Originally published in 1984, this work is organised in three parts. Each part consists of several related chapters. Each chapter explores the assumptions and implications of a closely related group of concepts in depth. Part 1 explores what a structure is. It considers such notions as content, context, constraint, unity, integrity, and the hierarchical and nucleate forms of organization. Part 2 critically explores the dynamic (energic) conceptualization of psychological and social phenomena. Thus, this part considers such notions as energy, entropy, activity, confirmation, discrepancy, and resistance, as they apply to and affect the stability, activity, and changes observed in psychological and social structures. The relationship among the biological (metabolic), psychological, and social levels of analysis are explored from a rather simplified thermodynamic point of view. In Part 3 brings all these earlier considerations to bear upon the processes by which these structures grow and develop. It explores the concept of development itself, and such related issues as the levels-by-stages model of development, the distinction between intrastructural and intergenerational development, the orthogenic principles, the process of primordial differentiation and integration, development as a dialectical process, and the relationship between growth and development. The Epilogue indicates briefly some of the implications of the present thesis for future empirical and theoretical investigations.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements. General Introduction. Part 1: Form, Function, and Organization: The Statics of Structural Theory 1. The Concept of Structure 2. Function and Content 3. Macroeconomic Form and Microcosmic Form and Microcosmic Constraint 4. Hierarchic Forms of Organization 5. The Nucleate Form of Organization 6. The Concept of Organization Part 2: Energy, Activity, and Change: The Steady-State Dynamics of Structural Theory 7. Energy-Information Linkages 8. Stability, Form, and Flexibility 9. Confirmation, Information, and Adaptation 10. Activity States of a Structure Part 3: Growth and Development: The Developmental Dynamics of Structural Theory 11. The Concept of Development 12. The Levels-by-Stages Model 13. Some Controversial Issues Concerning Levels and Stages 14. The Orthogenic Ordering Principle 15. Primordial Integration: Independence, Coaction, and Interaction 16. Primordial Integration: Partial and Full Integration 17. Differentiation and Specialization 18. Change in Size and Change in Form. Epilogue. Appendix. References. Author Index. Subject Index.
Sandor B. Brent