"Process analysis"
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A concept used in Norwegian anthropology, to denote the theoretical orientation pioneered by Fredrik Barth around 1960. In international anthropology, Barth's orientation would be considered a form of methodological individualism, influenced by formal models derived from cybernetics (process, feedback) and economics (the maximizing individual, game theory). Historically, Barth's approach arose as part of a more general reaction against British structural functionalism, in which a number of researchers (e.g. Barnes, Bailey, Kapferer), inspired in part by Malinowskian scholars such as Firth and Leach, in part by Manchester School anthropologists such as Gluckman. The methodological individualists argued that there was a need for theoretical models (see information) that would make it easier to understand change and variation in societies, than in the structural functionalist model. As opposed to the structural functionalists' concept of society as governed by (moral) norms, Barth and his compatriots took as their point of departure the strategic choices of individuals, constrained by external opportunities and restrictions. In keeping with his formalistic approach, Barth describes the social whole as a statistical aggregate of frequencies of action, as a social form (see network).