The Social System

Front Cover
Routledge, Jan 1, 1991 - Social systems - 575 pages
5 Reviews
Written by a pioneer in the field of sociological theory, whose first work, The Structure of Social Action, was a controversial and influential text when published in 1937, this book presents more recent advances in the author's work on the theory of action.

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Review: The Social System

User Review  - George - Goodreads

Obscure, which makes it so intriguing. Still resonates with me after all these years. I don't know why. Read full review

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About the author (1991)

Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist, introduced Max Weber to American sociology and became himself the leading theorist of American sociology after World War II. His Structure of Social Action (1937) is a detailed comparison of Alfred Marshall, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Vilfredo Pareto. Parsons concluded that these four scholars, coming from contrasting backgrounds and from four different countries, converged, without their knowing of the others, on a common theoretical and methodological position that he called "the voluntaristic theory of action." Subsequently, Parsons worked closely with the anthropologists Clyde Kluckhohn, Elton Mayo, and W. Lloyd Warner, and the psychologists Gordon W. Allport and Henry A. Murray, to define social, cultural, and personality systems as the three main interpenetrative types of action organization. He is widely known for his use of four pattern variables for characterizing social relationships:affectivity versus neutrality, diffuseness versus specificity, particularism versus universalism, and ascription versus achievement.

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