By Wsevolod W. Isajiw
First released in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Additional info for Social Theory and Methodology: Causation and Functionalism in Sociology
He states: Indeed, the assumption of structural-functional analysis is that it is necessary to understand^the structure of a system at any moment in order to compare the system at different moments in a time series. Only by comparing different structures in a time series can one discover whether a system has manifested self-maintaining process or processes of change, shortterm or long-term. How else can one define change except as transformation from one structural type to another structural type?
To say that two parts are interdependent is not to imply that they are equally so and thus, even with a system of interdependent parts, various parts can have varying degrees of independence or freedom. Having gone this far, it is now evident that a stress on the 'web of interdependence' within a system by no means relieves the analyst of the problem of factor weighing or loading. The analyst must still cope with the task of determining the differential contribution made by different system parts to the state of the system as a whole.
One type of such processes is that of social change. Many commentators on functionalism have held that since functionalism assumes a concept of a boundary-maintaining system, such a concept implies the idea of 'closure', and hence functionalism is bound to remain static analysis, illequipped to study change. Barber points out that although closure is implied in the concept of system, it is only the temporary and provisional kind of closure characteristic of all scientific research. He states: Indeed, the assumption of structural-functional analysis is that it is necessary to understand^the structure of a system at any moment in order to compare the system at different moments in a time series.
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