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Outline and discuss the role and importance of ‘differentiation’ and ‘specialization’ in Parsons’ theory of the evolution of ‘modern society’ The WritePass Journal

Outline and discuss the role and importance of ‘differentiation’ and ‘specialization’ in Parsons’ theory of the evolution of ‘modern society’ Introduction Outline and discuss the role and importance of ‘differentiation’ and ‘specialization’ in Parsons’ theory of the evolution of ‘modern society’ ). Essentially, the law needs to be reflective of societal attitudes and beliefs and unless the law keeps abreast with the changes in society, the law will be considered outmoded in modern society. Differentiation is therefore a vital element of social evolution and â€Å"if the law fails to keep pace with reality, it becomes largely impotent† (Sifris, 2009). Conversely, it was put by Stoddard (1997: 1) that; â€Å"social change and legal change do not always walk hand in hand and for legal changes to be effective, a cultural shift or change in social norms is necessary.† Therefore, provided that social change has taken place, the law should follow suit since â€Å"legal argument can change over time and can be responsive to social pressures† and that â€Å"the general view is that law reflects and responds to external forces: conventional morality, custom, and power are three likely candidates, depending on one’s sociological, political and or sceptical inclinations† (Campbell, 2005: 222). Conclusion Overall, Parsons Theory of social evolution adequately reflects the creation of modern society. Accordingly, it was believed by Parsons that the key to social evolution was differentiation and specialization. This is because, as social differentiation occurs; societies naturally adapt and adjust to their changing environments so that they can function more effectively. This enables social evolution to be significantly advanced and helps to shape today’s society. Without differentiation and specialization, the industrial, democratic and educational processes would not have developed and significant changes to the way society functions would not have been made. In addition, despite the fact that the law is responsible for many changes that take effect, the law merely adapts to societal attitudes and beliefs which illustrates the importance of culture differences in shaping societal values. In effect, differentiation and specialization in Parsons’ theory are vital for soci al evolution since societies are able to produce more specialised structures that come to be related to each other in more complex ways. This enables an element of flexibility to be created which ultimately contributes to the development of society. References Blossfield, H. and Timm, A. (2003) Who Marries Whom? Educational Systems as Marriage Markers in Modern Societies, [Online] Available: [10 December 2012]. Bottormore, T. B. (1991) A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd Edition. Campbell, J. K. (2005) Law and Social Justice, MIT Press. Curzon, L. B. (2001) QA Series: Jurisprudence, Routledge, 3rd Edition. Eisendstadt, S. N. (2004) Social Evolution and Modernity: Some Observations on Parson’s Comparative and Evolutionary Analysis: Parsons’s Analysis from the Perspective of Multiple Modernities, The American Sociologist, Volume 35, Issue 4. Hamalainen, T. J. (2003) National Competitiveness and Economic Growth: The Changing Determinants of Economic, Edward Elgar Publishing. Hegel: (2012) Third Part: Ethical Life; The State, Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Sovereignty vis-a-vis foreign States, [Online] Available: [11 December 2012]. Markovic, M. (1981) Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Praxis International, No 4, [Online] Available: [11 December 2012]. Marx, K. (1837-1844) Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction, Karl Marx: Selected Writings. O’Donnell, G. (1973) Modernization and Bureaucratic Authoritarianism: Studies in South American Politics, Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California. Parsons, T. (1971) The System of Modern Societies, Prentice-Hall. Przeworski, A. and Limongi, F. (1997) Modernization: Theories and Facts, World Politics, The Johns Hopkins University Press. Sanderson, S. K. (2001) The Evolution of Human Sociality: A Darwinian Conflict Perspective, Rowman Littlefield. Sifris, A. (2009) The Legal Recognition of Lesbian-Led Families: Justifications for Change, Child and Family Law Quarterly, [2009] CFLQ 197, Issue 2. Tainter, J. A. (1988) The Collapse of Complex Societies, Cambridge University. Toby, J. (1972) Parsons’ Theory of Social Evolution, Contemporary Sociology, Volume 1, No 5. Trevino, A. J. (2001) Talcott Parsons Today: His Theory and Legacy in Contemporary Sociology, Rowman Littlefield. Wacks, R. (2009) Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory, OUP Oxford, 2nd Edition. White, L. A. (2007) The Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilisation to the Fall of Rome, Left Coast Press.

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