Unlike the preface to a published book (which is usually written after the book is completed and probably should be read afterwards as well), this one really does "pre-face" the work remaining to be done. It's a good place to tell you, for example, that clicking on the title of each chapter will take you back to the contents page (clicking the title there will take you home). Here are some other preliminaries.
The Division of Territory in Society is a compendium of research conducted over the last thirty years or so, formally beginning with work on my doctoral dissertation back in 1968 and continuing through this evening (30-Jul-95) sometime. The "book", if that is still the proper word for it, has been through several incarnations and will, I presume, continue to evolve in its present format.
Incarnation #1 was during my only sabbatical (1980/1). After returning from a tour of Greece we stayed for the better part of the academic year with my mother in Paso Robles, California. I wrote chapters longhand and my wife Karen typed them (my always-poor vision was thoroughly shot by then and wouldn't improve till a cornea transplant a year later). That spring I took a draft to publishers in San Francisco. Their consensus was that the cost of setting all the equations and graphs would never be met through sales in my field, Sociology.
I couldn't argue with that. In fact, the further my work progressed the more difficult it was to publish in Sociology. The problem was mathematics. I used no more math than the elementary calculus now typically taught to high school students (for our purposes here, learnable in a few minutes time), but the editors of Sociology journals would routinely return a paper (after sitting on it for a year) with no more commentary than "Our readers wouldn't understand it." I don't see how a field can make any progress when its gatekeepers are guided by the least common denominator, but that's another matter. I turned increasingly to demography and geography journals with my papers.
I should mention that I see my work as couched well within the tradition of Sociology. The title itself reflects one of Sociology's classic works, The Division of Labor in Society (1893), in which Emile Durkheim assessed the emergence of modern industrial society. The framework in which he wrote was developed fifty years earlier by Auguste Comte: society passes through stages of social organization based first on division by kinship, then on division by territory, and in our day on the so-called division of labor - task specialization and trade. Durkheim wrote (too prematurely, I think) of stage three; I went back to work on stage two. More of that later (chapter 17).
When I returned from sabbatical I found something new in the Sociology Department: a Tarbell computer. I re-typed the entire book (which was nearly a ream of paper onto 8-inch floppy disks (though I had no way to put the many hand-drawn Flair-pen graphs there). This was Incarnation #2, the avatar which I expected to emend over the coming years while waiting for Sociology to become interested. A year later I had my own IBM computer, and I typed the whole thing again on 3-1/2" floppies. This became Incarnation #3; it included graphics which I could produce on the new computer using BASIC.
Around 1985, several things happened. I realized that Sociology was becoming more hostile to this kind of work. The field was soaring into what it called "theory" (ideologies, so far as I can tell, with no empirical foundation or referent) and diving into what it called "methodology" (misapplications of complicated statistical procedures to highly questionable data). At the same time I got a Macintosh computer. With its increased graphic capabilities I couldn't refrain from producing Incarnation #4 (we didn't have IBM-to-Mac transfer protocols then, so this was also a complete re-write, re-program, re-draw).
Which brings me to now. A year ago (1994) I started "playing on the net" -- for which I was recently berated by my colleagues in an annual evaluation. In this time I have come to appreciate the opportunity which the World Wide Web affords researchers. I learned this partly through "surfing", newsgrouping, listserving, e-mailing, exploring, downloading and so on; partly through contributing to such sites as the Internet Movie Database, an outstanding example of what the net can do in disseminating information.
So here is Incarnation #5. In its previous forms the "book" had sixteen "chapters", and I'll probably keep that format for now. As I get chapters prepared, I'll add them to the contents. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me (substitute '@' for '#').
note (21 Sep 06): I never completed this because the internet now has so much coverage of this stuff. - Ed