Basic perspectives and schools of developing sociology in the XX century
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1) division, which creates functional subsystems from the main system, 2) adaptation, where those systems evolve into more efficient versions, 3) inclusion of elements previously excluded from the given systems and 4) generalization of values, increasing the legitimization of the ever more complex system. He shows those processes on three stages of evolution: 1) primitive, 2) archaic and 3) modern. Archaic societies have the knowledge of writing, while modern have the knowledge of law.
T. Parsons viewed the Western civilisation as the pinnacle of modern societies, and out of all Western cultures he declared the United States as the most dynamically developed. This caused him to be attacked as an ethnocentrist.
T. Parsons' late work focused on a new theoretical synthesis around four functions common to all systems of action, from behavioural to cultural, and a set of symbolic media that enable communication across them. This attempt to span the world with four concepts was too much for many American sociologists, who were then undergoing a retreat from the grand pretensions of the 1960s to a more empirical approach.
Another prominent functionalist Robert Merton (1910-2003) proposed a number of important distinctions to avoid potential weaknesses in the basic perspective. First, he distinguishes between manifest and latent functions: respectively, those which are recognized and intended by actors in the social system and hence may represent motives for their actions, and those which are unrecognized and, thus, unintended by the actors. Second, he distinguishes between consequences which are positively functional for a society, those which are dysfunctional for the society, and those which are neither.Скачать