Although members of the Highly Inconsistent Group tend to participate more in State elections, there is no significant difference in the way members of the three Groups vote. A majority of each Group seemed to prefer the Republican Party. However, more Highly Inconsistent Group members voted mixed tickets than did those of the Consistent Group. [TRUNCATED]
Abstract: p. 216-219. Autobiography: p. 220-221. Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University. Bibliography: p. 208-215.