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Extra info for A beginner's guide to social theory
Power is not that exact, so it has to be quanti®ed in different forms: legitimate/illegitimate power, formal/ empirical and explicit/implicit. However, (political) power and in¯uence are `power'. A social system emerges from the action, feedback to that action and consequent further action taken in response to the feedback. The complexity of the system brings about both action and feedback. Structure is seen by Luhmann as interdependence and constraint. Expectations of how people will or should behave in a given situation have a structural value.
Neil Smelser carried out a case study of the emergence of the cotton industry in Lancashire making use of the Parsonian notion of structural differentiation. According to Smelser (1959), after the initial dissatisfaction with 32 Functionalist Perspectives some aspects of the social system, the `mechanisms of change and adjustment to change' proceeded through the following stages: · · · · · · symptoms of disturbance, such as negative emotional reaction; covert attempts to handle the tensions; tolerance of the new ideas in certain important groups; positive attempts to translate the new ideas into concrete efforts at making pro®t; implementation of the innovations; routinising of the innovation into society.
In summary, every interaction has a relationship to society. Social systems are not interaction systems. For Luhmann, `structure' operates at the level of memory. It is structure that is used to solve the problem of getting from one event to the next. 43 A Beginner's Guide to Social Theory Summary Functionalism is a perspective within the social sciences which argues that individual people perform roles within a social system. These social roles interact to form social systems. Within social systems there are institutions which perform functions for both individuals and for the social system as a whole.