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Degrees and Dimensions of Social Interaction in Tribal Groupings: A Sociometric Study USPHS

Irvine, Sidney H.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Africa, Factor Analysis, Group Behavior, Social Behavior, Sociometric Techniques, Tribes, Zambia


This study reports the results of administering an inventory of 15 sociometric questions to 11 groups of students, 274 in all, in primary, secondary, teacher-training and mine youth schools on the Copperbelt of Zambia. Choices made were analyzed with tribal identification as a classification within class groupings and over all respondents. Two conclusions emerge. First, tribal identity represents a significant category for social interaction within institutionalised groups when social distance is pronounced. Second, the inventory's dimensions, when subjected to factor analysis based on the tribal groupings of the respondents, lay on three axes. They were hypothesised as leadership within an institutionalised system, social acceptance by peers, and ethnic identity. The results, when discussed with reference to other work in social distance, suggest modifications of current theory.

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