You are on page 1of 50

11.

All Outl¡rle 01 the Socitll Syste17Z
T.us SECOND PART OF TItE GEN-
eral lntrodllcüon ¡s 10 present an outline
of the muin conceptual rcsources of current socio-
h.'lgic::d thconj.1t is neccssarilv incomplete in at k¡lst
\'¡ilys_ F'irst, it is inevit'ably a personal statc-
ment, components ami ¡he ways of org:lnizing
t:hcm th:it secm múst srr;¡legic 10 the ::\uthor. Anv
dísccrning reader \l..'!il recogr;ízc tJwt thcse máteriaf'i
come hom manv sourCe5. Sur tnis is not meJO( to
be ¡) in the historv of theory. al·
tempüng to dücuTTlcnl thc immel1se diversily ()f
smrrces and intluenecs. 1t is, on the contrary, guíded
bv ;1 conviclion of lhe cnormous significance of the
cícment of sysícm in rhe theory of <lny scientific
Bccause of this, great attcntion had to be
[O the Systemlltic fil of the diffcfent theoretícal
regilrding both theír seleclion
thcir t.!rnpírical At thc presenr of
dc\'clopment, (In}' such systematic at-
tcmpt mnst he tentativc. j\:!ajt)f changcs are to be
e'>pcctcd. as have indeed occurred within the course
CVCil oí its relntively mature developnv;nc
Sccond. Ihi::; oulline. ís incomple:tc becausc, long
:as Ü is for un íntmductlon_ it is a mere fragment of
\',.-ha! vv()uld be required to m"ke tbe best possihle
case for sys!cmatíc theory by outlining an adcquatc
systemaLic thcory; this would clearly require a
major treaüse.' Thus, tbe present essay is defkienl
in conceptual precision. lt ¡neludes only a \'cry frag.
mcnrarv statemcnt 01: rhe lodcaL
ond cn{nirical grounds for selecting such concepts.
Fl!rthcr'morc, the deve10pment it presenls is incon:l-
pJcte, and the upplicatíon to empíric:al maleriuIs is
meretv illustralivc.
princip::tl gain, however, bought at the cost
oC <lDd doubtles:'.-l other deftcicndes. is the at-
L the -:.:.tJthor's l"oJnl oí "iew 1111" wol11d lake 1hc
fnrm c,f il nuher Llf-re:iCI,¡ng rey¡s.íon oí his enrlle!" book.
Thr.> SOcl.,[ S,1'sfí'm (1951). 1'0 be reason:'ibly a¡Jequ:'ite, the
rcsU!l wm!ld H\ be :1. longC'f book lhan lhll.t cne wrls
(aboUl 550 p'JRes) .
. 3 (;
BY TALCOTT PARSONS
tempt to cover alI the main probJcms that a sys-
tcmatíc thCOfV must [:lee.
This atten;pt hl)S becn based on toe conviction
t.ha1 there are lWo cssentbl reference points for this
tvpe of svstemntic analvsís: a c1asslficZl(ion of the
rcquircmcms of a system and (he ar-
of thcse wüh r.cfcrencc to processes of
control in the cybcrnetic sense. More spcdfically,
[he theory úf sodal systems bclongs wíthin more
general dass of conccptuaJ schemcs secn m the
fmOle oi rcference of actioll, \Vit.hin tnat frame-
work, the boundaries of social sysLcms have been
defincd in tcrms of lheir rehltions, first to each
otber. t.hen to [he behaJ"¡oral organism. to the per-
SOnalilY oi the indíviduaL tmd to cultural SYSiems.
Tht: reítHion ro tbe physic:lJ environment is medi-
<leed lhrough these athers, and henee is not directo
Secn in this context, a social svstem is always
"open," cngaged in processcs of interchange with
envíroning systems.
.It will furtber be hc1d thál most empirical1y slg·
nificant theorv must be conccrned wílh
complex syste;ñs, that systems of
11mnv Subsvslems. Hence the: primary cmprrtcal
has becn lO the 5ociety. which, in
rhe nature of the case, is highly complex.
The functional c1assification underlving the
whole schemc i nvolvcs the discriminatjon "of f¡Jur
primary categorics: ntennnce. i ntegra-
tjon, güal-attainmi?nt, ami adaptatioD, plnced in that
order in the series of control·relations. But, on an-
other axis, it has beeo necessary to discriminate
the sr.ruclura) componcnts of such systcms_ These
will a!w:1ys constitute panerns of instítutÍonalil.cd
normative culture, differenti:,Hed both f\Jflctiona)]y
and by levels of spccification ami oí scgmentati()Il ot
uni ts cf the svstem. Thc strucl ural classilkation is
organized ab¿LIt thc concepís of systcm v:1lues, in-
stitUliona)jzcd norms, collcctivitics. and roles.
lt \-\líll aIso be necessary to categoríze an'd dassify
Tt¡]cott .AII OutliHé oí tIle Sü<.:Í;¡1 Syskm 3J
the rCSQurces invorved in the iutcrchangc<
not onlv bctwecn a societv and its environing svs-
tems, ¡;ut between slIbsystems wilhín tbc s,;cié'ty.
From lhcse, finallv, ffiust be distincuisheu 1he reg-
u1alorv likc monev,'" whkh are iñ-
volved in dyn:.ll'nic procesE>. •
l\Iore gcncr'llly, a fundürncnt,ll distincl.ion wm be
mnde bctwecn the morphological analysis of the
strl1CILlrC of syslems and the "dynamic" analysis oí
process. Neither has special príority over rhe olhcr
cxcepl thnL, ul a parlicular leve). stable slruclural
reference poinLs are ncccssary for dClcrmining gcn-
erafiztLtions a{-1out proccss. Furthcrmorc, with re-
SpCCI to process. it ís nccessary to distinguísh thc:
"equilibrium" levcl of analysis. \vhlch assumes
structure to be givcn. from the "structural dwngc··
level. whjch attempts to explaín such processes oí
change. In the empírical analysis of comp)<.:x sys-
tems. however. il is almost alwavs ncccssarv to as-
sume some strllctural elemcnts ':to be gí .... while
analyzíng proccsscs of change in others. particu-
larly changes in the struclUre of suhsyslcms ef lhe
more extcnsivc systcm.
secm to be the mínímum (jf thcorctical
problcrns and cCtmponents which must be la kcn jnto
account in anv thcorv Ihat hlVS claim
lo svstematic genera I itV ....: \Ve think th3l all'of them
2row out of ¡he work 01 lhe Illlthors of thc
tions wbich follow. Considerable \'aria,1Íons from
their propoS3Is here put forward would prob:1bly
result if olher conter.nporary theoriS[$ atlcmptl!d
such n lask. BlIt \Ve Lhink they w()uld be primarily
variaf.ions of emphasís. nHhcr deparmrcs from
the has k theoretic::11 struclure wírh wbich wc are
concerncd. \Vhelhcr or nor this is truc, ontv critic.::ll
reaetion to this and olhcr attempts, and to
cnl analysis of empírica) dala. CMI ldL Such
tion will be one of the mos! important tests of how
far i!j()ciolúgy can be said to be on 1 he way 10 con-
solidatíon as .a gcnuinc theorcticaHv codiflcd tield
ni science.'· ..
It may also hdp thc rcader's oricntation lO [his
introducwry nHHcriaI if somcthing is said aboul the
stagcs by v./hkh it has dcvdoped ln [he author's own
work. Thc most important sourccs are: for ¡he ccn-
!rnl conccplion of the sotínl sys[cm amI thc of
HS intcgration. the work uf Durkbéim; (or thc com-
parative :malysis of :wcial struclurc and for lhe
analysis of the borderline benvl!cn social s\'slems
:1nd "culture, tha1 of 1\1<1'.': \Vchcr: and for the
lation hel,"vecn sodal systerns uno pcrsün.llílY. (hat
of FrcLld. Tlle first main St3gc of thinkíng doclI-
mcnted. in termr:; of criticar analvsii< of rhe work of
S{'vcnd othcr thcorists, in The of Social
ActEolI (J 937). A nl:W phnsc of íntegra-
üon, p;.trticuhrly ínvo!ving sysrcmatizí1lion of lhe
general framc of rcfcrencc of aClion and thc anicu-
latiün of social sys1ems with thüse of culLure and of
personalily. \Vas documented in lhe [Wo public.:t-
tíons. Tmwlrd a Gel/eral Tllf.'ory 01 AClioJl, in c01-
with Shils nnd olhers. and Tite Social
Sy.\iem (b¡)th 1951). The schemc \Vas further s)'s-
tcmatizcd and extended. partícularly by
íng Lile variables" ¡oto (he scheme of Ihe
f:(Hlr functional problems of aU sys-
tems of lie1 ion. in Working in the The01")' of
A c:liOIl, wich Bales rmd Shils (1953), Thc artlc-uIa-
tíon benl,'cen social systems ami pcrsonulil)', with
special refcrencc to the process of sCld:llrZítlion, was
further cxplored in Famlly. SOcí'lli::;lIioll ",¡d lmer-
aC¡iOIl Process, wíth Bales and othcrs (1955);
finall)', the prcscnt phase of the nnalysis of input-
OUlput rclalions and 01' the rclations bC1wecn n lolal
social s\'stcm ¡md its. subs\'stems furthcr de-
in Ecoflomy So ciefy, with Smelser
(1956).
Some A rea:; o/ Current Theore¡ical
C01l.\·enslls
Pnrt 1 (lf this General Inlroduction has
strcsscd ¡he of boundarics ()['$ocf-
oJogy am.! the ways in which h;we tendcu to
shift. The divcrsity of poínls of vícw fwm \vhich
important qLICSrTOnS !'lave been may bc askcd.
ana of thc frames of reference in which iH1S-\\'Crs
may be obtained. 3Iso heen di$CllSSed,
Howcver, we beI¡cve thtttlherc i$ a subsLanlial
clcment of curnutatlvc cOTltinl.lity, which bccomcs
the more clcal'ly visihJe \\ han SCCTl in tc-mpond per-
spectivc. Thís of c.outim1ity crm be ohscrvcJ
at difíerent ¡cvds. In C'crtaín \'eTY "'cneral lNms,
sDmclhing appro:lching consemms he claímcd
among thosc wha be con$idcn::lI
alIy cümpc{cnL BUl, as tbc con(ent of ¡heNY be-
c()mes more particularized. agrccnlC'nt tcnds HJ givc
wllrt() a \var 01' schools. Even hcr¡;, how-
C'v¿r, the quc-:;tiün of just how dccp thcsc diírerences
ar.:? i:- one. lt ou!" nlu('h
_.,,--_ .. d_btlgrecfllCnt implicit
[n my u\\·n ':;;.$C. ¡hi" wn:>
:H; a lJf Ihe ,'(JI k
S:nlcture o; Soci,¡/ Aoio!f,
de:!1I pli,I"urily with t .. \)l;íjOf
,,\c:í.\l ,)f ¡he íroIH
Alfrf."d lI.1:\r-.:h,il1. V¡t[r¡,'dt' P:¡¡el(\
:lnd \k\ \\'cbcr. J,¡d¡;in·] l'w lhe :-:ec'o:FLln lill-'r:U\lr{; "":1.:1-
able (he "(ínK', \11('\' shm!kl h' a<z
"ícw ¡In,' (Otll' lhin1.els ':'11e ':lJlJ!d l\;n:e
lt was íO thal lfl('ir
sdwmb ¡;"nH:q',cd in (e111h ('( ,í c(·nml\m
oí cl:rl;,ir, lc"d.'-o. .• ,,, .. · •. ·".·'A
ttworeliC:ll CI)mm,'1l ;.d¡en(:· í'":\, nN
tn lhe i"rlllf \\i(h )i\lnf,n.:';-:\ ]"u:
Ü has b.;c n juSt ,,:; í.'entral' H) l\\..Ibi-t.""quent
W()f];;,
32
CClIcr:1I In t roductiol'l
Probahly the grcntcsl conscnsus CXiS1S rcgarding
thc applicability to om úisciplinc of 1 he gcncnll
canon::; of scicntifk mcrhou. Thc haulc "tbl.)l![
whelhcr sdencC' is rossiblc ín tilo Iic1d of
socí,d behavior may he suíJ to he over in its main
howevcr much nllly rcm:lin 10 be on
of lile subtlcr points, tIle border-
línc prohkms.
This agrcemcnt c1carlv indudcs lhe role of
thcorv in scicncc am.I the of the conceptual
scherlws which sdt!ntitk rhcory crnploys: 1110;:;;[
scholan. would accept [he b<l::.;íc rnelhüdologicaJ
in the work of sllch writers
A. N, \Vhitehend, L. J. Hcndcrson, nnJ J::lmes B.
Conant Despite differcores of cmphasis and pref-
erence for personal types 01' work, the-old battlc of
theory ve.rsus may be considered to be
over. Thc same rnay be said regilnling t he medts oí
nomothctlt versus modeS of conceptu-
aJízalion. LOl.!icallv, the situalion seems 1:0 be er.\-
1Tre1y pnraIlef to that of aod environment
in tbe hiological sciences, where the fürmulation in
lerms (Jf "versus" is now larceIv obso!erc, Since thís
Reader lS concerncd wíth tí1e dcvelopment oí
theüry, consemitls on tbís pOlm js viral.
\Víth reg;¡rd to thcory itself as ;) vital componcnt
of organiz.cd scientific Kno\'v!edge, 10 lhei..1Tcti-
l.?ll formuJ.ntions as crucüll 10015 of investígatíon,
two somcwhat more s.pecífic points may .¡(so be
claimed as and gcneral1y acceptcd.
Thc íirsf of thcse is tne role of unalvticaJ ahstraction
in, aH the more general thcorCi1caí of sci-
cnce. Thcore[ical schcrncs are made up of concepts
and logical/y inteI1'elated propositiol1s. To be ca-
pable logical manipllJat10n: such schemes must
alw:.l.ys be l"e1ali'l.Jcly simple amI cannot possibly
embrace everyihing cmpiricaJly knowable aÍ'lol.lt
Ihe concrete phenümcn:i at hanu. They select,
l.e" abi.-itrl'lcL aceording te lheir own critc-ria of relc
w
vanee 10 thcoretical pr'Oblems.
Finally, the CLmccpt of systc:m is also vital {O sci-
enCe. Resides cmpirical vulidít.y une! conceptual pre-
císion, thcre are IWO olhcr criteria üf the
sc1cntific usdulness of sets OL thcoretical proposi-
tions. namelv. lheir leve! ()f w¡lh
crcnce 1'0 cmpirieal phenomct;'a anu 1heír
wüh ench üther, The COllcept of systcm
is esscntiaJiy nothíng hut appljeatíon of thc crí-
reríon of logicaJ of gencralizcd propo-
sitkm5.. That is. tneoretical scien-
tificaHy u:,duI in so fu as thcy are gcner<li !\nJ :ire
relateu in such ways that data acc()unted [or by orle
proposition mil}, by logic¡¡} infercncc, be s.nOWI1 f.o
nave impiíc::aions fOí data ln¡lt .shüuld fir lnto ... ,the!
propos¡l'lons in the set. The differencc belwet::n de-
scriptlün and theorelical exp1anation ,is precisely
betwccn thc ísolation of particular proposítions
and thcir intcgralion with caeh olher ín such Wi.lVS
that logicul in[cft'ncc i¡; possible. ."
Logical integratjon. or systematization. is in tllis
sensc a maUcr oí dcgree, The ideal, howc\'cr. is a
system of proposÍtioñs so that thcir logical
imenlcpcndcnce is complete, so that aU the propo-
sitiol1s in the svstem can be ri!!orouslv derived from
a sct of prim'ary postula/.es '-(ll1d définitions. Fcw
schcmes af sdentitic theory have approachcd this
goaL hut it remains thc ideal and provides essentinl
criticill ennont). \Ve do not claim, of course. that lhe
schemc prescIlted here possesses anything ap-
prollching complete logkal inlegration. '
Systcmatizaticm of [heory c1early implics the C<.1n;.
cept of empirical syslcm as its counterpart: this fo]-
klWS fn..)m Ihe point maJe about analyticaI abstrae-
tion, lf theorv is to be cmpiricallv relevant, it mttst
present demó'nstrably verifiable patterns of intl!rde-
pendence anH.mg empirical phenomena, In order to
do this, however, it must delineate and classify phe-
nomena according lO criteria of rekvance and ím-
portance. An empiricnl sysrem, then, is a hody of
presumptively interdependent phenomena to which
a given abstn\.ct analytícal scheme is presumptively
relevanl. Jt 15 impossible ro study everything at
once empirically. 1\n empírical system ís ::1 theoreti-
caHy defined field of relevm'H phenomena, with ref-
erence to which ccrtain problem-statcments have
beco abstracted.
So far, thc poínts of agreement have concerned
matlers common lO all the empidcal sciences. Ap-
proaching our ()wn field more closely. another cru-
cial point should be madc, name1y. thc study ()f
hUfl'HHl $oc!ai necessarilv involvcs a frame
oí refcrence hefe culled "tiction:; Thc term itself is
not important. But the c(mtent it rcfers lO ís highly
so. EssentiaHy, it means a type of theOl'clkal schcmc
incompatible with the fürm of "rcductionism" char·
of a I!:rent deal of our earlier scÍentific tra-
dition. Action '"treats behavior as "goal-directed," as
.tS :'motivated." and as guided by sym-
holic proccsscs. The concept of culture as dcvel-
-oped in anthropology is crudal hcrc. Anothcr way
of Dutting the mattcr is that neitncr tbe lheorv of
in (he older sense 1l0f tnat of ninetee'i-tth-
century physíology wNllJ be adequate if simply
"í.IppHcd" to thc behavioral ficld.
A ma.l0r fOCllS 01' this problem was thc
ise' conlroversy of thc j 920's, The behaviorisl posi-
¡ion was a major example of reductíonism and
tended to denv thc scient.illc legitimacv ol' aIl >'sub-
jectivc" of all concepts of "meaníng."
A.s in thc bateles (}vcr the status of scicnce itself and
O\1cr empiridsm in Ihis arca. it can said that [he
fig11l is overo Sociological Lheory today is clearly
Talcott P2rSOnS: A11 Outline oi tlle $ociJ.l Systc.m 33
couched in terms of motives_ goals. s'l-'mbols, menn-
ings. means and cnds
l
anJ th'é
short. r ha ve sUCf!ested that c.eneral ::t!,!ree-
ment exists rcgardíng the rclevance ;)r thc cla;sicaI
caIlons of scientífk mClhod: the significance of
analvtical theorv wifhin this method:'-"rhc nccessítv
of añalytical abstraction for theory; thc conccpt óf
sV8tem: ando finally, thc "action" fTame of refer-
e;'ce. For purposes oi defining thc stlbject matter
of sociology, one more point oC agreemem can be
presumed, namcly. that the empirical systems I/,'¡th
which sociology ís concerncd ínvolvc the imu-
aclion of plunllities of human
3
indivicluals. Clearlv,
the studv of lhe ::mtl.lvticaJ]v isolated "individua]" "is
not a forsoéiologY. In thís cmpiricaI sense,
the concern with "social syslems" ¡s one of the
hallmarks of sociological íntcrcst. Hut when we
remcmber that a thcoretical schcmc 1S bascd ('In
analytical abSlfactioll. merely poinling to an cm-
pirícal field is Ilot enough. ln arder to achieve
any high klt'el of 1heoretical sp.:citlcity, it i5 neccs-
s.\ry to takc posJtions on a series of úther general
íssues where consensus. even in thc so fur
taken for cannot yet be prcsumed.
It is at this pOÍnt that the pnsitions held bv tbe
editors, must be considcrcd. \Ve have hacl to
speciik p()lícies of selection from a litermurc far
too large tú be included tbrough more lhan :l smaJ)
sample, amI we havc had to organize the selectcd
material in a rclativelv dcfinite cohcrcnt wav.
\Ve do not lhínk the present leveI of (;,.-rpJh.:U
COnSCfl$US in the field of sociologv is high enough
to provide an <lutomatic thc l"\olkíes 'Of
selection a.nd organization which must be
in order to produce an intelligibly ;In-
rhology, \Ve have. tbereforc. frllnklv ;)nd exolicidv
brought to b¡,:ar our 0\'.:0 views ()f the most \Jscfúl
nnd important organization of problcms and C'Ofl-
ecpts in rhe fielJ.
T/¡e Concep! of Social Sysu!ln
Thc functíofl of this purt of the General lntro-
dllction is 1(1 present :1Il oulline of om conccpl of
social systcm. in order to makc explicit thc main
consídcríltíons that haw f!uidcd our polides ()f
sclection and organizalion. - .
Lct us start wirh thc issuc jus( mcntionc(L th:tt
of the delinearíon of thc place' of social systcm,
within the frame of refcrencc nr action. One :lSrecr
of the issue, that (lf thc distincÜOll betwccli the
3. Jn thc mos! genernl sensc. .. h(li.lirl ml!;-
van! 10 all !Í\'ing orga.nisms in so ínr as (he)" ífl\crac\, bUi
for purpo"es ít is 110t neceS!"lry 10 hcyoml I he
human case.
analyrícally dcfincd d¡ ndivídual'" <md Lhc systcms
generaled by the p;ocess of intcrí1ctíon, c¡m
be taken for gntntcd. BUl this ís llO[ enou!!h for
our purposes. "'prímarily Íl hils to'- makc
another L1l'l("dvticallv crucial distinctÍoIL namel\',
tha t bctween -s()ci ti ( svstems. and cultural
In thc of tlle individual·social dí:-.tinct¡-on. the-
distinction ítsclf is scarccly in qucstion: the ditncul-
ties ccnter aboUl its analvt.icat char:lcter and the
ways o[ drawing the aml)yticaI lines. In the of
the social svstem-clllwrc: distincti(ln. 1he clear necd
Ü)r sucn ¡; tlistinc[ion onl\' !!mduaIlv hc("n
emcrging ir¡ sN.:i<>Iogy and .
Social lUId ClIlwrtll SyJ!ems, ln {he most impor-
tant tradicion of thoughl for the
conntries. that growing out of utj\jearianism
Dan"inian biol0gy. an indepcndc111 position for lhe
$ooda] sciences depended 011 {he d"lím:ation of a
neJd of Ínteres[ which could nOl simply be subsurncd
under the rubric of bjoIo!.!v. II aboye
alL (he rubric oí ,,'social herc-dity" in Spenccr's
sense, oí' '·culture" in Tvlür's scnsc_ \yhich be-
cmnc' the main foclIs ()f this delineation. Rcgarded
in genera} bíolog.ical terlllS, thís ficld feH dc7lrlv in
realm oi ··c'ñvironment:.d'" ra1her than
tarv in nu('nc\.:. Thc cateQ:orv of social inrcraclion
playcd <l second,lTY role '"'al. "this stagi:. nlthough it
'-vas cJc;¡rly imrlicit in Spencer's (In socia!
d ifferen ti t:l tion.
Thc comm<m back!!round of modem !jociologv
and anthropology hi:ís ... ·emph;;¡sizcd "
spherc. This sphcre h"d thc properti..::::; of crc:;:¡ting
and maintaining a pancrned tradition.
ín vadous \vays bctween the membcrs of !i\'-
íng sodeties and fmm gem>ration lo
!!encnníon throuch IearnitH! and not
biologicar inhcritanc'e. Al the same time, It
SVl\fems of slrucum:d or "ínstí-
tutionaJizcd'.:' intcraction bctwccn large nUTllb¡;;rs of
individuals.
In the Unitecl Swtes. unthropologlsts na,-'c tended
to cmpha:'iizc rhe cuhur;il aSr6ct of complex:
the interacrivc asrect. lt !'ccms to us
imr0rtant lhal the t\\'o. cmpirically intcr-
4, 1 he rele":\II<:e of (he tcrrn \5 ';.'¡':jl
AII concrete- ht:h;!vir\]" j" (he beila,'¡o"f
((1 \'Íllu;:¡ls. nn<.l no thcüry of <H-oid
wirh cómpOl!I!./US oC :he bcha,'¡of '.le Dm
¡.., ver; ctiír..:-.rerll. irom wh:\1 w.,s rCÍ,:rred
":!n;¡iv¡lcallv
¡¡]
1 hi;.c \'¡¡aj bv n'-:'1,'h()lo«v
wirh ¡he ;)!1(J1Yíic:llly
of him, bu!.
clcétrly m<1k(;>:.
. . ..
ef. _\ L I "lcl)q "11...-..' (\m-
\:t::pl:- oC Culture ,md (\f Soc!:d SY-,lcm." _-tlli('fI,"ClIj So ..
doio,,,;,,,tl R.>,'¡c,,·, 195)0\.
34 CClleml lntroduction
depcnclent 1hey may he, should be kepl anrdytical1y
dislinct. Th\! sDciaJ-:wsrem fOLUS is on thc conditions
iJwolvcd in lhe üdcr;lction of élCtl.WJ human lnoivid-
uals who consCÍtlltc COncrete collcctivitics with dc-
tcrrninaw mcmbcrshíp. Thc cuhural-syslcrn focm·.
on ¡he othcr hand. is on "patlerns" of mcaníng. c.g.,
of "afiles. of norms. of orzanizcd knowJcdgc and
hclicfs. oC cxpressivc basic conc'Cpt for
thc intcgratíoo and intcrpcnctratjon of thc t\vo is
insrilUlÍ<mali¡,atiOll, which wilI be a subject of much
nltcntio[\ in subsr:quctll introductory discussions.
Tbus. :ln essential part of OUT' polícy is to dístin-
gUIsh systerns from culwraJ systerns and to
treat the former as tbe primary focus of the analyti-
concerns of socíoiogicúl thcory_ However. the
relat,¡oflshíps bc[ween the two are so intlmate that
wc dcvotc- an entir\! part of OUT Rcader (Part
Four) ro materíals emphasízing and ana]yzing these
rel¡¡tions-íncIuoing, of course, many sc]ections
from the work of llutbors who themselves did not
emph8size lhe distinclion 01' who in man\, cases
\vcre not even 3,'\.vare of it. -
As notcu. insistence on un analyticaJIy illdepend-
ent socio-cultural rca1m was a majar fcatuI'c of thc
intel1(!ctual bísiOrv most relevant to the back!!:round
of contemporary· socioJogkal theory. as
lhl!:\ was. its proponents overshot the mnrk by tend-
ing to deoy lhe relevance of interaction to the
!'ubhwmm 'lcvels of the biologlcal worJd. :as welJ as
lhe rdevanee oC lhe subhl1man prototypes of hu-
man culture. But once thc fundamenta) analvtical
lines havc been esrablished, ít becomes easier io at-
tempt to restore this type of balance, and wc shall
attempt to do S(1 at relevant ['1aces in our more de-
tailed introductory materials. The c1earcst sinr.le
trend since tben has becn al) increasinn
011 the importance of i'motivated" sodat'inrcraction
thnmghom biological evo]mionary sea le, espc-
ciaJly in its higher reaches.
Social Sysiems amI --the lndÍ\'iduai." Another set
of prohlcms has cmeiged puralle] 'to the basíc dÍs-
tinctíon ben'-cen the ¡;tociO·cuItllríl1 ane! the "indi-
vídml]" realms. ) llst as social and cultural svstems
\Vere not cJcadv dlfferentíatet!, the behavíor'of the
uorg,mísm" has tended cven more prcdomínantly
1() he trc.1ted a unitary object of scíentific nnalysis
by psych()JOglstS. At thc same time. the problem of
the of ]earning becn at the center 01' psy-
choJog1cal prcoccupaiion. Cc)rres.pondingly, there
has recently appcarcd an an al '1,' tical dístinction
paralle! to toar betwecn social cultural
tems. one thU( discríminates becwccn thc "onÚí.n-
ísm'· taken anolyticill cutcgory, centering on
¡iS gencrkaIly glven constltulion so far as Ihis is
rclevnnt 10 th\:! analysis oí bchavior .:md
y
on the
other han<.t the Hperson<llity," tbe sy:-;[cm con-
Slítutcd by the learncd oí lhe organi:a-
lüm 01' his
lo our materíal in [he Rcadcr we bavc
not tak.¡;;n cxpl ¡cit ilCCOUl1t 01' thís dís1i but
have pUl togcrher, in P"rt Thrcc, aH rbe rnain
materials bCáring on the d\!termimmls of social
bchavíor relevan! ro thc analvtícal1v isolntcd
vidual" ¡)!lO his social sys-
tems. \Vhen we considcr tbcsc matcríals in more
detaíl in the inrroductions to thut, Pnrt antl to its
subsections. we will kcep this distinc(Íon in mind.
Society. Ecollomy, ancl Poli/v. QUIte c1carlv. the
considerations rcgardíng the -principal areas of
knowlcdge locatcd on the bound:.trics of ¡he thcorv
of social systems COf1cern [he broad problem o'r
dcfining the "jurisdíctions" 01' the disciplines vi/íthin
the Of <lclian area_ 'J.,!e do not propose
to discuss this problem in detail hefe. Therc is,
however, another set of prohlems imcrnaI 10 the
SOCÜl.l svstem which shouh.l be mentíoned before
pro?c(!d"ing. problems concernjng the place Di the
subJect matten; of economics ,md politicaI sc:icncc.
Clcar]y. bOlh are disciplines dealíng with phascs of
the functioning of 1aree-scale and differentiat.ed
socia1 svstcms.
Somé consider tbc scope of sociologv. in a rela-
tiveJy encydopcdíc scnsc. to includc ;h phases of
I.he SU'11cture and functioning 01 sodal s\'stems. Bv
this definirion. economics poH¡ica] science
would be brnnchcs of socioloov. This is noL bo\v-
ever
7
our conccption. In lerms. the
kind of problem 01' boundaries\\'hich adses
$ocial l\ystems and other lypes of aClion systems
:uises again wiihill toe socíal system. becoming
mOre salienl L!.S such systems become more high!v
differcntiated. Our víew is tbat the ccollomy'"'ood
the polity should be trei11ed rlS fuoctional stlbsys-
tcrns wilhín a socicty. primary CO(1cern of sod-
olol!v is nor with thc functioning of these subsvs-
ten;s, but Wilh the O1her two primñry functiona.l sllb-
systems: ¡hOSe concerned v ..'ith thc funcrions of
integnltion and of Between
lhe on [he one hand, and (he eCOnonw and
pO¡ilY, 00 thc otber. there eXlsts the samc order of
interdependence and ínterpenetration rhat exis1s
betwccn social SVSiems (15 who1c and cultural and
psychologica1 (e;pcciaIly personality) syslems.
The cconomíc and po1ítrc,a1 categorics occupy
promíncnt places in the organization of the se]ec-
6. Thh dlstÍnctü');'l between (annlj'tícClII'y defmed)
organism and pcrSO!laltly W,lS COL in ¡he gencrtl1
ilO<llysis of syslems of 3clion forward by P.ITSOl1S 2nd
Shils in Towarll r; General Thcorr oj AClitm (1951).
phasif, OH its irnpon:mce ís a maw:r of subscquent de-
II h.:\s been most fully sl.nted ín PursoDs' "An
Apprmlch (O Psy¡;:hological Theory in Tcrrns o( lIle Theo!'y
(Jf ActÍon," in Sígmuild Koch Ced.), l'srt'lwlo,íD': A Srud)'
01..7 Scí(!7tc.:, V(.\1. Hr (New York: 1959).
}\11 Outlinc of tIte Social Systcm 35
tions of p¡ut 1'wo. In deuling wíth thern, howcvet'.
OUT concern \vill be \ví th instit ut ional S!rllct!lre
ratber th,m \""ith the types 01' functional imcrcon·
nectlon mos! importí.lnt w the ccoDomist and the
po1ítical scienrist. \Vc will select the Cl.':.pects of
economies :md polities thaí are most rele-
\l<lnt to interest_ The ra.tionale of ihis
se1ective procedure witl be more fuJl)' explained in
two places: Iatcr in the present General lntroduc·
tion and in the IntroducUon 10 Part TINo_
This rationale will become more evidcnl as \Ve
proceed_ Though it i5 truc that. bistorícally. thc
fields of economic and oí pol!tical theory were
defined before that of sociology, ít docs not foHow
that the conception of sociolc;gy with which we are
hCíe working is a residual one, In the first place_ in
conncction with the prohlem of societal structure.
we will deaI with the hierarchv of thc relatioos of
control in asocial svstem: wiII <l lle that thc
economic tlnd 1he political constitute I.WO distinct
and relarivclv wen deñned levels. the t,,"o Jowcst in
[he hicf<lrchy from the technícílI viewpoint of
social-svstem anal\, sis.' The otber tW() levels, ¡hose
dealin,g- \\:jrh the of integratíon anu of
are not $:'sre'fnLHically de;:],] t
with in eirhci of the O[hcr t"'o disciplines, nor aTe
the\'. as functions in rhe social SYSlCm, merdv
a sp'ccts of culture. "
Thc second reason that sociology is not u residual
scicncc ís a conscqucncc oí thc ftr'sL Thc problcms
of social iocegration and of partcm-muintcnancc
stand in a difTcrcnt relat10n to the motJvation of the
indi .... idual than do adaplation and goakHtainmcm.
Thc bner two are concerned wíth the
mechanisms of --rational" oricntation to LIle condi-
tions of aclioJ't. a conccptíon most highly dc\'clopcd
in economíc theorv_ Thc formcr 1\\'0, 011 thc othcr
hand. have to do "with "nonrational"' factors, (hat
i5, thosc involved in tbe operation of inremali::.ed
and norms_ This proccss. as \vill be partly
developcd in this and more eXlcnsivcly in
later introductory materials (lntroductions to Parl
One, Section C; lo Pan Tbrec; <InJ to Part Four),
is the essential basis of the phcnolllcnon of l/1,\'(i1l1-
tionalizatioll as sccn from the roiat of vicw oI the
relation of lhe individual ro his socictv,
T}¡c Orgal1izatio/I <Jf SehJCliol1S in the Readcr_
It snould no\\' be c]enr (h,![ PaI'i$ TIlrcc ami Füur
are designed to de"I with the t\Vo fundamcr1u\l ilre;JS
of problems of social systcm!:': 1hose
re13,t1ng to lhe individual as a sys¡em, and those
7_ This \,'le\\' has been O1o_<;t f\lBy del'(!'h1ped ¡n Euuwmy
aml SoC'ieJ,v_ \Vith respcc\ lO the polity ít is
further S9clled out in "'Voting' tlnd the Equilibrium oí thc
American Po!i¡ical System," in E. Hurdíck o'nd A_ J. Brod-
beck (eds.), America/l V'OlÍlIg Behador (Gle:lC(IC, lit.:
Free PreSoS, 1959), especially in lhe Tcchnical NOle.
reIating to thc cultural systcm, The m.1Ín ¡rea[ment
of the social svstem, in a more strictly autooomOll$
SC'l1SC', will be- found not onlv in the introductof\:
marerials of Pan One but in Parts Two and
Fivc_ These (\\.'0 PMts broadlv distingtdshcd a,';
follo'ws: Pan Two \\;itb the of
slructllre of social s\'sterns. indudinQ' ÜIC ¡nsttw·
mechnnisnls lh2t rcglllatc 't'he
\vithin the struclure; Pan Fivc concentn\leS upon
the nrobJems C00nectcu with thc struciumI chanr!cs
of systems, the procC'sses by \vhich a gí\':"cn
¡,\,slem is 1.ransf(lrrncd inw of íl. difTcrcm
;,;c-tcr. whether it be throu,gh Slructural
tion O[ through a.n alterar ion of tyrc in 11 more
fundamcnt:!l sensc.
Part One is composcd of sclections introducrory
to the m-ain bodv of thc in thrce diffcr-
cnt rcspcélS_ First, as e"plo.ined in the Prdace une!
elaboruted in thc prcccding sectíon of this General
lntroduction, \Ve conccive t.he generar ion spanning
thf.:', ninctccnth and twentieth ccnturÍcs 8.S rbe one
which est2.hlished the majo Unes of sodolo¡zic!ll
[heorv rod a v. Before that ti['ne, the socíological
W3S
J
much more diffuSí;c! 'in a
tion which had strong the
tosopby of histor,Y' :md with a general thcory of
behavior oí the typc exemplitied by utilit:lrianisn1.
A of Pan One 1S dcvoted to seicctions froiH
the literaturc pl'cceding the decisive crystallizíng
phase of thc nc\\'cr sociologkal Ihinking. In ihis
:lS will he cxplained more fu!ly in lhe Fore-
\":ord dc..-oteú spccific::rlly io it, ,ve na\T atfcmptcd
to prcscnt sekctions embodyíng the most impon<J.nt
conceptual materials urilízed by ]ater thcorists-
The otbcr 1\'.'0 scctions of Pan Onc conccm (he
two aspecls of ,,"'hal \\'c conccive 10 be ¡he m(lst
cemral conceptual componcnls underJying lhc dc-
vc10pmcnt of a more tcchnical analysis of socb,l
svs1cms ,lS sllch; s\'slcl'ns (lf interaclÍDn bel\l:C'c:n
The of thes.e (Scctiútl B) C0nCerm
{he ways ín which the aspccrs o( beha\'jcl[
invol\'cd in interactÍon focuscd reblh'e lO rnorc
diffusc conccptions of thc general behavior of in-
dividuals. Thcsc are the conccptuil} matcrials that
havc lcd 10 thc baslc structund conccpts of role and
collcctivít v: the two concepts will be m,,)re fully
cxplalncd' prcscntly ;}nd ilhistratcd in fal' more
taH in íons i rt P art T\\'o.
Scclíon e ()f ]\tft Onc. tinalh:. conccrns tbc baslc
phcnomcnon o f ·'lOS! i tutio na íi'l.'¡ [le n_ " Tbi s con,
sis\s cs,"cnti;,¡lIy ín ,he inlcgration ni' culturaI-partcm
c1crncTlls rhe levels of valllcs anJ norms \\:ith
cJcmcnts of ÜIC Inolívalíc)!1:!l sys(cms of inLj¡\'iüua]s
in SL!ch W<lYS as ro ddinc and SUr¡;OTt structUrcd
systcms (:-f s'ocia! intcncrion, The sc!ecríc)ns hcre are
W illustratc SOllle of thc m()st general lypes
36
GcncmI Introduction
of insight aCle! ana[ysís underJying rhe more dctllílcd
Jevclopmcnts in thc h.ltcr Pans oí thc
work. Th\.> r.í.ltiünak of lhe sdcclion amI organiza-
tíOIl \,..,ith lo all Lhrcc of ¡hese inl roductory
themcs wlII be rJiscw,scd more flllly in the relevant
introo ll\:tions.
A Paradigm jor tite AJlalysis
oj Social Syslems
Le{ uso no\\! wrn (O 3. more detüiled discussion of
our conccption ()f a social sYSlem. First, the cÚI1cept
úf intcrpcnetration implie:s lhaL howcver important
logical may be as a theorctical ideal, empiri-
caJJy svstcms are cOl1ceived as opell systems,
engagcd in éomplicl:üed proccsses of íntcrchange
with envíroning sysrcms. The environing systems
includc, in thís C8se, cultura] .md pcrsonality
tems, the bchaviorlll and other subsystems of the
organism, and, through the organism. [he physical
enviroL'nilcnt. The same: logic applics internaI1y to
social svstcms. concdvcd as dilrcrentiated ílnd
scgn1cméd joto a plumlity of suhsystems, each of
\vhich must be treatcd analyrically as an opel1
system imcrchanging with cnvíroning subsyslems
of r.he [arger
The co'ñcep"t of an üpcn system intcrchanging
with environ,íng systems. also implics !>o!Oularies
and their maínlen::mce. \Vhen a sel of inte,rdcpcnd-
ene shows sutlkiently definítc pattcrn-
ing and stabililV over time. then we can sav that it
h:¡s :.'1 and lbat jI. is fmitful to ir as
a "system." A bouodary means simply (ha! a
theoreüerllJy and empírically significant differcnce
betwcen strllctures and prl.')cesses internal to the
and those 10 it exísrs ¡:¡nd lends to be
rílaintained. In so fn.r ::ts bonndaries in this sense do
not cxist. j( is not possíble 10 identify a set of inrer·
dependent phenomemt as a system: it mcrged in
some other, more extensive svstem. It is thus irn-
portant to distinguish a set' of phcnamena not
meant to cünstitutc a SV$tem in the thcoretjcaUv
rcJevant sense--c,g.. a ·certlin typc of statisticál
sampJc of a popuIatíon-from a true syslem.
Slructzmzl ami FUlIctional 01 Analvsis.
Bes.jdes idemifyíng a system in tcrms of its pattcflls
and boundaries. a socia1 svstem can and should be
anatyzed in of thrce' logical1y lndependcnt-
i.c" CfOSs-cllUing--bllt aIsu intcrdependent, bases
or ax:es variabílitv. or as thev mav be called
buses of selecr.i\c 0°, ,
The firsl of thesc is best defined in relation to the
Jístinctio{) bet wcen "struct1.lrar and "'functional"
for :.ma!ysis. Howevcr relative these two
conccpts may be. rhc distinction betwcen thcm is
híghly importuuL The c.mcepl of slruccurc focuses
on those clcmcrus ()f rhe patterning of tbe systcm
which may be rcgarded as inuepcndcnt al l.he
lowcr-"Implhude and shortcr time-mnge lluctua-
tians ln thc relation of the svstem ro its externa1
siluutíon. It thus dcsignatcs tt{c fcaturcs of the sys-
lem which can, in ccrtain strategic respec.s, be
Irealed as constants OVcr ccrtain ranges of v¡lrÍation
in thc bchavíor of other significant element8 of the
theorctical pl"()bJem.
Tbus, in a broad sensc, the American Constitu-
tion has remained a stable rcfcrcncc point ovcr a
period of more than a ccntury and a halL During
this time, of course, the structure of American
socicty has chtmged very greatly in certain respects:
there bavc beco changcs in legal tcrms, through
legisIation, through legal intcrpretations. and
througb more informal processes. But the federal
state. the divisíon bClween legislativc and exccurive
branches of government, Ihe indepcndent judiciary,
thc separMion ol church and stare, the basic rights
of personal libcny, of assembly, and ()f property,
and a variety of Nher features have for most pur-
poses remained constant.
The functíonaJ reference, un thc ofher hand.
diverges from the Slfuctural in tbe "dvnamic" direc-
60n. Its primary theoretical sjgniñcáncc is integra-
tive; functional considerarions relate te 1he prob-
lem of mediatlon betwecn two fundamental sets of
cxigcncies: those imposed by the relative constancy
or "givenness" of a structure, and those imposcd by
the givenness of lhe cnvironing símution externa]
te the svslern. Síncc onlv ín él theoreticallv limiting
case thcse two be asstlmed to stand in constant
re)ation to cach orbcr, tbere wiII necessari1y exist a
system of dynamic processes and mechanisms.
Concepts like <"structure
H
and '"funClion" can be
considered as either concrete or anaJvticaI. Our
present concern ls witb their
we wish to state ín a preliminaty way a fundamental
proposition abOlH the structure of social systems
rhat will be cnlarged upon Ialer,·-'namely. that their
structure as treated within the trame of reference of
action comisü in institutionalized pattems of nor-
mative culture. J( conslsts in components of tbe
organísms {)r personalíties oI the participating indi-
vidua)s only so fal' as. these "interpenetratc" Wilh
the social and cultural svstems, Le .. are ·'internal-
ized" in the personalitv ilnd organísm of the indi-
viduaL 1 shall presentJy discl1sS the problem of
clnssifyiog the elements of norm<.uive culture that
enter into the structure of social SVSlems.
Tbe functional categories of social systems con-
cern, tben, those features in terms of \'.'hich sys-
tcm:nicaIly ordered modes of ad justmcnt operate
in the changing relations between a given set of
patrerns oí institutional1y establíshed structure in
Ta1cott Parsons: 1\n OUUille tlt the Social Systcm
the system anu a given sct of propenies oí' relc-
vam cnvironing Hís{orici.JUv, thc most com-
mon model on Lhis relatío'nship has bccn
based is that of the bchavjncf! organism. as u:;>cd 1n
psychological think.ing. Fro"m tl1i5 paint oí vícw,
[he functíonaJ problem is thal of analyzíng the
mechanisms which make orderly response to en-
vi ronment al conditions p05sib!e. \Vhen us.íng thís
model in anaJvzíng social svstems, however, we
Ircat llot onlv ¡he c'ñvironmclit but lhe oE
the systcm as problemalical and subject te changc,
in a scnsc \vhich !roes farthcr ¡han .he IraditionaI
behav¡or psychol(.·;gist h,ls beco .\ccustomed to gO.6
In íntcrpretíng this posítion. Olle s.hould rcmem-
ocr that the immediatdy environíng syo;tems of a
social SV$tem are no[ Ihose of lhe physíC1l1 environ-
menL They are. rather, the olhcr prímary subs)'s-
tcms of thc genera! system of acLíon-i.e .. the
pcrs<:mallties of íts individual nlt!mbers. thl;' be·
havíorally organízcd aspccts oí the orgaoisms
underlying thosC' pcrsonalítlcs, and the relevant
cultura} in );0 far lile\! not. fullv insti-
tutionalizcd in the social but COin-
poncnls mher than "normative paneros 01' culture"
that are inslÍlutionHlized.
n
'4DYllilmic" A1ode,<; oÍ Analysis. The: ímportance
of lhe second basís or ¡\xis (lf empirical V<J ríability,
and hence oí theoretkal problem formulation, fol-
10\\'s dircctly, A fundamental d istinct ion nlllSi be
made betwecn two orders of "dynamic" problerns
re.lative to a g,íven svstém. The first of these C(.'lncerns
Ihe go on under the aS511mption
that the structural panerns of institution;!lized cul-
rure are given. i.!.::., are assumed (O rcmain const:mt.
This is die arca 01: problems of etjuilibrll/n/ [lS thai
conccpt has becn uscd by PaTeto. Henderson. and
others. and oí homeotltasis as usC'd bv CannoD, The
signíficance of such pmblcms ís connccted
wüh both the concept of sysrem und the way:. in
whieh "ve havc dcfined lhe rc1ation betwccn s.truc-
ture and fLlOCtíOI1.
The conccpl of equilibrium is a fundamental rcf-
erence pOlm for analyzing the procc,;s.:s hy whích a
systcm either comes to tCTms wÍrh thc c.'¡gendcs
imposed by ti c}¡(l1Ilting environmem. wíthout eSSC)1-
changc in its own structllrc. or enils w come lO
(erms and unúcrgoes othcr SLJch as
tural disso)Uliol1 as a boundary-rnaínwining
8. In oddilioo, of course, oue .maJysis cOllchecl ex,
plicíl1y in oí a<:liOIl 4.lnd núl ol (he t>P\! v[
wnich has Su many behLlVi()r p1iyC'nologi:.ts.
lL 1$ loo tedmicaJ ís!>uc. lo e, bm
would tllkc Lhe pos;tion a "y!)\c!1l in ¡he
alll.llylictii scnsc has I!O and dícect mplll-oU¡ pilt
imer.:lu.mge Wílh Ih\.' al) ::,uch
CJ1,,uIgé, which ís of cruda! empirica.lly, is
rncdlalcd. lIHougil the "beh<lv\oral org.mis.m."
Siystcrl"! (ana]ügous tI,) bíolo!!.ical death for the
ganism). or lhe consolitbiioll ()f sorne impairrncm
lending to thc of secondllPi Slructurcs
of a ::'pathologícal" chal'nctcr, thc
conccpt of cqullibrium has ti normal¡ve
in only one sen se. Sincc thc stn.lClUfC of social
lems CümiSl& in ín:;tltutionalízed cultu·rc,
thc of thcsc normativc a
ba!)ic rdcrcncc PQinl fol' ;.malyzíng lhe cquílibr'ium
of lhe system. Ho\vev¡;r. \\ hcthcr main1.en:!nce
actuallv Of no1. and in mC;lsurc. tS
c11lircl}' un cl11piríCtll quc:-.cjon. Furtilcrm();c, "dís-
c'ILlilibrium" may tO v.hicn.
fro[[l a hJgher-order nonna\ivc püint üf view, lS

The sccond set 01' dvn:m,ic pfoblt.'fi1s <.:C!ncerns
pr(Jcesses jn (he of rhe
itsclL This "in\!olv;s. aho\'c t\tL problcms üf
imcrcharu.!c \-viln Lile cultural svstcm. howc,'cr D"1uch
lhcse in Lurn urpcnu llpO';l tht! st:::,tc of
ihc social svsrcm and ils rclatíons lo othe!' e-nviron-
ing Lcavíng disrincrions withín tbe cate-
go'-ry 'of intt!rn,ll adJil&tivc ;)",idc for lhe
mornenl, one can fi:Jy th¡LI, with rcspcc( (O íts cx-
tcrnal intcrcluUlgt.:,';, problcms of cquilíbriLlm lor
thc socía] sygtcm involvl! primarily its rdations m
its individual members pefsünalüics. and 01"-
g¿:lllísms, ano, tluough thesc, H.1 1he physical en-
vÍrünmenL Problems. of SlrUC{Unl] ch::mgc, on rhe
orher hand. prímarily involvc its rclations tl':'1 th!.."
cultural svs.lems afrecHng its palterns of Ínslitu-
tkmalized""normativC'
Hnw¿,vcr fundarncntaJ thc distin..::tilm od\\'(.·cn
dynamic prohIcms. \\hích do and dI) 11()1 ln\.'olve
struc1mal change m:·.y he, thc grcaL irnportancc 01'
an íntcrmcdialc or mixcu !;,hould be
sizcd. Thís is t.hc problcm (1f ínvol\ing the
strudure 01' of ¡he social htH
not the oH'r-::I.B structurul p<lltern. mns( im-
portanL caSe in this CalCg(H)' is Ih;11 01'
or structi.lral dilTcrcnti;Híon, diil"cn::n¡iil-
[ion ío\"olvcs !2;cnllinc n>¡wf.:(mi;:atioJl of !he s\stcm
and., thercfofc. fund,¡fl1cn-zal 5truciUral chan-t:e of
variolls suh:-;ystcms and theír rcb¡jons ro cacn t,:;'l"lcr,
Its analysís ·thcícforc problcms o[
Imal chúogc rOl" toe rckvtint bm not ín
the samc ror lhe wslem ';tS a \\ holco Th0
problcm;.; inVL)!\'cd ¡he o!'l:::anizmion of the
cnmpoJ'lcnts (lf socbl
lar1y tiJe on!er in \\ hich hi.'".\' are p!:\cea,
Furthcr discussíon wiH havé tn :.tw:tit d\.lrificatJt1n
of (hes.:- problcrns.
TIte lIieparchy o/ RdalipllS <,1) e/mlro/. Thc third
of tbe thrct: essc3rl1ial of LhL'orcti¡;al ana!\'sis
lliLiV ddltlcd USo c()nccrniog a hícrardl\' of
tiü[-¡s of cOIHroL "fhe l:lf theory in tbc
38 CCI1cm1 IntJOdllcUon
past gcncrmj(\n in bo(h the biological and (he
IX'ha\'iMal scicnccs hi1s n!vcaiL'd the primar)' source
or (be <liflkul! v undcrlvinc (he promincm red l/e-
l 01' so l;HTc.h lhou!;':hL This WHS lhe
redllc(j()nist lCl1lkncy to ignore {'"he imponancc of
the \vays in org;mization of living sysrcms
ínvnll.,'cd strtlctUfCS amI that ()peraced
as agencies of control---in lhe cvbcrmnic $cnse of
cOíllr<))---of iheir mctaholic bchlwioral proc-
csscs. Thc c<Jnccpt of the orgpnism"
pUl aboye is tnat of a eybcrnetic systcm
loc:ncd m¡¡inlv in [he central ncrvous SVSlcm_ whích
throi',gh scvcml
lo control (he m.:.:tuhalÍc proecsscs of the organism
and th¿ use oi its physíca1 facílíljeS, such
as rlloli()ns of Hmhs.
The basíc SLlbsvs(cms of the general svstcrn of
actit)D constttme hierarchic¡¡) of agen-
cies of control of lhe behnvior of or
11l'ganisms, The behavioral orgnnism is the point of
artícubtion of toe svstem of <lctíon \vílh Lhe I1na-
. fC¿'lturcs of lhe: physical 0[-
gunism and ís lts point of contacl wilh thc physi-
e.1I The personálity systcm ¡s. in lurn,
a system 01' control ovcr thc bl'havíüral
the/ social system. ovcr the pcrsonalitícs of par-
tícipming mcmbers: and the culmral a
s\'stcm of conlrol rcbtive te social sv,stcms.
/ It may help íf we inustrate the of this type
of hciraJ"chical rC'lalionship by discussing the sense
in \vhich the social systt:'m "conl mIs" the pcrson-
<tlity. Therc are tWCI maln empiric:.ll points al which
cüntrol thOllgh lile principIes involved
are [he same in both cases. FirsL situation Ín
which any givcn ¡s. far more tilan
noy otber sel of factot's. camposcd ()f O/ha indi-
víduals. not discrelelv but ín ordcrt::d scts of rela-
tícmship 11.1 lile individual in poim. Hencc, as lhc
sourCe of h¡!) principal facilities of action and of his
princip:::d rewards nnd dcprivali(:ms, {he concrete
ciaJ system a powcrftlJ c(mlroJ (lver the ac-
lion oÍ any concrc(c. ¡\duh individual. Howe\'cr. the
ptllltTnillg of .he I1lOlívi.itlonal system in term:\ of
whidl he f,\ces this sitll¡Jtíon a1so depend;;; upon lhe
systcm. hecrruse his own persona];¡: !ilntC!i/.f(!
neen '\hnped through lhe intern4l1iz:ltiol1 of sys-
tcrn$ üf objccts and of lhe paHems of inst1-
lulíonalizt.:d culture::. This point. it should be made
cJc.lr, indepeo{lcnt of {he scnsc in \.vhích ínJi-
vidl.Hds are cancrelCly or crcí1tíve
rather (han "p:as"ive" or "coniorming," f(,)f ¡ndi-
vióu<llilv ;}nú creotivity are, lO a con:,idcrable cx.tcnt.
pbcnon{crm 01 thc in-stitutiona!ization 01'
lions. 'fhc socí:ll which thc
aiity 150 hen:: C'ünccívcd ¡)nn.!ytícnlly.
Thí:,. prohlcrn will he further díscuS5cLI in ihe Intro-
duciit)fl Lo (>¡Irt Three.
Control ReJmio1!s wiihin I/¡e SuduJ Sys/eJll. The
samc basic principlc of cybcrtlctic hicmrchy th<1t
Hpplics to rhe rcla.¡jons hctwccn general subsystcms
()f ;lction applies )\'Ílhill each or thcm, notubly
to social wbich is of conccrn hcrc.
Tlle priuciplc of thc order of cybcrnctic priority,
cümbim'u wiih primacy of relcvancc to lhe difTcrent
exigencias of (he xystcm, wíl1
be llSCtl as Ihe basis for clnssífying lhe
compollcms of social syslcms, Thc rclcvancc:: of
this hierJrchy appties. of (':OIJTSC. lo a11 thc com-
poncnts distinguishcd according to the tjrst of OUZ'
thrce rangcs of ..... ariatíon, to SlnlcWres. fUIIctions.
mcch,mísms, anu catcgories of input Hno output.
The rnost slnllegrc starting poinl for expInining
this bnsic ser oí dassificntions lS the category of
funcllons, the link between thc structuraJ ;md the
dynal11ic aspecls of the system. 1 huve suggcsted
that it té; possiblc lO reduce (he essentiaJ functional
imperativos of any system of action, and henec of
any social system. tú four. v.:hich '1 havc caneu
íntcgration, goal-auainment
j
and adaptntion. Thcse ure lisled in arder of signifi-
cance from thc point of viow of cybernetic control
of actit)Il processes in the Sy5teID type under can-
sídt!rution.
Thl! f'mlclion 01 Pal1em-MaintclwJ1ce. The func-
1í()O of pattcrn-maintenance refen; tJ)C imperative
of mainlaining the SI ahiliry of the patterns oí" insti-
tutlonalized culture dcnnjn!! ¡he structure of the
systel11. Therc are {wo distin"'ct ílspects of thís fUT1C-
lional lmpcrativc. Thc Hrst coneerns Ihe ch<lr;¡cter
of the normativo pattern il'self; the second conccrns
its srate (jf "institutÍonalization:" F {om thc painl of
víew of the individual partícípant in il social sys1em.
'this mav be ealled his motivatiúnal commirmt'J1I to
¡iCt in wíth cerlain normarive
1 his, as we shal1 !)ee. Íllvolves. lheir "'inl ernalizaüon·'
in lhe slrueton: of his pers()nalüy.
Accordingly. thc focus. of pattern-mainlenance
líes in (he struclural categorv of vcdlles, which wiH
be discusscd prt!sendy, In" this conncction. the
I essential function is maintenancc. at the cul!urlll
leveL of 1he stability of instítutíon,alizcd values
through lh\'! \.vhích articulate va]ues ""iIh
thc: belid SVSlem. namelv. religious hdícfs. ¡de-
ology. ami the (íke. Valucs: oí are subject to
changc. bu( thc cmpirical telldcncy he
IowJrd stabiJity or not.. lhc pmemialíties of disrup-
tion from this source are verv grcaL and it is cssen-
lial 10 lonk for lhar tend 10 protect
such order--even if it is orllerliness in the process
of change.
Thc tiSpeCI of this cOli1roI function con-
T'falcott PtlfSOns: An Dlltlíne ot Socü¡] 39
ceros the motivatíonaI commitment oí the indi-
vidual-elsewhere caBed "lensioll-managemenL" A
very central problem ís that of rhe mecliimisms of
socialízatíon of the individual. Le., of the processes
bv which the vaJues of the socíetv are íntcrnalizcd in
his pcrsonality. BU( even when become
intcmalízed, thc cornmítments ¡nvolved are sUbjccl
to different kinds oí strain. Much insíght has re-
cently been gaincd about the wnys in \"hích such
mcchanisms as ritual. variolls types ot exprcssive
symbolism, the arts, ami índeed recreatíon. operatc
in thís conncctiol1. Durkheinfs anaIvsis of thc 1'unc-
tions 01' rclígioLls rítual ",ay be said lO constitllLe the
main poinl of depnrtlll;e here.
Pattern-maintenance ln this scnsc plays a part
in the theorv oL sodal svstems. a¡; of other svslems
of acti<>n. Oto that of the con;cpt of
incrtia in rncchanics. It serves as the most
mental refcrence poinl 10 which analy ... is of
other, more variable f :let o rs can be re ¡aeed. Propcrly
conceived and lIscd. i, does not ímply lhe c111pirical
predominance of stahility over change. I-lm,vever.
when we suy lhat. because of this sct of flloctíOll,ll
exigencies, social svstcms show a felldenc\' to malll-
thcir strllctur¡;¡ paHcrns. we say two
things. First we províde él rcfcrcnc(" point for lhe
orderly ana)ysÍs of a ""hale range of of
varifltion whíC'h can be trc;ltcd as arlsinc from
sources orhe}' than proccsses af struclural '-change
in ,he svstem, ¡neludíng. in {he Iaucr CÚ1'lccpL its
dissoluti,m. Second, \.Ve "-make it c1ear !hm whcn we
do <\OaIyze s[ructural change 'Are are denling with r\
ditrcrent kind of thcoretical problem than th<H
volved in equiiibratiC'n. Hcnce, there is " dirccl re-
lation bc[\vcen the function ('tf patlcrn-maintenancC'
-as di'itinguishcd from the other t'hrct' funcLionnl
imperatíve;-and thc distincljon bet\l/een problems
of equilibrium analysis. on the one h<.tnd. and the
01: stntctuml ch:lngc on lhe other. The
betwecn these types 01: prohlems
comes 10 füClIS .1t this point in "he paradígm.
TIre Ftmcti(Jll o/ Goal-A twifllllent. Fol' purposcs
of cxposition il seems best lo abandon lhe ()rder of
control set forlh ahove and to conCClHratc next
llpan lhe functlon of gOJl-attainment ltS rcIa ..
líon t() adaptation. 1 n conl rast to the conslancy ()f
institution:llized cultural patterns. we hHVC c-mpha-
sized tne varí;:lbiJilv 01' a svstenú rC'latÍon to íts
situutíon. Thc functíons of goal-auainmcm ;:lnu
ad(lpt<ltion concern the structurcs, mcchanisms.
und processes involved in this rclntion.
\Ve have compared pultcrn-maintenancc \vith
incrtía as llscd in the thcorv 01' mechanics. Goal-
auaimnenl then becomes a :'problenf' in so far as
therc aríses somc discrepancy bctwecn the íncninl
tcndencies of the systcm ana its "nccds" rcsulting
from interchanl!c Wilh sinultlOn. Such nceds
necessarilv arise because the internal svstcm and
the ones cannot be expeclcrÍ to follo\\:
immediatc1y the oi' process.
l
" A
is therefore del1ned in of cg lliJibri mi."l. le
is a directiünai change that tencls to reduce the
discrepancy bctwccn ¡-he needs of the S)'Jiilcm. \l;Ílh
respect to inpttt-output ::md t.hc C'ondí-
tÍons in the environin!.!; b<:'ur upon the
HfuItIIment" oC qlch'" flct:!ds, Cioal-att':lÍnmcnt or
goal-orientati()n is tlws. hy contrast \v¡th
maintcnancc. tícd ro a sltualion.
A social svstem with onl\' one ('oal dctln('d in
rcbtlon to gencrlG1ily shlmt'¡onal p('ob-
1(,111, is conceivablc. [Vh)st oflcl1. hO\\'t:vcc rhe siwa-
tion complex. with nmny gon]s ;UHl rrobkms. [n
slIch 3. case two fu rthc r considcnü¡ ons Tll USl r.c
takcn into account. Fir$!. 10 pn.:m:Cl lite inrcu-rÍI\'
of the svstcm. the ;'\cveral goals mus! be
in sorne of rcJative a scalc
t1exible ro alIow for variations in the sltuatioli.
any compkx syStcm, thcrdore. h is nCCCSS:Hy fo
spc:Jk of :..¡ systcm ()f goals rather 1han of a single
unit:lty goal. a systcm. howevcr, \\thich musr have
sorne balance belwccn intcgration as :\ s"stcm and
flexible ndjustmcnt tú chllnging prcssures.-'
Por the social svsiem ::\5. such. lhe .tocus of íls
f!o;:d-orientntion HC':,; in it¡¡ rch.ltíon as a :wstcm tn
tbc pefsonalitics of the pnrticipming ínJivfdu::d'l_ It
conccrns, thereforc, nOl commitment to t he vahr<:"
of thc socicty, bur motivation ro contribl.llc what ís
rv tor thc fUliclionlng of thc svstcm; (hese
va fV accordil1g' (o parti¿'ular cxi!.!cn-
cíes. For eX:1mple.' c:onsidcri';-g Amcric<ln
onc mav 1hat, gívcn che majn SVS1crn óf
valLtcs, beca -,n lhe, -pcriod
majar problem of mot¡vating largc sector:; ('Ir the
populntion LO rhc lcvi::' 1 of nallona] {'fIon
tú susmin a position of world lí:::ider::o.hip in a
unstabfc and nlpidly changing 1
inlerprc! mllch of the scnSl" ('ir frus! ration
in ísoI'ltionism and :--'lcC:rr1h\'lsrn <l'ií. manifcstatio(l<¡
of thc stmins resulrine from pn:)blcm.
The F1I1Iclioll of Thc sccond COil-
sl'gucncc of p)urality of goaJs. ho\Vcvcr. conct?l'n:'-
the ditTcrcnce hel\ ...·cNl tbe funí.'tions of '-U,,,-.lll,l
lf}. \\'hcn we Si't!'élk of lhe ru,W'1 r¡ oi tne !cndin¡::,
lO t",<main C'on!>.t,m!. \Ve :his in an l>cnsc.
Thc {O C"n, .. irolling !-y;.,((:';'l'11'; nc:ed mH LOO!'!:,nl
in rile scnSl', amI ¡lle-ir m¡l\! dü,lurl- lhl:'
rd<lIifmship ll! Iht' í.'lwiwning 's}"aem, l'jm::
"('oH ¡ lHl 1\1:11' be ,>!;lbly i n"IÍIU ¡ Í()¡1(t] i1td in .:. ",,,'1,,,,·.1
sens!.: bur I csulI JI} a c:unl in uíng. O\JI pUl lll"W
whích ís ;, dyunrl.li..: (;u,:!O; in Ihe
its SilllLllí(i!L
tI, eL lhc !,1ll11Cr, ·'\kC:lflbyi!.1n ,md
SociilI TcnsÍúl1_'" l·a;" Rcdew, \\'intc". 1(1."111)111(:0 m,
Chapo 7, Strflt:?!ir¡- t,jtl,i 1'J"();.'(.'s.<; !JI ,\fod,>!'I1
40
Ceneral Introdw.:t'ioJl
mcnt itnu adaptation. \Vhen thcrc onl)" one goal)
th..; problem ol' cvalu:11íng thc uscfulnc5s ()f facilltics
is nflrrowcd do ....vn (O thelr reJevanc:c to :-tuaining
Ihis particlIbr gonl. \Vith a pluraIity of goa)s. how':
cvcr. the problcm of "cosr' That is, thc same
scarcc f:lciJítlcs will havc alIentalh't> tls;':S wlthín (he
S\'Slcm of ()(H!}s. nnd hcncc thcir LJ:)C für Dne pur-
l;ose sacriflcing the glliilS that would have
hccn dcrivcd lrom thel" use for anothcr" It lS on this
basis lh:lt an analytícill di;.¡finctíon must be made
hetwccn thc hmcÚ()n 01" drcctíve gonl-aUaínment
Llml1hat ot providíng diliposab!e indepcnd-
cnt of lhcir re{¡;vanc..:.: 10 <il'ly particular goal. The
adaptivc funct!()r) is ucfincd o$lhc rrovision oC sllch
facilities.
Jusi as 1herc 15 a pluralism of lt:"wer-order. more
concrete goal;.,-, tnere is Lilso pluralism of re!.)t!vc]y
concrete f<lcililies. Hcncc tocre is ,1 pan\lIel proh·
Icm ()f the organizmíon of sucll facilities in svs-
t\!n1. The cricerion is thc rrovision of tlexi-
biJity. so Ú.tf as thís ¡s compdliblc wÍlh effectiveness:
f:(lr i'iys(cm" thi& means a mnximutTl of 2enera]-
ízed disp'osability in the pwcesses of :lHocation' be-
tween alternative uses. \Vithin ¡he c(,)mplcx type
of socülI system, thís disrosability of facilitíes
crystallizes abouL [he institutionillizalíon of monev
and m:lrkets. More generally_ :lt the
JcvcL the functkm ()f goal-aHainment
is the fOCllS of the roliticnl orgnnízation of socielies,
;,";hile that oí adaptation 18 the focus of economic
orlZaniz.ation."jt
rile rnost importan! I<inds of facilities Jnvolve
control (ir physic:tll objccts. nccess to the scrvíces
(lf human and certnin cultural clements. For'
their of control io be at all hil!hlV
generaIized
l
particular units of such resourccs ñ;ust
he -'a1icnable," i 'C" not bound to specific uses
through Thc m3rket system is thus a
prímMY focus of thc socicty's orgunization for
'12. h sl10llld bc llOlcd th,:t lhe {ormulalÍon of tlle
cardully Q't'()id5 nny imt::lication Ih'l{
adJustOlC'm the keYI'lote' c;f Ach,Pl3'
,km is relativc ,() lhe v:llucs ¡\na of lhe sysLem. "Good
adnplíltío[lH rmly "jthcT' in ¡¡cceptance of
wncHIl<)Jls ",,'ilh mlnimin\!íoJ1 of rísk or in master}'
af condítíon::i. The Ínclu"iún of active mas/e!'y in the CCtnCI::pL
oi aL'iélpt¡ilíOIl i5 one oC Ihe ll10sr imporialll lendcncics. of
recen! Ín biologica! thcc[v. An important
rdcliion lx:!wccn lWo ítlHcl¡om.l oC
allílíl1mcm :md 3,d,lpU¡tion ílnd rhe O!(l c¡¡tcLwríe5 of ends
:::md mcrtns should be nOkJ. The hns.ic (jiscrimlilafíOII oí
end!\ .1mi be lo bt' ¡he i\pecial ror thi!
fJf!rsonality :;ys{em, oC lht" more gi:'neul discrrmina¡ion of
funcLiOll!'l of nnd adapr:!iitm. lo at-
wmpting lO aIíalysls cf sodal beh:CiVíi)[' .in1() tbi!.
fl arnework. UlíJiwrirm dlfC!Y was b01h ól' nnrrowing
H (() Ihe- pt:'n.onalil, rdl. lhe indcpendk
t'nl (if :)oci;¡} SY.'J(N1')S.} mH.1 oi'
looking ¡he indept:ndenl of the: {unclion$
p¡¡lh:rn-maÍntenanCé a.nd 01' 01' ¡,ocí31 systems
themsclves.
auaptalÍOI1, Comparnblc features opcr:lte in less
diffcrcntiatcd sodetics, and in more dinercntiated
5ubsystcms whcrc mmkcts do fJot penetrate. sLIch
as thc familv::J
\Vithin a givcn systcm, goal-,mainrnent is ti. more
imporlarll control thi.lJl adaptation. Facilities sub-
serve thc aUainment oC goals, not vice vcrsa-
lhough of course the provísíon or "production
H
of
facílides may itsclf be a goal. with a place within
the more general systcl1l of goals. Thcrt! arco how-
eVCf, compllcations in the impllcutions ()f this srate-
mcnt.
Tire FUIlC'lioll 01 Integration, The last of the four
functional jmperatives of a syslern oi actíon-in
our case, a social svstcm-1s tnal of intcJ:!ration. In
tbe control híentrchv. this stands bc1wce; thc func-
tions of pattern-maintenance Hnd gOfl]-<tltaÍnment.
Our rccognition of thc sígnificance of integration
ímplies that a11 systems, except for a Hmiting case.
are differenliated and scgmclHcd ioto relatívely in-
dependent uníts, Le., must be 1re:lIed as boundarv-
majntaining systems withín <ln envirollmenl of
other sVSlems, which jn this case are other sllbsvs-
tems oí the same, mOre inclusive system. Thc
tional problem of intcgration thc mutual
ndju5tments of thcsc -;:-'unHs" OT subsvstems fram
the point of view of their "contribuÚons" to the
effcctive functioning o[ lhe system as a wholc. This,
in turn, concerns theír reJation 10 the pattern-
maíntenance problern. as \Ven as to the external sÍlu-
ation through processes ol goal-atlainment and
adaptaiiún,
In a highly ditIerentiated society, the primary
focus oi {he integrative functton is found in its
system of legal nNrns and the agencies í.lssociated
wilh Í1s managemenL notably the courts and the
legal profession. Legal norms at this leve}, rather
than of a supreme constitution, govern the
allocatitm oí and oblii!i){iol1s. of facilities and
rewards. betw;en different units of (he complex
system; such norms facilitate internal ad juslmcnts
compatible with the s1abílily of the value system 01'
ics orderIy change. as wen HS with adaptation to the
shliting demanrls of rhe externa! síluation. The
institutionaJization of moncy and po¡.ver are pri-
mariIy integnlljvc phcnomenn, like other mecha-
nisms of social control in the narrower sensc. These
probicrns wi1l be furlher discussed in late, sectlons
of lhis cssay.
For any given type oi system-here. the soci.\I-
the íntegratjve Junctíon is thc focu$ oi its most
distinctivc properties and proccsscs. \Ve contend,
13. The impcnnnce oí ndaptíve fiexibility for ¡he
of famílies as systems í5 well i1Juslrated in thc
sludy of Robert AngelL Tiw FmlliJy EnrmmJet's lhe De-
pres.siof1 (Ncw York: Chas. Scribner's Sons. 1936).
Talcott P<:lrsons: thl Ol.ltJine of the Soó';jl 41
therefore, that thc problem$ foclIsíng abotlt the
integmtive functiol'ls oí social sys.tems constitute
the central core oí !he concerns of socjolo¡!,ical
thcory. This point of view will guide OUt ;:m3]Yses
in subsequent introductory discussions and \ViH
receive strong emphasis in selections prescIned al
various points in the Reader. Until a. broad
strLlctLIrul outHne of the sc)cial system been
presented. it seems bese lb defer further disclIsslon
of thc ways in which lhe inlegratívc function
mesbes more specificaUy \vith the othcrs.
JI. CATEGORIES OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE
Historically, the theoretical pre(lccupatíons of
socio)ogical thcorv have from (\\'0 main
poinls One conc;rns rh!! re1íltions of
social systcms .md culture and focuses on the proh-
lem of ",alIJes and norms in [he SVSTem. The
second concerns the individual <lS on{anism and
pen,onalíly and focuses on ¡he individuars partici-
pation in social interaction. Gcncrally. n¡,;!thcr of
Ihese reference m,).y be considcrcd more im-
than Lhe othcr. However. sínce the forego-
ing disCLlSsiot1 of functional imperatives has started
with pattern-maimenance. whích chícfiy concerns
the institutionalízHtion of norm¡¡tive culture, ít
may help lo balance the picmre íf \Ve begín our
detaíled díscussiOl1 ()f Slructure ut the other end,
with thc problem of the interactÍon of indivíduals.
Social ¡ Illeraction and Roles
For SQciology. the essentlal C'oncl!pt here Js that
of roh', 1 should like to treat Ihis concept ns the
'(bOl!om') tcrm of a series of structural categories.
of which the other terms, in us('cnding
culh'clivity, IlOtm, ano pcdl1e. (Ir is int;restilH!, and
1 think signifkant. tbat system4:\tic introductlon oí
(he conccpl of role has bcen, the most
distincrlvelv American contributi(.)n lO the struc·
tural aspects of theory.)
The cssentíal slarting roint is the conceptiún of
two (or more) individmds interacting in such a way
as to constitute an ínrerdcpcndent systcm. As per-
s(malitics_ cach individual mav be cünsidacd a
system with it$. own v .. dues, go;lS. etc" facing thc
otncrs as par! of an "cnvíronmenf' that providcs.
certain oppornmilies for goal-attainmcnt \l/eH
as cerlaín limili:\tions nnd sources .of fruslrarion.
Though imerdependcnce can be taken iolO :1ccmmt
at this level. this is no( equivalenr to trc,lting the
process oí inlcractíon as a social syslcm. Truc¡ thc
actíon of alter ¡ti ::m c::,sentíal part of the C'ondítíons
bearing on ¡he attainmcnt of cgo's i!oaIs, but the
vital s;cíoJogicuJ qucsfian concc;'ns the nature and
degrcc o[ intcgration 01' l.he sysrem of
ac!ion as <t social system. Here ¡he quesrion tlr¡ses
of the conditions undcr whích {he interactíon
proccss; can be tre:11ed as slablc-in the at
}e,lst, lhat it docs !!ot prnve tú be so mUíuaIJy
frustrating that of the s:ystem (Le .. for
the individual. "lcavin2, the üekf') seems more
likelv th:m ilS cOrHinu::t.tion. .
TEe prl.)blcm of stubililY lrnroduces
tíons of temporal con1inuíty. which
brings liS 10 thc relevance of norrnative ('trientarkm.
lt C3n be sho\\:n within ¡he ol:
(!rence, slable íntcruction Ihal acquire
"mcanings'l whkh are intC'rprdéd with referen.;c lO
ti. cornrnon set of nomnulvc C("nccptions. The par-
ticularity of spccrtk actl:i is in tcrms. oi'
(he !:eneralization of lhe nonn.ltive comm()I) cuJ-
ture '"as; well as in thc normnt1\'e componclit of [he
expec[a(ions tb,t( get bulll into thc guíding rncch-
of the proces:;;- This mcans thal rhe re"pome
of Altl'r te an acl ot Ego may be Íntcrprewd as ti
c.\.prcs'\ing: an or lbe past a.:(
and sCf\.:ing as gtJide ro dcsil-ablc fU(urc bchQvior.
The thc Íntcraction sítuation can he
ílIustratcd by <loy two-ph1ycr gamc, [lS ehess.
Each ptayct' i5; [O h:n'c sorne motivattnn I()
participatc in thc g'tmc!. incJuding a (') ,,,,in:'
Hence. he has a goaL and, rdativc te this. sorne con-
ceplion of cifecLivc ''strategie:,;.'' He mal' plan aD
openjng gumbít hut he cannot c;)rry advaoce plan-
nim! too far, hccaus.c [he i:i; t10t it !s
cont.in!;enr on lhc move.t'i madI: borh bv hímilelf .lOU
by Mis ""opponcnt as {he proceeds. ba,ic
facllíties at his c()mmand C0l'1Si81 of his kno\\ il:!di!.t'
of the opponunities implícit in [he ch;:.nging sitl.;;-
tíon; his. comrrwnd of thcse opportunitics mcans
performance of the adaptivc tune! ion. Hcncc. uf
the goaI-aa,dnmenl 3nd ada¡.HI\'c tCh.:lS.
dcfined r\nd [acilitic$ are pmvidcd. but (1cix
are IlOT prescribcd, facílities urc gcnemli1:C'd.
and thdr !)etwecn the dcpcnd'i
UpOll pl<lyer's to take ad\.·¡H)lagc of
opporllluitics.
In turn. lile nlcani.ndulncss of thc t!:oaIs and ¡hé
st:lbllily oí' che partero o(ü;¡cílitics de-
pend O!1 1he (!xistcncc of a weJ! ser of rules.
which the cent('r of t he intcgratíon of the svs-
teOl. The in arl2' nüt dilT('rcn¡iatcd "(lrl
:J. pcrmanc!1t ba:-:is: raihC'r. lhe rules. de{ine ¡he
oC givcn ln<)ve by onc playcr for
!l.itw.ltil,n Ín whlch ¡he orhe!' must his next
choice, \Vichol!i sllch rules the intcractÍve process
eoulJ no( b(! :.tablc
l
,md th/;! sy!:.tcm oí adaptive fa ..
4,2
GClIcr;11 lJltroduction
cilitics would break down; ncithcr playcr would
know what w"s cxpcctcd of 'him or what (he conse-
qucnccs. of a givcn sct oC 11I0VCS wouid be. Finally,
the diffcrcntiatcd ami contingcnt rules must be
groUI'ldcd in á se! ai valLll:s \.vhich define thc nature
l)f 1\ "good gamc'j of (his induding thc value ()f
cqua1ity of opportunity for both conteswms and tbe
mcallingfulncss of thc goal of ·'winoíng."
A stable 5vstcrn of íntcr:lction, tncrcfore, orIcnts
its participant5 in tc:rms of mutual expcctations,
which have the dual signiftc;:mce 01' expressing
normative cvaJuutions and stating contingent pre-
dictions of overt bchavior. This mutllaliry of expec-
talions implics thnt the e\'all1alive meanings of acts
are sharcd by the interacting un.its in 1\VO \'v'ays:
whnl a does can be categorized in Lerms
meaningful to both; a]so, lhev eritena of be-
havior. thí\t there are como:.on standards oí eval-
uí\tion for partíclllar acrs.
We can say that even such an elementary two-
memner svstem of social interaction has most of
the strucl úra} esscnlinJs of a sud.,} svstem. Thc es-
scnti;ll praperty is of oríeñtation) dcfined
in terms of sh<ircd patterns oi normalive culture.
Such normative p:lttems are va/l/es: the normatively
rcgulated complex of beh,lvior of one of the par1ici-
panls is: a role; and thc system composed by the
intenlction oí the two particípants. so far as it
sh;¡res a common nonnative culture '\lH.l i5 distin-
guishable from others by the partlcipation of tbcse
twe not l'lthers, is a colleclivity.
One further condítion, not prcsent in our chess
garnc exanlplc, is necessary in order to complete the
roster of slrucruro] cornponents. namely, dífferen-
tiation be(wccn the roles oi thc partícipants. This is
lO S.1Y tlial, ín 1'l105t social systems, participants do
nOl do thc same things; thcÍr performances may be
conccívcd as cOll2plemel11arv contríbtltions to tbe
"functioníng" of [lie intcraction svslcm. \Vhen there
are nI/O or .... more srructural1v di;tinct llnits which
perform esscntially fhe same·flloc1iOI1 in the systcm
(c,g., Duelen[ families in a community) we wi11 spcak
of sCf!mentl:nion as ilistineuished from differctltia-
llon, \Vhen dlfferenÜation"" oi roles is present, it be-
comes necessnry to distínguísh between two" com-
¡)f the normative culture of the system:
lhal of values, which are shared bv thc members
OVef aud abovc their particular and that oí
role-expcclations, which are diffcrentiated by role
and therefore define rights alld ob1ígations appll-
cabl,c to one role but not (o ¡he other, 1 propose ta
use thc rClm vall/cs for the shared normative com-
poncnt, and .he tCrIn (diffcrentíated) Ilorm for the
component tha¡ specific to a given role oc, in more
comptex systems, te other empirical lln1tS ()f the
sys(em. í.c., various collectivitíes such as families"
churchcs, business firms> govcrnmcntal agencies,
un ivcrsitics.
\Vhcrc rajes are diITcnmtiatcd, the sharing of
valucs bccorncs an csscntial cO!1dilion of integration
of (he systcm. Only On this aSSllmption can the rcac-
tions of Altcr to Ego's perform.mces have the char-
fleter of sa.nctÍons reglllating Ego's action in ¡he in-
terests of the SVS[CITl. However. it should be c1ear
that for Alter to be in a position ro cvalualc Ego's
ilctS. thc acts need not be such that A1tcr is, bv vÍr-
tue of his role, expected to perform, Thus, in' mar-
riage, one of the rnost lmportant diadic relatíonships
in all societies, the roles of the partners are differ-
entiated by sexo The mutual evaluadon oi per-
formance is an essential reguJatory mechanism. but
to be in a posítion to eva)uate the pnrtner's perform-
a nce is not to assumc his role.
The COJlcepts oi Role and Collectivily. A role
now be defined as the structUred. Le .. norma-
tivcly regubted, pnrtícipation of a person in a con-
crete process of social interactlon with specified,
concrete role-partncrs. The system of such inter-
action of a plurality of role-performers is, so far as
it lS normatively regulntcd in lerrns oí common
valucs and of norms sanctioned bY these common
valucs. a collec[¡vity. Perforrning J a role within a
colIectívity defines (he category of membership, ie.,
lhe as.sumption of obJigations ()f performance in
that concrete interactlon 8ystem. Obligations
relatively imply rights.
Since the normal individual in many
collectivities, ii is a cornmonph\ce. though a crucial
onc, that only in a limiting case does a single role
constitute the en tire interactive behavior of a con·
cretc individual. The role is rather a sector in his
beha.vioral systcm
l
imd henee oí his personality. For
most purposes, thereforc, it is not (he individual, or
the persoll as thut is a unit oi social systems,
bUl rather his role,participation at the boundary
dircct1y affecting his personality. It ¡s largely when
interpreled as this particular lhat
the concept of role has an lmponant theoretical sig.
nificunce for sociology.
So long as we restrict our ilIustrations to the
diadic interaction system it may seem that the dis-
tinclion of four analy(ica] structural components-
role
t
co1Jectivity, norrrt, and value-is overelab-
orate. At lhis level it is stíll possible te identify val-
ues and the col1cctivitv, nerros and the role. In more
complex social however. there is not just
one coUectivitv but and a differentiarcd norm
does not expectátions for just one ro]e but
for a c}ass of roles (and nIso for cJasses of collectivi-
ties). The social svstems with which the sociologist
llormaIly dcals are complex networks of roany dif-
ferent types or categories of roles and collectivities
Talcott P2rS01lS: An Outline of the Social Srstem 43
on rnany different levels of organization. Ji lhert-
fore becomes esscnlial tú conceptualizc varues and
norms índcpendcntly oí any particular coIlectivity
or r()le.
Va/ues and Norms
\Ve now turn fro01 the of intcractíon 10
that oi lhe more explicitly content ()f the
structure of social systems. \vÍlhin which vaIlles aI1d
núrms have bcen \Vc havt' already
suggested that such valucs and nonns must be in-
volved in any slabJe process oí interactioo, ho-wever
simple. In the attempt tú :lnaIyze the structure of
complex socicties, bowc\'cr. the ana)ytical{v distinct
signHicance of thcsc components becon{es much
more salicnt. Thc following sectíons wi 11 thcrefúre
be dcvolcd to a more analysis of thcm ;\nd'
of their rcJations tú the of social Slruc-
lure, to lhc varÍüus lcvcIs'''of vnlues ano norms, and
to the patteros of differcntiatlcm of structure. al-
ways taking account both of the problems of func-
tíon and of thc svstem's reJation {o its situalÍon.
Throughollt this analysis, our majo[ conccrn wiII
be LO make c)etlr the basic functional paraoigm \Ve
nave presented for the imrícatc rcJations ¡nvolved
in a complex soc:iety and dílTerentiated
into many subsys!cllls. A paramount underlying
question wíl1 be, how is thc intcgration (')f a svstem
w¡th a largc populalion and h'igh uiffercn,1ation
possíblc? Or, more thcorcíícalIv. what kinds of
statemcnts hu.."c to be mude, concepts forrnu-
lntcd • .and what discriminations worked out in order
to do justícc to {hese empiricnl intrktiCics'?
The concepts oí unívcrsaIism and
wi1J be helpful in thís connection. In any given
(:m, concepts oí role and conectivity are par-
tH:ulanstic. Though, of coursc, we must ralk abollt
classcs ami types "'of roles, a role is the role
of a particular concrete individual. Sirnilarlv, a coI-
lectivity alw¡¡ys has a concrete menlbership oi spc-
cHic interacting fole-incumbents. A norm. nowcver.
is alwavs universalistical1v defincd withín t.be uní-
vcrse of its relevancc, w¡;ether it be a unívcrsc of
acls. of roJes, or of collectivities, To be sure, lhe
detlnilion of a rcIevant univcl'se involvcs a particu-
laIislic refcrcl'lce of a higher order: thus, a norm
may apply only to citízcns Dr residents oi rhc Un ílCd
Statcs. bUi ir mav cut across aU concrc[c collcctivítv-
membcrship differcl1ces wühin that univcrsc.
ucs are aIso uníversalisticafly dcfincd in terms of
relevance. \Vhcn a pDrticlllar '(ype of socio.:ty ¡s cval-
ualcd as go()(L t he judgment is inhcrcntJy applícablc
tú more (han one spccific sodciy.
Thc uní\'c!":!.alistic aspcct oC va]ucs lhat. al
1he rclevant leve] of rcfcrencc, thcy dre ncither situa-
tion-specifk no1' fnnction-specific. In this connec-
tíon, !l shouid be rcmcmbcrcd thil1. the n10st cfllci,¡l
aspects of tbe sitLwtion of a social system c()nsht in
the personalitics and rile patlerns 01' culture \\Jith
which the svstem Í$ in contncL \Vhcn v'llue-s. are said
nor. to be sltuation-specific, it is ímplíed t.hat tbeír
validity is not 'J funcl10n oftbe p3.nic:ul(lr
categories of avaíI:1ble for mcmbcr-
ship.· nor, for example, of the partku]ar kvds Di
tc:chlloIogicnJ knowledge ZlY'ailabJc for implcmcnt-
íng thcse valucs. \Vhcn situatíon-spedfichy is in-
troduced
t
we zmalyücaHy not of '-'"lue:;, bUi
of gouls.
SjmíbrIv, are independcnt of [be internal
difTcrcmíaÚon of lhe svsterns in \4..'bich thev are in-
slítutiomdízed: {he:, relev:lot on a leve! of gen-
eralítv whích "(nmscends" functional diffcl'C>l1tiu-
t.ion. 'The kcvnotc of diíTcrcmimion. hOWC"'CL
f1l11ctiom¡L H'Cllcc. norms. whi.::h by thc ahoye dcfl-
nition are dí1Tcrentilltcd with ro [unctío!1.
must be function-5pccifk. Tbey :irc "lcgitimilcd"
by valucs. but operate nt lo\\'cr level of
wjth rcspect to expcctcd concrete' collcctÍ"c t1nd
role performance. \Vith respcct to roks in
concrete collectivilies. ho\"cvcr. nl()st norms are
still naL iiince ¡he; do
not specify the particular role.s hw ,Ire generally
(ormu)ntc:d ín cla;:>scs and types o[ roles. ;:\nd henel!
of pcrsons and Ctlllcc(ívities.
The rela1ivil)' of ¡he unlycrs.:'llisiÍc-pünicuhnist1c
distínctlon mwa .agail1 he cmphasized. In
thc principie 15 that lhe uni\'crse relevan! (O ,he
versalislic dCIl)t::nts of normmjvc cUlture is d.:l1!1('d
by the role and collectivity struclllrc [11 ¡he nC'xt
higncr level of svstcm lt tl1u-; rcfcr, [()
a híerarchv of or!!;lnizatioo. "rhc
top oi' lhis 'hicra;cby is ¡he 01 ¡joder)'. whkh
is thc highest-ol'lkr svstcm (lf ini.cr;H::líon
lrcalcd ;s thcllrcticalIv rC!cVrult für (he
purpo')cs of linc1uding the of
an emCfgcnt nwor!d sodctv'·).
[n lin; with lhe conceptino of th,;: strw::turc nf
social 'i,\,,,lems HS in ihe norm;ilívc cul·
LUre ins[ilUtionnlizcd in sv::acm. \\:c ha\'e so Lu"
prcscntcd a ('J[ fB
izcd with (O the hicri¡fChica1 ord..:r of ,he
('1rganization ('lf thlé! systcm. S, ruclUTally
thcn, tht:.' role componcnl i" ¡he n!JTTrmiívC' CMnpo,
ncnt governs [he partic-ip:tlion ol individual
persons in gii.'cO cnl1cctívitíes. collc.:tivíty :'IJm-
poncnl is lhe normallú:,' culture whkb ddillCS. t!le
l1<>rmS, ;tn" ordcring al'
roles [or a conc?ctc $ystcm of í!1i\nacl ¡(m of
fiable: pcr::,o!l;': thc compOrlCnl of norfi15 i:-: thc ser
('If ruJes (lf norms whkh Jdl\1c
(ati,)i1s for the performance ()[ da:<.&cs ('li
44
Gelleral Introduct,iol1
ntcd unJts within 1 he or roles.
ns. the case may be; ;md "aluc:. Me thc normatíve
p!'tttcrns dcfinü'g. in univcr:-;¡Ilíslic tcrms, (he p::tl-
rcrn oC for ¡he :'\ystem as a
wholc. índepcndcni of thc ()f situnHoo
01" 01' ditfcrentintcd functÍon wí(hín {he $ys!cm.
le ,hould he muele cIcar ¡hat roles art:: (!ovcrncd
Qr cOIHrollcd bv (he Hormative of thc
flltlctioning of coHcctivitic:\ wiIt;in which thcv
opcratc. í(¡JJC collecüvity itself is lo be dcílneú as
Thcrci'ore. in so far as a more inc1usive
socia) compri.scs filany colIcctivities as snb-
svslcm;. tbc bchavíor of Ihcse is con-
¡j'ülkd by thc imtitutionaJíl.cd norrns that spccify
how iypL: oí CDlIcctívic): muS1 and may behnve
according ro i!s place withín lhe system. FinaJ1y,
norrns thcmscIves are J.nd therefore. in
a normatTve sensc, cont;(,Ued. bv the value$
tlona1ízcd in [he (ü exigclIc1es of
siluation function, valucs define thc direction
'Of odct.1tation Iha! as dc¡;ínlblc for Ihe syslem as a
whole.
Tlle Sfructllre of Complex Systems
Havin!:! outlincd thcse struc1ural com-
poncnts 2í'r a social system and their nmk in lhe gen-
('ral }¡jcTal'chv of controL ,,'C can liO\\' ()uiline their
maín pm(crn" of organizati\Jn so as to c()l1stitme a
rela¡ive]y compiex system. \VhaL is here presented 1S
neccssarily a schcmatic "idc31 type," one tha! pre-
mere1y 1.0 cirCule and dislingui:;;h rather broad
structural \\.'C cannot take into account
t.hc DI Yarimls concrete
structme$. Somcthing more concrete wiH be found
in rhe Introductíon f(.") Part Two.
The majo guiding Ijo(' 01' the nnnh'sis is thc
cept that a complex social system cónsists of Ll Dct-
\York o[ Íntcrdcpendenl a. mi interpene.1ratjng sl1b-
systems. éach of 'tvhich. secn at the appropriare leve]
of refcrcl1ce. 1S ú socia] in ()\Vn right sub-
to a11 the> exigencics of anv s"'s-
¡cm to irs institutionalizcd and
sitlJ3tion ,md pc\ssessing the stTucturnl
Ct1illponcnts. organized on the appropriatc Ievels oí
dilTcrentiíJtíon and specifícation.
[he CO/1cept t>j {l SO(']t:ry. 'fhc starting point must
he the concept ()f a sociel\'. defined as a C'ollectívitv,
;,c" a oí' interacting human ¡mii-
viduals. \I,:hich lS the primar; bearer or a di5tinclive
instírutíonalized cullllrc and whích be said
io be a difre:rentiared of a
collC'ctivHy orlcnled to or the funciional exi-
o[ ;1 .,ocial syslenL l( v.dil notcd tha! thís
conception j:;; !l.j'atcd ln termf> ka\'c tbr qucstion
of lIle "opcnness" (lf a society in various dircC'tions
to he ted cmpiricat1y. At the :,:ocíal-system leveI,
howcvcr. rathcr tha.n the cultural.l< the cri-
(críon is relarive self-sufficicncv.
To npproHch Ihe structuraí of the sub-
systcm organizatíon of i1 socicty, we rnWH refer to
thc npproprÍí.llc functionaJ of hoth tbe
socictaJ svstcm itself and ít:. variom :mbsvstcrns.
Thc prim¿lry, principie is Úl:lt üf difrcrcnti-
in rclation tú functional cxigcncv: this is thc
m:lster conccpt for 1hc analysis al sodal structure.
By itsclf, it is not ¡i must be sup-
by tbe. two principIes ol spccií1cation and
segmentation. The first refers pJlmurily 1() tbe insti-
tutionalized culrure componcnts o[ the strttcture,
[he second to the exigencícs confromin2 thc con-
crete behaving units. i:e" 10 cúUcctivities"'and roles.
H sccms prefc7rable to ¡JísClISS thc latter first.
\Ve havc notcd that, in one lbut on)',' one) of its
aspccts. a socícty is a single coJIcctivíty a speci-
fiable. thollgh naturalIy changing, rncmbership of
índividuaJs. This fact is related 10 three fundamental
il.11pcratives. Fírst, therc must bc
y
to sOl11e dcgrcc
and OI} SOlne- leveL a unitarv svstcm of
izcd valucs, in this aspcct á córnmon cultllrc. In st1
fal' as rnaintem111CC oC a common value SVSlern re-
guíres the kinds o[ functions col1eclÍviiks
form, Ihe society will havc to constítU1e a single
collectlvitv-what Durkheim caneel a "mora] com-
munity." Second. !mwevec since the systcm Is dif-
fercntiatcd. lhe implementaül)n of t.hesc values for
diffcrcnt units rcqu¡res Ll. relativeJy consistenl
tem of norms that receÍve a unitarv formulation and
inlcrprctation. Jo híghly diífcrentiatcd socíclies this
syste:m o[ norms takes the form of nn integrnted le-
gn] sys!ern administercd by courts. The nced for co-
dealing \\'ith thé external sítuation is also
as \vill be brougbl out presentiy.
'JIu.' Segmenlatioll 01 Social Ul1if.'ii. BUí ir, for one
set (,)f rcasons, a society be :l single collectivhy.
othcr I'casons its being only that. These rca-
son::; can be surnrned up in the gl.!neralized principies
eccmomÍsls refer to as decermining thc ·'cconomies
of 5cale:' Beyond certaín tbat. is lo sny,
"costs·' as the síze of the unit of onmniza-
tioo incrcases. though what the points are"" 'liar,les
14. By this criterion:el system s\lch as the CtllhoIíc Church
15 not <:i s(lcíety. It cleorJy nnd inlerpenelnl1eS
wlth :l munber oC ditTerent sodelies in whieh are
more or less fllllv instilulionalj;¡.ed and ¡l:; are
colleclivllic!', But ¡he Church, prirnarily a culturall)'
oríenled social s,ys!em, 15 not capable al mee(Íng
aL lhe funcdon'\l exigcndes oí a '-(lcleIY. espccially
the PQlitk;¡1 economk needs. SimilnrJy, C'ven :a "world
fOVL'mment:' should. <loYlhing ÚPPTOllching ltl,H conception
ioto bdng" need not h$el! COilSíltule ¡.¡,
rholl!';h irs wouid l'mplj (1 levcl of
110rmali\'e inlegrmion which would the degree oí
we h:n'e tradirionally 'tttribuled lo "naliona}
:.ocictÍC's'· problematíca1.
T¡llcott I'arsons: An Outline oi thc Soci'Ji S.rst.cm
gready accordíng to the specific factors invülvéd.
Thus, llodcr modern industrial conditions the man-
ofacture of such commoditíes as automobiJcs takes
place in very Jarge units indced, whcreas there seem
to be ímpOliant reasons which ínhibir entrusting thc
earry soclalizat ion of children primarí1y to units
wilh membership muen luger than thc nuclear
f:.imilv.
Pc;haps the mos[ fundamental determinant
derlving the segmcntatjon of social wstems is the
of the human :,ln
agency of performance. But there are
1irnits, nor onlv lo what a given individual can do
but tú the with which individuals
co-operate. Thc problems oi communÍCation ¿md
othcr aspects of integration may thns nm!tiply as a
resuh of un íncrcasing scale of on:anizatlon; in cer-
rain respecls, therefore, may ac-
quire a distinctive organizanon, including n sredal
intcgratiol1 or solídaríty rc1ativc to lhe large-f sys-
tems of which they Hre parís,
By thc concepl s(!gmenW!iOl1 r refer, in diSCllSS,-
ing the formation of col1ectívities; to ihe dc .. 'elop-
mem of subcollectivitle5, within a lnrger col1ectivit)'
in \vhich some of thc mernhers of the
syslem pmlÍcípatc more intimately than in
(n this sensc. segmentation ís a factor indcpendent
of the dUferenliation oC fuoction between the sub-
collectiviries. Thus a large-scaIc SOCÍcly may coni-
prise mi1!jons {)f nuclear families, (lH of wbich
perform essentially similar fllllclions in lhe sociali·
zation of children: here the structure is híghly seg-
mClltcd bU[ n01 diíTcrentiated.
The necessitv ""o( sCj.!;m.entatÍon derives Jar2elv
troro the probtC'ms of integration resoltÍng fro!1l'"'the
other exigcIlcícs lo which uníts of tI,e svstem a.re
subject. r\t lne same time. howevcT, it gives ríse 1.0
new problems of integnttion: the more units thcrc
the ]css likely thcy wil1 be just "nnturally)' tú
ordin:uc their activities in ways compatible wilh
the smooth functioning of the, systcm as a whole.
This lcnds) in more compJcx syslems, lO givc rise
to special mcchanisms of integration. whích will
have to be díscusscd in due course.
T/¡e Specificalioll of !\lomwtive As .(11-
ready notcd. thcrc ;5 an imporrant rclation bctwC'cn
the hienlrchv of control and thc lcvcls of gencnllitv
oi the components of normativc culture. \'í.i1-
ues were defined as standimr at the highcst level of
generality of '<conceptions '"'Clf the Le.,
without spccHicatíon of funclion or shuation. ln
comp¡trison tú valucs. lhcrcforc, nocms ¡lfC ditfcr-
entit\tcd on the basls of spccification of function of
the units or sLlbunits to which t-hcy apply. Subcol-
lcctivities, in turn. involvc furthcr on
thc basis of situation. This is 10 say lhat, givcn its
function(s). a colIccrJvity is idcnrificd 1n 1erms of
specified mcmbcrships of concrete indívidmds act·
ing in concrete sítuations. \Vhcn tbc collcctivíly is
rrcated us <.\ diff crcntiatcd system, rhen: nmSl be
further spccitications applic<lble ro [he roles 01' [he
participating mcmbcr::L
There ¡s. thcrdore, a hiérüfchv (Jf l;!cneralítv of
the rattcms of culture
in a systctn, one that corresponus w the
en!) hicntrchica1 rclations. of ils strUCttlfa} compo-
nents. E:lCh of the sociclv. ;:tS coHecti\iiv,
wiIl llave it!> ()wn va]ues. whté'h
shol\ld he concd\!cd specifications. at (he
pri<llc 1cveL of the mcn'c general V:lltlCS of the
el)'. Tú cope wíth own internal diíTcrcnt¡mion of
functíon. fhcn. ca eh subunit will havc a sel of
entiated norms. which sholJld he
ficarions hoth of Ihe subcollc:c[i\'ity valncs .. md or
the more general norms applicablc hOlh lo ji :lnd lO
oiher typcs 01' sllbcolleetivity. Thc principk oí
spccification res! rícts the gcncralíry 01' (he pallem of
culrure by introt.lucing quaiíficatiol"l:s arising from
spcci::l!izalíon of function, üO Ihe (lne hand. íllid
fwm specifkily of siwaüon. 01'1 the other.
The Jasl of llh! Ihrce o[ org,mization of
complex systcms. functional d¡ri'ercnt¡alÍon. has
already hecn díscus;;;.cd in general terms. In accord
with (his prindpIe. uniL'O acquire spedal·
ized in tht functíonÍnQ: of thc SVSICn1.
The of catcgoric:s
we prcscntcd is vcry simple, hring'" [imitcd 1.0
four calcgMics, In llsing il. howC'vcr. on..; ffilLSt. do
justice 10 lhc c01pirical complcxity of the situatio[)
by taking acounr of the many in scgmcnwlion
and speeificLltion. :lnd oC Ihc 01'
rhe pattC'rrJs or dilTcrcniiation by thcir rcpctition ro!"
al cucÍl lc\'cl (Jf scgmcntaliol1.
Since nur gcnc:nl! approacll has beert in (crms üf
Ihe hierarchv of control obscrvcd in de"cendiní! Qr-
der. a hrie( acc()unt .s.hould nüw be t!ivcn ol thc
"anchoragc" of social svstcms ¡)( (he This ao-
chorage in (he pcrsonalitics amI behavToraJ orgun-
i::;ms 0f (he individual mcmbcr'S and,
in tlle lo\\·cr·ordcr suhsystcms of [he crr;;¡nism ano
in thc cnvironrncnL Concrclcl;', aH süclal
inicractloll !<\ hound j!.) 1110 phyS!t:.:id task. pcr(orm-
;mee of in a phvsícal cnvironmcnl: il i;>
bounú tO !ocut¡()n' in- the ph) sic:ll Fol-
lowing- ¡he tlsage of cC(llogícallv oril.'ntcd lhcorv. 1
have her; rdl'rred spati:ll h)Ci.1lÍ01; as
tlle =lspccl :i-ocíal Ir can
he hrokcn down convcnicntly lotO tour c()m-
1;;', ce P\it'wn<¡, "'The Pr¡ndp,ü ()f C:nn-
n\lmi¡,'" in e J. hicdrich, Ed., COJnm¡mity. Nümf'S,
Vol. IÍ. Ube-nll Arb in
(llld Proo.'.ls ¡¡, .\!c"lan Free Pr::t<:-, 0:,9, Chnp. $,
GClIcml IlItroduclion
plcxcs: (1) rcsidcntial locatíon and thc crystaUiza-
t ion of s()ckd structure around ehat foclls: (2)
tlonal t¡t::;k:-pcdorman.cc through occupation, ami
1hc atlcndr.nl (3) jurisdictiomll
appHcation 01' order through the spccifi-
of catcgorics of pCfsons. the relcvuncc of
this to thc spariaJ locutions of thcír intcrcsts iUld
actívides; ;¡lid (4) the ph:'sicnl cxigcndc$ of com-
1l1llnic;:ttlon une! of {he mOVCn1ents of persons anu
com1nodilÍcs. !\1orc [he c(ttcgory af lcch-
nology--,not only \vn:n is lIsually callcd "physical
production:' bUl an tHsk-performancc involving the
physical org'lnism Ín relatíon to ils physical en-
in this arca of bordcdinc prob-
Jcms. Tcchnology relates to physknl cxigcncics. but
Ít is also básed on ("olmml rcsourcC's in their signjfj-
canee facilities for social acOon. Emprrical
knowledgc of lhe physicul world ís un instal1ce of
such (l.cullural resource.
The lntegratio/l 01 SociefÍt's ns C()l1ectidlies. Let
LIS now apprNlch the prohJem of outlining the struc-
1ure lJf a cümple.x. socicty as a sOcInl systcm, As we
llave saicL threc dÍ1ferent eXl1'!(!ncies undcrlie ihe
fac[ that society can be rc:garded as a :single
collcctivity. namely. 1he maínten:.tnce of its pMterns
of inslittltionalized culture .lt lhe valuc ¡('vd, thc
ímegnllion DI its SVS1elTl of dHfcrcnlintcd nerms .
• md""lhc bandling oi externa]
tions,
The prevaJence of fundamental patterns of value
and the !!encral cornmitment of units to cornrnon
",!lues so cruda) that the probJcm of t.hc relntion
of (he over-all collcc1ivilv to valucs is a universal
onc. Al the other end, t;owCVCf, Lhe problems of
jurísdiction ami cnforccmcnt with refcrcnce lO
normtltive order are equ,1lly crucial; Ihe over-aH
coUccrivitv s(rtlcturc cannot he divorced from
politícal 'organization, oriented to maintainíng
commitments lO this ordt'r and lo lhe jurisdictíonnl
fLmctíons associated wítb. it. in relation both lo ltS
(\wn pOp111üiion und to other socictics. This mcans
that th0 boumlarícs of a S()CÍctv to coincide
\vith 1hc tcrrÍtorÜlJ jurísdiction of the highcsl-order
uniis of p()!illcal orgnnization.
Thc prímary area in which tbe probJems of value-
commitmcnt are plnycd out i8 that oí religion: for
most sacie (ics, the pa rtlmolint over-all colleclivÍL y
has been nI the same time a religiolls collectivity
tl politic:J1 colleclivity, both ¡) "church" and a
'':-:tatc."" Law, we say. h<ls lcnded to stand ln thc
middh::, to be Icgítüilizc'd by religion ::lnd enforccd
bv política! authoritv: oflen tne function of inter-
p;'ctíng il bccn a bone of contention,
Howcver. the formula oC rclígio-p()Iitical-Jegal
unity is. noC by itsclf. adeqUiltc 3S a universal gen-
cral1zalion . .In rhe first place. wühin ahe over-all
coJlcctivitv thcsc functions have tended « .. 1 be diffcr-
cnlíalcd rcspcct 10 personnd suhcollcc-
tivitícs. HuI, in a more radical in rhe \Vestcrn
wor1d sincc thc Christian era 1 here has becn a
procesoS of fundamental diffcrcnriation oí church
nnd In intcrprcling the sociological implica-
tions of this, onc must considcr thís in terms
of the relation bctwecn sodl.1! Hnd CU1111r.:.) svste:ms,
Evcn before its Protcshmt phase. \Vcslcrn <:"hrisli-
anity was characlcrizcd by a spcciaJ lype of religious
"índividu:llism:' In the present contC'xt. thís menns
iha!.. except OH thc mos[ genera1 ]cvel ol ovcr-all
societal rncmbership, the indívidual's rcligíous and
social statllS did 001 necc8snrilv coincide. The
church was an organizution of thc re1igious interests
and oricmations lhe populatíon co'ñceived as in-
dependcnt oí (but not unre1ated to) their secular or
temporal oricntntions. cspccially al thc leve] of
societal va[l.lt!-commitmcnl. (t \Vas a "Christhm
societv;' but one in which the function ()f rcligion
was more specializcd than ln othcr prc- and ;on-
Christian lypes.
This 1 interpret lo mean that. in s.ocietal as distin-
gUlshed from cultunll tcrms, the '"moral cornmu-
nity" aspect shifted from reJigious org:,lflization as
suc¡' to .he area oC interpcnet.ration bClwecn (he
religious and (he secular, The paramount societal
coUectivily became thc "state," administered bv
laymen-er when administered. in fu el, by priests.
nor. in their speci<:¡J clerical capacity. Tbis differ-
entiation was never fullv carricd out in medieval
Europc-for instance, ir was 10 divest
bishops of secular functions ihar wcnt bevond tbe
administr:uioIl of eccleshuaical alTairs-bút it was,
ncvertheless, the main patrcm.
Since the this process has gone
farther, particularly where the princíple of the
separation, as distinguis.hed from the ditrerentíation,
of church and statc has prevai1ed. As in rhe Unitcd
St31es lodav, thc values are 5till clellrlv anchored in
theistic relÍgion (HIn God \Ve Trust""). bUl on the
level of collectívity organization the com-
mllnity"' is dearly (he "polítically org:.mized com-
\Vhat has h'lppencd. esscntiaJIy. is lhat
:mv :lgencv whose orjentation is primarílv cultural
rathe; sacie1al has becn deprived of ícghimate
authority 10 prescribe values nnd enforcé norms for
the in this scnsc the societ y nas becorne
"secu]arized.'· The rclígious anchorage ef 1he values
is sttll tbere: bOl religien is pluralistical1y and "pri-
v::.¡1elv" organized. FormaUv. thc values are em-
in the Constitution ¿;nd in [he oftlcial intcr-
pretations of il, aboye aIl by judicial and legislative
agencies.
The univers,Ü association oC the over-aH collec-
tivíty structure with polítical organizallon based
Talcott P:arsons: 1\n Ouf1inc of die
47
on anothcr SCL oí impcratives. involving thc spccial
significancc of physical force :)s n 5anction. The
centr::ll point bere is (hat. while there are many
limitations on lhe ellic:lcy oi lhis sl.mctiol1. conaol
of suflicicntlv superior s'ociall v organizcd fürce is
almost alw¡¡ys II complclety prevcntíve oE
anv undcsíred acti()O. There[orc, withollt (he con-
tr¿¡ th'tt incJudes of organized
force, which is inhercntlv territorial ín íts rcfercncc.
thc guarantcc of lhe powcr of a normattvc
order is nal possible.
1 conceive of politícal as
aIlv orgnnTzcd about thc attainOlent of colJccli¡¡e
go;ls, fe., the 'll1ainmcnt 01" maintem\llce of states
of ínterClction bet\.\'ccn the SVSlem and its environing
sitllalion that are relatively desirablc from thc
of view of Ü¡C SVSlcm, nuüntcnancc of secl1rit v
<ll!ninst the ndvérsc use ()f force is a cI'lIcial
ti'\'e goal for cvcry socicty, e onsideratíons sllch as
these underlv thc genent! tendcncv of the oVí!HllI
coUectivíty t'o an monopoly of
t.he interna! organization of force tbrough poliee
and rnBiwry agencies. Such 5L<:liemcnts t'm! nüt
meant to imp1y lb<:lt the control of force is che paril-
mount funcrion ()f política] organizat1on. Force is
not thc on11' functíon that is primarily negaüve. Lc._
"protcctívc" in and, in genaaL govern-
ment is a centnl! <lgency of societal gO;:ll-
attainmcnt. But force ¡s so stratcgicaHy signiHcant
thnl its control is 11n indispensable fuoctíon. a
SMY, but nol sunicient. candítion of <;ocíal arder.
Accordíngly. in a well-integrat\!d 5ociety. most sub-
collectivities exccpt ,hose specifical1y con cerned
\-vith force are almost totally dcprived of ir.
Because of the probkms Ínvotved in lbc use and
control of force, the politic;.1¡ I11US.t
always be integrated .... '¡th the legal which is
concerned \.-v¡lh administering [he highcst order of
norms regulating the bchavior of unüs within the
societv. No socictv can <1fford 10 pcrmit anv othcr
order takc preccdence ()ver
tioned by '·politically org:mized socicty:'
the promuIgation of 'ln)' Sllch altcrnative order is a
revolutionnry aCL and thc rc.spol1siblc ror
if mtlst assume the I'C'sponsibiJity of poJitical organi-
zation.
10 tJlis context i[ is of ercat signifkancc that in
a fe\'.' societ¡"s. notablv the Ii]odcr!1 \VCSL thc
organiz:.ltion ()f thc l:gal system 11<1s a
significant dcgrcc of indepcndence in ihe judicial
amI. te sanIe extenL in the Icgislativc departmcnls.
Thcre are t\\'o main aspccts of this inocpenLh:m1 col·
]ectivity struclurC: the judícií.lry, wit.h cCI1ain typcs
ol: insulation from thc prcssurcs oí '·p()Iltics": :)cc-
ond. vcry notahle. thc devdopmcm of a legal pro-
whosc membcrs occupy ::m ínter.sl ¡thtl St;.tWs.,
partIy through membership in the b;1r, funr.::tioning
HS "ofliccrs 01' ¡he courL" ::md panly by cleating
privatcly \,,-ith clicnts-índcca, prorcctcd from cven
íntervention b\.' such insiílutiüns ns
prhileged communicalion. "
Summing u)'. we may sal' ibat Ihe highe$l OVct-
aIl eC'IIIcclivÍtv in a rnodcrn lo :ln
ímpowml degrcc, ncccssnrily "mullí fun¿tíünaL" or
functionalh' "dIlTusc," Al the sarne iímc. under
the dilTuscness dlarllC((!ri:-,!ic
of thc more "nwnoiíthic" rdigio-p(J[ític<t1 slruc·
lLlfcs-cvcn of such high dc\.'dopmelH .1 ... cb<;"íc:d
China (lf lare Rcpublícan Romc-·)¡as lcmh:-J 10
[tuther. "rhc most 1l()tablc oí lhcsc díf-
fcrcnliations heco lhc '·s\.;culari:w1Íoo" of
poIítícal organlzatioll, \\'hich gonc rhrough
maov ano moues.. and thc
()f ¡} rdativcly illlkpem.k.nt lCg:1I
Thc problem of the kínd ;¡m.l dcgrcc oI dJiTcr,
cntímion likc1y to ()ccur nt this híthc\l k\'t'1 of
socictal colJcctivítv on:::aní:r.alion he
:)5 fI function of 5C[:; '01' L1Clors. an
vál'ínbj¡,; over cuJlsiderahle ran,zcs. 'nlCSC (í)
the Iypc of sOcJí!lal \'alucs more or 1C'>s
fully institutionalized in {he soci(:¡,· (Chlssiñed in
tcrms ()f modcs of calcgOrlZD.!ions oi' ar
thc hi!!.hcst I('vd of v_ as an
appr()pri;:¡.j"(, sccm lO be:
tcm varian]e:;): (2) thc dcgn ..'c ánd nwdc of t
inst.ítutiormlizntíon, its "sccurin;" rdat¡ve
particnJadv to thc ;¡nd en/tur:)l
(ions of in lhe :'.ocicl \: (!om:-
rangc ínstiltltionalil.ation of ltc\1: valucs Ü;'f)Ií,:"::;"';1
rdalívcIv low k\'c1 of such sccllrity); r?i) thc kíDd
í1nd Icvc:Í of slmetur;:¡¡ dlíTcrcntíBtlol1 (-¡f the SOClcl\'.
\\.'ilh spccial rcfcrcncc t() thc \cvaltt' al1d klnd ... (l(
íntegralTvc prohlcms they impClsc 011 the:
and (4) kinds of situ:ltíon:J! CXi2.dlCics tO
the syslcm is CXpLhccL '-,
klodes of Di/JerCIlI ¡o/ion 1\'[II(i1l Societics
KI/!sl;ip {111ft lite A rliculafimr Id!/¡ f\-r,:o/;'aíi;y
Thc! 01' (he kind and lc\'cI nf functional
16. H ni.)\, be nO:t.'d ¡!'t;:\( (Iilowint¡ tht i"s¡¡,utk'fWJi:;-;;'d
v:¡iues lü Jelennim'd lhwng.h 1101 [u!íy n,)!'!-
!r()lkd hr :.hc ¡-,.;,¡r;mlO\..lrH poH¡í¡;(\l jlY ti
r¡ss- to il. Thc fuI! in:Hia,llNi;¡li¡;Úí.}Jj of
iike ¡he uf dnd
edre prob:1bly (11' !\lG
(J( yalllcs., :;'I!fh,krn
pnrliy lel DI:>-
imdr LI(ion:lli;;¡1
[¡(\nally C-lFJí\'nkrl\ lO
thdr \';lÍuc fo-;u::;
r.: C! '"'le"'ctllv "c<:onmr\1<:,
ij';Í:" (ck¡!¡O!1 !<, [t.(\l'ernmcm
fCE'erlltalc,l ü{ l.h,:
('.d<;te·J ín ,he WC:iL
48
Cenera) 111 troduction
diffusencss characlcrízínc sorne social structures
nriscs at an addilional :¡ñd particularly ímportant
point, hcsides 1hat of lhc sodcty Ll!'i "nlOra] com-
mllnity." Thís is lhe point of I'lrirnflry anicubtíon
with [he Oerson¡¡litiC's of [he constiwcnl
Anv a socicrv is
'to includc ;){¡ch memhcJ"s--al a
thousand. anu in lllany CH!\0S lens íf nar hundreds
o[ mil1iolls. Ik"::lllsl' ()f tlle lypes of exígencics notcd
aboye, in [his cnmcxt lcnd lO be rdmivcly
híghly segmentcd. Thc typcs of units which lbe
scgmcllt:uíOIl oC'c:urs are, ío thc /lrsl insti..lOce. those
kODwn as "kimhip Kil1s}¡¡p is cssenlÍally rhe
point of articulal ion. ¡.e .. interpcnelratlOn. bctween
[he struc!urc of soci:1l sv8tcmS .¡¡nd thc reIations
involved in Üh: bíülogíca( process of reproduction.
there aré (hree crucial structur;:t] COtn-
d) tbc (liíferemiation of human
tions inw ['\\'0 seXo grüupiL cach with dHferent fune-
ücm,., in Lile proCC5::-. bUl both essenlÍ;:ll
(O ir: (2) the :")harp human dilTerentÍntion
the nWlL1re tilnd the immature organism. involving
.l rel;Hívely long perií.1d oí" gCSl<ltlOn ¿wd thc.n a
pcriod of f('13tivc "'helplessness" vvh1ch.
thOllgh progres$i\'ely dccrcasíng. makes impossible
¡he order of ínch:::pcndence ch,ln!clerisric 01' tJle
young 01' many o!her species: and (3) the tha.!
tbe sexual unÍon of tWO specific individuals of
Opposile scx is w, and Hk<.:ly to result jn,
and reproduction. Thus. biologícully al]
human papuhtions ;tre diíTerentí[!tcd by sex and by
gt:'ncratial1, and an: particlllaristically to two
í1.llce5tral lincs throu!!h bio[ogicaI dcscent-the
filial generativo as otrspring of tW() specífic
hiologicaJ parcnls and, Ihrough thcm. lhc dcscend-
ants of remoter am::eslors; lhe parentClI, lhrough
their commún rda¡ian hy parenthood to tneir off-
spring and lO more remote descendants. The rel4l-
lían bctl.Veen sexual union ami repmdllction means
thar the former is never dívcstcd of <\11 llndcrlying
rclation to paremial rmrenthood.
Jn soci::d stnlclore thcre mam- variations. but
a conSlanl ane! fundamental poinlof referencc is
the nuckar farnílv. the collcctivilv consrillltt!d bv él
conjugaI amÚhcir hioJc'gkal In
known S()CíNY, thcn: inslítutíonuliz<ition of sorne
contínuing sexual rehlrionship ín relntron to rcpro-
duclio!1. and oí continuing responsibilíly for
such otfspring ün ¡be par( (afien backcd up by I.vidcr
grollpS) 01' at ()nc of che parcnts. though gen-
eral1y of l'll1tb. Ih\:! nuclear family h,
ing thc pcriod of rhe children's dependt:ncy_ at1east
includcd in tbe pdmary unIt ()f residence-h is
oflen. pnrücuiarly in l'l1ouern societies,
primanly conslilll!ive üf i1.
Withjn thís s(:uiog, t.he problem oi functjonal
diffusencss Tests first on tnc fact thaI eYery human
individua! ShlrtS life ns a hclplcss infani., whosc
devclopmcnt dcpcnds ülmost complctcly on his l'C-
lations 10 thc very small circlc 01' ftdults
rcsponsiblc for bis physicn! care and his
lron. Biological pnrcnthood ís nOL cssenti.:JI te this
crucial rcJation: but particularly 'Wilh rcspect tú
the mothcr. the C;}:",cs \vherc ihis does not playa
stnlte!!tc mle are I'ninor vadadons ,md do nO( anv-
where'constilUtc a major structurallype. -
A generalIy sígnificanl cruci'll f(ll:t is that 1he
LypcS of SU'ucturc which. in evolutíonary
Can he cJearly carcgóri:.wu as "primitivc'; dis-
play ¿l spccial promlnen.cc of kinship as a bas!s of
(he c¡llegorizmíon of membcrships [lncl e1igibilitíes
in imp{'1rtant collectivüícs_ Thcrc is also an impor-
tant group of socictics wherc no important colIec-
tivity exists thm is índepcndcnt of kinship. however
complcx the internaI ramiíkatíons of the kinship
may he.
- Kinship'" struclUrcs as such are c!early subjec\ to
important processc-s of functíonal dífferentiation.
Economic .me! political J\mc[íons ilre very wídeIy
inslirutionalil.ed in kinship uníts. ihough these func-
[ions generallv. in exlenslon ol' membership aud in
time tr:,nscend lhc nucle:lf iamily. On the
hic-her socíclal levc1s, howevcr. func-
tions pTCs,cnt a m.Hjor obswclc lo suctl inslitution-
alizarion. beca use of inherent parüclIlarísm cf
kinship references. Hcnce. a! certain slag.:!s jn the
structHral devel0pll1ent oC societies. partícularism
on kínshíp bases presems ooe of I.ne majar obstaclcs
10 hígher-level integration. At lhc pdmary of
Ole function of socíalizmiol'l. pntlcrn-maimenance
ís everywherc vcry closeIy hound lO kínshlp llnÍts.
BOL in tcrrns ol ¡he imperative of socíetaI ynlue-
i.e .• a higber level oC patlern-mainte-
nance; this necessarily ccnlers al a low leve! in lhe
specification sedes. PreciseI)' because segmentation
is so impoctant in the kinsbíp sphere, dependence
solely on kínship unils for pattcrnwmaínrcnance is
precarious, These statemeots should 1101. of courSC
J
imply that lhe conneclion canoot be maíntained
throllgh diffcrentiatíon in the of different
Idnship units. Thc difrerenlimion of roya! and
arislOcr<ttic kínsh¡p !ineagcs from l.he '"cornmon"
pcoplc is ene by whkh, wíthin certain
Iimils, pauern-maintcnance and intcgrmive func-
lians can he pcrformed without sacriñcing the kin-
ship of
Jn this sense, every struc(ural unít cardes some
share in meetíng evcry fUI1clional imperatlve of
Lhe society as a whoJe. But the elfcctiveness of
tlHocalino stlch amone hi!!hly
menled lends 1,0 decrcasc as the go
írom a lower lo a híghcr position in tlle hicrarchy of
'T'a1cott Pars.ous: An OutHne of 111e Social Systcm 49
control. There is. ro be sure. a very important coun-
tervailing considcration concerning the ürrnncss of
institutíonaliza1ion: as no!ed aboye:. undel' ccrrain
circurnsl a I1ces a ver: im port a nI pan o f the pattern-
maíntenance function mal,' be bighlv deccntralized.
Sincc kinshíp units., are. nature híghly
segmcntcd beyond (he pcrformunce oE
maíntenancc funcüons ror thcir constituent pcr-
sonaHtics and imegrntívc fUl1crions within the units
themselves, thc other leas¡ problemalical fl.lJ1ction
for thcsc unils is the lndecl1, íl IS Stri king
in cornparative sociology that on1y in tht! relativc1y
very recent of modero índuslriaJ
(with mínor exccptions, like
omjes) hns more Lhan a smaH fnlCtion of (he func-
tion of economk production becon1c cmnncip;.ltt:d
from diffuse in kinship
This dcvelopment has bcen dosel)' , ...·1th
the faer. rhat in aH cxcepl rfllly prímitive pre-
industrial $ocieties, lhe major portion of produc-
tivity has come from agrkl..llture. Despite Ímporwnt
v:lriaüons. there are certnín common stnlcturnl
featurcs ()f pcasant sodetics whcrc most ('If thc
popuIatiO['l have bcen organized ns kíns.hip Bnits.
living from agricutluml production in <l subsysr.em
operMed predomirwntly hy mcmhers of the kinship
group workíng by vinue of lheü !'latus in.
lhe unlt. In such c:.tSCS, lhe ascríbeo pattcm hus in
general exrcndcd 10 ínstitutiona.li1.ltlion oí genera·
tional succession jn properry-holding and prodllC-
ti\ie functloo. in an impor1ant scnse, the ftHnlly
firm. in the carlier stag:cs of indllstrialism llnd be-
fore. has in extcnded the sume
basic pattcrn; but cxccpt on a Véry
s.m a,1 1 sea le, this embcJdcdness confincd
to thé hi!!hcr funclíons, and non-kin
huye wo;ked in oper;líve Howc..,cr. var-
ÍOllS typcs of patrínrchnl collectivilies have assimi-
lated non-kin employccs in panerns of reJatiol1shíp
simí1;.:¡r to those of kínship. cccnomic
tion \\'íthÜ1 lhis Slfuctuml fr:Hncwork must be pcr-
forrncd at a rcIativcIv low level of dífrcrcntiatioll. Jl
is dosely connccted a rathcr e1emcmary phnsc
of the cconomic division of labor and (he corre-
sponding extensivcness of markcl.<;'.
Anv collectivitv is <lIso. functionallv considcrcd,
a poliíicaJ unít ofihc s()cícty. A unít Ukc lIle nuclear
farnílv howcvcr. so lhat on)v hy vírhlC oC
very stltus can it pcrform polit-
ieaI funcdons al any hur il lo\\" Icvc1 of
Thió) npplic3 CV(':o 10 lin\!agcs. though. since 1hcy
institutionalízc gent:nltiona] Sllcccssiotl, lhcv can be
much more importnl'll than nucJcar
as in the case of roval famiJjcs. thcv havc bccn thc
pnramount agcncié's of SOciCly-widc politic;)l rc-
sponsibílüy, Thc kinship principIe has U1CIl bccn
extended 10 t,he polítkal role of a c<..mplcx of
.arrstocmtÍc lincagcs which st.and rn varying rcial}(lnS
to rovultv.
Tl;ere- are, hov,:¡;\'er. scvcrc fU!1Cljooal ditTiCllltrcs
í n 1. he j nstiwt ion a of rl y "pure ,.
mení by privileged kinship units. 1 t h.as most
in cert,lin ;ücíelíes, lif\.c cily-
SlalCS (lf antiquiry or the :-,c:mi-independcm
s(ate!:i of btc medieval C¡¡rly rrwl..h:rn Furope---
whcre. incídcntalJv. tnonnrcnv hí..t<; heen Lhe c\.cep·
don than rule. .
h secms. aftcr 1 he ahovc Lh;\!
funclions 10 bcco(11C
ncar (he ¡Op of ¡he: soci\!t<Ll s\'siem (;r
m()st conspicuQusly in the 01' '(he judiciary t.':le·
Tllcnt of lhe lega! systecn. ah\.{lys a pdv;ále
legal proression has l;'¡lCC ¡HlJ more
exceplÍonuI.
The Difjerclltialíoll Polirical Strllcttlrcs
Becausc ()f the conncctíon Df
cullcc(lvíty org.mÍzmíon and polí¡ic .. d fum-¡jon 0\11-
lincd, the dírrcrentiatíun of POlílic¡d
othcr S!l'ucturcs also tends 10 COlne llc:lf lhe tnp t)f
¡he sociclal hícrarchy. "hCf(! ;lr€ l\\"\,\ prelimin:lry
5tcpS. firq lS lhl! t.)f kírl."hip units
carrying higb p{\lili.::al res.pol'tsihi!ity (and cnjoyíng
privilegc5,-royaf ilnd
lineagc!'-!-from Ihe comrnn!1 kinshin unüs, The
[he of (he polit¡cal from the
pa.ucm-m:tintcn2.ncc ,mJ fUllction:-, \)1'
such high-levd II BCC.lll:\C of t he Íl"n pCrH l ¡ves
discusscd ahüvc, thi:::; m::curs ,h:l\\ \\" :md ls never
:H the top; tbough. \lf as In mos{
müdcrn no\\'. all ihC" ... hmctions ¡'lIay he
takcn from the unils as :-,uch.
Lowcr JO\vn. howcver, :w imp,-,rlant üf
diltercntiaLÍon invob:cs thc j'olilícal Thc
focal initiaJ probkm herc coocc-rns the
Ül1 the m()h.ility of rcsources by th\!
tive Hspect of kimhlp. Onc cn.\ciai proce:;.s is
ck\'cIopmcnt of S\.)mc.: kind tlr Für
rcnsons, ihcrc ;lfC serious
lo the fl.:linquishmcf)r of conlroL hy rhé
dill"w,c "hh.:hL:st il111hm'j(les," ()r ¡he cln,Ss.tc[l! func-
fion.s ¡)f in lhe ""tüp
M'Id ¡alCf the lc!!ís.\ati\;(' tleld:\, lt is tllus in Ihe ",ld-
mini\lfatÍvc" 01' pnritktJ functkm-·-..,thc imp1c:-
mcmatíc)l) oí' through "technic;li"
ccdurcs-th::li (bis of I¿nd;-;
10 ccnlCr. Enfranchiserncnl 01' poli¡icí.¡] :-:,upport is
!!l2ncmilv more ditllcuh lO ín:-,¡¡(ulil)!lü}ízc S(lmt.:-
tirttcs hús ¡ 11 C; rcá
From this point ()t víe\\', withín ¡¡m¡ls, ¡he
primacy of "polic)' ruUSl. be tJ.kcn as
,50
Gcnl'rnl llltroduction
gívcn. \Vithin lhese limits. {he crucia]
tíons are, the disposrlhili[y of human
matcri;:¡1 fCSOllrCe;s, arH.L sccot\d, thcÍr rcln.-
tivc lO the !1ecd. In (he hlltcr con{cxt, tbc
tence ol' pcr:o.onnel b salícnt. Ckil.rly, kínship
tinn frus1rating limils in hoth rcspccts.
Though 1 he dcficicncy may partly compcnsLltcd
thl'üllgh training ascríbcd therc is no
gUí.mtnlcC tbc ascrihcd for .. flll1ctíon
by kínshlp SUlhlS is tbc O1os1 competent avnilable;
in nny case, lhe vcry diH'llseness 01' kínship rclalÍ<:ms
scvcrcly lil11its disp()sability.
In thís connectior.. one rnus[ consider thc
livitv of the C<ll:cQorics being u:)cd here.
Of éours.c. thc fUllctions of organiza-
tion may. frol'l1 a more gencwl point of vic\'I/, faH in
any cUlcgory. In parlÍCular, carly burcaucr':lcies
vcry fn:.:qllcntIy have subscrved "cconomÍc" func-
,ions for the sode1y. A promincJit exampJc is lhe
wnlcr-control fnnction in rivcr-val1ev civiJiuitions,
emphasized hv \Veber <lnd \Vittvo!!cl The esscntiaJ
poiJHs, hO\\'CV/CL are r:;¡ther mat [OCtAS oi col1cc-
live responsibilírv for ¡he bureaucratic organization
18 thc ,;lOp control" of the over-all 50cíCI.al
tivity amI thn't tbe proccss of ditfcrcotiation pro-
cecds froO) this focal poim. This ís the primary
crirerio[l of íts subserving a polilícal function, in
ihat H stlbservcs f!.oals deJined as csseotiaJ to the
socjelY as a Uhrough the of course, of
ils "ruling groups."), and not to its sub110its in thcir
"prívate ,.
A parall':;] process of developmem niay occur
whcre a subunÍt 01 1he society, origínallv
on thc basis of kínship. dJi1cr-
emiation in [he polítícal funcdolls relative tú the
rnore diffuse m21trix ()f kinshíp. Perhaps the most
is the cvolLlTion oI rile fumilv tlrm
ioto a burCílllcratic organizarion. Simílar phénom-
ena 1m})', howcvcr. be found in thc milil¿¡fV flcld and
rmm\' othcrs. .
lIí thís scnsc> '-ve mav S:lV that tbere are Ni/O
cssemíal srruc1mal featLlrC$ "'of burcaucracy. The
c:haractcr of [he organlz:Hiol1 LmlL sce.Q in rclation
to ilS environment, has tbc prímary
of "'functlonal spccificity" and tbus of lhe r<:btive
of ilS sublmits írom strnctural
gl.unation wit.h &ubscrving olher fune-
tions. For the individual nlcmber on the other
h¡ind, 1 he point is the definilion of 1heir
roks in or occup;::¡ticn.
Func{ionai specífid1.y [or rhc collectivÍlv ímrllies
thc coUcctivÍ[y's rclative indepcndence fróm struc-
!lIral jnvolvemcnts or '"fuslons" with struclUTal
llnits suhscrving olhcr functions. As \Véber made
so hO'\o\'e:ver, thcrc musr be íl "non bureau-
cratÍc" elcrnen1 jn control of such a coHectivity)
"dviní! it íts primary function:IJ orientaüons--
Iherc mily be several laycrs oí such n011
bllTCílucratic control. AIso. jI) so far as its funcLions.
nrc spccialized within the ]arQer svstcm, sllch nn
organization \ViII. in addi(ion to iís arrange-
men's. havc to be spccitlcaBy organizcd
in t.wo fundarncnt,11 respecls, First, its own mcmbcrs
wm not be the primary "consumcrs" of its output,
whether this output be governmcn1aJ administrative
scrviccs, cconomic production, cducJ\tíon. 01' cvcn
tbe "cure of souls." Thcre wiH, then. have 10 be
somc form oí instilutionalizmíon of the terms on,
which the outpUls are mude avaílable loor. ill
sorne C<ISCS, compulsorily imposed
1T
upon, these
·'consumers." Oue par. iClllarly importan! line of
diHcrentiation here is that bct\vcen organizatíons
which do and which do not lakc tbeir beneficíaries
intt) somc typc oE membcrship status. The ordinary
busines.s tlrm is of tbc kínd which does nor; a
cal commodity. once sold, usu<llly does not imply a
conrinuiog relalíon of solidnrity hetween seller and
purchascr. In slIch fields as educatíon. however, the
proCC:i;S of "scHing:' of dispOS2J. c.mnot be
pleted in ti. single quick Iransaclion. bm ímplics both
a long continlling relation betwecn lcacher 3l1d
dent, ::md a process of íntcfaction impossible wíth-
oul common collecljvity mcmbcrship. PupHs or
students are. thus, members of tbcjr school or col-
lege in a sense in whích cllstorncrs are not members
oC the firm íTom which they purchase.
The third bask set of relailons of a functiol1ally
specific collec1ívity to its environmcnt conccrn tbe
processes of procuremcnt oí' the reSO\.lrccs nccessary
for thc performance of its fLmctions. ]'hese can he
dassified under two hcadings, name]y,
physical facilities, work premises, a¿d
human scrvices. The terms of utiliza-
tion, ,md disposnl of (he: former are inslitutionalized
as propcrty: th():,:\c oí [he latter. as occupmion. There
is a fundamenta] asymmetry in the relations be-
lween (hese two essentia) ¡;:ategories oC resources,
ín thilt physical facilities can be definitivc1y sepa-
rated from lhe agenls of theír whcreas
human sCIvices are insepan1l1le from the: organlsm
and pcrsonality of lhe individual agent-Ihey re-
quire cither his pbysical presence al a work location
Ol" control ayer his aclivüies in sorne othcr location;
mOSl important, lltilizlltion Di the individual's
serviccs is conditíoned by his adjLJstment hetween
17. For examp!e. the services of lax-collecring agencies
(tre oflen unwelcome io their "coosumers." ¡he laxpayers.
bul are just ,l!\ ins1itulionally reguintcd ;JS Clre the retalions
o[ sel1eI'!' and buyen, ín an onHnary commcrdal markeL,
18. Ln.nd ¡s '11 sPt!dal límiting both bec::m5e of its
nonproductibiJity ;)nd because lhe localion of <l given aren
is ínevocílbly iixed.
Ta1cctt Parsons: An Outline 01 tIle Social System 51
the expcctations in his work ¡-ole and the othcI roles
in \vhích he 1S involved_
Given that a11 hum:m personalitics :lre <lnchorcd
in lhe nexLls of kinship, the most crucial of thC'se
role-adjustmcnt probIcms is the one hetwcen the
occupatíonal und kinship roJes of thc same person.
As notcd, one vcry common case is thc simple
fusían. of the two--thc "work" a persol1 docs is
performed in his kinship role as such, At the oppo-
site extreme is fuIl "chattej" slavcTV, where
mum disposabíWy over services is obtained through
complete dcnial oC Ínslitutional Jegítimacy to any
kjnship roles al an exceptionnl and
inhcrcntly unstable arr:mgcmenL The r1,,¡ost lmpl1r-
tanl additional type ís the m()dern (me!' of oecupa.-
tional role characterized by slructural segregatían
of work roles from kínship, but with the cOl1comi-
tant. expectation Lh,tt rnost normal workers will have
kinshíp roles as welI---though sorne. líkc cdibale
priesthoods and relígious orders. are similar lO
slavery in denying kins.hip roles. The most ímpor-
tant fentures of the modcrn occupntional role are
strucwral separation af the houschold and kinship
group rrom control over work performance. and
control of hoth and rcwan]s by the
funclionally specific organizaüon. 'Ihis generaH:
implies the separation of physicaJ premises oi work
írom the household. and separation of property
rights in physical fllciJitics and sources of Temu-
neration fmm the personal property of ¡he role-
incl.lmbent, 11 is importnnt that these critcria bave
applicd to a very proporlion t.)f adult human
beings. except in the modern industrial lypc of
S()cletv.
abo ve díscussion began with the problcm of
the structural differentiation of polilical funcllon
from the ditfuse matrix involving pattcm-mainre-
nance and fllncc¡ons- It also startcu wiLh
the over-alI socíctaI level 01" co!1ectivitv slructurc
Le" lhe par;¡mount c()J[ectivity which
alizcs thc undcrlyíng moral ccmrnunity. By logical
progression, howevcr, we arrivcd al the probkm ()f
strnclurc and st:llUS io thc socicty 01: spccific-
function colJectívilics gcnemJly. \Vhcn we disctlsscd
the rcgulation of thelr fUnClil1l1S and
their acccss to disposahIe resourccs. \Ve incvítahlv
touchccl on what is 1I5uullv called thc economic
org::mizatiol1 of a s(")cic(\,. 'Ít is now ncccssary to
Lhe ¡alter somcwh;lt more fullv and to rék)te
it lO po]itical organizalioo. -
Tite Slrt1cfural Di[jenmlialitm (JI l/U!: Fcoll(lmy
fr()m O¡/ter Political function is par-
ticu]arly imirn:ltcly rclaled ro lhe collcctidty corn-
ponent of social structurc, II is csscntíal1v the
faci1iláticn ol atlaining colh::c1Ívc and
on lhe decisioI'\s ¡¡hum such goals anu mübilíl.tl-
tion ()f socielalrcsources relallvc to them, espccial1y
thc of the reJevant for thc:sc
g()3Is. J)l')itícal fUDe!Ío!'! ilS noted, fundamental
lO thc socie! y as a wholc_ Bu: analvlicallv, the s¡Jmc
consídcrati{")-ns apply to all the S(;cíCly's s-ubcoUcc-
tivity units, H follows that \'\.'hat has becn calleu tite
s.peéifk-funclioIl cüllectivíty 1S dcfincd prcciscly as
a coUectivity for whlch. in ilS illtemal organizmion,
po]itica] function, Le., efrcctivcncss. has prímacy
ov¡:r other f\1nctions_ F()r subcolJcctívWcs. ho\. ...'-
e ver. the !wals nol in this strLlctural scnse SCt
thou,gh they nmy or m;)V nol he se!
autonomóus]v. and in re'fercncc tQ th; more inclu-
sive tÍ1eir goal may or nOl he polilicaL
"nll1::; lhe fl.lnction of ti bu;;;inc::;s l1rm is primarily
ccotlomic; ils ir:; "pmdllclion:' blll ¡ti> in[crnaI
organization must be anaJyzcd first in po]itiC'¡¡/
terms, The po¡¡¡lcal í;,;, ho\\'cvcr. h\:fC cün·
hcncc. thc rc1nlíon hct\\'cl:n thc
otilc!' af lile wiU
be dífTerent in diffcrcnt of specific-function
colleclivities. Thc orClmízation;;, oí a
govcrnment t.1dministrati\'c of ;:l univcr:sit\\
of a business firm nMurnllv' dílfcr í',reatl\', ln
spite of ihese variations. the
of coIlccl ivitícs in thc 01'
t.hc is tbe most ::.ingJc ind(!x of tbc
differe-nti(¡liol1 of thc p()!itical frmn structl1rc",
Societies diJ1'er, ho'wcv-cr, hoth in the ()f this
dirfcrcntial.Íon in its incidcncc_ Comp:\rcd lO
some Emopcan sociccícs_ American sncicLV. al l¡:i.l,st
until recerttlv. has had subs(anlÍ ..!llv kss' dcvcloo-
meot of buré:wcr::tcv in amI of'ít
in thc ficld oí ecollo¡'\lic J)roc!uctiot1,
Lntcr. WI! \\'iH discuss specít1c J'tlcdmní<:'llls
which poli, ic::d functít)tl is di rTcl'cntially inSliw-
¡ionalizcd. Thc most imp()rhHlt c::ttcgn.ries nla)' he
dcñncd as !c:ld .... t.iLHhority. and ¡W\\'CL
Economic hmerlo!), dístim;:uisbcd trom 1he
poli tlcal. íl1\!oJvcs rhe prod and :dr('e3!ion
of disposahlc rcsourCC$_ !':'co/lomÍ(' i:, cxcr-
císcd on]y when import:u'tl avnibbJc rcsmm::C$ :lfC
means to a]tcrnalívc ;,;:mh, í.md ai Ma!:!c are
1101 committcd lo a t\ uf" s.mall
grollp:> shows lhí.tt rhi.<; le.¡ aiwnys and tfUe
of soci:'ll lntcractinn, T hus as sarll.:lil)J1
cannot t::ffccüvclv regubte :lCti":\11 ¡f Íl is commÍltcd
in <idVallCC 10 act oC onc group mem·,
bcr witlwn{ réL'rcncc: ltl the ayaiLtbiHtv 01' IJwrc
Tni::: woulLl be""'c<Juh'akni
- - I
lo aW:lrding prizcs for SlICCC% il1 a comeSI, \, ¡,110m
holding any competÍ! íon.
In bü\\'evcf. unlts '.l1"C ,1<:;
roles and <ls. cxcb;mgcHble phy:.;ic;J¡
facilities_ ín Otl'l:.:t' ..
"l)(¡ck;:¡ges" (1í C0i1111111rlicab[c S\ rnbolic
'-
General J 11 troc1nctioJl
Trnclitiona.I1v (me majo cr¡rcri ..)l1 of thc valuc of
ccon()n11C r¿SOUfCI!$ Ís rehtive .sc:,u'cíly. The oHtc!'
J"nost importanc is. general ulility for diíYerenl
funcrions, Sorne rhysical commoditíe5 ;)fC
trc::mely Iím¡,cd in adapt;"hilily, vI/hile others
considenlblc range. For cxampk land, its utílíl y
¡imi¡¡::J only by type of soiJ <lnd clíl1la!e, cnn he LJscd
fOf ,'W\\ in() iL widc oi thíngs. Another
l/thc tluromobilc,J a highlv genemlizcd
facíli!y of '·priVfJ.1C" 'llo:¡cful-
ness, howcvcr. is cnLÍrely oependem on ¡he system
01' roads.
'The pnssibilities of generaJizing abollt physical
commoditics and huméH'l services as resourccs arel
howcver. inherentIv limitecL The utilization of
SC,lTCC rcsources is': dcpcndcnt on thc instítutíon-
alization 0(= mechanisms which. indepcndcnt oí: 1'05-
session ol' or advance commitmcnt to nny specific
commouj{ies. scrvices, informatian. eIC .. make 1t
pos,.,ihlc to gain :.!ccess to widc ranges of diff(!rent
facilities as need for them develops. In known
societtes, thcrc In particular (wo highly gen-
eralized mcchanisms of this lype. namc)y poJitical
p()wcr anc! money; thc laltcr. oí course, has pri-
m<tcv of cconomÍc functlon.
B()lh p<IIhícat power and mency rC'lllirc the
instítUüonaliz¿Hit)n of the disposahility of faciliries.
Nc:gátivelY, ihis climirwtjng or drasticnlIy
weakenÍng {he ascríptive rights Stlch facilities,
\vhich LITe alv,'ays prc,mincnt in tlle more unJiHcr-
entJateu SnUCltlfcs. PositiveJv. it involves
stitutíon,llizing righlS óf control and
dispo:'-\aL in lhe form of righ1s of contracto property.
and occupariona] use oí human serví ces, The
prorninencc of ascrípLion makes ¡he right of (115-
p()sal oc ",:dienatíon" particularly espe·
daHy wiHl regard te human services, rclatí ve d::trily
of righls of cüntroj \vithín the 1irníls of occupatiúnal
cornmitmenl are tmDortanl. Thc modern institution
M prop..:rty. as <lpIJliCd to physical commoditics
ntthcr than money, ties together various compo-
nenes which, in European feudal law, v.'ere distríb-
llicd helwecn ditIcrcm units ,11] having ridlts in the
samc "thing"-l:lnd being- (:}Í cotU"Sc,"-th; most ím-
ponant single examplc. "Property rights hnve be-
come mueh more c1earlv difl'crenlíatcd from vuriow::,
\,)¡hcr cüntraclUaJ ríghts, n(Hably those involving
servic\.;s, ,mc.l from political jurisdiction over )and
and over pcrsons' acts on lanu. There Iimits on
thc propt;rtv owner's freeclom; bUl modern Dwner-
ship' is ';:m condition of dís-
posability oí' physicaJ cornmodity resourccs, inde-
pc-ndcnr of political powcr. The same of
cüursc, to thc lnstifutionalizatíon 01: occuDalionaJ
indudíng frcedom to contraer fOf 'services
through employmcnL
i\'1oncy is not ,1 commodítY1 bm 1S a vcry special
moue M lhe inslítutionaliz<11íon of cxpectaliol1s ami
commilments (hrough commullJcation. lt is a gen-
ercllized type of cybcrnclic mechani"Tn which rnakes
it possiblc for ,he unÍ( lO mobiJize. subjcct lO norrna-
(ive rcgulatío[1, whatcvcr resourcl.;$ it nccds or
wishes, within thc llmits of ílS cxpressed
ín 111011ctary tcrms. Moncy. ín [he social system in
which it operares, dcpenus on <'1 balancing system of
reciprociLics. dcvelopíng out oí thc klnus of more
dirfusc rccíprocí!ies which ccrtain anthropologists
1íkc aod havc analvzcd.
Iní1ation and deflation aré symplOO1s that this re-
ciprocnJ systcm is semchow out of balance.
\Ve norca that {he usefulncss of the aUlOmobile lS
dependent on a system of roacis and, ir may be
.added, on ¡he implementatlon oi adequare rules oí
traffie controL The usefu)ness oí moncv as a much
more generalized facílity lS dependent -(m ,l system
oi markels <lnd adcquatc rules govcrning lhe con-
linual fiow of transaciions through m:lrkcts. A mar-
ket 15 a detlned social 5vstem in \vhÍch there are
institutionaJized of willingness to
exchangc dispos<lble !::tcilírles for money and vice
versa under a set oí rules for scu1ing terms and tor
the righls and obl¡gations assumed and rdinquished
in the process. Gcncrally, markets bccome more
significantas acccss to them is not partícularistical1y
restricted, espccially on an ascribcd basls.1:l The
sdtlltíons of comnlct and property. amI the mone-
tary mcchanism irselL are the bas(!s of {he market as
él system: and lhe basis of "labor market," the insti-
tutlon (lf occ:upational cmploymcnt.
Aloney and Pm¡·er. The eoncept oi politíca}
pOwcr has becn highly controversial ln socio]ogícal
litcralllre, and therc is not the consensus ubout it
that thcre ís among economists about money. 1
wau!cL hOWCVCf. mZe 10 sugges[ a concept which
builds dírectly on lhe money as a
cralized mec:hanism fer contro1líng the altocalion of
resources. The polilical function lUlS hecn deflned
as that of {he effectíve atlainment of a
coHeclivity's goals. GoaHntainrn1;nt has been
ci1kaliy related (o I he prucesses of chrmge in the
interrelations bClween ;1 system and hs cnvlroning
situmion. For those C'xercisi ng polidca]
bility, thís inc"írably invo]ves important elements of
l1ncertaínty. E!Tecllveness. therefore. necessicates
the capacily tu make decisions and lo conlmit re-
so u rces, indepel1dcmly of specific: condilfons pre-
scrihed il! adwmce by ascription 01' by some kind oí
prlor agreemcrll or contrnct.
19. Very specb1ized markelS where ¡¡ccess is lírníted to
spcdal gl'Oups of "pwiessionals_
n
likc Lhe New York
Stock are not rcany exceplions to Ihb gen-
craliz:.¡,tion.
'Taleett PafSOns: An OuUinc of the Social S)'stem
\-Ve may define power (in the analytical, polítical
scnse) as generalized C:lpacily. of prior
comrnitments on (he rekvant level of spec.íflciHion.
to innuence thc allocatíon \)( res()urces for thc
!!'o;)ls of ';1 coJIectivity through ím-okínQ- fhe- in"lil L1-
tíanalizeu of tnember
unir:::;. utHízín!! such sanctions as are
through obligatíans and lnstituti'onalized
roles involved in lhe powcr sv!\tem. PO\ver should
be conceived <Ji a circula¡ing mcdium and. for :HJV
unir. as a scarce resour..::c. F'ower is uocquall;'
tríbut:ed in ¡J. sodety. a disproporlionate share beíng
held by units carrying poJitícal rcsp()osibility·-jl.lSl
as a disproporticmate share ()f l'hc: weahh uf an
econ omkaUy de"cloped SOcíC1 y i$ control ¡el! hy [he
units specializing in cc-onornlc productio¡1 Like
ecúnomic: firms. tmil:; specíalizing in po1il ¡Ca]
Üon are depcndent on {he rettlrll of pcn\-'er (bey
have "spem" 01' through thelr dec1sions
abou1 the al1ocHtion of resourcC's, This return, anal-
ogous lO that frorn consumers' :'.pending, takes the
form of the constíttJcnc\"s sahsfaction or dis'iatls-
faction \vith thcsc decisions, and il thus dirc-Cl]v
lhe capad!y to make furthe'r
c(lmmÍtmcnts. Thc mechani:<.ms of power are not
ncnrly s() sharply stn.lctured a':\ i$ 'rhe !11Clnetary
mcchanism. thougb. in democnHic societies amI in
various of assoclr\!ion \'vilhin thCn1, tht vote
has functions as a unit whích ¡He partly :Hlalogolls
lo tho:.\c ()f the rnonetary unit, lt cines nol. howcver.
cover anything 1íke l'he proponion of {he \\'hole
mnge ol' po\\.'cr ph¡;;onomena that thc mOlletary unit
does_
Therc is a paralIel bel'ween poHtical enfranchise-
meo\. as the cap'ldty to exercise politic¡ll pO\\'cr
. indcpendently of ascribed definitions üf oblígaiíon
Of Lhose imposed fmm abovC_,and lhe devclopment
of cünsumers' wbere the, mav
selecl from th<.: otTeríng.:; ¡¡vailablc :'Ind bave lhcfr
prcferences excrdse a- crucial ínílllcncc on thc
process of proul'lction ltsclf.
ll1St rnoney depends O!l (he iwüona[ízntion
of contrae!. propC'rty, ('lCCLlp,lIíon, Jkxihlc
pc)litical actíon is mnll.: possiblc by
lO, In /:10th cormeclicm," í. i .. no! to confll:'c
inequaltt:y, Ils 3Pplied 10 "é,miillmiuft" llní! ... nlonc. wdl
that for {he sociclY a, :1 whole, E;:en ;) soi.'ialbt sO":lcty
impo:.ing ab""ohHe i:'4ualily oí" on ;:1) holtsdwkl
units wuuld g.ive ellcclil"e cOn1rül 1)[ musl /.if Ihe (';.:onomk
reSOllrcc!> of Lhe 'mdNY 10 ()f 1'1,)-
duttion. Silnibrly, in :l "perfect" ;¡!1
dl'il.cn(, mig,IH havc I!'qll:d lQ ímtu.::nc.:: ¡he ::-dc¡;¡!o!l
of lcadcrship :md cNwín ))i¡r.hly ,)rlOr.t;¡lTO¡¡S.
uf g,wcrnme-nt HUL, in the "permú'<' I:Jllcll(ming. (lf C(ll-
lccllve aetlün, t::üntrül of pll\\'er wonld w be .'d¡l!hdy
CÚliccnuatcd in ol',!!i.íni/.ati;)r!," and c[l.rry-
In)!, rcsponsibililY for politic:l! f\lm'ti()t'l.
thcre wOllld be no dilTerenli;néd ¡)o¡í¡íc:¡! fU!1CLiol1 jil the:
5ódety,
a.lization of pOWeL The (:;f le:::d-
crship to in:!! of C('nlracl in Lile; eC()HornÍc
ficld. lt e$senti:)lh' lile imtitutíonaliz,;j1Íon of rhe
righ( 10 make declslons (/1(: collcc¡i"itv
;l who1c lherebv tm i1-"
f'I1cmher units in thcir
AwlturiEy. Iikc pOlt'(:r. high!y ülYl-
bigl.loUS [Cro1, It ¡ht;;: pl)nlkal uti0r1
which is panlHcJ 10 in ,,;cünomi(',_ 1 ¡ ¡;,; ¡be
complcx l'f instítutionaliLed righl!- over toe c()n-
trihutorv action::. (in CCÜ[wm!c temúnoloi!", '-:;c:r\'-
o'f of a 'Th:H ;-',
aUlhorüv ínstiLUtlonallzcs ríghts ro m;¡l.:.é
binding 'in spccific re:\p<a::ts-ui1 I.he rekv:lnt c:He-
gories of mcmbcr unils . ..:::.g" padng tir h,l\"ing
tü I:!nl'er military scrvk.c, Au!boril)' comprí,-cs t1lc
general rules which gO\'ern (he ma!dn!! of <'pccific
decísíons. on the hand. is
i'c!2.ulatlng lhL' proces'l (lf rn:!kin!:: aCIl\;J]
commitmenls,L rje:nis (lf iJ.u(horitv - cnn be
relinquic:;ni'd. ,1:'. 01' 0'\" ncr,;hip
can he. But "élurh,lrÍ(\'" ¡" a non-drclll,llínc- mediurn
in thc S3mc seme th:)l propcnv ¡ .... It is d1C'
¡,jona1 ílunri" of [he func¡íoning úf
Some LimÍfs oi l'olirícal al/d Ecoli()/1/Jc
Spccíali:mion
As uscd here. po]iücal and c[,o!loml';; catcglnic"
are !!encrn1i1.cd lh:l( pcnU':,H('
{he ;¡lllirt' SlrIJcture of lhe S'trucj urc-;
wilh cithcr polití¡;:al 01' cconomic prírnac\- are..' fOllnu
al all fOUf k:vch l)f f!N01<Hin:; cul-
ture ülld intcrpcnNr;lic in dilrcr.:nl '\\'(t)''', Thm"
díffcrenlíaled j'oh: .. pcrl\wrn,mcc j, H
wíth 'rclativL' t!c('\rll;mic no
matlcr jI; fU\1ctic1na\ cnOIi..'.\t it
lltilízcd, and (he true rcgardíng C(ln\-
manJ Ol o(hcr facilities, c,g_. lhrollgh '-\\1. ()f
rhysical This {he
¡ha! thc crílcíÍOt1 (\f cconomic run.;.'tkm is th,11 it
C'onc<.:rns <l !1Urb:l
channd:-., Hencc, (l1i:; rCSNliC(", the "ldbor" l'C'I,l-
::,1, The,c; !ww
al!)' an t)¡)
rion (¡f th<: the- dec,ü,:HC
,;,){("I' )):,)0. :Jl
(lf ¡be,e rilan)' H\"b\'j"l\:;;'lÍ
NI IhL' tol1t,"tl\'í¡y ,,\,'l-h .. lc,
t
the-
in-
¡:. dr¡,¡n:lti\.' ;(\h tHrn,- l itH
:,i ...
Ihcir Oti'iClé"
liJ.',ht ;1( ¡he
il 1:-. :1 ",¡,-
;ln_". ís
¡¡"le:
wítb 'dú:Í\ 1hi" ¡¡:Áli<;i ü

5-'
CClu:wl fuf roduct.iolJ
nomic thcorv, is cconomÍCnllv dilferenti.atcd if a
dcvclopcd L'xis(j. howcvcr,
the!"(: are variOllS cO[1strainrs in ¡he sLructurc oi
lubor mark,cls c:u;scJ hy thc imcrpcncLr:::tion of the
cco!1omic:: <\Od v.<Hious non-cconomic faclors. Evcn
Íl'l Ihe typcs 01' Inb()r or nlHxímum disposability-
c.g., "opcratíve" dutics at rcJativcIy low levcls of
l)fganil.t\tiomd rcsponsihility or tcchnícaI cornpe-
tencc-thcrc are hasic ¡¡míls imposed by the in-
CllI110Cl1t't:. in kinshíp and (ltl1cr non-
¡;conomic collcclivitícs. The hin ca!:.c ¡s. in a highly
d¡nercntbted society. one thé impinging of
paUern-maintcnancc funclÍons cm the econornk. As
\Ve hélve secn, the s::lme kinds of limüs do nOl apply
!o physical commodities. Similarly, the exccutíve
role in specific-function collcctlvitíes. evcn in busi-
ness firms, has spccial fcn.ture.s. becausc the politícal
component of the role is so prominenl within the
coIlcctivity. This fact causes much of the persistent
recruiiment for s.uch roles lhroul!h chilnnels other
{han a labor markct-c.g.: in [be family firm-
even when malU\gement h:lS become almos[ fully
'·prn[ essilmali1.ed," certa¡n constraints rcmaín. Onc
constraint ís tbc "partlcularizing" of sclcction for
emplüymcnt,,····-from outsíde rhe organization ()r by
pmmotion. No syslem of sdeclion cntirely by com-
pelitíve examim1tjon for particular posts has been
Sl.lcccssful1y institutionalized, í.lppurcntIy búcallsc of
the functíonal diffuseness of the role and the
portance of relations bctwc.cn pcople al tbe top of
an organization. In one lhe sclectÍon of
leadcrship of the nuclear famíly through marriuge,
lhrollgh thc "irralionul" rnechanism of romantlc
Jove r<lthcr than tbrou!!h ratíonar ,HiSC8smcnt of
sllítabílity for paren tul roles, is paralleL BOlh top
man'lgemen1. nnd families are sm<lll groups whose
members must ussoc:ia1.e verv intim<)íelv with each
other oVer long periods. -' ,¡
Anolher consU'ninl 'ln thc labor market is em-
ployment for professíonul roles. l-Iere the primary
goals be long [O eitbcr intcgnuive or
functlons. Two prominent
Slructural deviatíoJls from the normal commercial
ma rket in (his. ficld the "slidlng scalc" and
tcnurc. Tbev are with inStitutions, Iike
privilcged communicatiol'l. and acadc-mic frcedonl,
(hm Ínsulate t.he role-incumbent from some of the
pressurcs fron'! !aymen tha.t might impede the pcr-
rÜrmallcc of complicated and delicate functions.
The differentiation of economic and political
Iunctions from eac:h orher and from 1he otber two
ís found operuting at the coUeclÍvitv level. In the
first place, at the entlrc society's ft{nctiona! Jevc1,
therc ís diífcrentüuion of collectivities with primacy
of one function or anothcr. [n the cconot11ic cate-
gory, tbe business firm ilO a c1ear case; volith it goes
tnonctary SLlCCCSS, the monctary cost-earníngs
bahmcc, as thc priolary crhcrion-whcther or not
it ís linkcd wíth proih aC[U:llly going to thc organi-
zation's internal "propríctary" dcmcnts. Thc cost
accounting (J( soclalizcd cnlcrprisc is just as subject
to this critcrion as the profitability of privatc enter-
prisl!. In politics Ihe c1earest case, hecausc of thc
clcmcnt oi inevitable fllnctional dmuscncss dis-
CLlsscd aboye, is the <:HJministrative oí gov-
ernment. The cxclusiveness w.íth whích crÍtcria of
effectivcness govcrn the evaluution of collcctive
performtlncc lS tlle rnain symptom of the degrcc of
differentiation of political function. 1 n other words.
the nmounl of powcr gcnerated by a colIeclivc
unit--·the powcr output relative to the cost of its
acquisiüon. stated in terms of the loss or impair-
ment of loyahies incurred in the proccss-is the
main critcrion of effectiveness. \Vhercas sorne col·
lectiviries in a differcl1tíated society have polHical
primacy in .. his sense, in all specitic-functioIl colIec-
tivitics (l polítical component centers in what we
have callcd "managemcnf' or "'Idmitlistration." In
alI large-scale thcsc functions be-
come ditfcrt:ntiated fmm the operati.vc (mes.
Just us c()nstraints 00 the commcrcial or competi-
tive struclurc ()f m,irkets are imposed by impioging
non-economÍC fac[Ors. so in numv collectivities
[here are constraims ¡'H1 the primacy of
their organízation and orientatioli to situations. In
the busi-¡;ess 11r01, thc standard ef monetary slIccess
íncorporates one sct of si.lch critería. In one
(ion. Ü [ímÍ1s devotion lO "technicar' perfcctiún by
. applying critería oí monetary proflt-a f:lCl the
imporéilnce of whíc:h technocrats cannot see-
whiJe also limiIing the relcvance and Jegitimacy of
pursuing política I power. In both directions) the
limi1ations take thc form oí institutionalized mech-
anisms of control which estabfish rnnk ordt!fS of
considcrlltions whích are legitirnatcly taken into
accotlnt ln decision-making.
AnOlher example oi the interpenerratíon of poli-
tics and economJcs is the universality \\.'ith which
t
in societ!cs with a highly developed monetary econ-
omy, command of adcgu:ltc monelary funds be-
comes an indispensable condítion of cffeclive opet-
atioll-espcclally as the mechanism for mobilízing
both physical facílities and ncccssary human serv-
ices. The di[ferences bCl\vccn typcs of functionalIy
spccific coIlectivJ1ies lie in lhe importance of the
criterion of monetary success-whethcr a11 mone-
tElry costs are expected eventually 10 be balanccd by
proceeds dcrivcd from operatioIl, or ir is Jegitimate
for the organization lO incur dcHcits which must be
made up by spccial measures like taxation or solkit-
ing contributioDS. lt is significant thal, in lhe filod-
cm liberal typc of society, the critenQn of monctary
1'a1cott P;lfSOns: !\n OutIiw: ni thc SOC'Íill 55
indcpendence applics above all te two'classes of col-
lectivitíes. busjness firms nnd households.
The lcadership and authoTÍty-power SlrUCttlrc ol'
the modcrn university provide examples of the
lirnitations on internal politic-al primacy paraI1el to
i!conomic ones in non-business collcctivitics. The
most impüftant opcraU\'c pcrsonncl are highly qual·
ified technical speciaJísts working in many ditfercnt
fields; the tightness of control by top management
typical of firms engaged in physical produclion is
impossible. That ¡s, internal [o lhc orgr:mization.
power is much more decentralízed in its distribution
than it ls in thc business organization. The institu-
tion of tcnure is important botb as a roodific.ltion of
[he structurc of thc labor mmket and as a limitation
on ndministratlve power wilhin the organiz.ations"
FWfCI;(J1W/ Dillerel11illfion 01 Norms amI Vi/ll/cs.
The samc basíc order oi functionaJ diJTerentiation
we havc bcen analyzing OCcurs al thc of diffcr-
entiateLl norms. At thc the
tutional complex 01' contact. property. ,md-occup::I-
ti(mal roles is primari1y of ccouomic significance.
This. complex ínc1udcs the institutional norros gov·
erning money and its useS, ¡nvolved Ín all three.
Money ís integrany involvt!d in the institution of
contracl, beca use a large proportion o.f contracts
involvc monetarv considcmtions, ano bccause ít 15
an institutíonali;'cd symbol-the paramCllll1l' sanc-
tion of "restitutive 1aw," as Durkheim called iL
Money also is the apex of lhe property the
monetary evaluatíon of other objects ¡lnd lhc con-
vertibililV ef ;'rcar' assets ínto money vítLll fea·
tUTes of mo¡Jcrn propcrty Thc contro·
versjes about units el account in sociaUst ecenomies
show that moncy can be abolished on]y by invent-
ing its fun¡;tional cquiv1l1ent: índeed, no socíaJist
economy has scriously attcmpted te abolish it. hmv.
ever much íts markct svstcm mav dirrer fmm free-
entcrprisc. Moncy is ;lbsent m;ly in o. prhnitive
Nallll'alwirl,):cltaft. Such a society nar rCl1chcd
:t high lcvel oi differentiating cC()[lomic fLlnction.
Fínallv, monc\-, is ¡nvolved with lhe: institutÍon,\1íl.a-
tion of by virtl.lc of the ínstimtiol1ulizá-
tion oí' tbe legitjrnacy of monetary renmneratíon for
occupationalpcrforñmnccs. -
Basic ccol1omic institUlkms embüdicd in the
forma] legal systcm. as :lrc tbe expccted variatior\s
betwccn contcxts whcre thev are involved, \\,:ith or
without primacy of econon\ic function. Thus thc
directors (JI a, husiness ('orpüration are legaHy
obliged. on penalty of liqllidation, lo operale to
maintain finanda] !!ovcrnmcntaJ uDits aTe
lcgallv nuthorizeí.l to imposc laxes to maint:ún the-ir
::md volunmry contributors to rcJígious,
churitable. n.nd cJucaliomd colfcctivities are. legan)'
privilege<..l to dcduc( such contrihutíons from
abre ¡ncome.
Similar considemtiot1s llpP]Y to {he normatjve
SYStCll1 govcrning political functíons. in govcrn-
mental and othcr contexts. One cxample is the gov-
crnmcntal cOllstitutíon oí thc prescribing
the norms defining {he proccdurcs tor gov-
ernmenla] lelldership. (he nalurc ami limtts o{ their
Hurhority whcn in o1Tict!. ilna the modes in whicn
they m;))' lcgitimatel'y exercise powcr. Thc law ín-
\'olvcs a cOnlpkx set of prcscriptíons fOI the norms
gO'l/crning k:adcrship, ¡wchority, :md po,,:cr in pri-
vate collectivides, ¡ncludíI11! thc denniÜon of vari·
ations permissible by vinllc of dií'fercncC's in theír
functions. An importílBt example of this in Ameri-
e.m bw ¡s (he doctrine oi "puhlic ESSCIl-
tially, this draws herwccn two broad cMegork·s
nf ae1Ívides al\do hence, bctween 1nc collectivitics
thcm on.ln one case. their ac{]ol1s ure lhcir
concern. and the law 15 conccivcd DS rcgu-
latory ín thc negativtf! sense. Rules kecping the
itícs withil1 bounds nrevemin!! thcm from injuring
othcr pnrties Oí viOlating socict<ll
and nOfms must óhserved. I( ún the othcr hand,
an activity is atTedcd wlth .a public those
pcrfol'ming ít b0th prívileges--,t:.g" [rno-
to use of w¡¡v-·anu assume ohH!!¡üions.
like regula.tíon of rates "charged to thc puhÜc, not
othcT\vÍse appUc:lblc. Esscntíally, actÍvüics which
llffect lhc pubHc are defined as ínvolving a
biger component of social political rcsponsibilíly
than thosc tba( do not. The obligations I..krh·jng
from this re'iponsibility musl be fulfilled: ¡hose who
undcrU\kc them wilI be givcn the spccinl privileges,
excmptions, nnd facilitic'J ncccs"ary for (hcir fu!Hl-
ment. Undcr (he la'-\'. whctncr il be fOrmnllv W1'rfLctl
or not, cvcry príl.':Hc colIectivity ha!) its ':constítu-
don" or Se! ()f OO1'm5 go"crning thc polilícal func-
tioo ... ncccssary for íts etfcc[iYe opcmtiol1.
The typc oí differentíation uru.:ler aiso
applks to valuc$, Valu('s cannot control actíon by
mere "cmnnation:' Thcir
vol ves thdr spcciíkatior\ througrl a serÍC's of kvcls
of furh:tion and situatkm. '-'¡¡¡ues of a
sub::;vstem, 01' a sacie!v, Hke CC()DOmV
or (he pality. c-onstítule thc {ini 'leve] of
tion rcl;:uivc: to thc This
spccifica[ion. il ís is by functioi\. For
cxamplc, the CClJlCC.pt of econo!11ic r:1!¡onnI¡IY has
usuaIlv becn interprClcd as ¿I psvchoI\.)!!ical
i7.ntío;. It nl!'o has a dc1inih'.>ly a¡;p:-ct: nnd
a( the hi!!hest normarive Jevcl it 15 the tocus of lhe
vnluc sy;tcm of ¡he M II functional $uh-
svsicm oí thc socien',
.' No socicty enn economic mtionality lls
!mlst general ':iocletal Vi:¡luc·orícntalíon, ¡hough it
56
Gcncml Introdncf'lofl
can pInce lhe I:.'conomic among funcll0J1al
priorir!C's. Empiric:Jlly. cconornlc mlionalHy must
he C'valU:,Lted accon.ling LO its place and iimíts in
IcJarion 10 [he highcr-Ieve! soC'Íctal valucs, to the
svslc::m's leve1 of structllral dHl'crcntiation. to
thl.' ;;,ituation of the society. In :m fur, hawc\.'cr. as
unics of rhe societv at all lhrcc of thc \cve:ls bcl()w
thnt 01' '.'<tlues slructuraJ!v díf[crentillted in
terms of rrimaey 01' cconomlc flJnctÍ(ln, thc hal!-
nl<lrk of this differenlimion is that, rclatívc to their
sjttlatiol\s within ¡he units are
to\"crncll hv lhis ecol1omic st:.md'\I\J. Thus,
necd nol he spcciticaUy oríented to
economic fllflction. r.here mi\V stíll be. in the fields
of contract\ money: occllpa[ion, COnl-
plexc5 1,,)f. institutionaI norOlS which t:lrc híghly
emancip;3ted from non-economic coositIeraüons,
For cxample, the insritutiomlJízatioo of hmd
sbip IJtakcs land far more dispo:sable as an eco-
nomÍC resource tbao it wouId be! for
where righrs ¡ji' aJienarion Were not inslitutit'malízcJ.
Slmi.lar considerati0D$ app]y at the collectivity
leveL Economíc values and norms :1pply in sorne
degrce to al! coHectivities in cert:'lÍn aspl!cts oí' Ihetr
functioning, whether rhis lnvolvc:s cconomic
macv or not: thw, cvcn u church, v.'hose central
fllnérion is r;r remtwed fmm cconomic primncy.
must e\crcise sorne degree of financiaJ prudencc-
Le .. subscribe, wiOún () ¡imítcd s.phere. 10 economic
values. lt is, howevcr. the insr¡1 utiol1<tHzal ion of the
crüerion ()f slIccess as the param()unt
me::\sure of function \vhich ís thc hallmark ()f col-
economjc primacy. Tbis. howéver. ís a
valuc; and üs implicatic)Ds are ah'.:ays
sllbJcct lo qllaUficatlon in terms of insritution.\1 varj·
abiHtv at higher levels and situationa! vMiabiliL v at
lowc; ones. ';rbus a firm producing dangerous d;ugs
()f nrearms reguJated lO pmtecl inc()mpetent <llld
innocenr parLies from mhllsíng thesc products: such
protection of thi rd partles is ane fundamental focus
of the iI1S¡ÍWIÍOll of contraer. Correspondlngly. a
rctaíI food lirm wm to 'he whims (perhaps,
oi Í(s CUSlomers as 1 he producer of
p(nn:!r planls for fasl ships \.\'ill not, bcc!luse
01: the overwheIming importancc of tL;chnkuI Sland-
nrd." of crrcct¡vc f,'Ierformance in rhe lal ter case. The
c1<lssicftl were not wh()Uv unrealhtic in
speaking ol' moncy ¡\s i:t value. E\'cn
the values and s1il1
higher.leveJ values, lhüt ()f economíc ra-
tiollality js authenlíc and gcnuine.
2
:'
Für "he socidogis.l.. ¡he criterj()l] of ;\
C'IllnOl be liS In soci.!l ClíllUr-;¡1
SY¡'lt;xnS, ll!i. we anc!lyze Ihem, ther'C HH1$! be hier;lrchies óf
cach oC which mus! 't¡JKe (t l'C'L.Jlívc place. The
sY'item g(H'e'fI1cd by :.in.I.:de, uniwry. absolllie value i:-; thc
límiling c;¡:.,e which í::: Etcrúlly "Qut of ,\'orld." ,
Thc ",ame considcrations apply 10 occupational
roles. Sorne of thcse roles .He mH¡olv economlc in
fllnclion. l\Jarginal protluctivity 15 tI primary
ard of whclhcr thc service ShOllld be employed-
which can roughly he cquated. undcr economícaHy
ideal conditions, with that servicc's contribution to
tbe. monctary succcss of the organizaliol1 cmplQying
it. Such roles ínstitutíonalize economic rationl.tlity
as their pril11¿lry vatuc. In other roles, such as most
prof<;,ssional ones. ít ¡s a subsidiary v<ilue. In choos-
ing bctwcen employments. (he professionuI. olher
things cqual. legitirnatcly prefers thc financially
more rcrnunerulive job; and the cmploying organi-
zation otTcrs more to (hose \vho, fTorn its pOÜlt Qf
view, are more dcsirahle personneL But it docs not
folJow on either síde that lhe grCíl(Cst financial re-
mm or financial contríbution ís the first criterion oí
desimbilítv for the collectivítv.
\\'hat i; [rue of economic rationalitv as a differ-
emiated funcliollal value-system is aJsó true for lhe
other fllnctions. In the polity the value-system cen-
ters on coilcctÍvc or organizational effectiveness for
s()cÍetal coIlectivity itself or tor :lny legitímate
1!oats Di sllbcolIcctivüies. SlIch effectiveness (or
power. in a larger, c.g., "inrcfnationar' system)
may be the functíonal vaJuc oí a \"lhole
socíctv, tht.;ujzh lt as such cannot be a societal value-
pattcr;¡-that wouJd .necessita(e somc higher basis
foc the legltimate pursuit of powcr. Thc
wíthin \vhich grealer power is vall.led \\,'ill. as jn
cconomics, depe.nd on the societal value.system and
on consíderatíons of the societv's slructural differ-
entimioll ilud sitLlation. Símila;!y, saIne subcollec-
tivitie:s wil1 be guidcd within the system by values of
poIitical primacy. while in others this componel1t 15
:'iuborJinated. Thus. while a goverm:nenla[ admjn-
istrative burcaLl may be ev;lnated prímaríly in
terms. a university or íl family cannN be.
Values Di political function wiH be insritutíonalizcd
at of thc, sodetv's levels af stmcturaJ
hierarchy. ""
Specialized values for the íntcgrative systcm are
oriented, withill thc sacictal valuc svstcm. 10 maxi-
mum internaI harmony and mutual
iJrnong lIJe units of ¡he system. Such intcgrative
values are in variolls cOlltexts. There is
the gcuend olle of dOlng one's duty to otbcrs:
there is the polítical one, stressing the importancc
ot' col1cctivc and individual
therc is the legal in thc equitable seuIemcnt
of conflicts; ano there is thc medicaI concern for tbe
palienfs welfarc. These di1ferel1t leveIs of expres-
sion share the explicit repudíation oi rhe relevance
of or power, or of economíc SllC-
cess such, as valid critcria.
Talcott An Outlir:e t)f tile Socia] Systcm 57
DiDel'cl1tiafion betweel1
Pallerll-M ai111enGl1Ce
al1d InJegrative FUllction
\Ve .have discusscd at lcngth both the rclatíons
bclween cconomic and politica\ hmctíoo. and social
slructure at aH four levels. bccallse in science
tmditions [hese scem 10 huye becn more adequately
anall:'zcd and are bettcr known. The sume
of the rclátíons bclween strllctllrc· and
function. betv.'ecn segment::uion, ;'{I)d
differentialion, apply to thc pauc!lHl1aimenancc
and th!:! inlegrative functicms, to ¡he reIations af lile
relevant structures to cách other and to the cco-
nomic and polílical. \Ve shalJ here confine the dis-
cussion lO a verv brief outlinc 01' the principal COn1-
ponents of struC'tural content in thesc other
l-wo functions.
There are two impor1ant consideralions. Firsc
societies will dHI'er ln so far as structures: \vüh clcar
primacy functions havc come ro be diITcrc:n-
tiatcd from [hose whosc functions ,m: more diffusc.
Second, releval11 structures \\.'iIl be Joc:.\led Ul Jíf-
ferent levels ()[1 the $calcs of segmentmion and speci-
fication, and may thus nOI be direclly comparable
wíth each oiher.
\Vhhin l.he framework suggestcd by thc dístinc-
tiotl bl.!t\\'cc.n thc lnvolved ¡n
cquilibrium analysis and in analysb of structural
changc of social S)'SlCl1lS, the conccpt oi !)(JI(l'rJ1-
mail!u:I!ClJlce as a calcgory is flol meant
to have cmpirícally static cOIlI1otatíons. Analyt-
ícally, specializmion 11) bOlh maimcnancc BOJ
change of valucs should be placcd in thb category.
Religíon is one of thc arcas of conccrn which bc-
]on(i' nlost lIírecllv Religious as such
be locfttcd in the cultural and not in lh.:!
social svsteIl"I. Sf.)cietal valllcs stand k1l i.! lowcr Icvd
in the general spcciflc:níon scale (.')f valuc-patlcrns
'han do rcligíollS t'lncs. Bllt in some 5cnsc, ¡lB
cIar valucs ;rc hcrc conccivcd ;'\$ reli-
giollsly gmundcd. t.hc structural implica-
lÍons of lhis may vaJ")' grCttr)y, as rUllc1ían of the
natun:,' of bolh lhe religion and thc socíal 5}'stcm,
lt has beco pointcd ()ut lhat sL'lmt.!times lhc ovcr-
al! socictal colhxlivity is als("> a. religioll:'\ coHcctivity
-to guote Durkheim. a "moral community usually
caBed a church."::' Oflcn. howcver. ihis is no! lhe
case-as in \Vcstcrn Christíanitv gcneraBv (lTid.
more par.ícularly, in reccni
ism as instltlltiona!1zcd in thc Unilcd Sl:HCS. Thcrc
are al1 indeiinite pluralily of churchcs. cach of
\vhich ís a vohmtary associnliofl. Thc slalc is no
2). E. Durkhl..!ím. EfemClltaj'Y FrmH.\ of lhe Rdigio".',
UJi:'- lnlr<lduction. Lt)ndon: Allco & Unwill. Ud"
loo\'1er a collectivitv. ,mJ ihcr(! no csfab-
which or is ailowet( to daim
uni,.ersal religiolls jurisdíc(iVr1 o'ver thc whole sod-
clV. ¡'lo\.'·.,'cver. valués dcrivcd from c(lmmon rc-
oricntatIOI1S stíll l\{ore-
11n lmportant pari oC ¡he l.lOl'mlHÍ"t of
the society cornpriscs rulc5t governlng behavior in
this spherc-ror cxamplc. thc Conslituticma} pro-
vlsion::: for of church and and
the of rclígíous (¡nd 101-
crancc. ·rllLlS, pJur.alisrn-<H ¡ht:; coHec¡i"ity level (Ir
strucwrc, and. í..'ven more, lbé role leve]. whcrc
cvcrv indh'ídual c:J.n within ccn;:¡in Iimit":< adhcrc 10
his bcíich :!orld not imply that
t hcre is no ¡ n'ititUl!onnlizatíofl 01" religious
lioos :J1 Lhe norm <lnU Lhe valuc 1evels.-Thís is, a
ver)' common oí the sense in
which SLJch n sodety as ¡he is dcscríbcd
n:;. "secubrlzcd.'·
As in:<-.riUHionalizmioo of rdigioLls oriciltation has
,1 more (1 mI diírl!rcnlüued func-
{ion. it bcen ,Úloc<Hcd lO more divcrse subcollec-
al ]owcr k\'cls in sc'c:bl s.truC'ture's seale
(lf segrnt'J1talil1fl and 1 han was ¡he
older {:re of universl¡] church_ But .his pr()('css has
coincideLl wiíh Lhe dcvch'rme:1i üf MghcT levds of
tl¡;ncnl1ilv il1 thc rcHi!íou; requíremcnt" of normal
Für cx:ample, t he sndcull
"commo1'l Jenominato{" is c()nsiderahl\.- more !.2;en-
eral than wa:-; ¡hnt of 1t
as it \\'erc, beco rroved that nnrro\V de-
Lailed i, nO[ í! n",;cessarv condí-
líon of vaILle-CO!1<,cnsus lnt' leve!.
A 5l'cood compooC:Clt oi: (he !,atrcrn-
nl<"llrucnnn\.:e flH1ctÍf\n is th¡¡t llSl\;.I11v caBed
\Vherea<; (he prirnary l:\[ rcligíon is in
{he clllnm:d $vs!em, ()f s0cíalíz.:i1jon 1$ ir, the
pCTsonality s·Y5!Cm. 'Tbe undcdying conditions
ílre thc rcbli\'c l)f thc individual\
lifc-srnn in comparíson [0 rhe duraIÍon of .-;ocietie:'..
thc rcsulting fUfI-::tiL1nal im [01' ¡he 'i<)-
delv to :1 strea!11 ()f DC'\\' l1lc;m-
rhrough hinh ;:nd m:·\(Ur;)-
tlon. \VithÍn rhi:.; lr,ln1c\.\'ork _ th<: l1Wsl imponant
1rnpcratívcs are ;.¡nchoring the pr(lCCSS
tion in the gc.fi(:(IC scqw:ncc d· lhe d\!\"dIJpmcnt of
pc.rsonaHty. ,h¡-(\llgh <'UCCL'ss¡vc!y inlcr-
nalizing inI.Tt':\:¡in;ly and ddl't:rc\1liated
=,vstcms of obiccts. and (he eorrcsl'lJnding ín-
of gcncralil.cd of
e u!turc.
Uni\'.:r,,:dly. :\t krt<¡t onc kinship uO¡(, ah¡"liYs Wilh
I.hc nud';¡lf pronúnem partidpalion, i" the
primary ::oHc-cti\;;; u!:,cnt ,-,r sncial1z:l1 íon: in
most ;;.nc!etic5. I.he funcriort rcmains
cmbcddcd in di¡Tu"c kin:.hip ] n n1(llk:0l
58
Gel/cm1 Tntroauctirm
.índustriat sodetíes. howcvcr. tbc nuclear famíly bas
bccome a far more dHrcrcntiatcd, though stm highlv
8cgmcnted, ul'lit. ad::.lptcd [() thc of
zation and "tcm.imHn;.¡n:lgcmcnt:' In tbe process,
its. connections with thc extended ldnsnip ncxus
have bccn !!rC¡lt)v nttcl1uatcd; it hccomc struc-
turaHv and most of thc (){her funclions
of oÚlcr kinship structllrcs have to non-
kinship units, notnbly !hose (Jf cconomic produc-
líon. Bcc<} use, in this situlltion, Üs primary func-
tions cOl1ccrn carly, the
famiiy opctatcs uf vcry low levels of genernlity in
the scale of spccification oí: the
which are intcrnalized in the process.
All more hirr,)llv dífTerentin.tcd societies have de-
veioped non-kfnship structures centering about the
funclions oí formal educatíon in which the higher-
patterns of nonnative culture and systems of
ObjCCt5 are internalized in the personality. In i1 few
societies. there huve finalIy devcIoped in$titutions
of híghe-r education in a highly
fllsion for sub-functíons of pattern-maintenance oc·
Cl.1rs: thc combinat1on of the highest level-; oí train-
íng with, thruugh seholarship and research, the
functions of eodifying and developing ímportant
parts of rhe cultura1 tradítion itsclf.
This conecrn with the cultural tradition operatcs
ín tbe aspects having to do \vilh value pmtems, and
in fields of exístent[()} belief
cal, as in reIigious .and philosophy! and crnpiricaI,
as ín science, technoJogy, :md idcoJogy-and ex-
pressive symholization, as ln the aTlS, It constitl.ltes
unother b,\síc foC'us of the sóciety's paUern-main-
tcn::lnce systems, \vhich tcnds [O become closelv as-
soci¿ücd with the higher ranges oí the
system. Expressive symboljzarion. whích rcaches íts
híghest ]evel'S of "universal" signíftcance in the
sophísLicated fine arts. inc!uding literatnre, allowcr
leve)s of specificatíon involvcs the modes of taste
constituting the framework witbin which expres-
síve, ¡.c.., otherwise non-functJonal. activities--Ín-
clud¡ng whm ¡s ordil1ariJy c<llted recreation-a.rc
carded out.
As these fllllctions become Iess imbedded in
functionallv ditTuse structures. the smne basic im-
ollllined for structurcs with econornic or
political funetional primacy apply .. A school s)'stern.
like a church or a (!OVernment burcau, muS[ h.we
institutionalized lcadershíp nnd patterns of :luthOT-
ity; it must havc access 10 mobi1e resonrces; and it
mus!. regulate the rclations ()f its sel'Víces to its con-
sumcrs. This ís true (")f a theatrical enterprise or <In
::trl ínstitule, either requiring the nppropríately
specined valucs. norms lcg¡llmiz.ed by [hese valucs.
collcctivity organizatiol1, and !n.stitwionalization of
di1Terent role typcs. [\1 spíle oi the fl(m-cconorníc or
non-política) primacy of tbeir funetíolls, they can-
not escape involvemcnt in thc functional impera.-
tivcs ín thcsc the conditions of
sl1ccessfl.JJ instinJlionnlizatíon of any function.
.'lime/l/res l-dlh 1l1Jegmlive Jt has becn
suggcsted tbat the focus of thc integrative subsys-
tem is the legal system; jn a modero \Vestern typc of:
$ociety, particulnrly in the functioning of the appe1-
late cour(s, and thcir retallon to thc more general-
ized aspects oi (much actuaJ legislatíon
¡s, consídered fu nctíona Ilv. more concerned with
policy decísions thun win\ establishing gcncralized
norIOs). The establishment of ¿\ norm is not
functionally adequate. Thc COllrts are concerned
wlth fundamental próblem.s: interpretation; deter·
mioatíoll of jurisdktional Le., jn what
drcumstanccs a norm applies and to whom: and
problcms oí sanctions or Le., deter-
mining the consequences 10 lhe actor of compliaocc
01' non-compliance. Tbe central judicial fuoction is
interpretation, of which these o[ber twc> are subcnte-
eorles.
'-' Norros, hO\vever, must be defincd and inter-
preled. and aJso implemcntcd. 0Ne are not here
concerned primarily with the executive function of
enforcement, which is gonl-attainmcnt rathcr than
integratíon.) ...
The first imperative of a system of norms is its
internal eonsistency. ThÍs is a primary focus of the
func[ion of intcrprctation ando in híghly differentí-
systcms, is primadly a judicial function;
though somet ¡mes codes are preparcd and legisla-
tive1y enacted. Secand, however. therc is the specifi-
cation of the upplication of higher-order norms to
levels wherc thcy ean guide the action of the soci-
ety"s Iower-levcl struclural units by defining thc
sítuatian for them. This particlllarly involves the
collectívity .and role levels ()f stfllcture, and hence
the institutiol1tlli1.ation oi the bnsic palterns
ing jn politica1 and economic respects.
Another majar functíonal problem of a norma-
tive system concerns the adjustments occurring be-
cause a socia1 sys.em is ah\'ays involved in
of interehange with a changing environment-in-
deed. nJwavs is subject to endogenNls sources of
change as ';"cll. These n:ltumlIy have repercussions
on units' interreJationsnips, whose significance for
the intcgration of the system is focussed in the bear-
ing oi thesc reJations on the content of (he system
of florms. and on the degrees and moti .... ation of
conformíl'V with norros.
There séem to be threc bns.ic types of proccsses of
:l.djllstment. One coneerns keepíng the regulatory
norms. at a sufficient1y high level al gcncralily so
that much oí the ad justment can be lefl to Ihe spon-
Le., unprescribed. acHao of the units lhem-
T· icott ParSOllS: i\n Outlirw nf t11e Social Srstem
selves. A system of norms i
c
, analogous to a lun-
guagc, in thar its rules as su eh ¡Jo .n01 anything
-concrete, but provide a framewark within which
very Il1.any different things can be said tind under-
stood according to the occasion f()r saying thcm. In
certain rcspects-not exc1usively tbc cconomic
sensc··,·,·"it is to refer to this as lhe area
within which is permitted to operutt!,
This "unit-individualisrn"-wúl ra1her than per-
sonal. fer much ef it COncerns col1ecrivíties-is not
crnandpation from. control through instilullon-
aJizcd norms. Rather. as Durkheím so c1carlv
brought out> high leveÍs oí "rcsponsible frccdorn'"'
can be all(lined on]y through positivc lnstitutlonaH-
zation. throllgh systems of norms and sanc:tions ím-
posing the obligtllioll of accepting responsibility and
utilizing fr(!edom aYer wide areas. I t may thus be
refcrred to as "Ínstitutl0nalized individualism."
Thc second basíc process of intcgrativc adjust-
rnent ís alteríng the content of oormative patterns.
The great intcgrative problcm ís 10 maKe suco ad.,.
justments rncct the varying functíonaJ necds with-
out threatening the stabílitv of the SVR-
tero of norms. The DI a sy$tcm of norins
are rigidity, or such fiexibiHty that eithcr adequate
detlnition of the situation ís Iost or that what there
is js functionaliy ín.appropriatc, This opcrnles at the
highcr lcvcls. lhrough 1egísl:uive. judícial, and ad-
ministrative rulings and decisÍons. ando at lc>wcr and
plivate through function,llly cogn:ltc
mechanisms.
The thírd type of proccss operares, short of major
structural change its.elf. in the are,U: tbe other
two llre inadequale. The cornmon featurc
el' the first tv.:o is the cxpectulíon th .. tt Ihe :1cting unit
whose activilies ure lo eontml1ed wll1, propcrly
situaled through definition ()f norms and sanctions.
act as desired-operating through the síwati(m,
witbout attempting 10 change [he interna] structure
of lh\! unít, be ít or c()HccrivHy.
processcs of social control, in {he narrOW¡;:f socio-
logical sense, operate upo.n th!! "internar' syslem oC
the llnit; in the case of the individual·in·rolc. on his
motivations or sentimcnts. Thcv fiot on!y faciJitatc
01" hinder hís gening what he b(¡t (hey re-
define wh::l.t he wants. Bchavior subject lo control
can be tcchnicallv tcrmeLI deviaot onlv whcn sccn
this way." .
A cmnplex socicty has instirUlionalízed a v:uicty
Di processes oí social controL \Ve shall not attcmpl"
to liSl or clássify them here:. BUl certain aspccts of
rcligious ritual cenainly partkularly
cerned with reinforcing value-commitmcnt wheo
deviance develops 01" th;catcns. For tbe (Ivcr-aU so-
c1ctnl coUectivity and the dcfinition oí its gonls .. cer-
tain aspects of polítical ideology ¿lnd its involvement
ín thc ddJnít.íons of pülítical oricntillion have ihls
Lype oí' sígnificance, In implementing norms in re];]-
tiona] systems, particubrIy jhose invo)ving C()ntrílct
in the socíologica! sense, the prívate praclice of Iaw
in [he systel1l of: COllrts í5 such a mechanism 01'
social có'nrrol. Fínatlv. conc..::m focuscd on
the índívidual's c¡lpacíty for role-performance. 'he
motivatcd aspect of ilIness and iB Le .• ín
psychosomati<; mental havc a
signiíicancc.
SlratijicalirJ/l. A final aspcct of socinl structuTc
of prío1Hrily intcg:rativc signiiicance ¡s socÍál slratí-
J1cat¡on. Thm is, the ordcring of units Qf thc systcrn
in él scale cf relutivc pl'cstigc whic:h, to funet ion in a
positivcly intC'gralívc way. must be a gCfluine ex:-
pression oí the im;titutionLilizcd sVstcm of values. In
other words, prcstíge feneCES ftÍncl.íonaI contribu-
tian w the sodety's '-vc.lfare. Perhaps lhe most im-
pon¿mt and nccess3ry functional focus 01' posltive
inslitutíonaliznlion of r.he
of socil.':ral dífferenti<nion [O Jcad 10 bases of polar;-
zatlOD of conniclinr:: interesrs. The tWQ muSE obvillUS
bases of are polüica) power and \\"callh,
Le., cornmand of more or Icss generulizl.':d fncíHtlcs.
Bere. ¡he [OCl.IS l)f institulionaJized strnüficmion is
h'gülmi::}Il,ff. diffl!reotüll power \veahh. i¡nd.
more generaH)', acccss io valued objects <lnó stat-
uses.
"Social class'- ís the mos! commOl1 b¿ISis. of
f1ca¡íon. Tbis term indudes the dífTcrcntíal prcsligc-
cvaJuutíon of variolls cmcgoril!s 01 kínship uni!s,
dltf..::ren{Í,It..;d hy thcir memben: funcüons in ¡he t'c-
daI by aecess to po\\'cr and wCElth. iJnd by
of ¡¡fe:' (Le., pancrns of cxpn::ssi\·c s:ymbol-
ism assocíalcd \\ith lhdr sl.nndards· of lívingt Kin-
ship ís iI1volved bCC.lllSC the of thc kinship
unit. inc1uding as it ht,th sc:xes nnd aH 'lgcfi, i::.
,tt SOlTIc ]evel a. centr:ll funcLion:ll lmpcmüve of
evcry socicty, cvcn thüugh fll<'ln,V parlíHl social
tems can 0rcratc wÍlhmn ¡L cc.::rlain
fcrcntinl advnntnQ:cs. like hencr livirw concJiüon"
and lhc younc:cr access ro
'" \"".: "- ,/
must he shared by al! m¡;,>mbers of rile l.lnil.
lcss oí ¡he cxlCnt 10 \\ h¡eh ¡he\' have "earned"
by thc.:: individual. Thus lh(: and of a
sllcce!'s:ful m:m \\'íll sharc thc rC\"imis of per-
formance· \\'heiher not thev contríbweJ
very much to it-thc ql\cstion /..;( the!, contribu!Íoil
is irrdcvant lo the ramíhc's status as a unil, Thc'lu!.n
c1ass mohílilv is possiblC'íl1 yaryln.!! dc-grccs, no
cty h<TS a iong pcriod oí,cr"ákd'"" wj¡hoLH aJiy
in class :l,{nlllS. Empiric:dry, tne ex-
tcnl {O \\; hich class dilIcrcmi;nion Ío\'olves
dass cOIiJ1ict ¡" híghly variable. Thc major function
of the ínsiÍtut¡on:¡]ízntÍ('n nf cJil"'S Sl:atm; 1S to mín¡-
60
e C) J cm1 In trod! Ictjon
mizc c1ass cúnflict; but (Iften it is no!" vcry
fuI.
1{ is unncc..::ssarv to ns:mmc thal ¡here ShOllld aJ·
wavs be a sinde u;lcquivocal $calc
of m.J'{s_ As \Ve will iJrgLlc i'n Int';oduc-
tion 10 Parl Two, a highly gcncraIízcd prestigc nnd
powcr differcntial bctwccn tv,ll) principal classcs Ís
a common fcature 01" carly cívilizatÍol1s, in hller,
more highlV di trcrcn tiatcd . socictícs, hc)wever, the
of groups wil,h wíddy func-
'¡anal si!!nífic:lncc, and ihe C()fTcsoonding dífferen-
tiation 01' reward p<\uerns, mean O;nt 0.0 a very
broatl and general basis is it posslbk to speak of a
single sentc; ovcr considcn1ble ranges, the "upper'-
groups in dítrercnt functi()na] catcgories are not
diJ'l!ctly comparable, ln contemporury society. c.g"
lt is dítlicult [o comp.are the prcstígcs llCld by Jead·
ing business filen, physicirtl1s, scit:ntists, ¡¡nd politi·
cians Money inco!11e ir:; far from ::ln
exacl There js, hOW('\;l;T, no question Ihal
few farnílíes in íhe UnÍted Sta tes wüh jncomes un-
del' ¡ive dollars (al ¡he principal income
earncr's fulI career maturitv) c()uld be de;scribed as
in the highcr presdge
AH thcse integrativc functíons are pcrformed in
structurnl scttings which must be analyzed in the
same generu] [O the üthe.r Unce
tional subs\istems. Thev hwolve their subvalucs al
thc requishe levcls df spcclficmion. their o'wn
norms, colleclivíties spedulizcd Ü,¡ ihis dírection.
arld roles (excepl st rati1kat ÍOn., which cannO! be
on a coUectivíl V or role Thev
must mcet tbeir own political. and .r
tcrn-maintenancc prcrequisíte.s, etc. A wide range
oi structural varültion in ¡hese res.pects exist.
111. THE DYNAMICS OF' SOCJAL
EQ U:I LI B RI U p.:[
Thc forea.oin;r discussion mav serve as t1'ansitíon
to the cOl1siden:tion of mulyzíng Iht! dynamic proc-
anJ tncchanisJ':l.1s oi socbl systems, firsi) with
1.0 thc problem of eClllilíbr.ium within .,
given struclura] fn,mework. Technica! conceptuali-
zation in lh15 fic1d has {kveloped more slowly than
in structural morphology or in fllI1ctJond catcgori-
zation. Since, lhcrcforc, ,il is 1ess prominent in the
li1eratllre oí the per,10d covC'red by these
this I ntroduction wil! treat thcsc probl cms lcss fu.1] y
rhan others. It ho\.vever, 10 give it ,some
pl:lce. íf 00]; on thc agcndn of Llnfinishcd business
of sociological more lhan thl'\.t can
De done. " ...
The ann!ysis. of dynamic proccss at the cCjuIHbra-
tio!l lcvcl must ccnlcr ilround t\\'o catcgorícs of the
systcm's cc>mponcnts. Thc fírsl (¡re tbc resources
woích_ startil1g [rom outside lhc systcm, go through
various phases as tbcy pass through the systcm.
at ccrtain points are utílízed in system fUllctionlng,
Le., consumcd. some "producLS" tben being Iinally
put out [O other syslcms. The prúcess can be
ccived as one combining various resources to pro-
duce il ncw phasc. und then recombiníng the results
with stíll olhcr factors to producc stiH othcr phases ..
The second ca{egory nf componen1 comprises ihe
types of mechanisms which mediate thcse processcs
of generation and utilizalioll of resources and
late tbeir rates oC l1ow, dircction of etc. Moncy
and power, as disctlsscU, are the prototypes of thcse
mechanisms.
Societal Resouyces: Cafegories of input wld Out-
FirsL something about the reSOUTce problem.
Fortun:.nely fer soci<>logy, our slster-discipline. eco-
nomics. has developed and refined a theoretícal
model of Ihis precess of factor-combinatíofl that Is
capuble oí generalizuticlO. This is the thcory con-
cC'.rning the combination oC the factors of produc-
tion to proJucc commoclitics and shares of inCC)filc.
In tbe version impol'trtnt for our purposcs, there are
four factor,.; of production, namely, land, labor,
capit'll, and
The factors of production occupy an
diale place in the combinatorial tlow, through the
socbl system, from socíaUy ult.imate resources to
socially ulthn.ütc outputs. Tbey are fue input-cate-
gories into the economy as ane of the four prima.ry
functional subsystems Di the socicty_ Thcrc should.
thereforc, be cognate for cach of
the othcr three primary subsvsteros. It s110uld also
be possible 10 use the s"ame páttern of dassj[kat,Íon
and rmalysis at other Jcvels, especiully for lhe
Lal svstcm as a \Ji/hoJe and for units at lower Jeve(s of
speéífication than the priman' functionnl subsvs-
temo .
Let us attempt to oulline this for thc societv as a
systcm. None of {he socially ultimat\! inputs con-
sists in eirher 'Ictuat physical objccts or ihe physical
behav.ior oí organisms, nor cttn rllly of tbc u!timate
outputs be placed in i hese categories. The social
systcm lS one of controlling behuvior and the physi-
cal cnvironmenc through behavior. Hs ultim<lte re-
sources are lhe factors in the sysTcm's ciJpacüy te
aHain such control, ami ultinu\te outputs for aspects
of the uctual attamment ancJ/or exercise of that
capacity. including improvements in prcvious ca-
... pbysicaJ O?jecls and physical behav-
24. FOf convenie.nl referente, " SChem:uic tabll]ation oI
the categories lo be discusscd in tlús is íncluded
in lbe accompanying tableo
Ta1cott :\n Outlinc o{ tru.: S()cial 61
Schema;ic T abulotion of
Soc:íetol Inputs and Outputs
Primar" Social Svbsystem Input ond Soul"ce Oulpu' ond Destina;ion
Pottern-Mcintenonee Given lJlruetu.e os ínstitotíonol- McintenClnce of strvcture and
Ized pctierns of 110rmative cul- spec1flcatiol1 of volues
jure
(no external source) (no external destinotion)
Inte9ra1ion Plosticíty PoftNn!> fo( response
(from behovioroí orgonisrn) (Jo behaviord orgcnism)
Goal·Altainment Copadty for socialized monva- Goaf-9rotificotion
t¡oncl commitmenls
(from per$onclity1 i to pel'sonality)
_ .. _"
---_ ......... _--
Adoptotion Cocles for argo ní2a1 ion of In- Volidotion of Hondords of com-
formotion
(from cultural !iysl'em) (fo cultural ¡;yslem)
ior are involved, il<i thcv alw,ln :nc, the ri!.!hts O{
wavs to control the:!>e eníílícs. lhc lh0fl)-
are lhc ob jeer of Thus.
in an cconomic exChan(fe a com-
e f.:'_
modilY, hands 1S OOl Lhc commodi¡y
but propcrty rights in tbe comml')dity. AnalyticaHy.
physicul transfer of possession is a '"tcchnologkal"
proccss and no( u syslem process,
Thc resources of a socíety (;md of o[her
social systems on lhe appropriatc lcvd of spccifica-
tíon) shoulJ comprise the ultimnle outpms of tlle
()Iher subsvstcms of the !!eneral svstcm ()f action as
these impingc 00 the itself. It is criri-
cal. in thc cconomk theory of [he of produc-
tion. thnt land is a spccial case n:lative to orhe1'
lhree. 1 ( has tWQ spcc:ial properties--it is n(!!thcr
consumed in ¡he production procc-ss. nor pn,'lduccd:
and in consequcncc. íts quamity in thc systcm
is a function of ils pricc, though, tbrough (he
market mechanism, partíclllur uoits of bnd muy he
lO particular uses and usen. Fa!' Lhe
omy tú fLmction. land a physicat rcsourcc must
be inc1udeu in this catcgor'\'; so <,Ilso mus( (he imai-
tutiOn<l1izcd structure of so iar as thís is
tremed as given for purposes of eco!1omlc
ilnd so far as ü is differe'mially utilb.:ed in produc{Í\'c
processcs.
]n the sodetv :lS a the ('Ií );md
is lhe inSitiwüO'Il<\!ized -normntÍvc cult ¡,e" thc
social structure. which for ¡he <Jnd
time perlad unckr consídcrattoñ ís trcnlcd as g¡H:n. ,
Al ¡he highcst normativc l\!vc1, this c()nsI:.ts in thc
S\''\tern's 'T'ícatinQ analOf!OllS to the
quant¡t,v of land {hus b.e'é()mcs ¡rnothcr l)f stat-
ing lht! gcncr:l] mClhod\Jlagícal postuLnc c-nunci-
ateo there í:l n sct of thc"()fI!tical problems
concerning '{he d)'n.lJ'nics (If equi1ibdllm ::m:)lysis
which 'be dislinguíshcd fmm probklltS in-
volved in tho:? (lf dHífl!,!C. So f(ir
as anu]y::;is is confincd lO Ü1C 1n-
srillltionall2.:d norrnative is not consumed
in 1.fJ\: pl'OCCSS hUi Ís nssumcd LO gi\'cn and
stahlc. Thc w.:ry,'" tbcse structurd cC'rnponcnts are
utilíZI.'d in :\()cial h()WeVCf, variable as a
funcrion o( ¡hc opcration of lhc Sfimc mCChi.Hli::.rns
<¡(rcclina: lÍle ulilizatinn of thc ülhcr reSimrces,
\VhIll are tb .. othcr t\ccording ro lht'"
logic of OLlf' panld¡gm. lhcrc he three: inpms
rcSpCCii\'cly from th.:: ...
organismo and cultunl) S\':\Lcrn. Aoother ínler-
csting point ¡.., that 1 he 01 the s,!'s,terrt
ir...; and üJáprí\'t.! bound,¡rk'f'
tak::11 cürnpr¡se'i l)W pcrsünali!y [11)(.1 cul,·
lUra¡ ,,\\,;\iCms."i'· whkh raH Á¡¡t(\ (\.\'(1
rile ¡Illegr:uivc \\'tth
ccrmin fCi1llH'e'l. is, rathcr surprt:'oingly. re-
lalee! ro the iond
Tt:nwrively. \ré llit: .;:awgory of pri-
2.5. h I$< .,m pn"il'k
'1 he H':/lkr in
i1l!d Smd",(,'L !,,'/1HIlIJ1)' amI
pccial1? 11. .In
(1 11; I!y'!.b nOl uPI'ltul !{,)
{Jr'
ht.1l unly le;
:-nnpEfy lh¡':-;
11 ln!i}l ft:fr:;,;, to
¡J n:::.:" c'-
h ()'',¡Y-e\ ef! rhe
O);, a '''''bde
62
General Iufr()dw::boH
mar).' input from the pcrsonality syMcm may be
calléd :'cnpacity W sociaJilc l1iotivatíon:lI eommít-
mcnts/' cxtending llllim'Hc1y t() ro)C-PQrformancc.
The input (rom the cultural rnay be called
eotlíficd "ínformation," in th:'lt it prov¡des thc cul-
tural bas¡s 01' empírical prob1cm-soIulion.
\Vh(",n this input 1S spcdficu ami madc relevam to
motivatíonaI, cvalualivc, and intcgmtivc re.fcrcnccs
in the svstcrn, it hecorncs utilizable knowledgc.
Knü\' ...'le(Jgc, 01} lhe soc:ietuJ leveL js lhe b:lsk
'Fim¡!ty, the basic input from thc
that p]¡.lstieíly whích, through l.lppro-
príatc lcarning proccsscs. can be built ¡nlo patter-?s
of purposÍve response. The$e, in turn, can be uLtI-
lzcd in inlegn1tecJ social íntc-ruction, The patlerning
of the responses in systems, nOl tbe discrcte units
of 1;5 of: crucial significmlce ín this

\Vhat. t,hen. are lhe ouput calcgorics analogolls to
the íncomc of economic theorv? Genera1ly.
thc output corresponding to thc inpJut of instítlI-
lÍonalized normatívc culture is the 17lainll:'lIal1CI' of
that struclure intact. Only within límitations would
an importallt proccss in a cClJnplcx sys1Cm operate
for long withoUl jnvolvlne struclUr::d ch::.tnge at some
lower of specificatié:m, and dif-
ferentiation in ¡he Jn this case, thc essential
paHern-mainlcnancc OUlput is thc sf>ecificaliolI ot
the higher-order ro lhe
leveh für the funclional and situation21 exigcndcs
of (he subsystcms involvcd in rhe secondary proc·
eSSC5 of structural change ,
Jn interpreting thc of the other [hree
output cl"ltegoríes, one must remembe.r that the
locus of all thc olher threc subsystems is in individ-
ual pcrsons-except fol' the emhod.iment of culture
in imlOimalc physkal notably written doc-
umcnts. Thcrcfore, in eme sense al1 three oC these
are of psycho}ogical
The prlmary output lo lhe personaJíty systcrn,
alvtícallv speaklng. IS goaI-cratífication (and, of
hs deprívatToo). For the equílib-
rium of Ihe personality as á system, (his is [he estab-
lishment of ;,,¡ swble relation to a SlrllClllra)!y signi-
tic:)nt situational objecl or systcm of objects.
Role·partners partkipnte in social st met llrc 00 an
intcract ¡ve busis through action in n roJe: (he rele-
vam objec1 15 s()cíaL ;:¡ roJc-partrler or a coIlectivity.
Thi:: output thus matches the input of capacity for
s()cialil.ed motivationaJ comrnitments. Onc rnight
say thar the promise'of gratífication is the
26, This SU1:;g,csLlon, whicb rnay !'I:!ern strnnge to roany
1:; not arbiWtry. h has groWl1 !;ugcly from dis-
cí.!s,¡;,¡ons with Dr. hm.:s Old') about t!le in
the ,hcory of uctlon 01' his ah(\llt the pleasure
mcchnnislll in reg:u!rlting: beha"'¡or, illCludinf: mechu-
nio,m's in [\'lé slruClUl'I:: 0'1' lhc bruto.
rew.\rd for ;lcccpting tbe Llísciplincs of sochtlizntíon.
Thc OLJput te lhe cu}nmll syslcm thal rnalchcs tbc
input ()f information ís lhe vaJidation, by
tcnt performance. of thc cultural stanuard of com·
pctcnce. This is csscnlÜ111y Lhe instüutionalizatíon
()f insLrumcntalIy signiík3nt culture uistin-
gujshcd from normalivc and exprcssive). This in-
stÍtulÍonaHzation in t1lrn compriscs opcrative units
of thc socicty-u1thnatcly, indiviulIa] persons in
roles-hencc íts specification [o rhe functtons.
ations, and ulsks requlrcd by social syslcm opera-
tion, This suggests that such ínslitut1on,¡lízatioll
and spccification. whic.h nre faccors in restructuring
tbc cuhuml tradj[ion, are products, Le., ouputs. of
lhc soda1 system. The proccss is rhat of adapting
knowledge to social uses, anu validating j{ by erIce-
live use.
The output to thc bchavioral organism tbat cor-
responds to the: inpm of purposivc response is thc
patterning of responses al thc Jevcl of bchavior. as
distinguished frorn psychology. At least
one of lhe rnc:míngs oE plcasurc is assocíated wIth
Ihis as a reward.2"i' For [he population, a primary
function of the social system is to crente optimum
situatiúns for patternecl regulatioll of behaviClral
processcs. throogh mechanisms likc p)easllre. This
¡neludes both giving pleasure and imposing the nec-
essary controls on ir. since evidence indic3les that
the ple.asure mechanism, like money. casily gets out
oC hand. As regu]atof, it a)so requircs regulation.':S
ResollrCe-Pr()ussillg witltin (he Sysrem. Let llS
proceed tc,) a brief outline of the dynamics of '(re-
source-processing" within the social systcrn; thar ¡s,
of what happens bcrwecn ultimate input and u]ti-
mate OUlput. The process may be dividcd ¡nto (hree
major phases: U) the generation of milizable factors
01" internaI reS(1Urces: (2) (he aHoc:Hion. of thcse re-
sources: and (3) lheir ulitiz1Hion. Thc first and third
may be subdivided. Al each phase and significant
subphase there is a combinatíon of [he calcgories of
reSOllrces ernerging from the preceding phase. re-
su]ting in (} set of modificatkms preparing them for
the nexl phase.
An Example: Tite SocialiZa1iOlI Di AJot;votional
27. Thc!'íe Sugf!'cs:tions-ubove aH, tbat plc:1sure. as a
genemlized rnethanism of control of nm Ihe
spedtic input neceSS:lry for mctabo¡ic C(luilibrium (c.g.,
food). i's the focus oC the phenomcna ;¡nd signJfiC4H1CC ol
reward-arc bascd primarily on tbe work oí Dr. Olds, See
Olds, "SeIf-Stimul:nion of tlle Braín." Sc:iellce, Feb. 14.
1958.
7.8. T mjght rem!lrk. parenthetically. that the nn¡llytical
!lislinction bétWecn );oal griH1ticiltion :md plcasure or, more
geneflllly, rewnrd, is a fund,I01cntal one whí.ch much
cllOlogy has Hmdcd to ignore. le underlies, in my opiní(,)l1,
the m.ljor oí Freud's theory. the disLÍnct¡on between
thc "pleasure principie" and lhe "renlity princip[e," Sce
"Social Structure f:Hld the T,)c\'e!opmcllt of Per-
<;on"lity," P.\V}'clliatl'Y, NO\'cmber. 1958,
TaJcott Parsons; An Olltline oÍ l'hc Social Syst'Clll

O,)
Capacily. MoCivatío1'l. as. a provides a good
aS a fairly \VeH analy<,"ed Al the
soc1etal level, motivatian originales a:-:. ;m input
from the personalíty syslt.'m. Thc major phasc of
gener:Jtiol1 may be dividcd into three principal sub-
phases. The firsf is the one known to
thcorv as the oral phasc. In thís, through ídcntiílca-
t ion (\.j th primnrv t of care'" (usual1 v the
mothcr). the '-builds up a svstc;n of
'·socializcd" morívation whereby bis nuínlaining
the atlachment to thís agcnt bccomes the paramount
goal of the emerging personal1ry systcm.
The next phase exrcnds from Lhe rCi\o1utíon ()f
tnc oral attachment Lo that oí thc Ocdípus complexo
Then differentlation of thc original in[ern.ili2e-d
object occurs. a pcrsonality
systcm consisting of four primary moüvmi¡)nal sub-
systcms or need-dispositions-adcql1<lcy, sccuríty.
conformity, nllrtllrance.:. ... Thc balance among
these differs in diffcrent personnlÍücs: in particular,
one majar bctor of ditfcrentiaL balance is estab-
lished through ídentjftcntion. whose foun-
dations are laid io this pcriod. But the- rckvancE' of
ihis braad slructural pattcrn may be !reakd as a
conslllnt.
Thcse processes of djfferenliatiDn, and hcncC' in-
crcasíng capacíry to cope Wilh motívatinnaI proh-
lems, are dearlv not a function simplv of the
unaideu ll1aturalíon of motivnlional lhe
socialization of this is dcpcndcnt on lhe
combination of original cap3cíty ""ilh thrcc othcr
components. 30t the propC'r levcls oí spccilicarion.
The first component is one (,if ínter-
nalizcd, by thc time of tht! Oedipal rC50!lüion, !O
form the primary basis of tbl;! The
151l component oí in[ormalion which bc-
comes t,he basis of {he cbihfs enrly cogníljve dc-
velopment. The third 15 a componcnt of propcdy
measurcd :lnd specified pleasufc-rewards, to which
the orgl1nísm responds which is espccially im-
pottJ:mt 10 motor skills. In relevancc lO socializ'ltiün.
the pdrnary type, a11east, are lhe reward:\ as:;"ociatcd
wüh prc-Ocdípal croticism, which FrcwJ hn$ madc
famous. The strcngih anu, possibly, ccrtain othcr
variations of original motÍvatioll. <:mo
variaríons ín corresponding inpms of
oi information, amI of the plc.:lsul'e-rcward deprj-
29. Thtsc vie.ws are- dcrivcd frar!) Frt'ud n¡¡d 11. A.
l\1Ul'rHY, My own lI"e:1!mcnt is s.trlte-tl most 1'1.111:;: In F"!lIt/y.
S,iciali:;:(¡/io/¡ amZ J nll!nlctiOJl l'roC(;!>'S, Frl'l' t 955.
CI'I<\PlcJ' 11, witb some l1loJ¡OC;Ü¡QH and c:\rcnsi,)l1, in
. 'Social StrLlclure ,md 1hc Dcvetopnw!lt of l'cfSOn;líi¡y:'
P.r,l'chiatry. Nov .. 1958, Though ímp'lrl;ml ,-'!\'Jj1lrk¡-d
[¡caliorls need to be made for \'[tli:llion" in Ihe
st1ll\.'lUfc5 01' sOclc[ies, (he rClc\':,flCC of 1hc gen·
ernl p¡m,tdigm 01' [hre!! m;;ljor phn.scs, marked by ¡he 0.('<11.
Oedí¡-ml. anu ís ,: const;¡nl \\'hkh
scend:s C'ulttmll relati\'l(y, .
v:ltion b:.:dance, explain vari:lt¡ons in outcome 1'or
the post-Oedin::d persona lit y s.lruc1t1TC.
EV('l1 apa;'[ lrom v;:¡rfations in maturatíol131
llmmtil:.:ttive fo.ct()rs, the motívntíon:Jl cap<'tciry' of
the immediately post-Oedípn) ch¡ld is nCH yei t!!iliz,-
ílblc for roJe-pcrformance in c()mpkx SOCií-i! :;.ys--
Icrns. becaw;e íl ¡s too I.lnóiffercntÍ<I(éd to perform
lhe rnull ¡p]c roks of lh:: atlulL Thc rri-
m:uy tiiJícn.::ntblíon Ic:.:tding up (O !hi ... ordcr of
cí:!pncíty for I1mltLpt¡; r0rc-commirments Ín
the: I<.\T!!111 arld lldole:;ccnt f\crious, Tbc¡c furthcr
input::;, from other íoto lhe "socí.díza-
tíor¡" ol'
informa {j()n, and <{t dfjJa-
eJ)f Icvcls of ion and -lJualítarivc
rion [ron) thc prc-Ocdipul pha.:-.cs. lt is $(riking ¡haL
ín mil' type of s()cjety. thc ínf(ll"[Tlatiomll ínrut ís
predornín:lI'ltly ¡H the highcr levcls ol'
rC'-luircd a lifumí! culture.
A pcr:.on:t1ity structure resuhs "\-hich. \-rith vnry-
ing cmpha.:-cs in each ('lf thr: priman
r
role cHtC!!OrlCS,
:;;hQuld cap-.:tblc of pbyio?,! tf:iJcre'Himc(.! roles
:-,imultnncously: in a famíly. procrC"ation I.hrotlgh
marriage pucnthood; in n speci:d-
¡zcd coilc-ctivity. thmugh occupaiion: in ti of
cornrntmity rcsponsihility (e"pecialIy in polílica!
tenns): and in :1 scttíng with tile valw::-
stability of {he syslcm, cspcclalJy rhr()ugh rc\ig!on,
The ()Ihcr thrc-e typcs of input undcrgo corrcs-
ponding kinds o( For thc
point oí input is zhe "alue brghcst
relevnnt Icvc1 of rOl' in(ormalidfL it i:i.
thr.: C"{lllrllllv C. 'dfrit"d of know}cd'-!e- ;)vaih¡blc
j n the fol" the J'l::\pon;c f.:1ctor II
i::. lhe pÚlcnr¡"Iíly" of the consrítllL'nl ur-
Tbcsc tour fach1rs ha,'(' an n:1.l-
7i,)!1!]¡'ip in thc SC'llr.! oí -rhc
valtlc"paUcnl and thc cOl'nl'0ncnLi
itHrüduccd ¡)! chc leve! ()f !!1.;!H.'r,¡Ji¡,· S0
far tbcir re}cVancc ({) " i:::.
'whcrcas tlle lJlOth';:¡tÍon,11 ,\fki purp():,.i\'(:
rCflponsc are (he- mo:.! in krm..;
of sücial !l,VSlCm funclÍon. 1 n 011;; SCHSC,
\\ ith Ihe ;\,stt::m-rden:ncc of l:hdr lh;.'::i,c
faclors abo are imrOUll(,:ed in
rorrll. nnti mus¡ n:-ddined on
t,hcir l:lSí.! i.n sociai ,onir
culIccov!ty- and \':.du..:':. are üpcrail\'dy
and only rok·]c\-d 1':> "pEJe-
1 ícaL" Nlly rClh::.kvd T1101
í,¡ ('.l1h¡; :-.y:-.tCnL Th(' oid quc,Sliol1,
"\Vbat ll:--I.' IS fck':./anl.
Tlu? A 1I0C(1!iOlI /Jj [ú'\"ow"Ccs 10 O!'l't'CifÚ'{) r 'iÚíS.
(n tc-mp(,n¡\ ¡he l)[ inlcrn:i.l
rCs,ollrcCs mU9 !)!'ccede :lilocaliüll. AllíJL:;Hit)l{
64
GerJeral In trod I.lction
15 made to Imil.\' of the syslem, lO which
rcS()llrCeS cornmiUed rOl' use.
ECül\omics again us with a prowtype of
thc rncchantSIll, nameJy. (he markel. The
OlHplll of Lhc gencration phasc which thc cconornist
can.s. l:.Jbar a "factor of prodllcüon" m;:¡y be de-
1'1ned as capacity tor functional performance in
occupa tionaI roles. I t is t he prodllct of rhe soc ¡al iza-
!ion proccss, in "developcu" :;,ocieties in
its termínal phase. at (he paint of the individual'os
emergente from formal education, An important
Cllrrent c()ncept of the 5uI'ply of potential oecura-
lÍonnl IS thnt of the Jahor jorce. The econo-
mist this concept oí supply as relevanl; and it
is paral!cl te thc conccpt of "effective demand.'·
lvlany pcrsons with skills ami othcr usable capací-
ties. are oot in [he labor fmce, beca use they are not
accessiblc to o(fers of employmenl-perktps rhe
Iargesi group compriscs. A member of
1he labor force is eÍlher employed or seekíng em-
ployment-presumably with real chance oí success.
The labor market ís the mechanísm by which
employing organizations and persons seekíng em-
nlovment are brou2hr together. At ¡he market leve],
thc'J)rimary directly opc;atíng. factor !s comparative
mt)netary rcmuneration. The operatíon of the mar-
k,ct mechanism makes possible a rclatívcly "fune-
tionaJ" :Jllocation, without tlle need oí ccntr:Jlized
tldln i ní stra ti ve decísion,
Jt follows irom the aboye account of rhe genera-
don process of occupational capacity th:l1. oot nn
undifIerc:miated stream. but a híghlv differenciaIed
of substrc:Jl11s. are fed ¡oto labor tnarkct.
Therc is nor one completely integratcd labor mar-
ket, but man)', partially integrated with each olher.
There are two main bases. of differcntÍating these
fram each other. Thc ftrst concerus level of C3-
pacity. from unskilled lahor lO the high qualHica-
tions requircd for functlons Or responsi-
The seLond concerns cluaJitatíve rofe-once
one is comrniHed lO medicíne (Ir scicnce, he is un-
Iikcly to role in governrnental adminjstration.
Above al1, gualitative diíferentiation concerns dif-
fercnt tvpes of cornbinatíon, in the nhase of [he
ca1Jcd .. training, n af more
generntízed performance capadty with Olhcr fac"
ton; ro traíncd cap<lcity-functionat
values, information, and types of rc\\'ard in the
bchavioralsense.
dosest possiblc approach to the cconomist's
30. M:!fkcl5 in pre:>enl sense appcur oolj' 00 ce!'-
lain le.'els of tne g-eneral úifferemintioll of !>odal !'>lruclure.
On k5S (1iffcn::nti:.Hcd icveIs, the fundion;;)! equiyalents oí
these are embedJed in fllnctioneUy
dill'1l5C slruc[ures, The: utilizl.ltion of the resourccs il' likely
much less Huid, much ll10re strictly llscríbed 1.0
lktl!ar cL'llJec!i'.e ünit::",.
"perfect market," whcre labor is lhe resource in-
volved. is in thc ficld of Iow-level rclativclv undif-
ferentiated capacities, whcre the
of units is prominent. As capacitics hccomc more
rare and more differcntiated. othcr factors Ínter-
vene to "skcw" the cJassical m:lrkct pattcrn---e,g.,
the market for profc8sional scrviccs is substantiaUy
differcnt fram thc c()mpctllive modeJ.
\Vhcre soc:icttes are hie.hlv cnough difIercntiated
politlcally therc 3re allo;advc governed
bv the PQwer mechanism. that rlfC ;malogous to
n;arkets. Leadership capacity ig the allo-
catcd through this typc of cbannel-inc1uding the
organizational patterning whích makes it cffcc:tive,
if this is not ascriptlvely ñxed, One of the best
analyzed cases of leadership capacity is that of
organization as a factor of production, which as
a mobile resource has in particlIlar peeo ana)yzed
as "entrepreneurship" Ín Schurnpeter's sense, or
"organizational responsibilíty" in thc scnse Bal'nard

In executive roles in specific-function col1ec-
tivities. personalized leadership capacity is <lcquired
through a special type of labor market. In this con-
nection. componenrs of this internal rcsource are
fused with the pcrfoTmance-capacity resource. In
()tber connections. this is not the case. For example.
in Ihe allocation of political leadership through the
e-]cctoral process, voting is an exercíse of power
through the of which those to assume actual
operative responsrbility are selected from a pool of
aspírants to leadership. In the American govern-
mental system, e.g., this bNh in the execu-
tive and -the and at [he federal.
state. and local Jcvcls. Comparable processes
ate in countless democratic assodations.
In modern [O(alitarian regimes (and in t:.ome sub·
associations in democratic societies). effectivc
franchisemem is made impossible by the
system. Nevertheless, that party is ceaselessly con-
cerned \Vith legitimizing, tbrough propaganda • .md
agilatkl1l, íts selection for leadcrship in t.he eyes of
rhe pubJic and, as recently in Hungary, when its
claims are not validated a majar crisis mal' develop.
The essentia! point is [hat lcadcrship capacity is
I:!enerated within rhe s(xiety, through the sociaJiza-
tion of indivíduals aml the -deve!opment of
múbile and adaptable potentialities of organizHtion.
Then. whcre ihis resource is nol ascribed to a
ticular use. (here must be sorne mechanism far
aUocaíing it to operalive units which can utilize it.
There are comparable prúcesses of aIlocating the
3 L Chestcr I. Barnanl. 111e Pune/iDus o/ ihl! B,'(tC'u-
¡ire. Harvard Univershy Pl'ess, Cambridge. MllSS •• 1938.
J. A. Schumpeter, TlIe l"heory 01 Ecot.olllic; De-...·elop"
//lent.
TakoU Pa.rsons: ..:\11 Outlinc oí the Social System 65
othcr catcgories of interna) socielnl rcsourcc, one
deríving Irom the value-syslcm through proccs..<>es
of spccificut!ol1. and the other deriving 1'rol11 [he
intcgrative cxigcncies oi the syslem: thesc ;He uhi-
malely concerned with the relatíün oí purposive
response nnd reward. Thc formeI' concerns alJocat-
ing legitímíltion to nevO" and ¿¡Hcrc:d collecrivity
strUC[lIfCS ami functions-an importanl process in
a rapidly dcveloping society. The latter concerns
lhe sochü-control function. discussed aboye, and {he
problcm of instilmíonal commitment to conf()rmíty
with generalized norms. This J:uter is ·'motiVc.I-
{ianal> bLlt ir opemtes al a variety oí Jeve)s. There
is in this, as in the mhcr cases. a varicty of proccsscs
ana]ogous lo ¡hose of [.he mnrket.
The Uti!i:;aliOlc 01 Re.wJJtrces. The srae,e in thc
naturnl hístorv 01' :l resourcc-unit that folJows its
allocation is útilízation. Likc generatjon, (his may
be subdivídcd inlo thrcc phJscs- Fint. Ihe usual
ímmediate recipient of a lhrough
societal alIoc:Hion is H collectivity, Independcnt
occupaliom\l likc thosc of the pri vate proCesA
sional practirioner or thc independcnt anísan.
should be trcated as limiting cases, constitutíng rhe
{lne-mun colleetivilv. This bccomcs more signifkant
as íesourccs more mobile and br1;cr pro-
portions of thcm are utilized in specific-function
pmcesscs. tbereis a fundamental struclllral
difference between field of the
process, e.g., a m'lrkct. nnd the agency of utilil.a-
tion. e.g" a firmo From one point oí che differ-
ene e is one oí' degree of stringcncy of control. In the
aHocative process, the utílization unit. is in loe posi-
tion el: bidding for resomces whkh ()ther units also
"vant. Once allocated. however, the resource-unit is
controlled by lts rccipient-sometimes t() the rornt
of complete consumption. Such complete consump-
tion occurs most obviously with physicnl corrmlOd-
ities-whicb are not ns slIch, units of socíaI-svstcm
resource, hut are facilities controlled in the ¡¿terest
of social-sysrem process.
UlÍlizatiol1 is cssentíalJy u process of successiv0Iy
more parilcl1larized decisíon-nmking: adion-oppor-
tunities. facilities. and responsir.ílities are allocntcd
more Ht CHl:h step. Tlle mest hroadly
defined are the allocation lO tlle colJectivitv,
to thc rolc,'"ilnd to the task. The functin!1 of thc ct{l-
lectivily is to dellnc what is to be done; that of ¡,JIo-
cation to role. to define who ís tú do it: and rhal oC
thc té.\sk leveL how it is lO he done.
As in the gencrntion of rcsources. in thc pmcess
of utilization, célch step (i ncIuding [he suhsteps
within it) invo)ves combíníng thc rcsourcc-unlis in
qucslion Wilh othcr uníts. The organization crn-
plovs labor units throu.(!h the !alIor market. It
an framcwork wilhín
which tbese can ÍI.metion h sun-
plíes fací1ities essenliiil for this. $uch physi<.:"al
facilíties whose procmement was hcyond (he work-
er'$ controJ-e.g .. oHke, laboniTorv. amI IíbnHv-
thOll('h sorne (ltlhese mal¡' he dClCY'míncd by nt.!20-
e _ , ..
tiatiol1. The organiz<1Iion mav sLlrplv funds whích.
within certain he nu.l.y -'use lO ¡.)fOCUre Nl uip·'
meot and émploy service_
Therc 15. in Lile opernlÍon of lhe ;:;oc:ial system,
a temrimlS lid ql/I'IH of (he proccss. Le" the ultim;!lc
"ccomplishmcnt ()f tasks. This rn.ay he ddincd ,\5
lhe poim at \\/hich no furthc:l' commitrncn! of
socíelfd rCSOllrces is rC4uircd as in that
panicular task-cont\!.\t. Fo!' é\amplc. maim:1[ning
an elderl y person is an iniítitutionalizcd social obl i-
gation. On hís death, (he oh!igatíon M
maintenancc ís lCTmínated amI (he ('iSI\..., of rc!ntívc::..
'he.alth-care pCI'!\ooncL etí! .. involvcd are
cxcept for the functions of funeral ob;;¡ervancc. seto
tlcmcnr: oC a possible etc:. ·Thc rcsourccs prc-
viously c0mmittcd to this task nrc. if still l.tnton-
sumcd. freed for another.
The specific content. of the C'conomíc paradigm
uSed in this disCllssií.)o as an analytíclil can-
not he lo apply to aJI esscntial s()cíal
hut its logicll! sfmCltlr/:" enn be so gel1cral-
ized. OilTercncc;\ arisc from two sourccs. Onc is
Ihe leve( of spccifl.c;.Hion of resources in thl!ir prog-
ress through the systcm: thc most dirccl relevancc
of [he economíc paradigrn is al thc marKct leve! of
mosl general allo(;¡jtíon, Thc sccond is thc
tive difTerenthllion of Lypcs of The only
resources which tit ccon<müc pflmdigm
cJosely are: monctary funds and ins(nlrnC"nls.
Finely divi8ihle. not ver)' pcrishnblc. ano hjghly
s.tandardized come An\' 1',)¡-m or
labor scrvicc is a rmhcr bLH.! third: and íon
as n factor b prohnhly much farrher ,\\\'-:lY frOl'n the
pnradígm of the pcrfcct markCL
Valuc spccifi.:.:nl¡on
ized in 01" sncí¡!!
;¡nd thc liké. cannot he hou!!ht. tho\!!!h in :i
lhcy lllllst be paid fOL The >c;lliti(\t1 of'·¡his apparcnt
par:)uox in ¡:ht.! inJ0pendcnt )eí
subsyslems oE a system in dynarnic and
slructur:,¡ rcspcclS_ Thll$ ¡he dcocision \,) cmplo)' a
32. Om;- cx,lmplc {he c"l:'!btí,hing [he
rebtiün !O :;WtlCnl!- oí lh{" co!ic!!-c o, un¡" .. iC(i;;:Ílé:L
rn a m or,) en¡ ::\m:iclJ'. lt wouhJ DI.;' difliclilt f,;,r ,be
for cxamplc. ju,.,t to '·h.:m¡.\ ,'lit húp¡;
lo ;¡Hr",c( (<1nd make ;: lí\'ing flom)
:m!!, in lurn. 10 lhcm ()f 1\<:lT¡H,d:'d(:!
employmeni as
:n. o; COllr .. <:. dol'S rl()¡ rneal1 L!Cl !Íli:J.(
panicu):lr pcr:HHl 11:!:, ¡¡ved anJ di,'d j¡;lS no
50cid
3":. See and Smtlser, op. cíE., pp_ i56 íL
66
General Introductjan
particular professiooaJ scrvice invoJv<?s cmploycr
.Ule! in a spccial kind of markc! which
involves OHmetary transactions. ¡1n10ng ()(her
things. But ríghts ami ()blígations of privilcgcd com·
murücation mal{ be concomiwnts of the cstablíshcd
rclatiomihip. a¿d may no( thcn be commctcd away
M waíved-as. e.g.. jn the rela.tionship. bctwecn
3tt('IrnCV and clienL This is precise)"i.' whm Dllrk-
heim n;cant bV üne oí the ele-
ments of cOfll;act,'··l, \Vithin tbis sphcrc, lhe rela-
tÍonship ís protcctcd from both mor¡et.lry and polili-
cal ini:crvention: the non-cconomk resomcc of pcr-
rnissivcncss is utíJizcd tú solvc the C]ienfs prob1ems,
A kin(J ()f contractual frecdom f:"XiSlS: thc clicnt
roav choosc what confidenlinl informalion. he rc-
ve¿is to hís attorncv: and the latter mav choosc ho\v
he rcacls to these or to be suspects
thc cJient of ,"víthholding, Hence thc ínterchange,
though stnu::tuf::llIy orla!ogous to a market, ís, in
content and in signficancc in the systern,
dHferent from aily
Al echan iSlH.S e 011t rol / i 11 g
R e,.\Ollrce-Proces,)'lllg
For present purposes, lhis :lccount of proccss-
íng of resources lhrough thc system wiII hé1\'C to
suflicc, only by ,( brief discussíon of
lbc mcchanisms most immedíately controlling ¡hese
A somcwhat flltlcr M the .... nature
of Jynamic proccss can be.' prescnted ()nJy by
cllssing thc of rcsourcc-tlmv in relation 10
thc controllin2: mech:lnlsrns.
¡l1()lJcy. Ag'áin. the bcst-:.:maJyzed control mecha-
ni;;,m is cC'onornic, nlUl1c!v. moncv. Jt has becn nored
that money is not ;1 il\ essentialIy a
spcdalizcd mode of communication mcdiatin!! in
the circulatíon of t!xpectations and bindlng com;nil-
ments of ccnain types. As money has the
charactcristic two-lcvel structurc foun.d in aH bn-
guagf's: .1 sy;;recn of ca!cgorizing mcaníng, and oi
opera.tivc utrer:mccs. In tbe JanguHgc of the classi-
cal moncv is simultaneouslv both n
mcasurc of value and -a medium of cxchange. In
{he former scnse jt providcs thc criteriü of eco;;omic
v;.:¡Iuation bY spccificmion of the ocneral pat-
tan to leve! O[ economic lt is' the
eu)ltomic commOil denominator of manv com-
modiúes and servíces considcrcd ;:tS borh p"roducts
and factors of procJuction: l.hl1s it servc.';i furthcr
as a for ec()nomicaJly ralionaI .tllocation
of reSOL1I'ces. In this capacity, "ho\.\Jcver. [he use of
35, j)jvíshm o/ LaÍJor in So('fe¡y. free [h)ok 1.
Cll<!p_ VII.
mOnCLCll'V sumdards does nor imply that anything
changcs hands,
\.Vhcn moncv functloIlS as a. real rncdium of ex-
change, real doUars and not units
of account ¡¡re involvcd-thc spending unit is
relínquishing, the rcccíving unít flcquíring, somc-
thíng of valuc, Bul: (hat somcrhing cannot be tech-
nologicaHy utllizcd cr c0l1s11mcd; it can be uscd
on]y to cON/rol the aJlocatíng of what economists
can '-rcaP resources amI producls, Toe significant
poirn is lhal posscssíng money lnvolvcs a power or
cilp,'tcily to gel. lhings done, while ilvoidillg specific
commitrnenls at thc momcnt-i.e" about specific
channels oí cxpenditurc in ferms of object or al
sOllrce of supp]y, about time of purchase, and about
price. The comblnation of cffecLivencss (purchasing
p()wer) and freedom fram commitmcnt makes
money such 'Hl. importam mcchanism. Spending
moncy is like speakjng: the once made,
has consegucnces; but the speaker \vho commands
a :lnd has certain knowledge he can for·
mulatc ín Íts l.erms rctaíns his freedom to sav what
he likcs unli] he 15 committed througb acts of utter-
:.mcc.
As a medium of exchange. money can functioTl in
eíther of two gcnernlizcd ways. námelv, as a facil-
it\'. 01' as 3. rc\vard. As a facilitv. it is toé
t() comm:::lnd more spccific facilities; as a
rcward, ít ís a gencraJízed meaSUfC: of the value of
a performance or oE a variety of pcrformanccs; and
aJso the :ransmitting of something of va]ue.:;¡¡
lnvolvlng money. the paradigm (lf suppJy and
demando as specification of (be natufe of market
process. is ímportant [O (lIt social syslcm process. As
thc parndigm is used by economists, supply func-
tions are always stated in terms oí "real" asscts, e.go,
commoditics, scrvices. products, or factors of pro-
whcreas dernand functions are stated in
monctary terms. This 111.!1V validlv be identificd with
thc paradigm of the general
analysjs of actíün, in th,lt suppJy-demand is a case
of pcrformanCe-S3.rlction. Tlle monetarv mccha-
as a mechanism of controL stands °higher on
tbc genemJization-specificatioll scale than does lhe
resourcc which it controls; this is generaIly truc oE
thc perfOm1<HlCC-sanction rclationship.
Moncy is only one of several anl.l(ogous me:cha-
nisms controHíng resouree combinaríon and <:lJIoca-
tion in social syslems; bur the Jogical para(ligm out-
lined tor its case ShOllld be applicabJe to the orhcrs
-c,g .. to politlcal powcr.
"Rcal Econo01ists gener-
36. Olds's work intl¡c:\les. lhat, in behaviofal psyebology,
(he rel;,¡tÍon oí to plem;ure is thcorelicaJly
pn.r(¡lkl lo the reh¡líon bctween acquirjr¡g posse¡:¡sion {)f a
cornmodily élnd mone;,. l'lt!üsure and mOI1cy, no!
food i..Iod commod¡ües, <¡re lhe reWanl c:Jlegories.
Taleatt P,lrsons: /\.n Ourlinc- ot tbc Social Sr::.tem 67
ally spokcn as if rnarket trade werc in physici.ll com-
moditíes and scrvices. This. concept ís it
does no! refer to lhe factor or rigJm; 01 dispo.ml over
goods aod services that constitutcs anothcr mecha-
nism t)f control ayer resourCC$ standing lower in
thc con1:rol and speeificaüon scale Hum The
economist's <'real" resources and income must not
be directlv idcntified witb this lcvcl. In thc case oi
services, {be employment contrac-t establíshcs cer-
rain mutual rights ami obligations hetween em-
p)oyer (typicaUy, nn organízalion) tim:l employec
(typically, an individual nssuming a role). But a
series of dccisions oi specitkatiol1 mus! he made be-
fare ultimate utílizatíon oi the labor resource as a
factor in produclion. Pcr se. thc act oC employment
cxc1udes units other th:1I1 the employing one from
encroaching on the rights oí thc empIoying unít; it
also defines both the obligntions llssumed by the
employec wi(hin the orgm:,iz,iltion. and the oblí,ga-
(ions assumcd by the cmploying mganlzation far
remuneratíon, type of work expectcd) rimes., ctc.
Operative work is performed in a LCchnical sub-
system oí the employing organizution. Employ.
ment is neither the process o( work flOr specific
commitmcnt to it; il is crossing the boundarv into
in tbe employing' org¿loization: P.!r-
ticular steps ruay be bllt cach must be
analytically recognir.cd. Por physícnl the
analogy to employmenl is the !lcquisiIion af prop-
erty figh ts.
The institutíons of occupation and propcrty are
thus strucwraJly ana)ogoLls. to money. At the
lutiana] level they &re generalizcd norms govcrning
the aHocation and utilizatlon 01' rcsources. HUi as
"jobs" and possessive rights oVer ph)'sícal \')hjccts,
thcir charactcr is to that of !Donev as a
medium of exchangc. IlighlS to jobs and to" com-
modíties thus change h:.Illds, just n$ mone)' changes
hands_ A job commits its incurnbcnt 10 tt of
performances which are still rclativcly unspcciticd.
llHl.rkets and Jl1t'lney are impossible
whilc the alloc:ltlon oí economicanv sígoificunl rr.;-
sOllrccs is suíTleiently cmbeddcd sys-
lems of rights and obligations. s1ructurcs'
difTuseness is associated with [he dispersal oE prüp-
erty-rights and work-oblígntiol1s. Their combína-
don into owneTship and occupatíon is (he prercqui-
site of the resourcc-mobíJity lleCCSS<lry fN cxtcnsivc
control of al1ocntion through mt)rkets. This ¡s a
complex hicrarchy. Mone)' COnll'ol only ccnain
slcps in the pn.)ccss-Lc .. (he L111ocation of rC:SOllfces
to units, but no( their effectlvé; milízatioll within
units.
Thc mcchanisnl mosl closc]y analogoLls lo monev
is thc utilization of real ThC$C con;.
mitments opcratc by manipulating both propcrty
I
rights ayer physictll posscssions and occupatiomll
rights over employed persons ln thdr organízntional
roles. In thc lattcr case, the aUlhority of the organ-
ization's; man<lgement 01' t)dministratian ove!" its
pcrsonnel is. lO property righrs ('Ver
physical objects. Ir b an institmlonalízeú mecba-
nisrn. which. given the committncJ)t t()
cnabJes managcrnent 10 furtheT ue-
clsions oí: obout utilizing I.he [e!lauree.
At the tiT.l1C oí" c-olllmitmen( to employmcnL thc
content ol' thcse spccifications need no! be known
by or ugreed lo by cither pan:. Thercf'ore, thc same
fundamental freedoffi from oet;Jilcu advancc COIn-
milments opcratc:í. in thc case of
authority a$ in that of properI}. Autbo;ity Ís a
generalizcll rncüium undcrlying powcr in the Slamc
SCDSC that propcrt'y undcrHes moncy.
]n economrc parlance. these Ú.li' utílil.a.-
(ion. of whích pl'Opcrty and nccupatíonal mJc are
may be calkd real commlLlncnt.-s. in Ihe
cconornist's s.cnse of "real" as contrastcd \vith
rnonctary. The al1ocation of real commilmcms in
this sensé is controlh:d by ,he mone1.:1.rv mechani;;,rn,
\\.'hHe tbesc constiwIc- mech.mism.'\
güvcrning thc processcs of funhcr spccitkatjoo o[
lhe: utíliz.aiion oí Tcsources. Al kast ()ne lntcrrnedi-
stcp is neccssary to so}vc 1he problCl11 01' 11m ....
specific:ation of: ¡he physical opcralions. of the bc-
havioru! proces:; lS b·rougbt abOlir.
POIVcr. Ld us nú\V considcr thc slcp abovc money
in thc hicmfchv of mcchanísms of control.
brings. lJS te. the problcm of p'.lwcr, \',,'bose IDOS!
imp()rtant pojnts \ve wíH discuss in tcrms 01' thcir
relevane..: t() [he prcscrn \Ve bcgin
with the f:1ct ¡hat in complc.x soc!ctíc:\. ::;(ructm:a!1y.
thcrc is a !!ilD nc[wccn thc functional impcratíves (lf
coBccti,-'itícs rclative to thelr co1!ec,·
tivc aoals thc :;¡rucLUrnHv im(ítutjoJ1alizcd
of unhs. m (he r.::quísítc lcvds of"l'l'citl-
cntion. gap ¡s comparable to thc onc crc:¡ted by
¡he division of labor hc:twccn murkN$ [or products
<lmJ markcts for labor sCf\'iccs. lf ascriptivc
tions do n(){ cíO$C thc g:lp, Ihell P:lrtlcUbrizcd
"dcals" may OCCllL bCL\\"ccn uni:::. wYth kadctship
rC$ponsíbiJítics and un¡ts on whosc
they OlU:st dcpcml. ahollt the lcrms t)f (!lis
tion--thc:;;c dca's analogous lo cconomic
Bm Ilcxiblc oricntalíon to- "illl;;tk'ns on
cx(rcrn('Iv 'firnio:d. 1kxihmlV.
and dícctlvenéss. ut.!pcnJ.;,; ,he
tion'lliz:.ltíon of n gcncrn.lizcl..l mcch:mism fol'
ll1ring fl.lhi h;güirn:Hing: on both sídcs
wi¡hout too Lldlnitc oí: ..:!t;-
l<lIlcd rit;hts <lml In the dc-
i1ne:d polítiC¡¡J [lelo, a !11CCh;i.nisrn is powcr: For
lhl:: ]cadcrship funcljon, it ís lhe kgí¡imiled c':lpacil y
6S General 1 ntroductjon
to claim lüy.ü co-operation. within instjrutionalizcd
limils. willwIIl prior specijic(I(hm oj Ihe eotllen! 01
lhe expec/ed f1crjorl1uuu::es. Jn lhc polirical fieltl Ihis
tnkes thl.' forro of lhe righls 10 muke bindíng de-
cisions-ril!hl's whic'h are instílUtionalized as
ership, íltnhoríty. and regub:UÍon at lhc appropri¡ne
kve]s of spécíiki:,1ion.
For "'foll(l\.vership." anulyrically consídered,
essentfal1y thc consid!!rations apply. NCgll.
tivcly. thc instirutJonalization of powC'r protects
status positions againsl interfcrcnce and, ji ínter-
ferencc is lhrcatened. aCLS a!!uinsr thc threal in such
a Wl1Y thnt (hose in aUlhodiv must lisIen. One ex-
ampre ¡s. the insttttIÜonaliz.<llf()n of civil rights, with
acccss lo Lhe C()lIrts, 10 legislators. and tO executive
otlkink Positjvelv. jr is the institutionalization of
expcclalions w]thin Hmits, [he public's de-
mands will be gÍven íl serious hearing-e.g.\ Illost
formally in thc electoral process.
A "powcr system" in this sensc, as in tbe case
of a rnarkcl, is il mechanísm for adjusting in-
eviwblv c()néHcting imerests oVer considerable
areas. ¡he held on eaC'h side must be
considered f'lv [he mhef. and where relativelv stable
"rules of game" confiicts withín bounds.
The units invoh'ed he iclentified ,"vith rhose
rilan)' políticaI can "inlerest groups.'·
Frorn one poinc oí víew. rhe outcome is Cllways
s.omc son of '·compromise." Thís situation js paral-
lel to t he market. where the seller by definition has a
intercst in a highcr pricc 41nd tbe buyer
in á I()wer one, so thal an agrced pricc js ;:¡ compro-
rnise (eXccpI at a lirníting extreme).
Tbc mcasure of valuc in 1he case of power is the
conCePI of thc publJc interest. lnterest groups) in-
ctuding govcrnment¡;d incumbents, are neVer con-
ten! tú üpenm: in terms oí ··naked power." bU[
::t!ways attempt te legitimize theÍr c1aims in terms of
ine Pllblic interest. HoweVer imperfect the integr'l-
tion achieved ¡nay be, thís conccpfs weight is fur
[rom neglígiblc ín a motlcratc1y stabl<:: polüical s:ys-
temo At toe le\'el of mcdíum. t.here Is no instituríon-
,t1i"z.cd unít whích is gcneralJy comparable tú ¡he
monetary unit, Ihough in one crucial sectOr of tbe
pm,,-er systcIll [he vote is a very prccisely defined
uníL Thc vote- js (he followership's instrument of
toe exch,mge process ()f powcr, rhollgh it docs Dol
stand (here are H varietv of other mc¡¡ns tí.)
exert rolítica] influenc:c. must earn votes
by among groups of vQ[ers, the expec.
tarion thar in flllure conlingencies the leaders wiII
He! ín wavs relarivelv acceptable 10 ,he group Ín
llOt lerms of speciticd '"cornmít-
ments. wouId rCd1.1Ce the svstem lO f)olttica]
bartcr; an economic cql..\lvnJent fcequent occur·
rencc is the employer's spccit1c contractual pro-
viSÍan of family living quarlers lo employees.
Políticul powcr stanos higher in the hierarchy of
societal control rncchanísms tlw.n mone\'. The...,. are
intcrrelatcd, in that monev funos can be· a means of
acquiring politicaI power,· while [he holder of politi·
cal power is in n. favored positíon for uCCJuiring
money. But thcse relationships should nol. obscure
thc fundamental hicrarchícal arder, as is shown by,
e.g., the governmcntal control of lhc monetar)'
."yslem as a system-a control necessary beca use
ín a differentiated, yc1. integrated. socicly' there .can
be only one paramount collcctivity and system of
norms. Another indicmlon of their htcrarchal
ls lhe fact that the functioning of a
marker system depcnds on basic normative '"'condi-
¡ions controlled more by a governmenlal systcm
than by the varioüs Hpdvate" Ínlerest groups ¡n-
volved in market trnnsaclÍons.
llllcgrmil'e CommunicatiDiI. To complete the pie-
ture, a mav be made aboUl still anolher
c1ass of thes!: al the tap af the hier-
archy oi control. This c1ass ¡s íntcgratJve cornmuni-
catíon. and is rclated to the functkms oí sodal COIl-
trol in lhe narrow le..::hnical sens.e dJscussed above
in a connection. Thc Onera-
lional focus of ihis type of mcchanism the
motjvational commitment oí units of the svstcm lO
tbe fulñlment of ínslÍlutionaIized
Thc hicrarchv lhus far reviewed mav be SUffi-
marÍzed as fol{ows: real commitmcnls'" form the
institulionalízed basis iúr regulating the processes
of fulfillíng the contractual ob]jgatJons assumed by
units in the social systcm. They define generalized
expectations within which, through authorÍly (in
the operative subsystem. not al the societal level).
negotiation. crc .• lhe specíficution of
oblígations, its rcwards, ClC., can be worked out.
In the miljar allocative contcxts, the opcrati\ie col-
lective unit typicully acquires onIy thc real commit- .
rnents to thc use oi Í1s essemia1 reSOLlrces, leavíng
further sl'ecification to be made as new sjtuations
del/clop.
Thc proxímate mechanism of allocating real
cornmitments is the monct¡lry m.echanism-quaH-
ncd, us neCeSSí.\ry ""hen one generalizcs sodologi-
cally rlhout market processes. Operative control of
the uses LO whic.h these cammitmenLs are [O be pur
is not relevan! Lo the monetarv mechunísm; their
contractual avaílability tor use, ·and the generalized
conditions 00 which thís works in
compclition wilh other utílising l.mlts-arc rclevam
LO tbc monctary mechanism. \Ve mUSl Slill cl)ns¡der
both thc legitimadon of ihe goaIs of operadng L1nils
al the rcquisite level oE specincation, ,md a variety
oi questions ubout structuring the situation in which
Takott /\11 Outlillc 01 thc $ocíaI System 69
they may <.'lperatc. The function of the polítical
process 15 cne fundamcIHaJ level of this spccifica-
tino of goals and condith:ms. By slrucHIntl fusion,
politicaI ¡;tuthority m •• y, Ín certnin fields, undertakc
specitic alIocation bclow [he leve], or
operHtion, or bot.h. For example, this Ís univcrsally
the Cllse for the funct!ons of military <.lerense: in él
sOcllllist society. it comprises a much broadcr rlcld.
In all three vf these types oí procesE. thc "inter
p
ests" of the units in question can be taken for
granted; given the includíng normative
prescriptions Hnd thc sanctions attached to thc1l1,
units 1:now what they \vanl and can be expccted to
act in accord with their interests. At, a stiU highcr
level of the pToblem of control. thís assumption is
suspended and the qucstíon arises oí mechanísms
for the individual or coHective unit to
accepl liie instilutionalized dcfiniti<:m of [he s.itua-
tion."" It. ís prohablc th:!t appIying direc[ negative
sanetion will rcinforce dcvíant tcndencics; if con-
form!']' is lo be motivatcd one mwa go behind
rationaJ O1cchanisms and modify the underlyíng
structurc dctcrmining thc orientation. One
typÍcnI case is the mechanÍsm of therapy operatíng
with reference to thc motív¡ued components ()f iH-
ncss. whcn the objcct is lhe indívidual's pc·rsonalíty.
In other cases. bOWCVCT. the objcct may be a collcc-
tivity, Jikc a dclíOLlllt:mt gang: anclo in alhers. a re-
(aliona! systcm not formally organizcd as a collcc-
t.ivity-us in the prnc[ice civil bw. \\,:here (he
typic¿tI systcm lS dcfincd as comprislf.lg two opposed
parties, their attorncys. and tbe normatíve sy!\Iem
reprcscntcd through a comt: whether or n01 [hefe
15 actual rcsor( to court. Ibe presencc of the courts
is of fundamental significance. Sorne aspects of lhe
functioning (lf partisan politics. of reiígiolls r¡tm\l,
and of other phenomcna :lIso helong in this cate-
gory.
The mechanísms of control in such must
operate in situatíons insulatcd from the prcssures
of n()rmaJ sanction svs.tcms. Onc such institu¡ion is
communfc,¡tion. AnothC!r cxamplc is
found ín rclí!!iúlls ritual. whcrc the situation is de-
fincd as exc'épt¡onul-e.g .• the treatment of bc-
ren.véd persons, sct apart as sacred. PCi'missivcnes!\
. provides opportunity for gíving an order of sur-
port to which the unit would not mherwise be eu-
titlcd. Le., in spj{e of aUitlldes or C'ondllct whích
othcrwise would be Hpunishcd" whh sanc
p
tions. \Vilhin this protcctcd spherc. a spcciul process
37. In f,IWn!! under ¡he hC'2ding, dc\'iJnl
at\íludcs toward institutionalh:cd cxpcC'ttllions nmbi\'-
alenL Thm is, tlle problcm <,f inSllllHionnli7ing tWIV ex-
pecta'lo!is mus! he trenLt"d as o.n<Jly¡ically dislincl f,(H)1
th¿'ll o[ imp!ememing alr(!udy jm;tiLu!kH\Ll1ized.
See Tire SOL'lal 5)'s/t'lIl, P¡trSOIlS, Free Pn:oss, 1951, Chal"
ler VII.
oí" conditional sanct.íoning ()f bcba.vior can operate
unti1 a pattern consistem wiLh tbe general
Üonal expeclations is so glrongly establíshcd lhat
thc specíal permíss.ivencss and SUPP0ft are
sarv.
"[his set of mechanisms [he :-;amc formal
sm.lcture as the others which h¿lVC bcen rcvie'\\"ed,
So faf as the mechanisms operalc effectívciy. per-
missívcncss and sUppOri. do n(H imply ah::¡ndon-
meot thc cxpecralíons: they are
justiHcd by spedal circumSlanC¡;;S making ít d¡1Ti:::ult
or impossihlc Cm the unit iO fuHil C\PCCr::I-
tions-····e'3" bcc,ausc ¡In lndividll;¡J lS or a
of conHicüng units cannot know thcír lcQai oblic.a.-
[ions untH tllcsc h(\ve bccn worked out \,'ith Ih::ir
altornevs {)r through court dccision, Thus. the
mcasl1re 01' valUé is. 'Ver] much í!lvolvcd, FuciHríc5.
in lhe {mm of information, c.g .. as ín¡CrrrCLa1ion:-i.
and e,g .. eV8luali\'c sanctíor..s, r<.,pcci¡)lIy
approval. dctlnitcly círculate. t\ lorcovef. ¡hese are
scarcc medí,); gO(ld or ,\¡'pcll.:uc
jlldge knows lhal ínlCrprcl::r.t í.ms I11I.1SI no( he {Oo
luvishl\' otTercd. ".1 tlsl "rhinkíng oul lüud" \'\'ithout
cllrefully considering the imp'lcf of what is. "aid on
the pnticrlt or on the pm.)1 01' potcnlial
w.:mld not be good thcrapy or jurlsprl.ldcnce.
Tbis set of mechanisms ranks flr-:;t in ¡he hícr-
Reson is m;.,de tú thcm (mi\' \\hcn t"llhcrs
havé failed l() indccd. sllch "f;dlllre :t djP
rect critcrÍon the necu for !henL thc di..;abil-
ity aspect of iHncss is the prímary crilcríon oC (he
need for thCntpcLHÍc he1p. Furthi.'rrnorc, on diCNcti-
cal grounds this catcgorv of mcchanÍsms. Íl;. aL ll1c
top whole hicr7ifchícal scrie:f..-g(}ing
brings emc to lile problcm of strucmral as
such. which has hccl1 dct1ncd a::; a diticrcnL ordcr 01:
problem. h lifts lhe rCS1TTction Lh;¡[ the $(fUcrmC of
the systCtn. ¡,c., thc ins(Íluüon:llizcd nmnuili\'e
CUltllI:C. must be t rca(cd as givcn.
Summar}' (>j Ihe Equilif,rafing PrOéT.u, Thc:
1ihrillm rrocessc.s of a social ¡n!crmesh-
íng proccsses involving t\Vo SC(S ()f ch,mgcabIc t:lC-
ton>, each de!lne-d in terms of lhe svslem's :o.truclurc.
Thc tirst sct compríscs {he calcgórie$ cf
which, at cach SlilgC of hcing pro':f:ssc-d [hrüugh ¡he
systcm, are comblncd v.,lth thc appr('prhrc comple-
mentar)" rcsourccs, The prog.ress 01' c:lch n'..:;ourcc
through lhc system is procC':\5 01'
thwus.:h dccisío(1-ma.kíng aboua di'1po.;;¡¡¡on 1 hrQu;:h
alIoc;¡ion p;oporticms of
Thc ::.econd sct of compri<;i::s t he
rncch.:mismt:: jusi discus.scd. Res()urces are ditl.;rcn-
tbtcd from Tl1cch,mísrns in lh31 rcsourcc!\. frc;m ¡he
point of vícw of tlle systcm, ;m:.:. at any gh'cn
cOl1sumcd (wilh thc cxccplion 01 \\ruc¡:urC',
i!,g" lamt); whcreas mecha n is Jll 5', <18, media of con-
70 GCIlcr .. l1 IJJtroductioll
IroL are. frol11 lhe point of vicw oí the unir, spcnr
QnJ acquirclÍ, while, from that of (he syslem. (hey
cirClll;llc (rorn one un!l lo another hm urc not con-
5ulTIC'd. For ínscancc. moneY CílnJlO( he cOl1sumetl,
hut (InJ". lransf(;rrcd from !JQSScssor (o anolher.
\-Ve llave Jww [he same is tfue o[ renl
of pO\\.cr, :Jl'hJ 01' integn¡tive com-
munrcittíoll. Thc conmonent of slruclurc in whjch
thcsc changcahlcs aré is ncilhcr consumed
nOícircubtcl1.
TbT;,.'! genera] significance of ¡he lücmrchicaI intcr-
relations of lhc!'\c índicntcs thi.lt the
$C'tciai $\stcm as a \\-hole und iti> internal proccsscs
should: in rcgard 10 behavior, be considcrcd as a
compkx sct of cybcmctic cOBtrolling me-chanisms
-not jUSl one govcrnoL bllt il comp]cx series oí
thcll1. In thís senSt:. lhe problcm 01' lhe dy-
namics or sodal is not so much a problem
of thc mmsformation oí energ)' as of the
01' informMion.
The <.ma1Y$ís oí these processes ís now ln an elc-
mentary stage. Sorne fundamental deñni¡ions and
cbssificf.ltions are 110W being fonnltlrned. as are
SOOlI.! sequcnccs, sllch as specific.:ttion of
the broad combinalÍons nceded al each slagc. llnd
lbe bmao quantitativc differences made by grossly
dilTerent prop()rtio(ls. Furthcrmorc. in an interde·
pendcTH evcry lor.lg sequence of process-
stí"lge. LO b.:: :tI::curately mUSL
¡¡ccount for thc cn'CCt oE rcpcrcu$sions through tbe
rest cf thc system and fo1' lhe rcsuWng fecdbtlck on
thc original points 1'01'
For ail aspects of tbis problcm,important rOÍnls
oí rcferencc-e.g .• lhe cmnbim\tion proCeSSCS of
economic theorv r..heir rclatlon ro thc monctarv
lb; soc:iaJiza1Íon proccss in rc]aüon
SlTUcturc; certain saJ¡ent of power
svsrcmf;: recent on in
tfvítles: kno\!":Jcdge of thC'-fapeutics: But (hese
Me stiU fn.lgmcnts. al besL partiaHy W(lven into the
fabríc of a gcnuincly systematíc Thc con-
cepc of i(sclf is (he mOSl imporlant guidc 1()
dc\'cl0pÁng &uch analysis.
'Thc problem of systcmatizíng the O1orphology of
Hvíng··· ..--Lc., híologic:ilL psychologicaL social. and
15 intrinsicallv easierto soIve lh:!n
that of thcif dynamic$ Ín (he sensc. Th¡s is
the rC:.¡SOn that (he firsl major sectÍon oC ihis essay
ir:; longcr than thc second and tha1, in tbc foHowíng
se le e ti .. ) m , thcre IS more documcnta{Íon in the hc]d
(Ir structural anaívsís than in of Llvnamic
process. Dynarníc' 'lnalysis musí. our
scheme, be rcfcrrcd tú morphoJogÍcal prcmÍf:ic!:¡. Or
cIsc t>e stlh jeC1 to complete loss of oricntation_ Thc
smtemt:nt th3l evcrything empírica] is subjcct ()
cbange 11'Wy be mctuphysicalIy corrcct; bm rhis ís
oftcn tnmslated ¡neo (he sCTcntitlcallv untenable
doctrine condcmning as Ínvalid a heuristic assllmp-
tíO/1 !.iny rcfcrcnce point is structurnlly given.
on thc grollnds that SlIch an assumption would com-
fl1Ü {he invcstíg"tor to dcny the flllidíty oC ultimatc
realíty. Science is not a photogl'uphic I'cproduction
of rClllity, bu( is él sclcc[íve mode of organiz-
ing oricnwtioñ tó reJlity-howcver pbiloso-
phcrs define (he laHer. Thc scicntlfic'llly spedfic
compol1ent oi chis organizotion dCpCllds on abiJíty
to cstablish rcfcrence·points srruc(urally stnble
cnough to juslify thc Jimplificau'on of dynamíc
problcms prcrequisite to IogícalIy n1anagcable anal-
ysis, Empirical1y, thcse refcrence-poinls are rc]ative
and may be expected ro changc as the scicnce de-
velops. Thc catcgorícaJ nssertion tha! any Bssump-
tions about struclure are scientijkallv inadmissible.
becausc in the last anaIysis evcrything is in nux,
denies thc legülmacv oí science. In anv science, ami
in socíology'-in particular, the concept oi cbange is
mcaningful ooly in terms of a dcfinablc ,wmething,
Le._ sorncthing whkh can be described Ín structural
tcrms,
IV. THE PROBLEM OF
STRUCTURAL CHANGE
Accordit1g w the program Jaid out abo\'c, the )ast
major problem area ís the analysis oC proccsses of
strllcWruI ch:mge in social systems. The proccss of
structural chan!!.e mnv be considered the obverse Di
equilíbraling the dislinction is made in
tcrms of bDundarY-l'naintenancc. Boundary implics
both [hat tbcrc is él di1Terence of state betwt:en phe-
nOmena interna] :.md externa! to the svstem; and
that ¡he type (lf process lenuing lO maintáin that dif-
ference oí statc ís dilTerent irom the typc lending ro
break it down. (n applying tbis conccpt to social
svstems, one l11usr remcmbcr that thcir cssential
boundnries are (hose vis-a-vis personaJitics, organ-
ísms. and cuHural svstems, not thosc dírectlv
vls·a"v¡s (he physicafenvíronment. ..
A boundarv is thus conccivcd as a kind of water·
shcd, Thc resourccs of the system are ade-
quatc for its maill1cnancc up lO a well-deJ1ned scl of
points in one dírcction: bcyond that sct of points,
there is a terH.1ency for a cumulalive process of
cbangc to bcgin. producing states progressively
fartber from the lnstitutionalized patterns. Thc met-
apIlor of the however, fails to demon·
stralc the comp1cxily of lhe series oí control leveb
and, henee, of the boundaries of subsystems within
larger systcms. The.- díséusscd eürlier
Tn1cott PaJ'$ons: A.ll Outlil1e 01 tl1E! Social System 71
are involvcd in the dynamic aspects of such a hicr-
nrchical seríes of suhboundaries: if a subboundMV
is brokcn. rcsources witnin the larger svs[em couñ-
teract the ímplicit tendency tú change.
This ís dramatically shown in thc ctJpacíty of
socüll control mechanisms, in a narro\\' scnsc. LO
revcrse cumulative processes of deviancc. Thc con-
cepti<..m of the nature of lhe difference bCfWCcn proc-
csses of equitibralion and processes oC Slructurai
change seems inhcrent in the conception of a social
s\{stem m .. a cvbcrnctic svstcm of c()ntroI ovcr be·
havior. '" •
As übscrved. structllraJ in is
an inevitable pnrt of proccss-¡n larger
systems. The indíviduars life-span is so shúrt that
concrete role-unlts in anv social svstem of socictal
$Cope musL through contínuulIy un-
dergo Mfuctuml change. Closcly bound 10 this
a low-order collcctíviry like the nuclear
ThouS!h the ínstitutional norm::; deflninz "the f;:\m-
ilv
n
a socícry OT a social sector mav re'-maín slablc
long periods, fhe jami/y lS a colfcctivity:
and real are continua])y bcing cstablished
by rnarri,lgcs, through the "family cycle,"
and. eventually. dísappearing, with the parents'
dcath and the chiidren's dispersion. Similar
crations apply to other types ()f sOclctal
\Vithin this frame of rcfercncc. thc prob!cm of
struclural change can he under thrce
headings, as follow:-;: (1) the sources of tendencÍes
toward change; (2) the ímpact of these tcnLlcncies
on the <lffCcled :'::lrucmral compoI1cnts. and (he pos-
sihle conscql1cnC'cs: and (3) pos:;jhle generaliza! ions
nbour {rends and pnttcrns oC charlge.
The SOllrces 01 Strucltlral Chl1uge
The potentinl sources of slructura] change are
ex.ogenous and endogcnous-usually in combina-
tíon. The forcgoing has strcs.scd thc in-
stability of the rclations between any system of (lC-
ti<'1fl and irs situation, bccausc this is ímportant for
dctiniJlg the. cOli.cepts of goal and ¡he func-
(ion. \Vc were emphasizing N/atiOJl, and .1 rdation
inrernal sources of instabilit v muv derive from cx-
ti!mal tcndendcs 10 changc . ., J
E:rog .. Sources oi CIUlnge, The exogcnolls
sourccs of stlCial stfucrural changc coo:list in en·
dogenous tendencícs to change in the
and cultural systems articulatcd with
{he social systcms in qucstion. Arnong slIcn r,ourcC's
are thosc operating through gcnctic change:-; In ¡he-
constituent human organismo:; and in ¡he
distribution of gcnctic'- components wirhin poplJla-
tions. whích have an impact on bchavior ,'ií. il afl'ects
social }"olc-perform:mce. inciuding thc $OCI"J sys-
tem'¡; cap:\cítics fOf ,lOocíaliz:.ltion. Changes in [he
phy.\dcal cnvif!.)nmcnI are mcdiatcd most dírectly
eÍlher the ori!,<lní$.Tl1--e,g., lhnlugh pcrccr-
tion-or rhrough apf')wpriatc lhe cul-
tural
One particulnrly importanr. SOtJfCC of CXl)gcnous
chance is ti orhúnating in o[hcr $ocial S\'$-
For the organiz.cú the most
imponnnt ,:\re moer polilic:llly org:mizcd socictíes.
To considcr changc in Ihís contcxt it ¡s cs ....cnlÍ¿ll lo
trea( [he socictv ;)f :l:', í.1 unit in a morl?
inclusive social Even whcn the
leve! oC intcgrntión is rclatívcly lo\\" ami
contlicts bct'\'·ecn íts subunits. continu;¡l1v thrcütcn
to break ínto , .. 'nr. .\'OlfJe elemcnt of or
institu¡jon:.:dlzed orucr ahvi.ll,.'s !!,ovems thcir íntcr-
rclations--o!hcr""í;'..;, a likc "díplomacy"
would hl: meaninglcs5. Of coursc. exügct)()US
tUt.i! borro\dng a;'d ¡Jiffu$.torl are mediarcd
intcrrelat¡l1rl& a'rl1ong ;;,ocieties. '-,
Ent!ogel!()us "S'crains," The mos[ gc.n-
commonly u-::cd rCfm for an
enc\' 10 ch::tngé i::. "str;lí n:' SfraiH rcfers t( .• <1
con'dítiol1 ín rhe relation hetwccn 1 W(l or more ,¡ n.lc-
tured units (i.eh :iubsvstcrns of the !-i VSlcm) that
comtitutcs. a tcndency prc'i'iure changíng
rclatíon to one incomp¡}tíblc \vith thc cquílih-
rium of the relcvant pnrt (lf the s.ystcm. 1 f [he $train
becorncs greilt cnough. the mcch;:mi'iiliS of control
\vill not be ublc to maintain that conformitl.' lO rdc-
vant e,'\pcctarjons occcssarv [() lhc
brcakuown oí the s.tructure, .A $tr;lin'ís ;:\ wndl.'!"\cv
to díscquílibríum in rh" input-output b:!lüncc
twccn !Wl"> or more lInits of the s\'slCl'l1.
Slraíns can be rclieved in várious wavs, Fol' ¡he
system \ st.ahility. ¡he ideal way is
rcstodng full conformity wilh normati .... e cxpec:-
us ín complete reco\'cry from mútiv.lleu i¡¡-
Dess, i\ <¡ccond reIlcvine. nlecht.wism is.
or ¡"obtíon-fuI1 conü;rmitv is n()t rcswf(>c!. but
sorne acc(lmm('Idation ¡s bv whkh les;.;
normal performance by :.he í.kllcíem is
ccpfcd, und cMry the rcsuhíng hurdcn,
Ho\\c\.'cr. it be ditHcult ¡ü dc¡ccl ;¡
unif:;; LO ,;uain full pot;nti:dícy. 1n lhe
of hantlicap contraslf"d \\:ith ¡llnes>,. Complc!cly
c1iminating the unít from !-'(Ki.:1 funcciot\ j;, the
limitin!;! case hc're,
abo he rdicvcu lw Chi1O.flC in [he
structurc itsélL SincC' Wi.' han:: t::,;nph;¡,,¡;cd str:lin
in thc I','lmi()/ls of units (in:.UlbíHI \" internal t0 thc
unit itsdf he anah;¡.cd ;11 thc !le\.! 10\\ cr kv!?I
of SV-Slcm refcrénc<..'l. be dc-
á<; Dhcrmh:m the normati\'c tklinlng
(he cxpectatíoll:\. ,hal rd¡!ii()!1 .... · ..·thw.;,
Lhc "ystcmíc cOiupri:"ling .dl
72
GCllcml IlIlrodlldiOll
in strained rclations. The total clllpiricLd proccl's
may ali:>o involvc ch:Hlge in ¡he slructurc oi typic;:¡l
unÚ.s; the cssential refcrcncc is tú fl.:.'!atimwJ
{'<wem. For cxnmpic, chronic ínstabílily in a typi-
cal kind 01' markN might lend to a change in thc
nonns govcrning that rnarkct: but if bargaining
lIJ1rts changc thcír tactics ín ¡he Jírection oC con-
fonning with the old norms, this would (iot consti-
tuw SiJ;lctl/raJ changc of t/¡is ¡;;ystcm. In line with
thc general concc:pts ol' ínerlia nnd of lhc
()f controls, we muy say that cndogenous change
occurs onlv when the mechanisrlis of
control faiÍ to conlain lhe fáctors of strain.
Fliclors CJumge. In introducing our díscussion
of thc f,lctors in 5tructllral chango, we mus! estab-
lísh thc C'.I.,scnlial po,int Ihat the of a sys-
[cm of imerdcpcndcnt variables! on the one hand,
llnd of units or parls, on the other, by its niltllrc im-
plies tha! there )g no nece.:.sarv order of
in the sources oi change, This applies
pnrticuhlr[y ta such oId controvers.ies as economic
or ínterest cxplannLions l'eT,HH' explcmations in terms
of or values. This problem is logíc,dly parallel
to the problem af the reJat¡ons between heredity
and envíronmenL Of a set of (mv 01' al!
ma)' he SO liras oj c)¡tlJlR(!, v,,'hose nüt.ure wil(dcpend
()n the an inítial ímpetus ís propagateJ through
the system by the types of dynarníc proccss 3naJyL.ed
under subhe¿ld 111. aboye,
To l:\void implying a formless eclectícism we
must add two othcr poillts, Fírs[, careful tht'OrcLical
idcntíficalions must be m'lde of the nature of the
f,lctúrs lo ,-,,:hích an in1petus tú Slructur:ll change is
imputed. Many factors prominent in (he history of
social thought are, accorJing to thc thcory of social
syslems, exogcI1ous-including f:lctor$ of geo-
graphícal envÍronment and biologic.l] hcredity, and
outstílnding per$onalíties, as "grent IHcn." who are
never conceived of simply as products of their
eties. This category of exogcnous factors aIsú
eludes cultural expbmníoos) as those in lerms of
religiou$ ideas. Fl1rthermorc) these diffcrent exog-
sOtlrces are no[ alikc in (he nature of their
impact on the social systern.
Among these exogenous sources of change ís the
size of the popuJatíon oi: "my social system. Perhaps
the fl)ost ímportam relevant discussion of this W:lS
Durkheím's, in the Divisioll 01 Labor, where he
spcaks of the reIatíons "matería!" and "dy-
namic" densíty. PopuliHíons are partially resultants
of tIJe processes oí social systems. but thcir size ís
in tmn a detcrminant:¡¡¡
38, We recently beel\ remindcd by Schnore o[
lhe impon,mee (lf this aspr.c! of Durkheim's analysis. Sce
Leo $chnore. "Social Morpholosy and H.un1l.ln E.:o]ogy:'
Amel'icu/I '/mmu]! o} Soci%:,r;-, Ma;:, 19Sti, pp. 610-34.
Thc sL'cond. poine conccrns thc implica.
ttans of thc hicrarchy of control in socia1 systems.
U may be ditlicult to define magnítudc oC impact:
hOWCV(!f, gtVCIl approxímatc equatíty of magnítude.
the probabi lit y af producing struclUral change is
grcater in proportíon to the position in thc order of
control nt which the impact oi its principal Llíslurb-
ing inl1uencc oecurs. This principle is busco nn Lhc
as.sumptíon thm stable systems have mcchanisms
which elln ahsorb considerable internal straíns. Hnd
thus entlogcnous or exogcnous varíabilirics imping-
ing al lowcr ¡cvels in the hierarchy of control Illay
be neutralizcJ before extending structural changes
to highcr levd'i. It fo[Je)'.vs that the focus of
the of chnnge ljcs in thc stabílity of the
vn1ue system,
Thc anaJytical problcrns in this [lrca are hy no
means simple. Di1fkuHics aríse because of the com-
pIe x ways in which sDcieties are composed of in-
terpenetrnting subsystems, and of the Wí:IVS
in which the exogenous factors impínge somehów
on every role, calIectivity norm, and subvalue.
lhc colIectivity companent of social struclllre has,
bCén placed, in general analyticaJ terms, only third
in the general control hierarchy. Yet every society
must be orgrlnized as a whole on the collectivítv
leve!. integ;ating goal-attainment, integmtive. and
patlern-maintenance [ullctions. Hence un impar-
tant change in the leadership compositíon of the
aVer-aH societal coHcctivity may have a ú'lr greater
impact on the nOTms and values of thc society gen-
eral1y than Wl1uld ti value changc in Iower-order
subsysterns. Hence a nalvc use oí tIle formula, the
higher in, the control híerarchv the greater the im-
p:;ct. ís llor recommended. • -
The lmpact oi t/w Forces 01 Change
Our approach to the problem of impact has al-
readv becn [orcshndowed. DistLuh<:ll1Ce rnav resuIt
fron) Jeficíent or .;xcel:isívc input at a paint
in the svstem, The general¡zation 3bOllt the disturb-
ing effccts of exces; is a direct coraHary of the con-
.:epl 01' equiJibrium; it scems cOnlrary (jflen to com-
mOTI sense. but it has been c1carlv validated for
Cilses ín social imeractíon. Óne oi the best
cases ls the Keynesian point about the
relation betwccn ovcrsa ving and unempJoymcnt:
another i5 Durkheim'5 gcneralization a bout lhe
posilivc celatian between jncreasing economic pros-
perity nnd rates of suicide: a thírd would be the patb-
ogcnic cffecl of miltcrnnl overprotection on a de-
veloping chHd. The point ís crucial for prescnt pur-
poses, in any .important boundary relatíon
of a society. tht: iWlbility of bOlh systems Ís a fune-
tíon of a of fates of input anó output
Talcott 'Pal'sons: i\.Il Olltlille oí tlIe Soctal SyMcm 73
which go bot/! wnys. This consideration also c1carly
applies lo both exogenous endogenous sources
of change.
Impact \\'ill vary as a f unction of al least fivc
ranges of varbtíon in the nature of the impínging
process ... 5 Liesc:ribed be 10\'.' ; (I) the magni(lJoe ol'
the disturbancc'--.. not an absolute quan1ity. but
magnitude oC change from prcv¡ous customary in-
put-output rates, which havc becc\me accommo-
dated to the systenú condition::; of cquilibrium. (2)
The proportion 01: unir., in lhe system at thc rclcvant
levels that are ntrected. (3) The stwlegic character
oi the unjt"s functional contribution tbc sy':>[cm
-e.g., the sudden dealh of 50 per cent 01" the un-
skillcd work:ers \""ould not have the same írnpact as
thc dcath of 50 per cent of the highe5l 10 per ccnt
of po1ítical leaders. (4) Thc inciden ce of the dis-
turbance on analytically distinguishable compo-
nents of the svstem '5 slructurc. Gívcn rhc: strate,dc
sígnificancc 01 a structural unit, roles are most
i Iy replaceable or repara ble, su bcollect i vit íes less so,
norms even less so, and leasL
Thc revcrse order holds ter exposurc to thc impact
of change; toe condítions .of individun.ls' roJe-
performances are most e.x.posed und thcrefore most
likely to "give:' whereas value-commitments are
least exposed becausC! they are neithcr functíon- nor
situation-specific. Fínally, (5) the:re ís the degrec oí
rcsistance by the rele:vant parts 01' the svstem to thc
impact Di' forces of the of e/Ice-
tiveness of the mechanísms of control. A
large disturbance may not )cad to rnajor change ¡;1
a very stable system; a flluch smaller distur[l,mce
may to drastic in an unsta¡}Je S\'S(Cn1.
Stabilíty is variable bolh ....Ljuantitativdy .md L{uoli-
tativclv.
Empirícally, [orces making for changc sc.ldom
operate ncat1y a.ccording to discrctc nnalytical cate-
goríes; thcir impact Thus the Cold
\Var's im pact on American society operares pri-
marily on two levels. One ís Iw íts ('ffcct on n¡)[ional
security-primarily a problem. Since thc
United Srates can no longer rely on a stable Euro-
pean pO\\'cr system for its securilV. as it úid
through thc centucv. thc \Var IS thc
immcdiate cause far a brge military
establishment and aucmptíng Lo foster the mpid de-
vclopmcl1t of military t\!chnology-with uH thc
repercussions that this csscntíalIy new pcacctime
situ:J.tíon has throl1choUI the socictv. The ColcJ \V;u
also has .tn importa-nt impact at thc"'!cvd of cammit-
mcnts to valucs .md the mo.st gcncralizcd leve! of
norms. \\'ithout [his "chal1engc- of
not jusi thc challcngc of a strong milit.ar." powec
btH a challenge to the legitinwc)' of thc "Americ¡tn
way"·-···the current situation \\'ould be Icss dis-
turl,¡ng.
Thcse [\Vo cornponents are cmpirícally associ-
aled. But thev áre ::l nal v ticall v dist in guishab le. J.nd
their proportionáte importar;cc may vary, in the
case over time :1S \\'cll ílS in di1Terent cases, A
C'omparably seriOlls rnilitary threat to natiorl.::tl
curity, by the itle-ologica 1 factor.
\'.!ould be muen Icss disturbln!:! a1 prcscnt te
Unitcd Stares, char;gc), in Amcri-
c¡\ n soc; etv ha ve produceci factors o r i nst a bi lit\' a t
ín1.l'"grativé Ievels ihat werc !1ot previously S(J
OUT problem in rcan)' accC[Hlng our
valucs, for c;-.;ump!e, is cJearly sho\\ n in the prcscnt
seg:regation-descgrt!gation A nlaíor dcvclop-
rilen! oC sociew! poJiric¡!l :.lS ::l tune-
tion of bolh intcm:ll dCvt'lopment .1nd charlgcd in-
ternational pos¡tion, is ncccssarv. \Vithout SiJccíJ I
scnsitivities lO [he symboiic ot ':COn.1-
munism··-independcnI of ;'re::dis.tic" dangcrs-a
phenomenon likc l\'1cCarlhyisOl wOllld he
prehcnsibl¡;,
Analyticd discriminatioo ()[ fa\=tofs "\.vlchin lhe
fr::ime\\ ()rk of empírical variat;on makes more pre-
cision about mattcrs of imp<lct possiblc. 'Thus tcc:b-
nologlcal procc5ses concern¡ng {he rhyskal en·
vironment have (luile a diHcrcnt from
probicms of thc mOli\';}lion,ll conunitments (jf in-
dividu;:tls and collcctive sununíts lO fUIlC¡i¡)rw I ncr-
formancc in the syslern. For cxamplc, in
there has al1cgedl.v been a nw jor shíft reccntly ín
this ';-; 1Crms. frcm "lnncr-
dírectcd"' lo '·other-d¡rectcd"': in K luc'khohr:s, ,')
··decline oí' t.he Prot<,'stanl Ethic. Bo(h
licns suggest ::¡ rC{fcat from occupational COI1! dbu-
(¡om; inw the .sphere or priva.tc
Though oí" prohkms are üÜ<.:n
cOllched i n {Cfm i no!ogy o f val U¿<;, th pn.)h km
belongs more ar the level oí w func-
tionn.l conl.ribution. \Vhethcr (lf not ,\ in (he
soc:ietal valuc-svstcm underlies lhis ar a hiélcr leve!
of control ís añ' J.T1:llytic¡tlly distinguishablc par! of
{he empirícn!
By definition, a changc in the s(fllclurc ()[
a social system 15 a chal1ge ín its norrnatlvc culture.
At the gcnen!l leve]: it 1$ íJ .:hange in (he pari\-
Illount valuc systcm. From thís lew] through lb.::
:<9. S<':C' TiHr l.o/rt+;: Crll)<"(i; CJy(k
KJuckhohn. "HllYC Thcrc Bt'l':n Sh,b in Amcd-
.:ail ¡he in l-:¡li!l)i:
rl!\jJn (ed.). '[1;1' AIIi,'J"icm! Sr,d¡,> l?-.i(!w \Lrrcr.
195R) pp,
¡ h:\\'e ancrnplcd !<.l m,,)l"C i'ully \\'¡Ih ¡his prob-
lem in "Thl" 1 il1k ¡'C1W(,i.':il SociCl;::" (\Y'i\ h
WinsLOn \V\¡ile), in LiJ'.'i¡;t ancl Lo',' en! 1.(:;,10.,). Cui.r¡¡r"
ami _\'ocir;! Cfla m u('/"; Tíw l! 'ork o/ D,,,'¡d R.¡I>WldJ: Rc-
vic\\'('d (Gkni2De: The Free l'ress, í 961.).
74
CeHera.l Tntroduction
series oi dífIcrentiatíon, scgmeotation, ami spccifi-
calinl1, it ¡nvolves ch;,¡ngcs in tnc norm.ttivc culture
al' sub:,;ystcJ1lS, of progressívely lawer arder, that ,lre
incrcasingJy spccífic with rcfcrencc t() fllnction in
thc larger sy:->lt:::m and to situation. Throllgh spí'cífl-
cafion wc 'Irrivc cvcntunHy 3t the role Icvcl and,
Wilh this, al the psychological motivation of thc
jndiviuual. 1t is my thcsís lhat (my majar drsturb-
ancc wj)j occasion wídcspread disturbances in índi-
vidu:lls' mottvations at the role leve), :md under the
requisii.e conditions wHl lead 10 structural changes
at least there. B\(t it does Bot follow either from the
presencc oC widcspre:l..d symptoms of
or from ímportt,ot structuraI changes ín such motí-
vational pauerning_ that the strucmre oi the systern
at :.:t11 leveIs-especíaBy in the paramount value sys-
tcm-has changed.
lo considerit;g the general problem of impact, we
must remember that evcry structurally distinguished
subsystcm of a society ts both compl!!x never
fulIy integrared. Moreover, the structural compo-
oenls llre interlarded in all the difi\:rent subsystems;
:ret evcn minimal integration requires some measure
of consislcncv betwcen values ami norms both at
{he higher lower Jevels of spccification aod
acros!> lhe Hnes of fUl1ctiooaI differentiation. Such
considerations hclp .lccount for the facts that rnany
processes of change occur stmtlltl.l.nc()us!y 3t severa]
1cvds, and that infiuences are propagated through
Jevels of control in the svslem from Qne to an-
other. .
An ¡mportaot C'xarnple is prescnted by llnderde-
vdoped societies at the present time. If we u¡ke eco-
nornic dcvelopment, in tile SeIlse of industrializa-
as the focal conlent oi [he process. the two
primary foei of the ímpact of inptlts l')olitical
and cultural, in thc value-scnsc: they ,lre nOl, in the
usun} analytical sense, ecoliomic. Both focus pri-
marily on lhe rc1ations. of LlOderdeve]oped socíet.íes
to eco[)omicaUy advnnced socíetÍes.
Thc great slirring which has becn going on fo-
cuses first on nalional independence and power, ns
evidenced bv the acute sensitivlrv ro the
symbol of '·{mperi.:¡Jism:' Thjs paÍitical prcoc'Cupa-
tion's effect thcJ1 scems to be propag:ltcu in tW'a di-
rections: to economk development as illSlrllmetllal
to po\iticnj power (ami ns a syn¡bal of coHective
ach1e
v
cmenl); and to the funcliol1al
assodated wíth politícnl power nnd economic pro-
ductivity. Thc highest-level \falues wiII stjJl be carf!-
fuJ1y cOn/ras/t.'d with those of the socicties serving
!l"lotlels of politic:l) ,md economic devclopment.
Another important symbolic expression of this is
{he CCHlln¡e)ll irnputatíon oí materiaHsrn to \Vestern
societies, whcrcas it is allcged that India, fOI ex-
Ztmple, can somehow have aH the advantages of high
índust,.laljzation wHhout bcing ínfcctcd with the
matcrialístic vntues of thc \Vcstern world. }:'urthcr
-COnln.lry lo tbe expticit con ten! o( Marxían ide-
ology-it is oftcn alleged that comrnunism, because
collectivistic, is Icss matcrialistic thao l)o-calIed
'Lcapítalism," though communist societies been
marked by ti. far more exclusive dedícation to eco-
nomic develapmcnt than any capitalistk society.
'rhe esscntial point hcre is thc temlency to m::.lintain.
the highcst-lc.",eI values. while permiuing major
changcs in thc next leve! oí vulue-speciñcatioIl, Le.,
that of the primary functional subsystem,'U
It is difficult to scc how, in the longer run, this
can fail to engeoder majar strajos; howevcr, there
is a twofokl proximate jdeological defense, Damely,
the instrumental character of political and eco"
nomic dcvclopment, and the brídging of the implicil,
conftict by symbols like "socialism." The important
point analvticalIv is [bat, without al teMt two dif-
ferent of input beyond normal levels.
tus for major change is unlikely to occur. One order
is the /'t?I.ll polítical jllferiority, symbolized as "colo-
nial dependcIlcy," oi the disturbed socíety. The
other is tbe existence. in the social env;rooment, of
3. oE instrumt!otal1y appropriate reorganiza-
tion, whose part.ial functional values can be adopted,
initiaJ1y aIlegedly without dislurbing the highest-
level of the
Types oi Process of Structural Change
FinaHy, we nllJst LlHempt to determine whether
any ímportant genemlizations can be made aboUl
the types of process of chaoge found at t-he struc-
turra) levet Thc pheoomena of the instítutionaliza-
fion of normative culture hllply ínternalization in
the personalíty structllres of constituent pcrsonali-
Hes, which io turn implies that institutíonalízation is
embcddcd in the non-Talional lavers oC
organizatían. U is nol accessibíe' to change simply
(hrough the presentation, to ao actor. of rationul ad-
vantages ín the external definition of the situation.
ln SOciéll stmcture, the relation of normative cul-
ture, to pers(mality ís expressed by lhc fundamental
Ftlnher of tbese problcms i:. c:ont;¡lned in
lhe "Sorne Reflections ÓI1 Sodologictll Frame-
work of Economií:: Dcvelopment," Slmcnue ami PrlX'ess
¡n A10l1t'rIl Soc/elies (Glcncoe, IIl.: Free Press, 1959).
Chapter IlI.
42. Natur¡:¡lIy ir! Ihe tata] picture, speciflcally ec(momic
füctors of produclion. are aho neceSSi\rY inputs, from otht.'t'
societieS or from otner "s.ystems" operaling in the ler-
rital)' oC lhe socicty, like motivatlon, elC. Hut
because of lhe rehul0n lo lhe hierarchíctll structure el
social Syslems, 1he ínputs of rlolitical urgency :md func-
lional value-commitmenL are Íi.\r more in ..... hat
Raslow c:¡Jls the "take-eff" pnenomenon th:m i8 lhe ov.ail-
ubílity ai ade'ltltllc factor!> of prodl.l.ction in the slric1.ly
economk
TakoH Parwns: An Outlinc ot tlJC Süóal Sy;;te.m
7>
dístinc[íon betwecn t\loolO typcs of intcgrative Tnech-
anísm in the social system-thosC' allocative rncch-
<lnisms, opcrating through medir: !ike moncy and
po\\'er, that affec[ the balance of .. nd
disadvanlages in the situntíon of an i'lctine unit; :.lntl
[hose which, likc intc&rrative communiZation, op-
era te through afIecting (he motivational state of the
unit, concerning the dcfinitícm oi what he wants
ami not how he can cet it.
OnIy whcn strai; impinges 00 and ínvolvl!s this
level of the s'y'stem of behavioral control can struc-
tural change 'ín thc presem sense hccorlle possit"lc.
Once it has occLlrred, the qucstion ¡s whcther tbc
impetus to changc goes "over thc \vatcrsbc(r or,
under the cOLlntervailing impact of the mechaflí:::;ms
of social control, fa1ls back again.
In either case, strain at this level is maniícsted bv
n series of symptoms of disturbance showing thc
psychologícal marks o( irrationalitv. Thcse will he
organized along thc major axcs of l{opc llnd oC
"\',.'lshful and "anxietv" showinCf unreal-
istic trends in borh respccts. this
gocs back lo lhe ambivalent structure 01'
to devíance alrcndv mentioned.
The directIons óf (his positive-ncgativc pob.lríz;:(·
tion are detlned in terms of thc possíbíli-
ties of Thc most important v;lfíahJcs are
the poJarizatíons activity and bc-
twccn compu]s;vc alicmltíon .md compulslve con-
formity, that yie!d the types of rebel1iowmcss, wilh-
drawaL and compulsÍve performance,
In othcr words. thcre wíll be fantasies oC u/epian
ideal future states. 01' ide,dízed past stntes. of secur-
ity in a status guo from \vhich sources of dlsturb-
ance could cOl1ven¡cntlv he baníshctl, tlnd <.'Ir elim-
inating sources oC dístúrbance dírectlv within !he
of the old structurc. Thcré will be cor-
responding foeí of anxiety.
These motivational components are cornmOrl to
aH symptoms ot disturbance in lbe ínstitutíonatiza-
tion of social The svmhols lo wbich thcv
become attached will t1cpcnll on tnc ti
systcm referenccs and Al [he
level, it '$ 110t dií1kult 10 dctcct (he utof1Jan dcrncnl
in "communísm:' in thc scnsc of an nllci!cd aclual
lype of socicty; OT, on the otber side, <1'" complete
"free enterprisc" systcm. The socially rcgrcssivc
idealizatíon of :ln unrcaJistica \ly conccivcd past ap-
pean in such symboJs thc simple, unspoilcd
"Americanisnf' of the McCanhvitcs, or in (he
Volbgemeinsclrafl Di Gerrntm RO;·I1.mtícs
b1'ly in its n10st extreme versioll, SlIch
4.1. l\.lerlon, StruclUH' nnd t\l1mtlíe." So-
cial Tlu;,orr altd Sodal SmlclwfZ, rcvísetÍ i¡nd eX1cndcd
cdilion. j 957; ;LDd Pmsons. Tlw SOl:ÍdJ S.nír:'m,
1951, Chapo VIL
symbois as "ímpcfÍí:díSnl;" "capitnlísm:- ::lno '-com-
mUni$[\1-' are foci of trralíon:J1 anxíety :l.nd aggres-
sion.
Another svmbolic contcnt is. found whcre che fo-
tus of disturh::mcc is a diffcrcnt arder of :;;ocial
tcm. "Allthoritarfanism" JnJ "conformíty" :m::
gooJ examp(cs oE anxicty-bdcn symbols \·I."idely
currcnt in our socíel.Y, SOi11C of (he irrntionul sym-
hols in Ihi¡.¡ context. havo functioo\O in
annlogotJs fo lhose of (he persona1ily's.
of <.lcfense. The cqtJivalcnts oí dispJ;:lccmcnt Hnd
pmjection are fOllnd in the imputation 01' ¡he
of tú cxoc,cnous svstc-ms-par-
ticularly mudí 01' lhe nioLí-
v:Hion rcallv -;::riscs from internal slraio. lndecd, di,,-
placcrncnt .;nu/or projcction on pers(JJw!itíes of lhe
products 01' strain ín social cause mucb ()f
lhc :Htributing of íiI-wíll to) e'f!-- "ruling círclcs.:'
Symptoms 01' uísturbancc, with lhe k ¡nd of slruc-
ture jusI sketchcd. are cornrnon to proces!;e-;, whích
do and eJo not result in strucwral chan!!c, \Vho.!ther
or nut the chzmgc (.)ccurs depcnds on lhe-halallce hc-
(he strength of the dísUlrhing [oTces amI the
kinus 01' reccption they meet,,··_·í.c.> thc bahmcc
l\\'l!cn ucts by Tcspom-c lo disturbnncc and
¡he ;.;.anctions lh;lt thcy sllmularc in both cmi,,)gcnotlS
:lnd <H!.C ncí cs. Thi" statcmcnt i:-:. not
wutolog)' if conccplions are gívcn contcnt
through Jctiniticm of the naturc of the pt.;rform-
anc:::s and sfinctíons. and nf the stratcgk
canee of conlenr for the cquilihrimn o(
Structural change ross.iblc only a ccrtain
level 01' strain on instiHHíor¡alízeJ i,
rcachcu. Such s[mio may he rropag:llcd from tech-
l1ological. economic, nnd polít1c:,1I Icve/:.:: hut thc'
fac[ [hm a systcm ¡'i faccd whh scvcrc pwhlcms cm
[hose levels is nc\'cr by ¡'.re! í a sutTicÍI.::nt cxplaniJ.-
tíon of ::trucwfül lt ií¡ ncccssan' ro trace the
DE lhese 011 IcvcI!i ()(
lhe control S\J$lcm.
Evcn \\'bcn leve! is rc-:iched.
SCycrity M straín nevcr ;:Llone an
oí' ch::m!!c. Structmal on(v iJ!k'
pmsihlc ol1tcon;c oí" flmún, Othcr rC:-lulr::. Ihe
rcsolution of the :;tnlin. thr0ueh of
control. Icaves ¡he old struct!;re and ¡h<.:
¡sob.tíon 01" disturbing at thc Cl1St of
Irnpairlllcnt of che.... functioning--:¡nd. oí"
cnnfSC. radical of thé
the c;cncral¡7..cd strcng¡h"\\'c;rknc':\s bal-
ance oí" (he ,1m! (.'Cli;lrob n::-.pcctl\"\.dy,
thc most impnrtant factors srruct\lr:d
changc are the foHowing: (J) AdC"(It.l;HC rm::cha-
nisll'l)\ for the- ¡nc\'itnhk of
instiwtion=dizcd p;.lUcros l\'l,,:,tcd íDtCr-
to O\.L'fwhclming force ü[ f'oiit-
76 Ceneral lntroductiolI
ícal coercíon may lmpo5C very sevcrc stnlins, but.
in thc abscnce of such mccha.nisl11s) [hey Icad only
lo active or passivc rcsistacH;c, cven lhough lhe re·
sístance is realísticall y hopelc'fts." Endogenously,
lhe balance between positive .rnd ncgativc compú-
ncnt$ in the syrnptoms of is thc prímary
fHelor. For examplc, if che ncgatívc side otltweighs
thc positivc, anxiely and aggression will block new
institutionalization. (2) Among thc positivc reac-
lions, there must be combinatiorls with
possibilities. The componcnt of aliena-
tion mw:¡t be !;ifong cliough to motj1,late dctnchmcnt
from thc olucr but not so closely conncctcd
wírh othcr Ilcgative components that it motÍvatcs
on1y dcstructive behavior. On the orher hand. too
pr.:ssi\'ity would motivate only withdrawaL
(3) A model, from exogenous sources or
nously produccd. of the pattern to newly insdtu-
tíoqalized is necessary . .In socialízing the childj the
parents. oldcr peers, teachers, and othcrs serve as
"l'ole·models" whosc persona1íties and actions em·
body the patterns ol' vaJue .wd norms which the
child i;;¡ expected to internalize; withoLlt such ade-
guate models. the ínternalizatien wellld be irnpos-
sible. (4) The pattcrn of sanctions cvoked by behav-
lor in thc transitiol1al phases must selectively re-
ward action conformini! with the new model (and
must not reward action in tcrms of the old pattern),
ilnd musí be sufficiently consístenl ove! a period te
hring ahollt the coinciding of the values of units and
their self-intcrest that is the hallmark of ínstituUon-
alízation.
The .. uíon 01' [he chlld constitutes
a process of structur411 change in one set o:f struc-
tural cúmponents of sodal nn.me1y, the
rolc-patterns of [he individual-indced, n1llch of
the h'lreg{)ing paradigm has beco derived from this
source.
J5
These consíderations mm.' then be extended
to the ncxt level: the coroll3.ry ór t.he propositíon
that ihe child internalizes new roles in the process
(Jf sociaHzatíon is that the sodal s.."stems in which
this proCCS5 oecurs.. é.g .. the mother-child system
and the ntlc1.ear famíly, O1ust llndergo processcs of
structural chungc. Thus, the nuclear famiJy \'vitb
one infant is, structl.lrally not thc same
syslem as that with two adolcscent childrcn and one
44. In re:'ipeCIS, the HLlngari:m .::risis of 1956
i>eems Jo fii this pilltern, so fur (;<l (){
the new pall¡:rnii of StaHnÍsl is concemed.
The sodal sys\em equivalen!J'\ of the lherapeutic
nísm;; centering on permi:i:iivent!ss. and supporL scem par·
tíc:ularly crucial in this cOlmec(Íon.
45. This {ls,..,ump¡ion ¡s based largely 00 Freud's work.
SE".c und Olds., Chl1pLer IV oí Pnrsoos and Bale;;,
FafliiJ.v, Socializa/foll tlf!d Jweracfirm Prócess, Free Press,
1935 and ParSOfl!'l. "Sodal StrllCtllre llf!d (be Oevelop.
men! (If Per-s.oIUlJity: Freud's COlHdbulion lO the lme-
g¡<iLíOI1 of ['sycho!ogy lind Sociology:' PSJ'cMUJr)',
J
Jatency-pcriod chitd, though in another pcrspcctivc
it muy slill be the sanie family.
For a. more general s(.)cio]ogícal a.nu]ysis. how-
ever. it may be bcttcr to illustratc by two of
proccss of structur:ll changc c)osc to thc socíctnl
levcl, in one of which thc "model" is prcdominnntly
endogenous to thc system, in the other, exogenous.
The first is the case usual1v refcrred 10 as '"structurnl
diífe.rentiation" affecling the level of primary fune-
tíonal subsystems; the sccond. t,hc case ínvolvíng
chanc..e in the value-svstem al lhe socictallevcL
TI¡e Dil1eremilltio;1 (Ji OCcIIP(¡fional from Kin.-
.rhip Ro/e,L In the aho\/c d¡SCLIss;on, reference has
oftcn been made to the relative "functional diffuse-
ncss" of rnany social strucwr\!$. The process of
functiona) diífercntiarien ís one of the fundamental
types oí' social change, and has evolutionary aspects
ano implications. In its bearing on the type of sys-
tcm, it ¡uvolves more than increasing complexity-
e,g" thc fnet that tlcxible disposabilíty of resources
dcpcnos on such differentiatíon. This dependence
requircs. higher·order mcchanísms of intcgration,
subslituring lhe more spccialíz,ed processes of con-
trol associated with markels. power systems, etc.,
tor control through embeddedness in diffuse struc-
tures.
Perhaps. the best example is the dHIerentiation of
occupatiomll roles. in the ideal sense already
clJssed. from embeddedness in ldnship structures
which havc enjoyed ascribed c1aims to the func-
tional ef such services. On the ro)e-
structurc leve1, [he change me:ms that whnt has been
ene role of an indívidual in a single kinship collee-
tivíty (which may. howevcr, be internalIy differen-
tíated) becomes differcntiated into two roles in t\\'o
distínct collcctivities. thc kiDShíp grOllp and the em-
ploying organ le
The first prerequisilC of change is dísengagement
from thc preceding pattem.
47
In othcr words, sorne
order of relative deprívation becomes attached 10
following the old way. The impingement of the
deprivation is on the individual ano on the kinship
collectivity. The impingemcnt may take such forms
as deteri<')T¡ltion of prt!violls1y .assllmed mnrket con-
ditioas, or ()f lhe availability Di new opportunitíes
which canDot be utilized within the old structural
framework. Such s.evere and prolonged relative dep-
rjvation would eventual1y give rise to symptorns of
disturbancc of the so[[ discusscd.
46. The operaIion oí lhis process al the "working da.IiS"
le\'el has, tO rny know]edge been mos! thOíoUgbly nnalyzed
in Neil J, Smelser, SOcí(l' CJwllge OJ' Ihe lmhlSfrial Re\'()lu-
t10//) U. of }lress, 1959.
47. The general par:ldigrn of ¡he process oí differentin·
tion somewha¡ ellíplic'llly foHowed here WílS set forlh
in and Smelser. ECOíWJJ!,I' tmd SOdel», Free Press,
1956, Chapo V, :.lnd much more eXTensive)y deveJoped and
ílpplied in Sme)ser, op. cit.
Ta1coU An Olltline ot toe Social SyRtem 7i
In ceder to prevent the overwhclmíng consolida-
tion of the ncgatívc components of the rcactíons to
disturhance, there musí be un adequatc rangc of !n-
s.tituticmalizcd permissivcness ano support, in
don lo the imposition of dcprivations for foIlowing
the old patlern. There should not be too im-
mediute prcssure for abandoning the old ways pre-
cipit3[cly ano totally. In the lndmtrial RevQlution
in EngIand. this institutionalized as
Sme1ser shows. comprised considerable rernainíng
realistic opportunity in the old dorneslíc pallcrn of
industria.l orga.niza1Í')O, compromíse organiz:Hion .. l
pattems whcreby whole familit!$ hired by the
cotton milis as units, and con:¡idcrable "romilntic"
ideological support for the valuc oí" thc 0]<.1
A positive moJel for the new patti.!ming of \\ork
contribution must be demonslrated. firr.¡t (,)1') thc im-
mcdiatcly relevant organízational level--c.g .. fac-
taries are organizcd and jobs madc Clvajlablc wbich
affcr advanl3ges, i.c .• V¿lrtOUS compone.nls 01'
ward, including out not confincd to monev wage",
to the warker and his bousehold. BUl
problem concerns the W¡]ys ín which this nc\v
model can be maue legi[imme in terrns uf (he reIc-
vant va]ues.
As Smelser shows, it Wf\S vcry import:mt in the
British case that the structl.lf:.ll chan!!es in thc ro1c-
orgarlizatíon oí the labor force ()f thc'-late eightccnth
century \Vere preceded, and for saIne time aCCOTn-
panied, by a marked revival, in precisel)! gco-
graphical section and population groups involved,
of the Puritan reH!!iol1. According to the famol.ls
\Veber hypothesis, Purítanism h:1s -legítimizcd bmh
profit-nulking and more broadly dfectívc
rían to instrumental functíon in societv. im-
medialely, the maín jU51ification 01' lh[;" factory sys-
lcm \Vas. jts greater produC'tive etTcctivcnes:;. In thc
typicaJ \'.lorkíng-c!;:¡ss household, Ihefe \Vas prornise
of hoth rcalistic opportllnity W org:1nize work in :1
new way, i1nd lcgitimation of thnt W,lY in tcrms 01' n
!1rmIv institulíonalizcd re1¡r.iollS tradilíoCl. A stcacJv
of sanctions to ceinforce
change, whosc most tangible aspect \litas the steady
lncrense of real \'.'riges, largc1y dcrivc:d from the pro-
ductjvity of the nc\\!'
case of the misliril1g of such II
changc, the importm1C'C' clf Ihe bjilatwc
fnC'lOrS, W<l1> ,he c:\se 01' lbe h;)mi·¡oom
orig:ín;J/ impeuls íar ín.:;:rcasi.'d prodw:lÍ',!i!y C;.JnW
in spínnÍng.. Tht' resulüng grcnlly im:re:l;;ct! "IlPP!Y ('Ií
y:lfn pul 00 thl' wellving. Bul In 11l{'
absencc of usablc ílwt'-'Tllións.-wílk;b ellOW ln({.'l'--¡md d
olher aspccts or reorg.aniztttÍlm in thís {iele!. IlHlin re-
sul! wns :m cnormous quanlit31Ívc exp:msíll(1 (lf .. h(> v,ca\·
ing traúe 011 old b¡'sis of social WIWll
pt)wcr h>om took over, lhe lIIlH:S!ructtt!l'd lr;.¡dc
\',las lefl hi;;h ;lnd <.lry. Jt i .. nol th;lt !!.lOUp
the l11;Jin ccntcr of ctÍsturl,;mcc in North Engh!nd in
ll'ta¡ pc-:'iod, Smdser, op. dI., Ihí" .:ust in
dell1il.
Thc outcome of the proces.s was ¡he incorpora-
líen of a vcry large nc\" group of the working-cl:lsS
lí.lb<.lr force ioto the factory in fully dirrct-
cnriated occupational roles. \víth thc concomitant
los.l> of most of the function ot familv t::'e:onomic
productíon. \Vorkíng in factor)' prcm\ses, fO!' l.in
índi ",¡dual ¡) no Ullder factory rathcr Ü1Ml kin-
ship d¡'ciplíne. \v;:¡s :J. maln suuclural featurc of the
o'Jtc()rrtc, Smclscr makc.s it clcar that this W;'\5 rlOt a
símpl(! m,locr oí' w()rkers bv bet(cr wagcs
than cnurd be ofTercd ooly p'Os-
sihle thro\1 ¡zh a n1é.l jor rC$tructuríng 01' 1 hé
ü\)I1,d structl.lrc of tÍ1C \\orking-cla$s- kíns,hip
Fer the larger !i.ystcm. thc pan pln:'éd the
endugf!lwu,\' sourccs of lhe model compnncnts or
the process wus p;.lfticularly important. It IS not
to [he common bdicf th¡!t rhe
immcdi;.ue came fmm U1echal1ic .. invcn-
tíons. Imp1cmcntlng lhis ímpdus at levcls hcaríng
on ¡he of roles. hovi:evcr.
wa::; mainly the \vork of of
\vhom. likc Arkwriuht. were ;liso ¡he: Íf'¡\'cnwrs. But
Ihe icgitinu¡tino néW opportunities coold ce
hy spi.'cificlflioH. in thc tighl of lhc ne'" 0['-
portunitics. of an firmly io)titutlonniizcd
vuIUc-sysLem, The esscntial poim is thar
cc<momic produC'tivily \.Vas dcnneJ as goüd. in a
way justifying 1he major dist'urhancc::; of in;;{iltl-
tíonal slructureS at lüw"r leve::.; nc.::<..::ssan: for eddJ'1!!
advHntage of thc grci.¡ter opporamitíc,,: Ie!!itr:.
mation (;f proftt-m;¡king is only pmt of n largcr com-
pie:.:. ",hose foen, i'i on tile valum.ion of pwuuc-
d .... itv,
The het.wee.n the oi :-;tn.!ctund
ditl'..::r(!ntiari(ln tha1 j[wolvíng the- nlu<>'iy:,tem
of a ,OciCT\' is In compre.\. 'proc-
of di[fcrentiatío!1 are cl,)ntinu"ll\' OH ac
rcl;uivcly lo\\' lcvcb of andhigll lc\'d<>
of The differ.::nti:ltíoll al'
occupationa! roTes 1'[,ol'n cmheddcdness ir; kinsh¡p
should, howc ..... cr, he phlced nmong th..: v(;ry impor-
tan! havíng in !he sOi:icty
eXIC:lHlíng far bc\'ond thcrr jmn,(:lJíarc k1c:"ttfon<;, 1t
ii' c1carlv""' a functíon of great ex[cnsl()o in thc divi-
of J hber ando in .he extcnt 01'
nwrkcts. li Il:akcs saiícnl a \\'hoie ,,/;;''í¡C!; of nc\\"
prohlcms with rcspcc! ro thc ,){ ('ünir:\('t
and thc cOIH.lition.I.; 01' C'mpioYnl...:ot-tndudlllg
hcginning:;. of orü;anlz;j(¡(\f} ami
bm(!':"l.ini'n(!. and (:';tha
apout lh.:: 'StillW; o( thc workin::.: c!;t;-;:.,cs.
proCC:'iS OCCttrS or the ()f tite rise 01' rhe
colton inau."tn' llntil ahoul i S-1-0--nwgnt-
me/e nol ¿lh,\o)utc¡\· hUI in tcrms oC lb Dbre in
the 'tot:ll eccmonw of Bnwin··-ii. (:O¡;o.[¡¡UIC:-.
"t mnj()r chünge (,hc ::.trLlctllrc thc Il íb
78
General 1 ntrnductiolJ
nOI smprísing that the dislurbances associatcd with
it Íncludcd much ngitati()11 in oi1(ional politicsand
n()clccahlc "C(fcrvesccnce
t1
in reJigíoll. Al the same
time. (he challge did not invelve hltroducing a ocw
valuc sYS{cll1 al the national lcvel-Le., lhe funda-
mentals 01' I>uritan OriCnliltion a.nd its place in Brít-
Ish national vatues haLl been scttlcd in the sixtcenth
llnd scvcnteenth centl.lries.
Clwl1ge in lhe SOde1111 Value SyJtem. Al the high-
normative level. [Wo main types of stmcwntl
change l11:iy be distínguished. The alrcady de-
scribed. ¡5 thc ene wherc thc principal molle) com-
ponent comes from olltside the society. This has
becll true of [he contempornry underdeveloped
arellS. :lS oUlliI1ed. To somc degrec. ir was truc of all
rhe po)).r-British cases of industrialízation.
the American.
The Arncrícan case went f.u1hest in accepting the
British mOllel of free enterprise, though with some
importanr qualiücatíons. 'rhis can be attributed first
to the raer ¡hnt the value systcm deríving main]y
from rhe ethic of ascctic Protestantism had beco
strongly inst itution¡llizecl in this. country by the
early ninetccnth ccmury: funhcrmorc, the basic
stIlIctunil posJtion of reUg:ion had becn settled by
the adoption 01' lhe C0l1süwüolla1 separation or
church and stntc that pavcd the \I/ay for dcnomina-
tional pluralism, The British model, therefore,
poscd no seríous problem of the
Amerícan was considernbJy cJoser to a pUTe
culture of rhe asC'ctic branch úf Protcst:lntism most
irtvolved in indl1strializntion [han was the British.
The problem in our case was primarily thc process
of structural differentialion. MOlny relíglous move-
ments, especial1y .rel.'jvalíst ones) played an ímpor-
tant part on the t:ringes of the spread oC indllstriali-
zation. These have becn essentlillly similar tú Meth-
odism in thc north of England in the later eighteemh
century.
Thís is probabIy one oí the major causes oí the
rcJatively r(Jle of polítical agency in the Amer-
ican case. though political <tgency playeJ a greater
pan in such fic1ds as subsidizing of railway-
building in America than in Brimin. Essentially,
(hcre W::JS no very serÍolls problcm of gaining gcn-
acccptancc oC the funcLional valucs necessary
for industríalizalion. as there was in underdcvcl-
apea arcas or i:!ven in lnost Continental
countrics. It ís probably not entirc]y tortuitous that
both J,lpan and the Soviet Union, although very
diíTerent, hecame .indllstrialized undcr vcry heavv
govcrnmentnl prcssure; in both cases) lhe
ca) jtlstíficatio!.i of t he re:quisítc vaJue-commitmems
played a partícularly ímportant parí. In hpan, the
natIon:1listlc connot¡üions 01' aspects of the Shinto
rcligious tradítion wcre part¡c::ularly impMtunt.
41
In
the SOViCf case, the revolutíonary force ()f thc Com-
munist movemcnl was graftcd onto a Russian soch\l
structurc th,)t had alwñys cmphasizcd thc priority
ü¡' the state ovcr prívate intcrcSls-far more srrong]y
than in most Wcstcrn countries, The J)artv fune-
tioncd as the prímnry agency of ideologica1 indoc-
trination whích, under the utopian conccption of
has inculcated the values ncccssary
for high commitment to economic productívity-
values which seem to have becn rclativelv wcak in
pre-Revolutionary Russiu. .
The combinat¡on of practical urgency and the
absence 01' the function'i)·leve] vaIue commítment
constitules a majtlr reason that. for the undcrrlevel-
opcd COlmtrics
t
governmental agency and the im-
portallce of thc ideological symbol 01' "socblism"
play such an important role in industrializatíon.
Even lhe rigid i'iuthoritariunism oí Communisl or-
ganizatjonal practlces occasions Car Jess resistance
in these circumstances, since thcre is both the factor
of urgency, lo al} extelll which we do not fcel, and.
pcrhaps even more important, the necessity of coun-
terbaJancing, in the inevitable ilmbivalent structurc.
the profoun"'d resistuflce to value change.'.(l ,
The second rl1ain type oí value-change is
that occurring when the cultural model cannot be
supplieJ frOl;l <1 socialIy exogenous source. but
l'I1usL so far the social svstcm referencc is con-
cerned. be evolved from within the societv. This is
the sÍluation to which Max \Vebcr's cate-
gory of ch.¡rismatic innovation applies. The focus
of the change must be in the cultural system"s re-
ligiollS aspects. lr must concern alterations in the
definition of {he meaning of lhe life of the indj4
vidual in socíety .and of the chara.cter of the socicty
itself.
Jn the proccss of development, a cultural change
which coukl chllngc valucs at a socictaJ level would
arise
J
through some cmnplex process involving toe
interactioLl ioterdepcndencc of socia1 and cul-
tural systems. Consídenltions such as those re·
viewed-bv \Vebcr in the selection on dasses. status
groups religion (see end oí Scc!ioll B in
49. On the politic;:¡l primíJcy of Japanc-se society and
XIS role in indusJrialization. as well :.JS i1s rclaJkm !o ¡he
background, :;ee R. N. BéHah. l'okugawa Re-
ligíO'l (G!encoe, 111.: FreePress, 1957).
50. 'fhe !Il()Sl C'onsj)lcllouS exampJe oí II faílure to o\·cr·
come lhis vcry prob.ably because or lhc failure
tú pravíde the uecessarj permisí'ivcness supporr tú
. eüse lhe process of reHnql.lishn:)enl of úld valucs, 18 pl'ob-
i1b]y the case of lhe Russian pe¿ts::mtry. Agriculturc is
clearly the mllin sore spot oi Soviet prod_llctívity, :lnd lhis.
10 go back. to the vlolently coercive proct'<!ure.s
tldopte.d in lbc co]]eCljvization programo See Baner, In-
keles, and Klllckhohn, Hol<' tlt(J Soviet Sj'Síem Work.\".
Press, 1957.
Talcott Parsons: An Outll1lc ot thc Social Systcrn
Part Four) would be highlv in so far
as tbcy COl1cern society ..... The \vhole systern of
aClion, aud thc action-cxogenous im-
pinging Ilpon it, is abo to thís prob!em. The
speciaJ role 01' ¡he charismatic personaliry may in-
volve prohlcms spccitic 10 pcrsonalíty thcory ano
nol reducible either to sociological or cultural terms.
v. CONCLUSrON
- Thc obverse is tbc of institutionalizlng
new religious valucs. The firsl question arising con-
cerns thc specification of the values from the cul-
tural lo the social system leve!, that is, definíng of
the implicarions of the cultural prcl11ises for lhe kiJ/d
01 .\'oG'iery considcred dcsirable. 'fhe second basic
problcm conccrns the processcs by \\'hich, once slIch
a sct oC soeteral Vlltucs ís availn,ble, the strategicllly
11105t irnportant clements ín lhe population be
moti vationa 11 y COI1lD1 i tted 10 them, In other 'I.vó'rds,
thesc c!cl11cnts must be socíalil.ed in the new dcfini-
tion of thc situation íf the}' are to exert thc lc ..... eragc
ncccssary for extending imritulionalization of
[he valucs lO al! the important levels 01' speciflcation
nnd arcas of dífTcrcntiatcd function in the socicty.
A few points may mentioncd Ihat ilre perÜ-
nent. Thc bcarers of the nev.' valucs mUSí somehow
bccome in such a \V,IV that thev cannor
be reabsorbed in the older syst'em: Rcligiolls oc semi-
religious movements, churches, elC., n;lJst be struc-
turaIty independcnt oí lhe \nramount politícallv
organize<.l collectívity. Once consolidated. howevc{,
the institutionalization of ncw vall1es in the
society is possible only when tbese bearers can
acquirc a fllndamental inJluence ove!" lhe kadership
elements ofthe paramounl política! systCfll. through
convers¡oo of [hese elcments, rhrough infiltratíon,
or through revolutíon. In carly medieval Europc)
the Church was the main locus oC thc valucs \vhích
laLer un<.lcrJay the üctivisrn of modcrn \Vestern
cicty. The relígious orden; werc the maín lOCllS 01'
(he v.1lucs' growth and consolidation. If the Church
and its orders had mercly becn a part of {he po1í[ical
organization. this would not occurred. In thc
great pajod from Gregory V Il LO 1 n nocent Il I, the
Chl.lrch was able to imposc rnuch more of its values
on a rcluctant political Lüry [han ir otherwise could
havc. Thís did not happcn v.'ithout a good dcal or
direct inkrpenetr:Hion o[ political und rcligiom
Icadcrshíp; but [he basíc principie of dilTercntimion
of churcb and sta te, thongh lIndcr
strain, W;1:; not
A variety of other considerarions übolJt this
proccss could be ti bllt pcrha ps I hesc a re
enough to show the naturc of thc pwccss
of chunge involve-d in (he. institutionalizat ion of TlC\\;"
values "he societal leve1.
Although il rnay sCC'nl long. to the task
the abo"e oUlHnc is obviously just a sketch, anJ a
very tentative onc. It Ís '-i slátémcnt oC whot seems
to 011(.' partíCU[LLf author .n o)Je panicular time tq be
the mosl u::Idul ,,,,ay of organlzing his view af ·the
cornp[cx problcms and máterjals \\'hich musr some-
h()w enler into the analysi::; 01' social systems. \Ve
have cmphasizcd, throuc.hout the inln.)ductorv m¡¡-
terials of this Anthology, tha! in our opínion"' soci-
o]ogy, as a thcoretical as well as <ln empirÍLa! sci-
is in an early stage of developmenL \Ve- bold,
thot olly statement mude in our
1Ion. even in outline, is ln the naturc of the case
lO be superscdcd, ilnd re!ntivcly quick!y.
Anv other vic\.\' contradict the
fact that science is an inheret71lv cvolvín
o
thinn: jf il
;:,::.
should stop dcvc10ping ami bccolllí! fix::tted on ány
particulnr sct of '·doctrines,'" il would ip.w
ccaSé [O be science,
This is the stalement 01' our fundamental con-
víction. lt does nol impJy. as is suggcsted,
thLlt. in [he Ihcory of sociology ,1S in other sc-icnccs,
is an indelinite pluralitv of cquallv legitimare
positíons on all qucstions, cClcclic¡;m ':;:--hich, 15
the counterpart. for rhe sociology of sciencc. oí
radical culturál relutivism in a c:ontex1.
Such :Hl implication would directly our
cqual1y fundamental clmviction th;t there has bccn
n dctinitc emerging structure of problcms in om
field. :Hld a ClIfllU];:Hivc deve[(¡pmcnt oí ana [vtical
thinking re!¡¡tlve to lnem. "
\VC conscicnliollSly to avole] thc ScvHa
of dogmatism in prcscnting J the,)retical vicw which
is inc"itably se1ccti-"ie and bLll is thc
bcst >H" can do at this 1 ¡me. \Ve think il equaily
nccessary to avoid tbc Charvbdis ol' thnt formless
eclec¡jcism. common at implication in Cl)U-
ti!lnporary discussions. acconling to \\'hkh in om
fidd ··J.nything goes." or "'you rays )'our J110ney and
VOH takes vour choice·': ilcCordíng 10 \\'hich 1 htrc
;l.re tlHcgc:J' lo be JlO critcrí:1 (,r
e\,cclk:ncc on :Jny gcncr:.r[Ized
51. It is perhars penincnt lO n(1te 196!) ¡lKli
\his [,l[rnl!udíon '.\'U!'. \\'ri111:."11 in lhe hte .!IHl ("MIl'
of 1958, $ 11l1iéÍcnl ti s ha ve l;¡kw ín
Ihe inlcrim >:'0 lhat had il been wn'ttc!I [\\'0 yea¡-s b 1I:: 1", í!
\\'l)tl!Ú llave diiicttn! \\'t'" hupe- bella.
Jt \\'-:lS !'lO!. hnwe\"l:f. W ul1denake e,l..kn!'lvc re·
;j[ lh:'tl time. FnI· lhe ;nlcn";{cd rL!:JüL!r ¡!len:: are lw(\
whc;c súme ni" trl¡; pcnincnt lunhcr dc-
vck'pme-nlS :ln! '4vail;\bk, narndy "P(I.[((-rn
¡\ Response t() Dilbia." Allierié-(i1J
Soc/ologic()/ Re 1'i"lI' , ! 960: "Thc I'nil)t of Vi ¡;:w
of ¡he Alllhür," lht.' finn.l in Black (e11,), r;ic.'
1'I1(.'oriC"s {!j Tu¡cotr PursO/¡s. N cw I'tl:nllct'-
H:tll, J96L