chapter  4
73 Pages

Structure, power and conflict

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, to outline a realist account of social systems

which neither reduces structural properties tautologously to some or other form of ‘organised’

interaction, nor reifies them by gifting them hydraulic powers of determination by virtue of

which individuals function simply as agents of their functional requirements. Second, to

utilise this general model of ‘structure’ or ‘structural properties’ to outline a logically coherent

and conceptually defensible materialist understanding of society or ‘social system’ along the

lines outlined and defended by Marx and Engels (i.e. one which avoids the twin pitfalls of

reductionism and determinism, on the one hand, and voluntarism or ‘spontaneism’, on the