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Ideology and Social Knowledge (Paperback)
  • Ideology and Social Knowledge (Paperback)
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Ideology and Social Knowledge (Paperback)

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£36.99
Paperback 180 Pages / Published: 30/08/2014
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This book analyzes Talcott Parsons' largest-scale effort to overcome the relativism and subjectivism of the social sciences. Harold J. Bershady sets forth Parsons' version of the characteristics desirable for social knowledge, showing that Parsons deems the relativistic and subjectivistic arguments as powerful challenges to the validity of social knowledge. Bershady maintains that all Parsons' intellectual labors exhibit a deep and abiding concern for social knowledge. From his first major work in the 1930s to his later writings on social evolution, Parsons' theoretical aim has been to provide an unassailable answer to the question, "how is social knowledge possible?"

Ideological criticisms of Parsons' work, Bershady argues, not only miss his awareness of ideological influences upon social thought, but also miss the logical and epistemological strands of his thinking. This book sheds light on the persistent importance of the work of a major theoretical sociologist of the twentieth century. It also brings into the open and discusses issues of deepest concern to the philosophy and methodology of all of the social sciences.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9781412853682
Number of pages: 180
Weight: 227 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"On the basis of a conscientious and detailed review of Talcott Parson's action theory, Harold Bershady has written an important, precisely argues, and lucid essay examining the epistemological foundations and logical structures of social knowledge. The work is one of the most searching--and sympathetic--examinations to date of Talcott Parson's theorizing. But it is much more than that. Bershady wisely chose Parson's work as the most advanced and comprehensive effort at constructing a fundamental frame of reference and body of theory which recent sociology had to offer, in order to investigate the epistemological status and adequacy of explanatory structures in social knowledge generally. This is no textbook exposition, but a subtle analysis of structures and strategies in Parsonian theorizing which is of major importance in its own right."

--Burkart Holzner, American Journal of Sociology

"Bershady has written a working paper suitable for directed discussion in a graduate seminar or for raising issues that need to be raised in coursework on theory construction. His colleagues will find it a helpful refresher on the highpoints of Parsons' works and on some items from the list of things to consider in evaluating sociological theory."

--Herman Turk, Social Forces

"Students of Talcott Parson's work will greet this unpretentious study with gratitude. Professor Bershady shows that at the start of his career Parsons identified certain epistemological problems which any social theory must face, and that he has consistently employed a single theoretical strategy in a lifelong effort to solve these problems. . . . Thanks to the exegetical effort of Scott, and Whitney Pope and his colleagues, and now of Bershady, one can no longer suppose that the central ideas of the most eminent living social theorist will never be understandably express or competently evaluated."

--Barclay D. Johnson, Contemporary Sociology

"Bershady provides a welcome change from writing on sociological theory based on 'common sense' premises. His attack on simplistic political interpretations of Parsons' enterprise and positions is timely and all the better in that it is accompanied by a serious discussion of those aspects of Parsons' work which are in no way reducible to conservatism or elitism."

--P. Q. Hirst, The British Journal of Sociology

"Ideology and Social Knowledge is an excellent example . . . [of] the task . . . to define the great achievements of Parsons and at the same time show its limits. . . . Bershady takes the reader on a journey through Parsons' theory development and the varying versions of his highly complex theoretical structures, which he interprets, contrary to many other commentators, as following a coherent logic. . . . Analytical brilliance."

--Helmut Staubmann, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology


"On the basis of a conscientious and detailed review of Talcott Parson's action theory, Harold Bershady has written an important, precisely argues, and lucid essay examining the epistemological foundations and logical structures of social knowledge. The work is one of the most searching--and sympathetic--examinations to date of Talcott Parson's theorizing. But it is much more than that. Bershady wisely chose Parson's work as the most advanced and comprehensive effort at constructing a fundamental frame of reference and body of theory which recent sociology had to offer, in order to investigate the epistemological status and adequacy of explanatory structures in social knowledge generally. This is no textbook exposition, but a subtle analysis of structures and strategies in Parsonian theorizing which is of major importance in its own right."

--Burkart Holzner, American Journal of Sociology

"Bershady has written a working paper suitable for directed discussion in a graduate seminar or for raising issues that need to be raised in coursework on theory construction. His colleagues will find it a helpful refresher on the highpoints of Parsons' works and on some items from the list of things to consider in evaluating sociological theory."

--Herman Turk, Social Forces

"Students of Talcott Parson's work will greet this unpretentious study with gratitude. Professor Bershady shows that at the start of his career Parsons identified certain epistemological problems which any social theory must face, and that he has consistently employed a single theoretical strategy in a lifelong effort to solve these problems. . . . Thanks to the exegetical effort of Scott, and Whitney Pope and his colleagues, and now of Bershady, one can no longer suppose that the central ideas of the most eminent living social theorist will never be understandably express or competently evaluated."

--Barclay D. Johnson, Contemporary Sociology

"Bershady provides a welcome change from writing on sociological theory based on 'common sense' premises. His attack on simplistic political interpretations of Parsons' enterprise and positions is timely and all the better in that it is accompanied by a serious discussion of those aspects of Parsons' work which are in no way reducible to conservatism or elitism."

--P. Q. Hirst, The British Journal of Sociology

"Ideology and Social Knowledge is an excellent example . . . [of] the task . . . to define the great achievements of Parsons and at the same time show its limits. . . . Bershady takes the reader on a journey through Parsons' theory development and the varying versions of his highly complex theoretical structures, which he interprets, contrary to many other commentators, as following a coherent logic. . . . Analytical brilliance."

--Helmut Staubmann, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology


-On the basis of a conscientious and detailed review of Talcott Parson's action theory, Harold Bershady has written an important, precisely argues, and lucid essay examining the epistemological foundations and logical structures of social knowledge. The work is one of the most searching--and sympathetic--examinations to date of Talcott Parson's theorizing. But it is much more than that. Bershady wisely chose Parson's work as the most advanced and comprehensive effort at constructing a fundamental frame of reference and body of theory which recent sociology had to offer, in order to investigate the epistemological status and adequacy of explanatory structures in social knowledge generally. This is no textbook exposition, but a subtle analysis of structures and strategies in Parsonian theorizing which is of major importance in its own right.-

--Burkart Holzner, American Journal of Sociology

-Bershady has written a working paper suitable for directed discussion in a graduate seminar or for raising issues that need to be raised in coursework on theory construction. His colleagues will find it a helpful refresher on the highpoints of Parsons' works and on some items from the list of things to consider in evaluating sociological theory.-

--Herman Turk, Social Forces

-Students of Talcott Parson's work will greet this unpretentious study with gratitude. Professor Bershady shows that at the start of his career Parsons identified certain epistemological problems which any social theory must face, and that he has consistently employed a single theoretical strategy in a lifelong effort to solve these problems. . . . Thanks to the exegetical effort of Scott, and Whitney Pope and his colleagues, and now of Bershady, one can no longer suppose that the central ideas of the most eminent living social theorist will never be understandably express or competently evaluated.-

--Barclay D. Johnson, Contemporary Sociology

-Bershady provides a welcome change from writing on sociological theory based on 'common sense' premises. His attack on simplistic political interpretations of Parsons' enterprise and positions is timely and all the better in that it is accompanied by a serious discussion of those aspects of Parsons' work which are in no way reducible to conservatism or elitism.-

--P. Q. Hirst, The British Journal of Sociology

-Ideology and Social Knowledge is an excellent example . . . [of] the task . . . to define the great achievements of Parsons and at the same time show its limits. . . . Bershady takes the reader on a journey through Parsons' theory development and the varying versions of his highly complex theoretical structures, which he interprets, contrary to many other commentators, as following a coherent logic. . . . Analytical brilliance.-

--Helmut Staubmann, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology

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