SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND SYSTEM INTEGRATION - DEVELOPING THE DISTINCTION

Authors
Citation
M. Archer, SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND SYSTEM INTEGRATION - DEVELOPING THE DISTINCTION, Sociology, 30(4), 1996, pp. 679-699
Citations number
24
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology
Journal title
ISSN journal
0038-0385
Volume
30
Issue
4
Year of publication
1996
Pages
679 - 699
Database
ISI
SICI code
0038-0385(1996)30:4<679:SIASI->2.0.ZU;2-7
Abstract
This paper underlines the importance of the distinction between 'socia l' and 'system' integration (agency and structure) introduced by David Lockwood in 1964. Its four sections (i) examine the original difficul ty of maintaining any distinction between the 'parts' of society and i ts 'people' against the social ontology of Individualism whose propone nts argued that the former must always be reduced to the latter as ind ividuals were the ultimate constituents of society, (ii) shows how col lectivist opposition held 'systemic factors' to be indispensable in so ciological explanations, but could not substantiate their ontological status against the charge of reification whilst empiricism held sway, (iii) explores how once the individualist/collectivist debate was supe rseded, Lockwood's distinction was redefined in structuration theory, where insistence on treating structure and agency as mutually constitu tive effectively denied their independent variation and thus reduced t he 'social' and the 'systemic' to differences in the scale of social p ractices; (iv) argues that social realism's ontology, in which 'struct ures' and 'agents' belong to different emergent strata of social reali ty, avoids reducing one to the other or eliding the two. Instead it su pplies the ontological grounding for Lockwood's distinction and enable s it to be developed into an explanatory programme-analytical dualism- whose central tenet is the need to explore the interplay between these two irreducible constituents of social reality in order to account fo r why things are 'so and not otherwise' and in a manner which is of di rect utility to practical analysts of society.