Theory in the social sciences should have three major functions. First, it should aid in the codification of our existing concrete knowledge. It can do so by providing generalized hypotheses for the systematic reformulation of existing facts and insights, by extending the range of implication of particular hypotheses, and by unifying discrete observations under general concepts. Through codification, general theory in the social sciences will help to promote the process of cumulative growth of our knowledge. Second, general theory in the social sciences should be a guide to research. By codification it enables us to locate and define more precisely the boundaries of our knowledge and of our ignorance. Third, general theory as a point of departure for specialized work in the social sciences will facilitate the control of the biases of observation and interpretation which are at present fostered by the departmentalization of education and research in the social sciences.