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Assess Archers argument concerning Lockwood’s position on social and system integration Essay

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The issue of integration is of great importance to the field of sociology, and especially to those who adopt the functionalist perspective.

For the purpose of this essay I want to look at the work of David Lockwood 1964 on the topic of social and system integration. I want to analyse how his theory came about, and argue that Lockwood’s theory should be highly respected, as it offers a clear distinction to theories offered in the past. But it still is not successful.

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In order to for fill this aim I need to analyse what the normative functionalists and structeralists Marxists perspective is on the three dicotomies and in particular the issue of power and conflict, from this we can see Lockwood’s critique of these and his own theory being established.

I then want to show, with the help of Margaret Archer that his theory does not hold to reason. Lockwood’s work was published in the hey day of functionalism and it is a landmark, and had major impact on contemporary social theorist like Margaret Archer who used the work of Lockwood to establish what she call “realist social theory”.

Lockwood’s article sets the scene for the debate on integration and disintegration, Lockwood does not here use the term integration to denote the involvement or attachment of individuals or collective groups to differentiated systems, cultural life or collective movements. Instead Lockwood is concerned with structures and actors at a macro level of analysis.

And so system integration is then conceived as more or less compatible relationships between different parts of subsystems in the society at large, while social interaction is seen as more or less orderly, as opposed to conflict, relations between collective actors of a social system.In Lockwood’s work on “social integration and system integration” 1964, his aim was to counter the criticism that were held against the normative functionalism perspective on the topic of how social change is initially generated in a society 1964:244. Lockwood claims that these criticism have been too focused on the problem of “social integration” and have ignored the problem of “system integration” which is important to their stance on the dichotomy and in particular their theory on social change and conflict.However Lockwood expresses that the major criticism of normative functionalism is “that it treats institutions primarily as moral entities without rigorously exploring the interplay between norms and power” 1964:246.

Dahrendorf and Rex and their theory, which Lockwood places under the title of “conflict theory”, established this problem. It is on this perspective that Lockwood establishes his own argument. According to Lockwood that there is a difference between the social and system levels.The social level refers to relations between actors, the notion of system to relations between parts.

For normative functionalists, social disorder arises from system disorder, for example where role conflict leads to deviance and social conflict. Functionalism has drifted mostly through Parsons” influence to an emphasis on values and social stability, becoming “normative functionalism”. Conflict theory sees power as an alternative mechanism for institutionalising values. There are potential conflicts in all systems stemming from the need to exercise authority.

Yet conflict theorists want to operate with a whole alternative society, so they miss their chance to operate as an alternative to normative functionalism at the social level. Lockwood continues suggesting that it is necessary to consider both levels. Social values are to be found even when power is very evident. Values generate opposition and guide the intensity and direction of conflict.

Values affect people”s aspirations, and offer chances for the development of different conflict groups are of contesting counter ideologies.Dahrendorf argues that power and the distribution if it “is the ultimate cause of the formation if conflict groups” cited in Lockwood 1964:246. So if conflict occurs between those who express orders and have authority and those of whom authority is exercised are a “normal feature” then two things may occur; the de-institionalization of power and the use of power to maintain institutions are ever present possibilities, and so in any view of institionalization, the role of power is of prime concern to Lockwood.With reference to the three dicotomies, structure/ agency, consensus /conflict and continuity/change.

We can see that Talcott Parsons wanted to privilege one side of the dicotomie, the left, structure, consensus and continuity. Structeralists Marxists want to deal with structure and both consensus and continuity. I. e.

how capitalist systems want to manufacture consent but also to deal with conflict and change of how the capitalist system might break down.Conflict theory was made in reaction to functionalism, two major conflict theorist are Rex and Dahrendorf they start on the opposite view of functionalism and say that society is characterised by conflict not consensus, we should not privilege consensus like functionalism do, instead, you should privilege conflict and agency, and the reason why society is marked by conflict is . They draw up on the work by Marx and Weber and argue that the power is a scares resource as for skills states or pressure groped that demand government change.Society is always marked by conflict people in cooperation for power, power is not equally distributed agents are always trying for a better position, conflict theory is opposite to functional its emphasis is on structural change leading to social change e.

g. for individuals demanding for a government change to change its policy on tax or fuel. Through conflict individuals can get structural change, functionalists privilege the parts over the people, the inverse is the conflict theory that is the juxta position social change will necessarily lead to structural change.According to Harre 1986 The conflict theory gets its foundations from Marx, who differentiate between social and system levels.

For him, change arises from system contradictions, based on private property and the relations of production, almost irrespective of social relationships between the classes. “Social strain” is the systemic mechanism producing tensions in functionalism too, but there is still a need to isolate the elements which produce it systematically, rather than as an occasional Normative functionalism privileges different institutional components as the only source of social strain, rather than any structural contradictions.Lockwood argued that in order to overcome the polarity, it might be more relevant to see these two approaches as indicating two distinctive dimensions of social cohesion, which can be characterised respectively as “system” and “social” integration. According to Lockwood there are two problems that functionalists and structeralists Marxists have dealt with the dicotomies.

Firstly, they only privilege one side, giving more emphasis to structure and how structure produces society, but they have difficulty in explaining their position on conflict and change but they have particular problems in how agency is important for changing things.For Parsons, people were more or less cultural puppets bought up on social norms, and like sponges they absorbed values and never questioned the problem of order. With Althusser however, the emphasis was on structure and agency, he saw individuals as being “the bearers of structures” meaning that they are determined by structures, we do not have free will shaped by ideologies around them. And secondly in both cases they underprivileged theory.

As Lockwood argues that theory is a property of the social world.Parsons and Althusser would construct theory around the theoretical, but assume that the world is made of consensual boxes that you can apply to the world. Theory is privilege over empirical investigation. This is where Lockwood comes in because Lockwood wants to give empirical weighing to the dichotomies, and does not want to privilege structure over agency, each should have equal weighing.

Non-is down played, how could you do this though? Now that Lockwood has established the difference between social and system integration, he can now propose a possible model that can express social change.As far as Lockwood is concerned, antagonistic social relations will lead to pressure on the system. And so, the extent to such demands will lead to compensation or to the correction will depend on the outcome of a power struggle played between institution agents. On the contents level Lockwood is not actually motivated by, instead his interest is more in sociology itself and its ability to explain conflicts and changes.

And so his theory is not normative, but is critical of elements of sociology.In terms of concepts his theory differentiates between and defines the concepts of social and system integration Lockwood gives us two conclusions, one about functionalism and one about conflict theory. He argues that with Conflict theory you have to give equal weight to system integration and social, equal weights to the parts and the people you cannot say that functionalists does not work because it looks at parts and people are controlled and then say that these agents wont change. Functionalists are both wrong as they privilege one side of the equation that are a mirror image of each other.

Functionalism privilege system over structure and social and over look the fact that shared values can produce conflict every one could agree. Lockwood claims that when you develop a theory you need to avoid d these mirror images. You cannot privilege one whether conflict leads to change is through empirical research. How can you no the difference between social and system integration? Mouzelis cited in Etzioni 1994 elaborated on Lockwood’s work and goes on to claim that social integration focuses on collective actors.

The institutions are boundary or the edge, and the actors are at the central, and so the rules are seen in the connection with the complex methodology the actors employ for the purpose of applying these rules when playing these specific games. From a system integration pint of view, however, the main concern is no longer how such rules are actually applied by actors in specific interaction situations but their relevance to intolerance to a social systems functions and it basic condition of existence.We can also see that Habermas has also taken up Lockwood’s idea concepts and likened them to his own famous concepts of system world and life world. The result is a conception of social integration that differs from Lockwood’s: Habermas sees social integration as a matter of the unhindered working of the communicative reproduction of the life world, in particularly the production of the life worlds ability to secure cultural meanings, solidarity social norms and personal identities.

Lockwood’s analysis of social and system integration can now be examined by the work of Margaret Archers work on critical realism.Archer argues that the spheres of social integration and system integration are linked by the way in which the level of system constitutes a set of positions and powers that are “not only irreducible to people, they pre-exist them” Archer 1996: 695. These structures derive from past actions, but Archer insists that this element of temporality is crucial, ‘not an option but a necessity’ Archer 1998: 375. Social actors therefore enter into a structure that endows them with certain capacities and capabilities.

The actors here present are not responsible for creating the distributions, roles and associated interests with which they live’ Archer 1998: 371.’Positions must predate the practices they engender’ Archer 1998: 201. Archer argues that the causal effects of the structure on individuals are manifested in certain structured interests, resources, powers, constraints and predicaments that are built into each position by the web of relationships. These comprise the material circumstances in which people must act and which motivate them to act in certain ways.

However, within these circumstances, social actors can act on these structures and change them; Because for Archer it is precisely because of people being the way they are, with creativity, innovativeness and reflexivity figuring as their distinctive emergent properties, that the social system can never approximate to laboratory conditions of closure. Therefore, people’s properties and powers constantly intervene, interfering with the influence of emergent structures and the exercise of their properties and powers. Archer 1996: 694Archer’s argument reinforces the necessity of thinking about issues of social integration and system integration together, whilst retaining their analytical distinctiveness. The sphere of the ‘social’ is characterised by openness within the constraints set by structures and systems.

As Lockwood indicated, it is the sphere of ‘potential’ where actors may utilise their powers to change the conditions of existence for the structure. Archer’s main criticism is that the concept of structures as “analytically insufficient”.Instead she believes that it is more worthy for social scientists to be understand structures and agency as independent because it makes it possible to analyse the interrelations between the two sides. Archer focus is on morphogensis, this is the process where by complex interchanges lead not only to the changes in the structure of the system but also to an end product: structural elaboration.

The theory argues that there are emergent properties of social interaction that are separable from the action and interactions that produce them. Once these structures have emerged they react upon and alter social interaction.The morphogenetic theory focuses on how structural conditioning affects social interaction and how this interaction leads, in turn to structural elaboration. What Archer refers to as ‘analytical dualism’ emphasises; The need to recognise at an analytical level the spheres of both social integration and system integration: The need to explore more clearly, the ‘systemic’ nature of the economic sphere and in particular to return to the notion that Lockwood developed from Marx of systemic limits or contradictions between parts of the system.

And finally, the need to consider the social level as consisting of positions with powers that are peopled and consequently changeable within the constraints of the existing structure. This in turn implies considering social action, social movements and ‘communities’ as both produced by a pre-existing structure and potentially producing a new structure. Archer 1996 argues that conflating structure and agency weakens their analytical power and elides the distinction between Lockwood’s original conceptions of ‘social’ and ‘system’ integration.She maintains that, in order to account for why things are ‘so and not otherwise,’ it is necessary to maintain the analytical distinction between the ‘parts’ of society and its ‘people,’ and supplies an ontological grounding for the distinction in Realism.

Structure and agency, in her view, are ‘phased over different tracts of time’ human actions over the short term, structures enduring which allows their analytical separation. I want to conclude that Lockwood’s work is undeveloped rather than flawed by Archer.The main area that Lockwood fails to develop is the relationship between actors and social systems, and hence he overlooks how social action in itself generates system change. One thing that is clear, however, is that Margaret archers work is not really a critique of Lockwood’s position but rather a development, which is why I am reluctant in saying which theory I support, as without Lockwood’s theory, Archer would not have had the ability to form her own theory, which is based on her criticism of Lockwood in the first place.

Cite this Assess Archers argument concerning Lockwood’s position on social and system integration Essay

Assess Archers argument concerning Lockwood’s position on social and system integration Essay. (2018, Jun 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/assess-archers-argument-concerning-lockwoods-position-on-social-and-system-integration/

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