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*The Study of Social Organizations

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image of Behaviour

This paper presents a theoretical model of and a practical approach to the study of social systems. It was prepared after discussions at the XI and XII International Ethological Conferences, and each draft was presented to many ethologists for comment, and many responded. The paper looks at the social organization within animal species, and at the way animals build, maintain, and change it by their behaviour. The questions asked move always from the individual behaviours, through the social interactions, to the social reiationships and groups which are stable features of societies. The main societal subsystems discussed are: I. Social phases, or social structures which are maintained for periods of time; 2. Organic specialization by castes; 3. Social specialization in groups ; 4. The pattern of dispersal of individuals or groups; 5. The social organization of sexual and parent-offspring behaviour; 6. The organization of behaviour in relation to the environment; 7. The dynamic aspects of animal societies, particularly with changes in density. In each section, questions aim to draw out the pattern of behavioural organization, emphasising the structural features of the theoretical model presented.

Affiliations: 1: (Animal Behaviour Unit, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia


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