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Explorations, Diagnoses,

and Conjectures

Edited by.

George Klzo/lschan _ and Walter Hirsch

With an Introduction by

Schenkman Publismng Company

A Halsted Press Book

New York - London - Sidney - Toronto

, "

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"1'1"\'" ~ ..J 1., 'oJ \.
,1 ,

David Lockwood

Social Integration and

System Integration

The terro "social change" will be taken to mean a change in the institu-
tiona] structure of a soCial system; more particularly, a transformation of
the core instituti(!!laLor.deL of a society such that we can .peak of a
chan'ge in tYPe'~f society. 1 do _Dot belíeve that it is necessary to reach
agreement on what is meant by the "core institutional arder" of a society
aI on how a typology of societies i5 to be diHerentiated befare tbere can
be.meaningful discussion of how the process of change takes place. That
is, unless there is sorne a priori commitment to a "dominant factor" theory
of social change; in which case the wrangle about whether change has
"really" taken place can be endless.

The main purpose of tbis chap'ter is to discuss sorne of the implications
of recent criticisms of functionalism, especially those which have a bear-
Jng on how social change is internally generated in a society. The fuesiS
is tliat, in concentrating their fire on a s.pecial, albeit prominent, --version
of functionalism ("normative functionalism"), cIltlcs have hecome over-
involved with what may be called the problems of "social integration."
As a result, they have tended to ignore what is just as relevant to their
central interests in con:8ict and social change, namely, the problem of
"system integration." And here the perspective of general functionalism
would still seem to be the most useful instrumento




In a recent artiele, Kingsley Davis (6) bas proposed such a catholic
definition of functionalism as to make it virtually indistinguishable from
the most hasic presuppositions of contemporary saciology. This is a11
very cornforting. But if by functionalism nothing more were meant than
seeing society as a system of interdependent parts, and an aversion to
"reductionism," then most of those who have been engaged in criticism
of functionalism would be proselytized overoight. How many would ac-
cept the attendant ideas, such as that of "functional requisites," is more
debatable, and would probably depend on bow they were interpreted.
Again, exactly what elements are included as "parts" of a social system,
and the exact implieations of the idea of "interdependence" itself, are ob-
viously areas of potential disagreement (10).

But, omitting these eansiderations, surely the "general" funetionalist
standpoint which Davis has restated must be distinguished from its more
specifie and controversial fann. Davis avoids mentianing preeisely those
characteristics which are now widely associated with, though not logically
entaile.d by, a functionalist orientation: fust, the emphatic role attributed
to "common vaIue elements" in the integration of social action; and
secand, the unwarranted assumption tbat the study of social stahility must
precede the analysis of social change. Both these predispositions, but
especially the :6rst, typify what we wish to speak of from now on as norma-
tive functionalism. 1

Before going on to examine the position to which we are led by the
critics of nonnative functionalism, one further distinetion is relevant to
the subsequent argumento It is the wholly artificial one between "social
integration" and "system integration." Whereas tbe prohlem of social
integration focuses attentia_n upon the orderly or eonHictful re1ationships
between the actors, the prohlem of system integration focuses on tbe or-
derly or conflictful relationships between the pan., of a social system.

It may be said at once that tbe connection between tbese twe aspects
of integration is neatly made by normative fuflctionalism. The logic js
simple. Since the ouly systematically differentiated parts of a society
are its institutional patterns, the only sauree of social disorder arising
from system disorder is that which takes the form of role conHict stem-
ming from incompatible institutional pattems. If, however, it js held that
such institutional pattems do not exhaust the generally relevant uparts'"

1 Couldner quite properly points out that tlrls tendency has amounted to what i8
in fact "implicit factor-tbeorizing": "Although the methodological position of the
earlier functionaUsts commonly a-ffirmed an amorphous, :lnterdependence of parts
within a social system, it does not follow that the specmc empirical analysis in which
they -engaged actually utilized this principIe. In particular, the classic contributioDs,
from Comte to Parsons, haya gone out of their way to stress the significance oI
'shared vaIne elements' in maintaining the equilibrlwn of social systems" (10
p.265). '

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of a social system, then this particular articulation of system and social
integration is only one way of relating tbe phenomena of «devianee'" and
"conillct" to the operation of the system as a functioning entity. 'Fo!bis
point we shalI return later. For tbe moment, what needs stressing is tlté!t
th.e exities of normative functionalism have devated their critique entirely
to the way in which !bis theory handles the problem oE social integration;
and particularly to the ambiguities of the concept of "institution."


The leading exponent of the general functionalist school, Robert K.
5 Merton, has aIready drawn attention to the static connotation of tbe tenn
~ institution: "It is not enough," he writes, "to refer to tbe <institutions' as
:S thougb they were all uniformly supported by all groups .and strata in the '"
¡¿:" 'SOcietY. Unless systematic consideration is given to th.e degree of su.p- --~
c" port of particular 'institutions' by specific groups we shall overlook the -l:

?:. important place of power in society" (15, p. 122). The major criticism' ~
;:::r- of normative functionalism which has frequently heen made is that it '-'
;!::: _ treats institutions primarily as moral entities, with.out rigorously exploring _ "
§: the. in~erp~ay.between norms ":,,d power that is univ."rsally present in·iL~\\\

.;;. maJor IDstitutional contexts. This weakness has beeo seIzed upon by such
'" writers as Dahrendorf (5) and Rexl!9). -Their basic theses are sufll-M
~" " ciently similar to be treated jointly. For the sake of convenience, their.ü.n

-::::;--S ideas may be called "conillct theory." ".-
~ ~ The conHict theorists have pointed out fust that nonns and power must
""" ~ be considered as general alternative modes of "institutionalizing" social

. .:;; relationships. To quote Rex:

We have also to recognise tbat sorne of the ends which the aetors in om
system pursüeS.ay be random ends frOID the point of view of the systern or
aetually in conflict with it. If there is an actual conflict of ends, the be-
haviour of actors towards one another may not be detennined by shared
Donns but by the success which each has in ~ the other to act
in aecordance with his interests. Power then becomes a crucial variable
in lhe study of social systems (19, p. 112).

Second, potential conHicts of interest are seen as endemic in aU social
systems which uinstitutionalize" power relatíonships,.2 because power

.2 Briefly, to define authorlty as institutIonallzed power is to beg exactly the ques-
tion that Mérton raises, if the Une between authorlty and, power is drawn -in teIlDs
of the presence or absence of a c1aim to legitimacy, not in terms of .tbe sentimenj:s
of tbose (prlncipally) over whom authority is exerc1sed. Perhaps the most· general"
consideration which makes tbe "de-institUtionallzation" of authority an ever-present
possibility is the fact that, whereas the legitimacy _oÍ- authority tends to taIce the form
of general principIes, acts of authoritjt. are always specrnc; and fuey are· always.
more specific than derived rules of authority, no matter how well developed the
18tter. Thus, the "exploitable" ambiguity surrounding the dúivation and interpre-


(authority) over others is the most general farol' of "scarce resource" and
one that is inherent in society itself. "The distribution of authority in
associations," writes Dahrendorf, "is the ultimate 'caus~' of the formation
of conillct groups" (5, p. 172). Thus, if potential conHicts of interest be-
tween those who exercise authority and those over whom authority is
exercised are a "normal" feature of social organization, the de-instirntion-
alization of power, and the use of power to maintainmstitutions, are ever
present possibilities. In any realistic and dynamie víew of instirntionaliza-
tion, the role of power, both in the generation and control of conHict, is of
prime concern.

Al lirst sight, it would seem that the image of society constructed by
nonnative functionalism has given rise to counter-arguments which
bring us round fu]] cirele to the polemical starting point of modern soci-
ology, namely, the debate on social contracto But forhmately both nor-
mative functionalists and conillct theorists are not prepared to recognize

\:1 as a real issue the Greenian dichob;>my of ''Will'' versus "Force" (ll).
~ 111e themes of norms-consensus-order, and power-alienation-conBict are
--é... not regarded as viable sociological alternatives.a

... It is, ,therefor<:..a little surprising to find that both Dahrendorf and Rex
~ consider it necessary to develop their antitheses to normative functional-

ism in- a systematíc fOnDo These take th.e shape, respectively, of a "coer-
cion theory of society" and a "conillct model of society".'· For!bis strategy
they give reasons which are even more surprising. The rust is that they
both feel their <fmodels" or «frames of reference" are specially suited to
certain problem areas in sociology, particularly to the shldy of industrial
societies (5, pp. 161-164; 19, p. 112, p. 114). And, second, Dahrendorf
feels that the unification of the "integration theory" (normative function-

tation of the legitimacy of specific acts means that authority is never given, but is al-
ways contingent upon its exercise. It is precisely with such conHicts arising within
the inte'rstices of iDstitutionalized power that "conBict theory" 1s concerned; and
not simply with the more unosual approximations to "unstructured" power conHicts.

3 At any rate, in fonnal tenns. For instance, Parsons: «1 do not think it is usefuI
to postulate a deep dichotomy between theones which give importance to bellefs
and values on the one hand, to allegedly 'reaUstic' interests, e.g., economic, on the
other. Bellefs and valnes are actualized, partially and imperfectly, in realistic situa-
tions of social interaction and the outcomes are always codetennined by the values
aud reaUstic exigencies; conversely what on concrete leveIs are called 'interests' are
by no means independent of the values which have been institutionallzed in the
relevant groups" (18, p. 173). See also Dahrendon (5, p. 159, p. 163) and Rex
(19, p. 112). But while there is formal agreement on this point, both the norma-
tive functionallsts and the conflict theorists fail to explore in any rigorous way the
interre1ationship of "normative" and "realistic" elements oI social systems.

""" Both authors state their propositions in smnmary form (5~ pp. 236-240; 19~ pp.
129-131, p. 195, pp. 236-240). Their premises are _very siÍnilar: "Every society
clisplays at every point ci!~P~ and conHict; social· conflict. is ubiquitous" (5, p.
162"); "Instead óf being organised arcond a consensos oI values, social systems ·may
be thought of as involving eonflict situations at central points" (19, p. 129). The
m'ajor disagreement between the two would seem to be how fat, in fact, Unes oI social
CQnilict overlap. See Rex (19, pp. 117-118).

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aJism) and the "coercion theory" is unlikelyand probrbly impossible (5,
p. 164). r J~ \) I f1 « ¡~ re Ó'~ nt¡", (

Neither DI these reasons is very. compellin..s. You cannot _ass~~ that
society is unthinkable as...ei.the¡ a purely moral ar a purely coercive entity,
and then ;uggest that a vocabulary built around one or the other of these
unthinkable premises is necessary because sorne societies are manifestly
more orderly al conHictful than others. To be sure, fue degree to which
power enters into social relationships is a factor indispensable far tbe-
understanding DI both the «imperfectiou" af consensus aud the propeusity

'1 \ to confli<;:t, But even in siruations where power is very evident aud C0D-'
{Ve ~Jl flict enderic, it is. doubtful wbether the phenomena of conflict can be

kadeguatel'L.. grasped withoÜt incorporating into conflict theory many
(l),',¡\~V\cl( DI the concepts ano propositions concerning tbe dynamic properties of
, I iD value systems (or ideologies) ~eh have been developed, or taken over,
;; €I'\~t( by normative functionalism. ~iven the power structure, the nature
::: of the vaIue system is of signallll1portance for the genesis, intensity, and

direction of potential conflicto Particularly crucial is the way in wbieh
it structures the levels of aspiration of different social strata. It may, of
its own accord, create aspirations which generate demands for change,
or add fuel to the fire of conHicting material interests. It may be sumo
ciently open and ambiguous to be exploited simultaneously by difIerent
conillct groups; Dr, contrariwise, be capa:ble of absorbing counter-ideolo-
gies within itself. Or, sudden change in the relative material positions oI
different groups may· result in widespread conillct as a consequence oI
what Durkheim calls "moral de-classification." It could, therefore, be
argued that even the analysls 01 t1iat facefOISocial integration to which
Dahrendorf and Rex consider their" theories to be especially relevant-
namely, social conflict - requires nothing less than a systematic extension
of their framework to take explicitly into acconnt the variable properties
of vaIne systems that have been the focus of normative functionalism. 5

To the extent that this is done, their conflict theory ceases to be a "spe-
ciar' approach. That 'status is reserved for the unmodified version of
normative functionalism.

Finally, both normative functionaJism and conflict theory quite ob-
viously utilize many sociological concepts (which are tbe property 01
neither the one perspective nor the other for the solntion oI their re-
spective problems). Witness only Dahrendorf's (5, pp. 213-218) extensive
use of the concept of "multiple group relationships" to account for. the
variability of cIass conflict in a way that is not at alI dissimilar from the
way it is used, for example, by WilIiams (24, pp. 560-561). Surely it is in
the active use of precisely such common concepts and propositions, rather

15 To take an actual example, compare the explJcit use of the idea oí the "explona-
bllity" of the common value system by Parsons (17, p. 293, p. 355) in accounting for
the intensification oí "deviance" with the implicit reference to such an idea by Rex.
(19, p. 125) in discussing class conflicto


than in procnring an agreed definítion of "institution" or "society,'" that
the desired uuification of whicb Dabrendorf is so sceptical is constantly
being achieved. In actual fact, the divergence between wbat he calls
"íntegration theory" and "coercion theory'" ís much more evident in de-
fining problems than in solving lhem.

Why, then, the concentration on the development of alternative con~
ceptual schemes in wbieh the ideas of power and conflict playa central
role? PartIy because the recognition given by normative functionalism
to the arguments put fOlward along these 'lines has so far amounted to
nothing more than lip service. More fundamentally, perhaps, it is be-
cause, in seeing equilibrium analysis combined in normative functional-
¡sm with a focus on shared vaIue elements, Dahr~ndorf and Rex, with
their manifest ínterest in social change, have as a consequence sought
the key to this problem in the area of power and conflic!. lf this is so,
how far do the. conflict theorists take us in the analysis of social ehange?

Dabrendorf and Rex assert that social cbange is a result of the sbifting
balance of power between conflict groups (5, pp. 231-236; 19, p. 196).
Now, while social chang~ is very freqnentIy associated with conBict, the
reverse does not necessarily hold. Conillct may be both endemic and
intense in a social system withont causing any basic structural change.
Why does sorne conillct result in change while other conHict does ;not?
Conflict theory would bave to answer that tbis is decided by the variable
factors affecting the power balance between groups. Here we reach the
analytícallimits of conHict theory. As a reaction to normative function~
aJism it is entirely confined to the problem of social integration. What is
missing is the system integration focus of "general functionalism, which,
by contrast with normative functionalism, involves no prior cornmihnent
to the study of system stabiJity.6

Tbis is exceedingly interesting because both Dabrendorf and Rex
arrive at their respective positions throngh a "generalization of Marx. Yet
it is precisely Marx who clearly differentiates social and system integra-
tion. The propensity to c1ass antagonisffi (social integration aspect) is
generally a function of the eharacter of production relationsbips (e.g.,
possibilities of intra-class iclentification and cornrnunication). But the
dynamics of c1ass antagonisms are clearly related to ·the progressively

61 may refer here once more to the excellent essay by Gouldner (10) and espe-
cially to his idea of the "functional autonomy" of parts. This concept prevides D.n
obvious link between social and system integration. He explicitly points out tbat
"the concept of the differential functional autonomy of parts directs atlention to the
need to distínguish between parts having a greater or lesser vested interest in system
maintenance," and that "not only efforts to change the system, but ruso those directed
at maintain1ng it are likely to entail confUct and resistance" as a result of differential
functional autonomy. What 1 find a little ambiguous, however, is rus use of the term
"parls" of a system: at one stage they seem to mean structural aspects (e.g., ecologi-
cal conditions)j at another, actual groups (the French bourgeoisie). The "parts"
which may become functionally D.utonomous are sureIy g10UpS; the "parls" whose
interplay conditions their functional autonomy are the stTuct1Jlal elements of the sys-
temo 1 hope this will become clear in the subsequent argumento

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growing "contradictions" DI the economia system. One might almost say
that the "conflict" which in Marxian theory is decisive for change is Dot
the power conIDat arising from the relationships in the productive -system,
but the system conillct arising from "contradictions" between "property
institutions" and the "forces of productiono" Though definitely linked,
these two aspects of integration are not only analyticaIly separable, but
also, because of tbe time element involved, factuaIly distinguishable.
Thus it is perfectly possible, according to !bis theory, to say that at any
particular paint DI time a society has a high degree of social integration
( eogo, relative absence of class conllict) and yet bas a low degree of sys-
tem integration (mounting excess productive capacity ).

Further interest atlaches ta the faet tbat the idea DI stIucturaI contra-
diatians is central to the general functionalist view of change:

The key concept bridging the gap between statics and dynamics in
functional theory is that of strain. tension. contraruction. or discrepancy
between the component elements of social and cultural structure. Such
strains may be dysfunctional for the social system in its then existing fonn;
they may al50 be instrumental in leading to changes in that system. When
social mechanisms for controlling them are operatfug effectively. these
strains are kept within such bOWlds as to limit change of social sb."ucture

The vital question is, oI course: what are the "component elements"
of social systems which give rise to strain, tension, or eontradiction?
General functionalism, as 1 understand it, does not attempt to fonnulate
an answer to !bis question (10, ppo 244-248) o It is, by contrast, in norm-
ative functionalism that institutional patterns emerge as the on1y gen-
erally identified and systematically difEerentiated components of a social
system between which there can be conHict and resultant strain. Sinee
social systems are differentiated on1y along the institutional axis, there
can be no place for the kind of contradictions wbich Marx envisaged,
contradictions which are obviously relevant to the problem focus oI con-
fliet theory. We may ask, ther.efore, does the Mandan view contain the
elements of a more general sociological formuJation?


Criticism oI the Marxian interpretatian of society and social change has
focused on the meaning and importance attributed to the ~<material mode
of production." Sometimes, this has been simply and erroneously inter-
preted as technology. Yet it is quite obvious that in the Marxian schema
technological change is not regarded as the prime mover, but as a force
wbich operates interdependently with the productive relations of the
society, that is, the prevailing organization of property and laboro The
inclusion of productive relationships in the concept «mode of production"
lays lhe lheory open to the criticism lhat the degree of differentiation and


Í'odependence of such relationships from other social in the
same society varies very considerably; .and that in particular, the salleney
oE the economie system under capitalism is not at aH characterist:fe of
most histdrical societies in which the mode of political organization
heavily conditioned the structure and potential change of productive re-
lationships.7 Marxian theory has not, for fairly obvious reasons, been
overmuch concerned to rehut such criticisms of its basie sociological \
assumptions. Given its premises about the general long~run decisiveness
of the eeonomie arder for social change, it has quite logically confined its
discussion of system integration to the internal dynamics of -the mode of
production itseIf - to the economíc theory of the contradiction between
"forces of production" (tecbnological potential) and lhe "relations of
production" (property institutions ) 0 8

Wbile !bis narrowing down of the problem of system integration is
higbly questionable, the idea of a contradiction between the material
conditions of production and the productive institutioDS of the economic
system has a more general relevance that should not be ignored.

First, contradietion implies that the material means of production
(eogo, industrial tecbnology) favor a set of potential social relationships
(socialist ownership) wbicb constitutes a tbreat to the existing social reo
lationsbips institutionalized in the property system (private ownersbip)o
Now, whatever reservations oue may have abaut the. specific linkage oI
industrial production with socialist property relationships, there is noth-
ing metapbysical about the general notion of social relatioDsbips being
somehow implicit in a given set of material conditions. Material condi-
tions most obviously inelude tbe technological means of control over the
physical and social environment and the skills associated with these
means. They inelude Dot only the material means af production, hut also
what Weber frequentIy refers to as the material means of organizatioD
and violence. Such material conditions must surely be included as a
variable in any calculus of system integration, since it is cIear that they
may facilitate the development of "deviant" social relationsbips wbicb
ron counter to the dominant institutional patterns of the system. MicheIs'
study of oligarcbical tendencies is only the classic exampleo

Secand, according to Marx, the actualization of these potential counter~
relationsbips is detennined by lhe success with wbicb lhose with vested
interests in the existing order are able to resolve the functional incom-
patibility between the material means of production and theproperty
frameworko In the capitalist case, !bis incompatibility arises from the
inability of private property institutions to accommodate the productive
capacity of the industrial systemo The focal point of strain is "overpro-
ductiono" The argrnnent, of course, goes furlher than !biso The theory of
lhe "crisis mecbanism" not only postuIates dysfunctionality but attempts

T See especially. Weber (22, pp. 739-43).
8 Sea, for example, Baran (1) and Sweezy (20). For the difficulty of locating the

~<crisis mechanism" of feudalism, see Dobb (7).

Page 6


to demonstrate how the internal contradictions of tbe mode of production
are endogenously intensi/ied to lhe point of system breakdown by lhe
inherent development of productive forces. This mechanism, most fully
elaborated in the case of capitalist societies, is the conveyor belt which
moves a society froID one stage of its historieal evolution to the next. But
in order to use lhe idea of a functional incompatibility between lhe domi-
nant institutional arder Df a social system and its material base, it i5 not
necessary to assume that the system must inevitably break down al that
it must inevitably be succeeded by another system of a given type.9

We now have a view cf system integration, particularly relevant to
conflict lheory, whicb may be summed up as follows: .

1) ODe generally conceivable sonree of tension and possible change
in a social system is that which arises from a <1ack of .6t" between its
core institutional order and its material subshucture.
2) The material substructure in such a case facilitates the development
of social relationships whicb, if actualized, would directly lhreaten
the existing institutional order.
3) The system will be characterized by a typical form of "strain"
arising from the functional incompatibility between its institutionaJ
order and material base.
4) The actualization of !he latent social relationships of lhe system will
depend on the success with whieh groups having vested interests in the
maintenance of the instihrtional order are able to cope with the dys-
functional tendency of the system in the faee of particular exigencies.
5) If these exigencies lead to an intensification of the funcf:ionaI in-
compatibility of the system, and if compensating measures by vested
interest groups lead (unintentionally) to a furlher actualization of lhe
potential social relationships of the system, a vicious circle of social
disintegration and change oI the institutional order is under way. H,
on the other hand, compensating measures are effective, the institu-
tional order wilI remain intact, but the focal point of strain wiIl con-
tinue to be evident so long as lhe functional incompatibility of lhe
system persists.
These propositions do not limit fue analysis oI system integration to

lhe productive system of a society, Nor do lhey imply a differentiation
of types of soeieties primarily in terms of their modes oE production.
Such problems cannot be settled a priori. ConsequentIy, the «dominant"
or ((eore" institutionaI orders may vary from one type oE society to an-
other; and the ide;ntification of such institutional orders would seem to be
/irst and foremost a way of deflning what is meant by saying lhat a so-
ciety has changed.10 There are, however, certain problems which arise

D See the mstnlctive remarks of Coulborn (4, pp. 254-269).
10 Thus differences of opinion about the endurance of Western feudal society

depend very largely on whether the military, the political, or the econornfc aspect
of this institutional complex is singled ou~ as the "core" order. See Hintze (13).


when the concepts of "dominant" institutional order and material base
are applied to social systems. It may make sense to apply such a distinc-
tion to some particular subsystem of a society or to sorne particular type
of corporat.e group; is it equally relevant, in the case of a society, to re.,
gard, fal example, the productive systern as a ·"material base" from the
point of view of lhe "dominant" political system, even lhougb lhe produc-
tive system manifestIy ineludes institutianal elements? Insofar as the pre-
dominant concern is with the way in which the material preconditions
af a certain type of political action are, or are not, to he faund in a given
economic order, there would appear to be' good reasan for answering
this question in tbe aHinnative.11 Such an answer would, of course, in
no way prejudice the furtber explanation of how such a given economic
order carne about; the problem of fue "causes" of the type oI system in-
stability under consideration is, anyway, a quite separate issue. It should
also be noted lhat !he degree of institutional diflerentiation of economic
and political structures varies very considerably. In cases w here the re-
latioos of production and lhe relations of political power are hot insti-
tutionally very distinct, and especially where !he relations of production
are institutionalized to a considerable extent around polltical goals, it
would seem reasonable to regard the economic arder much more directly
as a "material base" of lhe "dominant" political institutions, A brief
reference to Weber·s discussión of patrimonialisrn may serve to illustrate
these points as well as the propositions previously.advanced.

A1lhougb Weber's concept of patrimonialism, and especially lhat of
patrimonial bureaucracy, refers primarily to a type of poJitical structure,
it is c1ear from his remarks lhat this structure might well be regarded
as the «core'· institutional order of the sociely and as a major point of
reference for societal change. 'Moreover, Weber's analysis of the material
preconditions of bureaucratization clearly indica tes the nature of the
functional problems facing societies of the patrimonial bureaucratic type.
These center on.the relationship between the institution oI bureaucracy
and the material substructure of a subsistence economy. After setting
out the general rule that: "A certain measure oI a developed money econ-
omy is the normal precondition for the uncbanged and continued exist-
ence, ti not for the establishment, of pure bureaucratic administration,"
Weber goes on to note lhat historical cases of "distinctly developed and
quantitatively large bureaucracies" may be found which "to a very great
extent, partly ·even predominantIy, have rested upon compensation DI
lhe oflicials in kind·," This he explains byargninglhat "even ,lhough lhe
full development oI a money econorny is not an indispensable preeon-

11 What eIse does Weber imply when he writes: "Der Zerfall des Reichs war die
notwendige politische Folge des allmaehlichen Schwindens. des Verkehrs und dar
Zunahme de! Naturalwirtscbaft. Er bedeutete irn wesentlichen nur den Wegfall
.jenes Verwalhmgsapparats und damit des geldwirtschaftlichen politischen Ueberbaus,
der dem naturalwirlschaftlichen oekonomischen Unterbau nicht mehr angepasst war"
(21, p, 306),

Page 7


dition far bureacratization, bureaucracy as a permanent strucrure is knit
to the one presupposition of a constant incorne far maintaining it," and
that "a stable system of taxation is the precondition far the pennanent
existence of bureaucratic administration." But again: "Far -well-known
and general reasans, onIy a- fully developed money economy ofEers a
seeure basis for sueh a taxation system" (23, pp. 205-209).

TIle strategic functional problem, then, i5 one DI maintaining a taxation
system that can eHectively meet the material needs DI a bureaucracy in
the context of a subsistence, Dr near-subsistence, econorny. The central-
izing goal oI bureaucratic institutions is constantIy Hable to sabotage by
the potential social relationship struchue DI fue subsistence econorny
whieb favors the deeentraJization and I<feudalization" of power relation-
ships.12 As Weber bimseIf says: "Aecording to all.historical e<perienee,
without a money economy the bureaucratic structure can hardIy avoid
undergoing substantial internal changes, or indeed, .fuming into another
type of strueture" (23, p. 205). The relationsbip between bureaueraey
and taxation is a highly interdependent one. The efllcieney of the bu-
reaucraey depends upon the effectiveness of its taxati.on systern; and
the effeetiveness of the taxation system depends on the efficieney -of the
Qureaucratic apparatus. Thus, for whatever reaSOD, any inerease in the
bureaucratie load or deerease in taxation eapacity may generate a
vicious cirele of decentralization of power. Indeed, it might be argued
that tbe "taxation" erisis oI patrimonial bureaueracy is essentialIy anal-
ogous to the "production" crisis oI capitalismo At any rate, the focal point
of strain in this type oI society is taxation capacity relative to bureau-
cratic needs.

This strategie funetional problem sets the stage for the characteristie
conHicts of interest that arise between tbe bureaucratie center, the official-
dom, landed magnates, and peasantry. The points of tension are those
wbich represent an actualization oI the potential for "feudalization": the
tendency oI officials to "appropriate" the economic and political resources
of the ofllee; the struggle of large landowners to gain immunity f.rom
taxation and/or usurp fiseal and politieal funetions; and the local rela-
tionships of eeonomie and politieal dependeney into whieh the peasantry
are forced in seeking protection against the tax burden oI the bUfeau-
era tic center. These "centrifugal" tendencies may be seen as both a cause
and a· conseqnence of the possible failure of mechanisms for maintain-
ing effective taxation capacity and central control. The outcome oI snch
struggles, and the sueeess with whieh the funetional problem is solved
by the bnreaucratic center, is, of course, decided in each. historical case
by the particular circumstanees facing the patrimonial bureaucracy.
These may vary very eonsiderably; but whether they make for stability

12 The logie of t1rls 1<1 succinct1y argued by BIoch (3,. p. 68}· and Hartman (12,


Dr breakdown of bureaucratic institutioDs, all societies of this type ma,y
be studied froID tbe point oI view of their conunon contradiction.13

Another example of a not to"o dissimilar kind is that of the functioDal
tensions arising frOID -the relationship between the totalitarian political
system and the industrial eeonomy of the Soviet U nion. It is noteworthy
in this eonneetion that many who would deny the relevanee of the idea of
"internaI contr-adictions" to capitalist societies have only too readily exag-
gerated the ineompatibility of industrialism and the institutions of a
one-party state. Be this as it may, it would seem that the type of eon-
tradiction envisaged bere is one which those baving an interest in the dom-
inant politieal institution bave thus far sueeessfully eontrolled, but which
nevertheless is likely to remain as a focal point of strain and potential
change. It arises from the tendency oI an industrial mode of production
to create latent interest groups oI a class character. This tendency must
be "dysfunctional" Ior a totalitarian politicaI system, one precondition oI
which is a "c]ass1ess" society, i.e., an absence oI bases oI potentia1 social
organization outside the party bureaucracy.

Snch a contradiction could manifest itself either by sucb latent interest
groups striving Ior an autonomous corporate existence (which seems un-
likely given the nature of party eontrol) or by their subversion of the
party organization from within. OI suob groups, associated with indus-
trialization, the least potentially tbreateuing is that of worker opposition.
Using Webers typology of class formation, worker protest hardly ad-
vanced beyond tbe stage ot ~~mass reactions of a c1ass character" (labor
turnover and 50 on) in the earIy phase oI Soviet indus'trialization; and,
while disruptive to the economy, it was not allowed to develop into a
more politioally dangerous "societal" action. More oI a threat from tbis
point oI view, however - and this is the element oI truth in BurnhamYs
otherwise extravagant thesis oI a "managerial revolution" - is the 50-
ealled"Soviet bourgeoisié': the funetionally important quasi-group of
predominantly industrial bureauerats which has emerged as a result of
rapid industrialization (9).

The focal point of strain far the totalitarian politieal system is not
simply that tbis Jatent c1ass tends to deve10p vested interests in its po-
sition and privileges, but that it has an organizational capadty and co-
hesiVFness that eould form the basis of a politieal opposition. And, given
the nature of the political system, snch an interest group would be most

180n the particular conditions favoring the stability of patrimonial bureaucracy
in Egypt aud China, see Weber (22, pp. 706-709ff.). The most famous instance DI
breakdown, that of the later Roman Empire, 1s a case where tbe "defense mech-
anisms" introduced by the bureaucracy (apUy described by Lot as the "regime of
castes") intensified fue trend towards subsistence economy and actualized the poten-
tial foc "feudal" relationships. See Weber (21); Lot (14, pp. 62-153); Bloch (2);
and for the Byzantine case, Ostrogorsky (16). The general problem of "feudalizing"
tendencies in patrimonial bureaucratic societies is discussed in Coulbom (4). On
the major Unes of conHict :In such societies, see Eisenstadt (8).

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