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century and, above all, World War II. The changing methods and interpretations nonetheless conﬁrm the central role of parliaments in this culture. See also: Citizenship, Historical Development of; Democracy, History of; Parliamentary Government; Political History (History of Politics); Political Parties, History of; Public Sphere: Nineteenth- and Twentiethcentury History
The History of Parliament 1998 (CD-Rom Edition: House of Commons). Cambridge, UK The Journal of Legislati e Studies 1995 Frank Cass, London VV. AA. 1963–1984 Storia del Parlamento Italiano. S. F. Flaccovio, Palermo
E. C. de Rezende Martins
Parsons, Talcott (1902–79)
From the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, Talcott Parsons was the single most inﬂuential social theorist in the world. A developer of what is now popularly called ‘action theory,’ ‘functionalism,’ and ‘structural-functionalism,’ Parsons spent his entire career at Harvard University, which helped considerably in institutionalizing his ideas and also in providing him access to talented graduate students. By the 1950s, his publications became a major part of what was literally a ‘common curriculum’ for graduate students in all major sociology departments—as well as in many of the best political science departments. By being institutionalized in this way, Parsons’ publications elevated the rigor of American graduate training in sociology in particular. More than anyone else, he also deﬁned the ‘classic’ theoretical tradition for sociology as a discipline and then added a more abstract, arguably more conceptually sophisticated contemporary rival to it. With this, he raised the bar for social theory worldwide, from Germany, France, and Great Britain to Japan and even the former Soviet Union. A strong case can be made today that every major social theory since the mid-1960s has been developed in direct or indirect dialogue with Parsons’ functionalism (see Habermas 1981 for a related statement). Having become literally an icon in the discipline in the ﬁrst three decades of his career, in the last two decades he attracted a considerable share of the iconoclasm that more generally characterized the student movement and academia of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Parsons was subject across two decades to far greater criticism than that directed to any other theorist of his generation or since. Given the tenor of the times, most criticisms were rhetorical, often personal. Today, they leave a strong impression that few critics had bothered to read his works with the care typically aﬀorded to basic empirical studies, let alone with the rigor and dispassion that any complicated social theory demands. Yet, the cumulative eﬀect of the broadsides he received in the late 1960s and early 1970s was to leave the collective memory of the discipline with an understanding of Parsonian functionalism that is diﬃcult to reconcile with oftenrepeated, explicitly-stated positions in his publications. What Parsons endeavored to accomplish in his day, providing the social sciences with a common language, and how he went about accomplishing it, 11063
Adamietz H 1978 Parlamentsgeschichte. Hanschild, Location ' res M 1994 Les grands deT bats Be! langer R, Jones R, Vallie parlementaires. Publisher, Laval, Quebec Bisset A 1882 A Short History of English Parliament. Publisher, London Brooks C 1999 Go ernors & Go ernment. Political and Public History of Early Modern England 1550–1850. Arnold, London Chacon V 1997 HistoT ria institucional do Senado. Publisher, Brası! lia Copeland G W, Patterson S C (eds.) 1994 Parliaments in the Modern World: Changing Institutions. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI q sterreichische Parliament 1984 Vienna Das O Franks C E 1987 The Parliament of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON Fraser A, Mason R H P, Mitchell P 1995 Japan’s Early Parliaments 1890–1905. Routledge, New York International Commission for the History of Representation and Parliamentary Institutions 1970 Parliaments, Estates and Representation. International Commission for the History of Representation and Parliamentary Institutions, Ashgate, London Interparliamentary Union 1983 Les Parlements dans le monde. Interparliamentary Union, Paris Kluxen K 1983 Geschichte und Problematik des Parlamentarismus. Frankfurt Ku $ hne T 1998a Parlamentsgeschichte in Deutschland: Probleme, Ertra $ ge, Perspektiven. (History of Parliamentarianism in Germany) Geschichte und Gesellschaft 24(2): 323–38 Ku $ hne T 1998b Parlamentsgeschichte in Deutschland: Probleme, Ertra $ ge, Perspektiven einer Gesamtdarstellung. Geschichte und Gesellschaft 24(2): 323–38 Kurian G Th (ed.) 1998 World Encyclopedia of Parliaments and Legislatures. Congressional Quarterly, Washington, DC Laundy P 1989 Parliaments in the Modern World. Gower, Dartmouth, UK Loewenberg G, Patterson S C 1988 Comparing Legislatures. University Press of America, Lanham, MD Olivier-Martin F 1997 L’absolutisme français; sui i de Les parlements contre l’absolutisme traditionnel. Librarie ge! ne! rale de droit et de jurisprudence, Paris Ritter G A (ed.) 1974 Gesellschaft, Parlament und Regierung: zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus in Deutschland. Kommission fu $ r Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der politischen Parteien, Du $ sseldorf
It is diﬃcult to ﬁnd accounts of him being particularly eﬀusive. beginning in the fall 1931 under the chairmanship of Pitrim Sorokin. in the American government. T. Any social scientist who poses the following question is operating within a functionalist approach: What is the relationship. All three of Parsons’ theories.’ Consistent with Kant. In 1927 Parsons was oﬀered an instructorship in economics at Harvard. a 42-year old emigre from Russia recruited from University of Minnesota. He published over 150 soleauthored articles and 14 books or collections. not more immediately—whether experientially or directly through empirical ﬁndings. Harvard’s Department of Sociology was a relative late-comer in the discipline. Parsons.’ At Heidelberg. Edward Parsons holds fundamentalist views of Christianity but leftist views in politics. his younger brother Alfred. Both parents inculcate into Talcott and his older siblings the importance of ﬁnding a mission in life and then pursuing it assiduously. I rely primarily on Nielsen 1991). a laboratory school for boys operated by Teacher’s College of Columbia University. A short. Parsons selected how sociology and 11064 economics diﬀer in portraying ‘capitalism’ as his dissertation topic. which he called ‘frameworks of concepts. During his earliest years at Harvard. Many observers comment later on the mature Talcott’s remarkable energy and perseverance—including on the ﬁnal two days of his life in Munich in 1979. A graduate of Yale Divinity School. At LSE. In pursuing this project. already balding young man who sports a moustache and always smokes cigarettes. Parsons also met his future wife and mother of three children. Parsons. Talcott (1902–79) developing a ‘conceptual framework’ comprising analytical distinctions. between the substantive area of social life I am studying and the direction of social change? Here. Mary to theologian Jonathan Edwards. both critics and proponents often commented on his low-key demeanor when grappling with ideas and interacting with colleagues and students. Whitehead held that scientists apprehend ‘reality’ or scientiﬁc ‘truth’ only through analytical distinctions. In 1917 the Trustees of Colorado College force Edward to resign as Dean after he supports two women who charged the College’s President with sexual harassment. Talcott earns an undergraduate degree at Amherst College (as had his father and two older brothers) from 1920–4. L. stocky. He is an active participant in the Social Gospel movement that supported organized labor. . This is an approach much maligned today. The family then moves to New York City where Talcott enters Horace Mann High School. progressive school. if any. Parsons was inﬂuenced by Morris Ginsberg. a ‘pinky. then 29. Walton Hamilton.’ involve a ‘functionalist’ approach to the study of social life. Taking coursework from Edgar Salin and Emil Lederer (on economics). and Alexander von Schelting. Parsons was impressed with philosopher Alfred North Whitehead and his notion of the ‘fallacy of misplaced concreteness. During his year at Heidelberg Parsons was oﬀered a one-year teaching appointment at Amherst in the Economics Department which also allowed him to teach an independent course in sociology. a housewife and active suﬀragist (on biographical details. throughout Parsons’ career. critics also comment often on his charm when interacting with other major national and international academicians at Harvard.Parsons. 1902 in Colorado Springs. and the methodological functionalism of anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski—as well as by fellow-student E. a Bryn Mawr College student studying banking. Both parents were New England WASPs who traced their ancestry to mid-eighteenth century settlers. was appointed as an instructor. EvansPritchard. the scientiﬁc study of social life. A few years later in correspondence with phenomenologist Alfred Schutz from 1940–1. By contrast to Schutz and then also to ethnographers at University of Chicago and American empirical researchers more generally. Parsons defended the notion of ‘analytical realism’—as opposed to ontological realism or empirical realism—against Schutz’s position that social scientists can somehow gain more direct access to the ‘life-world’ of their subjects of study (Grathoﬀ 1978). a Congregational minister and college administrator. Talcott Parsons was born on December 13. Disagreements and misunderstanding between the two theorists became common knowledge in the Department and across the University. let alone dominating. Parsons ﬁrst learnt of the recently deceased German social theorist Max Weber and discussed his work with his wife Marianne. Parsons endeavored across his 50-year career to identify the most irreducible analytical distinctions unique to sociology. Her family of conservative white. and yet a basic premise of functionalism is hardly controversial. particularly regarding the issue of economic inequality. Parsons arrived at three successive ‘theoretical syntheses’ and along the way trains four remarkably talented and productive cohorts of graduate students. the youngest of six children of Edward S. At the time Amherst was also an experimental. E. Parsons’ graduate training was remarkably brief: one academic year (1924–5) at the London School of Economics as a nondegree candidate. Helen Banerott Walker. Hobhouse. and overseas. then another (1925–6) as a degree candidate at Heidelberg University. and Mary Augusta Ingersoll Parsons. Karl Mannheim (a friend of Georg Lukacs) and Karl Jaspers (on Kant). Yet. now eludes the discipline’s collective memory. thus beginning a life-long career there. Parsons at ﬁrst focuses on biology and chemistry but in his junior year becomes ‘converted’ to the social sciences under the inﬂuence of an unorthodox institutional economist.and blue-collar workers consider Talcott a leftist.
evolution. but they also do not conform to norms ritualistically with any transcendental end in view. but more ‘voluntaristically. with the explicit aim of linking structural and social psychological approaches in the scientiﬁc study of social life. along with Parsons’s 1930 translation of Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Parsons approached professions by ﬁrst distinguishing their behavior from that of economic enterprises. his theory went through a brief midcareer change from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s as he considered ﬁndings from Robert Bales’s study of small groups. As Parsons assumed his leadership role in Harvard’s Department. The discipline is open collectively to receiving a new theoretical synthesis. with Shils). established Weber and Durkheim as two of the new discipline’s ‘classic’ theorists. supported by generally recognized social norms. Essays in Sociological Theory Pure and Applied (1949). During this period Parsons trained a second cohort of graduate students in the pattern variables. Jesse Pitts. or scientiﬁc truth. while preliminary and as it 11065 . Corporate managers and shareholders tend to act in strictly utilitarian or market-mimicking ways as they endeavor to maximize either growth or proﬁt. In the same year. or social structures. Parsons also began formal training in psychoanalysis as a Class C candidate at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. John and Mathilda Riley. Harold Garﬁnkel. institutionalized norms. their prestige or status in any society hinges as much on whether they are valued culturally. Kingsley Davis. Professionals. as such. In general. however. More generally. Parsons trained a ﬁrst cohort of graduate students in the classics and his own theory of ‘voluntaristic action.. and two social theorists. is a common ground shared by critical theorists and Parsonian functionalists but not by more historicist researchers. Parsons held. as part of the buoyancy and optimism that pervaded the US after the war. and thus capable of being recognized interpersonally—such as their patients’ physical or mental health. Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. including: Bernard Barber. During the 1930s. and Working Papers in the Theory of Action (1953.Moreparticularly. This is a qualitative end that is transcendental or metaphysical.’ By his account. Clerics and religious believers. like other workers. Parsons was interested in accounting at a theoretical level for the rise. Francis Sutton. In all modern societies. and three monographs: The Social System (1951). In his earliest publications. from the 1920s to the mid-1940s. also exhibit ﬁdelity to norms.’ They do not act in strictly market-mimicking ways. researchers can use six such variable-pairs (a) to distinguish professions from other occupations and (b) to identify changes in the behavior of professions both historically and cross-nationally. While exceedingly abstract and complex. Yet. professionals are simultaneously driven by economic pressures to maximize proﬁts. Parsons called these decisions and requirements ‘pattern variables. Edward Devereuw.Parsons. Parsons came to appreciate the signiﬁcance of ‘voluntaristic action’ after a careful reading of two economic theorists. those who study particular events or periods in isolation and are loathe to identify any direction of social change. Robin Williams. tend to exhibit ritualistic ﬁdelity to norms as they—presumably—seek spiritual salvation. By January 1946. and centrally situated in a social structure as on whether practicing professionals compete eﬀectively in self-regulating markets. he endeavored to account for the place and purpose of norms in maintaining social order both historically and crossnationally. By contrast. Professions are a pivotal subject for sociological inquiry because they are important nongovernmental bodies in all modern societies. with Robert Bales and Edward Shils). a quantitative end that can be recognized interpersonally. and religious organizations. For example. Rather. and then also to explore whether and how they contribute to social order. Parsons’ major publications during this period are a collection. and Robert Bales. they exhibit ﬁdelity to norms as a means to attain qualitative ends that are worldly or empirical. and also by normative pressures to conform to certain extra-economic standards of conduct that typically do not bind most other workers. Jr. Wilbert Moore. Towards a General Theory of Action (1951. Harry Johnson. not something that can be recognized interpersonally. there are two ways to grasp the signiﬁcance of Parsons’ publications across his career. He had been lecturing informally on Freud since fall 1938. and Parsons’ notion of pattern variables.’ including: Robert Merton. a unique set of occupations. This reading forms the core of The Structure of Social Action (1937) which. Talcott (1902–79) then. or their clients’ legal innocence. Marion Levy. many sociology departments re-evaluate their curricula. and institutionalization of these extraeconomic restraints on self-interested behavior. In spring 1944 Parsons was promoted to full professor and the chairmanship. he transformed the Department of Sociology into the Department of Social Relations. in contemporary societies. on one side. Alfred Marshall and Vilfredo Pareto. other roles (including those performed by parents) encourage more particularistic treatment of others (children). and Florence Kluckhohn (along with Edward Hartshorne who was killed by a sniper while on active service in postwar Germany). on the other. Parsons began thinking about professions (and how to identify norms in social life more generally) in terms of six basic decisions that people performing any role or task either make explicitly or have imposed on them by cultural values. certain roles (including those performed by professionals) mandate treating others (clients or patients) in universalistic ways.heendeavoredtoaccount for the place and larger signiﬁcance of professions. its attainment is a matter of faith.
and presentations create an unusually kinetic intellectual excitement among collaborators and graduate students. administrative eﬀectiveness (‘goal-attainment’). Parsons was a central ﬁgure at a famous session of the German Sociology Association in Heidelberg devoted to reconsidering Max Weber’s contributions. many earlier graduate students whose training had been interrupted by wartime service returned to Harvard. and Ralf Dahrendorf in Germany challenged Parsons’ functionalism in relatively measured tones.’ an idea he ﬁrst proposed at the annual meeting of the then American Sociological Society in 1947 in opposition to Parsons’ ‘general theory. Talented undergraduates who come into contact with Parsons during this period include Robert Bellah and Charles Tilly. Sorokin retires in 1959. and his putative general obeisance to ‘American capitalism’ or ‘the establishment. two weeks after the Heidelberg debate). to treat the professions analytically as interchangeable with other occupations or other corporate entities. the putative conservative nature of his own family life including his putative responsibility for his daughter’s suicide (in June 1964. is a prime candidate. Talcott (1902–79) turned out ﬂeeting. with his ﬁrst statement about ‘evolutionary universals’ (see the Turner 1999 collection for the 1964 article and references to the others). beginning slowly in the mid-1950s and then with more rapid developments from the early 1960s to the end of his career. The high-point of scholarly criticism during this period comes with a collection of essays by philosophers and sociologists edited by Max Black. and within the next two years learns that he has diabetes. Norman Birnbaum. whether by rational choice theorists or social critics on the left. In April 1964. his putatively strategic rather than scholarly decision to make sociology as 11066 rigorous conceptually as economics. with major articles on the concepts of power and inﬂuence. Parsons also proposed that four ‘media of interchange’ circulate between these analytical subsystems—money. James Olds. most notably the young Ju $ rgen Habermas and the more established Max Horkeimer and Herbert Marcuse (see Stammer 1965\1972 for a collection of these exchanges). his WASP ethnic and cultural heritage. Joseph Berger. This transition period to Parsons’ mature social theory is marked in particular by Economy and Society (1956. Parsons also inﬂuences undergraduate Jeﬀrey Alexander. Lewis Coser and Dennis Wrong in the US. Renee Fox. goes largely unread by critics and proponents alike. to each of four general social ‘functions’: economic eﬃciency (‘adaptation’). In 1973. Another is Robert Merton’s notion of ‘middle range theory. and Willy DeCramer. From this point forward. Parsons was attacked. Parsons trained a fourth and ﬁnal cohort of graduate students in the AGIL schema and related theoretical developments. Parsons approached professions within what he called the ‘AGIL schema. Parsons resigns as chair of the Department of Social Relations in 1956. lectures. Neil Smelser. In this work Parsons rethinks his approach to professions by incorporating two major points into his social theory. They were also shooting at a moving target in that Parsons was developing his mature social theory. his amazing productivity.’ ‘pattern maintenance. and Miriam Johnson. John Akula.’ This is Parsons’ single most signiﬁcant contribution to social theory.’ Parsons unveiled the AGIL schema explicitly in 1963. arguably Parsons’ single most important substantive contribution to social theory.’ and ‘hierarchy of control’ to this basic fourfunction breakdown of social life. and Parsons’ training of a third cohort of graduate students. including: Albert Cohen. and then in 1964. These two points provide the foundations for an account of the place and purpose of professions in contemporary societies that diﬀers radically from any eﬀort. As fully developed. Also in transition during this period is the leadership of sociology at Harvard.Parsons. but with uneven rigor. inﬂuence. hospitals. Rainer Baum. particularly in the US. and value commitments—thereby bringing a certain orderliness or predictability to the whole. First. power. Through the 1960s and 1970s. ﬁdelity to social norms (‘integration’). a sense that American sociology has not witnessed since. did Parsons begin methodically to . with Neil Smelser). more personal and ideological than analytical and scholarly. Parsons and Platt published what is arguably his most important single work since 1937. his putative mistranslation of Weber. his writing style. however. and research institutes) are organized in a ‘collegial form. respectively. criticisms of Parsons become harsher. Dean Gerstein. Leon Mayhew. for: his religious background. From 1956 to 1961. By 1973. the collective memory of the discipline is so dominated by criticisms of the AGIL schema that this major work. In addition. a few years before his death. to which Parsons responded with a long concluding chapter. The American Uni ersity. He added notions of ‘systems-theory.’ not in a bureaucratic form or a democratic form. Everyone working in his circle operated with a palpable sense that social theory is in the midst of a fundamental breakthrough. During his transition from the pattern variables to the AGIL schema. Only in the mid-1970s. including: Victor Lidz. Jan Loubser. Second. Jackson Toby. and ﬁdelity to cultural values or a society’s most basic institutional arrangements (‘latency’). he proposes that professions are distinguished from other occupations by their members’ willingness to bear ‘ﬁduciary responsibilities’ to clients and the larger society. he proposes that professions and sites of professional practice (such as universities. David Lockwood in Great Britain. his putative political conservatism. Parsons’ publications. the AGIL schema isolates analytically those aspects of behavior in any role or position that contribute.’ Finally. He found himself at odds with Frankfurt School critical theorists.
Victor Lidz notes in eulogy: ‘No sociologist of recent times has had to endure more bitter criticism than Talcott. If there is any ‘common language’ in the social sciences today. Niklas Luhmann. French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu in many regards today recapitulates Parsons’ AGIL schema. always. Karl Deutsch. Crane Brinton. as technical matters within the domain of social scientiﬁc theory’ (Nielsen 1991). In support of Habermas’ point that we can expect any new theoretical development in the social sciences to respond directly or indirectly to Parsons’ functionalism. N. He identiﬁes two poles within what he calls ‘ﬁelds of power’—the economic ﬁeld and the ﬁeld of cultural production—and then distinguishes four ﬁelds in between: politics. Philip Slater. Herbert Marcuse. including: Edward Shils. Eric Voegelin. N. C. in the absence of any shared framework of analytical concepts. Bershady’s Ideology and Social Knowledge in particular marks a major sea change in commentary on Parsons’ works. Coleman. Talcott bore criticism with equanimity as well as courage. adhering to principles of value-freedom. including a lecture on ‘The Declining Signiﬁcance of Social Class’ attended by host Horst Helle as well as Jurgen Habermas. Moreover. his students. Parsons and Helen travelled frequently in the 1970s. Morris Zelditch. By the early 1980s. Lon Fuller. Benjamin Nelson. he held to his own program of research and writing. an impressive set of scholars was inﬂuenced heavily by Parsons himself. or on what basis researchers may categorize particular groups or activities as components of one ﬁeld or another. As a result. Amitai Etzioni. This trend is then recapitulated. Chalmers Johnson. social scientists routinely talk past each other. he engaged in private and public correspondence and debates with Frank Knight. David Apter. Richard Munch. Finally. and the university (Bourdieu 1989\1996). James Olds. Chester Barnard. Graduate students are trained more and more narrowly. Winston White. it is not clear on what basis he is distinguishing ﬁelds. In addition. He co-authored. Victor Lidz.Parsons. Erwin Scheuch. a new generation of social theorists. Robert Bellah. and Dean Gerstein. Andrew Eﬀrat. Today. and Wolfgang Schluchter. Joseph Ben-David. Wright Mills. Robert Bierstedt. Although a passionate man. Ken’ichi Tominaga (Japan’s leading postwar sociologist). but rather to an ever more ﬁnely grained cacophony of research specialties. Daniel Bell. More than anyone else Bershady appreciates that Parsons pitched his social theory at an unusually abstract level of analysis because he sought literally a common language for the social sciences. Bennett Berger. Mark Gould. Led initially by Munch (1981) in Germany and Alexander (1983. less analytically rigorous. team-taught. Bershady is the ﬁrst to draw attention to Parsons’ eﬀort to ground the social sciences against relativism with analytical concepts. S. Sidney Verba. Kaspar Naegele. today’s ‘neofunctionalism’ ﬁnds support from theorists whose political positions range from radical left to liberal reformist to conservative republican (see the collections edited by Hamilton 1992 11067 . most notably the informed analyses of Bershady (1973) and Warner (1978). Alfred Schutz. or his theory (some of whom also inﬂuence Parsons and his students): Niklas Luhmann. After Parsons’ typical full day of presentations and scholarly exchanges. Talcott (1902–79) respond to at least a few criticisms of his work. Robert F. Robert Bellah. Parsons’s ‘general theory’ has given way not to a ﬁnite set of readily identiﬁable theories of the ‘middle range. Samuel Stouﬀer. Bales. Jurgen Habermas. by which to demonstrate to each other the central import of their respective ﬁndings. 1985) in the US. Adrian Hayes. by ongoing changes in graduate training. initiated the eﬀort to have Parsons’ publications reconsidered on scholarly grounds. he declined to reciprocate ideological criticism. as opposed to revealing to each other the general importance of their research ﬁndings and theoretical developments. on the occasion of the ﬁftieth anniversary of Talcott’s degree from Heidelberg. In early May 1979 they returned to Heidelberg. Eisenstadt. Albert Blumenthal. Edward Laumann. its aspiration to unite the social sciences. The major diﬀerence with Parsons is that the French theorist’s categories are more directly descriptive. it is that of research methods. S. including members of Parsons’ last cohort of graduate and undergraduate students at Harvard. Robert Marsh. Florence Kluckhohn. Seymour Martin Lipset. and Ernest Mayr. Robert Merton. including three separate trips to Japan. Parsons demonstrated his capacity to ‘translate’ others’ ﬁndings and ideas in his own scholarship. Prior to Bershady both proponents and critics generally failed to convey the power and sweep of Parsons’ social theory in form. Martin Martel. Lawrence Brownstein. David Riesman. Kenneth Boulding. Gerald Platt. Parsons’ project was essentially to give structuralists and symbolic interactionists the means. Jesse Pitts. the common language. At a memorial service 10 days later in Harvard Chapel. and Frank Lechner. Philip Selznick. Joseph Schumpeter. James S. Eisenstadt. and their required survey courses in social theory hardly encourage them to move beyond any research specialty. the higher civil service. Parsons’ critics inadvertently encouraged the fragmentation of research and theory in sociology and the social sciences that Parsons endeavored to prevent. He dealt with criticisms. the professions. Parsons died of a stroke in the early hours of May 8. Max Horkheimer. Not daunted by even sweeping attack. Neil Smelser. Lucian Pye. or otherwise collaborated closely with a remarkable range of theorists and researchers across disciplines. then proceeded to Munich. Gabriel Almond.’ as Robert Merton anticipated in 1949. But even here there is more internal division among methodologists than they often wish to acknowledge. and accelerated. why there are six ﬁelds of power rather than four or eight.
with Parsons himself. 4: The Reconstruction of Classical Thought: Talcott Parsons. is merely a matter of taste or con- Bibliography Alexander J C 1983 Theoretical Logic in Sociology.) 1999 The Talcott Parsons Reader. Theory: Sociological. the most important property. An equally strong case can be made that theorists and researchers today can draw fruitfully on Parsons’ basic AGIL schema. Uta Gerhardt. Wiley. Theory: Conceptions in the Social Sciences. Inﬂuence: Social. Matteo Bortolini. or. on the contrary.) 1961 The Social Theories of Talcott Parsons.) 1965\1972 Max Weber and Sociology Today. (b) asymmetry: x y and y x implies x l y. New York Stammer O (ed. Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason. Beverly Hills. Ken’ichi Tominaga. 4 vols. NJ Bourdieu P 1989\1996 The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Durkheim. Malden. in a sense. Structuralism. Talcott (1902–79) and Colomy 1990). Prentice-Hall. London Munch R 1981 Talcott Parsons and the theory of action. A strong case can be made that Parsons’ social theory has been mined only superﬁcially (Takagi in press). z ? P: (a) reﬂexivity: x x. Harper and Row. Weber. Routledge. History of. ) where P is a nonempty set and a binary relation on P satisfying for all x. Hans Joas. What they share. Cambridge University Press. a partially ordered set (a poset for short) consists of a pair (P. 2 vols.’ but that they need not follow Parsons’ eﬀort to draw further distinctions within each subdivision (Mouzelis 1995). Political Economy. Sciulli Copyright # 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. However. IN Habermas J 1981\1987 Theory of Communicati e Action. Malden. to identify lines of empirical inquiry that this social theory uniquely presents to view (Sciulli 1992). Educational Institutions and Society. American Journal of Sociology 83: 1317–49 D. Helmut Staubmann in Austria. History of. MA Sciulli D 1992 Theory of Societal Constitutionalism: Foundations of a Non-Marxist Critical Theory. Control: Social. Beacon Press. Free Press.Parsons. Pierpaolo Donati. History of. Institutions. Theories of. Bryan Turner. American Journal of Sociology 86: 709–39 Nielsen J K 1991 Talcott Parsons’ Life. and Riccardo Prandini in Italy. Indiana University Press. and then the ﬁrst set of subdivisions he drew within each ‘function. 2. alternatively. though it might be a consequence of other conditions.) 1992 Talcott Parsons: Critical Assessments. Blackwell. See also: Action Theory: Psychological. (c) transitivity: x y and y z implies x z. Jens Kaalhauge Nielsen in Denmark. New York Parsons T. New York Black M (ed. Routledge. Berkeley. Functionalism. Horst Helle. Bloomington. CA Alexander J C 1988 Neofunctionalism and After. Symbolic Interaction: Methodology. Cambridge University Press. it is shared by all variants of order relations. are two general principles (which Alexander 1988 now explicitly rejects). The other principle is that it is incumbent today to demonstrate the empirical potential of Parsonian functionalism. Status and Role: Structural Aspects. Max (1864–1920) Bershady H J 1973 Ideology and Social Knowledge. University of California Press. Andrea Maccarini. Conventions and Norms: Philosophical Aspects. Emile (1858–1917). Theories of Social.) 1990 Neofunctionalist Sociology. Value Pluralism. and Kazuyoshi Takagi in Japan. Stanford University Press. Cambridge. and Jeremy Tanner in Great Britain. Professions. CA Alexander J C (ed. Stanford. All rights reserved. Transitivity is. New York Takagi K in press Talcott Parsons and American Intellectual Society. MA Warner R S 1978 Toward a redeﬁnition of action theory: Paying the cognitive element its due. Values. I: The Structure of the Kantian core. Professions in Organizations. asymmetry also contributes in an essential way to the meaning of a partial order. Englewood Cliﬀs. Functionalism in Sociology. include: Munch. and Nicos Mouzelis. Harvard University Press. Reﬂexivity. Social Change: Types. even if critical of certain parts of it. Realism\Neorealism. UK Grathoﬀ R (ed. System: Social. Elgar. UK Turner B S (ed. Blackwell. Sociology of. Unpublished Manuscript.) 1985 Neofunctionalism. y. Kiyomitsu Yui. Cambridge. Aldershot. Norms. MA 11068 International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences ISBN: 0-08-043076-7 .) 1978 The Theory of Social Action: The Correspondence of Alfred Schutz and Talcott Parsons. Structure: Social. Vol. Sociology. and Harald Wenzel in Germany. Boston Hamilton P (ed. Sociology of. Sage. Emergent Properties. Partial Orders The idea of ordering captures a basic faculty of the human mind: to decide for two given elements from a set of objects which one ‘dominates’ the other with respect to an attribute of interest. One is that it is vitally important to the social sciences to continue Parsons’ eﬀort to ground social theory on the basic analytical distinctions of the AGIL schema rather than to rely more directly on descriptive concepts (whether empirical generalizations or ideal types). 5 vols. Parsons T 1937\1968 The Structure of Social Action. Action. Social theorists outside the US today who support the Parsonian tradition. Formally. Theory and Political Orientation. which one is ‘preferred’ to the other. London Mouzelis N 1995 Sociological Theory: What Went Wrong? Diagnosis and Remedies. Vol. Platt G W 1973 The American Uni ersity. Realisms and their Opponents: Philosophical Aspects. Shared Belief. CA Colomy P (ed.
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