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Functionalism Revisited: A practice based Functionalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Functionalism Revisited 29 morph of bureaucracy. Rather, what Weber described as characteristics of bureaucracy is something that individuals (entrepreneurs and organizations) commonly but unwittingly – i.e., their activities did not pursue building laws themselves – achieve. However, this notion (regularities built by people) is readily dismissed in many of the above studies. For example, some of the above scholarly works are criticized for employing ideas of natural science (Comte and Spencer, for example, see Connell, 1997). They pursue their works to establish law-like principles in their explanation of societies. In other words, what they were pursuing tend to be thought as they exert ahistorical powers on people. What Giddens opposes in general is this ahistorical regularities in their arguments; rather than regularities themselves. That is, Giddens criticism is their sui-generis characteristic over individuals (1979). He refers sui-generis to their tendency to treat structures (the whole) as ontologically independent and separated from individuals and to assume that they have their own influence on people. However, when they discard this point of view – ahistorical nature of social regularities, their theoretical grounds seem more compatible with Giddens’ argument. Further readings indicate that some of the above works do not imply explicit ahistorical features of society. Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) posit that their view of resource dependence arose for the criticism of evolutionary, natural-selection process of organizational survival. Aldrich and Pfeffer (1976) and Pfeffer (1987) also note that RDT emphasizes the individual organization’s ability to adapt to the environmental situations in which they have to deal with; and argue that such efforts, in return, shape their future environment. This view is clearly open to the dialectical influences between agents (individuals and organizations) and structures as linear processes. 9 Second, unlike old ways of spreading words in face-to-face communication before the invention of printing, these ideas rapidly re-entered into the social world and were reflected in policies and actions through various institutionalizations. Specifically, Giddens raises a term, double hermeneutic of social science in modern society and argues that social science academia can have significant influences over social life by providing valuable insights into social and economic worlds. In conjunction with the development of communication technology, which accelerated “expansion of time-space” (Giddens, 9 However, Giddens is extreme on the issue of the sui-generis characteristic. That is, he criticizes the ideas of linear process of mutual influence between individual and structure by emphasizing virtual characteristics of structure. Structure – rules and resources – only exist when they are brought into agents’ action. Therefore, he does not allow structures to have their own power. However, I follow Rice and Gattiker’s view on structuration (2000). They argue that even if Giddens’ argument is valid, in reality, agents do not act this way. They take structures as fixed entities and react upon them in a taken-for- granted and improvised manner (see also Haines, 1988)

Authors: Kim, Hyo.
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Functionalism Revisited 29
morph of bureaucracy. Rather, what Weber described as characteristics of bureaucracy is something that
individuals (entrepreneurs and organizations) commonly but unwittingly – i.e., their activities did not
pursue building laws themselves – achieve. However, this notion (regularities built by people) is readily
dismissed in many of the above studies. For example, some of the above scholarly works are criticized
for employing ideas of natural science (Comte and Spencer, for example, see Connell, 1997). They
pursue their works to establish law-like principles in their explanation of societies. In other words, what
they were pursuing tend to be thought as they exert ahistorical powers on people. What Giddens opposes
in general is this ahistorical regularities in their arguments; rather than regularities themselves. That is,
Giddens criticism is their sui-generis characteristic over individuals (1979). He refers sui-generis to their
tendency to treat structures (the whole) as ontologically independent and separated from individuals and
to assume that they have their own influence on people. However, when they discard this point of view –
ahistorical nature of social regularities, their theoretical grounds seem more compatible with Giddens’
argument.
Further readings indicate that some of the above works do not imply explicit ahistorical features of
society. Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) posit that their view of resource dependence arose for the criticism
of evolutionary, natural-selection process of organizational survival. Aldrich and Pfeffer (1976) and
Pfeffer (1987) also note that RDT emphasizes the individual organization’s ability to adapt to the
environmental situations in which they have to deal with; and argue that such efforts, in return, shape
their future environment. This view is clearly open to the dialectical influences between agents
(individuals and organizations) and structures as linear processes.
9
Second, unlike old ways of spreading words in face-to-face communication before the invention of
printing, these ideas rapidly re-entered into the social world and were reflected in policies and actions
through various institutionalizations. Specifically, Giddens raises a term, double hermeneutic of social
science in modern society and argues that social science academia can have significant influences over
social life by providing valuable insights into social and economic worlds. In conjunction with the
development of communication technology, which accelerated “expansion of time-space” (Giddens,
9
However, Giddens is extreme on the issue of the sui-generis characteristic. That is, he criticizes the
ideas of linear process of mutual influence between individual and structure by emphasizing virtual
characteristics of structure. Structure – rules and resources – only exist when they are brought into
agents’ action. Therefore, he does not allow structures to have their own power. However, I follow Rice
and Gattiker’s view on structuration (2000). They argue that even if Giddens’ argument is valid, in reality,
agents do not act this way. They take structures as fixed entities and react upon them in a taken-for-
granted and improvised manner (see also Haines, 1988)


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