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Inclusion/exclusion in world society: a study on the relation between inequality, functional differentiation, and the construction of a systemic theory of world society

Grant number: 21/02568-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2021
Effective date (End): January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology
Principal Investigator:Leopoldo Garcia Pinto Waizbort
Grantee:José Vitor Silva Barros
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):21/12742-8 - Inclusion/exclusion and a theory of world society, BE.EP.MS


The research articulates one of the major focuses of renewal in social systems theory (SST), the "inequality" controversy, to the construction of a systemic theory of world society. This intersection is interesting because, even if SST is successful in pointing out mechanisms that generate differences and differentiations in world society, this tradition has ignored and/or marginalized for long what sociological thought conventionally calls "social inequality". Understanding the reasons for this theoretical gap and the answers given to it by reformist proponents of the theory, through the exclusion/inclusion form, is the first objective of this research. However, we are not only interested in understanding how the debate causes conceptual remodeling, but also in how it is incorporated into one of the most sociologically actual (in the phenomenological sense) branches of systems theory -- i.e, R. Stichweh's world society theory --, given that the change towards a global sociology is one of the greatest challenges of the discipline in the 21st century (BEHBEHANIAN; BURAWOY s/d; MEYER, 2010; SASKEN, 2010). This leads us to the second general objective of the research: to understand how Stichweh, one of the main representatives of contemporary systemic sociology, builds his theory of world society. It is our ambition, in this part, to read the theoretical contribution of the author in light of the debate on the status of social inequality in SST. The central contribution of this work will be, therefore, to indicate how we can understand and not understand the mechanisms of global exclusion as of the aforementioned theory of world society, especially with regard to its central concepts, the Eigenstrukturen and the inclusive revolutions. Besides the timeliness of the endeavor (towards a global sociology), the engagement with this theory is important because it happens through lenses polished by one of global South's biggest problems (social inequality), contributing to the theoretical initiative not by the way of reconstitution, but rather by the way of adaptation -- i.e apprehending it dialogically vis-à-vis its critiques -- and thus expanding its explanatory power.

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