Peter M. BLAU : A Fable About Social Structure

Journal article by Peter M. Blau ; Published in Social Forces, Vol. 58, 1980

A Fable About Social Structure By PETER M. BLAU, State University of New York at Albany and Columbia University

When the spaceship finally landed on Stellar 8R, nobody expected to find any people there. After all, this was the 964th mission to another star, and none had found any form of life, unless one considered the rocks brought back by the 804th mission as showing fossils of extinct protozoa, a claim made by some scientists but hotly disputed by others. But to everyone’s surprise, there were creatures who immediately gathered around the rocket when it landed. They did not exactly look like people, but they surely were more like people than like protozoa. The two sociologists who had been brought along on Mission 964 immediately set to work to study these creatures on 8R (aytars, as someone started calling them, and the name stuck), while other scientists went about their tasks.

The aytars were all alike, as far as the sociologists could discover, except in two respects. They differed in color, some being blue and others green ; and they differed in size, ranging in height from about 10 to nearly 30 inches. They did not differ in sex ; nor did they differ in age. Of course, time elapsed for them, but it did not change them, so that they did not grow older and ultimately die, which obviated the need for sexual reproduction. (Biologists were studying how they regenerated their organisms.)

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