chapter  VI
The Functions of Age Groups in the Social System: Integrative and Disintegrative Age Groups
Pages 56

In preceding chapters we have attempted to account for I several differences in the structure of age groups by

relating them to various differences in the main struc­ tural characteristics of the social system and its integrative mechanisms. W e have succeeded in fully validating our initial hypothesis in its various details, and in differentiating it greatly by accounting for many additional details. Throughout our analysis, however, we have continuously encountered another difference between various types of age groups, namely, the extent to which they perform integrative or disintegrative func­ tions in the social system; in other words, the extent of occur­ rence of deviancy in age groups. Unlike other structural differ­ ences-e.g., the life span which age groups cover, the differences between task-performing and training age groups, etc.—this difference has not yet been systematically analyzed and ac­ counted for. In other words, we have not yet analyzed either the various types of conformity or deviancy or the social con­ ditions which give rise to them. W e shall now turn to these problems. While it will be necessary to repeat some of the ma­ terial presented in the preceding chapters, we shall do so only to the minimal extent necessary for the forthcoming analysis.