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date: 22 February 2020

equilibrium (social equilibrium) 

A Dictionary of Sociology

John Scott

In normative *functionalist theory generally, and the work of Talcott *Parsons in particular, the commonplace concept of equilibrium (a state of balance in which opposing forces or tendencies neutralize each other) is given a more specific meaning. It applies, in particular, to what Parsons calls a ‘boundary-maintaining system’: that is, a social system that ‘maintains certain constancies of pattern’, relative to its environment. Two types of constancy are identified—static (unchanging), and moving, the latter of which Parsons describes as ‘an orderly process of social change’ (see ... ...

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