American Society: A Theory of the Societal Community

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Paradigm Publishers, 2007 - Political Science - 524 pages
Never before published, American Society is the product of Talcott Parsons’s last major theory-building project. During the 1970s, Parsons worked persistently to fulfill his earlier promise to produce “a general book on American society.”

The surviving manuscript, completed just a few weeks before his death, is just such a book—and much more. Beyond its rich reading of American society, it offers a systematic presentation and major revisions of his previous landmark theoretical positions: the attempt to elaborate a non-nostalgic theory of modernity, to link macro and micro perspectives, to defend the possibility of objective sociological knowledge, to analyze national specificities within the context of worldwide trends, to develop an adequate conception of societal integration grounded in fully pluralistic premises. Even after the passage of many years, the book imparts a remarkably provocative interpretation of U.S. society and a creative approach to social theory.

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Contents

The Action of Social Structure by Giuseppe Sciortino
1
Introduction
22
The Societal Community and Its Environments
54
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, where he is co-director of the Center for Cultural Sociology. Among his many influential books is The Civic Sphere (Oxford University Press, 2006). He is also co-editor of the Yale Cultural Sociology Series (Paradigm Publishers). Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) was the eminent Harvard sociologist who sought to integrate all the social sciences into a science of human action. Among his influential books are The Structure of Social Action and Politics and Social Structure. Giuseppe Sciortino, Associate Professor of Sociology at the UniversitÓ di Trento, Italy, is the editor of Parsons's The Structure of Social Action and Contemporary Debates (Milan 2001).

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