A Reputation Study based on Social Science Students
International Peace Research Institute, Oslo

Published in Journal of Peace Research (Oslo), 3, 1966, pp. 225-243.


A questionnaire about the perceptions of international stratification in Latin America was applied to a non-representative sample of 327 Latin American students of social sciences, and also to a control group of Norwegian students. The students had to distribute the Latin American republics in three levels of prestige and importance, and a general image of stratification was then inferred. Other. questions were concerned with knowledge about Latin America, perceptions of the countries' rank positions on some relevant rank~dimensions, and the criteria used to distribute the countries on levels of prestige and importance.

The analysis of the determinants of the image of stratification showed that this derives from the generalized rank-roles played by the countries as a function of their power and development, and does not depend on specific knowledge about the countries. At the conscious level, nevertheless, there is an exclusive concern about accessible elements, mainly industrialization and education, and a strong refusal of ascribed rank-criteria. This contradiction between values and actual behavior is interpreted as related to the transition of the international system from a feudal-like to a class-like structure.

Some minor variations in the perception of stratification are due to ideological orientations, general level of knowledge and nationality of the respondents, the last factor being the most important. The effect of nationality was explained by an interplay between the country's rank-profile and the place the country occupies in the international structure, as well as the place the subject occupies in the national structure of stratification. It was indicated that the reciprocal perceptions between pairs of countries can be explained by the degree of rank-equivalence and rank-congruence the pair. has.

1. A Spanish version of this article is being simultaneously published in the Revista Latinoamericana de Sociologia n. 2, 1966, under the title "Imágenes de la Estratificación Internacional en América Latina'. Portions of this paper were presented at the Second Nordic Conference on Peace Research, Hilierod, Denmark, February 11-13, 1966. This study is part of Program 21, The Structure of the World Community, now in progress at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, under the direction of Johan Galtung, and can be identified as PRIO Publication 21-3. The authors are indebted to Johan Galtung for the administration of the questionnaire to the students of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Santiago de Chile, to applicants to this Faculty in different Latin American countries, and to students of the University of Chile. We are also indebted to Professor Fábio Wanderley Reis for the administration of the questionnaire to the students of sociology at the Faculty of Economics, University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. <