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English Abstracts 1993

English Abstracts 1993
Edition 1/93

Helmut Wiesenthal
Competence of actors in an organizational dilemma. Fundamental problems encountered by ambitious members' associations and two ways of overcoming them

When interest associations providing collective goods allow for internal participatory democracy they become subject to three basic conflicts. First, a collective action problem arises from the free-rider benefits of non-cooperative behavior (Olson 1965). Second, there is a clash between the preconditions for democratic representation and the postulates of effective bureaucratic administration (Weitbrecht 1969). Third, heterogeneous interests that typically appear in large organizations impede the formation of common aimes for collective action (Offe/Wiesenthal 1980). As a consequence, theories mentioned above conclude that a basic dilemma between internal democracy and external strategic competence forces the organization either to abstain from recruitment of the eligible membership or to restrict the range of interests represented. The argument of the paper contradicts such a general conclusion. Instead, a plead is made for empirical inquiry into mechanisms that might substitute for inclusive deliberative decision-making. As far as German trade unions are concerned two such mechanisms can be identified. One refers to the subgroup of union activists who function as mediating and mobilizing agents vis-Ż-vis token members. The second mechanism is a "multiple self" identity that allows to neatly accomodate to different spheres of action.

Michael Schmid
Social norms and the social system. A cirticism of Jon Elster's theory of social norms

Jon Elster's research programme is aimed at identifying the shortcomings, limitations and mistakes of the orthodox Rational Choice Theory and confronting them with the undeniable irrationality, subversivism and inconsistency of human behaviour in terms of decision-making. A programme such as this meets with the respect and sympathy of the author.Even so, the latter's approval stops at Elster's attempt to spirit away, per definitionem, norms and norm-oriented action from the realm of what is accessible to rational consideration. In reality Elster is bound to fail in this respect. Entangled in contradictions, he is forced to give up advancing the theoretical study of the processes underlying the formation and change of norms by appropriate means.

Elmar Lange
Problems of regulation during the transition from a planned economy to a social market economy in the new German Līnder

Starting out from a regulatory point of view, the following contribution analyses the transformation of the planned economy of what used to be the GDR into a social market economy in the new German Länder. Seen from this angle, this transformation seems to be a process of transition from a dominating monistic regulation of the economy based on planning to a pluralistic regulation based on a multitude of regulatory factors including markets, elections, negotiations, in particular group negotiations, and consultations. At the same time it implies a conversion of the economy from a mainly hierarchic system to several systems largely forming a lateral network. It is to be expected that these transitions will be associated with major problems but that the key to their solution can be found.The empirical component of this contribution is mainly based on the results of a field study on social and economic changes in the five new German Länder - using Lutherstadt Wittenberg as an example -, which I conducted together with my colleague P. Schöber and a student research group from the Department of Sociology of Bielefeld University between August 1990 and July 1992.

Stefan Liebig
Assessment of justice and legitimation in the unification process: The significance of living close to the border in what used to be the German Democratic Republic

This essay presents results obtained in the course of the International Social Justice Project (ISJP). The project, which meets with comprehensive interest among researchers, is aimed at an analysis of the perception of social justice in the East and in the West of Germany.Initially, the significance of living in the vicinity of the old Länder is examined among inhabitants of the new Länder. In this way it becomes possible to get a specific idea of the assessment of justice and the legitimation of the political system in the new German Länder and of the presumed influence which life near the border had on this assessment. At the second stage, this explanatory model is extended to include all persons asked in the new and old German Länder in an attempt to identify the processes of adaptation to Western patterns of judgement which are supposed to have taken place in the former frontier area.

Dorothea Krüger
To be single: Convergence of the sexes or continuation of their differences? Results of a qualitative study on career and educational biographies of singles

This essay probes into the new way of life which being single represents, doing so from a microperspective and looking for an answer to the question whether the trend towards individualization and autonomy inevitably results in an abolition of the roles of the sexes.The analysis is based on an empirical study which involved interviews with unmarried women and men in single-person households on their partnership and career biography.The results reveal a surprising persistence on the part of the male singles. They hold on to the traditional polarity of the sexes, implementing the normality model of career orientation in their biography. The women in our sample, however, are approaching the male biography, at the same time trying to realize a relationship based on partnership. The new relation of tension between the sexes is therefore mainly based on the cultural lag of men.

English Abstracts 1993
Edition 4/93

T. Parsons
Durkheim's Contribution to the Theory of Integration of Social Systems

"Durkheim's contribution to the theory of social integration" was Talcott Parsons' most extensive and theoretically most productive treatise on the work of Emile Durkheim since his paradigmatic opus The Structure of Social Action (1937). Parsons wrote the essay in 1958, and it was published for the first time in 1960 in a volume published by K. H. Wolff under the title Emile Durkheim, 1858 - 1917: A Collection of Essays with Translations and a Bibliography (Ohio State University Press). The essay marks a watershed in Parsons' own work. First, Parsons interprets the research in Durkheim's De la division du travail social from the viewpoint of his own theory of social and cultural differentiation. The structural components of the social system - roles, collectives, standards and values - are presented in their integrative function. Using his own concept of functional differentiation, Parsons arrives at a reformulation of Durkheim's antinomy of social differentiation and moral integration. Second, Parsons derives from Durkheim's analysis of "non-contractual elements of the contract" important ideas for his own model of the institutionalized regulation of social exchange systems. The essay thus introduces a later phase in Parsons' work (theory of symbolically generalized interaction media).

Gerhard Wagner
The division of labour by sex

The cultural relevance of De la division du travail social is to be seen in the specific way in which Durkheim formulates his questions on the possibility of social order. While numerous other authors have no qualms about building their theories of society on the existence of theological or metaphysical identities, the line of thought in Durkheim's discourse proceeds from the difference. Durkheim's formulation is secular in that he regards the difference of the other as the fact that makes sociality possible at all. Regrettably, Durkheim's rigid moralism prevents him from developing an adequate solution to the problem. He fails in the fundamental issue he raises in terms of differential logic, ultimately seeking refuge in a dubious identity of theological provenance which he chooses to call collective consciousness. This link is reconstructed in detail in the present study. The author then proceeds to a decided critique of Durkheim's method based on more recent anthropological and philosophical research and outlines a solution to the problem of order in terms of differential logic.

Michael Schmid
Emile Durkheim's `De la division du travail social (1893)• and its reception by German sociologists

Since Parsons and Ren» König tried to "canonize" Durkheim also his dissertation "De la division du travail social" is considered as a "classical" contribution to social theory. But in Germany, this status of Durkheim's early work is only recently accepted as relatively undebatable. In memory of the 100th anniversary of the first edition of Durkheim's book this article reconstructs the German reception-history.

H.-P. Müller
Social differentiation and social reforms. The political substance of Emile Durkheim's `De la division du travail•

Emile Durkheim did not develop a political sociology in the traditional sense. But it remains a fact that his thinking is eminently political. Delving into the connections between social structure, politics and culture, he explores how the dynamics of modern capitalism and the resultant social structure can be incorporated into social and political forms of organization in such a way to attain the modern ideal of justice founded on "moral idealism". In short, Durkheim seeks a dynamic and just social order. This thesis is discussed with reference to his social structure and crisis analysis in De la division du travail social and developed on the basis of his political analysis in the Physique des moeurs et du droit.

Edward A. Tiryakian
The New Worlds and Sociology. An Overview

The dramatic global cascade of sociopolitical events in the past four years, on the whole "good surprises" from the implosion of the Soviet Empire to the implosion of apartheid, highlights that we are living in a period of major transformation of societal structures and collective identities. It is a period of "new worlds" emerging, and with them "new mentalities", in a post-cold war global environment marked by rapid change and turbulence.This setting provides a challenge for the sociological imagination to renovate sociological theories and models. One avenue is a comparative-historical approach, and we briefly deal with other major earlier turning points or transition periods of modernity, such as 200 and 500 years ago. Another avenue is to broaden sociological analysis itself. by incorporating "chaos theory" to deal with the turbulence of the global setting, by accelerating the internationalization of sociology (in the sense of giving increased voice to the contributions of sociologists from outside the Western sphere), and by revamping sociological methodology in a "post-modern" mode, one that was already present in Sorokin's notion of "integralism".

Ingrid Gilcher-Holtey
1968 in France: The great parallel action

The author analyses the dynamics of the May 1968 movement in France, basing her observations on the dynamics of the mobilization process. In four theses she describes the formation of the student movement in a self-propelled action process, the transfer of student protests - through a "critical event" - to the workers, the significance of the New Left's cognitive orientation, and thus of ideational interests, to the interaction between the movements, and its demobilization as a result of the reinstitutionalization of mechanisms for the settlement of conflicts. The article concludes with a comparison between the '68 movement in France and the Extraparliamentary Opposition (APO) in West Germany.

Arndt Sorge
Work, organisation and industrial relations in Eastern Germany

The article offers a historical, present-day and future-oriented discussion of work systems, interorganizational relations and industrial relations in East Germany. These have all been marked by an emphasis on classical work rationalization concepts, rule and domination, and, more recently, market principles, as basic forms of coordinating actors. Market principles have, for the time being, increased the importance of domination, as a mode of coordination. All the while, associational coordination would have been particulary important to convert the DDR economy to economic constraints and opportunities in a D-Mark economy. On the other hand, associational principles have asserted themselves to a greater extent in industrial relations. This generates pressure to adapt work systems and, above all, interorganizational relations, towards differentiated quality production. Satisfactory prospects of employment in manufacturing and economic success depend on the extent to which such a re-orientation takes place.