Talcott Parsons has been one of the most influential American sociologists of the postwar period, but he has also been widely criticized for, among other things, the alleged conservatism of his structural functionalist theory. Bryan Turner's selections from Parsons' work provide a comprehensive overview of his principal contributions and are grouped under the following subdivisions: religion and modern society; life, sex, and death; sociological theory; and American society and the world order.Turner's introduction defends Parsons as a modernist and the selections reveal that Parsons' sociology was neither abstract nor conservative, but rather addressed a range of major issues in the sociology of modern society. This Reader places special emphasis on medical sociology, his contribution to the study of politics and international relations, his concern for the human condition, his focus on culture, and finally his defense of general theory. The collection is supplemented by a complete Parsons bibliography and a selected list of critical works on his sociology.The book clearly presents the core features of Parsons' sociology and demonstrates his continuing relevance to critical issues today, including globalization, the place of American civilization in the world order, and the importance of sociological theory as an analysis of modern culture.
Publisher: Basil Blackwell Inc, US
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 794 g
Dimensions: 255 x 177 x 31 mm
"With this astute and illuminating collection, Turner demonstrates for contemporary readers why Talcott Parsons is regarded as the dominant sociological theorist of the mid-twentieth century, and one of the master narrators of modernity. Ranging from economics and global power to considerations of youth, sickness, and death, these empirically-oriented selections reveal the vast scope of Parson's thought." - Jeffrey Alexander, University of California at Los Angeles
"Parsons once described himself as an 'incurable theorist'. This excellent collection of essays reveals a practical sociologist possessing great insight into the modern condition. Professor Turner has done a real service in reminding us of the substantive issues to which Parsons's theoretical efforts were ultimately directed, issues which are as central to the discipline now as when Parsons was writing." - John Holmwood, University of Edinburgh