Specialization is Differentiation

The proliferation of subcults is most evident in the world of work. Many subcults spring up around occupational specialties. Thus, as the society moves toward greater specialization, it generates more and more subcultural variety.

The scientific community, for example, is splitting into finer and finer fragments. It is criss-crossed with formal organizations and associations whose specialized journals, conferences and meetings are rapidly multiplying in number. But these "open" distinctions according to subject matter are matched by "hidden" distinctions as well. It is not simply that cancer researchers and astronomers do different things; they talk different languages, tend to have different personality types; they think, dress and live differently. (So marked are these distinctions that they often interfere with interpersonal relationships. Says a woman scientist: "My husband is a microbiologist and I am a theoretical physicist, and sometimes I wonder if we mutually exist.")

Scientists within a specialty tend to hang together with their own kind, forming themselves into tight little subcultural cells, to which they turn for approval and prestige, as well as for guidance about such things as dress, political opinions, and life style.

As science expands and the scientific population grows, new specialties spring up, fostering more and still more diversity at this "hidden" or informal level. In short, specialization breeds subcults.


As specialization continues, as research extends into new fields and probes more deeply into old ones, as the economy continues to create new technologies and services, subcults will continue to multiply. Those social critics who inveigh against "mass society" in one breath and denounce "over-specialization" in the next are simply flapping their tongues. Specialization means a movement away from sameness.


Toffler explores the phenomenon of specialization in the sciences, producing subcults and subsubcults.

Folksonomies: knowledge academia specialization silos

/technology and computing/consumer electronics/camera and photo equipment/cameras and camcorders/cameras (0.562019)
/society (0.500117)
/law, govt and politics/legal issues/criminal law (0.446342)

specialization breeds subcults (0.956791 (neutral:0.000000)), little subcultural cells (0.896247 (neutral:0.000000)), greater specialization (0.844081 (positive:0.236570)), different personality types (0.836989 (neutral:0.000000)), new specialties spring (0.810007 (neutral:0.000000)), subcultural variety (0.758048 (positive:0.362104)), Differentiation Toffler (0.721124 (positive:0.586858)), finer fragments (0.704202 (negative:-0.570910)), occupational specialties (0.685238 (neutral:0.000000)), interpersonal relationships (0.655834 (neutral:0.000000)), subject matter (0.652378 (positive:0.450021)), specialized journals (0.651740 (positive:0.470683)), formal organizations (0.649912 (positive:0.470683)), scientific community (0.649651 (positive:0.335077)), woman scientist (0.645501 (neutral:0.000000)), cancer researchers (0.644869 (negative:-0.501842)), theoretical physicist (0.640766 (positive:0.465466)), different languages (0.640368 (negative:-0.208512)), science expands (0.638420 (positive:0.369922)), different things (0.635452 (negative:-0.501842)), informal level (0.631939 (neutral:0.000000)), political opinions (0.629145 (neutral:0.000000)), life style (0.628821 (positive:0.299990)), social critics (0.626649 (negative:-0.504919)), mass society (0.624534 (neutral:0.000000)), distinctions (0.618818 (positive:0.332076)), scientific population (0.617988 (positive:0.369922)), new fields (0.617218 (neutral:0.000000)), old ones (0.616955 (neutral:0.000000)), new technologies (0.615274 (neutral:0.000000))

Toffler:Person (0.833431 (positive:0.586858)), physicist:JobTitle (0.682195 (positive:0.465466)), scientist:JobTitle (0.668520 (neutral:0.000000)), cancer:HealthCondition (0.667600 (negative:-0.501842))

Scientist (0.971570): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Science (0.814081): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Scientific method (0.787433): dbpedia | freebase
Physics (0.750534): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Personality type (0.703834): dbpedia | freebase
Interpersonal relationship (0.630317): dbpedia | freebase
Society (0.612739): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Theory (0.598940): dbpedia | freebase

 Future Shock
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Toffler, Alvin (1990), Future Shock, Random House LLC, Retrieved on 2013-12-19
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: social science