A theory of social processes must diagnose and explain those long-term and unplanned, yet structured and directional trends in the development of social and personality structures that constitute the infrastructure of what is commonly called «history». The reception of such a theoretical approach is hampered by the self-image of contemporary sociology as a discipline primarily concerned with the present and devoted to research on short-term changes and causal relationships within given social systems. This self-image results from a problematic division of intellectual labour between history and sociology, but also from sociology's increasing involvement in social practive, i.e.  bureaucratically controlled social planning. While contributing to such planning, sociologists ignore the long-term, unplanned developments which produce the conditions for the present-day practice of planning and in which all planned social development is entangled. Complementary processes of functional differentiation, social integration and civilization are strands of this complex long-term development. Its dynamics require further exploration.

source: British Journal of Sociology, Online abstracts