By Martin Gold
Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Presentation of the author's version of social psychology which specializes in the reciprocal relatives among the individual and the social surroundings.
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Additional resources for A New Outline of Social Psychology
Social Systems Talcott Parsons’s (1961, 1969) functional theory of action systems is another particularly appropriate metalanguage that offers a set of concepts and their relationships whose dynamics are almost exclusively cybernetic. This review of the metalanguage strategy turns finally to a discussion of Parsons’s theory, which in turn leads t o the threshold of the strategy of levels of analysis. Parsons’s metalanguage consists of terms that refer to systemic properties, as does J. G. Miller’s.
This is the feature of the metalanguage that facilitates translation. Caution is needed, however, because the idea of interpenetration also presents a danger to constructing social psychological theory. The boundaries of social psychological levels of analysis are not sharply drawn by their definitions: Where is the break between social organization and culture or between interpersonal and role relations? Interpenetration capitalizes on the fuzziness of the boundaries, conceiving of them as having dual membership in two or more levels and serving therefore as points of translation.
Moreover, the strategy does not itself provide the theoretical mechanisms by which boundaries across levels of analysis are bridged, but it requires integration of that kind. It is a theoretical procedure that fits the substance and aims of social psychology as I conceive of the discipline. The first step in using the strategy of levels of analysis is to delineate the domain of the levels to be used. For social psychology, this means to define social inclusively and exclusively. Next, I discuss how I deal with the fuzziness of the boundaries of the levels that I described earlier (chapter 11, with the concept of interpenetration and the theoretical tool of idealization.
A New Outline of Social Psychology by Martin Gold