No. 026



Morton G. Wenger

University of Louisville

January, 1978


Distributed as part of the
TRANSFORMING SOCIOLOGY SERIES of The Red Feather Institute, 8085 Essex, Weidman, Michigan, 48893.

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A nationally broad-based and thematically unified movement toward synthesis in stratification theory came into being in the period 1959-1966. Although tactically diverse and often operating independently of one another, these works exhibit a common strategy of identifying a conceptual antinomy between marxian/conflict and Weberian-Durkheimian/functional theory which they attempt to transcend. If the formal criterion of the emergent novelty of synthetic products is applied, these otherwise meta-theoretically fruitful attempts do not succeed. By defining the two models as partial and complementary, the proposed synthesis is obviated ab initio. It is argued that this failure is not the result of "error," but rather flows from the nature and function of social theory itself.

INTRODUCTION The desire to combine competing interpretations of social reality into a cohesive whole remains an enticing goal within sociology in general (cf. Gouldner, 1971; and Friedrichs, 1970) as well as within the more circumscribed purview of students of social stratification. This last tendency is manifested most clearly and vigorously in the works of Dahrendorf (1959), Ossowski (1963), van den Berghe (1963), and Lenski (1966). As in the general case, these meta-theoretical analyses posit a conceptual antinomy opposing Marxian/conflict and Weberian/Durkheimian/functional paradigms. Isomorphic in intent, each exposition proceeds to its conclusion by a similar path-unanimity in strategy which reflects shared perceptions of the problem. The key position held in common by the four synthesists is more implicit than explicit--it contends that the issue at hand is one of logic or conceptual structure, a misalignment or misapplication of abstractions. To the extent that this assumption is correct, synthesis is possible. If, however, the roots of impasse as well as those of attempted resolution are social and historical, the outlook is less promising. Which prognosis holds may be determined from the comparative successes and failures of the synthetic attempts themselves.

Continuity and Discontinuity in the Search for Theoretical Unity. Variation in tactics alongside unanimity in strategy is characteristic of the several attempts at synthesis in stratification theory. This is evident at fundamental levels: the process by which synthesis is to be achieved; the perceived nature of the theses to be fused; and the identity of the nature of conflict in everyday life. If the formal definition of synthesis is applied to the efforts at issue here, they adhere to it with different degrees of faithfulness. That is, if synthesis is taken to be the unification of two structurally isomorphic but substantively polarized conceptual products into an emergent and unique whole, considerable but varying deviation from this criterion exists. In some instances, synthesis is trivialized into a cautious eclecticism--the amalgamation of atomized parts drawn from incommensurable wholes (cf. Ossowski, 1963). In others, it involves the reduction of rich theory into bland and universal truisms which must be shared by any perspective claiming to be sociological in approach (cf. van den Berghe, 1963).

In the remaining two treatments, those of Lenski (1966) and Dahrendorf (1959), synthesis appears to be the discriminant application of two opposing traditions to different social contexts. To show that all of these fall short of classical synthesis would be empty formalism. Of greater significance to the sociology of knowledge are the common means by which the several arguments proceed to their conclusions. The varying degrees to which these works are not syntheses signifies less than does the degree to which they share first principles. The overlapping ideas within this intellectual movement are indicative of its origin and goals. By understanding then,, the prospect of valid synthesis may be assessed more accurately.

Of the four arguments, the least developed are those of Ossowski (1963) and van den Berghe (1963). Metaphorically, Ossowski (1963) conceives of the pivotal concept of "class" as an elephant from whose formidable presence many wise but blind(folded) thinkers have drawn a number of partial inferences from which spring in turn incomplete and thus faulty conclusions concerning the whole. Thus, Ossowski contends,, by bringing the multiple views into conceptual proximity, a picture of the whole emerges. This is more the denial of conflict than it is its resolution. The presently consequential aspect of this reading of the inequality literature is its emphasis on the socio-historical development of contending theory. Other than this, its function is more descriptive and summarizing than it is analytical. In terms of the current discussion, its overtly amalgamating tendencies are its most salient feature.

Van den Berghe (1963), in contrast to Ossowski (1963), exhibits in concise form the characteristic common to the more comprehensive treatments of Lenski (1966) and Dahrendorf (1959). As Lenski notes in developing his own position, van den Berghe sees no essential contradiction between the two dominant models of social inequality. Disregarding for the moment the consequences of absent contradiction for formal synthesis, it still can be stated that van den Berghe proposes that the two models arise out of two aspects or principles existing within the same social reality. The two models are therefore merely partial--they are not mutually exclusive. Each analytical tendency is addressing itself to different social principles.

In light of the above, it is worth noting that van den Berghe (1963:701) recognizes that:

While it is true that van den Berghe speaks only of movement towards a theoretical synthesis and does not propose the synthesis itself, problems still remain. Indeed, a flaw which his argument shares with Ossowski's is that it is questionable whether conflict, theoretical or otherwise, is effectively resolved by locating commonalities as opposed to exploring the grounds of contention which are the crux of the matter. Again, when disagreement is far reaching and fundamental, the whittling of mighty theoretical timbers to the point of indistinguishability may end with conceptual toothpicks: shared homilies of "holism?" the mutual coexistence of conflict and consensus, evolutionism/progressivism and equilibristic modeling (van den Berghe, 1963:701-704). With some reservations, this is movement scarcely beyond Parsons' (1937) original attempt to find an underlying equivalence among a congery of 19th century theorists. In effect, if we advance.the metaphor van den Berghe (1963:699) provides in reference to "some sociologists" who threw out the Marxian baby with the Marxian bathwater, van den Berghe's approach results in twice the bath water disposed and twice as many defenestrated theories-cum-babies. Uniting the analyses of van den Berghe and Ossowski is their conflict-denying nature. For them., conflict is a mistake or an error, caused by ideological rigidity. It is an irrationality that inhibits theoretical growth. In essence, both commentaries are peacemaking gestures. As they do not recognize the "material" basis of conflict theory they cannot go beyond it. Lenski (1966) attempts to do so by arguing that conceptual conflict is "real," i.e., it is rooted in social relations.

Lenski (1966) accepts van den Berghe's position, but refines it considerably. He argues that at different historical moments, two "ethics," the "redistributive" and the "acquisitive," exist in varying proportions. Furthermore, the contending forms of social reality are rooted in one or the other of these principles. Consequently, the two theoretical models are of inversely proportional utility in understanding the two social principles or ethics; they encompass one, but do not comprehend the other. As a result of these first principles, it is possible for Lenski to deduce that in one historical context, one model will be of greater explanatory value than the other, depending on the "mix" of ethics. However, given that one "principle" is never totally absent and also that the principles are ideal-typical constructs taken from messy social reality, neither model is ever exhaustive of social reality, nor can it be. Similarly, neither model is ever valueless. This latter principle is the source of theoretical conflict--neither perspective can ever assert itself totally, nor can it be vanquished totally. Opposition among traditions is thereby seen to be a fixture of sociology by Lenski--that is, until its sources are made manifest and subsequent adjustments made.

Based on the above, Lenski's (1966) position may be seen to be an improvement on, as well as an extension of van den Berghe's argument. It sees theoretical conflict as substantive; i.e., it is not an "irrationality" but rather represents an ideational manifestation of conflict in society. It is not a "mistake," but an extension of actual conflict in the social world. In this, it parallels Dahrendorf's (1959) arguments in some detail. The nature of this congruency should be explored before the limitations present in both are set forth.

It is the substance of Dahrendorf's (1959) position that Marx's focus on conflict among groups enjoying differential benefits from variant social participation is fundamentally correct. Dahrendorf then proceeds-to introduce a caveat: Marx's identification of economic classes as the combatants is temporocentric. Marx's model thereby represents only a specific manifestation of a more general social dialectic of inequality based on the distribution of power in society. Instead of "class," "authority group" is the key concept in Dahrendorf's (1959) analysis. This grafting of Weberian notions of imperatively coordinated associations onto the Marxian dialectic is well within the umbra of the Elitist conceptions of Mosca; it is clearly a "conflict" theory and of an historically prevalent type.

Later on in the development of his argument, Dahrendorf (1959:159) notes the (then) ascendance of "integration" models. Rather than burying them as, without compunction, he does Marx, Dahrendorf honors these views. He sees them as honorable and of equal value--from this he then goes on to assert that the conflict between coercive and integrative models is irresolvable. The reasons for this assertion are interesting in light of the three other works discussed previously (Dahrendorf, 1959:159):

This is a close approximation of Lenski's position, except that it is ahistorical. Whereas Lenski sees one or the other "ethic" as informing an entire social epoch, Dahrendorf sees certain aspects of any and every society as more or less appropriate to the development of a particular model. In this, Lenski shows greater internal consistency than Dahrendorf in the earlier parts of his analysis, Dahrendorf perceives the Marxian approach as more appropriate to 19th than to 20th century capitalism. Be later asserts that the institutional mediation and regularization of conflict in the twentieth century creates a situation compatible to integrative models. The fact that Dahrendorf is less aware of the internal strictures of his argument than is Lenski is telling: far more significant is his means for settling theoretical conflict.

The idea that conflict groups in society must exist in a context of overall coordination is the crux of both Power and Privilege (Lenski, 1966) and Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society (Dahrendorf, 1959). Ultimately, both Dahrendorf and Lenski build and rest their cases on this point, although with varying techniques and degrees of success. Dahrendorf's global argument is that individual authority groups are in conflict which is dysfunctional to both parties but, taken as social organizational wholes consisting of paired opposites, they function for the good of society; i.e., in a "necessary" or "eufunctional" manner. Consequently, the regulation of conflict must be and is a prerequisite for social survival. Thus, the analysis of labor-management relationships, if taken in isolation, may best be understood in terms of conflict. If, however, the relationship of the two authority groups, super- and subordinate, is taken as a totality--as the instrument of economic production--other social institutions must be seen as regulating this conflict. The state, the church, the press deal with and manage this conflict since to society as a whole production itself is the salient issue. For survival purposes laws, informal and formal norms of legitimacy, are deployed. These inter-institutional relations are therefore best analyzed in an equilibristic manner. The development of "authority," as a concept and as an empirical datum, comes to embody and contain conflict simultaneously.

Lenski's position differs from the above in few respects, but not definitively. The material and technological bases of production are seen as significant in determining the degree to which one or the other social organizational principle predominates. As was previously noted, Lenski also sees significant historical and social variability in the preeminence of a given ethic; for Dahrendorf this is only implied and is not confronted directly. This conflict is theoretical, however; it is not metatheoretical. At the level of reflexively comprehending previous theory, the three well developed attempts at synthesis (including van den Berghe's) all pursue the same goal of establishing parallel and partial antagonists which must be fused in the interest of sociological development. The techniques by which this end is sought in turn form the basis from which two related and critical matters arise: delineating the common nature of the synthetic attempts as logical processes and accounting for their emergence and growth at a particular locus in the history of social thought.

It may be worth noting that Young (1978) presents a quite different approach to the relationship between conflict and functional analysis in everyday life. Young claims that the primary relationship in capitalist/elitist societies is that of conflict: for each party to the conflict, different social practices are, indeed, functional. Young instances the two parties affected by the separation of productive processes from distributive processes. Capitalists, following a profit motive, hold goods off the market until they can be exchanged at a rate sufficient to satisfy the acquisitive ethic. Those who are thereby excluded from capitalist modes of distribution constitute a surplus population. For the surplus population with its peculiar frame of reference, crime is functional. For the capitalist, crime is dysfunctional. Living in two conflicting positions in the marketplace, each party to the conflict sees and experiences a given practice of the other differently. This model, Young argues, favors the conflict paradigm but adds that while a functional analysis is appropriate, the function of the practice in question is not at all one and only one thing. Nor is the assumption of structural-functional theory that a given practice is functional (or dysfunctional)for the whole society valid.

A second example of a conflicting function is advertising. From the point of interest of capitalists, advertising is a structure which functions to reunite production and consumption. In terms of the interests of workers and those in the surplus population, advertising is dysfunctional. Young's position is compatible with the critique made in this paper. His perspective treats functionalism as a minor, even trivial amendment to conflict analysis.

The Form and Function of Theoretical Crisis Management. In order to encompass the conceptually cohesive movement towards synthesis in stratification theory,it is first necessary to recognize its temporally limited and societally diverse origins. From the appearance of Dahrendorf's (1959) work, through that of van den Berghe (1963) and Ossowski (1963), to Lenski's (1966) Power and Privilege is only seven years. The different national origins of the authors are particularly provocative in the face of this very peculiar coincidence. To account for this merely by cultural/intellectual diffusion is, as always, to beg the question of why a particular idea strikes a responsive chord in different people in a variety of contexts. Furthermore, neither Ossowski nor van den Berghe cite Dahrendorf or each other: it is only Lenski who cumulated previous work, citing all three of the others in his considerable bibliography. On the basis of this bibliographic evidence, as well as the previous caveat about the meaning of diffusion, it would seem permissible to build a prima facie case for a sociological explanation of this briefly flaring and then evanescing movement. Similarly, at the broader metatheoretical level, Gouldner's (1971) and Friedrichs' (1970) analyses appear almost simultaneously and, as in the more focused works, neither one cites the other, nor do they attend to the four discussions of interest here with the exception of a general and passing reference to Dahrendorf in Gouldner (1971:378).

Gouldner's (1971) famous post mortem on "Western" sociology provides a general answer to the question of conceptual roots posed above. In essence, it is that functionalism--particularly its Parsonian variant--was dead or dying by the late 1950's. For those concerned with inequality, social "structure," and power, the emerging micro-social paradigms--dramaturgical and/or ethmomethodological--were of scant solace. At the same time, Marxism had been de-legitimized; either it had been consigned to the dustbin of history as "prescientific" (cf. Martindale, 1960:160-161) or, in works without number, it had been relegated to the domain of the "merely ideological." This was decidedly uncomfortable for European or European oriented social theorists, including the several mentioned here, since the sociological dialogue with the ghost of Marx was less mystified in Europe than it was in North America. Dahrendorf's "Partial" and intricate "refutation" of Marx's unwritten section of Capital is more than just an act of intellectual audacity, it is testimony to the continued presence of the spectre haunting sociology. Ossowski's inorganic presentation of Marx's concept of class, in light of the absence of Lukacs, Gramsci, and Korsch from his analyses, also speaks to the incomplete exorcism of the grim apparition.

The movement for synthesis in stratification theory exists in an even broader context of intellectual crisis and response. The ideational "exhaustion" of which D. Bell (1960) speaks also realizes itself in the once-torrid debate over the "End of Ideology." This extensive exchange is co-temporal with the movement of current interest. In anticipation of a later point, it might also be noted that this "debate" takes place in the context of an academic sociology from which many marxists, if not Marxism itself, had been removed in the early 1950's. The movement in social theory stretches from the mid-1950's to the mid-1960's; it ends not as a result of its own internal dialectic, but instead terminates as a result of the massive resurgence of Marxist theory flowing from the exposure of the contradictions implicit in the internal and external academic sociology. Academic sociology resuscitates a flagging functionalism and simultaneously extends the olive branch of "detente" and peaceful coexistence to Marxian theory. Given all of this, it appears difficult to fault the movement to synthesis by any, that is, except the hard-core ideologue. Since the latter is by definition beyond the pale of social science, the objections emanating therefrom are of little interest. It is a reasonable solution to an intransigent problem. The problem, however, is that this cure for the ills of contemporary sociology is based on false premises. It is itself afflicted from the outset. Primary among these genetic defects is a misrepresentation of Marxism, as well as a related and similarly flawed estimation of the metatheoretical equivalence of Marxism and functionalism. The severity of this is such that it casts doubt on the very question of synthesis itself, and not merely these particular incarnations.

A singular paradox exists in the broad movement toward synthesis examined above. It is a logical inversion whereby the flaws of functionalism become transformed into the flaws of Marxism. This is most evident in van den Berghe, where the proposed synthesis begins with the posited equivalence of two perspectives and ends with a set of principles, not only of a vitiating generality, but also largely deduced from a single perspective--functionalism. Rather than an emergent whole, or even an even-handed amalgamation, conflict theory is treated as a minor amendment to functionalism. In this correction" the two perspectives are superimposed and their intersection is noted. While of intrinsic metatheoretical value, this is not synthesis, neither formalistically nor substantively. Indeed, the result of this process of reduction to shared first principles is devastating to the other arguments sharing the goal of theoretical synthesis--it undercuts the "movement's" very reason for being. At the same time it makes evident the way by which marxism becomes the scapegoat for functionalism's afflictions.

The metatheoretical basis for these synthetic attempts is the perception that the competing models are simultaneously incomplete and complementary. Yet, van den Berghe demonstrates by one of several possible paths that at their root, functionalism and "conflict" theory share important assumptions. This particular approach emanates from an atmosphere of crisis in functionalism; it could as easily and more profitably be induced from a sympathetic reading of Marxism. The central concept of emerging contradiction, the positive valuation of capitalist epochs in their early stages, and the idea of the cruel necessity of the capitalist accumulation of surplus value as a precondition for the advent of communism all point to the acknowledgment of integrative forces in society. In a like manner, Marx's and marxist analyses of the state and religion are negative, but clear manifestations of an awareness of and interest in institutional arrangements which serve to mediate conflict. Where then is the problem? What is lacking? What calls forth synthesis with such urgency? Again, at a primary level it is the crisis of functionalism; its inability to deal with the empirical reality of conflict in the modern world. This shortcoming exists not only as a substantive failing; i.e., the inability to explain, but also as a formal theoretical failing. By this it is meant that there is no functionalist theory of social inequality; it is not just a matter of inadequacy, it is a matter of total absence. It is this latter point that accounts for the failings of the analyses surveyed here and which also leads to the conclusion that "synthesis" itself is chimerical--a result of crisis management in sociological theory in capitalist societies and not of the actualities of social life.

The penultimate substantive issue latent within the metatheory of sociological synthesis is simple to state; "functionalism" is not a theory, it is a perspective on social reality; Marxism is both. The multiple and recurrent consequences of this conceptual distinction appear throughout the four analyses at hand, albeit in variable form. In terms of general issues, Mills (1959) noted this long ago in his scathing criticism of "Grand Theory." Merton's (1949) call for theory of the "middle range" is also a by-product of a critical reading of Parsonian functionalism. To acknowledge this is not to beat a dead horse; that which is true at the general theoretical level is more poignantly true in the more specific instance of social stratification. Other than in the brief flurry of activity surrounding the appearance of Davis and Moore's (1945) "Some Principles of Stratification," "functionalism" does not address the issue of social inequality. To place this limited output on the scales with that emanating from Marx and his intellectual heirs results in a disproportion of no small degree.

With the exception of Dahrendorf, who has a special elitist argument with Marx's ghost, the synthetic attempts examined here deal with this imbalance in a common and preconscious manner. In effect, they structurally-functionalize Marx. This is not pat, if clumsy, phrase-mongering. It precisely describes the genesis of a metaphysical entity labeled "conflict" theory. While not confined to this particular intellectual endeavor--in fact, it is of no mean ubiquity--it is of vital importance to an understanding of the sources of the deficiency in efforts to synthesize theory.

Functionalism, in its parsonian guise, parallels at a broad theoretical level that which van den Berghe attempts in his reading of the stratification literature. It represents the truncation by superimposition of the major non- and anti-Marxist theorists. It distills from a vast and rich body of often contradictory concepts and propositions a shared outlook. At-this level, structural functionalism represents a massive and valuable metatheoretical effort. As has so often been noted, its attempt to deduce formal propositions from this twice-abstracted body of ideas that generates difficulty. In Marx, "grounded" theory is the rule, and a self-conscious one. Ignoring for the moment the methodological implications of dialecticism, Marxism still represents a structure of testable hypotheses. Dahrendorf builds his entire argument around this fact, attempting to refute the more central ones by reference to empirical social reality. In order to compare structural functionalism to marxism, Marx must be transformed. Structural functionalism cannot be or has not been reconstructed into the practical and ad hoc science of Marx; therefore, it is marxism that must be altered. This is done by placing Marx in the context of a number of other thinkers, not a few of whom--to wit, Mosca and Weber--write in rebuttal to him. The common perspective shared by these thinkers is then converted into a putative and highly conditional structure known as "conflict theory." A part of the synthetic difficulty noted above flows from this forced reconstruction of Marxism which posits a false logical-structural isomorphism between it and structural functionalism.

The logical-structural problem developed here is as follows: synthetic attempts in stratification theory have failed for two related reasons. At one level, the formal structure of synthesis has been violated: the opposing positions are fundamentally incommensurate. Structural functionalism is a perspective, Marxism a theory, conditional or otherwise. Merely to attempt a synthesis requires a reduction of Marxism to general principles. one that emerges from Marx's logical base in Hegel is the position of social conflict as the ghost within the machine of history. This position is shared with other social thinkers, as well as representing a logical-structural parallel to a central aspect of structural functionalism: the principle of social "integration." At the same time this generalizing process succeeds in eliminating logical-structural impasse, it negates it. That is, no longer are the original combatants present: one has become a shadow of itself.

This problem is particularly evident in van den Berghe (1963) as his argument proceeds at the highest level of abstraction. It is less noticeable in Dahrendorf and Ossowski, as they deal with Marx per se. In these two attempts at synthesis, "functional" or integrative aspects of society are given shortest shrift; they are subsumed within an overall context of conflict, with Dahrendorf's argument proceeding at a level of great subtlety. It is not coincidental that these authors are the least assertive of the four regarding their synthetic aims, as opposed to accumulative or modifying ends. Lenski proceeds in the same manner as van den Berghe, resulting in the extraction of highly generalized social "ethics," or normative principles of social organization. Unlike van den Berghe, Lenski then proceeds to ground these principles in society;in history. In so doing, however, the inescapable problem of these syntheses reappears--they are not syntheses. When Lenski does provide his interesting empirical excursus,the ethics are in phase: they either alternate or appear in complement; they do not merge.

Regardless of the empirical and/or metatheoretical insights to be gleaned en passant from the four works, their stated goal is not achieved. They do not synthesize; rather, they crisis-manage. The sociological and social context which brings forth this tendency was outlined previously. The structural-logical features which fatally flaw the attempts were also elucidated. At an earlier point, however, it was suggested that there were problems of synthesis in stratification theory as such which exceed the problematic aspects of particular attempts, individually or as a metatheoretical tendency. Furthermore, it was contended that the difficulty of synthesis in stratification theory was not at its base logical-structural, although the nullity may and does manifest itself in this manner. Given previous assertions, then, it still remains to be demonstrated that the sources of this theoretical blockage result from the social nature of social theory. In brief, the argument proceeds as follows.

The Social Negation of Theoretical Synthesis.
It is a much belabored truism that social theory is itself a socio-cultural artifact. It is equally axiomatic that the experience of and perspective on society held by a given theorist or school is always particular to one or another social sector, regardless of protestations of universality or "value-freedom." This operates in two ways: both at the level of the theorists' sectoral affiliation as well as the aspects of social reality addressed. These are not unrelated metatheoretical phenomena, although of the four synthesists discussed here, only Dahrendorf's analysis demonstrates a sensitivity to, if not an awareness of this important issue. While great significance is attached in each synthetic essay to the mutual incompleteness of Marxist/ conflict and functional perspectives, the source of partial adequacy is generally portrayed as merely "ideological"; i.e., as prescientific. This dismissal, overt or subtle, is itself based on an ideological position--the free-floating nature of social thought.

To deny the "class basis" of the two sociological positions at issue. is to deny the core of their being as social products. Further, it brings forth a situation in which any school must be denatured when viewed as commensurate with its intellectual adversaries. As the roots of a social theory grow from its social base, the aspects of social reality which it portrays as well as the evaluations made of that reality tend to reflect the interests of the class of origin and/or orientation of the theorists producing it. Oversimplifying somewhat, the exploited or their intellectual supporters will address themselves to the problems and nature of exploitation. Conversely, those speaking for the advantaged classes will emphasize the maintenance of the existing order, and the social mechanisms thereof; e.g., "authority," the state, religion, law and the sources of order. These are not novel observations, yet the significance of them for the possibility of synthesis remains unappreciated.

The removal of the "ideological" or class-based aspects of a social theory is equivalent to the vitiation of the positions. It removes the force of their arguments at the same time it eliminates their raison d'etre. After having been pruned of their social-theoretical roots, they become conceptually vapid--they lose the power of conviction which grows out of social conflict itself. Van den Berghe's analysis represents a clear and ideal-typical instance of the results of this program of theoretical pacification. When Lenski and Dahrendorf apply the techniques of theoretical crisis-management, they do not produce a synthesis--that is, something novel--but rather generate amendments to, emendations of and qualifications of the general position elucidated by Parsons. This is a result of the state of modern sociology at a particular period in its development and not a product of the substance of extant social theory itself. To the extent that social theory is itself a product of social conditions and an adjunct to or substitute for overt social conflict, synthesis cannot be an expected outcome. To the extent that sociology represents the interests and perspectives of social sectors with a vested and material interest in the persistence of existing social arrangements, it will continue to accept this management of theoretical conflict. As such, the search for synthesis itself represents an attempt to halt at the level of ideas what it has attempted but been unable to halt in everyday life: social conflict. This is not an option closed to sociology by its own failings, but is a possibility obviated by the nature of contemporary society itself.


Bell, Daniel 1960 The End of Ideology. New York: The Free Press.

Dahrendorf, Ralf 1959 Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Davis, Kingsley and Wilbert Moore 1945 "Some principles of stratification." American Sociological Review 10:242-249.

Friedrichs, Robert L. 1970 A Sociology of Sociology. New York: The Free Press.

Gouldner, Alvin W. 1971 The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology. New York; Equinox Books.

Lenski, Gerhard 1966 Power and Privilege. New York: McGraw Hill.

Martindale, Don 1960 The nature and Types of Sociological Theory. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press.

Merton,l Robert K. 1949 "On sociological theories of the middle range." American Sociological Review 13:164-168.

Mills, C. Wright 1959 The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ossowski, Stanislaw 1963 Class Structure in the Social Consciousness. New York: The Free Press.

Parsons, Talcott 1937 The Structure of Social Action. New York: McGraw Hill.

van den Berghe, Pierre 1963 "Dialectic and functionalism: toward a theoretical synthesis." American Sociological Review 28:695-705.

Young, T. R. 1978 Personal communication.

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