online erschienen: Holzer, Boris (2018): Varieties and variations of functional differentiation

In: Soziale Systeme 23 (1-2), S. 15–30.

Varieties and Variations of Functional Differentiation

Functional differentiation is associated with two salient features of globalization: First, societal subsystems such as the economy, science, religion and politics have become increasingly global in terms of the interconnectedness of their operations across the world. Second, they exhibit global structural similarities, for instance regarding functionally specific role relationships and corresponding formal organizations. However, functional differentiation entails not only more interconnectedness and homogenization but also considerable structural and institutional diversity. In this paper, I distinguish and examine two forms of diversity that emerge as consequences of functional differentiation: Varieties of institutional structures that concern different ways of addressing functionally specific problems, on the one hand, and on the other, the variation of forms of structural coupling among subsystems within a particular local or regional context.