The Tug of War between Functional Differentiation and De-Differentiation

Whenever people try to undercut the independence of or science or journalism, for example, we see the countermovement of functional de-differentiation. The battle between creationism (or the more respectable “intelligent design”) and the theory of evolution has been an attack on the functional differentiation of science; it’s effort to subordinate science to religion. A closely related movement has been the movement away from public schooling in the form of fundamentalist schools and religion-based homeschooling, which seeks to subordinate education to religion.

Functional differentiation among Native Americans

The Shawnees traditionally comprised five divisions, or societal clans, each with its own area of responsibility for the welfare of the tribe. The Chillicothe and Thawekila divisions took care of political matters and generally supplied tribal political leaders; the Mekoches were concerned with health and medicine and provided healers and counselors; the Pekowis were responsible for religion and ritual; the Kispokos generally took the lead in preparing and training for war and supplying war chiefs. These divisions were semiautonomous, and their own chiefs, occupied particular towns (often named after the division), and sometimes conducted their own foreign policies with other tribes.

Commerce rather than Economy

I prefer the term commerce over economy when referring to the function system that uses money as its symbolically generalized communication medium. Economy has too many possible meanings, such as the wealth or resources of a country or region, careful management of available resources, thrift, good husbandry, etc.

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