Social Integration

Social Integration

Social Integration

Integration is the process of creating harmony in society. to some extent, the members of society must be loyal to one another and to the social system as a whole. This is necessary because a low level of integration would endanger the society by undermining the basis of cooperation among its members.

Strains and conflicts develop in society because of the processes of goal attainment and adaption. One source of such difficulties is the sharing of rewards. Each member of society must be rewarded for his contribution toward attainment of social goals, There may develop competition over such rewards, which are scarce, even though they are the fruits of cooperation. An example is conflict between labour and management over the division of business income. Such a conflict must be kept in bounds if society is to maintain the degree of cohesion it needs to survive and function effectively.

Pattern maintenance and tension management also are concerned with maintaining the equilibrium of society. But whereas the functional problem of integration deals with the relationship among members of society, pat-tern maintenance and tension management focus on the individual members of society. If society is to preserve itself, it must ward off external threats and challenges to its value system and to the cultural patterns based on values.

The members of society must learn these values and culture patterns and have an attitude of respect toward them. From time to time they must be renewed, so to speak, through appropriate rituals and other symbols. It is particularly important for the maintenance of society that its members continue to regard societal goals as legitimate. It is the function of pattern maintenance to protect and promote social values and culture patterns.

Tension management deals with the problem of the emotional disturbances and distractions of the members of society. These must be "managed" if individuals are to carry on effectively. It is important that they be relatively well satisfied with the rewards they get for helping to attain societal goals. Tension management has the task of keeping members of society sufficiently gratified so that they can perform their tasks properly. If they become frustrated because they feel they are not being properly rewarded in money, prestige, and other sources of gratification, tension may mount to the point where their efficiency is seriously impaired.


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