Person's Classification & Categorization: A Source to Explore Social Differentiation

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:10 PM
Room: Booth 56
Oral Presentation
Alexander KNOTH , Economics and Social Sciences, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
The classification of persons can be seen as a prototype of social classification (Durkheim/Mauss). Following the differentiation paradigm modern society’s inclusion of individuals is based on the functional differentiation of the social systems, which is universal and not orientated on ascribed attributes. Theoretically the principle of functional differentiation would be posited as a result of the system demands, however there aren’t empirically saturated studies explaining this principle.

The contribution aims to explore institutional manifestations of inclusion by focusing on person’s classification, because classification processes are essential for the formation of functional subsystems. 

Using a historical perspective through the lens of classification and social knowledge I will discuss the production of citizens within the formation of nation state’s political system. It will be shown that legal categorizations are state practices in order to address people and to distribute resources. These persons are reflecting structural changes and they can be used as a methodological key to open modern society’s self-discriptions and their way of modernization.

In the first step (1) historical sequences from 1945 to 2011 will be sketched to reconstruct the legal paths of Hungary, The Czechoslovak Republic, Ireland and Netherlands. In the second step (2) some common and some historic-specific persons with their interfering social dimensions (i.e. nation, ethnicity, sex or economy etc.) will be presented and compared to illustrate the social differentiation of the nation-state. Against this background (3) using the heuristic code of citizen/non-citizen major shifts of the meaning of political membership and belonging will be shown. Finally (4), it will be argued that society’s personnel stands for a specific institutionalization of inclusion and shouldn’t be seen as a deviance from “Vollinklusion”.