CST15.SUM.Parsons - Classical Sociological Theory, 4e...

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Classical Sociological Theory, 4e Ritzer Talcott Parsons Classical Sociological Theory Chapter 15 CHAPTER SUMMARY Integrative Efforts Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) is known for introducing European classical sociological theory to the United States and for formulating his own grand classical theory. Moreover, Parsons had a profound impact on American sociology through his influence on many graduate students who became significant theorists in their own right. Parsons strove for integration in sociological theory in a number of ways. First, he attempted to unify the social sciences at Harvard under the rubric of the Department of Social Relations. In addition, Parsons clearly delineated his levels of social analysis and argued that the integration of these various levels was of profound importance for stability in the social world. His attempt at integration is somewhat weakened by his inability to reconcile different theoretical orientations over the course of his career. General Principles and Philosophical Roots Parsons set out to formulate a general action theory that would be based on voluntarism and would consider the causal relevance of cultural phenomena such as ideas, norms, and goals. In addition, his action theory would consider how higher-order systems would emerge from lower-order systems, and how these emergent systems incorporated their component elements. Parsons argued further that his action theory was composed of three central concepts: the unit act, verstehen , and the aforementioned voluntarism. In Parsons’s view, the unit act was composed of actors, situations, conditions, means, norms, and values, while
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CST15.SUM.Parsons - Classical Sociological Theory, 4e...

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