September 20, 2017 | Author: Gilberto Guerra Pedrosa | Category: Social Structure, Bureaucracy, Max Weber, Sociology, Marxism
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SOCIAL CHANGE: Explorations, Diagnoses, and Conjectures

Edited by.

George Klzo/lschan _and Walter Hirsch L---.~

With an Introduction by


Schenkman Publismng Company .·t· ;

A Halsted Press Book

JOHN WILEY & SONS New York - London -

Sidney - Toronto





In a recent artiele, Kingsley Davis (6) bas proposed such a catholic definition of functionalism as to make it virtually indistinguishable from


David Lockwood

the most hasic presuppositions of contemporary saciology. very cornforting. But if by functionalism nothing more were seeing society as a system of interdependent parts, and an "reductionism," then most of those who have been engaged

This is a11 meant than aversion to in criticism

of functionalism would be proselytized overoight. How many would accept the attendant ideas, such as that of "functional requisites," is more

debatable, and would probably depend on bow they were interpreted. Again, exactly what elements are included as "parts" of a social system, and the exact implieations of the idea of "interdependence" itself, are ob-

Social Integration and

viously areas of potential disagreement (10). But, omitting these eansiderations, surely the "general" funetionalist

standpoint which Davis has restated must be distinguished from its more specifie and controversial fann. Davis avoids mentianing preeisely those

System Integration

characteristics which are now widely associated with, though not logically entaile.d by, a functionalist orientation: fust, the emphatic role attributed to "common vaIue elements" in the integration of social action; and secand, the unwarranted assumption tbat the study of social stahility must

precede the analysis of social change. Both these predispositions, but The terro "social change" will be taken to mean a change in the institutiona] structure of a soCial system; more particularly, a transformation of

the core instituti(!!laLor.deL of a society such that we can .peak of a chan'ge intYPe'~f society. 1 do _Dot belíeve that it is necessary to reach agreement on what is meant by the "core institutional arder" of a society aI on how a typology of societies i5 to be diHerentiated befare tbere can

be.meaningful discussion of how the process of change takes place. That is, unless there is sorne a priori commitment to a "dominant factor" theory

of social change; in which case the wrangle about whether change has "really" taken place can be endless.

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The main purpose of tbis chap'ter is to discuss sorne of the implications of recent criticisms of functionalism, especially those which have a bearJng on how social change is internally generated in a society. The fuesiS is tliat, in concentrating their fire on a s.pecial, albeit prominent, --version of functionalism ("normative functionalism"), cIltlcs have hecome over-

especially the :6rst, typify what we wish to speak of from now on as normative functionalism. 1

Before going on to examine the position to which we are led by the critics of nonnative functionalism, one further distinetion is relevant to the subsequent argumento It is the wholly artificial one between "social integration" and "system integration." Whereas tbe prohlem of social integration focuses attentia_n upon the orderly or eonHictful re1ationships between the actors, the prohlem of system integration focuses on tbe or-

derly or conflictful relationships between the pan., of a social system. It may be said at once that tbe connection between tbese twe aspects of integration is neatly made by normative fuflctionalism. The logic js simple. Since the ouly systematically differentiated parts of a society are its institutional patterns, the only sauree of social disorder arising from system disorder is that which takes the form of role conHict stemming from incompatible institutional pattems. If, however, it js held that

such institutional pattems do not exhaust the generally relevant u parts '"

involved with what may be called the problems of "social integration." As a result, they have tended to ignore what is just as relevant to their central interests in con:8ict and social change, namely, the problem of

"system integration." And here the perspective of general functionalism would still seem to be the most useful instrumento


Couldner quite properly points out that tlrls tendency has amounted to what

earlier functionaUsts commonly a-ffirmed an amorphous, :lnterdependence of parts

within a social system, it does not follow that the specmc empirical analysis in which they -engaged actually utilized this principIe. In particular, the classic contributioDs, from Comte to Parsons, haya gone out of their way to stress the significance oI 'shared vaIne elements' in maintaining the equilibrlwn of social systems" (10




in fact "implicit factor-tbeorizing": "Although the methodological position of the




of a social system, then this particular articulation of system and social integration is only one way of relating tbe phenomena of «devianee'" and "conillct" to the operation of the system as a functioning entity. 'Fo!bis point we shalI return later. For tbe moment, what needs stressing is tlté!t th.e exities of normative functionalism have devated their critique entirely to the way in which !bis theory handles the problem oE social integration; and particularly to the ambiguities of the concept of "institution." II The leading exponent of the general functionalist school, Robert K. Merton, has aIready drawn attention to the static connotation of tbe tenn ~ institution: "It is not enough," he writes, "to refer to tbe
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