By Walter Buckley
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F o r t h e m a n d f o r t h e i r i n t e l l e c t u a l heirs, social s t r u c t u r e is s o m e t h i n g t o be t a k e n a c c o u n t o f i n a c t i o n ; c o g n i t i o n is n o t m e r e l y a n e m p t y category b u t a n a t u r a l process i n v o l v i n g d y n a m i c assessments o f t h e self a n d the o t h e r . 3 3 It can be argued, then, that a refocusing is occurring via "decision theory," broadly conceived, whether elaborated in terms of "role-strain" theory; theories of cognitive dissonance, congruence, balance, or concept formation; exchange, bargaining, or conflict theories, or the mathematical theory of games.
Though the systematics of Leopold von Wiese and Howard Becker developed in great detail a classification of action patterns, it gave equal attention to action patterns. For W. I. Thomas, all social becoming was a product of continual interaction between individual consciousness and objective social reality, a view recently reinforced by Znaniecki. And at least one unbroken thread in this vein, continuing from the early part of the century, is the Dewey-Mead perspective referred to as social interactionism.
T h e efficient causes o f these features. T h a t is, w e h a v e s h o w n some o f t h e processes t h a t create o r m o d i f y t h e g r o u p characteristics w e assumed a t t h e b e g i n n i n g . . B u t t h e feedbacks are n o t a l l f a v o r a b l e , a n d t h e social distance b e t w e e n f a t h e r a n d son, or, m o r e gene r a l l y , b e t w e e n persons o f d i f f e r e n t social r a n k , m a y be a source o f possible conflict a n d failure of c o m m u n i c a t i o n .
Sociology and Modern Systems Theory by Walter Buckley