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Social Process and social systems

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Title: Social Process and social systems Author: Peter Knapp Last modified by: Peter Knapp Created Date: 4/25/2002 1:09:22 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Social Process and social systems


1
Social Process and social systems
  • How do individuals create society?

2
Classical and Contemporary theorists all stress
that I S
  • Marx
  • Durkheim
  • Weber
  • Parsons
  • Mills
  • Ch. 13 discusses Parsons (Sculli), Coleman,
    Habermas, Wallerstein and Tilly

3
Habermas
  • The most widely read social theorist in Europe
  • Combines sociology and philosophy
  • Calls himself a Marxist
  • Combines Marx with Parsons
  • Main center of Critical theory, aka Frankfurt
    school theory, aka critical Marxism.
  • Supporters currently trying to chance the name of
    the Marxist section of the ASA.

4
The ideal speech situation
  • Critical theorists are, in general, democratic
    socialists, but they are not simply democrats
    because Nazis and fascists may have a majority.
  • The ideal speech situation says that the truth is
    what people would agree too in an unconstrained
    situation of open discussion and access.
  • They argue that issues of right and beauty are
    similar.
  • Communicative ethics involves a complex
    development of these ideas.

5
Who said,
  • Human beings have the ability to dream better
    futures than we have yet succeeded in dreaming.
    We have the ability to create much better
    societies than we have yet succeeded in
    creating.
  • Joe Feagins Presidential ASA address 2001

6
How is society different from the solar system?
  • In general, the solar system is a closed system
    that merely repeats a set of dynamic motions,
    indefinitely.
  • From the knowledge of planets position and
    trajectory at any instant, positions can be
    predicted indefinitely into the past or future.
  • Although even the solar system is subject to
    chaos and to external effects.

7
Chaos
  • Lorentz showed that weather systems are not like
    this.
  • A mathematical replication consisting of three
    simple equations never repeats,
  • And, when entered into the computer again,
    produces a different trajectory,
  • Due to deterministic chaos
  • The butterfly effect.

8
The butterfly effect
  • If a system contains many amplifiers, then a
    force as weak as the wave of a butterflys wing
    in Brazil may generate a force as strong as a
    hurricane in the North Atlantic a month later.
  • Systems containing amplifiers (positive
    feedbacks) and dampers (negative feedbacks) will
    usually be chaotic.

9
Positive feedbacks
  • It is positive feedbacks that tend especially to
    amplify the effects of individual action, and
    therefore to make outcomes open.
  • Positive feedbacks often generate systems
    governed by the Matthew Principle that operate
    like a game of Monopoly, generating inequality
    and discontinuities.
  • This is one of the insights of conflict theory.

10
Negative Feedbacks
  • Negative feedbacks tend to act as controls and
    thermostats, fastening the system or parts of it
    into temporarily stable configurations.
  • The pervasiveness of negative feedbacks is one of
    the insights of functional theory.

11
Positive feedbacks in Myrdals An American Dilemma
  • cumulative causation

Minority deprivation

Majority racism



Minority deprivation
12
Negative feedback in Myrdal

Violation of the American Creed of equal
opportunity, etc
Institutionalized, systemic racism
-
  • Myrdal believed that the conflict of the dynamics
    of cumulative causation with normative, moral
    development towards an open, universalistic
    society creates a dilemma

13
Interpretations of Myrdal
  • In a complex system of feedbacks, one can get
    very different dynamics by emphasizing different
    causal influences.
  • Feagin believes Myrdal overestimated the openness
    of the American Creed and underestimated the
    importance of struggles.
  • I.e. it was the ghetto rebellions, not white
    liberals that generated Civil Rights.

14
Positive Feedbacks in Feagin
Unjust enrichment

Institutionalized racism and sexism



Unjust impoverishment
15
Negative feedbacks in Feagin
The dialectical process by which such structures
of oppression generate their own opposition and
nemesis

Institutionalized inequality
Struggle and opposition
-
16
Braithwaite and Wilson
  • Both theories are represented as a causal model
    without significant feedbacks.
  • Try to figure out in what ways they reflect the
    concerns of classical sociological theory
  • and in what ways their actual dynamic is a
    feedback dynamic,
  • leading to partially chaotic social process.

17
The Durkheimian core of Braithwaite
  • The effects of being male, adolescent, unmarried,
    unemployed, or not hooked into a career are what
    Durkheim called egoism a lack of social bonds.
  • The effects of urbanism and mobility are what
    Durkheim called anomie, or weakening of social
    norms.
  • Social bonds and social norms reinforce each
    other.

18
The central positive feedbacks
Association with other criminals

Crime (and punishment)



Stigmatization and labeling
19
The central negative feedbacks


crime
Strict punishment
-

Stronger norms
20
Net effects
  • The funny box in the lower left is Braithwaites
    attempt to get the best of both worlds.
  • He believes that strict punishment is needed to
    re-establish norms (reducing crime) but at the
    same time it reinforces labeling and stigmatized
    identity.
  • He thinks the Japanese criminal justice system is
    particularly good at punishing and then
    re-integrating, and that we need to learn from
    them.

21
The Marxian core of Wilson
  • Its jobs, stupid!
  • The underclass is generated by class.
  • He believes that the structure of
    institutionalized, cumulative inequality has lead
    to job flight, which then generated a deviant
    subculture of broken families and social
    isolation from job skills.

22
Some positive feedbacks
Concentrated poverty and powerlessness

Creation of weak labor force attachment and
underclass culture.


Unemployment and job flight

23
Some negative feedbacks in A Bridge over the
Racial Divide

Opportunity to build an alliance around full
employment policies
Structures of class and race inequality
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