Parsons Essays In Sociological Theory

Parsons Essays In Sociological Theory-55
For Weber, differentiation meant that gods proliferated, and individuals were left to their own devices; for Parsons, differentiation was matched by new modes of integration, and individual choice was guided by shared normative standards. Yet until the end, he also adhered to the Weberian insight that Christian ambivalence toward "the world" could not be resolved.The tension between religious culture and economic action could not be eliminated.America represented a phase in the Christianization of the world.

For Weber, differentiation meant that gods proliferated, and individuals were left to their own devices; for Parsons, differentiation was matched by new modes of integration, and individual choice was guided by shared normative standards. Yet until the end, he also adhered to the Weberian insight that Christian ambivalence toward "the world" could not be resolved.

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Still, Parsons's view of action and order owed much to Durkheim.

Without shared normative regulation, rational action remains rudderless—little more than the idle individual pursuit of random ends.

But whereas Weber thought that Protestantism was bound to lose its social influence in a rationalized society, Parsons claimed that the Protestant worldview remained significant in modern times.

Specifically, he considered dominant American values, described as instrumental activism and institutionalized individualism, to be new, generalized versions of Christian universalism, individualism, and world mastery.

Religion played an integral part in Parsons's work from beginning to end.

His overall project can be described as an effort to refute a Weberian view of modernity with Durkheimian means.

Parsons's treatment of the normative is anti-idealist in principle; institutionalization of values is always a contingent process.

Yet the normative pattern that provides a society its identity is the single most important functional facet that Parsons emphasizes throughout. Whatever else it is, a society must be a moral community; those who belong to it necessarily share a religion in some sense—and vice versa (190).

In this respect, he actually extended a Weberian idea.

In the West, Parsons argued, religion maintained a crucial cultural role precisely in counteracting the potential dominance of economic thought and action.

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    All but the piece on Riesman can be found in one or the other of Parsons' two volumes of collected essays Essays in Sociological Theory Pure and Applied Rev. Ed, Free Press, 1954; and Structure and Process in Modern Society, Free Press, 1960.…

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  • Content Pages of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Social Science
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    T. Parsons, Essays in Sociological Theory New York Free Press, 1954 T. Parsons, Sociological Theory and Modern Society New York Free Press, 1967 T. Parsons, "Christianity," in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 21968425-447. T. Parsons, Action Theory and the Human Condition New York Free Press, 1978…

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    Author of The structure of social action, The social system, Essays in sociological theory, Economy and society, Working papers in the theory of action, Theories of society, Structure and process in modern societies, Family, socialization and interaction process…

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    Few men have dominated their fields so much as Dr. Parsons does his. In this collection of nineteen essays, Dr. Parsons focuses his attention on subjects ranging from the social structure of Japan to propaganda and social control, from sociological aspects of Fascist movements to the place of psychoanalysis in society.…

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