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Functionalism Revisited: A practice based Functionalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Functionalism Revisited 26 In short, there are reasons that economists prefer rationalized decision making individuals to socializing individuals in their investigation of the world – that is what people in economic institutions intend to achieve. The problem with the approaches in economics, therefore, does not stem from their perspectives of depicting individuals; but stems from dismissing people’s other types of actions in their explanation. The mode of bureaucracy, for example, does not wipe out the mode of people’s ordinary life, which may include old type of organic life, and personal and social relationships developed in the organizations, and so on. This involvement of other types of unavoidable actions consequently agitates the anticipated results of bureaucratic or economic actions. In fact, functionalist/structuralist approaches are oftentimes related to the notions in structurational processes. For example, institutional theory suggests that organizational activities are influenced by their environmental factors and the consequences of actions often lock into their future actions. Mimetic process of formation of organizational structure refers to such a difficulty of changes of organizational actions once they are set. Here, two implicit meanings are found. On one hand, “actions locking into the future actions” indicates that changes (of actions) involves individual actions and practices, and requires time (social-praxis of actions). On the other hand, the notion of “difficulties” indicates that the economic institution itself also anticipates or expects “structured,” or “planned” (changes of) actions. That is, the notion of finding “something difficult to change” implicitly indicates the need of structured and well- planned actions, which are the essence of economics. ROT approach can be also seen as an element of structural process, which may involve domination and power in the process of structuration. Giddens suggests that understanding domination structures requires theoretical speculation of resource allocations in the economic domain (1984). How researchers sort out subtle changes in regularized social actions becomes an important task. Granovetter’s use of social network relations to observe changes of relations and the general patterns of the network is a profound way of detecting such subtleties of social and organizational lives. I argued above that theory of Structuration is prominent in explaining social process of social and economic actions. However, it tends to dismiss the some factors stemming from the economics and structuralist/functionalist approaches. I pointed out that some of factors are in common with the concept “regularity” in structuration, and argued that such factors are built and rebuilt by localized action. Therefore they may have explanatory power on explicating the social and economic world. Further, I also pointed out that economic action such as organizational, bureaucratic life, unlike social action, is a systematized and rationalized interference with natural life. And such efforts have been intertwined with the creative nature of social actions.

Authors: Kim, Hyo.
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Functionalism Revisited 26
In short, there are reasons that economists prefer rationalized decision making individuals to
socializing individuals in their investigation of the world – that is what people in economic institutions
intend to achieve.
The problem with the approaches in economics, therefore, does not stem from their perspectives of
depicting individuals; but stems from dismissing people’s other types of actions in their explanation. The
mode of bureaucracy, for example, does not wipe out the mode of people’s ordinary life, which may
include old type of organic life, and personal and social relationships developed in the organizations, and
so on. This involvement of other types of unavoidable actions consequently agitates the anticipated
results of bureaucratic or economic actions.
In fact, functionalist/structuralist approaches are oftentimes related to the notions in structurational
processes. For example, institutional theory suggests that organizational activities are influenced by their
environmental factors and the consequences of actions often lock into their future actions. Mimetic
process of formation of organizational structure refers to such a difficulty of changes of organizational
actions once they are set. Here, two implicit meanings are found. On one hand, “actions locking into the
future actions” indicates that changes (of actions) involves individual actions and practices, and requires
time (social-praxis of actions). On the other hand, the notion of “difficulties” indicates that the economic
institution itself also anticipates or expects “structured,” or “planned” (changes of) actions. That is, the
notion of finding “something difficult to change” implicitly indicates the need of structured and well-
planned actions, which are the essence of economics. ROT approach can be also seen as an element of
structural process, which may involve domination and power in the process of structuration. Giddens
suggests that understanding domination structures requires theoretical speculation of resource allocations
in the economic domain (1984).
How researchers sort out subtle changes in regularized social actions becomes an important task.
Granovetter’s use of social network relations to observe changes of relations and the general patterns of
the network is a profound way of detecting such subtleties of social and organizational lives.
I argued above that theory of Structuration is prominent in explaining social process of social and
economic actions. However, it tends to dismiss the some factors stemming from the economics and
structuralist/functionalist approaches. I pointed out that some of factors are in common with the concept
“regularity” in structuration, and argued that such factors are built and rebuilt by localized action.
Therefore they may have explanatory power on explicating the social and economic world. Further, I also
pointed out that economic action such as organizational, bureaucratic life, unlike social action, is a
systematized and rationalized interference with natural life. And such efforts have been intertwined with
the creative nature of social actions.


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